Late Arrival, Early
For a stage tucked away in the ’burbs, Northlight Theatre (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; 847-673-6300) consistently turns out must-see shows. The roster of talent behind the theatre’s Interplay series—particularly the latest show, Better Late, about a man who moves in with his ex and her new hubbyrivals any in New York. The play, written by Larry Gelbart (M.A.S.H., Tootsie) and Craig Wright (Six Feet Under, Dirty Sexy Money), doesn’t première until April, but you can get a sneak peek at a reading by John Mahoney (Frasier) and Mamet regular Mike Nussbaum at 7:30 p.m. Monday the 17th. Tickets are $15.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• Hear the stories behind the vendors at the première of Streetwise: The Movie, a documentary by Chicagoan Rob Federighi, 7 p.m. Friday the 14th at Park West (322 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-929-5959). Tickets are $35.

• Or opt for Helvetica at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.; 312-846-2600). A movie about a font might not sound compelling, but the documentary returns after earning the title, in its first run last summer, of the center’s highest grossing film of all time. Weekend showtimes include 6:15 and 8 p.m. Friday the 14th; the film runs through December 20th. Tickets are $9.

• Catch the voice of Homer Simpson (and Oak Park native) Dan Castellaneta in the final three performances of Le Comedie du Bicyclette, the much ballyhooed show from The Bicycle Men about an American cyclist who visits a French village. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th, 3 p.m. Sunday the 16th, at Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway; 773-472-3492). Tickets are $35.

• Looking back at an imperfect year requires a sense of humor. Fortunately, that’s the Neo-Futurists’ specialty. The troupe handpicked its favorite micro-plays for Too Much Light: Best of 2007, which concludes this weekend with shows 11:30 p.m. Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th, 7 p.m. Sunday the 16th, at the Neo-Futurarium (5153 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-275-5255). A roll of the die determines admission (i.e., rolling a two means you pay $2).

Brian Dennehy, who took home Tonys for his turns in Death of a Salesman and Long Day’s Journey into Night, talks about the enduring legacies of Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill at the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-575-8000), 6 p.m. Thursday the 20th. Tickets are $10 to $15 and must be purchased in advance.

• It’s local record label Thrill Jockey’s 15th birthday, and everyone gets a surprise: A gaggle of indie acts are scheduled to perform at a weekend blowout, but no set times will be announced. Roll with it. It’s worth the gamble for bands including The Fiery Furnaces, Trans Am, and Pit Er Pat. Shows begin 7 p.m. Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th at Logan Square Auditorium (2539 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-252-6179). A $50 weekend pass includes a CD featuring highlights from the label’s catalog.

• Seasonal favorite Carols by Candlelight: A Holiday Sing-Along, from the Chicago Chamber Choir, includes both traditional and contemporary tunes. Concerts are 4 p.m. Sunday the 16th at St. Gregory’s Episcopal (815 Wilmot Rd., Deerfield), 7:30 p.m. Monday the 17th at Lincoln Park Presbyterian (600 W. Fullerton Pkwy.) and 7:30 p.m. Thursday the 20th at Unity Lutheran (5409 N. Magnolia Ave.). Tickets are $18; call 312-409-6890.

• Party like it’s 1495 at A Winter’s Song Madrigal Dinner, an annual feast featuring singers, jesters, and wenches in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.; 312-742-8497). Festivities begin at 2 p.m. Sunday the 16th. Tickets are $75.

• Lords and ladies not your scene? Prefer pirates? Try Cannonball 2007, a salty holiday party and art auction at Three Walls (119 N. Peoria St., #2A; 312-432-3972). Costumes are encouraged, so dig out that puffy shirt and prepare a few “arrrgh” jokes. The party starts at 8 p.m. Saturday the 15th; admission is free, but $25 gets you your very own beer stein filled with bottomless brews.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place. Send tips or comments to