RANCH TRIANGLE — John Mahoney has returned to Steppenwolf Theatre to open its season in "The Rembrandt," one of many things to do in Lincoln Park this weekend.
One of the most famous members of the ensemble from his days on the hit TV sitcom "Frasier," Mahoney anchors the production along with fellow pro Francis Guinan.
Jessica Dickey's play, directed by Hallie Gordon, won't be considered the heaviest piece of drama to hit Chicago stages this theater season. Some critics have accused it of being a paean to the audience.
Indeed, at one point Guinan's museum guard cheers the old-timers who patronize art, including the theater, causing ripples of self-deprecating laughter and even applause to break out in the audience.
But the play's construction is intricate and layered — with everyone cast in multiple roles including Guinan as Rembrandt and Mahoney as a poignant Homer — and with capable support from Karen Rodriguez and Ty Olwin.
Finally, the production settles on Mahoney and Guinan as longtime companions dealing with mortality, which is substance enough for this solid piece of theater.
It runs through Nov. 5 at 1650 N. Halsted St., although Guinan will leave the production Oct. 25, no doubt to prepare for the next Steppenwolf production, playwright Tracy Letts' highly anticipated "The Minutes," set to premiere Nov. 9. Tickets to "The Rembrandt" range from $20-$104.
Elsewhere this weekend:
•.The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, helps visitors find the natural world in their own backyards with the exhibit "Backyard Adventures," which opens Saturday. The exhibit includes glasses to see through the eyes of a bee or a dog, a radar gun to register the speed of kicked or thrown balls, animal costumes and putt-putt golf with a backyard theme.
"Science is all around us and it is really fun,” museum President Deborah Lahey said. “'Backyard Adventures' showcases the exciting world of plants and animals that surrounds us while introducing scientific ideas in entertaining and unique ways. Some of the most exciting discoveries are found in our homes, backyards, parks or even on the sidewalk."
The special exhibit is included in the price of admission ($9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children 3-12). The museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
•.The Chicago Fire soccer team holds a fundraiser for its charitable foundation at noon Saturday at Joe's Bar, 940 W. Weed St. Fire-tober Fest is a three-hour event including unlimited samples from 18 local breweries, along with a buffet, raffles and a free bottle of Heineken. Tickets are $50 in advance online, $60 at the door.