Don't-Miss List November 15-21: Baudelaire and Bernstein, 500 Clowns and Frankenstein, plus war (and a cab) is hell

November 15, 2012

Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman

 

 

Possession: Baudelaire in a BoxTheatre Oobleck at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield; tickets at the door or on the Website; $15 (suggested donation); through Nov. 18 only
 

How many composers does it take to make songs out of Baudelaire's poems? Answer: three, because they only compose with one hand while they eat madeleines with the other. Besides, Theatre Oobleck is required to give artists free rein in order to maintain its stature as one of Chicago's Oldest Established Permanent Floating Avant-Garde Theater Troupes. Possession: Baudelaire in a Box is a cycle of 16 songs written and performed by Jeff Dorchen, Ronnie Kuller and Chris Schoen, THIS WEEKEND ONLY at Links Hall. Oobleck says these are "poems of poisonbetrayal, and shame to be washed down with longing, lust, and liquor." Hey, sounds good to me! Mint-on-the-pillow: artist Dave Buchen provides "yards and yards" of painted images which will scroll by as background for the Baudelaire Slam. (JA)

One Hand, One Heart: The Musicals of Leonard BernsteinDavenport's, 1-773-278-1830; $13 plus two-drink minimum; Nov. 14-15, 28-29 only.

The musicals of Leonard Bernstein range from typical Broadway tuners such as On the Town and Wonderful Town, to works with profound sentiments such as Candide and West Side Story. Bookending those hits are lesser-known and failed efforts as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Peter Pan. This cabaret show—FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY— is titled One Hand, One Heart: The Musicals of Leonard Bernstein, and we earnestly hope it will include some of his lesser-known stuff. Bernstein's always-sophisticated, melodious and complex music elevated whatever genre he touched, in part because he was smart enough to partner with the best lyricists available, among them Stephen Sondheim, Comden & Green and Alan Jay Lerner. Even with his failures, the problem wasn't the music and lyrics. See for yourself at Davenport's.  (JA)

500 Clown Frankenstein500 Clown at the Viaduct Theatre, 3111 North Western, Thursday through this Sunday, tickets $20-$25

Before Halloween gives way completely to Christmas, stop in to see 500 Clown Frankenstein, the physical-comedy company's rendition of Mary Shelley's classic about man playing god. The twist in this case is that the play is about an effort to put on a play, a situation in which one man gets to play God — but which one? The director, the "star," the stagehand? The show creeps up on you, and the final moment is a fine kick in the ass. Closes this Sunday (the 18th), but if you miss it you can go instead to see the family-friendly 500 Clown Trapped at the DCA Theater — and for free! Trapped runs December 7-8-9; call 312-742-TIXS for reservations. (KK)

Welcome Home Jenny SutterNext Theatre927 Noyes Street, Evanston, 847-475-1875, begins previews this Thursday (the 15th), tickets $25-40

And — 
before Veterans' Day becomes just another memory of a Monday, spend 90 minutes in the world of a returning Marine whose experience of home has been so fractured by her experience in battle that "return" and "home" are both misnomers. Jessica Thebus directs the Chicago premiere of this play about the few who have done so much for so many. Through December 23. (KK)

HellcabProfiles Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway; 1-773-549-1815; $35-$40; through Dec. 23

It's Xmas Eve and some starving writer of a taxi driver is working late. Finding fares ain't a problem as every drunk, fruitcake, crackpot, addict and get-a-room couple fights to flag him down. It could only be Will Kern's Hellcab, the brilliant Chicago and nationwide cult hit that ran for nine years in its original production as a late-nite show at the defunct Famous Door Theatre Company. That was 20 years ago, hard to believe, y'know, back when taxis were cheap. Now it returns to Chicago in a holiday-season production with a cast of 34 fronted by Konstantin Khrustov as the cabbie, and staged by Profiles Theatre co-artistic director Darrell W. Cox. (JA)