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Five Best Things to Do in January

THE SHORTLIST: Five musts from our January culture calendar

William Shatner

WILLIAM SHATNER

Beam him up, Scotty! The infamous Star Trek actor reboots his stage show, Shatner’s World, where he dishes about the Enterprise, celebrity, and life lessons.

DETAILS:

1/4 The octogenarian, still best known as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, heads to Aurora to reprise his one-man show. He packs Hollywood anecdotes, silver- screen memories, and a few songs into his 100-minute set. $65–$85. Paramount Theatre, 23 E Galena. paramountaurora.com.

 

 

 

Deanna Dunagan

OTHER DESERT CITIES

August: Osage County star Deanna Dunagan returns to the Goodman Theatre as the acerbic matriarch of the Wyeth clan in Jon Robin Baitz’s Tony-winning, darkly funny play about one family’s toxic secret.

DETAILS:

1/12–2/17 We’re putting this under “Dramas,” but Jon Robin Baitz’s play is viciously funny, even if the story feels like it’s freefalling into tragedy. Tony winner Deanna Dunagan (August: Osage County) leads the cast as a toxic matriarch. $25–$86. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org.

 

 

 

Grace Potter

GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS

Potter’s powerful Janis Joplin-esque vocals and captivating stage presence (along with bluesy instrumentals) light up the Riviera.

DETAILS:

1/18 The sultry songstress is back to moonlighting with the Nocturnals in true rock form. Their newest release, The Lion, the Beast, the Beat, is the Vermont band’s best yet, with roaring riffs and jaded arrangements that invoke Potter’s lurching Grace Slick/Janis Joplin howl. At 7:30. $28.50. Riviera, 4746 N Racine. jamusa.com.

 

 

 

Mummenschanz

MUMMENSCHANZ

The 40-year-old Swiss troupe eschews traditional miming with a fantastical nonverbal show, where everyday objects (think toilet paper and boxes) and bizarrely shaped props come to life.

DETAILS:

1/18 They’ve performed everywhere from South America to Sesame Street; now the 40-year-old company known for extraordinary puppets, mime, and spectacle arrives for a one-night stand at the Harris. The troupe’s wordless shows are virtually impossible to describe—suffice to say they create visually and sonically extraordinary pieces from the most ordinary materials. $25–$55. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org.

 

 

Tom Torluemke: Fearsome Fable—Tolerable Truth

TOM TORLUEMKE: FEARSOME FABLE—TOLERABLE TRUTH

Immerse yourself in Torluemke’s 170-foot interactive mural, which tells two stories—one of utopia and one of decay—at the Hyde Park Art Center.

DETAILS:

1/20–4/28 One of Chicago’s best underknown artists, Tom Torluemke makes alluring carnivalesque sculptures and paintings that reveal the perversity of political systems. The native Chicagoan deserves a career survey—he’s been at it for over 30 years—but for now we’ll happily engage his new 170-foot mural, which viewers can manipulate to determine a future civic history. 5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org.

 

Photography: (Shatner) Courtesy of Shatner’s World; (Dunagan) Courtesy of Goodman Theatre; (Potter) Williams & Hirakawa; (Mummenschanz) courtesy of Mummenschanz; (Torluemke Maquette) courtesy of the artist and Hyde Park Art Center

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