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News, reviews, and hot tips for May

Jerry Springer Goes to Hell
Jerry Springer: The Opera depicts an ill-fated episode of the host’s TV shockfest, The Jerry Springer Show, that finds Springer in Hell by the second act. Characters like tap-dancing Klansmen and Adam and Eve belt out every expletive under the sun in high classical style. The opera, by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, is a British interpretation of a peculiarly American phenomenon. It first saw daylight in 2001 in London, England, at a series of informal workshops called “scratch nights,” during which Thomas roughed out lyrics on a piano. A fleshed-out version wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a year later, then opened on London’s West End to rave reviews before touring the U.K. three years later. When a proposed 2005 transition to New York bogged down, the play’s American producers approached Chicago’s Bailiwick Repertory, whose artistic director, David Zak, found the play’s brash mixture of high and low comedy-blue-streak cussing, gorgeous music, and gross-out comedy-irresistible. Ironically, Zak was invited some years ago to appear on Springer’s show to defend the gay population from a belligerent guest. Zak agreed, on one condition: that Bailiwick be thanked in the credits. “I think all of us want to be on The Jerry Springer Show,” Zak says. “That’s one of the points of the play. Besides,” he adds, “it’s not that far from what Mozart was writing about-they were all running around behind each other’s backs cheating, too.”
Jerry Springer: The Opera. Bailiwick Repertory, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets $25-$40. 773-883-1090.

–Robert Buscemi

 

Photograph: © Twentieth Century Fox
actors from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

In Evil Hour
Just call it midnight in the garden of evil and evil when it comes to late-night action. Most options range from the gluttonous (that ill-advised 2 a.m. burrito) to the overindulgent (back away from the barstool-slowly). But we’ve turned up some night-owl-friendly diversions outside the realm of the sauced.

1 Midnight Yoga  For those who can’t make the gym during daylight, there’s Bloom Yoga Studio’s (4663 N. Rockwell St.) candlelit class. Despite the moniker, the all-levels session-$20-begins at 10:30 p.m. with live musical accompaniment (think sitar or drums) and transitions to  wine-and-apps reception at midnight. “No one should be intimidated if they haven’t practiced yoga before,” says manager Liz Tuckwell. “It’s an alternative to the bar scene.” Book 4-5 days in advance: 773-463-9642.

2 Midnight Movies  Usually known for its film revivals, the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) screens the cult flick The Rocky Horror Picture Show (above) most months at midnight. It’s next up June 29th and 30th ($10). Other midnight showings include a sing-along episode of the cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, June 8th and 9th ($12). 773-871-6604.

3 Moonlight Cruise  Is a cruise under the stars the new walk along the beach? Give it a try on board the Spirit of Chicago, departing from the south side of Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) Fridays and Saturdays at 12:30 a.m. The two-hour cruise-scheduled year-round-features DJs, an appetizer buffet, and a cash bar; BYO love boat references. Boarding begins at midnight. $29 plus tax, services. 312-836-7899.

4 Midnight Marauders  Nocturnal bike riders convene at the Handlebar (2311 W. North Ave.) at 11:30 p.m. the third Saturday of each month for one- to two-hour cycles. Helmets, lights, and drinking in moderation are recommended; costumes are optional-although the ride’s organizer, Jimmie the Saint, generally rides wearing a gigantic plastic Viking helmet, which, he says, “solicits a lot of hoots and hollers and offers of marriage.”jimmiethesaint529@yahoo.com.

5 Cocktails and Clay  The Hyde Park Art Center’s (5020 S. Cornell Ave.) mixers, held every second Friday at 8 p.m., let wannabe potters get their hands dirty-with help from artist Theaster Gates. Tours and dancing are alternatives, with things wrapping up by 12 a.m. Donation. $15. 773-324-5520.

–Jennifer Wehunt

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