Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave (773-871-3000, victorygardens.org). Through May 5.
Morbidly obese and mourning the death of his boyfriend, Charlie makes a last-ditch effort to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter in Samuel D. Hunter's drama. Hunter writes with an admirable and infectious empathy for his characters' small-town toils and traumas. Honest, warm and quietly provocative, The Whale is a real killer.
The Happiest Song Plays Last
Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn St (312-443-3800, goodmantheatre.org). Through May 12.
Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes completes her "Elliot trilogy"?a cycle begun with 2006's Pulitzer finalist, Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, and continued in the 2012 Pulitzer winner, Water by the Spoonful?with this new entry, a world premiere directed by Teatro Vista's Edward Torres.
Head of Passes
Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N Halsted St (312-335-1650, steppenwolf.org). Through June 9.
A devout woman is put through the wringer in Tarell Alvin McCraney's formally inventive, devastating spin on Job's trials, his first new work at Steppenwolf since becoming an ensemble member in 2010.
Writers' Theatre at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave, Glencoe (847-242-6000, writerstheatre.org). Through August 4.
Four actors work as one in David Greig's 2006 work, a piece about a pair of teenage runaways that feels like a young-adult adventure novel that's escaped the bounds of print. The Scottish playwright employs a shared-narration style, in which the cast members trade off the reins of the story while shifting in and out of character.
Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave (773-327-5252, stage773.com). Through May 26.
Porchlight Music Theatre artistic director Michael Weber and music director Doug Peck team up for Rodgers and Hart's Chicago-set 1940 musical, featuring such songs as "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and "Zip." Adrian Aguilar plays the charmingly caddish title role.
To see Time Out Chicago's complete theatre listings click here.