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John Patrick Shanley's thought-provoking, Pulitzer Prize-winning play, set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, dramatizes the dilemma faced by Sister Aloysius, the school's crotchety, arch-traditional principal, who suspects the parish priest of molesting a 12-year-old boy--the school's first black student. Aloysius, played by the superb Cherry Jones in this touring version of the 2005 Broadway hit, has no proof; all she has is the certainty that is the bedrock of her calling. Shanley illuminates the inclination of a male-dominated church to preserve priestly power by covering up sex abuse rather than confronting it. But he wisely keeps the audience in doubt about the priest's guilt or innocence--and about whether Aloysius's holy war is really driven by her resentment of patriarchal protocols and her mistrust of progressive policies that emphasize "welcoming kindness" over old-fashioned discipline. This is a play that will have viewers questioning their own assumptions about religion, sexuality, race, and class long after they leave the theater. a Through 1/28: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 2 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Sun 1/14, 2 and 7:30 PM, LaSalle Bank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, 312-902-1400, $20-$72.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Craig Shwartz.

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