Storm Theater chose an unusual way to return from its COVID hiatus. The New York-based off-off-Broadway company specializes in plays off the current mainstream track, and produces a lot of work by household names who aren’t often on marquees these days (TS Eliot, GK Chesterton, Karol Wojtyła aka Pope John Paul II) or of historical interest. “The Shaughraun,” a kitchen-sink show with a soap opera plot and farcical elements, originated from the pen of Dion Boucicault, a popular 19th-century Irish playwright whose work gathered dust in the 20th century. This new all-Chicago production, Storm’s third of the play, marks the company’s pandemic return and city debut. Storm Theater at the Athenaeum Center for Thought & Culture. 9 March – 2 April.
Notable Events in Chicago
• Saxophone Quartet ~Nois borrows the format of the Spektral Quartet’s “Once More, With Feeling!” for their own “Refractions”, a concert format that intersperses a discussion with a composer between two performances of their piece, to aid understanding. The first twice-performed piece is “I Tell You Me,” Annika Socolofsky’s song cycle for soprano and saxophones about growing up queer in the Midwest. Center at Halsted. 19.00, March 14.
• Baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire presents “Exile & Resilience,” a program of music from the Jewish and African diasporas written between 1600 and 1850. Various locations. March 11-12.
• Jazz orchestra leader and David Bowie collaborator Maria Schneider tours her album “Data Lords” with an 18-piece band. Symphony Centre. 8 p.m., March 10.
• All-female new music vocal quartet Quince Ensemble, formerly based in Chicago, returns for its first local concert since 2017. Epiphany Center for the Arts. 6 p.m., March 12.
Opening in Chicago
• “The Threepenny Opera,” with its lofty pedigree of Bertolt Brecht as librettist and Kurt Weill as composer, suggests a kind of path not taken by musical theater, where its exalted style of jazz cabaret opera, or perhaps late romantic musical, might have created imitators. It is also the source of “Mack the Knife”. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater in Evanston. 10 March – 30 April.
• “Carmen,” the opera that probably has the most individual melodies recognizable to the casual fan, is the rare opera where the leading lady is a mezzo-soprano. Sultry J’Nai Bridges, known to local audiences from her time at the Lyrics Ryan Opera Center, takes the title role opposite her uptight Don José, Charles Castronovo, most recently at the Lyric in Fall 2021’s “The Elixir of Love.” Lyrical Opera House. 11 March – 7 April.
• “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” rounds out the songs you’d expect (“The Best,” “Proud Mary,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”) and weaves them into her rocky biography in a touring jukebox musical . Nederlander Theatre. March 14-2 April.
• Guardians of the Avant at the Trap Door Theater staged “Joan & the Fire,” a metaplay by Romanian-French writer Matei Vişniec about Joan of Arc confronting people staging a play about Joan of Arc, in its US premiere. (The entire play is premiering in the US, that is, not the play within the play.) Trap Door Theatre. March 9-15 April.
• The world premiere play “How Blood Go” looks at a black wellness entrepreneur who appears white to doctors. Congo Square Theater at Steppenwolf Theatre. 11 March – 23 April.
• The early hit “Avenue Q,” a comedic cousin to “South Park” (example song: “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”), brings the naughty dolls out of the trunk again. Musical theater works at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. 9 March – 2 April.
• “The Who’s Tommy”, as this production of the rock opera “Tommy” is billed, goes on priority sale this week at 10am on March 10 with the code PINBALL. Goodman Theatre. June 13-23. July.
• The Internet age game “Right to Be Forgotten” continues for another week. Raven Theatre. Through April 2.