Tennesseein’ Is Believin’
A new play by Tennessee Williams—who’s been dead, remember, for nearly 25 years—doesn’t come around every day. Which makes the world première of The Day on Which a Man Dies a big deal. The show doesn’t open until next Friday, February 1st, but due to its limited six-performance run in the intimate Links Hall (3435 N. Sheffield Ave.; 800-838-3006), you might want to call for tickets now. (Full disclosure: A later version of the play circa 1970, significantly different but with the same title, has been produced once before, in 2001 at Connecticut’s White Barn Theater.) David Kaplan, director of the Links Hall run, has an ongoing relationship with the Williams estate, and he’s staging this production with precise fidelity to Williams’s words and notes. Completed in 1959 and inspired in part by the Japanese poet Yukio Mishima and in part by Jackson Pollock, the play includes elements of Japanese dance and storytelling, and—according to Williams’s vision—sets made of paper upon which the actors paint before destroying the canvases. The show opens 8 p.m. February 1st at 8 p.m. and runs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays, through February 10th. Tickets are $15.
Best Bets for Things to Do This Week
Another legendary writer’s work gets brought to life in a rare production this week: Fragments, selected works by Samuel Beckett retooled by the renowned experimental director Peter Brook, makes its only U.S. appearance at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier; 312-595-5600). The show opens Wednesday the 30th and runs through February 9th; tickets are $46 to $56.
Sometimes trauma is best processed through art. The play Columbinus—penned by the new American Theater Company artistic director, PJ Paparelli—approaches the Columbine High School shootings from two angles: Part one looks at adolescent alienation, while part two provides a nonfiction log of events leading up to the tragedy. The play concludes its preview run with shows 8 p.m. Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th before officially opening 7 p.m. Sunday the 27th at Raven Theatre (6157 N. Clark St.; 773-338-2177). The show continues through March 15th; tickets are $15 to $25.
photo by Pascal Victor / Max ppp
The Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-728-6000) just celebrated its 50th anniversary in December with a massive bash—and now it’s back to its usual M.O.: turning the spotlight away from itself and onto members of the folk community. This weekend’s Will Shade fundraiser aims to earn money for a gravestone for the notable 1920s bluesman and jug-band musician Shade. Events on Sunday the 27th include a free screening of the music documentary Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost at 2 p.m., a jug-band jam session from 4 to 6 p.m., and a concert featuring Charlie Musselwhite and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, among others, at 7 p.m. Concert tickets are $20.
- Even if you were cheesed off when Ira Glass took This American Life to New York, it’s still good to have him back in town. Glass discusses and signs DVDs of the TV show’s first season 7 p.m. Tuesday the 29th at Borders (830 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-573-0564). Entry is free..
- When a six-piece ensemble takes on Radiohead, it gets our attention. The locally based, nationally acclaimed Eighth Blackbird remixes its thrice Grammy-nominated album strange imaginary animals live with the help of DJ Dennis DeSantis 7:30 p.m. Saturday the 26th at Harris Theater in Millennium Park (205 E. Randolph Dr.; 312-334-7777). Tickets are $30.
- Each year, the collective Harold Arts throws a summer camp of sorts for emerging and mid-career artists at a tree farm in southeastern Ohio. Birds of Prey, an exhibition opening 6 p.m. Friday the 25th at Heaven Gallery (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., second floor; heavengallery.com), presents the results of that pastoral residency: work by artists including the sharp young Chicago photographers Jason Lazarus and Greg Stimac (Lazarus has a solo show coming up in March at Bucket Rider; Stimac’s shots were recently seen in the MCA’s 12 X 12 space). Check out the art, then stick around for after-hours programming featuring music by Who Cares How Long You Sink, the Monika Heidemann Band, and Josh Sinton ($10; $5). The exhibition is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays January 26th, February 2nd, and February 9th.