There's a lotta' cool stuff coming up for theatre aficionados looking for something just a smidge different. Take, f'rinstance, Fivestar Boogie Productions and their staging of Cinderella: a Hip-Hop Tale of an Illegal Alien, now running late nights at Bailiwick Arts Center. Written by Czarina Mirani ( now THERE's a name almost as cool as Jonny's! ) and directed by Erica Watson, it's described as the first female hip-hop show in Chicago, mixing breakdancing, rapping and comedy.
The show's promoters say THEIR Cinderella "is in direct contast to the MTV-misogyny posing as hip-hop, and instead celebrates women in all their many talents. They act, they dance, they seduce ... fierce females represent!" Featuring a cast of 12, Cinderella plays Fridays at 11 p.m. and Saturdays at the Witching Hour through Nov. 17.
Whatever it is, Cinderella or not, it's gotta' be about pumpkins or ghosts this month. So check out Tales From Mom's Crypt V at the Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln running through Halloweenie Night. It features Tiff and Mom Tufelmeyer, the booziest broad in Berwyn and her substantial daughter, in a night of scary, gory and campy vignettes.
Halloweenie Night also will be opening night for Death and Harry Houdini, a play about the famous magician, escape artist and scourge of fraudulent spiritualists. The show will feature one of Houdini's most famous illusions, The Metamorphosis. House Theatre is the producer, and Live Bait Theatre is the place, 3914 N. Clark.
By the way, you can save Big Bucks on theatre tickets through the end of this month. Both the League of Chicago Theatres and Broadway in Chicago are offering steep discounts in order to rebuild audiences in the aftermath of Sept. 11. You can save up to 50% on tickets to some performances of The Full Monty at the Shubert Theatre, and you can save 25% on the purchase of four or more tickets for Thursday or Friday night shows at over 30 Off-Loop theaters. Call Broadway in Chicago, or the League's Hot Tix line for details, or stop at one of the several Hot Tix outlets.
October and November are lining up as a time for singing, with top-of-the-line vocalists hitting local clubs and theaters. Davenport's celebrates the lyrics of Chicago song writer Cheri Coons next Monday ( 10/29 ) as sung by Sara Davis, George Keating, Lisa Menninger and John Weir. Then, Davenport's brings back the sparkling Phillip Officer, Nov. 1 & 5, to sing songs of Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael and others. In between, on Nov. 3, Reader theater critic Justin Hayford holds forth with his latest edition of his cabaret program of rare finds and forgotten gems. No cover charge for this one, which celebrates the release ( on Nov. 6 ) of Justin's first CD ( way to go, dude ) .
Actor-singer Mandy Patinkin returns to his home town for a series of concerts at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Oct. 29-Nov. 4. Now, he may not be your favorite actor ( although many think he's wonderful ) , and you may not find him sexy ( although many think he's wonderful ) , and he may be straight ( although many think he's wonderful ) , but he's also one of the most passionate and charming singers Jonny's heard. If you've never seen him in person, do yourself a little favor.
What's that you say? You don't want to hear anyone else sing, you want to sing yourself? OK. The Sing-a-Long Sound of Music will return to the Music Box Theatre Nov. 2-15. You can dress up as a nun, or schnitzel with noodles, or tied up with string ( you bondage types ) ...but no Nazis, please!...and sing your little tushie off. This show did a big box office the first time around, so you might want to reserve in advance through Ticketmaster.
There are two highly anticipated dance events to watch for in November. The first is the annual Dance Chicago Festival produced by the Athenaeum Theatre, Nov. 3-Dec. 2. The month-long schedule includes something for everyone, from world-championship ballroom dancing, to major Chicago-based dance troupes, to a showcase of independent artists, to innovative new work, to the popular annual dance slam in which just about anyone can show his/her best five minutes. Call 773-935-6860 for info.
Finally, one of Chicago's very best actors, the award-winning Greg Vinkler, opens Nov. 18 in what should be a one-man tour de force, St. Nicholas, in which he plays an alcoholic theater critic who spins a bizarre tale of obsession, seduction, vampires and redemption. No, the character is not modeled after Jonny, and any similarities to Jonny's real life are strictly coincidental. St. Nicholas is by hot, young Irish playwright Conor McPherson, who's earlier works have been produced here with great success, The Weir at Steppenwolf and This Lime Tree Bower at Famous Door. St. Nicholas opens Nov. 18 at Victory Gardens Studio Theatre. Todd Schmidt is the director.