Around Town: Holiday Happenings

Pumpkins still adorn some front doorsteps and Halloween candies still sit on some shelves but with Thanksgiving coming early this year (Nov. 23) and stores looking for a cheerful buying season, holiday decorations and events are already going up and beckoning.

If you have been downtown Chicago recently near Daley Plaza you likely noticed that the Christkindlmarket is already going up for its Nov. 17 opening and that Macy’s has already decorated its State Street and some Randolph Street windows.  Its 45 foot high Great Tree is up in the Walnut Room  sparkling with 2,000 ornaments and 6,600 lights.

Macy's State Stree windows are about Magic, pictured here, Love, Giving and other holiday themes. Photo by Carole Kuhrt Brewer.
Macy’s State Stree windows are about Magic, pictured here, Love, Giving and other holiday themes. Photo by Carole Kuhrt Brewer.

So yes, it’s somewhat early to plan on where to go for some holiday cheer of the non-alcholoic, event type. But if you don’t want to miss a fun activity, a repeat of a delightful family tradition or something that might start a new tradition, take a look at what’s coming up, print this and circle those events worth putting on your calendar.

The events tend to fall into those that open Nov. 17 and the ones that start the day after Thanksgiving on Nov. 24.

 

Beginning Nov. 17

City of Chicago’s Tree Lighting

Head to Millennium Park before 6 p.m.  to ooh and aah when the lights switch on the 62 foot Norway sprice donated by Darlene Dorfler, Grayslake. The Oakdale Christian Academy Choir will be singing and cast members from Goodman Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ will perform.  Santa and Mrs. Claus are also expected to visit. Admission is free. The tree will be up through Jan. 6, 2018.

Christkindlmarket Chicago 

City of Chicago Tree lighting is Nov. 17, 2017. City of Chicago photo.
City of Chicago Tree lighting is Nov. 17, 2017. City of Chicago photo.

The Chicago Christkindlmarket opens weekdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and stays open Friday-Saturday until 9 p.m. Location: Washington Street between Clark and Dearborn Streets. Admission free. For other information call (312) 494-2175.

Morton Arboretum Illumination

See trees from a different perspective when the Morton Arboretum has lights moving on them to music. In addition there is an Illu-medallion that can now be purchased to reflect the interactive light display.  Tickets are date and time specific.  Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle. For more information call (630) 968-0074.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 

Trees glow and lights move to music at the Morton Arboretum's Illumination festival. Morton Arboretum photo
Trees glow and lights move to music at the Morton Arboretum’s Illumination festival. Morton Arboretum photo

The festival opens Friday with activities and food from 4 to 8 p.m. in Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court) at 401 N. Michigan Avenue. The Michigan Avenue tree-lighting parade, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and led by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, happens on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. after a day of activities starting at 11 a.m. at Pioneer Court and at Michigan Avenue shops. The parade begins at Oak Street and goes south to Wacker Drive ending with Fireworks at 6:55 p.m. .

Christmas Around the World at Museum of Science and Industry

Begun in 1942 with one tree, the exhibit now has a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree plus more than 50 trees and displays. They are decorated by volunteers to represent many different cultures. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.

 

Beginning Nov. 24

Christkindlmarket and more

The European holiday market is now opening in other Chicago area attractions. On Nov. 24 it opens in Naperville at the Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St, and at the Park at Wrigley, 3637 N. Clark St.

Christkindlemarket at Daley Plaza. Jodie Jacobs photo
Christkindlemarket at Daley Plaza. Jodie Jacobs photo

If going to Wrigley, bring skates ($5 age 13 and older, free 12 and under) or rent them there because along with the Christkindlmarket the Park has an ice skating rink. If going there Nov. 28, take in the Tree-Lighting Ceremony when a Colorado Spruce tree from will sparkle with 2,700 bulbs. Instead of worrying about parking take the CTA Red Line or Clark bus 22 or Addison 152.

Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland

The garden welcomes winter with a wonderland of lights outside and miniature trains speeding around Chicago landmarks plus decorated halls and greenhouses inside. Entry is ticketed and datge and time specific. The garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, just east of Edens Expessway, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440

Wreathing of the Lions 

Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland. Jodie Jacobs photo
Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland. Jodie Jacobs photo

Art Institute of Chicago’s annually welcomes the holidays with a wreathing of its famous lion statues at 10 a.m., then continues the day with hot chocolate, music and drop in art activities through 3 p.m. While there, stop downstairs at the Thorne Miniature rooms because they are fun to see and some even get a holiday decoration. The museum is at 111 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago Park District holiday flower shows

Both the Garfield Conservatory Holiday Show of Fire and Ice and the Lincoln Park Conservatory Holiday Flower Show open Nov. 24. For details visit Garfield Park Conservatory and Lincoln Park Conservatory.

 

 

Chicago stage productions to add to your schedule

The good news about the Chicago theatre scene is there are many excellent productions because the city has an abundance of talented actors and directors. The bad news about the Chicago theatre scene is that there are so many good productions that it is close to impossible to fit all the shows into a busy schedule.

Indeed, there are so many theatre groups that many share their space or do a show in association with another company.

Planning ahead might help. Here are some of the shows scheduled for the 2017-18 season for several of the theaters in the city.

To see the season listing for shows coming nearby but outside city limits visit Northern Suburbs and Western Suburbs. And for productions coming in and near the Loop visit downtown.

From a church basement in Highland Park, Steppenwolf has grown to a large theater stage and education space on Halsted. Steppenwolf photo
From a church basement in Highland Park, Steppenwolf has grown to a large theatrical stage and education space on Halsted. Steppenwolf photo

 

Akavit

A group that specializes in Nordic works, Akavit is doing ‘Ghosts and Zombies’ by Henrik Ibsen and Gustav Tegby, translated by Chad Eric Bergman, Sept. 28-Oct. 29, 2017. The show will be at the Strawdog Theatre Company at 1802 W. Berenice. For tickets and other information visit Chicago Nordic.

AstonRep

The company has two shows planned so far for next season. First, is ‘1984’ adapted by Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall Jr. and William A. Miles Jr. based on George Orwell’s novel. It runs Sept. 14 through Oct. 8, 2017. Secondly is ‘The Laramie Project’ by Moisés Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project, June 7 to July 8 2018. Both shows will be at The Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. For tickets and other information visit AstonRep.

Black Ensemble Theater

The company is doing ‘The Black Renaissance (More Than A Moment In History)’ Oct. 14-Nov. 19,2017 followed by ‘Sammy: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr.’ Dec. 9, 2017 to Jan. 21, 2018. Black Ensemble Theater is at 4450 N Clark St. For more information call (773) 769-4451 and visit Black Ensemble.

Broken Nose

The company just ended its award winning “At the Table” production which sold out even after it was extended so check back to Broken Nose Theatre for updates on next season.

Court Theatre

The new Court Theatre season starts with ‘Five guys Named Moe,’ a musical by Clarke Peters, Sept. 7 to Oct. 8, 2017. Next is ‘The Belle of Amhurst’ by William Luce based on Emily Dickinson’s diaries, letters and poems, Nov. 2 to Dec. 3, 2017. Arthur Miller’s ‘All My Sons’ starts the new year Jan. 11 to Feb. 11, 2018 followed by Todd Kreidler’s ‘Guess Who’s coming to Dinner,’ Mar. 15 to Apr. 15, 2018. The season ends with John Strand’s ‘The Originalist,’ May 10-June 10.

Court Theatre is at 5535 S. Ellis Ave. on the University of Chicago Campus. For tickets and other information visit Court Theatre.

Gift Theatre

The group is doing ‘Open Season,’ written and performed by Adithi Chandrashekar, Sept. 15 to 17, 2017. An inaugural production of its 4802 Play Development Program, the show is free of charge. The next show is ‘A Swell in the Ground’ by Janine Nabers, Oct. 13 to Dec. 10, 2017. Gift Theatre is at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. For tickets and other information call (773) 283-7071 or visit Gift Theatre.

Hell in a Handbag Productions

The company has moved its long-running ‘Golden Girls’ by David Cerda to Stage 773 from Mary’s Attic. The show will be there Saturdays at 10:30 from Oct. 7 to Nov. 11. ‘Bewildered,’  based on TV’s “Bewitched” with book by Ron Weaver, music and lyrics by Aaron Benham and Ron Weaver, will run Sept. 27 to Nov. 11 at at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. For more information visit  Handbag Productions.

The Hypocrites

The company opens the season with ‘Dracula,’ a world premiere adapted by Sean Graney, Oct. 7 through Nov. 5, 2017. The show will be at Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave. The season contginues in April (check website for dates) with ‘Aristopanesathon,’ the eleven comedies of Aristophanes presented in a four hours and 30 minutes with food and cash bar. Adapted by Sean Graney it will be at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division St. For tickets and other information visit The Hypocrites.

The House Theatre of Chicago

The company is doing ‘United Flight 232,’ adapted by Vanessa Stalling based on the book, “Flight 232,” by Laurence Gonzales. The show will run Sept. 1 to Oct 21, 2017. It is followed by ‘The Nutcracker,’ (non-ballet) by Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell, and Tommy Rapley from the E.T.A. Hoffmann story, Nov. 3 to Dec. 30, 2017.

The new year begins with ‘Hatfield and McCoy,’ a murderous musical by By Shawn Pfautsch with original songs by Pfasutsch and Matt Kahler, Jan. 19 to Mar. 11, 2018. The season ends with ‘Ellen Bond, Union Spy,’ conceived by Jess McLeod, written by Jenni Lamb with music, lyrics and movement by Tanji Harper and Blu Rhythm Collective, Mar. 30 to May 20, 2018.

The House Theatre of Chicago shows are held at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. For tickets visit House Theatre. For other show information see Season 16. More information on the Chopin Theatre, an arts venue used by several groups see Chopin Theatre.

Mercury Theater Chicago

Mercury ends the 2017 season with ‘The Christmas Schooner,’ a holiday musical tradition with book  by John Reeger and music and lyrics by Julie Shannon. The show runs from Nov. 24 through Dec.31 at Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave. For tickets and other information call (773) 325-1700 or visit Mercury Theater.

NightBlue

The company is doing “Bullets over Broadway, the musical’  Sept 11 to Oct. 8, 2017 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. In 2018 it is doing ‘If/Then, the stage musical’ with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, Feb 21 to Mar. 25. For more information visit NightBlue.

Other Theatre

Working in association with Chicago Dramatists’ Grafting Project, Other Theatre is doing the world premiere of ‘The Making of a Modern Folk Hero,’ based on Martin Zimmerman’s novel, Sept. 29 to Oct. 29, 2017. The production is at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave. For tickets and more information visit Other Theatre and Chicago Dramatists.

Permoveo Productions

The company is doing ‘The Civility of Albert Cashier,’ a true Civil War tale. Book is by Jaul Paul Deratany with music and lyrics by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden, Aug. 31 to Oct. 15. for more information visit Stage 773.

Porchlight Theatre

Porchlight which was present shows at Stage 773 has moved to Ruth Page Center for the Arts at 1016 N. Dearborn St. but some shows will be held at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie and Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway, Chicago.

‘Billy Elliot, the Musical,’  based on the 2000 film with music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall will be Oct. 6 to Nov. 19, 2017 followed by ‘Merrily We Roll Along,’ Jan 26 to Mar. 11, 2018 at the Ruth Page Center.

‘New Faces Sing Broadway 1959 will be Feb. 26 at Skokie Theatre and Feb. 27, 2018 at Uptown Underground. Then, ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ is Mar. 6 to 8, 2018  at Ruth Page.

‘Memphis’ is Apr. 19 to June 3 at Ruth Page.  ‘Do Re Mi’ is May 22 to 24, 2018 at Ruth Page. ‘New Faces Sing Broadway 1975,’ is  June 4 at Skokie Theatre and June 5 atUptown Underground. For directions and more information call 773-777-9884 and visit Porchlight.

Raven Theatre

The Chicago premiere of ‘Choir Boy’ By Tarell Alvin McCraney, will be at Raven Theatre Sept. 27 to Nov. 12, 2017. Then, the Chicago Premiere of ‘Nice Girl’ By Melissa Ross runs Jan. 24 to Mar.  11, 2018.

Next is the world premiere of ‘The Gentleman Caller’ by Philip Dawkins, Mar. 28 to May 13, 2018. The season ends with ‘Suddenly, Last Summer’ By Tennessee Williams, May 2 to June 17, 2018. Raven Theatre Company is at 6157 N. Clark St. For more information call (773) 338-2177 and visit Raven Theatre.

A Red Orchid Theatre

Wallace Shawn’s ‘Evening at the Talk House’ opens A Red Orchid Theatre’s 2017-18 season, Sept. 29-Nov. 19, 2017. Winter is the world premiere of ‘Traitor’ adopted by Brett Neveu from Henrik Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ running from Jan. 5 to Feb. 15, 2018.  The spring show is ’33 to Northing’ by Grant Varjas April 6 to May 27, 2018. The summer bonus show is Eugene Ionesco’s ‘Victims of Duty’ July-August (dates TBA). The theatre is at 1531 N. Wells Ave. For more information call (312) 943-8722 and visit A Red Orchid Theatre.

Red Tape Theatre

The group is moving to 4546 N Western Ave in Lincoln Square. The new venue has a spacious lobby, rehearsal space, and flexible 75-seat black-box theatre. Check back at Red Tape Theatre for season updates.

Rivendell Theatre

The ensemble is doing the world premiere of ‘Alias Grace,’adopted by Jennifer Blackmer from Margaret Atwood’s novel, Sept. 2 to Oct. 15, 2017. Rivendel is at 5779 N. Ridge Ave.. For more information visit Rivendell Theatre.

Route 66 Theatre

The company is presenting the Chicago premiere of Halley Feiffer’s ‘ A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center of New York City. The show runs now through Sept. 23, 2017 in The Den’s Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Route 66 is a resident company at The Den Theatre. For more information, visit Route 66 Theatre.

Theater Wit

Theater Wit produces shows and is a venue for resident and visiting companies.

‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ book by Ivan Menchell, music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Don Black, is a Kokandy Productions resident show in Theater One, Sept. 1 to Oct. 15, 2017. ‘One Thousand Words,’ book and lyrics by Michael Braud, music by Curran Latas, is a theater Faction visiting company in Theater Two Sept. 1-17, 2017. “The Heavens are Hung in Black’ by James Still is a Shattered Globe Theatre resident company in Theater Three Sept. 7 to Oct. 21, 2017.

Theater Wit’s season also includes ‘Significant Other’ by Joshua Harmon, a co-production with About face theater, Nov. 2 to Dec. 10, 2017. Coming in 2018 is the world premiere of ‘The Antelope Party’ by Eric John Meyer, Jan. 5 to Feb. 24. The Chicago premiere of ‘Women Laughing Alone with Salad’ by Shelia Callaghan is Mar. 9 to Apr. 29, 2018.

Theater Wit is as 1229 W. Belmont. For more information call (773) 975-8150 and visit Theater Wit.

Steppenwolf Theatre

The company opens its 42nd Season with the Chicago premiere of ‘The Rembrandt’ by Jessica Dickey, Sept. 7 to its newly extended date of Nov. 5 due. The show is in the Upstairs Theatre.

Then ‘The Minutes’ by Tracy Letts goes from Nov. 9 to Dec. 31, 2017 in the  Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.

Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ begins the 2017-18 season of Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) Oct. 8 to Oct 21.

Steppenwolf is at 1650 N. Halsted. Check SYA times and dates and more information on the regular season by calling (312-335-1650 and visiting  Steppenwolf.

Theatre Y

Federico Garcia Lorca’s ‘Yerma,’ adopted by  Héctor Alvarez with music by Nicholas Tonozzi is co-presented by Theatre Y and Red Tape Theatre, Oct. 27 to Dec. 10. The show will be at Red Tape’s new home, 4546 N. Western Ave. For more information visit Theatre Y.

Strawdog Theatre

The company’s season has already begun with Robert O’Hara’s ‘Barbecue,’ running from mid-August to Sept. 30, 2017 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre at 1700 N. Halsted St. The new year will start with Henrik Ibsen’s ‘The Pillars of Society’ adapted by Samuel Adamson. It runs Jan. 19 to March 3, 2018 in Strawdog’s new theatre at 1802 W. Berenice. The season concludes with the world premiere of ‘Damascus’ by Bennett Fisher, May 11 to June 23, 2018, also on Berenice. For other information visit Strawdog.

Timeline Theatre

The company is doing the Chicago premiere of ‘The Audience by Peter Morgan, now through Nov. 12, 2017 at the TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave. Then, there is ‘In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play’ by Sarah Ruhl, Oct. 26-Dec. 16, 2017 at Stage 773.

The Chicago premiere of ‘Boy’ by Anna Ziegler will be presented back on Wellington Jan. 18 to Mar. 18, 2018 followed by the world premiere of ‘To Catch a fish’ by Brett Neveu, Developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, it runs May 3 to July 1, 2018, also on Wellington.

For more information call (773) 281-8463 or visit Timeline.

Victory Gardens

The season features five thought-provoking plays starting with ‘Fun Home’ Sept. 19 to Nov. 12, an award-winning show with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron. It continues with ‘Fade,’ Nov. 4 to Dec. 23, 2017 by Tanya Saracho as a co-production with Teatro Vista in association with CLATA.

Then, 2018 starts with ‘Breach,’ Feb. 9 to March 11, by Antoinette Nwandu, followed by ‘Doing It,’  Apr. 6 to May 6, by Boo Killebrew. The season ends with ‘Mies Julie,’ May 25 to June 24. Written by Yaël Farber, it is adopted from August Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie.’

Victory Gardens Theater is at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. For more information call (773) 871-3000 and visit Victory Gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyric tempts with glorious preview and seals the deal with exciting season

The Lyric Opera of Chicago starts its next season Sept. 23, 2017 but you can get a sneak peek on Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. with Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park.

Millennium Park hosts Lyric Stars in the Pritzker Pavilion. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Millennium Park hosts Lyric Stars in the Pritzker Pavilion. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

A free concert in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, the preview includes arias from ‘Orphée et Euridice,’ ‘Rigoletto,’ ‘Die Walküre,’ ‘The Pearl Fishers’ and ‘Faust,’ among others.

Led by Maestro Andrew Davis conducting the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus, the program features such stars as Andriana Churchman, Dmitry Korchak, Eric Owens and Matthew Polenzani.

The concert will also be live on 98.7WFMT and at WFMT.com 

For more information visit  Lyric Opera and the Lyric Stars on Facebook.

 

SEASON

The operas listed for the preview offer just a glimpse of the Lyric’s exciting 2017-18 season. The complete opera schedule exhibits a wide range of styles, moods and composers from Bizet and Mozart to Verdi and Wagner.

‘Orphée (Orpheus) and Eurydice’

'Orphee et Eurydice opens Lyric Season. Lyric Opera photo
‘Orphee et Eurydice’ opens Lyric Season. Lyric Opera photo

By Christoph Willibald Gluck, the opera features The Joffrey Ballet, Sept. 23-Oct. 15, 2017. This is the Paris version directed and choreographed by John Neumeier. It is about the mythological Greek musician/poet, Orpheus, trying to bring back his wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld.

‘Rigoletto’
By Giuseppe Verdi, Oct. 7-Nov. 3, 2017, the opera centers on the revenge-bound, tragic court jester, Rigoletto, daughter Gilda and the evil Duke of Mantua. Opera goers will recognize Mantua’s “La donna è mobile,” Gilda’s “Caro nome” and the opera’s famed quartet.

‘Die Walküre’

By Richard Wagner, Nov.1-30, 2017, the opera continues the Lyric’s Ring cycle which started in 2016 with ‘Das Rheingold.’ Wagner’s powerful music exemplifies the strong emotions and character traits of Siegmund, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Wotan, Fricka and Hunding.

‘The Pearl Fishers’ (Les pêcheurs de perles)

By Georges Bizet, Nov. 19-Dec. 10, the opera includes this writer’s favorite duet for tenor and baritone. The opera takes place in Ceylon where two friends fall in love with priestess Leila.

 

‘Turandot’ 

'Turandot,' a fairy tale set in a fantasy version of ancient China is offered by the Lyric in the middle of the 2017-18 season. Lyric Opera photo
‘Turandot,’ a fairy tale set in a fantasy version of ancient China is offered by the Lyric in the middle of the 2017-18 season. Lyric Opera photo

 By Giacomo Puccini, Dec. 5, 2017-Jan. 27, 2018, the opera is a fairy tale that takes place in China where the princess asks suitors to answer three riddles. Incorrect answers lead to execution. The opera features the popular aria, “Nessun dorma.”

‘I Puritani’

By Vincenzo Bellini, Feb. 4-28, 2018, is a bel canto opera calling for exceptional technique as it tells the story of lovers in a England divided by the 1600’s civil war.

‘Cos fan tutte’ (The School for Lovers)

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Feb. 17-March 16, 2018 the opera is a delightful light treat that works well on the heels of ‘I Puritani’s’ high drama. Mozart’s tale delves into intrigue worthy of Shakespeare’s comedies.

‘Faust’

By Charles Gounod, Mar. 3-21, 2018, the opera revolves around the consequences of selling one’s soul to the devil.  A popular story told in the Grand Opera style, it includes Marguerite’s “Jewel Song” and an exceptional final trio.

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Rice, Apr. 27-May 20, 2018, the season ends with what has become a Lyric tradtition – a Broadway musical production. This season the show is Webber’s rock opera,

The Lyric Opera is at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. For additional programs and ticket information visit Lyric or call (312)827-5600.

 

 

 

Shows coming to downtown Chicago

 

Late summer seems a time to get ready for back-to things such as school,a fall sport, workout classes if they stopped and volunteer activities. But August is also a good time to plan ahead to catch shows you’ll want to see. With about 250 theatre companies in the area the season can be overwhelming without checking out some of the offerings ahead of time.

The last two round-ups of what’s coming to area theatres were listings for the northern and western suburbs.

This one is for downtown Chicago. If you go you will find the venues have interesting, historic homes.

Next will be neighborhood Chicago theatres.  When you see how many shows are at each venue you’ll understand how easy it is to miss one you really want to catch.

 

Auditorium Theatre  

The Auditorium Theatre is worth seeing even when there isn't a show. Jodie Jacobs photo
The Auditorium Theatre is worth seeing even when there isn’t a show. Jodie Jacobs photo

 

Louis Sullivan’s iconic performing arts hall showcases productions by the Joffrey Ballet and other dance companies ranging from Shen Wei Dance Arts, Ensemble Espanol and Alvin Ailey to Les Ballets de Monte Carlos, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ballet Nacional Cuba and Giordano Dance Chicago.

In addition, its season includes musical groups and singers such as Jonathan Lee, and the Jazz Gospel Messiah’s “Too Hot to Handel.”  In between are lectures, documentary presentations, comedians and tributes to pop and jazz stars.

Here is the Joffrey Ballet Schedule: Gisselle Oct. 18-29, Dec. 1-30, 2017, Modern Masters (George Balenchine, Myles Thatcher, Nicolas Blanc, Jerome Robbins) Feb. 7-18, 2018, Midsummer Night’s Dream April 25-May 6.

For other production dates and the full calendar click Auditorium. The  Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University is at 50 E. Congress Parkway, (312) 341.2300.

 

Broadway in Chicago

Touring Broadway shows are typically in four venues: Cadillac Palace, 151 W. Randolph St., Oriental, 24 W. Randolph St.,  PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St. and Broadway Playhouse. Tickets are available at Broadway in Chicago and also Ticket Master by clicking on individual shows at Broadway Chicago and at the theatres’ box offices. Also call (800) 775-2000.

Of course everyone knows that the mega hit, “Hamilton” is still in town at The PrivateBank Theatre. Tickes are currently available through April 29, 2018.

At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Disney’s “Aladdin” is there now through Sept. 10 followed by “Motown the Musical” Oct. 3-8 and “Les Miserable”  Oct. 11-29. Then there is “School of Rock” Nov. 1-19 followed by Irving Berlin’s “White Chirstmas” Nov. 21-Dec. 3, 2017. “Beautiful – the Carole King Musical” returns to town, Dec. 5, 2017 and goes to Jan 28, 2018. The play, “The Humans,” comes Jan 30-Feb. 11 followed by ”Love Never Dies” Feb. 14-March 4. Then it’s “On Your Feet!” March 21-April “ followed by “Waitress,” July 3-22.

At the Oriental Theatre “Escape to Margaritaville” is Nov. 9-Dec. 2, 2017.  “Wicked” is there Dec. 6-Jan. 21 2018 and “The Color Purple” goes on July 17-29, 2018.

At the Broadway Playhouse, “90210: The Musical” will be there Sept. 13- Sept. 17 followed by Ken Ludwig’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” Nov. 11-Dec. 31. 2017. Also during that time is Gobsmacked” Dec. 5-10.

 

Chicago Shakespeare

The company has expanded its venue at Navy Pier to include The Yard so some of the shows are there and others in its regular hall. Check when buying tickets.

“The Taming of the Shrew is Sept.16 – Nov. 12 and James Thierrée’s “The Toad Knew” opens The Yard Sept. 19 – 23. “Amarillo” is Oct. 17 – 29, 2017 and “Red Velvet” is Dec 1, 2017 –Jan 21, 2018. “Short Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is Feb 3-March 10, “Macbeth” is April 25-June 24 and “Waiting for Godot” is May 23- June 3, 2018.

For details visit Chicago Shakes and call (312-595-5600. Chicago Shakespeare is at 800 E. Grand Ave. on Navy Pier, Chicago.

The Chicago Theatre hosts a variety of shows. Jacobs photo
The Chicago Theatre hosts a variety of shows. Jacobs photo

 

Chicago Theater

The historic venue has something going on every weekend but some of the seasons highlights are Fleet Foxes, Oct. 3-4,Steve Martin and Martin Short Oct. 6-7, Tori Amos, Oct. 27 Dream Theater in contcrt, Images, Words and Beyond Mov. 3 An evening with the Avett Brothers Nov. 9-11 Celtic thunder  Symphony Tour dec. 7 Joe Biden American Promise tour Dec. 11 For more information visit Chicago Theater. The Chicago Theater is at 175 N State St. For tickets call (800) 745- 3000 or go to Ticketmaster.com.

 

Goodman Theatre

The Goodman starts fall with Arthur Miller’s  “A View From the Bridge” Sept 9 – Oct 15 followed by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Nov 18 – Dec 31, 2017. Rogelio Marinez’ “Blind Date” (Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev) is Jan 20- Feb. 25, 2018 followed by Henrik  Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” Mar. 10-Apr 15. Emily Mann’s “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years” is May 5-June 10 and Ellen Fairey’s “Support Group for Men” is June 23-july 29.

In addition, Goodman’s Annual New Stages Festival is Sept 20-Oct. 8. The  Festival features new works by Christina Anderson, David Cale, Mikhael Tara Garver, Rebecca Gilman, Ike Holter, Jose Rivea, Mat Smart and Bess Wohl.

Goodman Theatre is at 170 N. Dearborn St. For for information visit Goodman. or call (312) 443-3800.

 

Harris Theatre for Music and Dance

October features Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists have announced an ambitious international tour, with concert performances of all three operas – L’Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and L’incoronazione di Poppea – and Rennie Harris Puremovement and Arias a dn Barcarolle by Lincoln center chamber music society .

Nov.  has “Hot Sardines” comeing. Cec. Brandenburg concertos. By lincon chentr chambermusic society . Jan Brian Brooks dance Companyh, and lc chanmber doing Brahms and dvorak . Feb American Ballet and chamber doing Vienna to Hollywood

March is Mark Morris dance group with the Silk Road Ensemle and then Christian Scott aTude Adjuah May is chamber duoing Tempost in C Minor.

The Harris Theater is at the north end of Millennium park at 205 E. randolph St. For tickets and more events visit Harris and call (312) 334-7777.

Lookingglass is in the historic Water Works. Jacobs photo
Lookingglass is in the historic Water Works. Jacobs photo

 

Lookingglass

Lookingglass is in the historic Water Works across form Water Tower Place. The theatre company is known for artistic innovation and interpretation that often includes gymnastics.

Next season features “Hard Times” Oct. 4, 2017 – January 14, 2018, “Plantation” Feb. 21 – Apr. 22 ending with “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” May 23, Aug. 19, 2017.

Lookingglass Theatre is at 821 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611. For tickets and more information visit Lookingglass or call (312) 337-0665.

 

Take a look and enter it on the calendar so you don’t miss a great show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theatre scene shines in western suburbs

 

It’s not too early to check out shows that are coming in 2017-18.

Drury Lane,Oakbrook Terrace, will have theater-goers rockin', tappin' and cheerin' this coming season. Photo courtesy of Drury Lane Theatre.
Drury Lane,Oakbrook Terrace, will have theater-goers rockin’, tappin’ and cheerin’ this coming season. Photo courtesy of Drury Lane Theatre.

Because Metropolitan Chicago is rich in theatre and entertainment choices, what is happening and where next season is divided into areas. Click northern suburbs season options for that section. City sections will be next.

First, take a look at some of the go-to possibilities west of Chicago. They are exciting enough to attract people from other areas in and around the city.

Read More

Great shows make up an exciting season north of Chicago

 

Chicago theatres and entertainment venues have a terrific line-up of shows for the 2017-18 season. Now is a good time to plan what to see with season tickets or dropping hints for birthday or holiday presents.

Genesee Theatre north of Chicago in Waukegan features name entertainers. Photo courtesy of Genesee Theatre
Genesee Theatre north of Chicago in Waukegan features name entertainers. Photo courtesy of Genesee Theatre

Don’t just consider plays. There’s also one-and two-nighters of top entertainers at a couple of venues. With so many places to go for a night out the Chicago theatre scene has to be broken into different areas. Not everything to see is downtown or Near North. So, try some of the theatres and other venues north of the city.

Read More

Ravinia Festival still draws the crowds

 

With such top drawing festivals and names as Pitchfork, Windy City Smokeout and Jimmy Buffett (among several others) filling  parks and fields all over Chicago this past weekend, you might think that a north suburban music outpost would not be jammed.

Yet Ravinia Festival in Highland Park packed them in for James Arthur, Fitz & The Tantrums and OneRepbulic, Saturday, and its Tchaikovsky Spectacular played by the CSO, Sunday.

Ravinia Festival was jammed an hour before the Tchaikovsky Spectacular Sunday. Jodie Jacobs photos
Ravinia Festival was jammed an hour before the Tchaikovsky Spectacular, Sunday. Jodie Jacobs photos

“Every inch of space and lawn was filled,” said a One Republic fan describing the Saturday scene.

If understandable for the pop rock genre, it might have come as a surprise to classical music lovers that the same was true on Sunday as visitors kept filing in and looking for even a few inches to sit and picnic.

The luckier folks, or make that those in the know, staked out their space two hours ahead of Sunday’s early, 5 p.m. concert start.

Spread out with a yummy-looking picnic under the trees before the crowds descended were The Nelson family who came from Chesterton and  West Lafayette, IN and from Evanston.

“We all came last year,” said Wendy Nelson, Evanston. The rest chimed in with “We enjoyed it so much wanted to do it again,” said Laura Nelson, West Lafayette; “You know, Purdue University,” husband Jeffrey said. They were there with parents Eileen and Roger Nelson, Chesterton. “I’m the patriarch,” said Roger.

The Nelson family, Jeffrey, Laura, Eileen, Wendy and Roger, arrived at Ravinia early to chat and find a choice picnic spot, Sunday.
The Nelson family, Jeffrey, Laura, Eileen, Wendy and Roger, arrived at Ravinia early to chat and find a choice picnic spot, Sunday.

By 4 p.m. the lawn was a sea of humanity. After the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, a sterling piano performance of Concerto No. 1 by Simon Trpceskiand and the Francesca da Rimini fantasy, came the 1812 Overture with real cannons in a roped off area.

When the smoke faded and the last note played, some people left to catch the Union Pacific North Line train but that didn’t make much of a dent in the crowd that still enjoyed getting together and picnicking on the lawn.

“Great concert,” said a guy from Glen Ellyn on his way to the parking lot.

Well, there are a lot more chances to come to Ravinia, this summer.

Long time Highland Parker Dan Pierce, a former IL State Representative and former Highland Park mayor, strides outside Ravinia's pavilion Sunday.
Long time Highland Parker Dan Pierce, a former IL State Representative and former Highland Park mayor, strides outside Ravinia’s pavilion Sunday.

The CSO returns July 18 with Yefim Bronfman playing Brahm’s Piano Conderto No. 2. The orchestra which makes Ravinia its summer home, will be back for several more concerts including July 20-21 to play Beethoven and Sibelius programs.

BTW, Tony Bennett returns Aug. 4. Hootie & the Blowfish founder Darius Rucker is at Ravinia the next night, Aug. 5.

Santana, the famed guitarist of Latin, rock an jazz fusion, is there Aug. 11-12  and  heartland rocker/rock and roll hall-of-famer John Mellencamp is coming for the first time to Ravinia Aug. 26-27.

Ravinia Festival is at 418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park. For more schedule information, tickets, prices and parking, call (847) 266-5000 and visit Ravinia.

 

Chicago festivals fill out the summer

Taste of Chicago has been here and gone but there are lots more festivals to feed our culinary, cultural and musical cravings this summer. With a city as rich in ethnic neighborhoods and interest in music as Chicago you would expect an almost endless list. But here are a few of the festivals to enjoy before fall’s back-top-school and cooler temps change the social calendar.

Blue Angels return to Chicago in August for the city's Air and Water show. City of chicago photo.
Blue Angels return to Chicago in August for the city’s Air and Water Show. City of Chicago photo.

 

July

July 14 Ravenswood neighborhood

Think revolution. The French celebrate their rising up not July 4 but July 14 when the populace took over the hated Bastille prison in 1790. In Chicago, Bastille Day, also called French National Day is celebrated in French restaurants but also on the grounds of the French School translated as Lycée Français. Located at 1929 W. Wilson, the festival includes the game, pétanque to watch and learn, children’s activities,  music, a DJ, a waiters’ race with trays and a child appropriate film. Attendees bring their own food for a picnic. Wine and beer will be sold nearby because the public cannot bring alcoholic beverages on the school property. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. For other information visit Bastille Day.

 

July 14-16, West of River North

The popular Windy City Smokeout  is back with more beer, barbeque booths and bands. VIP tickets are sold out but individual tickets of $40 and $45 plus three-day $110 tickets are still available. The event is at 560 W. Grand Ave.nue a block west of the Chicago River. For more information visit Windy City Smokeout.

 

July 14-16, Near West neighborhood

Chicago’s famed Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park at Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue. The festival’s reasonable prices and predilection for featuring good bands draws about 50,000 music lovers from across the world. For hours and tickets visit Pitchfork.

 

July 21-23, River North

Taste of River North spreads across Kingsbury and Erie with music stages and food booths the fourth weekend of July. Hours are Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For other information visit Taste of River North.

 

July 22-23, Sheffield Neighborhood

Now in its 29th year, the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk has become a much anticipated summer event. Entered at Sheffield and Webster,the community festival asks for a $10 donation. Hours are noon to 10 p.m.. For other information visit Sheffield.

 

July 29-30, Wicker Park Neighborhood

Wicker Park Fest is all about neighborhood fun with music, food, crafts and children’s activities. For other information visit Wicker Park.

 

August

Aug 4-6, Jefferson Park neighborhood

Jeff Fest features is a music festival in the northwest Jefferson Park area of Chicago around 4822 N. Long Ave. For the band lineup and more information visit Jeff Fest.

 

Aug. 12-13, Boystown

The street-filling North Halsted Market Days returns to Lakeview with food, music and crafts centered at 3400 N. Halsted St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  For other information visit North Halsted.

 

Aug. 18-20, Taylor Street

Go to Festa Italiana to enjoy the culture. There will be traditional food, music, folk dances and games and, of course, meatballs. The festival is on Taylor Street from Ashland Avenue to Racine Street. Hours are Friday, 5  to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. For other information visit Starevents.

 

Aug. 19-20, North Avenue Beach

The Chicago Air and Water Show, a wonderful, free event that draws folks to North Avenue B each and anywhere along the near north shoreline, features the U.S. Navy Blue angels this year along with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and other heart-stopping aerobatics. For more information visit City of Chicago.

 

Aug. 31-Sept 3, Downtown Chicago

The Chicago Jazz Festival ends  the summer in Millenium Park  and at the Chicago Cultural Center. Headliners include Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom and Rebirth Brass Band. For line-up locations and times visit Chicago Jazz.

 

 

Around Chicago: April 21 and more

Itzhak Perlman comes to Lyric for a matinee April 23, 2017. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco
Itzhak Perlman comes to Lyric for a matinee April 23, 2017. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco

The good news is that Chicago is an arts mecca. The problem news is that Chicago is such an arts mecca that it is arguably impossible to catch all the terrific music, art, dance, theater and exhibits offered in the city and suburbs. Listed here is a sampling of really good events that might not have made it to your arts radar.

 

April 21, 2017

Rita Rudner

Comedienne extraordinaire Rita Rudner will be on stage at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m. April 21. A regular act at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Rudner is also a screenwriter, best-selling author, actress and playwright.  For tickets and other information call (847) 673-6300 or visit North Shore Center. The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts is at 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie.

 

April 22-23, 2017

The Perfect American

Philip Glass has fictionalized Walt Disney’s final days as an opera. Composed of dreams and nightmares revolving around the fate of his kingdom and legacy, it includes recognizable people. The Chicago Opera Theater is performing the Chicago premiere of ‘The Perfect American’ at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The Harris is in Millennium Park at 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago. For tickets and other information call (312) 334 -7777 or visit Harris.

 

April 23, 2017

Itzhak Perlman

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is bringing the famed violinist to the city for one performance. It is 3 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Opera House. Accompanied by pianist Rohan De Silva,  Perlman’s program includes Vivaldi’s Sonata in A Major for Violin and Continuo, Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major, Schumann’s Fantasiestuck, and Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in G Major. The Civic Opera House is at 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. For tickets and other information call (312) 827-5600 or visit Lyric.

Odysseo extends through May 7, 2017. Dan Harper photo
Odysseo extends through May 7, 2017. Dan Harper photo

 

Now through May 7, 2017

Odysseo by Cavalia

‘Odysseo,’ a wondrous equestrian production visiting Chicago from Canada, that also includes acrobatics and aerial performances, has been extend through May 7. Drivers who have gone by Soldier Field or the Museum Campus will have seen the huge white tent where ‘Odysseo’ takes place. But what they might not know unless they’ve attended a show is that it has a 17,500 square foot stage that includes a three-story-high hill and other natural elements. The staging makes attendees feel as if they have been transported to the land where these horses cavort instead of the other way around. Entry is through the parking gates on East 18th Drive. For tickets and other information call (866) 999-8111 or visit Cavalia.

 

April 25 through May 7, 2017

Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet is doing ‘Global Visionaries,’ a tribute to several choreographers that includes the world  premiere of a piece by Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman and the Chicago premier of a ballet by Russian choreographer Yuri Possokhov. Also showcased is Dutch choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s ‘Mammatus. The program is at the  Auditorium Theatre 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. For tickets and other information call (312) 341-2310 or visit Auditorium Theatre.

 

 

Around Town

Chicago goes from baroque and Broadway to bacon this week.

Going Baroque

If you haven’t made plans yet for tonight, March 27, 2017,  the glorious sounds of Music of the Baroque will fill the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The program is at 7:30 p.m. but there is a concert lecture across Michigan Avenue at the Chicago cultural Center at 6 p.m.

The Harris Theater is in Millennium Park at 205 E. Randolph Dr. For tickets and other information call (312) 551-1415 and visit Harris.

Fabulous multi-genre concert

The Handsome Family, John Pine and Shemekia Copeland were among the performers at the Chicago Voices Concert. Photo by Cory Weaver
The Handsome Family, John Pine and Shemekia Copeland were among the performers at the Chicago Voices Concert. Photo by Cory Weaver

Whether or not you made it to the Lyric to see the fabulous Chicago Voices Concert, you can see the concert on WTTW Channel 11 at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 30.

The concert features famed opera singer Renée Fleming, Blues Queen Shemekia Copeland, Broadway star Jessie Mueller, jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, tenor Matthew Polenzani, gospel, pop and everything else singer Michelle Williams, folksinger John Prine, the indie folk group The Handsome family and the Trinity Mass choir.

Visit Chicago Theater and Arts for the concert review and go to Chicago Voices for other information.

Yummy Bacon

OK, listen up bacon lovers. Chicago has a Baconfest Friday March 31 and Saturday, April 1. Chefs from local restaurants will be tempting your taste buds and satisfying your bacon cravings at the IC Forum, 725 Roosevelt Rd. for tickets and other information visit bacon.