Kuek Garang
A DIRECTOR NAMED DAVID The Obie winner and Skokie native David Cromer, here in front of costume sketches for A Streetcar Named Desire, returns to Writers’ Theatre.  


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 04.28.10 through Tue 05.04.10:


theatre A Streetcar Named Desire
By all accounts, the acclaimed director and Skokie native David Cromer did wonders with Our Town; after opening in Chicago in 2008, the production won an Obie last year for its New York run. Now Cromer is back and tackling Tennessee Williams’s Streetcar. Read how he and a longtime collaborator, the Writers’ Theatre cofounder Michael Halberstam, “try to keep each other off the water slide to hackdom”—then get tickets to the play.
GO: Previews May 4-12. Regular run continues through July 11. All tickets $40-$65. Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Never seen puppet sex? Now’s your chance, as the charmingly foul-mouthed anti-Muppets cavort in a caper that would scare the stuffing out of Bert and Ernie. Avenue Q plays the Bank of America Theatre May 4-9.


concerts Monterey Jazz Festival
That famous jazz aficionado and MJF board member Clint Eastwood probably won’t show, but otherwise it should feel a lot like California in September when the pianist Kenny Barron takes this long-running institution on the road. Notable guests include the violinist Regina Carter, the guitarist Russell Malone, and the sometime Chicagoan and recent Grammy winner Kurt Elling. Plus, plan ahead with more jazz picks for May.
GO: Apr 30 at 8. $45-$55. North Central College, 171 E Chicago, Naperville. finearts.northcentralcollege.edu

ALSO THIS WEEK: Move over, Sun Ra. With Intergalactic Beings, the brilliant Chicago flutist/composer/bandleader Nicole Mitchell unveils the latest chapter of her sci-fi-inspired Xenogenesis Project, Apr 30 at the MCA.


theatre Crisis (A Musical Game Show)
You could win up to a third of the evening’s gate in this interactive extravaganza from the always-oddball Neo-Futurists. Or you could lose and be publicly humiliated. Either way, Crisis should be more fun than drunk Jeopardy.
GO: May 1­–June 12. $15. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland. neofuturists.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: The monologuist supreme Mike Daisey launches a two-show gig at Victory Gardens, beginning with How Theater Failed America and wrapping with The Last Cargo Cult, inspired by an indigenous Pacific Island tribe he encountered worshipping the USA at the base of an erupting volcano. For real.


comedy Craig Ferguson
Conan O’Brien’s Chicago shows (May 19-20) sold out as fast as he could tweet them, but seats remain for Ferguson’s second set Saturday night. (Not that it’s a competition. Who are we kidding? Of course it is.) The masses’ loss is your gain: While O’Brien and Leno and Letterman traded barbs last winter, the wily-Scot-turned-American-patriot snuck up from behind to become the funniest of the bunch.
GO: May 1 at 10:30 (early show sold out). $34.50-$49.50. Chicago Theatre, 175 N State. ticketmaster.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: Ghostbusters’ Harold Ramis, 30 Rock’s Scott Adsit, and other seriously funny folks read excerpts of stars’ not-intentionally-laughable-but-nonetheless-hilarious memoirs (think Tiger Woods and Miley Cyrus) in Celebrity Autobiography, Apr 30-May 1 at the Royal George. 


concerts Public Image Ltd.
It’s only a reunion of the late-’80s/early-’90s incarnation of John Lydon’s post-Sex Pistols band—not the revolutionary original lineup—but Lydon should be as compellingly caustic as ever.
GO: May 2 at 9. $38-$43. House of Blues, 329 N Dearborn. hob.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: The thumping new-music bunch Third Coast Percussion is like a way edgier version of the Rice Krispies mascots: Noisy, Creepy, and Funky. Hear them play three commissions May 1 at the U of C.


talks Mira Nair
Go early: You’ll be competing for seats with Nair acolytes (ie, Columbia film students) when the director of flicks including Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay! holds a campus talk open to the public.
GO: Apr 28 at 7. Film Row Cinema, Columbia College, 1104 S Wabash. colum.edu/conversations

galleries The Seductiveness of the Interval
After you see New Insight—works by MFA students from across the country, handpicked by the Renaissance Society’s Susanne Ghez—at Art Chicago ($20 well spent), go see more evidence of why Ghez is such a local gem (free). She’s the one you can thank for bringing The Seductiveness of the Interval, a show by three breakout Romanian artists, installed in its own two-story structure—and a hit at last year’s Venice Biennale—to Chicago.
GO: May 2-June 27. Renaissance Society, Cobb Hall, U of C, 5811 S Ellis. renaissancesociety.org

Photography: Eleanor Berman