Mudlark Theater in Evanston presents The Marvelous Land of Oz, a musical adapted from L. Frank Baum’s second Oz book by Anthony Whitaker. Baum’s story follows Tip, an orphan who goes in search of the long-lost Princess Ozma with companions Jack Pumpkinhead, Wogglebug, and Saw-Horse (with guest appearances by old friends the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman). But he discovers (spoiler alert!) that she is he, and he is she—proof that gender fluidity and trans identity have been a part of youth literature for a long time. Whitaker’s musical, presented in 2013 at New American Folk Theatre, is the first to be produced on Mudlark’s mainstage in 15 years, and it’s very much in keeping with the youth-oriented company’s emphasis on centering stories from traditionally marginalized communities. It opens tonight at 7 PM at the company’s Red Curtain Theater (1417 Hinman, Evanston) and continues Saturday 3 and 7 PM and Sun 3 PM; tickets are $17, and there is also the option to access a prepaid “pay it forward” ticket (or make a gift of such a ticket yourself) at mudlarktheater.org.
Visceral Dance Chicago continues its season with Within, an evening of work connecting the professional company with the trainee program, the studio company, and the work-study programs, choreographed by ten different artists. It fits with the mission for company founder Nick Pupillo, who told Reader contributor Irene Hsiao in 2020, “My dream was to create a space that was inclusive in every way, diverse, but really personable and connected.” Performances tonight begin at 8 PM at the Ann Barzel Theater at Visceral Dance Center (3121 N. Rockwell), and continue Saturday 8 PM and Sunday 3 PM. Tickets are $20 at visceraldance.com.
More dance: Moonwater Dance Chicago wants to Take Up Space with the return of their annual celebration of women choreographers and artists. This year, they’re at Trigger Chicago (2810 W. Addison), and the lineup includes work from Moonwater, Peckish Rhodes Performing Arts Society, Hot Crowd, Trifecta Dance Collective, and Jackie Nowicki of NOW Dance Project. Curtain is 7:30 PM and tickets are $25-$50 at moonwaterdanceproject.com.
Token Theatre, dedicated to challenging stereotypes about Asian Americans, got its start two years ago with a virtual production of Zac Efron, written by cofounders David Rhee and Wai Yim. Tonight at 10 PM and tomorrow at 2 and 4:30 PM, they present When the Sun Melts Away at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln). Inspired by 14th-century Kashmiri poet Lal Ded, the ensemble-devised piece (created by Simran Deokule, Coco Huang, Juliet Huneke, Karina Patel, and Emily Zhang, and directed by Patel) uses Ded’s admonition to “focus on the self” rather than the external as a point of exploration. Artistic director Rhee says, “Lal Ded’s powerful words perfectly encapsulate what so many Asian Americans experience—finding, and sometimes losing, yourself in another world that feels just as nonsensical as your own.” Tickets are $10 and can be reserved at tokentheatre.net.