A Quick Guide to Oak Park Theater Month

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Feature image courtesy of promolta.com

What is Oak Park Theater Month?

Some of the higher-ups from the visitors’ bureau of Oak Park got together and thought it would be a great idea to highlight local theater. In fact, the event is extending beyond Oak Park’s borders to include River Forest and Berwyn. The event planners want to give tourists a taste of the OPRF cultural scene while inspiring locals to see shows at discounted prices. Six separate venues will take part in the event.

What types of shows/performances are taking place?

*The following summaries come courtesy of VisitOakPark.com*

Harbur Gate

Something happened at Khabur Gate, the U.S. military base on the Turkish/Iraqi border, called Harbur Gate by the Americans. Something which was never revealed. Harbur Gate is composed of three plays about three women in the combat zone linked by a single incident. In Orpheus, two Army medics apply for the Purple Heart. In the title piece, Marines Moss and Russo engage in a battle of the sexes in a truck convoy to Mosul. And in Veteran in a New Field, Michelle, a recent Veteran, meets John, a blind painter in a park.

Love Spats

A collection of scenes inspired by notable feuds between some of Shakespeare’s most famous couples. From the hilariously sharp-witted (and sharp-tongued) Katherine going toe to toe with husband-to-be Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, to the befuddled lovers quartet in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, these love spats feature some of the funniest, cleverest and nastiest barbs Shakespeare ever put to parchment.

Megan Wells, Theatrical Storyteller

Gifted Storyteller Megan Wells will entertain guests with a theatrical portrayal of Lily Texier, the first wife of prominent French composer Claude Debussy. Live piano accompaniment will enhance the performance as Ms. Wells reveals the tumultuous love affair between Texier and Debussy. Performance also includes a wine and cheese reception.

Songbook: Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble

Steven Page, a founder and former lead of the iconic band Barenaked Ladies, joins Toronto’s highly inventive Art of Time Ensemble in an evening of seminal songs by Randy Newman, Radiohead, Elvis Costello, Barenaked Ladies, Leonard Cohen, Page himself, and others. These gems are reimagined and reinvented by some of the greatest minds in classical, pop and jazz, and delivered by a defining voice in contemporary rock.

The Pavilion

Peter returns to his twenty-year high-school reunion with dreams of winning back Kari, the girl he left behind after an unexpected pregnancy ended their relationship. Standing in Peter’s way is Kari’s bitter-as-ever resentment, her husband and the fact that Peter still hasn’t grown up. As the night progresses, both Peter and Kari are led, through their interactions with a host of characters all played by a virtuosic Narrator, to face the consequences of choices made long ago and start back into life with newfound strength and bittersweet resolve.

Life in a Sandcastle

Two getaway weekends on the shore of Lake Michigan collide when childhood friends from two separate worlds find themselves doing battle against one another for the same fire pit at a beach resort in South Haven, Michigan. Political persuasions, economic privilege, regional proclivities, educational barriers, and a mess of cheap sirloins and pickled quinoa quiche quickly become both shields and weapons as the women do battle for the sandy square footage they feel is rightly theirs.

Erasing the Distance: Dominican, Chapter Two

In 2008, Dominican’s Theatre Arts produced the university’s own chapter with Erasing the Distance (ETD), a professional theatre company that uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate, and promote healing around issues of mental health. Erasing the Distance returns with true stories from members of the Dominican community to create a poignant and pivotal piece of theatre.

Photo courtesy of VisitOakPark.com

When & where is this happening?

Throughout the month of February. That’s why it’s called Oak Park Theater Month. But to be helpful, here’s a quick list of the dates, times, and locations for all of the performances:

Feb. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 @ 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 3, 10, 17 @ 4 and 8 p.m. – Harbur Gate at 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th Street, Berwyn. Click or tap here for tickets.

Feb. 11 @ 3:30 p.m. – Love Spats at The Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Avenue, Oak Park. Click or tap here for tickets.

Feb. 16: @ 7:30 p.m. – Megan Wells, Theatrical Storyteller at Pleasant Home, 217 S. Home Avenue, Oak Park. Click or tap here for tickets.

Feb. 16: @ 7:30 p.m. – Songbook: Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble at Dominican University Performing Arts Center, 7900 W. Division Street, River Forest. Click or tap here for tickets.

Feb. 16-17 @ 8 p.m., Feb. 18 @ 3 p.m. – The Pavilion at Open Door Theater, 902 S. Ridgeland Avenue, Oak Park. Click or tap here for tickets.

Feb. 16-17 & 23-24 @ 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 18 & 25 @ 3 p.m. – Life in a Sandcastle at Madison Street Theatre, 1010 Madison Street, Oak Park. Click or tap here for tickets.

Feb. 22 @ 7 p.m.; Feb. 23-24 @ 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 25 @ 3 p.m. – Erasing the Distance: Dominican, Chapter Two at Dominican University Performing Arts Center, 7900 W. Division Street, River Forest. Click or tap here for tickets.

Photo courtesy of Open Door Theater

How much does it cost?

All shows are being sold at discounted prices so long as you use promo code OPTM18. Here’s what you can expect to pay:

  • Harbur Gate – $15
  • Love Spats – $15
  • Megan Wells, Theatrical Storyteller – $25
  • Songbook: Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble – 20% off all tickets
  • The Pavilion – $15
  • Life in a Sandcastle – $10
  • Erasing the Distance: Dominican, Chapter Two – $10

Why should I care?

Odds are if you made it this far in the article, you like live theater so now you have all the information needed to take part in the first-ever Oak Park Theater Month. If you don’t like live entertainment, you can still take pride in the village’s efforts to grow tourism with this new event.

Feature image courtesy of promolta.com

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