Don’t-miss picks for Wed 03.10.10 through Tue 03.16.10: It only reads like a rundown of deadly plagues. Highlights include a song cycle about hypochondria, a behind-the-scenes chat on DNA testing, and a new play by Rebecca Gilman that should open the critical floodgates.
theatre A True History of the Johnstown Flood
The playwright Rebecca Gilman (Boy Gets Girl, Spinning into Butter) attacks another fraught topic: the 1889 Pennsylvania flood that killed more than 2,000. At the helm is the Tony winner Robert Falls, who incites passion whenever he directs (Desire Under the Elms, King Lear). We predict equally vociferous feedback rising to this flood’s surface. Bonus: Hear the cast and crew talk about the making of the production.
GO: Previews Mar 13-21; $25-$58. Regular run continues through Apr 18; $25-$76. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org
dance The Seldoms’ Marchland
Chicago’s perennially unconventional, always collaborative dance troupe The Seldoms stages a new work this week, and it’s as inclusive as ever. Throwing their talents into the pot alongside Carrie Hanson’s able dancers: Lara Miller, the Chicago-based fashion designer, handles costumes; Tim Daisy, the local free-jazz percussionist, plays drums; and Fraser Taylor, the artist and SAIC prof, provides his 16-mm video Crevice, which inspired the whole shebang. Bonus: Museum visitors can score a sneak peek of dress rehearsals on Mar 11, while the Mar 12 performance includes a postshow talk with Hanson and Taylor.
GO: Mar 12-13 at 7:30; Mar 14 at 3. $10-$25. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org
concerts International Contemporary Ensemble with Corey Dargel
An art-pop song cycle about hypochondria? Whatever you do, don’t sneeze. In Thirteen Near-Death Experiences, a commission by Dargel for ICE, the young composer and singer picks away at various health issues: migraines, bad breath, malevolent nurses, even his own death. BYO hand sanitizer.
GO: Mar 13 at 9:30. $10. Velvet Lounge, 67 E Cermak. iceorg.org
ALSO THIS WEEK: Accessible Contemporary Music’s Sound of Silent Film Festival returns with a hodgepodge of shorts, including a bit by the hauntingly awesome Brothers Quay, set to music by local composers.
lit/lectures Warren Trezevant
For those, like us, still basking in the Academy Awards afterglow: Trezevant, a Pixar animator, dishes on his 15-year career at the studio, from A Bug’s Life to Sunday’s Oscar winner for best animated feature, Up. (So what if we’re shameless cinemaphiles? It’s the closest we’ll come to Hollywood until Robert Downey Jr. hits town in June.)
GO: Mar 11 at 7:30. $15-$20. Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park. utrf.org
ALSO THIS WEEK: For another sort of behind-the-scenes peek, sign up for Lyric Opera’s Backstage Tours, Mar 14 and 21, and you can tell friends you saw Susan Graham’s dressing room. See our Opera Guide for more spring options.
theatre The DNA Trail: A Genealogy of Short Plays about Ancestry, Identity, and Utter Confusion
Sort of like Skip Gates’s new NBC show “Who Do You Think You Are?”—only with less Sarah Jessica Parker. For The DNA Trail, Silk Road Theatre Project asked a heady roster of playwrights (the two-time Pulitzer finalist David Henry Hwang, the Guggenheim fellow Philip Kan Gotanda) to take a DNA test, then base a script on the results. If seven short plays in one sitting doesn’t get your blood boiling, you still might be interested in hearing SRTP’s artistic director, Jamil Khoury, and DNA’s director, Steve Scott, discuss the makings of the production at Center on Halsted.
GO: The DNA Trail: Thru Apr 4. $34. Chicago Temple, 77 W Washington. srtp.org. Directors’ talk: Mar 16 at 7. $5. Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted. centeronhalsted.org
FREEBIES OF THE WEEK
museums John McEntire
The MCA hosts a lineup of big-name guest musicians in its smallest gallery this month, part of the local duo White/Light’s sound installation for the museum’s 12×12 series. Up next is John McEntire, of Tortoise and The Sea and Cake; Steve Shelley, the drummer for Sonic Youth, follows.
GO: Mar 16 at 7. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org
lit/lectures Story Week Festival
Spring break for nerds (like us)! Hear Joyce Carol Oates—in addition to a whole library’s worth of local literati, from Aleksandar Hemon to Achy Obejas to Marcus Sakey—at Columbia College’s annual fiction fest.
GO: Mar 14-19. Full schedule: colum.edu/storyweek
Photography: Liz Lauren