DREAM BIG  Theo Ubique, like Don Quixote, isn’t easily intimidated. The troupe launches Man of La Mancha this week at No Exit Café.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 10.14.09 through Tue 10.20.09:


theatre Man of La Mancha
Theo Ubique—the tiny Chicago theatre troupe whose mantel must be getting crowded, what with all those Jeff Awards—mounts another huge musical in a pocket-sized space, making for the best dinner theatre in town. (Bonus: Michael James, the owner of Ubique’s frequent host, No Exit Café, is the son of Hal James, a producer of La Mancha’s original Broadway run; memorabilia from the 1966 staging will be on view in the café during the current production.)
GO: Previews Oct 16, 17. $15, or $35 with dinner. Run continues through Nov 22. $30-$35, or $53 with dinner. No Exit Café, 6970 N Glenwood. theoubique.org


concerts Kurt Rosenwinkel
While innovators like Julian Lage and Lionel Loueke have heralded a youth movement in the renaissance of jazz guitar, Rosenwinkel stands as a savvy young vet who has honed his distinctive sense of space over the past decade or so. He played original compositions in this very room to a packed house back in January; here he aims to breathe new life into classics with his Standards Trio. Also this week: Terence Blanchard at Columbia College (see "Freebies," below), Jolie Holland at Schubas, and a little band called Wilco at the UIC Pavilion.
GO: Oct 15-17 at 8 and 10; Oct 18 at 4, 8, and 10. $20. Jazz Showcase, 806 S Plymouth. jazzshowcase.com.


theatre Heroes
Tom Stoppard translates Gerald Sibleyras’s moving story of three World War I vets scheming to escape their old-age home. If it sounds like a downer, take heed: When it comes to illuminating humanity using wit both overt and subtle, director James Bohnen consistently dazzles. We expect no less here.
GO: Previews Oct 14-18; $25-$40. Run continues through Nov 29; $35-$50. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln. remybumppo.org


farrago The Morton Arboretum’s Fall Color Festival
The arb has officially flipped the switch on its fantastic display of fall foliage, spread over some 1,700 acres. Tell the kids it’s Door County and save yourself the drive.
GO: Grounds open daily 7-sunset, with special events on weekends. $8-$11; $5-$7 on Wed. 4100 Route 53, Lisle. mortonarb.org


farrago An Incomplete History of Comedy in Hyde Park
The Second City doesn’t kick off its 50th-anniversary celebrations until December, but you can get a sneak peek for cheap at this chat on the troupe’s U. of C. roots, as told by those who were there.
GO: Part of the Chicago Humanities Festival Day in Hyde Park. Oct 17 at 4:30. $5-$10 (cash only at the door). International House, 1414 E 59th. chicagohumanities.org


concerts Terence Blanchard
The New Orleans trumpeter’s prolific film-score output (pretty much every Spike Lee joint from Jungle Fever on) often overshadows his straight-ahead jazz work, but this concert, capping a weeklong residency at Columbia College, gives him a chance to highlight his recent release on the Concord Jazz label, Choices.
GO: Oct 16 at 7. Reservations required. Columbia College Chicago Concert Hall, 1014 S Michigan. 312-369-6300

museums Shedd Aquarium Free Days
If you haven’t visited the Shedd since the debut of its newly overhauled three-million-gallon Oceanarium, now’s your chance: General admission is free Oct 16-22. While certain shows—including the new Fantasea, a Cirque du Soleilesque water-borne production featuring mammalian actors of the human, whale, and dolphin varieties—require some dough, tickets are discounted this week.
GO: Oct 16-22. Open Mon-Fri 9-5; Sat, Sun 9-6. Free general admission; discounted packages $11.95-$16.95. 1200 S Lake Shore. sheddaquarium.org

Photography: David Heimann