The Crusader Newspaper Group

Live theatre and movie roundup

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

Janine Nabers
JANINE NABERS HAS two world premieres coming up in Chicago, with “Welcome to Jesus” and “Swell in the Ground.”

Janine Nabers is preparing for her two world premieres “Welcome to Jesus,” which opens at the American Theater Company on October 30, and “A Swell in the Ground,” which is running at the Gift Theatre.

Welcome to Jesus: In fictional Hallelujah, TX, football reigns, and the quarterback is king. Janine Nabers’ darkly funny and powerful new play unearths the tyranny of small town life and the power of prejudice to define our fate. Staged in a field of wood chips, about a town in search of some good news, “Welcome to Jesus” fuses fable and horror in a 21st Century take on the Southern Gothic tradition. This play runs from October 26 until December 3, 2017, at the American Theater Company, located at 1909 W. Byron St. For info, visit:

A Swell in the Ground: In intimate rooms throughout New York, four friends from college fight through 17 years of love affairs, shattered dreams and compromised lives. Flipping back and forth through time like a photo book, this play—whose title is from a line of Emily Dickinson poetry—is equally breathtaking and heartbreakingly spare as Olivia, Nate, Abigail, and Charles try to reconcile the lives they imagined with the lives they live. This play runs until December 10, 2017, at the Gift Theatre, located at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. For info, visit:

Cards Against Humanity: The sell-out hit “Cards Against Humanity Late Night Writers Room” has added two new performance dates: Friday, October 27, 2017, and Friday, December 1, 2017, at 10 p.m. at The Greenhouse Theater Center (Downstairs Mainstage), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.

The irreverent night of improv comedy is inspired by the popular and politically incorrect party game “Cards Against Humanity.” After audience members pitch their ideas, the best suggestions are acted out by the “Cards Against Humanity” writers and a team of improvisers. The worst suggestions will be mercilessly ridiculed. Recommended for ages 18+.

The October performance will include special guest hosts from the Chicago Nerds Social Club. Tickets for October 27, priced at $10, are currently at, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. All proceeds from the October performance will benefit Cure Violence, which is part of the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health. For additional information, visit The partner charity for the December 1 will be announced shortly.

Goodman Theatre – Yasmina’s Necklace, running through November 19, 2017, in The Owen, 170 N. Dearborn St.

“A unique American love story, hilarious yet deeply moving, profound and beautiful” –

Newly arrived in Chicago from her homeland, Iraqi artist Yasmina has hardened herself to the possibility of finding happiness. But when she meets Sam, a man with his own emotional setbacks, what had seemed unthinkable becomes tantalizingly real. Chicago-based artists, playwright Rohina Malik and director Ann Filmer, reunite for the downtown debut of “Yasmina’s Necklace,” following its critically-acclaimed world premiere at 16th Street Theater last year. For info, visit:

Chicago International Film Festival: Narrative Short Film Competition awards the Gold Hugo to “Night Shift,” directed by Marshall Tyler. The festival noted the development of a rich character whose Dantesque journey of colorful self-reflection inspires us to break free and gamble on ourselves. “Night Shift” was part of the Shorts 7 – Another Country: Black Perspectives program. Synopsis: A man working as a bathroom attendant in a Los Angeles night club attempts to get his life back on track. Disrespected by patrons and adrift at his station, he ponders the ways in which he can win back the respect of the people around him.

Audra McDonald
AUDRA MCDONALD AND Martha Plimpton star in the movie musical “Hello Again.”

Hello Again – Movie Musical in theaters November 8.

“Hello Again,” the highly-anticipated film based on the musical by Michael John LaChiusa, comes to movie theaters in a nationwide release beginning November 8th. Starring Broadway and television stars Audra McDonald, Martha Plimpton, Cheyenne Jackson, T.R Knight, Rumer Willis, Jenna Ushkowitz, Sam Underwood, Nolan Gerard Funk, Al Calderon and Tyler Blackburn, the film focuses on a series of love affairs among 10 characters during the 10 different decades of the 20th Century. One character from each scene moves on to the next, seemingly discarding his old partner in favor of new love.

This film is a soulful journey on matters of the heart and the loins. The musical cemented Michael John La Chiusa as one of contemporary musical theatre’s most important voices. The musical’s film adaptation is directed by Tom Gustafson with screenplay by Cory Krueckeberg. In “Hello Again,” though, everyone ultimately stands alone. The couplings, with feverish passion and intensity, ultimately show the divide between love and lust. The longing that leads to sex covers up each character’s desire for an elusive emotional connection. Through these private moments come some of the most soul-searching songs in contemporary musical theater, and now, on film. Look for it at your local theater.

Monday Movies: With Movies in the Park coming to an end and the weather changing, a Chicago fall bucket list event could include experiencing Roof on the Wit’s Movie Monday series. Films begin at dusk on the rooftop that kicked off Chicago’s rooftop craze, ROOF on theWit, 201 N. State St., and includes complimentary popcorn for attendees.

The remaining dates for this series include: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on October 30. Wonder Woman on November 13. Baby Driver on November 27. Beauty and the Beast on December 4 and Elf on December 18.

For more information, visit:

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