This Weekend in Chicago’s music world

Lucia di Lammermoor, Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers opens at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15. When a Romeo and Juliet-style love is subverted by a family’s feud and greed, expect the madness that has made the opera famous for its fabulous coloratura scene. Staring Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia, the opera goes through Nov. 6, 2016 at the Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. For tickets and other information visit Lyric and call (312) 827-5600.

Go to the Old Town School of Folk Music, 7 p.m.  Oct. 16, to catch a CD release and concert with the Michael Miles Trio with special guest Darol Anger. Old Town School is at 4545 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For tickets and more information visit Old Town and call (773) 728-6000.

There is still time to catch Light Opera works’ “Let Me Entertain You,” a revue of Jules Styne’s hits such as songs for “Gypsy” and “Funny Girl.” This is the last weekend so get tickets at Light Opera Works. The show is at the Nichols concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. Evanston, IL.

“Smokey Joe’s Café” – a sweet and savory musical journey to yesterday

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, “Smokey Joe’s Café,” is making its Drury Lane debut in Oakbrook Terrace. It’s a high-energy song-and-dance production that looks nostalgically upon a bygone era and infuses it with soulful longing and a few belly laughs. The show opened on Broadway in 1995 and played more than 2,000 performances before closing in 2000.

Justin Keyes, Chris Sams, Will Skip and Tyrone L. Robinson in "Smokey Joe's Café" at Drury Lane. Photo by Brett Beiner
Justin Keyes, Chris Sams, Will Skrip and Tyrone L. Robinson in “Smokey Joe’s Café” at Drury Lane. Photo by Brett Beinera

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Mel Brooks’ hilarious take on Transylvania makes a perfect Halloween outing

RECOMMENDED

“Young Frankenstein,” now playing in Lake Forest through Oct. 30, fits a  seasonal demand for monsters and weird scientists that is tempered by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder humor.

Parker Guidry (Igor) and Nick Miller (Dr. Frankenstein) in Lake Forest Theatre's "Young Frankenstein
Parker Guidry (Igor) and Nick Miller (Dr. Frankenstein) in Lake Forest Theatre’s “Young Frankenstein

Produced by the newly-formed Lake Forest Theatre, the show has terrific musical numbers performed by a talented cast of singers and hoofers. Its “Putting on the Ritz” interpretation of Irving Berlin’s great song and dance number is reason enough to drive to north-suburban Lake Forest.

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Three shows for the Halloween Season

Chicago area theatres do their part to provide fun or spooky entertainment. A show opening this weekend in north suburban Lake Forest is geared to families. A production out in the western suburbs is best for teens and older but is also interesting by the way it asks the audience to move with each scene through an old estate. Another show that will open in mid October at a Chicago theater, will leave audiences with perhaps a different understanding of a Shakespearean tragedy. Check them out this Halloween season.

"Dr. Seward's Dracula" takes audiences through the Mayslake-Peabody Mansion in a forest preserve. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
“Dr. Seward’s Dracula” takes audiences through the Mayslake-Peabody Mansion in a forest preserve. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

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“Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding” revival is a delightfully good time

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

“Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding,” one of Chicago’s longest-running hit shows, has returned after a seven-year hiatus, and it hasn’t aged a bit. The boisterous Italian nuptial farce and interactive dinner-theater engages its “guests” with servings of outrageous humor, heart-warming good cheer and just the right bit of naughtiness.

Hannah-Aaron-Brown (Tina), Billy Minshall (Father Mark) and Mitchell Conti (Tony)
Hannah-Aaron-Brown (Tina), Billy Minshall (Father Mark) and Mitchell Conti (Tony)

New this time around is the two-venue staging within the Belmont Theatre District. The production begins with the wedding ceremony at real-life Resurrection Church and moves for the reception to nearby Vinny Black’s Coliseum AKA Chicago Theater Works.

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Das Rheingold combines dramatic theater with golden voices

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The Lyric Opera of Chicago has opened its 2016-17 season with a remarkable Das Rheingold. Surrealistic set design and creative direction has produced an introduction to Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle (The Ring of the Nibelung) that is as much a theater experience as it is opera. But glorious voices and Wagner’s stirring music remind audiences that Wagner’s combination of German and Norse myths-based epic tales of gold, greed and gods is indeed, exciting, dramatic opera.

Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold now at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Todd Rosenberg Photography
Richard Wagner’s ‘Das Rheingold’ now at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Todd Rosenberg Photography

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Six free and discounted museum visits to ease the budget

Listen up if looking for a weekend activity that won’t empty the pocketbook. Think outer space, mummies or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat’s famed painting.  With the apple picking season beginning to wind down, the coming weekends are a good time to visit one of Chicago’s world class museums whether interested in art, history or science. Fortunately, free and Illinois discount days offset the necessary fees the museums have to charge to make up for cuts in state and other government subsidies. Here are six free and discounted museum ideas.

The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.
The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.

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  This Weekend: Art, Festivals and Music

Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival… If looking for a fun festival atmosphere with lots of local dishes, beer and wine plus bands plus art to see or buy go downtown Evanston, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, 2016. The event is a chance to shop for gifts ahead of the holiday crush and try some of the suburb’s restaurant’ fare. The festival center is at 800 Church Street. Hours: Art Fair – Fri. 4 a.m. –dusk, Sat. 10 a.m.-dusk, Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Food and Music – Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For other information visit Art&Fork.

Evanston's Art & Big Fork Festival. Photo Amdur Productions
Evanston’s Art & Big Fork Festival. Photo Amdur Productions

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‘Visiting Edna’ delves into adult son to parent relationship as death looms

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The power of ‘Visiting Edna,” Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe’s play premiering at Steppenwolf Theatre, is the utter normalcy of the conversations that take place when a married son visits his terminally ill mother.

Debra Monk (Edna) and Ian Barford (Andrew) in 'Visiting Edna' at Steppenwolf Theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow
Debra Monk (Edna) and Ian Barford (Andrew) in ‘Visiting Edna’ at Steppenwolf Theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow

Rabe’s brilliance, projected in the superb acting of Debra Monk as Edna and Ian Barford as son Andrew, is that the drama is subtle enough to apply to almost any family and be understood and appreciated by any audience.

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