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A&E

Theatre of Western Springs raises curtain on new season; plans benefit concert

WESTERN SPRINGS – One more weekend remains to catch the season opener at the Theatre of Western Springs, which celebrates 91 years of entertainment. A benefit concert also is announced.

“TWS audiences are going to have a blast this season,” executive artistic director Eddie Sugarman said in a news release. “A collection of newly released Agatha Christie mysteries [opens, followed by] the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama ‘How I Learned to Drive’ and the sweeping American classic, ‘The Great Gatsby’ – just a few of the shows we’re taking on this season.”

The five Mainstage productions kick off with Christie’s “Murder in the Studio” through Sept. 15. Directed by Jay Fontanetta, it features three thrilling radio plays of ghosts and revenge, with a Hercule Poirot story presented with live sound effects.

“Accomplice” by Rupert Holmes will be performed Oct. 17 to 27, directed by TWS artist-in-residence Greg Kolack. A wife and her lover plan to murder her stuffy husband, setting in motion the twists and turns of a roller-coaster plot.

“The Nerd” by Larry Shue will be staged Jan. 16 to 26, directed by Kevin Theis. In the comedy, a nice guy from Terre Haute, Indiana, hosts the “house guest from hell.”

“The Great Gatsby,” based on the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald and written for the stage by Simon Levy, will be presented Feb. 27 to March 8, directed by Kolack. In the stage adaptation of Fitzgerald’s great American novel, Jay Gatsby’s love for Daisy Buchanan explodes against the gilded backdrop of the Jazz Age.

Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” will be staged from May 28 to June 7, directed by Bill Pullinsi. In the comedy, Broadway star William Gillette assumes the persona of his beloved Sherlock Holmes to track down a killer in his own castle.

In addition to the Mainstage shows, the theater’s intimate, 117-seat Cattell Theatre will host the Forum series, presenting two plays annually, each providing a challenging theater experience.

“How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel will be performed Sept. 26 to Oct. 6, directed by Angelee Johns. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the memory play is the story of a survivor of pedophilia navigating the complexities of her relationships with her family. The play has mature language and themes.

“On Clover Road” by Steven Dietz is offered from Feb. 6 to 16, directed by Michael Menendian. A desperate mother hires a private investigator to find her runaway daughter in the harrowing thriller. The play has mature language and themes.

TWS offers flexible subscription packages, hearing assistance technology and free parking. Audience talk-back discussions follow Friday performances. To subscribe, call the TWS box office at 708-246-3380 or visit the website at www.theatrewesternsprings.com.

Benefit concert

“A Tribute to the Eagles” will be presented at 8 p.m. Sept. 21 at the theater at 4384 Hampton Ave. Tickets cost $35, $30 for TWS subscribers. The show is a celebration of the music of the band, whose hits include “Desperado,” “Take it Easy” and “Hotel California.” For tickets, visit www.theatreofwesternsprings.com or call 708-246-3380.

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