A sneak peek of Ballet Chicago's spring production, Illuminate.
While doing some online research on Walt Whitman's Song of Myself, a poem Mickle Maher cribs and corrupts to singular effect in his nearly perfect new play Song About Himself, I clicked onto a website called articlemyriad.com, which purports to be "the authoritative source for original and insightful articles and ideas on a broad range of topics related to the humanities." Some unseen roving intelligence—the one that skulks behind nearly every website, throwing up enticements to click on things other than what you've sought out—suggested a different articlemyriad essay, unrelated to Whitman. I clicked and got this: "An analysis of the novel 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad as well as some of the important themes in 'Heart of Darkness' by Conrad for that matter as well as the novel 'The Death of Ivan Ilych' by Tolstoy leads the reader to conclude that it is and 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad that is the more modernist of the two." Continue reading >> $15 suggested donationhttp://theateroobleck.com
Celebrity worship requires paying daily homage at the altar of the ludicrous and bizarre. Obsessed with cellulite, implants gone wrong, cooches drunkenly flashed from limos, it's an extreme industry that devours failures and bad behavior—and the weirder its creations rise, the harder they fall. But nobody revels in the mundane doings of D-list celebrities—and that's a big part of why Kristoffer Diaz's milquetoast new farce, The Upstairs Concierge, fails. Commissioned back in 2010 by the Goodman and Teatro Vista (where Diaz is a resident playwright), the play pokes fun at fame in an age where self-aggrandizing Instagram celebs are embraced with the same fervor as stars of the silver screen. Its conceit: A new hotel "concept" has opened in Chicago, one with doors minus locks on the second floor to give its famous guests unlimited access to one another. The concierge of the title, hired to tend to their every demand, is also installed there—as indicated by her bed, plopped center stage, where it pulls a massive amount of focus for how little it's actually used. Continue reading >> $10-$20
Joffrey Ballet presents four new pieces including Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy, a duet set to "Fratres" by Arvo Pärt, and Nicolas Blanc's Evenfall, which follows a couple's relationship from beginning to end. $32-$155http://joffrey.org
Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Broadway musical returns to Chicago to convert us all. When it first came through town Reader theater critic Tony Adler wrote, "A wise mix of nasty satire and compassionate truth telling, Parker, Stone, and [Robert] Lopez's tale of Mormon missionaries in Uganda is as entertaining—and, strangely, uplifting—a piece of work as anything in recent American theater." $42-$92
on sale Fri 1/30, 10 AM
This 60-minute, late-night magic show is exactly what it should be: funny, lively, intimate, and utterly baffling. House Theatre of Chicago member Dennis Watkins blends quick-witted improv and physical comedy with freewheeling patter as he performs classic illusions. Though his sleight-of-hand is impossibly subtle, it was the mind reading tricks that seemed to have drawn several inquisitive skeptics back for another look on the night I attended. A curio-shop intimacy and cash bar encourage audience participation, and Watkins, with his Eagle Scout looks, clearly takes a mischievous pleasure in the unexpected. Just let your cell phone go off during the show and see what kind of fun he has. --Keith Griffith $75http://thehousetheatre.com