Chairs Plus Sofas
An hour-long examination of "the experience of sitting, drawn from both the perspective of the sitter and the sittee." Performed backwards, with the second half in four dimensions. "The ironies and intricacies of this piece are multitudinous," says a Reader critic, "not the least of which is that the audience is, itself, sitting in chairs, creating extreme discomfort and even paranoia." Cook County Theatre Department, 2255 S. Michigan. Open run: Fridays-Saturdays, 9 PM. $8.
The Cute Detective
Seven gay friends gather for a party in a high-rise apartment building. One of them is murdered, precipitating the entrance of the Cute Detective, who attempts to solve the case with a game of Truth or Tattle. In the end, after much nudity, it's discovered that everyone has a little bit of the murderer in him. The survivors dance and couple off. Cute Detective Productions at the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont. Open run: Thursdays-Sundays, 7 and 10 PM. $35-$45.
Full Moon Over Lincoln Avenue
There's a faint whisper of magic in these monologues about the "inherent challenges of communal living" by Beau O'Reilly, Colm O'Reilly, Kate O'Reilly, Radar O'Reilly, Jenny Magnus, Ann Magnuson, Magnus Magnusson, Paula Killen, Paula Poundstone, Paula Jones, Lisa Buscani, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Frank Galati. Also: Bryn Magnus premieres his newest play, The Startling Ascent of Mr. Waffle, which includes original songs from just about everyone. Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln. Open run: Saturdays, 8 PM. $7 ($10 includes eggplant sandwich and basmati rice).
The Godfather Saga and The Life of Christ
Mary Zimmerman adapts and directs a nine-hour presentation of "the two greatest stories ever told." "Zimmerman links the stories to create a seamless, riveting piece of theater," says a Reader critic's life partner. "Particularly stunning are a Last Supper tableau using only string and peaches, and a page from an illuminated book depicting the death of Fredo." Lookingglass Theatre Company at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison. Open run: Saturdays-Sundays, midnight. $75-$500.
Good-bye, Sigma Chi
"Where have all the keggers gone?" asks the press release for this debut comedy by Chicago ad executives Larry "Chip" Peterson and Mike Walters. The play "makes you long for the days when sex was easy and booze flowed freely," says a Reader critic's drinking buddy. "Peterson and Walters have grasped the central dilemmas of male life in the 90s. The dramatic structure may be flimsy, but the jokes are as plentiful as tequila shots on pledge night." Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark. Open run: Wednesdays, 10 AM. $7 ($5 with fraternity or sorority paddle).
Hasta Manana, La Susana
Chicago performance poet, actor, short-order cook, addiction survivor, independent thinker, motorcycle rider, and dedicated friend of the arts Susan Ferrari is heading to Cleveland for the weekend to visit her parents. In this special one-time-only show her chums toast her, simultaneously saying good-bye and hello. "I'll be back Monday," says Ferrari. Includes performances by Paula Killen, Brigid Murphy, Marcia Wilkie, Cheryl Trykv, and Anna Deveare Smith. Organic Theater Greenhouse, 3319 N. Clark. Friday, 8 PM. $15.
I've Got Nipples on My Breasts
In a sequel to last year's I've Got Breasts on My Chest, eight female comedians and performance artists present original monologues. "The tales these women have to tell are extraordinary in their ordinariness--like stories you would hear at a cocktail party and forget the next morning," says a Reader critic's second cousin. Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont. Open run: Thursdays, 7:30 PM. $12.
The Last Improv Show
Former members of Improv Whoopee! and Improv Your Ass Off perform their new long-form game, known as "The Conrad." Audience suggestions are taken, torn to shreds, placed in a steel drum, and burned. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Open run: Saturdays, 8 PM. $17.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Frank Galati's three-and-a-half hour adaptation of T.S. Eliot's poem. Every night an audience member is chosen at random to play Prufrock, surrounded by a stellar cast that includes Gary Sinise and the Vienna Boys Choir. "Galati doesn't have to roll up those trouser bottoms quite yet," says a Reader critic's personal trainer. "Those mermaids sing to all of us." Goodman Theatre, 200 S. Columbus. Open run: Tuesdays-Sundays, 6 PM. $30-$900.
Never Become Morning Becomes Electra
A gritty fusion of the works of Nelson Algren and Eugene O'Neill, featuring actual aldermen, junkies, oddsmakers, and prostitutes. "The fact that there are no real actors in the show gives it an extra edge," says a Reader critic's high-school English teacher. "This is what Algren's Chicago must really have been like." Prop Theatre, under the Damen el tracks, North Avenue and Damen. Open run: Fridays-Saturdays, noon. Free.
The Sequestration of the Illuminati, or Hitler Goes Bananas
A Swedish mystic and Herman Melville run into Der Fuhrer in Monte Carlo, and together they travel through a landscape of fire, music, mistaken identity, space aliens, broken-down fourth walls, and, ultimately, truth. Theater Oobleck at the Transient Theatre, 1222 W. Wilson. Open run: Fridays-Saturdays, 6 PM. Free.
Simone de Beauvoir: Je Suis, Je Suis
Third in a series of multimedia biographies by actress Nicolette Blue O'Toole Gonzalez-Ruiz Goldman (following Susan B. Anthony: Bet Your Bottom Dollar and Gertrude Stein, I Love You Too). Performed simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, Farsi, and sign language. Blue O'Toole Rider Theatre, 1933 S. Halsted. Open run: Fridays, 7:30 PM. $1 (or pay what you can).
Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth
The Neo-Larcenists perform 60 plays in two minutes in this "celebration of the joys of democratic theater," covering such subjects as identity politics, gender bending, white liberal guilt, creeping suburbia, Republicans, and the absurdities of performance art. Neo-Larcenarium, 5155 N. Ashland. Open run: Fridays-Saturdays, 11:30 PM; Sundays, midnight. $5 plus the roll of a six-sided die, the length of a drawn straw, the number of eyes on a potato taken randomly from a sack, and the value of a card drawn from a shuffled deck. Aces count as one or 11, one-eyed jacks are wild ($10-$350).
We Are All Good Men Under Apartheid
Joseph, a teenage boy from Soweto, befriends an Afrikaner government official (played by Alderman Bernard Stone) and a black radical in the days before Nelson Mandela is released. Joseph faces the moral challenge of his life when Ngumby, the radical, asks him to steal P.W. Botha's recipe for knishes. This world-premiere presentation of South African playwright Gandalf Rothbart's script includes live music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Oak Ridge Boys. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted. Open run: Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 2, 5, and 9 PM; Sundays, 3 and 7 PM. $65-$3,750.
Performance artist Matt Besser recounts how he kidnapped several children from wealthy North Shore families while they watched a game at Wrigley Field. Then he shoots himself in the head. ImprovOlympic, 3541 N. Clark. Saturday, 8 PM. $8.