"Richard III"

Another famous Shakespearean villain comes alive in Belinda Bremner's Oak Park Festival staging. Austin Gardens; July 19-Aug. 25

"The Wind in the Willows"

Theatre-Hikes stages an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's stories about Mole, Ratty, Badger and the ultimate party animal, Mr. Toad of Toad Hall. Pullman State Historic Site, July 14-15; North Park Village Nature Center, July 21-22; Central Park/Metro South Medical Center, Blue Island, July 28; Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Aug. 4-26


"The Marvin Gaye Story (Don't Talk About My Father, Because God is My Friend)"

The unforgettable voice — and tragic life — behind "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Sexual Healing" forms the subject for Jackie Taylor's latest bio-musical. Black Ensemble Theater; through July 29

"State Street"

Philip LaZebnik and Kingsley Day's "not-very-historically-accurate" musical about booming Chicago right before the Great Fire of 1871 gets a world premiere under Sheldon Patinkin's direction. City Lit Theater; May 29-June 24

"Eastland: A New Musical"

This might not be the show to see before you take out-of-towners on the Chicago Architecture Foundation's river tour. Andrew White's script, featuring a score by Ben Sussman and Andre Pluess, tackles the titular 1915 tragedy, in which 844 people lost their lives when their boat tipped over in the Chicago River. Lookingglass Theatre; June 6-July 29

"Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein"

Theo Ubique's hit revue takes a trip to the suburbs for Fox Valley Repertory's Summer Theater Fest. Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles; May 31-July 22


That "one brief shining moment" when Arthur and Guenevere held court in medieval Britain, as romanticized by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, takes the stage at Light Opera Works, featuring a full orchestra and Nick Sandys and Jennie Sophia as the married monarchs. Cahn Auditorium, Evanston; June 1-10

"Floyd Collins"

Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Americana-laced musical draws upon the real story of Collins, a Kentucky spelunker whose entrapment underground provided the fodder for an early media feeding frenzy. Peter Marston Sullivan directs for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. Theater Wit; June 15-July 15


After you've seen "The Avengers" for the umpteenth time, you might want a superhero spectacle a bit more grounded in real life. Rising musical writers Aaron Thielen and Michael Mahler created this story of a young artist whose dad, a comic-book shop owner, encourages him to take some leaps of faith over his doubts. Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire; June 20-Aug. 19

"The 39 Steps"