Lest we forget that this Monday's holiday is actually about something, Writers' Theatre will present a performance of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights. This one-woman show starring Melanie Brezill explores the history of the civil rights movement, and Dr. King's place in it, through poetry, hip-hop and excerpts from interviews with movement leaders and participants. The show will tour to area schools through February, as it has for the past several years, but this is the only scheduled public presentation. Come see it free at the Chicago History Museum on Monday at 11 a.m. Just show up---but show up early, as plenty of people will be trying to do the same thing.
To me, party or club dancing is a hoot. On Friday night, check out the first-ever Global Dance Party at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s brand-new building, right across the street from the old one on Lincoln. The theme is Brazilian music and dance—always welcome in wintry weather. The model for these events is the city’s SummerDance program, so there’s a 30-minute dance class at 8:30 taught by OTSFM instructor Dill Costa, then music by the Old Town Samba School and Swing Brasileiro. Tim Harkins, who’s heading up the dance parties, assures me that “no one will feel out of place if they come without a partner.” And for all you crazy samba dancers out there, the fold-away stadium seating will be folded away.
DanceWorks Chicago is busy, busy. Today at noon they perform in the Harris Theater’s “Eat to the Beat” series. Friday they present a “Dance Flight” performance. And Saturday afternoon this company devoted partly to drawing audiences into the artistic process offers a user-friendly look at their own audition. It’s free, runs 1-4 PM at the Dance Center of Columbia College, and observers can come and go as they please.
RE|Dance presents “Flight Patterns” at Link’s Hall this weekend, featuring two works set in its trademark evocative environments. One piece is set amid tall grasses—really tall grasses—personally harvested by choreographer Michael Estanich.
This is the first really big theater and dance weekend of the year with a dozen events and openings packed into four days. I’ll miss them all because I’m fighting my first (and only, I hope) ferocious head cold of 2012. But if I were going to be out an about, I’d head for Chicago Dramatists for the world premiere of Blizzard ’67 by Jon Steinhagen, a recounting of what still is Chicago’s largest-ever snow storm, a 23” whopper in late January, 1967. My father, returning from Rockford, had to abandon his car on the shoulder of the road and was given a ride home by a trucker. Jon Steinhagen is a gifted playwright, composer and performer although I hardly think he’s old enough to remember the storm himself. Blizzard ’67 runs through Feb. 12.
In an unusual one-off event at 12:30PM this Sunday (Jan. 15), Shattered Globe Theatre is joining forces with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (in Skokie) to present a staged reading of Judgment at Nuremburg by Abby Mann. Shattered Globe had a big hit in 2003 with a stage version adapted from Mann’s screenplay, and for this event the troupe has reassembled nine veterans of that production, among them director Louis Contey. What makes the event especially noteworthy is that post-show discussion will include observations from an eyewitness to the Nuremburg Trials, Peter Less, who was a translator in the courtroom.