Around town end of June

A parade of trombones, a tap dance opera and a dog invite that includes you close out June with interesting, fun events.

 

Goodman Theatre os doing a revival of 'The Music Man.' (Goodman Theatre Photo)
Goodman Theatre os doing a revival of ‘The Music Man.’ (Goodman Theatre Photo)

76 Trombones

What: To celebrate the revival of “The Music Man” that starts Saturday in its Albert Theatre, Goodman Theatre will hold a parade of more than 76 Chicago area trombonists and percussionists performing the show’s famed tune.

When: Friday, June 28 beginning at 1 p.m.

Where: The parade tarts at Goodman theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, then continues to Daley Plaza (50 N. Washington St., then returns to Goodman about 1:15 to do an encore .

Who:  The parade is in partnership with Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles that includes LGBTQ members and friends.

 

Chicago Tap Company's new production ends the last weekend of June 2019. (Chicago Tap Company photo)
Chicago Tap Company’s new production ends the last weekend of June 2019. (Chicago Tap Company photo)

“Saving the World”

What:  Chicago Tap Theatre’s opera-style dramatic tale of disasters colored by greed and demagoguery.

When: June 28-30 is the last weekend of this production, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.

Who: Chicago Tap Theatre is a non-profit organization of tap dance professionals who put on story-based shows.

 

The Patio at Cafe Brauer is a popular pace for drinks or food with a view. (J Jacobs photo)
The Patio at Cafe Brauer is a popular pace for drinks or food with a view. (J Jacobs photo)

The Dog Days of Summer

What: A dog-friendly brunch where they can play and get treats while their people show down.

Where: The Patio that is the rear end of the historic Brauer building in Lincoln Park Zoo at 2021 N. Stockton Dr.

When: June 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. Reservations needed. Call (312) 507-9053

Who: The Patio at Cafe Brauer at the back of a Prairie School-style landmark is a popular summer cocktail and lunch stop that overlooks the pond at the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo  and its view of the Chicago skyline. Bentley’s Pets will have gift bags for the dogs.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Top leadership at Music Theater Works talk about the company they helmed and their retirement.

 

Past Music theater Works/Light Opera works shows. (Photo courtesy of Music theater Works)
Past Music theater Works/Light Opera Works shows. (Photo courtesy of Music theater Works)

As anyone who attended Music Theater Works’ Frank Loesser’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” recently learned, company co-founder and general manager Bridget McDonough and artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller announced they are making this 39th season their last one at the rudder.

They also introduced producing artistic director designate Kyle Dougan who will step into a new position that combines their two job descriptions so that audiences know Music Theater Works will continue when they step down.

What audiences may not know are the back stories.

Read More

Around Town: Free concerts from Bach and Brahms to Mozart and Strauss

Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park hoss summer concerts. ( JJacobs photo)
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park hoss summer concerts. ( JJacobs photo)

Classical music lovers listen up. Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion is the place to be this summer.

For example the Grant Park Orchestra with pianist Inon Barnaan will be doing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 23 on June 19 at 6:30 p.m.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Yo Yo Ma will be performing the Bach Cello Suites as part of his Bach Project, June 20 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Grant Park Orchestra Festival concerts continue at the Pritzker Pavilion June 21 through Aug. 17, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

However, Yo Yo Ma continues presentation in Chicago on June 21 as part of his Day of Action.

Yo Yo Ma will be in Chicago June 20-21 with Bach Project and Day of Action. (Photo courtesy of CSOA
Yo Yo Ma will be in Chicago June 20-21 with Bach Project and Day of Action. (Photo by Jason Bell)

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. he will be at The Greening in North Lawndale at 19th Street and Kostner Avenue, then will be in conversations and have open mic artists from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the National Museum of Mexican Art , 1853 W. 19th Street.

He ends in the evening with Make Music Chicago. 5 p.m. at the Riverwalk between Franklin and Lake Streets where he joins local musicians, including members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Little Kids Rock. Visit makemusicchicago.org

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

‘Undeniable Sound’ is undeniably worth seeing

Henry Greenberg (Jeff Mills) and Lena (Lindsay Stock) in Undeniable Sound of Right Now at Raven Theatre. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)
Henry Greenberg (Jeff Mills) and Lena (Lindsay Stock) in Undeniable Sound of Right Now at Raven Theatre. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

4 Stars

 There is so much to like about “The Undeniable Sound of Right Now” by Laura Eason at the Raven Theatre in Edgewater. It’s a snapshot of one of the many evolutionary changes that is inevitable in a growing and vibrant city.

Set in the fall of 1992 Hank (Jeff Mills), the owner of a Chicago dive bar, slash, live music venue, is in the autumn of his career in the midst of evolving musical tastes and gentrification that threaten everything he has built.

Hank has two great loves – live music and his twenty-one year old daughter Lena (Lindsay Stock) who grew up above the club and shares her dad’s enthusiasm for music.

Lena is anxious to expand her horizons to include the emerging style of “house,” a genre of electronic dance music of the era created in Chicago that features D.J.’s as the curators of the musical experience.

Her dad is a traditionalist who feels that D.J.’s are not musicians and that electronic music is in opposition to the live music he has championed for twenty-five years.

Thus the conflict is established,. It plays out in the confines of a neighborhood tavern that, like its owner, is definitely showing its wear.

The set design by Jeffrey D. Kmiec and decorated by Lacie Hexom is reminiscent of the many neighborhood watering holes that once dotted the Chicago map from north to south in this working class city.

In the earlier half of the 20th century Chicago boasted 10,000 “shot and a beer” joints. Most have closed or been converted to fern bars and pubs.  Those that survived like Hank’s are loved-to-death by countless elbows, decorated through neglect and illuminated with the ever present twinkling strand or two of Christmas lights.

These establishments retain and reflect a bit of each of the individuals and groups that made this particular venue their social hub, and Hank’s clientele have indeed left their unique mark on this location.

But neighborhoods, music, and people change; and we are all forced to face the changes that are an inevitable part of growing up and growing older. What is undeniable is the here-and-now and the sounds it makes.

Hank has little patience for nostalgia and no stomach for being viewed as a legend. The question is how do you confront the end of an era?

The story involves non-traditional family relationships and various forms of love which in this case includes Hank’s longtime, off-again on-again, salt-of-the-earth girlfriend, Bette (Dana Black), who accepted the role of surrogate mother in the absence of Lena’s birth mother

It is clear the two women have a true affection for each other which was all the more poignant on the Mother’s Day performance I attended.

Jeff Mills in the Undeniable Sound of Right Now at Raven Theatre. (Michael Brosilow photo)
Jeff Mills in the Undeniable Sound of Right Now at Raven Theatre. (Michael Brosilow photo)

Stock is spot on and perfectly embodies the role of Lena who is smart, savvy and charismatic. It is no wonder that she is adored by her “parents” as well as the club manager, Toby (Christopher Acevedo), the landlord’s son Joey (Casey Morris),  and Nash (Henry Greenberg) the up-and-coming D.J. each vying in one way or another for her attention.

No doubt casting director Kanome Jones made Director BJ Jones’ life a little easier by providing an outstanding ensemble.

Eason has done a terrific job of juggling a number of ideas yet pulling it all together into one well-crafted unified whole. She understands Hank’s reluctance to turn over the reins and sympathetically advocates for the youthful exuberance of Nash and Lena.

Meanwhile the supporting roles of Bette, Toby, and Joey are fully fleshed characters with their own important contributions to the plot. Her dialogue is authentic and at times emotional without becoming saccharine.

When I don’t know much about a play I try to keep it that way until I see it. This was surprisingly different than what I expected, thinking it was going to be more of a jukebox musical.

It does have some recorded music as background as well as a few short riffs and verses admirably played on guitar by Mills – choices of sound designer Lindsay Jones. Music is integral to the story but it is not a musical.

If you are afraid that the indie music rock scene is not a genre you understand or enjoy do not let this dissuade you. The theme of the story is universal and the musical references are incidental. This can be any time period and any inter-generational conflict.

I predict this production will be deemed Jeff worthy with special recognition of Lindsay Stock and maybe BJ Jones and Kmiec as well.

Don’t miss this one. If you have experience with an aging business owner, a music maker, or someone affected by change that they feared or were reluctant to face this will likely resonate with you.

DETAILS: “The Undeniable Sound of Right Now” is at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark Street, Chicago through June 16, 2019. Running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. For tickets and information call (773) 338-2177 and visit raventheatre.com.

Reno Lovison

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

Visit the War Years in Sentimental Journey

 

Ross Lehman with pianist Chuck Larkin n Sentimental Journey at Citadel Theatre. (Photo by North Shore Camera Club)
Ross Lehman with pianist Chuck Larkin n Sentimental Journey at Citadel Theatre. (Photo by North Shore Camera Club)

3.5 stars

If you see “Sentimental Journey: A Musical Tale of Love and War” at Citadel Theatre, you may want to ask you parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles about their lives during WWII or Vietnam.

The show is actor Ross “Robbie” Lehman’s ode to his parents, Katey and Ross Lehman.

By telling their story through such 1940’s songs as “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful),” “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now,” “Sentimental Journey” and “We’ll Meet Again” with some Irish roots thrown in with “Molly Malone” and “Danny ‘Boy,”  and by reading their letters in the voice of the writer, you learn about their meeting, dating and enduring the uncertainties and traumatic emotional and physical toll of war.

Lehman, whom theater goers know from seeing him at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf and Goodman, easily adopts the voices and mannerisms of Katey, a writer with a cigarette in one hand and a drink nearby, and Ross, a pipe (later cigar) smoker who loved to sing and was often chosen as an event’s emcee.

The first act, about 55 minutes, is filled with charming stories..The second act of about 35 minutes, turns emotional as you learn about his father’s horrific war experiences.

He takes his father’s bomber jacket out of its frame on the set to show the holes made by German flak and in a video close-up you see the medals, including the Purple Heart, that are also framed.

Ross Lehman in sentimental Journey at Citadel Theatre. (Photo by North Shore Camera Club)
Ross Lehman in Sentimental Journey at Citadel Theatre. (Photo by North Shore Camera Club)

The frames are on a wall that even with a video screen on one side showing parents, family members and bombers, gives the set created by Timoth Mann, an intimate feeling. To one side is the piano played for some shows by co-musical director Chuck Larkin and other times by co-musical director Mark Weston.

Lehman credits his granddaughter Carlyn Hudson with the choreography (also shown in a video) so you know that the love of music and performance is passing down to another generation. BTW, Lehman is a faculty member at Loyola University and has taught acting, musical theatre and  Shakespeare at DePaul and Northwestern Universities.

Directed by Mark Lococo who knows the Lehman family, the play is a way to better understand the War Years.

“Sentimental Journey: A Musical Tale of Love and War” is at Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest, through May 26. Run time: 100 minutes including one intermission. For tickets and other information call (847) 735-8554 and visit Citadel Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

CSO musicians end strike with new contract

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)

After a seven-week strike, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s musicians  and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s board have agreed to a new five-year contract. The new agreement was ratified this weekend following negotiation sessions mediated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Retroactive to September 2018 and going through September 2023, the agreement covers working conditions, a 14 % wage increase over five years plus changing to a Defined Contribution Retirement Plan from a Defined Benefit Pension Plan.

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been a cultural treasure for this community for 128 years,” said CSOA Board of Trustees Chair Helen Zell.  “Our Trustees recognize and honor the exceptional artistry of the musicians. This new agreement reflects the excellence of the Orchestra and ensures that the musicians receive the outstanding compensation they deserve, while securing their and the CSOA’s long-term financial sustainability through the retirement plan transition,” said Zell.

Begun April 2018, negotiations between the association and the musicians’  had expired  March 10, 2019 after a 6-month extension.

The musicians were represented by Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208 President Terryl Lynn Jares and legal counsel Robert E. Bloch of Dowd, Bloch, Bennett, Cervone, Auerbach & Yokich. The association was represented by legal counsel Marilyn Pearson of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

The 2018/19 season, including a Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music concert with violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Evgeny Kissin, and the CSO subscription concerts conducted by Music Director Riccardo Muti, are resuming. For program details visit CSO.org.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around Town – More April happenings

Spring is not getting off to as slow a start as we think. (See Related below for earlier listings including Earth Day events). There is enough to see and do in and around Chicago for several outings. So here are more activities to add to the April Calendar.

Award-winning Icelandic bartender Teitur Ridderman Schioth crafted cocktails at last year's Icelandic Festival in Chicago. )J Jacobs) photo
Award-winning Icelandic bartender Teitur Ridderman Schioth crafted cocktails at last year’s Icelandic Festival in Chicago. )J Jacobs) photo

In Chicago

An Iceland festival is coming to a few Chicago clubs, a restaurant, theater and collaborative space during Taste of Iceland April 11-14. Presented by Iceland Naturally, the festival is a check-it-out experience of spirits, food, film and music. The events are free except a dinner at Elske but may need reservations.

Elske, 1350 W. Randolph St. will do an Icelandic dinner each of the festival days. For reservations visit elskerestaurant . For more information go to Facebook/events.

Other Icelandic festival activities:

Spirits of Iceland: Cocktail Class, April 11, 6-8 p.m. at LH on 21,  (Rooftop) London House Chicago, 85 E. Upper Wacker Dr., Floor 21. For more information visit Facebook LH Events/.

 Iceland After Dark, April 12, 10-11:30 p.m. with craft cocktails, music by Solveig Matthildur and Kaelan Mikla  at The Underground Chicago, 56 W. Illinois St.  For reservations go to Evenbrite.

Reykjavik Calling, April 13, at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. beginning at 7 p.m. Concert at 8 p.m. Sets feature Hildur and Kaelan Mikla. Visit Facebook Event Page.

 Shortfish Film Screening  at the Logan Theatre 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., followed by cocktails of Brennivín and Reyka Vodka and chat with Icelandic winning bartender Tóta. Doors open at 11 a.m., the screening begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information visit this Facebook event page.

The Icelandic Literature Scene, April 14, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at evolveHer, 358 W. Ontario,3W to visit with Ambassador Stella Soffía Jóhannesdóttir and Words Without Border Editorial Director Susan. For more information visit this Facebook event page.

 

Hungry Monkey will be at the Foodie Fair with chocolate chip and regular banana bread. (Photo courtesy of Hungry Monkey)
Hungry Monkey will be at the Foodie Fair with chocolate chip and regular banana bread. (Photo courtesy of Hungry Monkey)

In the burbs

Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Foodie Fair Pop-Up, April  14, 1-4 p.m. at the West Lake Forest Train Station, 911 Telegraph Rd. at Everett, Lake Forest. Some of the vendors are Bonique Corp, Cake My Day, Elawa Farm, Foodstuffs Lake Forest, Flowers by Katie Ford, Full Belly Foods and Hungry Monkey.

Villa Park Spring Arts & Crafts Festival, April 12-14 at The Odeum , 1033 North Villa Ave. Hours:  Fri. 11am-9pm; Sat. 9am-6pm; Sun. 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults $10; Seniors $9; Children Under 10, free. For tickets and more information visit Spring Festival Tickets.

Related:

Around Town Pop-up Art Earth Day and Good Web Sites

Around Town in April: Kids and adult events

 

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

 

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