Yes, it’s cold out. But things could be worse: The storm of the century might turn you into an antisocial monster, as it does the four businessmen in Jon Steinhagen’s dark comedy, premiering at Chicago Dramatists. While a performance is scheduled for January 26, the 45th anniversary of Chicago’s largest recorded snowfall, we recommend getting tickets for another night. Why tempt fate?
1/5–2/12 Ah, winter, when even the gentlest souls might take a shovel to the skulls of those who trespass on their laboriously excavated parking spaces. Is the theatre the only place we can see the storm-induced devolution of otherwise nice people to Lord of the Flies–like monsters? Maybe not, but it’s warmer inside. Previews 1/5–7, 12; $20. Regular run $15–$32. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W Chicago. chicagodramatists.org.
Photograph: Michael Budrys/Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO JAZZ ENSEMBLE
Christian McBride is probably the first bass player you’d call when planning a Charles Mingus tribute. The singer-rapper-bassist Meshell Ndegeocello (right) as second bass—that’s a home run. Both join CJE at Harris Theater.
1/20 CJE’s first-year artistic director, Dana Hall, continues to push the envelope ever so gently, this time not so much with the program itself (a down-the-middle tribute titled Beneath the Underdog: The Musical World of Charles Mingus) as with some of the guest personnel. While the first-call jazz vet Christian McBride is a no-brainer for a Mingus bill, the fret-slapping singer-rapper-poet Meshell Ndegeocello is a less obvious choice. $18–$48. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. chijazz.com.
Photograph: Charlie Gross
WBEZ’s WINTER BLOCK PARTY FOR CHICAGO’S HIP-HOP ARTS
The NPR affiliate’s fourth annual bash celebrating hip-hop and its satellite pursuits (graffiti, street art) includes a break-dancing contest—a sweet slam to public radio’s Morning Edition–listening, tote-bag-toting stereotype.
1/21 This daylong event showcases local talent from hip-hop’s pillars: MCing, DJing, break dancing, and graffiti. Break dancers battle three-on-three at 8. Sat 12–11. Day event free; battle $10–$15. Metro, 3730 N Clark. metrochicago.com.
Photograph: Jerry Shulman
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
The tights, the tutus, the leaps: Ballet comes with the camp built in. The all-male Trocks prove it’s not so far from swan feathers to feather boas.
1/24 Don’t call it ballet in drag. These cult superstars from New York City deliver a loving en travesti homage to the great classic-story ballets, from Paquita to Swan Lake, executed with hilarious élan by an all-male ensemble in tights and pointe shoes. At 7:30. $45–$75. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org.
Photograph: Sascha Vaughan
This New York string quartet may share your grand-ma’s name, but pretty much everything it plays was composed after she retired. Fresh off a gig as the house band of the TED conference, the ensemble performs a Native American–inspired program with the flutist Robert Mirabal.
1/28 How’s this for new-music street cred? The string quartet of Juilliard alums was the 2010 house band for TED and had a 2011 residency at New York’s übercool Park Avenue Armory. The Grammy-winning Native American flutist Robert Mirabal joins the group for a program inspired by his Taos Pueblo culture. At 7:30. $24. Performing Arts Center, Dominican U, 7900 W Division, River Forest. dom.edu/pac.
Photograph: James Ewing