The Lights Go Up On the 2012-2013 Season

September’s always one of the busiest months for theatergoing, as many stage companies come back from summer break.

This year’s fall season is front-loaded with highly anticipated shows by some of the Chicago area’s most celebrated directors.

Sweet Bird of Youth
September 15 – October 28 | Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago | 312-443-3800

David Cromer, who directed a breathtaking and heartbreaking version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Writers’ Theatre in 2010, takes on another Tennessee Williams classic — but this time, he’s downtown at the Goodman. It’s guaranteed to be a hot ticket.

Begins September 19 | Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago | 312-337-0665

Evanston director-writer Mary Zimmerman’s most popular play — the one that went to Broadway and won her a Tony — is coming back to Chicago’s Lookingglass, where it began. It’s a wise, witty and watery retelling of Greek myths. If you saw it a decade ago, you’ll want to take another splash. If you missed it back then, now’s your chance to dive in.

September 4 – November 11 | Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe  | 847-242-6000

One of the greatest dramas by Shakespeare — or, for that matter, by anyone — will haunt the intimate space of Writers’ Theatre, which has done a superb job with other plays by the Bard. Hamlet may be asking himself, “To be or not to be?” but there’s no question of theatergoers: Be there.

August 22 – October 28 | Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive,
Lincolnshire | 847-634-0200

The hit Broadway musical about a trio of young Chicago women called The Dreams is filled with songs evoking Motown’s 1960s and’ 70s glory days — and of course, plenty of backstage drama.

Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie
September 14 – October 21 | Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie | 847-673-6300

Northlight has carved out an interesting niche with its occasional musicals, focusing more folk and blues rather than standard Broadway fare. This stage portrait of the great American protest and folk singer Woody Guthrie, who was born 100 years ago, carries on that tradition. If it works, it could be a rousing affair.