Missing Michael Shannon?

Our top five picks for things to do this week: Chicagoan Michael Shannon onscreen … Joffrey’s Cinderfellas on dancing in drag … Joan Didion’s Magical Thinking at the Court … plus freebies and more

Redmoon's latest extravaganza, Spectacle '09, runs through Sunday at Belmont Harbor.
MIKE SHANNON, PRIVATE EYE  The Chicago stage vet and Oscar nominee stars in The Missing Person at the Siskel.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 01.13.10 through Tue 01.19.10:

1

film Michael Shannon in The Missing Person
Shannon, the Oscar-nominated actor and founding member of A Red Orchid Theatre who killed it last year in AROT’s Jeff-recommended Mistakes Were Made, stars with a fellow nominee, Amy Ryan (The Wire, Gone Baby Gone), in this contemporary noir about a hard-boiled PI on a cross-country chase. The film, which scored a slot at Sundance in 2009, makes its Chicago premiere at the Siskel. See the trailer, then see the flick, with Shannon in attendance for the 8 p.m. screenings Jan 15 and 16.
GO: Jan 15-21. $7-$10. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State. siskelfilmcenter.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: And also at the Siskel, the Chicago premiere of Floored, a documentary on the highs and lows in the lives of brokers at the Chicago Board of Trade, with the filmmakers in person for selected screenings.

2

dance Dance Out: An Evening with the Joffrey Ballet
Joffrey’s uberpopular staging of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, last seen in 2006, doesn’t go live until February, but Center on Halsted offers a preview chat with some of the cast this week. For those unfamiliar, the production features two gents in drag as the leading lady’s ornery stepsisters. Here, the dancers leave the tights at home for a behind-the-tutu chat.
GO: Jan 14 at 7. $5-$10. Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted. centeronhalsted.org

3

theatre The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion’s National Book Award–winning memoir about grieving for her husband was a real kick in the face—and we loved it. The one-woman stage version, adapted by the author, gets the ideal interpreter here in Mary Beth Fisher, a Chicago actor who radiates the wry, acidic humor and world-weary wisdom that define so much of Didion’s writing. (Bonus reading material: Didion writes about the coming together of the play’s 2007 Broadway premiere, starring Vanessa Redgrave, and talks to NPR’s Morning Edition about the 2005 book.)
GO: Previews Jan 14-22; $32-$40. Run continues through Feb 14; $38-$56. Court Theatre, 5535 S Ellis. courttheatre.org

4

concerts Henhouse Prowlers
We can barely keep our hands warm—hello, winter in Chicago—but this local bluegrass band stays limber with spectacularly fleet-fingered picking (case in point: “Walkin’ Around in the Snow”). We love the Prowlers’ pairing of a traditional sound with 21st-century lyrics, and we’re not the only ones: The band contributed the soundtrack to Mike Leonard’s PBS road show, The Ride of Our Lives. If you haven’t dropped by the ongoing Bluegrass Legends series, operating out of an appealingly anachronistic American Legion post in Evanston, do yourself a favor and get down with the hoedown. Just go early; you’d be surprised how fast the seats fill.
GO: Jan 16 at 8; doors at 7. $10. American Legion Post 42, 1030 Central, Evanston. chicagobluegrass.com

5

concerts Chris Potter, Kenny Werner
The piano-sax format is jazz without a rhythmic safety net: thrilling, but with a high potential for tedium should the momentum lag. Fortunately, the second act of an eclectic double-header at Harris (part one is the new-music sextet Eighth Blackbird, with the mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer) features the rare pairing of pianist Werner and saxophonist Potter, whose one-off collaboration for the Concord Jazz label back in 1996 proved they know how to keep a tune moving.
GO: Jan 16 at 7:30. $25-$40. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Following a 2008 dip into December’s Messiah-saturated waters, the vibrant Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah resumes its spot as an MLK celebration, Jan 16-17 at the Auditorium Theatre.

FREEBIE OF THE WEEK

museums Heartland
Sunday marks your last chance to see this weird and wonderful exhibition of artists from the nation’s bulging, if often overlooked, midsection, worth the visit for Chicagoan Deb Sokolow’s moody, noirish site-specific installation alone. The Smart’s Stephanie Smith, who assembled the show via a series of road trips with two counterparts from the Netherlands’ Van Abbemuseum, leads a closing tour Jan 17 at 2.
GO: Thru Jan 17. Smart Museum, U of C, 5550 S Greenwood. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

Photography: The Missing Person

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