15 Minutes . . . for a Fee
And you thought the Do It Yourself Hallelujah chorus was cool. Indulge long-suppressed aspirations for the stage at Victory Gardens’ Casting Auction Benefit. (Hey, your mother always said you stole the show as “townsperson number two.”) Amateur actors—meaning absolutely no experience required—can bid on more than 50 starring, supporting, and children’s roles in The Pajama Game, to be performed February 15th and 16th with a cast composed entirely of auction winners. The party starts 6 p.m. Friday the 9th at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-549-5788, ext. 2140) with a buffet and open bar. Bidding for supporting roles via silent auction begins at $150; starring roles go on the block for $500 and up in a live auction; prospective actors are encouraged to shout, dance, and generally strut their stuff while bidding. Admission is $50; PJ attire is strongly encouraged.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• Hitchcock’s The Birds may be a lot of things—campy, scary, aviphobia-inducing—but it’s not usually considered a comedy. Hell in a Handbag takes care of that; the local theatre troupe deconstructs the classic and twists it into a psychological comedy from Tippi Hedren’s perspective. The show runs Wednesdays through Saturdays through the 17th at the Coach House in Berger Park (6205 N. Sheridan Rd.; 312-409-4357). Tickets are $15 to $25.

• Think of it as ladies’ choice, without the sweaty palms and teenage uncertainty. The best-dressed and fastest couples win prizes in the Sadie Hawkins Day Race/Style Ride, a bicycle-bound scavenger hunt that kicks off 4 p.m. Saturday the 10th at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (Sacramento Boulevard between Division Street and North Avenue). An afterparty follows. Registration runs $10 to $40, and proceeds benefit Chicago Women’s Health Center.

Theater Oobleck goes for the gags and the jugular in Spukt, a new production that reimagines Napoleon’s Middle East campaign as a screwball musical comedy-cum-Iraq War commentary. The play opens 8 p.m. Friday the 9th at The Viaduct (3111 N. Western Ave.; 773-347-1041) and runs through December 22nd. Tickets are free, although a donation of $12 is suggested. A special matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday the 11th p.m. includes a discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole.

• It’s like The Nutcracker for the greater Halloween season. In Frankenstein Ballet, the new classical ballet troupe Alma Dance Company sets Mary Shelley’s elegant tragedy to a live score by Cuban composer Hector Silveira. Performances run 7:30 p.m. Friday the 9th, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday the 10th at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; 847-673-6300). Tickets are $25 to $44.

• Piven Theatre artistic director emeritus Joyce Piven returns to the raconteur format of her hit 2005 Festival of Jewish Stories in What Dreams May Come: American Visions through Jewish Eyes, three narratives of the Jewish experience in America, at Piven Theatre (927 Noyes St., Evanston; 847-866-8049) through December 16th. Tickets run $23 to $25.

• Tame bored little critters with a visit to Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly, a new exhibition featuring photos and live specimens, at the Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Dr.; 773-755-5100). Entry is free on Saturday the 10th in celebration of the Chicago Academy of Sciences’ 150th anniversary. Get there in time for the 10:30 a.m. feeding, sure to send chills up spines big and small.

Ann Packer’s new novel, Songs Without Words, follows the friendship of two women in the wake of a personal crisis; the author discusses the book with Chicago magazine contributor Victoria Lautman as part of the ongoing Writers on the Record series. This month’s installment begins at 11:45 a.m. Sunday the 11th at Lookingglass Theatre (821 N. Michigan Ave.). Admission is free; call the magazine at 312-832-6788 to reserve a seat.

• Party in two parts at Collaboraction’s 6th annual fundraiser, Beggars Banquet, Saturday the 10th at Park West (322 W. Armitage Ave.; 312-226-9633). Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead) begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner, live music, body painting, and silent and live auctions for $175. Noche de los Vivos (night of the living) amps up at 10 p.m. with salsa, merengue, and a DJ for $100. Visit collaboraction.org for tickets.


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