The Late Show

A few months back, we shared a tip on a staged reading of Better Late, starring Frasier’s John Mahoney and Mamet regular Mike Nussbaum. For folks who missed that gem, we’ve got another heads-up, now that the play—a December-December-December love triangle, by the May-December writing team of Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H), 80, and Craig Wright (Six Feet Under), 42—is in production. Gelbart, whose credits also include Tootsie, takes the stage to talk about his career following the 7 p.m. performance Sunday the 30th at Northlight Theatre (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; 847-673-6300). Tickets run $35 to $55, and the show continues through May 11th.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week Watch

Dead Man’s Cell Phone

Photo by Sandro
  • A stranger answering a public phone is a familiar plotline, but Pulitzer-nominee (and Wilmette native) Sarah Ruhl’s new comedy, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, updates the premise for 2008: A woman answers the cell of a very recently deceased man sitting near her in a café and ends up enmeshed in his life. The New York Times called New York’s just-ended production “beguiling”; here’s hoping Ruhl’s hometown staging measures up. Previews run through April 5th at Steppenwolf Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St.; 312-335-1650); the regular run continues through July 27th. Tickets are $20 to $68.


  • Calling the process “immersion” doesn’t begin to describe it. Goat Island, the Chicago-based performance company, can take years to develop a new show—which means the group, known for its athletic choreography, deserves a break. Aptly titled The Lastmaker—inspired by Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, a holy site that has served as a Byzantine church, a mosque, and a museum—will be the group’s final new production. The show runs through April 6th at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-397-4010). Tickets are $16 to $24.


  • Also at the MCA: It’s a pretty safe bet a Speak & Spell will make an appearance as part of Dan Demchuk’s free work-in-progress demo, Tuesday the 1st from 6 to 8 p.m. The local DJ short circuits battery-powered audio devices (kid’s toys, mini synthesizers, guitar distortion boxes) to create new musical instruments. Just don’t try this at home—unless you’re looking for another reason to fight over the remote.


  • Finally, a place where getting sappy is encouraged: At the 27th annual Maple Syrup Festival, you can tap a tree and sample real maple syrup, among other family-friendly activities. The free fest runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th at North Park Village Nature Center (5801 N. Pulaski Rd.; 312-744-5472); farmers’ market goodies and pancakes will be available for purchase.


  • Go gothic at Collaboraction’s fifth annual Carnaval, an evening of sensory overload—dancing, DJs, live music, and performance—staged in an awe-inspiring cathedral, Epiphany Episcopal Chicago (201 S. Ashland Ave.). The party starts at 9 p.m. Saturday the 29th. Tickets run $25 to $75 and must be purchased in advance: 312-226-9633 or