A scene from 'Next to Normal'
NORMAL, ILLINOIS The 2010 Pulitzer winner Next to Normal makes its Chicago
premiere at Bank of America Theatre.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 04.20.11 through Tue 04.26.11:


theatre Next to Normal
If you thought the Chicago-bred Chad Deity losing the 2010 Pulitzer was emotional, wait until you see the play that beat it: this musical (yes, musical) about a manic-depressive mother, starring the electrifying Tony winner Alice Ripley. Don’t hold a grudge; do get tickets.
GO: 4/26–5/8. $32–$95. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W Monroe. broadwayinchicago.com


theatre The Original Grease
With fresh lyrics, revised music, and never-before-seen scenes, American Theater Company goes under the hood to restore some va-va-voom to this long-neutered classic, set on the city’s Northwest Side. Tell us more, tell us more.
GO: Previews 4/22–5/1; $30. Run continues through 6/26; $45–$50. ATC, 1909 W Byron. atcweb.org


theatre Rantoul and Die
Steppenwolf’s Francis Guinan (Chicago’s 2010 pick for best local actor) and Alan Wilder join forces with Kate Buddeke and Cheryl Graeff in Mark Roberts’s dark comedy about sub-working-class couples who make Tracy Letts’s Killer Joe look like a Mensa meeting.
GO: Previews 4/22–25; $20. Run continues through 5/22; $32–$40. American Blues Theater at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. americanbluestheater.com


theatre The Madness of George III
We’re loving this cast: Harry Groener (the evil mayor of Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) stars alongside Ora Jones (The Brother/Sister Plays) in this fascinating look at the ill-fated monarch who lost the colonies, as well as his mind, by Alan Bennett (The History Boys).
GO: 4/20–6/12. $55­–$75. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E Grand. chicagoshakes.com


rock Crocodiles
Like the Jesus and Mary Chain a generation before them, this San Diego duo deftly blends distortion with early garage rock then backs the whole thing with a Spectoresque wall of sound to create noise-pop bliss. Bonus: The confirmed Pitchfork act The Fresh & Onlys open.
GO: 4/20 at 8. $12. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com


Indie-rock booker Matt Rucins and his son
Lara Miller

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: the eco-forward fashion designer Lara Miller. Read more about the 2011 Chicago magazine Green Award recipient in our April profile.

“Friday: While I try to live as responsibly as possible every day, Earth Day is a chance to take an extra step. I’ll be walking to and from work, and then at noon I’ll take an extra long lunch break to join the Shedd Aquarium’s adopt-a-beach cleanup at 12th Street Beach. On my walk home, I may detour to see the end of the month-long exhibit Project Cabrini Green. Having grown up in Chicago, I still have a hard time imagining the neighborhood’s transition.
“Saturday: I’ll start the day at the Green City Market; that’s the market’s last day indoors at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum before it moves outside to Lincoln Park on 5/4. Cool spring temps make for the perfect crisp, sweet spinach. Yum! Next I’ll jump on the bus and head to the 900 North Michigan Shops. I’m the executive director of the Chicago Fashion Incubator, and Saturday is the final day for CFI’s pop-up shop, Launch, located on the 900 Shops’ fifth floor. If I’m not wearing my own designs, then I’m wearing a local designer, and I’ve had my eye on a dress by Alidade made from repurposed and certified organic cotton, plus another by Agga B., and more (the Made in Chicago iPhone case, the limited edition CFI T-shirt for everyone in my family).  

“I might get a polish change downstairs at Mario Tricoci before walking over to the MCA to see Jim Nutt‘s paintings up close [editor’s note: There’s a free curator tour of the Nutt companion show, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking, 4/26 at noon]. While there, I’ll hopefully get to check out Sara Black’s live interaction, Object Recovery. I’ll spend Saturday night with family in from out of town. We’ll cook dinner with my Green City Market finds and, despite being Jewish, we’ll prep for an Easter egg hunt, because who doesn’t love searching for candy?
“Sunday: I’ll wake up early to get my ten miler in. No better way to celebrate Chicago race season than a long run by the lake. Then the candy hunt in the morning and down to Orland Park to celebrate Easter and more candy with my husband’s family. Should be a great weekend!”


galleries The Arts Club of Chicago
Andy Warhol once likened his immersive 102-section silk-screen Shadows to “disco décor.” Sure. We’ll buy that—but it’s also a surprisingly contemplative monument to abstraction. The work has been on permanent display at New York’s Dia: Beacon for eight years, making this Chicago appearance an extremely rare chance to see 54 sections of it without hopping a plane. Don’t miss it.
GO: 4/21–7/29: Mon–Fri 11–6. 201 E Ontario. artsclubchicago.org


Photography: (NEXT TO NORMAL) Craig Schwartz; (MILLER) Taylor Castle