Monkeying around: Oak Park native Zoe Schwartz is inspiring creativity in kids through Barrel of Monkeys. Since 2008, she has worked with the arts education theater ensemble that conducts creative writing workshops for third-through-fifth graders in underserved Chicago schools, and then turns their stories into professionally performed pieces. Schwartz not only leads teams of teachers, she is also performing in the latest show, “Chicago’s Weird, Grandma.” Performances are Oct. 28-Dec. 2 at the Neo-Futurist Theater in Chicago. For tickets, call (312) 409-1954.
Standing by: Deerfield High School graduate Zander Meisner is ready, on a moment’s notice, to take a role in “Once The Musical.” The ensemble member is understudying four parts in the new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film. The Broadway production won eight Tony Awards. Broadway In Chicago is producing the show, through Oct. 27, at the Oriental Theatre. For tickets, call (800) 775-2000.
Putting things in perspective: Projecting an emotion is the goal of Glencoe artist John Benedetto, whose talent was recognized early. He was awarded a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago while still a young teen. Benedetto’s latest work will be on display at Hevanston Gallery in Evanston Oct. 18-Nov. 30. The opening reception for “perspective is EVERYTHING” is 6-9 p.m. Friday. For further information, call (847) 989-9832.
Prize-winning chick flick: “Make it a Great Day,” Evanston resident Joshua Jones’ film about a newborn chick’s convoluted path of survival, won second prize and $500 in the fifth annual Elgin Short Film Festival in September. The film follows the chick from laboratory incubator to trash can and then to a second chance at life.
The plot thickens: It may seem a little shocking but Mark Walsh appears to be part of a love triangle. Or is the situation more complex than that? It’s a mystery. Actually, it’s a comedy thriller, “Accomplice.” The River Forest resident plays one of four characters in Jedlicka Performing Arts Center’s production of Rupert Holmes’ play, Oct. 25-Nov. 9. For tickets, call (708) 656-1800.
“Recent” winners: Eleven Lake County artists won prize money in the 33rd Annual Recent Works exhibit at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. Among the winners were Brad Coleman of Lake Forest for “Field Painting with Vessels” and Ed Watson of Buffalo Grove for “Thresholds Study #7,” who each won an Award of Excellence and $300. Honorable mentions and $50 each went to Amy Robillard of Libertyville for “Abbey, Profile” and Dean Habegger of Libertyville for “Intertwined.” Their works are on display at the college’s Robert T. Wright Community Gallery of Art through Nov. 10.