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Fatboy, A Red Orchid Theatre, through March 2. Directed with balls-on-fire ferocity and swagger expected from Guy Van Swearingen, perversely padded Jennifer Engstrom and Steve Pickering take satire to the tail end of madness in a hallucinatory vaudeville. CS

1776, Signal Ensemble at the Chopin, through March 1. Never before in history—never!—had a colony declared independence from the mother country. We sorta' know how this musical ends, but we still hold our breath when the final votes are counted. MSB

Shining City, Goodman Theatre, through Feb. 17. This contemporary Irish ghost tale by Conor McPherson is part shaggy dog story and part Twilight Zone but all acting. As the Irish say, the crack ( talk ) is good and the Chicago cast superb under director Bob Falls. JA

Twelfth Night, City Lit Theater, through Feb. 24. City Lit's first Shakespearean outing proves to be a sprightly and fun take on the Bard's classic gender-bending romantic comedy. SCM

—By Abarbanel, Morgan and Sullivan

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