‘Julius Caesar’ zooms along in shortened version

RECOMMENDED

Writers Theatre’s production of ‘Julius Caesar’ begs the question – what do you want to take away from Shakespeare’s play about politics and power.

Kareem Bandealy (Brutus) l, and Scott Parkinson (Cassius) r. in Julius Caesar at Writers Theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow
Kareem Bandealy (Brutus) l, and Scott Parkinson (Cassius) r. in Julius Caesar at Writers Theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow

If you want an overpowering sense that assassination of a powerful figure such as Julius Caesar could only call forth chaos whether in Rome or, more broadly, the world, then you will appreciate the WT’s technologically strong visual and sound effects.

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Lake Forest Symphony opens season with a concert jewel

Violinist Stefan Milenkovich
Violinist Stefan Milenkovich

Classical music aficionados used to heading downtown Chicago for programs at Orchestra Hall from fall through spring and to Ravinia Festival in the summer would do well to also check out the Lake Forest Symphony concerts.

With superb interpretations of Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major and Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 “Eroica,” the Lake Forest Symphony reaffirmed its status as a first rate, professional orchestra, last weekend.

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Theater: Fall shows to put on the calendar

'Wonderful Life ' revival comes to Goodman Theatre this fall
‘Wonderful Town ‘ revival comes to Goodman Theatre this fall

With more than 200 theater companies in Metropolitan Chicago there’s no lack of choices in all price ranges, genres and locations. Here is a small sampling of a half-dozen shows that will be in area theaters this fall. Of course you know that ‘Hamilton,’ the mega Tony-Award winning rap musical, opens Sept. 27. But it’s an open run so you might want to check availability later in the year or 2017.

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Art: Add really good art fair to Labor Day activities

 

If you drive over to north suburban Lake Forest between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Labor Day you can catch the second day of one of the best outdoor art shows in the Chicago area. It’s the 62nd Annual Art Fair on the Square.

Sculptor Peter Ruivwa's work at LF art fair
Sculptor Peter Ruivwa’s work at LF art fair

 

Even though it is sponsored the locally run Deer Path Art League, its high quality of artists and reputation for patrons who seriously shop has attracted fine artists from across the country.

You will see really exceptional paintings and sculptures plus good jewelry, wood and glass items.

The fair fills the suburb’s Market Square, a historic downtown area with a European flavor that is on the west side of the Union Pacific train tracks.

For more information visit Deerpath Art League

Art: An art installation of a different kind

You’ve heard of outdoor art installations where objects are wrapped but imagine one that requires precise rototilling.

If you fly over Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, IL you see images of the Starship Enterprise, Spock, Captain Kirk and planetary objects. Or drive there to walk the rototilled trails that define the images. There is also a tower to climb to see the images. They are on a 33-acre cornfield about an hour northwest of Chicago west of Fox Lake.

Star Trek corn maze art installation
Star Trek corn maze art installation

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Review: ‘How to Succeed in Business’ is both dated and current

 

RECOMMENDED

To appreciate ‘How to Succeed in Business,’ now at Marriott Theatre, you have to go back in time to the 1950s when shirtwaist and little jacket dresses were in and large companies had a typing pool of secretaries who dreamed of marrying their boss.

Based on Shepherd Mead’s 1952 satirical book but adapted in 1961 into a Frank Loesser musical with book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, the show is dated. The boss is just as likely to be female.

The second part of Mead’s title is ‘The Dastard’s Guide to Fame and Fortune.” If you haven’t seen the 1967 movie starring Robert Morse, the book’s full title is a clue that the show reveals how some businesses hire and promote employees, back then and, horrors, even now.

Felicia Fields (Miss Jones), Ari Butler (J. Pierrepont Finch) and Terry Hamilton (J.B. Bigley) and company. Marriott Theatre photo
Felicia Fields (Miss Jones), Ari Butler (J. Pierrepont Finch) and Terry Hamilton (J.B. Bigley) and company. Marriott Theatre photo

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Music: Hear Orbert Davis’ Soul Migration at the 38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Instead of fighting Labor Day traffic, the place to be this weekend is downtown Chicago at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park and across Michigan Avenue at the Chicago Cultural Center.

 

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Review: High energy ‘Kinky Boots’ still delivers ‘just be’ message

'Kinky Boots' stars Adam Kaplan, left and J. Harrison Ghee, right at Broadway in Chicago production
‘Kinky Boots’ stars Adam Kaplan, left and J. Harrison Ghee, right at Broadway in Chicago production

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

‘Kinky Boots,’ a high-kicking, Tony Award winning musical by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper, is back in Chicago for only a week. And it’s back better than ever.

As Charlie Price of Price and Son, a failing Northhampton, England men’s shoe company, Adam Kaplan is very convincing as a son who does not want to work in the family business. He moves to London with fiancé Nicola, beautifully sung and interpreted by Broadway and film actress Ellen Marlow. There, Charlie tries to help drag-queen/cabaret star Lola who was being bothered by thugs.

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Review: “Life is a banquet” with Nancy Hays as Mame

From left: Nic Fantl (Beauregard), Nancy Hays (Mame), Alexander Wu (Ito), Alicia Berneche (Agnes Gooch) and Zachary Scott Fewkes (Patrick). Phot Mona Luan
From left: Nic Fantl (Beauregard), Nancy Hays (Mame), Alexander Wu (Ito), Alicia Berneche (Agnes Gooch) and Zachary Scott Fewkes (Patrick). Photo Mona Luan

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Light Opera Works’ “Mame” moves from one terrific scene to the next with never a let-up of charm, clever dialogue or fun.

The musical opens in New York with a terrific Roaring 20s party that begs the question of how can it hold on to such a high note. Well, it is beautifully choreographed by Clayton Cross and  insightfully directed by Rudy Hogenmiller.

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Museums: Last chance to experience early life in northeastern Illinois before Discovery Museum closes for a year

Lake County Discovery Museum open only through August
Lake County Discovery Museum open only through August

Families can go to the Lake County Discovery Museum in  Lakewood Forest Preserve through August. Admission is free. The museum closes September 1, 2016.

The popular hands-on Mall of History and other Discovery Museum exhibits won’t be seen by the public again until the end of 2017 when the museum reopens in Libertyville and has an admission fee.

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