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