Theater: Toe-tapping, hand-clapping jazz

Richard Johnson. (Jessie Palanca photo)

Musical offerings this weekend include the Richard Johnson jazz trio, string trio Time for Three offering a contemporary take on everything from Bach to Brahms and Newberry Consort performing music of the French Renaissance. For laughs on Saturday night, take in Leon Rogers at Gibbs-Morrison or Paula Poundstone at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. These are among the many performances in and around Evanston this weekend.

Richard Johnson Trio
Jazz pianist and singer Richard Johnson has performed with Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The evening’s presentation will involve lots of swinging, toe tapping and hand clapping music that transports you to the future of jazz using all the techniques of the past. This concert will be recorded live for Chicago Jazz Live on WDCB.
At Studio5, 1934-38 Dempster St., Saturday, April 6, tickets $20-25

Time for Three
Groundbreaking and category-shattering, this young, dynamic trio—violinist/vocalist Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violinist/vocalist Charles Yang, and double bassist/vocalist Ranaan Meyer transcends traditional classification, mixing elements of pop, rock and classical forms. With an infectious energy, virtuosity and showmanship, Time for Three performs everything from Bach and Brahms to
ingenious mash-up arrangements of indie hits, along with the group’s own original songs.
At Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Sunday, April 7, tickets $15-50

Le Jardin de Melodies
This Newberry Consort program focuses on music that was popular among the kings of the Valois dynasty, along with tunes that were performed in the city and the countryside during their reign. This unique program brings together raucous dance music, ceremonial tunes, ballads for solo voice as well as polyphonic music for voices, all of which reveal the richness of the French Renaissance repertoire.
At Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Sunday April 7, tickets $40-50

Evanston Laughs
Featuring comedian Leon Rogers, 107.5 WGCI radio host, for a night of live comedy.
At Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St., Saturday, April 6, tickets $10

Paula Poundstone
A master of observational comedy for which she’s known, Paula is a rare comedic talent that can engage her audience with witty impromptu dialogue and produce rapturously roaring results. Each one of Paula’s shows is completely unique and unrepeatable. She can cleverly poke fun at someone without demeaning her comic target. Paula is warm and genuine—a true anti-celebrity!
At North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Saturday, April 6, tickets $48-55

Hopelessly Devoted
This production tells the powerful story of Chess, a woman in prison facing a lengthy sentence, the pain of separation from her daughter, the loss of her cell mate, Serena, when she is given parole, and the feeling of total isolation. When prison authorities suggest she work with Silver, a music producer, Chess begins to find her voice, her strength, and her ability to face the most difficult thing of all – her past. Featuring award-winning poet and musician Kate Tempest’s trademark lyrical fireworks and live music, Hopelessly Devoted is a story of love and redemption.
At Piven Theater Workshop, 927 Noyes St., runs April 6 through May 5, tickets $20

Landladies
Marti and Christine are both working their way to a better life – one a self-made building owner clawing her way to the top, the other a single mom juggling the care of her daughter with a part-time job and a complicated ex-boyfriend. They have a lot in common, but as landlady and tenant their friendship walks a delicate balance. Faced with dilemmas of fairness versus kindness and honesty versus eviction, both women are determined to build a home, and both know the threat of losing one.
At Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, runs through April 20, tickets $30-52

The Bridges of Madison County
Francesca Johnson, a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy, looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm when her family heads to the 1965 State Fair then. Then, ruggedly handsome National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid pulls into her driveway seeking directions...
At Theo Ubique, Howard Street Theatre, 721 Howard St., runs through April 21, tickets $39-69

A Number
Powerful, unpredictable and devastating, Caryl Churchill’s suspenseful “A Number” sees a father meeting his “estranged” son over several visits. As they reconnect, multiplying lies are uncovered, revealing a surprising truth about their shared past that leads directly to the provocative questions: how much do we pass on to our children and is it really possible to atone for our mistakes?
At Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, runs through June 9, tickets $50-60

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