Don’t-miss picks for Wed 10.28.09 through Tue 11.03.09:
theatre The Walworth Farce
On the heels of a sold-out run at London’s National Theatre, Ireland’s Druid Theatre Company presents a drama wrapped in a social commentary masquerading as a farce embedded in a tragedy. Advance word is you have to see this genre bender by playwright Enda Walsh to believe it (or, for that matter, figure out how to classify it).
GO: Oct 28–Nov 1. $46-$56. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E Grand. chicagoshakes.com
concerts Monsters of Folk
Not, in fact, the folk bluesmen Chris Smither and Dave Alvin, who have been using the moniker for years, but the indie rockers Jim James of My Morning Jacket, M. Ward, Conor Oberst, and Oberst’s Bright Eyes bandmate Mike Mogis, who teamed up for a shaggy-dog album—and now tour—reminiscent of The Traveling Wilburys. Coincidentally, the muscular guitarist Smither, who we say has rightful dibs on the MOF title, plays town the same night. Details below.
GO: MOF: Oct 30 at 7:30. $33-$48. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E Congress. ticketmaster.com. Smither: Oct 30 at 8. $18-$22. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org
concerts Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III
And in a pairing we’re thinking of lovingly as the Fogies of Folk: Thompson and Wainwright, two songwriters who, though their approaches differ, are united by a keen intelligence and an emotional depth. While Thompson’s tunes memorialize criminals, war, and devastation, the sire of the singing Wainwrights tells slapstick autobiographical tales. Or catch another elder statesman holding court across town: Leonard Cohen sweeps back through Chicago on his resplendent (and extended) world tour.
GO: Thompson, Wainwright: Oct 29 at 7:30. $34. Vic Theatre, 3145 N Sheffield. Cohen: Oct 29 at 8. $29.50-$250. Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N River Rd, Rosemont. ticketmaster.com
classical Newberry Consort
We love Copland’s Lincoln Portrait as much as the next guy, but it’s nice to hear a fresh tribute to Honest Abe. For its 30th season opener, the consort digs up rarely heard music from the Lincoln-era 1860s, with the Tony-nominated actor Paul Hecht and the banjo player Michael Miles sitting in.
GO: $5-$35. Oct 30 at 8: Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E Chestnut. Oct 31 at 8: Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, U of C, 5850 S Woodlawn. Nov 1 at 3: Lutkin Memorial Hall, Northwestern, 700 University Pl, Evanston. www.newberry.org/consort
farrago Dinosaurs Alive!
Think of Halloween as the stroke of midnight and Dinosaurs as Cinderella: After October 31st, this installation of 18 animatronic beasts growling and grazing on the Brookfield Zoo’s lush grounds goes poof. Take your kids now before it’s too late; on Friday and Saturday, the zoo hosts a goodie bag’s worth of holiday activities.
GO: Open daily thru Oct 31: 10-5; Dino Nites activities Oct 30, 31: 6-10. $8-$18. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St, Brookfield. czs.org
bonus halloween pick Haunting in the Square
For those still mourning Redmoon’s All Hallows’ Eves of yore, mounted in Logan Square circa 1995-2002: This afternoon-into-evening spectacle from the similar-minded performance troupe Collaboraction dials back the pagan revelry but still brings the fire dancers. Early festivities include kiddie costume contests, circus training, and concerts; around sunset, the party gears up with ghost stories and DJs, plus an open bar on Saturday.
GO: Oct 30: 3-midnight; Oct 31: noon-midnight. $2-$25. Firehouse Square, 459 N Wolcott. collaboraction.org
FREEBIES OF THE WEEK
farrago Young Frankenstein
Bundle up and catch a free outdoor screening of Mel Brooks’s slap-happy classic, part of the city’s Franken Plaza to-do. When the Broadway musical hits town in November, you’ll be all set to compare and contrast.
GO: Oct 31 at 6. Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington. chicagoween.us
farrago James McManus
The New York Times poker columnist—and the subject of America’s Game, an elegant profile in the November issue of Chicago by another familiar hometown writer, Joe Meno—reads from and signs copies of his new book, Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker.
GO: Oct 28 at 7:30. Barbara’s Bookstore UIC, 1218 S Halsted. 312-413-2665
farrago Astronaut John Grunsfeld
So, your kid’s going as a spaceman this Halloween and wants to do a little background research? Take your budding scientist to hear a real NASA alum when the Hubble guru Grunsfeld recounts his experiences in orbit.
GO: Oct 28 at 6. MacLean Center Ballroom, School of the Art Institute, 112 S Michigan. 312-629-6650
Photograph: Robert Day