Comedies and Classics: July 2011 Chicago Theater

The shows at Chicago theaters this month will either leave you sore from laughing or humming a clever tune—whether it’s puppets, cupcakes, Sondheim, the misunderstandings of a foreign language, or the ruminations of an overweight comedian.

Jeff Garlin’s “No Sugar Tonight” at Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre
July 13-24
1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago
312-335-1650 steppenwolf.org

As far as comedian and Chicago native Jeff Garlin is concerned, sugar might as well be heroin (and most of us can relate!). The Second City alum, now star and executive producer of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” addresses his food addiction in this intimate stand-up comedy routine.

Broadway in Chicago’s “Pinkalicious”
Broadway Playhouse, Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago
July 8-September 3
800-775-2000 broadwayinchicago.com

Jeff Garlin’s not the only one who has a problem with sweets. In this fanciful romp, Pinkalicious Pinkerton eats one too many pink cupcakes, causing her to come down with a case of Pinkititis, an affliction that turns her whole body pink. Green veggies are the only cure. This musical from Emerald City Theatre, based on the best-selling children’s book by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann, is sure to thrill little girls ages 3 and up.

Goodman Theatre’s “Chinglish”

Through July 24
170 N. Dearborn, Chicago
312-443-3800 goodmantheatre.org

“Chinglish” is another cross-cultural study from acclaimed playwright David Henry Hwang, author of Tony Award-winning “M. Butterfly”—this time, a comedy in English and Mandarin Chinese with surtitles. An American businessman goes to China to close an important deal, and finds himself immersed in a world he doesn’t understand.

The Adventures of Pinocchio at Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater
July 13-August 28
Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
312-595-5600 chicagoshakes.com

The classic Italian story of a boy carved out of wood by a lonely toymaker is brought to life on a large-scale European marionette stage in this production. This world premiere promises to engage young kids and their families with inventive puppetry and charming music.

Broadway in Chicago’s “West Side Story”
July 19-August 14
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago
800-775-2000 broadwayinchicago.com

The heat is on this summer: The romance between Tony and Maria, and the ire fueling a showdown between the Sharks and the Jets. The new Broadway cast album of “West Side Story” recently won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, and the classic songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim include “I Feel Pretty,” “Tonight,” “America,” and “Somewhere.”