Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog
BEHIND THE FROG Jim Henson’s Fantastic World opens Friday at the MSI.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 09.22.10 through Tue 09.28.10:


museums Jim Henson’s Fantastic World
The letter of the day? M, as in “Muppetastic.” Bert, Ernie, and other polyfoam pals cameo in this jubilant exhibition—also featuring original storyboards, early videos, and experimental films—on the peerless puppet master at the MSI.
GO: Sep 24–Jan 23. $12–$20, including Henson exhibition; free general admission Sep 27–28 (Henson exhibition $2–$5 additional). Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore. msichicago.org


theatre Candide
Sexual slavery, cannibalism, fiery destruction, brutal floggings: There’s torture to burn in Leonard Bernstein’s musical take on Voltaire’s novel of epic misfortune—but what’s really terrifying are all those high E-flats peppering the score. Not to fear: In the hands of the MacArthur-certified genius Mary Zimmerman, Candide should transcend the soul-searing challenge of arias essentially impossible to sing. 
GO: Previews through Sep 25; $25–$68. Regular run continues through Oct 31; $25–$85. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: For fans of last year’s wacky The Mystery of Irma Vep at Court Theatre: The Comedy of Errors, in which Sean Graney (The Hypocrites) has cast one actor (Erik Hellman) to play twins separated at birth, which means the final scene, in which said twins converse with each other, should be wacktastic. Errors opens Sep 25 at the Court.


dance Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Lubovitch, the lusciously musical Chicago-born choreographer and cofounder of the annual Chicago Dancing Festival, brings his New York–based company to town with a mixed-rep lineup, including, on night 2, Nature Boy: Kurt Elling, with choreography by Lubovitch and music by the Grammy-winning Chicagoan-turned-New Yorker Elling. The night makes for a whiz-bang evening of hometown talent—if, that is, you can forgive these guys for moving.
GO: Sep 22–23 at 7:30. $45­–$75. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: The Dance Center of Columbia College celebrates a decade in its South Loop home with 1306: Ten Years Later, a daylong birthday party featuring local dancemakers (Shirley Mordine, Ayako Kato, Margi Cole), performances, master classes, and sound and video installations—all free.


lit/lecture NPR’s Michele Norris
If you hardly consider it a weekday without her journalistic insight and mellifluous voice keeping you abreast of All Things Considered on NPR, here’s a chance to hear Norris live, discussing subjects a little closer to her heart. Norris reads from The Grace of Silence: A Memoir, her new book chronicling events from her family’s past, including her father’s shooting by the Birmingham police weeks after his service discharge from World War II.
GO:Sep 28 at 7:30. $5. Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park. utrf.org


film Catherine Deneuve Retrospective
The Alliance Française launches its yearlong tribute to the iconic actress and ageless beauty with François Truffaut’s Oscar-nominated and multi-César-winning 1980 film, Le dernier metro (The Last Metro). Milos Stehlik, the director of Facets Multimedia, introduces the highly affordable screening, which—bonus—includes a glass of French wine. And bonus number deux? Word on the street is Deneuve’s Metro costar Gérard Depardieu—who’s in town to narrate Berlioz’s Lélio, the CSO’s first official performance under the baton of its new music director, Riccardo Muti—might drop by as well. Call 312-337-1070 for updates.
GO: Reception Sep 22 at 6:30; screening at 7:30. $7. Alliance Française de Chicago, 54 W Chicago. af-chicago.org


galleries Chris Ofili: Afrotranslinear
Those who followed the art world’s bad-boy Brit invasion of the 1990s will remember Ofili, most notorious for his collage The Holy Virgin Mary, composed in part from elephant dung. Since then, Ofili has gone on to create a respected body of work and receive the prestigious Turner Prize. Don’t miss his first Chicago exhibition.
GO: Sep 28–Dec 22. The Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E Ontario. artsclubchicago.org

theatre At Home at the Zoo
Previews for Victory Gardens’ one-two punch of volatile Edward Albee one-acts, The Zoo Story and its prequel, Homelife, don’t begin until Oct 1, but you can catch a free open rehearsal and talkback with the artists—including Tom Amandes of the TV shows Everwood and Parenthood, and Victory Gardens’ artistic director, Dennis Zacekthis week.
GO: Sep 23 at 6. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org

lit/lecture David Rohde
And for a chilling true-life tale: The Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter Rohde recounts his 2008 kidnapping by the Taliban and subsequent seven months of captivity in a lecture at Northwestern sure to put the fear of God into the school’s first-year journalism students (and everyone else).
GO: Sep 22 at 5. McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus, Evanston. medill.northwestern.edu


Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals (a.k.a. people we like): Nicole Mitchell, the top-shelf flutist, composer, bandleader, and artist-in-residence at this year’s recently wrapped Chicago Jazz Festival, who has a marathon Saturday ahead of her at the fourth-annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Her full itinerary:

“It’s going to be an exciting weekend for jazz. First, on Friday, I want to check out the legendary Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge. Saxophonist Ernest Dawkins will be there with some special guests from Italy.

“Saturday will be an all-day affair, with fantastic artists all over Hyde Park—and the whole thing is free! I’ll be speaking at 2 p.m. with [the Chicago Tribune jazz critic] Howard Reich, who is presenting his new book, Let Freedom Swing, at International House. Then, at 4 p.m., I’m excited to present "Songs for the People" with my group Black Earth Ensemble at the Experimental Station. In addition to the local favorites Rob Mazurek [cornet], David Boykin [sax], and Tomeka Reid [cello], BEE will include Joel and Josh Ross, Chicago’s most exciting new jazz lions from the Chicago High School for the Arts, on vibes and drums. (If I didn’t have to go to my sound check, I would definitely go see Bethany Pickens Trio at the Robie House.)

“After that, I’m dying to run over and catch ragtime genius Reginald Robinson, but I’m playing with Mwata Bowden and the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Experimental Station. Then I’ll get a breather and I’ll sit down to enjoy the Orbert Davis Quintet at 7 p.m. at Hyde Park Union Church. It will be a busy day!”

GO: Hyde Park Jazz Festival runs from 1 p.m. Sep 25 to 2 a.m. Sep 26 at venues across Hyde Park; all events are free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of The Jim Henson Company. Kermit the Frog © The Muppets Studio, LLC.