To See or Not to See

Dashiell Hamlet
Photo by Milton H. Greene

Poor old Hamlet may not have been the picture of stability, but then again, neither was crime-fiction writer Dashiell Hammett’s hardboiled hero Sam Spade. Put them together, and you’ve got one tongue-twister of a nod toward the dark and the stormy: Dashiell Hamlet, a new play cowritten by the 84-year-old stage and screen vet (and Chicagoan) Mike Nussbaum, who also directs. Think you know the story? Not so much. Nussbaum takes liberties the way Hamlet takes on hypothetical questions—which is to say, with a vengeance. Previews run Friday the 12th through Sunday the 14th; the show opens Friday the 19th and continues through October 26th at City Lit Theater (1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.; 773-293-3682). Tickets are $18 to $25.

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Another tip-top, if less tongue-twisting, pairing of talent: Local luminary E. Faye Butler, who won a Black Theater Alliance Award for her lead role in Northlight’s Ella earlier this year, stars in Caroline, or Change, by the Tony, Emmy, and Pulitzer winning playwright Tony Kushner. Previews continue through Friday the 19th; the show opens 8 p.m. Saturday the 20th and runs through October 19th at the Court Theatre (5535 S. Ellis; 773-753-4472). Tickets are $34 to $60.

Political corruption in Chicago? Never. But if it did exist—and we’re just thinking aloud here—it might look something like The U. N. Inspector, a loose adaptation of Gogol’s 19th-century tale of government-sanctioned fraud, with a Chicago twist. You know, hypothetically speaking. The show opens 8 p.m. Friday the 12th at Next Theatre Company (927 Noyes St., Evanston; 847-475-1875, ext. 2). Tickets run $23 to $38.

The majority of seats remaining for the San Francisco Ballet’s 75th-anniversary gig at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph St.; 312-334-7777) have been reduced to a very budget-friendly $30 and $50. Which presents something of a dilemma: Pizza and a movie, or a night of impeccable performance from a world-renowned dance company? No pressure. The troupe is in town Tuesday the 16th through Sunday the 21st.

Also affordable, but on the other end of the city (and the other end of the froufrou venue scale): Local contemporary dance troupe The Seldoms presents Convergence in a vacant garage at 2300 South Archer Avenue. The multidisciplinary performance sounds part high-fashion show, part rave: Dancers, outfitted by designer Lara Miller, wind their way through the massive warehouse space, with videos of their progress projected as they go. Performances run 7 p.m. Friday the 12th and 8:30 p.m. Saturday the 13th. Tickets are $20; call 312-328-0303.

Break in those new heels at a new venue. Green Tie Ball—a major highlight of the highbrow singles scene and a fundraiser for Chicago Gateway Green—moves to a new spot this year, Chicago Scenic Studios (1315 N. Branch St.). The bash runs from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday the 13th, and features drinks and treats from 75 local restaurants, plus casino games and more. Tickets start at $150; visit

She’s practically the poster girl for Chicago Outsider art, but Intuit’s new show Finding Beauty marks the first major exhibition dedicated to Lee Godie since her death in 1994. Browse more than 100 works—paintings, drawings, photo booth mugshots of the artist posing as other people—at the opening Friday the 12th from 5 to 8 p.m. (756 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 312-243-9088). The show hangs through January 3rd.