Lollapalooza tickets for next year

 

Yes Lollapalooza just ended Sunday, but Platinum and VIP tickets are already on sale for 2018.

Lollapalooza crowd Saturday. Photo by Scott Witt
Lollapalooza crowd Saturday. Photo by Scott Witt

Next year the mega music festival returns to Chicago’s Grant Park Aug. 2-5. So if at all interested enter the dates on your calendar. Pick up tickets for all four days or the day you want to go.

BTW some hotel packages are already sold out so if coming to town you probably should book your room now.

The tickets available now are still in 2017 mode. Though not cheap – well maybe not bad considering the headliners, eight stages and 170 bands and what their tickets often cost – the Lolla tickets are likely to be higher next year.

The 2017 Platinum four-day tickets are $4,200 and VIP four-day are $2,200.

Click Lolla to get a ticket and see what is included in the General , VIP and Platinum categories. And pray for no thunderstorms.

 

Tony Bennett going strong at 91

 

Clad in signature vanilla sports jacket and broad grin, Bennett entertained cheering crowds inside Ravinia’s Pavillion and around it on the jammed lawns, Friday, a day after turning 91.

Tony Bennett wows the Ravinia Festival day after his 91st birthday. Photo by Pedro de Jesus for Ravinia.
Tony Bennett wows the Ravinia Festival crowd day after his 91st birthday. Photo by Pedro de Jesus for Ravinia.

“I travel all over but this is my favorite place,” Bennett told the crowd. Indeed, Ravinia Festival is where Bennett has been coming on or day after his Aug. 3 birthday.

Starting with some fine jazz from The Tony Bennett Quartet followed by  a few songs from daughter Antonia Bennett, the iconic pop star was introduced as he’s been in recent concerts by the voice of mentor Frank Sinatra saying he’s “the best.”

After a long standing ovation, the crowd was treated to one notable Bennett hit after another from “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Someone Who Needs Me”  to “Who can I Turn to,” “Because of You and “The Shadow of Your Smile.”

Some were just a few lines such as “Rags to Riches.” Most others were the whole song.

Sometimes his voice was pure, sometimes, raspy, but Bennett showed he still had it with terrific voice control in amazingly long-held notes. Also, there were nice repeats of key words in his emphatic style as in “The Way You Look Tonight. Tonight! Tonight!”

He did a great “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” with jazz, pop and classical pianist Tim Ray sitting in for this season tour regular Billy Stritch.

Ray, who has accompanied Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt and played with Rufus Reid and with the Boston Pops was fun to watch and listen to during solo turns on the piano.

The concert wasn’t all pop. Bennett moved to jazz with “Stepping Out With My Baby” with Ray, as Bennett pointed out, in the style of Duke Ellington.

The blues feeling came with a gorgeous “In My Solitude” done with Bennett’s long-time guitar player, Gray Sargent. Bennett and Sargent did several songs together as a well-matched pair.

Also good to hear were quartet regulars Marshall Wood on bass and Harold Jones on drums in brief shout-outs.

Then there were the audience chuckles as when Bennett started in with “As I approach the prime of my life” in the fine song, “This Is All I Ask.”

It ends with the wonderful words that seem to sum up this multi grammy-winner’s staying power: “And let the music play, As long as there’s a song to sing, and I will stay younger than Spring.”

But with the last words of what some consider his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” the lights came on and the audience applauded thinking the concert was over. However, Bennett continued the joyous evening with a couple more songs.

When it ended for good, the Pavilion audience kept standing and applauding as Bennett left the stage but encores were not to be. Except for short band solos and riffs, he had sung straight through from 9 to 10 p.m. with seemingly endless energy.

And it was easy to believe the final lyrics of “This Is All I Ask.”

 

 

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.

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At Driehaus: Toulouse Lautrec and Tiffany

A visit to the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, a magnificent late 1900’s mansion on East Erie Street, is a double treat.

 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec "Jane Avril" 1893, color lithograph. John Faier Photo
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec “Jane Avril” 1893, color lithograph. John Faier Photo (c) Driehaus Museum

In 2016, the museum hosted an exhibit of Downton Abbey’s fabulous costumes. The mansion’s elaborate rooms which hold several items from Driehaus ‘ vast collection of decorative arts, perfectly fit the exhibit titled “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times.”

This year, the museum is featuring art of a different kind in “L’Affichomani: The Passion for French Posters.”

Spread across two upstairs floors of the museum, the exhibit comes from Driehaus’ own large collection of turn-of-the-last-century posters.

Dating from the Belle Époque of about 1875 to 1910, they show off the wonderful lines and colors favored by their artists: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Jules Chéret, Eugene Grasset and Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen.

Alphonse Mucha " Sarah Bernhardt as "La dame aux Camelias," 1896, color lithograph. John Faier photo.
Alphonse Mucha ” Sarah Bernhardt as “La dame aux Camelias,” 1896, color lithograph. John Faier photo

Of course as posters, they do more than serve as advertisements for particular artists. They advertise entertainers, products and events of the time. In doing so they turned the streets of Paris in art galleries while bringing together art and commerce.

So go for the exhibit, but stay to see the mansion. The Driehause collection includes Tiffany glass.

“L’Affichomani: The Passion for French Poster” Is at the Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago, through Jan. 7, 2018. For admission and hours call  (312) 482-8933 and visit Driehaus.

 

 

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.

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‘American in Paris’ shines with wonderful Gershwin music plus terrific set design and dancing

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Put together George Gershwin’s stirring music, Ira Gershwin’s delightful lyrics, Craig Lucas’ thoughtful book, Christopher Wheeldon’s  exceptional choreography and direction and Bob Crowley’ amazing set design.

Henri (Nick Spangler) and dancers perform a fantasy number at a Parisian club. Photos by Matthew
Henri (Nick Spangler) and dancers perform a fantasy number at a Parisian club. Photos by Matthew Murphy

Then people their work with the fine dancing talents of McGee Maddox of the National Ballet of Canada and Sara Esty, former Miami City Ballet soloist.

Add in the excellent acting and vocal talents of Nick Spangler from Book of Mormon and of Adam Hockberg and Emily Ferranti from “Wicked.

With all that creativity and talent put into one show you’ll have an evening to remember at ‘American in Paris,’ now at the Oriental Theatre through Aug. 19, 2017.

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Around Town: Find Lollapalooza tickets and a great pub or listen to writer secrets

 

Lolla ticket raffle

Just found out there are a few free Lollapalooza tickets waiting to be won. The Boundary at 1932 W. Division St. and the Old Town Pour House at 1419 N. Wells St. have a raffle going for impossible-to-get tickets to Lolla-land.

The deal is that patrons at either bar who purchase a Red Bull anytime from July 28 through July 30 will be entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to Lollapalooza, Aug. 5-6, 2017. For more information visit the Boundary  and Old Town Pour House.

 

Hey Hey!

Brickhouse Tavern's upstairs deck overlooks The Park at Wrigely. Jodie Jacobs Photo
Brickhouse Tavern’s upstairs deck overlooks The Park at Wrigely. Jodie Jacobs Photo

 

Picture yourself sitting on a deck above The Park at Wrigley, a cold glass of Goose Island Green Line in one hand and a tasty buttermilk fried chicken sandwich in the other. I did that this week after a Cubs game at the just opened Brickhouse Tavern.

I loved the old baseball personality photos and Jack Brickhouse memorabilia around the upstairs bar. I’m also in love with the “Tuna Poke.” It was a great starter of diced raw tuna, mango, watermelon and other stuff.

The Brickhouse Tavern is at 3647 N. Clark St. But you can forget the address. Merely look for it at the north end of The Park. For more info visit Brickhouse Tavern.

 

Writers tell their secrets

If at all interested in penning a book and selling it go over to the American Writers Museum on Michigan Avenue near Lake Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m., July 27, 2017 to hear five writers who know from experience what it takes to succeed.

Sue Baugh will talk about “Five fiction techniques for compelling non-fiction.” Cyndee Schaffer will give “Five pointers you need to know about memoir writing”

Barbara Barnett will discuss “Five reasons you need an editor.” Reno Lovison offers, “Five important tips related to book marketing.” Cynthia Clamitt will cover “Five rules of nonfiction writing.”

You might also be inspired by the exhibits in the museum. Enjoy! The American Writers Museum is on the second floor of 180 N. Michigan Ave.

 

Old boy meets girl story still resonates as a witty musical

RECOMMENDED

Tony Award nominated ‘They’re Playing Our Song,’ now a Brown Paper Box production at Rivendell Theater, is a boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, have problems, split and get back-together-again story with a celebrity twist.

Dan Gold (Vernon) and Carmen Risi (Sonia) and company in "They're Playing Our Song." A Brown Paper Box Co. photo
Dan Gold (Vernon) and Carmen Risi (Sonia) and company in “They’re Playing Our Song.”
A Brown Paper Box Co. photo

With book by Neil Simon,  music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, the show is a witty, entertaining musical with such easy listening songs as “If He Really Knew Me,” “When You’re in My Arms,” “I Still Believe in Love,” and “They’re Playing Our Song.”

What oldsters may remember from when the show opened on Broadway in 1979 with Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz, is that it is somewhat autobiographical about Hamlisch and Sager’s 1970’s relationship.

The show is about New York Grammy and Oscar award-winning pop music composer Vernon Gersch connecting with lyricist Sonia Walsk because he is looking for a collaborator.

They start off with problems because Sonia is bubbly but has trouble keeping appointments anywhere near on time and is very busy trying to break up with a long-time boyfriend, and Vernon is sarcastic, uptight and somewhat aloof.

They start to bond when on a “non date” proposed by Sonia they dance and hear the band play songs they wrote.

Problems Sonia has with ex boyfriend Leon eventually comes between them when she appears very late for a recording session and Vernon says he can’t take it any longer.

That they still have feelings for each other becomes evident when they reconnect in LA.

On the cute side, Sonia wears dresses used in shows given her by a stage friend. On the witty side, they are both neurotic so Simon has Vernon saying “She’s a flake, I’m a flake. Two flakes make a snowstorm.”

She is in awe of his composing talent but he is in awe of her bubbly personality. He remarks that if a power outage causes a blackout in New York the only light seen would be coming from her.

Sonia is perfectly portrayed by Carmen Risi who has acted in Oil Lamp and Citadel productions in the Chicago area and in Four Seasons productions in Madison, WI.

Dan Gold who is often in Mercury, Apollo, Porchlight and Light Opera Works  productions, is very believable as Vernon.

The two leads are totally convincing in their angst and attraction to each other.

My problem watching the show was with the Greek chorus of three females who are supposed to be in Sonia’s head and the three mails from Vernon’s head.

Even though they were talented singers and dancers, I found them distracting and sometimes annoying.

However, the leads are good enough and the show witty enough to make it a delightful evening out. To learn more about Carole Bayer Sager, see her 2016 book, “They’re Playing Our song: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster).

“They’re Playing Our Song” will be at Rivendell Theater, a small store front space at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago, now through Aug. 20, 2017. For tickets and other information visit Brown Paper Box.

 

 

Cirque du Soleil turns its magical talents into a Mexican dream

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Luzia – a combination of two Spanish words for light, “luz,” and rain, “lluvia,” is the backdrop for a unique performance that unites traditional Cirque du Soleil elements with scenes and characters from Mexico.

In “Luzia – A Waking Dream of Mexico,” acrobatic performances, beautiful costumes and music will not disappoint, even if they are somewhat expected in a Cirque du Soleil production.

Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico, is under the Big top next to the United Center now through sept. 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.
Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico is under the Big top next to the United Center now through Sept. 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

The show opens with a traveler parachuting on to the stage. He will guide the audience on a magical and comedic journey through time and space.

After landing, he turns a large key and the show slowly begins to unveil the beauty of Mexico with a woman (Shelli Epstein) playing the role of the Monarch butterfly.

Although the beginning may start off slowly, hoop-diving acrobats dressed in hummingbird costumes bring it back to life in the second scene as they go through their routines on moving treadmills. With each leap, the acrobats perform a series of moves with increasing difficulty and grace.

As the show progresses from one scene to the next, the performers display their unique talents – balancing on one hand, flying from a trapeze and using aerial straps to move in ways you don’t expect.

However, it was the water and light show that generated some of the loudest applause. There is an impressive, controlled wall of rain with gorgeous pictures projected on it.

Everyone expects to be amazed, perplexed and amused by a Cirque du Soleil show. It’s a rarity to be made mildly queasy, but intentionally or not they pull it off with the most memorable and discomfiting positions of male contortionist Aleksei Goloborodko.

Throughout the show, the traveler, Eric Fool Koller, ensures the youngest members of the audience will leave with big smiles on their faces as he takes turns playing the narrator and the more traditional, bumbling circus clown.

Skillfully directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, I highly recommend the show for both returning Cirque du Soleil fans and anyone who has never experienced the beauty and athletic abilities of this type of performance.

Cirque du Soleil’s “Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico” will be playing at the United Center (Parking Lot K) now through Sept. 3, 2017. For tickets and other information visit Cirque du Soleil Luzia.

– Sheri Jacobs

 

Kiss and Hamilton and Shakespeare, really?

OK, so a famous rock and roll group, a mega-hit musical and a play that has inspired musicals and operas may or may not appeal to different audiences. But they all are Chicago performance news.

 

Romeo and Juliet reenact their love story in Chicago parks

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is back in Chicago parks this summer with free ;performances. Chicago Shakespeare photo
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is back in Chicago parks this summer with free ;performances. Chicago Shakespeare photo productions

 

The internationally renowned Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is returning for a sixth year to put on a free show in Chicago’s city parks. This year, the production is a 75 minute version of “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of two young lovers from feuding families.

Starting off at the just completed Polk Bros Park at the entrance to Navy Pier, performances will be at 7 p.m. July 26-28.. From there it will move to 17 Chicago neighborhoods through Aug. 27, 2017.

Shakespeare in the Parks has been the basis for 1,300 free Chicago ark District’s “Night Out in the Parks” summer events.

The free Shakespeare shows is possible through a partnership of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank.

For a list of parks and dates visit Chicagoshakes.

 

Hamilton cast news

Hamilton Company at Private Bank Theatre Photo by Joan Marcus
Hamilton Company at Private Bank Theatre Photo by Joan Marcus

“Memphis Tony nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Montego Glover will be taking the part of Angelica Schuyler in the Chicago company of “Hamilton” in early September, according to producer Jeffrey Seller.  In addition, Broadway cast member Gregory Treco is moving to the Chicago company to play Aaron Burr Sept. 8.

“Hamilton,” the mujlti-Tony Award winning musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is at The PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago.  A touring company will open in LA at at the Pantages Theatre Aug. 8, 2017.

Historian Ron Chernow’s “Alexander Hamilton” a biography about the West Indies immigrant who instrumental in the Revolutionary War and became the first US Secretary of the Treasury.

For information visit Hamilton.

 

KISS is coming

Aurora’s RiverEdge Park hosts 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of fame Kiss for a spectacular “Shout it Out Loud” concert. 8 p.m. Aug. 20, 2017.

General admission is $70. A VIP Meet and Greet packageof perks is $1,250 and a less expensive VIP package is $325 (fees extra).

RiverEdge Park is at 360 N. Broadway, Aurora. For tickets and other information call (630) 896-6666 and visit RiverEdgeAurora.