Redmoon's latest extravaganza, Spectacle '09, runs through Sunday at Belmont Harbor.
CHEESE AND ‘CRACKERS’ Yeast Nation casts a campy glow over the beginning of the world; Animal Crackers re-envisions the Marx Brothers classic.


Fall theatre season is here! Don’t-miss picks for Wed 09.16.09 through Tue 09.22.09:


theatre Animal Crackers
"You know, you’re very fortunate the Theatre Guild isn’t putting this on. And so is the Guild." So says Groucho Marx in one of the world’s most quotable movies. Here’s hoping the Goodman’s hotly anticipated staging, starring 500 Clown’s Molly Brennan as Harpo, doesn’t elicit such barbs.
GO: Previews Sep 23-27; regular run Sep 30–Oct 25. $25-$76. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn.


theatre Yeast Nation
Never mind the plot (plucky primordial single-cells struggling toward evolution, from the guys behind Urinetown); the real question is whether ATC can survive March’s mass defection of nearly its entire ensemble. The answer? Find out this week.
GO: Sep 24–Oct 18. $35-$40. American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron.


theatre Fear
Details have been scarce, but word is this newbie from the Neo-Futurists involves variations on the theme of Edgar Allen Poe, told as the audience moves through a haunted house. The suspense is killing us.
GO: Previews Sep 24, 25; pay what you can. Regular run through Oct 31; $10-$15; pay what you can on Thu. The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland.


theatre The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
You thought The Wrestler’s Randy the Ram was tough? Meet Macedonio Guerra, aka Mace, one half of the ringleaders mounting fight scenes that, per the directions of playwright Kristoffer Diaz, bear little resemblance to run-of-the-mill stage combat.
GO: Previews Sep 25–Oct 4; $20-$37. Run continues through Nov 1; $20-$48. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln.


farrago Opera Cruise
Or steer clear of errant elbows and toast the city’s theatre scene from a safe distance—i.e., the lake. Chicago Opera Theater throws this floating party, featuring the pipes of Andriana Chuchman (Dorinda in last year’s Orlando, Alinda in next year’s Giasone) and enough booze to make you forget you’re prone to seasickness.
GO: Sep 24 at 5:30. $85. Kanan Cruises on Navy Pier, 600 E Grand.


farrago Read-Out!
Combating censorship is a worthy pursuit, but it’s the juicy tales of in-crowd in-fighting (over boys, bags, broken fingernails—whatevs), direct from the lips of Cecily von Ziegesar, the best-selling author of the Gossip Girl series, that has us lining up for this Banned Books Week event.
GO: Sep 26 at noon. Washington Square Park, 901 N Clark (across from the Newberry Library).

farrago Richard Russo
Less embattled, equally ballyhooed (albeit by a different demo): The Pulitzer-winning author of Empire Falls chats about his new book, That Old Cape Magic.
GO: Sep 23 at 6. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State.

concerts Hyde Park Jazz Festival
With all of the doom and gloom surrounding the recording industry—and jazz in particular—here’s a feel-good story any music lover can get behind: A full day of jazz in venues of all shapes and sizes throughout one of the city’s most storied neighborhoods. Dee Alexander, Von Freeman, Willie Pickens, Corey Wilkes, and Ed Wilkerson’s 8 Bold Souls highlight the who’s who.
GO: Sep 26 from 11am-2am. Schedule, venues:

museums Robert Motherwell
Beginning with his early-career christening of the New York School—a group that included Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko as well as himself—Motherwell was an artist’s artist, an abstract expressionist with a fondness for the color black. This retrospective comes from Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, ground zero for Motherwell fans.
GO: Sep 25–Dec 6. Block Museum of Art, Northwestern U, 40 Arts Circle Dr, Evanston.

Photograph: (Yeast Nation) Michael Newberry, (Animal Crackers) Eric Y. Exit