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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Upcoming: Two spectacular free events at Millennium Park in September

On Sept. 9, “Stars of Lyric Opera at Milllennium Park” showcases arias from Carmen, Eugene Onegin, The Magic Flute and Lucia di Lammermoor for a taste of the Lyric Opera’s 2016-17 season plus other operatic numbers by Mozart, Verdi, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and Wagner.

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

Five days later, on Sept. 14, the “Third Annual Fifth Star Awards” honors blues musician Buddy Guy, The Second City improv theater, actress/Black Ensemble Theater founder Jackie Taylor, photographer Victor Skrebneski and National Museum of Mexican Art founder Carlos Tortolero.

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Music: Tony Bennett still going strong at 90

Ravinia Festival was jammed inside the pavilion and out on the lawn last Saturday, but with Tony Bennett caressing the “mic” backed by his outstanding jazz/pop quartet, the atmosphere was nightclub intimate.

Tony Bennett at Ravinia Festival. Also in photo are pianist Mike Renzi and drummer Howard Jones. Photo by Russell Jenkins for Ravinia
Tony Bennett at Ravinia Festival. Also in photo are pianist Mike Renzi and drummer Howard Jones. Photo by Russell Jenkins for Ravinia

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Upcoming: Musical theatre takes on community vibes

For a feel-good night about community-centered groups see Stories and Songs of Chicago at the Harris Theater Sept. 24, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Three Chicago Voices groups to perform at Harris Theatre
Three Chicago Voices groups to perform at Harris Theater

A free program arranged by Lyric Unlimited, Lyric Opera’s education and community outreach arm, the event showcases musical theater productions by “Harmony, Hope & Healing,” “The Kirin-Gornick Band” and “Tellin’ Tales Theatre.”

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Theater: Thoughts about ‘Hamilton’

Assuming you are one of thousands of theater goers who plan to see Hamilton – the hit musical by multi-award-winning lyricist, composer, performer Lin-Manuel Miranda – when it is in Chicago because tickets are easier to come by and cheaper than in New York, think about why you want to see the show.

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Art: America After the Fall

The images that come to mind following the stock market crash of 1929 and resulting economic collapse are breadlines. However, those images are not replayed in “America After the Fall,” a new, temporary exhibit in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern wing.

 

Thomas Hart Benton. Haystack, 1938. Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Thomas Hart Benton. Haystack, 1938. Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

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Art: Three shows to see before they leave

Oops. If waiting until fall to fill in activity calendar dates you might miss out on some of summer’s really good art museum shows. No need to say oops. Take a peek at this short round-up then mark in the ones you want to catch.

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