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All Hallows' shows: 18 titles for Halloween

Special to the Tribune
Halloween theater guide: 18 shows for your All Hallows' Eve.

In a way, theater is a year-round Halloween party — it's all about dressing up and pretending to be someone (or something) you're not. But in honor of the ghostly season, several companies offer shows with spooky twists — from straight drama to musicals, burlesque to magic shows.

"The Gravedigger": First Folio Theatre's world premiere of Joseph Zettelmaier's play provides a thoughtful look at the "monster" in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," as he struggles to become more human and humane. On Halloween night, the company throws the fundraiser "Mayhem in the Mansion," with a late-night performance, a party and tours of the Peabody mansion. Through Nov. 2 at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Illinois Route 83, Oak Brook; firstfolio.org

"Splatter Theater": Annoyance offers not-so-clean fun in this remount of its earliest show — an homage/sendup of the "Friday the 13th" film franchise. Don't sit too close if you don't want to incur dry-cleaning costs. Through Nov. 1 at the Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway; annoyanceproductions.com

"Boneshaker" and "Skelebration": Redmoon shakes off the Great Chicago Fire Festival debacle and offers a chance to "dance around in your bones" in this two-part celebration. "Boneshaker" is essentially one big Halloween party with food, fire (they mean it this time!), drinks, aerialists (one hopes they are not imbibing) and various installations, including a "Nest" attic. "Skelebration" kicks it off earlier with a family-oriented version. "Boneshaker" is 9 p.m. Oct. 31; "Skelebration" is through Sunday, Redmoon Theater, 2120 S. Jefferson St.; redmoon.org

"Musical of the Living Dead": They sing! They dance! They eat brains! Triple-threat zombies get their turn in the spotlight with the return of the Cowardly Scarecrow Threatre Company's musical, featuring book and lyrics by Marc Lewallen and Brad Younts, with music by Mary Spray. Speaking of "spray," you're once again advised to avoid the "splatter zone" if you don't want to walk away wearing fake-blood residue. Through Nov. 8 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.; stage773.org

"The Birds": Hell in a Handbag remounts its cheeky (but brainy) camp version of the Hitchcock classic about our feathered friends going ape. Pauline Pang and David Cerda's meta-theatrical comedy has won critical acclaim — including the Tippi Hedren seal of approval. Through Nov. 1 in the Berger Park Coach House, 6205 N. Sheridan Road; handbagproductions.org

"Hack/Slash": Chemically Imbalanced Comedy and Strangeloop join forces for their own version of a live slasher film, based on the horror comic book by Tim Seeley, in which Cassie Hack, the survivor of a terrifying assault, and her sidekick, Vlad, go on a road trip for justice. Through Nov. 1 at CIC Theater, 1420 W. Irving Park Road; cictheater.com

"Nightmares on Lincoln Avenue 666: The Exorcism of Rose Mary's Omen": Corn Productions presents Kallie Noelle Rolison's comic mashup of an "unholy trinity" of horror films, set during a masquerade party in a spooky mansion. Through Nov. 1 at the Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave.; cornservatory.org

"A Nightmare on Backstreet": Ricky Glore's musical comedy imagines a world where the Backstreet Boys are all haunted in their dreams by the diabolical Teddy Crooner. Through Nov. 1 at the Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark St.; pubhousetheatre.com

"Resurrected": Theatre-Hikes takes the thrills outdoors with this ambulatory staging of five Chicago-centric ghost stories, including "Resurrection Mary" and the "devil baby" of Hull House. Through Sunday at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle (matinees only); also evening performances Saturday and Sunday at the Pullman State Historic Site, 11111 S Forrestville Ave.; theatre-hikes.org

"All Girl Edgar Allan Poe": The Mammals will present six short Poe classics, all adapted, directed and performed by women. Through Nov. 8 at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave.; chicagomammals.com

"Turn of the Screw": Jeffrey Hatcher's two-actor adaptation of the classic Henry James psychological thriller about a governess who is either being haunted by her predecessors — or slowly going insane. Through Nov. 5 at Oil Lamp Theater, 1723 Glenview Road, Glenview; oillamptheater.org

"Nosferatu": F.W. Murnau's 1922 German Expressionist film, inspired by Bram Stoker's "Dracula," takes the stage with Silent Theatre Company in a "black-and-white silent play." Through Nov. 23 at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave.; propthtr.org

"Audience Annihilated Part Two: Gold Star Sticker": Jeremy Menekseoglu's 15-minute horror show offers audience members the chance to choose either the Little Princess role, in which you'll interact with various creatures, or the Baby Sitter role, in which you just watch helplessly as the nightmare unfolds. There are four performances nightly, so you can theoretically experience it both ways. Through Nov. 2 at the Dream Theatre Laboratory, 5026 N. Lincoln Ave.; dreamtheatrecompany.com

"The Magic Parlour": House Theatre of Chicago stalwart and professional magician Dennis Watkins offers two Halloween-night performances of his long-running program of "close-up" magic. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St.; themagicparlourchicago.com

"Supernatural Chicago": Mentalist and storyteller Neil Tobin brings back his popular show for a short seasonal run at the allegedly haunted Castle nightclub, including a "Houdini Seance" on Halloween. (The escape artist, who spent a lot of energy in his last years debunking fraudulent psychics, died on Halloween.) Through Nov. 1 at Castle, 632 N. Dearborn St.; necromancerevents.com

"Peek-a-Boo: An Ooky Spooky Halloween Revue": The burlesque performers in Kiss Kiss Cabaret may be more famous for what they don't wear, but they break out the Halloween finery for this spirited and saucy take on the season. Through Nov. 7, Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.; greenhousetheater.org

"Spooky Boobs: A Gorilla Tango Burlesque Cabaret": Not to be outdone, the Gorilla Tango franchise of pastiche-and-pasties unveils a one-time late-night homage to everything that goes bump-and-grind in the night. 10:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.; gorillatango.com

"The Halloween Show": Jason Chin's holiday-themed collection of sketches, songs and improv runs every Friday through October, with a special performance and party (including a costume contest) to celebrate iO's first Halloween in its new theater space. Through Oct. 31 at the iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury Ave.; chicago. ioimprov.com

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