Theater: Dramas on the family farm

Theo Ubique’s “The Bridge of Madison County” centers on an Iowa farm family in 1965, while “Bobbins and Thread” from Mudlark features a farm girl working in the Lowell mills in the 19th century. These are among the many performances in and around Evanston this weekend.

The Bridges of Madison County
Francesca Johnson, a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy, looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm when her family heads to the 1965 State Fair then. Then, ruggedly handsome National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid pulls into her driveway seeking directions...
At Theo Ubique, Howard Street Theatre, 721 Howard St., runs through April 21, tickets $39-69

Bobbins and Thread
Joan's family’s farm is in trouble, and it’s up to her to help them by working in the Lowell mills. Though the work is hard, Joan quickly makes friends with the other workers, and starts to experience an independence she never thought possible. But when the mill owners unjustly decide to lower the workers’ wages, Joan is faced with a difficult choice; save her family from poverty or stand with her friends for what she knows to be right.
By Mudlark, at Red Curtain Theater, 1417 Hinman Ave., April 11-14, tickets $10

Brian Gephart Quintet
Brian Gephart has been a fixture on the Chicago jazz scene for many years. He is a prolific composer and recording artist, having seven releases to his name as leader or co-leader, as well as a vast discography of work on other artists' recordings. His own group performs regularly at the Jazz Showcase. The performance will be recorded for Chicago Jazz Live on WDCB.
At Studio5, 1934-38 Dempster St., Friday, April 12, tickets $20-25

Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!
A faithful and often humorous portrayal of U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s life and presidency spans Harry Truman’s childhood; his “political apprenticeship” as a judge in Jackson County, MO; his years in the US Senate; and his momentous two terms as President of the United States. Clifton Truman Daniel took up the mantle of the role in October 2017, marking the first time in history a U.S. President would be portrayed onstage by a direct descendant—in this case, his oldest grandson.
At North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Saturday, April 13, tickets $30-50

Leo Kottke
Acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke was born in Athens, Georgia, but left town after a year and a half. Raised in 12 different states, he absorbed a variety of musical influences as a child, flirting with both violin and trombone, before abandoning Stravinsky for the guitar at age 11.
At North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Sunday, April 14, tickets $32-52

Hopelessly Devoted
This production tells the powerful story of Chess, a woman in prison facing a lengthy sentence, the pain of separation from her daughter, the loss of her cell mate, Serena, when she is given parole, and the feeling of total isolation. When prison authorities suggest she work with Silver, a music producer, Chess begins to find her voice, her strength, and her ability to face the most difficult thing of all – her past. Featuring award-winning poet and musician Kate Tempest’s trademark lyrical fireworks and live music, Hopelessly Devoted is a story of love and redemption.
At Piven Theater Workshop, 927 Noyes St., runs through May 5, tickets $20

Landladies
Marti and Christine are both working their way to a better life – one a self-made building owner clawing her way to the top, the other a single mom juggling the care of her daughter with a part-time job and a complicated ex-boyfriend. They have a lot in common, but as landlady and tenant their friendship walks a delicate balance. Faced with dilemmas of fairness versus kindness and honesty versus eviction, both women are determined to build a home, and both know the threat of losing one.
At Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, runs through April 20, tickets $30-52

A Number
Powerful, unpredictable and devastating, Caryl Churchill’s suspenseful “A Number” sees a father meeting his “estranged” son over several visits. As they reconnect, multiplying lies are uncovered, revealing a surprising truth about their shared past that leads directly to the provocative questions: how much do we pass on to our children and is it really possible to atone for our mistakes?
At Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, runs through June 9, tickets $50-60

Footloose
Based on the hit film, and the true story of Elmore City, Oklahoma which banned dancing for 90 years, Footloose is back! When big city teenager Ren moves to a small town, he finds that wide open spaces sometimes come with very narrow minds. As the town copes with tragedy, the influential Reverend Moore has banned dancing and rock music. Pretty soon, Ren is the rebel with a cause, winning over the hearts (and feet!) of the whole community.
At Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, runs April 10 through June 2, tickets $50-60

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