Don’t-miss picks for November 15 through November 21, 2018
1 Actéon and Pygmalion
Opera:The Toronto-based Opera Atelier has built a decades-long résumé on baroque opera productions with garish, provocative sets and costumes. On a world tour, the company stops in with a double bill based on Ovid: Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Actéon and Jean-Philippe Ramaeu’s Pygmalion. Both are accompanied by the top-notch Canadian orchestra Tafelmusik.
11/15–16. $35–$135. Harris Theater. harristheaterchicago.org
Theater:Award-winning playwright (Eclipsed, In the Continuum) and actress (Black Panther, The Walking Dead) Danai Gurira’s 2015 drama brings out the best and the worst in a clan gathered for a wedding. But Gurira’s got more on her mind than a family feud. Expect a sharp generational portrait and a clash between contemporary U.S. culture and Zimbabwean traditions.
11/15–1/13. $20–$99. Steppenwolf Theatre. steppenwolf.org
3 Ate9 Dance Company, Visceral Dance Chicago, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Dance:This season, the Auditorium Theatre’s Made in Chicago dance series boasts three one-night-only performances featuring triple, double, and single bills. In the first, local favorites Deeply Rooted and Visceral are joined by the Los Angeles–based Ate9, whose Chicago connections are with Ate9 executive director (and Joffrey Ballet photographer) Cheryl Mann and musical collaborator Glenn Kotche, whom you’ll likely recognize as Wilco’s percussionist.
11/16 at 7:30 p.m. $29–$68. Auditorium Theatre. auditoriumtheatre.org
4 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live!
Comedy:Fans of this series tend to skew a little cultish — they were vocal enough about its cancellation in 1999 that Netflix released its crowdfunded revival last year. For the uninitiated, each episode sees human and “robot” (i.e., puppet) subjects participate in a grisly mad-science experiment: They are forced to watch and wittily comment on sci-fi and horror B movies. Expect plenty of prop comedy and shenanigans in addition to trademark color commentary.
11/16 at 10 p.m. $43–$303. Athenaeum Theatre. athenaeumtheatre.org
5 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer
Festival:More than 200 breweries show off their best barrel-aged brews in the hope of winning best of the fest. Known as FOBAB, the annual beer-soaked bonanza hosted by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild judges beverages in nearly a dozen style categories. Tickets include up to 20 samples and a commemorative glass.
11/16–17. $85. UIC Forum. fobab.com
6 The Seldoms
Dance:The highlight of Rock Citizen, director Carrie Hanson’s deep dive into the intersections of 1960s music and politics, is the cast’s interactions with a huge web of sewn-together bras (designed by Bob Faust). After a successful run at the now-shuttered Storefront Theatre, Faust’s “brascape” and this excellent ensemble of dancers (who, in this production, also sing and act) venture to Dance Center Evanston’s cozy new black-box venue.
11/16–17. $25–$50. Studio5. theseldoms.org
7 A Christmas Carol
Theater:Yes, you know the story. Yes, you might have already seen it a million time. And yes, it’s one of the best shows around if you want a dose of holiday cheer. Dickens’s long-lasting ghost story gets a sumptuous, bighearted production year after at the Goodman. Even stone-cold cynics will find themselves a little less stony once Mr. Fezziwig’s band starts playing.
11/17–12/30. $40–$130. Goodman Theatre. goodmantheatre.org
8 West by Midwest
Art:The artist Judy Chicago represents a familiar story in contemporary art history: Born in Chicago (from which she took her name), she became famous only after relocating to Los Angeles. This major exhibit of more than 80 artworks traces this route of artists from the Midwest looking for success and inspiration on the West Coast. In the process, they spread the ethos and kinship of Midwestern culture.
11/19–1/27. $8–$15. Museum of Contemporary Art. mcachicago.org
Rock:There are eclectic bands, and then there’s Algiers, a group that combines what seem like ill-fitting genres such as post-punk and gospel. Its sound is frequently described as “dystopian soul,” and although the description might be a bit heavy-handed, it’s not entirely inaccurate. Algier’s music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s sure to make an impact.
11/19 at 9 p.m. $18. Bottom Lounge. ticketfly.com
10 The Book of Mormon
Theater:The lyrics to Robert Lopez, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone’s smash musical for a second run, explain why the Garden of Eden is actually in Missouri and how Jesus has his own planet (and you can have one too!). If all door-to-door missionaries were this amusing, then no doors would be slammed on them. Bonus: The show’s chorus line of bespangled Satans singing about oral sex and Jeffrey Dahmer is divine.
11/20–12/2. $45–$125. Oriental Theatre. broadwayinchicago.com