Around Town: Family activities in early April

 

Adler Planetarium has free days and discounted tickets. (J Jacobs photo)
Adler Planetarium has free days and discounted tickets. (J Jacobs photo)

Some schools still have spring vacation but not all places suggested here need be visited during the week. They all are destinations for adults and youngsters any time of year.

 

 

Chicago Architecture Center has exhibits and a studio where families can construct something. (Photo courtesy of CAC)
Chicago Architecture Center has exhibits and a studio where families can construct something. (Photo courtesy of CAC)

Chicago Architecture Center

Even though CAF is now known as CAC and is in a new location on east Wacker Drive overlooking the Chicago River and it is a place to get tickets for tours and its famed architecture boat excursion, the place has a wonderful diorama on its main floor and interesting exhibits upstairs.

However, it also has the ArcelorMittal Design Studio which on Sundays welcomes families interested in building something themselves.  The studio is also a place to learn some architecture basics at themed stations. That doesn’t mean it’s just for older children. The age base is 3 and anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

The $12 admission fee includes CAC. The studio construction program is at 10 a.m. Visit Family Build for more information and registration. For CAC information visit Architecture/Visit. CAC is at 111 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago

Field Museum features dinos and mummies. (J Jacobs photo)
Field Museum features dinos and mummies. (J Jacobs photo)

Illinois resident free-day at Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum in early April

Adler Planetarium

Stop by the planetarium April 2-4 or April 9-11 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to learn about galaxies, black holes and more space phenomenon. During Illinois Resident Free General Admission Days.

General Admission provides access to exhibitions and experiences  except for the “Atwood Sphere Experience” and sky shows. However discounted exhibit tickets are available on free days.

For more information call (312) 922-7827 or visit Adler offers. The  Adler Planetarium is at the far eastern end of the Museum Campus at 1300 S.Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

The Field Museum

The Field has free general  admission and discounted passes April 5-7 . All access discount tickets are $23, adults, $17 children 3-11, $20 seniors and students with ID. Discovery passes that include one ticketed exhibit are $16, $12 and $14. Some of the ticketed exhibits are Evolving Planet, Trex, Mummies, Photographers of the Year, China and Egypt.

The Field Museum is the first and furthest west building on the Museum
Campus  at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For more information call (312) 922- 9410  and visit Field Musuem and Field events/free.

 

Play word games at the American Writers Museum. (J Jacobs photo)
Play word games at the American Writers Museum. (J Jacobs photo)

American Writers Museum

For an experience of a different kind, (what word would you like to insert here?) visit a museum where families can write together, play word games together, visit a Children’s Literature Gallery, Learn about written words and quotes going back centuries and something about Chicago writers.

Admission is $12 adults, free to children 12 and younger,$ 8 seniors and students. For hours and other information call 312.374.8790 and visit American Writers Museum and AWM/exhibits.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

What is needed to get parenting right

 

Nathan Burger (Bernard) and William Brown (Salter) in 'A Number' at Writers Theatre. (Photos by Michael Brosilow)
Nathan Burger (Bernard) and William Brown (Salter) in ‘A Number’ at Writers Theatre. (Photos by Michael Brosilow)

3 1/2 stars

During the course of “A Number” at Writers Theatre, Glencoe, a father admits he was an awful parent the first time around as his sons try to extract the full story of their existence.

It’s sort-of a two person play with stage veteran, actor/director  Nate Burger (Writers Theatre, Americanh Players Theatre, Timeline) as the father, Salter, and popular Chicago actor Nate Burger (Chicago Shakespeare, Timeline, Goodman) as Bernard, his sons, 1, 2 and 3.

The play is only 65 minutes long but its high intensity acting and twists made it feel as if I sat through two hours of a suspenseful drama.

Eerie music and lighting enhance Robin Witt’s spot-on direction of clipped responses from the father in contrast to the emotions of Salter’s original and cloned sons.

Nathan Burger and William Brown in 'A Number'
Nathan Burger and William Brown in ‘A Number’

Yes the show, written by Caryl Churchill back in 2002 when copying mammals’ DNA and genetic make-up  was in the news, is about cloning. It’s also about examining uniqueness, identity, upbringing, abandonment and truth.

Salter, who felt he was not a good father the first time around, wanted to try again from scratch. He had scientists clone his first son so he could be a better father the second time.

What happens on how the son and clones react will be a surprise therefore there will not be an alert here. You have to go to find out.

But a word of warning. Don’t believe most of what Salter says. The real story emerges from the mist of his twisted mind in bits and pieces.

DETAILS:”A Number” is in the Gillian Theatre of Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court Glencoe  through June 9, 2019. Running Time: 65 minutes, no intermission. For tickets and other information call  847) 242-6000 and visit Writers Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

 

 

‘Anastasia’

 

 Lila Coogan (Anya), Stephen Brower (Dmitry) (Photo courtesy of Broadway In chicago)
Lila Coogan (Anya), Stephen Brower (Dmitry) (Photo courtesy of Broadway In chicago)

3 stars

There is plenty to like about this Broadway in Chicago theatrical extravaganza. It is loosely based on the true story of a woman who claimed to be the surviving daughter of Czar Nicholas II of Russia and whose family was assassinated along with him by the Bolsheviks following the Communist uprising in July 1917.

But don’t worry this version of “Anastasia” has little to do with reality. Inspired by the Twentieth Century Fox animated film (later acquired by Disney Corporation), it refers to the tragedy but is scrubbed clean of most of the ugly parts, leaving behind the tale of a young, beautiful and strong heroine striving to find her true identity while struggling to come to terms with her inner princess.

It was an enthusiastic and appreciative, mostly female audience that packed Chicago’s Nederlander Theater opening night. The book by Terrence McNally is expertly crafted to suit its intended audience of preadolescent girls who themselves are likely exploring their own future and place in the world.Read More

Concert saluted singer Renée Fleming

Renee Fleming at the Lyric of Chicago in an anniversary concert. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)
Renee Fleming at the Lyric of Chicago in an anniversary concert. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

Fans of opera, American soprano Renée Fleming and the Lyric Opera of Chicago were treated to an extraordinary program March 23 to honor Fleming on the 25th anniversary of her Lyric debut in1993 with Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah.”

Chicago audiences may have heard her in other operatic roles such as Marguerite in “Faust” in the 1995-6 season and more recently as Hanna Glawari, in “the Merry Widow” in the 2016-17 season.

But what the program and Lyric President Anthony Freud mentioned during the concert is that  there is a lot more to Fleming’s accomplishments than her vocal talent. As an advisor and innovator of public programs through the Lyric in Chicago and through the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Fleming has been behind several outreach initiatives.

Arguably less known is that she was on the soundtrack of Best Picture and Best soundtrack 2018 Academy awards for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and  “The Shape of Water,” is a 16-time Grammy nominee (four-time winner) and is on the movie soundtrack of the “Lord of the Ring” and “The Return of the King.”

Hosted by Tituss Burges, the program also featured well-known opera stars soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, baritone Quinn Kelsey, and bass-baritones Eric Owens and Christian Van Horn,  plus members of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Patrick summers conducted the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Fleming started out with what some consider her trademark piece of “Porgi amor” from Mozart’s “the Marriage of Figaro.”

Other pieces in the first part of the program were Eric Owens doing “O tu Palermo “ from Verdi’s “I vespri sicilarni,” Radvanovsky singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca,” Brownlee doing “Ahmes amis…” from Donizetti’s ”La fille du regiment,” Van Horn singing “Eddo il mondo” from “Boito’s La Mefistofele” and the Ryan Opera Center artists doing Faltaff’s “Un oro e terminiam la scena…”

Radvanovsky sang an aria from “Susannah” later in the concert. Then, to herald her role in a special musical production in December, Fleming did “Fable,” from Adam Guettel’s “The Light in the Piazza.” Tickets to the run,  Dec. 14-29, 2019,  go on sale March 28, 2019. For tickets and more information visit LyricOpera/light.

As a bonus Saturday, many of the designer gowns worn by Fleming were on display at the Lyric.  For the concert she wore a  navy tulle gown designed by Carolina Herrera and a rose-gold sequined gown by Vivienne Westwood.

Another interesting not is that the acoustic Pritzker Family Concert Shell designed by Studio Gang for Lyric’s 60th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2014 was the backdrop for Saturday’s concert.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town: Two shows are way more than flowers

 

Chicago Flower & Garden Show Market place. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Flower & Garden show)
Chicago Flower & Garden Show Market Place. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Flower & Garden show)

Think Spring. It’s time after chicago’s rough winter to think about blooms and maybe adventure. The blooms can be found at two Chicago shows. Adventure of the fantastical kind will be discovered at one of them.

Flower & Garden Show

Now that Spring is officially here with the marking of the vernal equinox  we can be thinking of what to grow on our rooftop, around the patio, in the yard or  in our window boxes, or how to expand or improve out landscape.

The ideas are all laid out in several gardens at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier through March 24, 2019.

There’s even a kids activity garden, water features, sculptures, cooking demos and how to grow your own produce including hydroponic systems.

Also don’t miss the Racine Zoo/Stein Garden section of animal encounters and how to attract birds.

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is produced by Flower Show Productions in collaboration with the Get Growing Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating the next generation of gardeners.

Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave.,  Festival Hall A & B Chicago. For more information visit Chicago Flower.

 

 

Flower Show Journey

Journey to outer space as you walk through Macy’s On State, the downtown Chicago store, March 24 to April 7 for an innovative, fun  Garden Show.

Its about color:  blue hydrangeas, white calla lilies, Prince of Orange philodendron. It’s about an orchid forest. And it’s about creatures including aninhabited cavern.

But before entering the store,  get an idea of what’s going on inside by looking at the windows at the corner of State and Randolph Streets and also State and Washington Streets.

Go upstairs to the 5th floor Kids Department for fantasy florals and characters by Homewood Suites.

Check out the events that begin on Supernova Sunday. They range from nail designs, aura readings and spaceship building to glitter freckles, interesting lipstick applications and dance performances.

Monday’s feature is “Flowers of the Universe” presented by the Adler Planetarium from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday features roaming galactic characters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday has “Modern Floral Design” from noon to 2 p.m.

For the full listing visit Events. Macy’s downtown store is at 111 N. State St., Chicago.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Lollapalooza lineup just announced

Lollapalooza arial photo by Cambria Harkey. Photo courtesy of Lollapalooza)
Lollapalooza arial photo by Cambria Harkey. Photo courtesy of Lollapalooza)

One day after four-day tickets became available for the 2019 Lollapalooza concert, the lineup was announced with the publication of the poster showing who’s coming.

Headlining the concert are Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty Øne Piløts, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Flume, The Chainsmokers, J Balvin. Among others coming are Kacey musgraves. Lil Wayne, Janelle Monae Meek Mill and Hozier.

To see the entire lineup visit 2019 poster. For tickets visit Lollapalooza/tickets. Four day tickets range from $340 to more than $4,200. One day tickets are not yet available. They will range from $130 to $2,000.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Some Lollapalooza tickets on sale

Lolla 2017 aerial photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman courtesy of Lollapaluza
Lolla 2017 aerial photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman courtesy of Lollapaluza

Four-day tickets are now available to purchase even though performers have not been announced for the 2019 Lollapalooza’s mega-concert event in Grant Park, Aug. 1-4.

Ranging from $340 for basi, general admission then going up from there to more than $4,200, the price depends on the perks and VIP package wanted.

Perks might include  complimentary or discounted drinks and food, concierge services, chef-curated dining, golf=cart transportation and lounge and privacy locations.

To get tickets and find out more go to tickets, perks, information and hotel packages.

Jodie Jacobs

 

The ‘Miracle’ musical

Cubs championship photo (Courtesy of William Marovitz)
Cubs championship photo (Courtesy of William Marovitz)

Certainly “Miracle,” a musical directed by Damon Kiely and premiering at the Royal George Theatre May 8, 2019,  refers to the Chicago Cubs 2016 Championship.

But during a phone interview with lead producer William “Billy” Marovitz, the concept’s originator, what comes across is how much baseball is a part of many people’s lives.

And yes, Marovitz, who has followed baseball “for as long as I can remember,” is the former, long-time IL State Senator instrumental in working out the compromise that brought lights to Wrigley Field in 1988.

Marovitz had earlier conceived a Chicago show about what happened in the city during the two Daley administrations. But when he realized the concept wasn’t going anywhere when Richard M. Daley didn’t run again, his love of baseball sparked another show idea.

“It was Feb. 16, 2016 and I thought the Cubs have a good team. So I though let’s look at the season through a family. I needed to tell a story, not one just about baseball, but about real people, their ups and downs,” he said.

The story, fleshed out by film and TV writer Jason Brett, co-founder of Chicago’s Apollo Theater, follows the Delaneys, a Wrigleyville bar-owning family, through changing times.

Marovitz tells how in one part of the show the Delaney’s 11-year old daughter asks her grandfather who is always going over to Cubs’ park, how he got his limp.

“He explains he was in Vietnam, in a fox hole when he got shot up, and said he thought would lose his leg,” Marovitz said. He continued, “And then the grandfather says “The only thing that kept me going was a transistor radio. I could listen to the games.”Read More

Ravinia Festival schedule is out

 

Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

Summer events are not as far away as we may think when it comes to planning which Ravinia Festival concerts we want to attend. The Ravinia organization just released its summer schedule and it is jammed with pop, classic and rock concerts.

Lionel Richie June 11-12, Buddy Guy June 14, Tony Bennett June 21, Jennifer Hudson July 14 to Gershwin Concerto in F July 13, Renée Fleming July 28, Ringo Starr and the Beach Boys Aug. 3 and Sting Aug. 23, there’s something for everybody. Of course there’s the Tchaikovsky spectacular, 1812 Overture Aug 18

So the first question is where to see the schedule.

Go to Season at a Glance  to print an easy to copy Ravinia program to put on the bulletin board (or into your mobile devise). For an easy to read schedule visit Ravinia.

Next question is when tickets are available.

According to the Ravinia website, the first opportunity goes to patron and higher donors, March 19–28. Next, affiliate donors have access to tickets April 22–25. Then, tickets are available to Friend donors April 26–28 and Bravo and Encore donors can order Lawn tickets April 29–30.

Tickets will be available to the public beginning  May 7 for the May/June/July concerts. Then the tickets open for August/September concerts on May 8. Visit Ticket Info.

No, you don’t have to plan what to bring now but you might want to decide if you and family or friends are going to try one of Ravinia’s dining-in or take-out options.

Just reading over all the choices at the Ravinia Market, the new Lawn Bar, the Park View and the Tree Top makes me want to try all of them just to see which I prefer and experience something different than “I will bring dessert.”

Finally, print out the schedule or put dates on the calendar so you don’t miss the concert you really want to see.

Ravina Festival is at 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL

Jodie Jacobs

 

‘A Bronx Tale’ offers lessons of fear and love

 

Touring company of 'A Bronx Tale' (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)
Touring company of ‘A Bronx Tale’ (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)

4 stars

This version of the coming of age story “A Bronx Tale” is based on an off-Broadway, one-man play by Chazz Palmintiri later turned into the 1993 Robert De Niro movie of the same name.

Adding music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Glenn Slater this is a very successful adaptation appearing in Chicago on tour.

Narrated by Calogero (Joey Barreiro), he tells of growing up in an Italian/American section of the New York borough of The Bronx during the tumultuous and racially charged era of The Sixties. And that he is mentored by a local mobster, Sonny (Joe Barbara), and is hanging out with “the wrong crowd.”Read More