A scene from 'The Mikado'

The Rockford-born, Broadway-buffed director Gary Griffin rides his own coattails back to Lyric Opera, hoping to re-create the ritz of 2009’s The Merry Widow.

Through 1/21 After his successful Lyric debut with 2009’s The Merry Widow, the Broadway bigwig Gary Griffin returns to direct Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Bonus: Andriana Chuchman, a recent Ryan Opera Center grad and one of our favorite up-and-coming sopranos, in the role of Yum-Yum.

$33–$207. Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker. lyricopera.org.


Photograph: Tim Fuller/Arizona Opera


Here “home” is a walk-in model of an apartment from the projects. Preview it now before Chicago’s National Public Housing Museum opens in 2012.

Through 4/15 A spate of game changers and culture shapers, from the Chicago pianist Reginald Robinson to Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, grew up in public housing—but plenty of folks have never stepped foot inside the projects. History Coming Home collects oral histories, artifacts, and photos of 20th-century tenants in a 20-by-20-foot walk-in diorama of a 1950s-era public-housing apartment—a preview of Chicago’s National Public Housing Museum, slated to open in the former Jane Addams Homes in 2012.

Mon–Thu 8–7, Fri 8–6, Sat 9–6, Sun 10–6; Jan 1, 17: 10–4. 72 E Randolph. 312-744-2400.



Guitarist Chuck Berry

Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s “Maybellene.” Whatever it is, this 84-year-old icon’s still got it—and you can dance to it when he rocks in 2011 at the Congress.

1/1 The founding father of rock ’n’ roll, who at 84 still performs regularly in his hometown of St Louis, makes an all-too-rare appearance here, with an even rarer chance for the audience to dance along. Berry’s rollicking, jubilant songs—the basis for all guitar rock—remain astonishing in their simple, joyful perfection.

At 7:30, $30–$250. Congress Theater, 2135 N Milwaukee. ticketweb.com.


Photograph: Courtesy of Chuck Berry


The Q Brothers

We begged. We pleaded. Now Chicago Shakespeare Theater heeds our (booty) call and reprises this bawdy take on the Bard’s Much Ado by a pair of local homeboys. Ye who have a sense of humor, go.

1/21–2/13 The Q Brothers bring their street cred and rhyming skillz to this remount, a raptacular take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Don’t question it; just see it.

Previews 1/21–23; $25–$30. Regular run $30. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E Grand. chicagoshakes.com.


Photograph: Bill Burlingham


Art by Jim Nutt

No need to ask, “Who?” Nearly 37 years after his first solo show at the MCA, a founding member of Chicago’s pop-art brat pack returns with 75 portraits and a secure spot in the imagist canon.

1/29–5/29 Jim Nutt: Coming into Character, Nutt’s first major Chicago exhibition in a decade, offers a what-he’s-been-up-to-lately look at the hometown Hairy Who’er, with a focus on his 20-year preoccupation with the female head. A companion show, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking, aims to put Nutt in context, with works by his contemporaries and later artists.

Open Tue 10–8, Wed–Sun 10–5. Closed 1/1. Free (kids under 12) to $12; free Tue. 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org.


Photograph: Jim Nutt, Bump, 2008/Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO/courtesy David Nolan Gallery, New York