Before the boys take the field on Sunday, women take centerstage in local productions featuring some seriously heavyweight talent.

Patty Duke—yep, that Patty Duke—performs in Blue Yonder, a series of monologues about women from all walks of life, at the Theatre of Western Springs (4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs; 708-246-3380). Shows run 8 p.m. Friday the 1st, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday the 2nd, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday the 3rd. Tickets are $55, plus an additional $25 for a post-show reception with Duke. On Monday the 4th at 7:30 p.m., the actress gets personal in An Evening with Patty Duke and talks about her career and struggles with depression. Tickets are $20.

Behind the scenes but no less formidable is Academy Award–winner Olympia Dukakis, who directs the world-première Botanic Garden: A Walk Through the Paradise of Marriage at Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theatre (2257 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000). The two-character play, about a woman who reenters the dating scene following the death of her husband, stars real-life couple Carmen Roman and James Leaming. Preview performances, $25, continue through Thursday the 7th; the regular run, $35, continues through March 9th.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week


    Osso Bucco

  • Show hometown filmmaking talent some love and catch Osso Bucco, a locally produced indie comedy that’s part of the Midwest Independent Film Festival’s First Tuesdays series. The movie, starring Illeana Douglas and Mike Starr, unfolds at an Italian restaurant in Chicago, where a mobster, a waitress, and several detectives get snowed in. A reception with the filmmakers kicks things off at 6 p.m. Tuesday the 5th at Landmark Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.); the screening starts at 7:30 p.m., with a Q&A with Starr following. The evening wraps with an afterparty at Cousin’s (2833 N. Broadway). Tickets, $10, include the whole shebang, and are available at and day-of at the theatre. If you can’t make Tuesday, the film runs February 8th through 15th at the Wilmette Theatre (1122 Central Ave., Wilmette; 847-251-7424).
  • Sick of all the Valentine’s schmaltz? Indulge in the opposite with Curious Theatre Branch’s Round and Round: a sexfarcetragedy. The play, about a woman and her power-struggles-slash-relationships, takes place on a rotating stage that resembles a rotting wedding cake. The show runs 7:30 p.m. Thursday the 7th through Saturday the 9th at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-397-4010). Tickets are $12 to $20. For those who prefer violin serenades to cynicism, local string rock quintet Smallwire plays the MCA Tuesday as part of the museum’s monthly music showcase (6:30 p.m.; free).
  • Forget that whole “don’t touch the art” thing; at Paintings Below Zero, you can skate on it. The enormous art-installation-as-Popsicle, created by Canadian artist Gordon Halloran, includes an ice painting laid down on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. The public art exhibition opens Friday the 1st as part of the city’s month-long Museum of Modern Ice in Millennium Park (east of Michigan Avenue, between Randolph and Monroe Streets; 312-742-1168). Related events include a live electronic concert by Plaid and the New Millennium Orchestra, with accompanying visuals projected onto a frozen chunk of wall, Saturday the 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.


  • Ramp up for the Super Bowl with pH Productions’ pHrenzy Bowl IV, an improv matchup that pits two competing teams against each other, with a referee, sideline reporters, and color commentators egging them on. Showtime is 11 p.m. Saturday the 2nd at Stage Left Theatre (3408 N. Sheffield Ave.; 773-883-8830). Tickets are $15, or $12 for those who bring a snack to share; $10 for those who dress in blue or yellow to support the teams. BYOB.


  • Maggie Brown, daughter of the late Chicago musician and civil rights activist Oscar Brown Jr., pays tribute to her father in A Legacy of Jazz and Poetry. The performance, combining jazz, hip-hop, poetry, and spoken word, begins 7:30 p.m. Monday the 4th at Steppenwolf Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St.; 312-335-1650). Tickets are $28.

    • Warm up with a mental trip south of the border: In Guitarra, Chicago Sinfonietta violinist James Sanders and Swing Gitan guitarist Alfonso Ponticelli explore the influence of Spanish guitar on the folk and classical music of Mexico. The performance begins 7:30 p.m. Friday at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th St.; 312-236-3681, ext. 2); doors open at 6 p.m. for drinks and a peek at the museum’s new exhibitions, Horns, Hooves, Wings, Fins, and Tails, and ¡Chupacabras!  Tickets are $15