Visit Oak Park touts inaugural Theater Month

Discounts for local shows available through tourism agency

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By MICHELLE DYBAL

Contributing Reporter

It may be chilly outside, but it's cozy and inviting inside the local venues taking part with seven different shows in the first ever Oak Park Theater Month this February. 

Organized by Visit Oak Park, the tourism bureau for Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn and 15 other neighboring communities, Oak Park Theatre Month highlights diverse programming and offers discounts to theater-goers.   

Since the Oak Park area is primarily known for its architecture, Visit Oak Park wants to "highlight an underappreciated area," according to Kevin Kilbride, marketing and social media manager for Visit Oak Park. 

"There's things to do even if it's cold outside," Kilbride said. "We want to make arts and entertainment accessible and affordable and show that we have an impressive amount of talent right here."     

That talent includes people like Oak Park resident and Jeff Award-winning director Jason Gerace. His upcoming play, "The Pavilion," premiers at Open Door Theater on Feb. 10.   

"My vision for this production has always been that we would make it as a gift to the community, and that we could best do that by engaging with as many theater artists with connections here as we could," Gerace said. 

While actors in "The Pavilion" are from Oak Park and Riverside, and boast impressive resumes, the crew also consists of Artistic Associates from 16th Street Theater in Berwyn as well as Oak Park.   

"There are so many talented people in this area and I want to know them and create with them," Gerace said. "We are all a part of the larger Chicago theater community and artist community, but… we can make art right here where we live, reflect the character and ideals of this place, and ask questions essential to the community of people who live here."

With a range of choices from professional to college productions, musical entertainment to real world issues and historic to Shakespearian, theater patrons can try something new, challenge their sensibilities or simply be entertained.   

"There's a show to cater to everyone," Kilbride added. "We hope people get out and see the impressive amount of talent right here and then they may patronize these theaters or theatre companies again."   

 

Show Guide

Go to visitoakpark.com to order tickets. Use promo code OPTM18 to receive the discount on show times in bold. 

Composers' Wives: Lily Texier and Claude Debussy

Friday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.

Storyteller Megan Wells entertains with her portrayal of the first wife of French composer Claude Debussy. Live piano accompaniment enhances the performance as a tumultuous love affair is revealed. One night only. 

Promo price: $25

Pleasant Home, 217 Home Ave., Oak Park

pleasanthome.org

 

Songbook: Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble

Friday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.

 Steven Page, founder and former lead of Barenaked Ladies, joins the Art of Time Ensemble in reimagining and performing songs by Randy Newman, Radiohead, Elvis Costello, Barenaked Ladies and others.

Promo price: tickets ($24 and up) are 20% off.

Lund Auditorium at Dominican University, 7900 Division St., River Forest

events.dom.edu/steven-page-art-time-ensemble

 

The Pavilion

Thursday and Friday, Feb. 16 and 17, 8 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.

Seeing each other for the first time in twenty years at their high school reunion, former sweethearts face each other, the incident that drove them apart, and their own lives as they navigate interactions with other characters. 

Promo price: $15, limited availability

Open Door Theater, 902 Ridgeland Ave., Oak Park.

opendoortheater.net

 

Life in a Sandcastle

Fridays, Feb. 16 and 23, and Saturdays, Feb. 17 and 24, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, Feb. 18 and 25, 3 p.m.

This Collective of Concordia student production is about childhood friends from two separate worlds doing battle against one another for the same fire pit at a beach during two get away weekends. Political persuasions, economic privilege, educational barriers and cheap sirloins and pickled quinoa quiche become both shields and weapons as the women face off. 

Promo price: $10

Madison Street Theater, 1010 Madison St., Oak Park

mstoakpark.com

 

Love Spats

Sunday, Feb. 11, 3:30 p.m.

See Oak Park Festival Theatre's talent act out a collection of scenes inspired by notable feuds and lover's quarrels between some of Shakespeare's most famous couples. Reception at 2:30. One show only. 

Promo price: $15

Nineteenth Century Charitable Association, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park

oakparkfestival.com

 

Erasing the Distance: Dominican, Chapter 2

Thursday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24, 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 25, 3 p.m.

In 2008, Dominican's Theatre Arts produced "Erasing the Distance, the Dominican Chapter" with Erasing the Distance (ETD), a professional theater company that uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate and promote healing around issues of mental health. Now hear true stories from members of the Dominican community. More: events.dom.edu/performing-arts/calendar-events. 

Promo price: $10

Martin Recital Hall at Dominican University, 7900 Division St., River Forest

events.dom.edu/performing-arts/calendar-events

 

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