Spotlight: What people in the arts are up to

Here’s a look at the latest news on local authors, actors, artists, musicians and more:

Strumming along: It would be an understatement to call Michael Mahler multitalented. The Oak Park resident is a much sought after music director and a Jeff Award-winning composer/lyricist whose songs have been performed around the world. His current gig is playing Jimmy, the electric guitar player in Hank Williams’ live onstage band, in American Blues Theater’s hit production, “Hank Williams: Lost Highway.” You can catch him through Sept. 28 at the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstage Mainstage Theater. For tickets, call (773) 404-7336.

Rob is game: It’s a mystery! It’s a comedy! It’s Drury Lane Theatre’s production of “The Game’s Afoot.” That’s what’s keeping Park Ridge native Rob Riddle occupied these days. Riddle, who recently starred in “Les Miserables” at Drury Lane Theatre and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Marriott Theatre, plays a rather dim character who is misnamed Simon Bright. The show runs from Aug. 28-Oct. 19 in Oakbrook Terrace. For tickets, call (630) 530-0111.

On the fringe: A current Park Ridge resident is spending his time pondering, “Why Are You Not Rich Yet?” That’s the title of Derick Lengwenus’ one-man show that’s being presented as part of the Chicago Fringe Festival, Aug. 28-Sept. 7 at five venues in Jefferson Park. Lengwenus, an award-winning comedian and alumni of Second City, mocks the world of motivational speaking in his satirical look at the growing divide between the rich and the poor. For tickets, visit chicagofringe.org.

Trapped at Citadel: Citadel Theatre Company in Lake Forest has a new managing director — as soon as he escapes from the “Death Trap.” That honor falls to Steve Malone,” who appears in Ira Levin’s comedy thriller, Sept. 5-Oct. 5. Malone’s a perfect pick for the position because he has 40 years of theater performance experience and 25 years experience in business marketing and finance. For tickets, call (847) 735-8554.

Whale of a tale: In 1820, the ship that inspired “Moby Dick” was sunk by an enraged sperm whale. The story of that event is told in Shattered Globe Theatre’s production of “The Whaleship Essex,” Aug. 28-Oct. 11 at Theater Wit. Helping tell that story are Evanston native and current resident Lionel Gentle and former Evanston resident Darren Jones. Gentle has performed with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Urban Theatre Company, Chicago Theatre Company and Illinois Theatre Center, among others. Jones’ lengthy list of credits includes MPAACT, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, TinFish Theatre, Mary-Arrchie Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company, among others. For tickets, call (773) 975-8150.

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Read about Ernest Hemingway and his ties to Oak Park by clicking here.

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