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Here’s the Best Stuff to Do in Chicago This Week

Five picks, a free event, and the weekend plans of Shellee Frazee, artistic director of the Beverly Arts Center.

WHAT MORE CAN HE SAY? Jay Z performs at the United Center on Thursday.   Photo: Tom Watkins/Rex Features/AP

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, January 8, through Tuesday, January 14

1 Seven Guitars

Theatre: Ubiquitous director Ron OJ Parson helms this staging of August Wilson’s elegiac play about a group of grieving musicians.
1/9–2/9. $35–$65. Court Theatre, 5535 S Ellis. courttheatre.org

2 Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys

Folk: You probably recognize Stanley from the work he did on the Coen brothers’ classic O Brother, Where Art Thou? But the bluegrass legend has been touring for 46 years, performing old and new songs with his family band.
1/11 at 4 and 8 p.m. $40–$42. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org

3 Jay Z

Rap: Jay Z’s latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, was sonically tepid. But he’s still considered one of the best rappers of all time for a reason.
1/9 at 8 p.m. $32–$150. United Center, 1901 W Madison. ticketmaster.com

4 Madama Butterfly

Opera: Go for standout soprano Patricia Racette, who earned critical raves when she recorded the showstopping aria “Un Bel Di” with the Met Orchestra in 2012.
1/11–1/26. $44–$300. Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker. lyricopera.org

5 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

Comedy: It’s a smorgasbord of sketch comedy, as more than 170 groups from around the country, and in some cases across the pond, swarm Stage 773 for two weekends of scripted funny stuff.
1/9 to 1/19. $14–$15. Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont. chicagosketchfest.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Shellee Frazee
Shellee Frazee Photo: Courtesy of Shellee Frazee

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Shellee Frazee, artistic director of theatre and arts at the Beverly Arts Center. Bac to Broadway takes place on Saturday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m.

“Friday night, I have tickets to see Seven Guitars at Court Theatre. I’m really excited about that. I’m a big fan of August Wilson and this show has some great cast members, like Felicia Fields, who I’m hoping will join us for [the Beverly Arts Center’s production of] Ain’t Misbehavin’ in June. We will probably do dinner before the show. We really like Zapatista in the South Loop; it’s a Mexican place. They have excellent guacamole and margaritas.

“Saturday, I have rehearsal in the morning for our youth production of Peter Pan Jr. with kids from ages 10 to 13. That will start in March. In the afternoon, we have rehearsal for Bac to Broadway. It’s a cabaret. Thirteen performers, all professional Chicago actors, will be performing Broadway hits—everything from “Bring Him Home,” to “I Cain’t Say No.” Tickets are 20 dollars and all the proceeds from the tickets and bar benefit the Beverly Theatre Professional Series. It should be a great, intimate evening. We’ll possibly get drinks across the street at O’Rourke’s Office afterwards.

“Sunday, I’m back at the BAC for our Get In, Get Art event that runs from 2–4 p.m. It’s a free event that we do every month. This month’s theme is ‘Get Fixin’.’ We’re going to do a broken workshop where kids can repurpose broken items that they don’t want to throw away as art. We’ll also do some ‘get fixin’ ’ for yourself, which includes some massage therapy.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Nora Schultz

Art: Norwegian export Solveig Ovstebo curates her first Renaissance Society show, featuring the sculptural installations of Berlin artist Nora Schultz.
1/12–2/23. Free. Renaissance Society, 5811 S Ellis. renaissancesociety.org

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