Where to be and what to see this week: ‘Macbeth’ by Suitcase Shakespeare, ‘Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It’, ‘I Love Being Me, Don’t You?’, Winter Dance 2013, ‘Side Effects May Include …’, The Second City Guide to the Opera (with Renée Fleming) and ‘Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25’.
‘Macbeth’ by Suitcase Shakespeare Jan. 2-27: The Bard can be a bear, especially for younger audiences. Sure, there’s plenty of blood and guts, scheming and smooching. But these shows can be long, and plenty of today’s teens find a night in the theater tough to take. Enter Suitcase Shakespeare. This itinerant troupe offers condensed adaptations tailored to high school audiences — powerful, streamlined shows that pack a punch. Tickets: adults $20, students $10, seniors/teachers, $15. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Call (773) 935-6875 or visit Athenaeumtheatre.org
‘Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It’ Jan. 4: Perhaps no celebrity has had more fun playing with his image — or profiting from our post-modern obsession with irony — than William Shatner. Even with his artful turn as Denny Crane on “The Practice,” the classically trained actor mined his own persona to create a character that never let viewers forget who was pulling the strings. With an actor’s aplomb, the octogenarian recalls his Quebec youth, early days on the stage, his career on screens large and small and the meaning of life as he knows it. Tickets $65 and $85. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora. Call (630) 896-6666 or visit ParamountAurora.com
‘I Love Being Me, Don’t You?’ Jan. 4-5: As an insider who’s willing to spill the beans, an outsider unafraid to toss a few stones and a self-proclaimed diva willing to face the mirror, Sandra Bernhard has long been a shrewdly funny showbiz oddity. Whether pondering politics, slamming celebrity culture or singing a song as if she were still the girl from Scottsdale dreaming of stardom, Bernhard never registers as less than the real thing. Tickets: $45-$65. City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph. Call (312) 733-9463 or visit Citywinery.com.
Winter Dance 2013 Jan. 4-6: You’ve let the figgy pudding sit for too long — it’s time to get the lead out. What better way to burn those empty calories than to bust a move? Even if you’re no twinkle toes, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has you covered, with professional instructors offering one-hour introductory classes in swing, salsa and ballroom. After a lesson in the basics, the floor is yours for two hours of dance delight. Free: first come, first served. For more information, please visit Cityofchicago.org/DCASE or Chicagoculturalcenter.org.
‘Side Effects May Include …’ Jan. 4-Feb. 10: When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? Seinfeld writer Marc Jaffe and Emmy-nominated playwright Eric Coble have done just that with this one-man show that tackles the seemingly laugh-proof subject of Parkinson’s disease. Based on Jaffe’s own experience dealing with his wife’s diagnosis, the piece stars Andrew J. Pond as a stand-up comic whose life alters once his spouse starts showing symptoms. 10 percent of the show’s proceeds will be donated to Shaking with Laughter, an organization set up by Marc and Karen Jaffe in support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Tickets: $20.00-$25.00. Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln. Call (773) 404-7336 or visit Greenhousetheater.org.
The Second City Guide to the Opera Jan. 5: She’s received Grammys, an honorary doctorate from Julliard and has a dessert named after her, but Renée Fleming also has a sense of humor. The wildly admired soprano lets us in on the jokes with the zany mash-up she’s orchestrated between Second City members, mezzo soprano J’nai Bridges and tenor Bernard Holcomb. Fleming — who will sing a number or two herself — hosts the show with stage and screen star Patrick Stewart. Tickets start at $40. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. Call (312) 332-2244 or visit Lyricopera.org.
‘Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25’ Jan. 6- Feb. 17: Artist R. H. Quaytman has made a practice of creating shows in which every work addresses a visual or conceptual theme. At the Renaissance Society, her subject is the gallery itself and its history as a center for the display of conceptual art under the direction of Susanne Ghez, who’s celebrating her 40th year at this trail-blazing institution. Free. 5811 S. Ellis. Call (773) 702-8670 or visit Renaissancesociety.org.