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.
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.
Part of the fun of summer is walking around outdoor art fairs to see what a favorite artist is doing now, visit a suburb or neighborhood on the to do list and get the bod moving without having to exert the same muscles used for sports.
July 7-9 Downtown Chicago
After visiting the “Bean” in Millennium park, walk a couple blocks north on Michigan Avenue where you will spy the telltale white tents of an art show. About 130 artists will be there through 5 p.m. July 9. It’s the 9th annual Millennium Art Festival. For other information visit AmdurProductions.
July 15 & 16 Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood
The 4th Annual Southport Art Festival, held in the Lakeview Nieighborhood, features about 130 artists on Southport Avenue from Waveland to Byron. It is hosted by the Southport Neighbor’s Association to benefits local causes. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit AmdurPrioductions.
July 22 & 23 Geneva
The Geneva Fine Arts Fair is a good chance to visit the charming town of Geneva, IL west of Chicago. The fair of approximately 175 exhibitors spreads out downtown from at 8 S. Third St. on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit EMEvents
July 29 & 30 Glencoe
About 130 artists set up booths downtown north suburban Glencoe the last weekend of July for the Annual Glencoe Festival of Art. The fair center is Park and Vernon Avenues. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. BTW the interesting structure on Tudor Court a block north of Park Avenue is Writers Theatre designed by Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang Architects. More information: Amdur Productions.
Aug. 5 & 6 Glenview
Art at the Glen features 185 arts in The Glen Tower Center, a section of Glenview, IL that used to hold the Glenview Naval Base that now has a mix of housing and commercial properties plus the Kohl Children’s Museum. Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For other information visit Amdur Productions.
Aug. 19 & 20 Oakbrook
The Oak Brook Fine Art Festival is a chance to mix art and fall apparel shopping.It’s held at the Oakbrook Center Oakbrook Shopping Center, 100 Oakbrook Center. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.. For more information visit Amdur Productions .
Aug. 26 & 27 Oak Park
The suburb of Oak Park, just west of Chicago is holding its Oak Park Avenue-Lake Arts Crafts Show in Scoville Park at Oak Park Ave and Lake Street. Operated by the American Society of Artists, the hours are Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tip: You might want to look up Frank Lloyd wright’s Oak Park designed structures before you go so you know where to look on the way to or from the art fair. For more information visit the American Society of Artists. For other information visit American Society of Artists.
August 26 & 27 Highland Park
Among the top most popular art fairs, The Port Clinton Art Festival draws entries from all over the world and visitors from across the Midwest. About 265 artists’ booths take over the Port Clinton outdoor shopping square, Central Avenue and 1st and 2nd Streets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For other information visit Amdur Productions.
August 26 & 27 Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood
The last weekend in August is also the Annual Bucktown Arts Fest. Approximately 200 artists will be in Senior Citizens Memorial Park, 2300 N. Oakley Ave & 2300 W. Lyndale St.11 am to 7 pm 200 Artists The Bucktown Arts Fest is a non-profit, all volunteer-run, neighbourhood celebration of the arts. The fair benefits arts education programming at Holstein Park and in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods. For other information visit Bucktown Arts Fest.
The Writers Theatre production of ‘Parade, a powerful, Tony Award-winning musical about the wrongful conviction and death of a Jewish factory manager, is so well acted and sung that many audience members seemed to have bought the false witnesses’ stories.
They must have believed the manager was guilty because there were gasps from the show’s opening night audience when in the second act the stories turned out to be no more than lies coached by a prosecutor with an eye on the governorship.
The story is a true tale of how Leo Frank, a Brooklyn Jew, is deliberately convicted and killed for the rape and death of a young Atlanta, GA factory girl in 1913.
Although married to a lass Georgia born and bred, Frank was a Yankee and a Jew. He appeared cold and unfriendly and didn’t appreciate his wife in the beginning.
Playwright Batheseba Doran has placed opposite backgrounds and personalities into already trying circumstances in ‘The Mystery of Love & Sex,’ now at Writers Theatre in Glencoe.
The play opens with college students Charlotte (Haley Burgess) and Jonny (Travis Turner), inviting Charlotte’s parents, Howard (Keith Kupfere) and Lucinda (Lia Mortensen), over to Charlotte’s dorm room for dinner.
Charlotte had chosen the college, somewhere in the South over Yale to be near Jonny, her long-time neighbor and dear friend.
Howard and Lucinda want to know more about the kids’ relationship and are determined to be understanding if Jonny becomes part of their family.
Charlotte wants to see if she should be having a deeper relationship with Jonny even though she admits to being attracted to a female college student. Underlying her concern is an attempt to kill herself years ago when she was bullied after saying she thought another girl was attractive.
But the play is about more than exploring sexual propensities. Charlotte is white and Jewish while Jonny is a black Baptist who believes in having a traditional, Baptist family even though he later admits to affairs with other males.
Then there are the parents’ problems. Howard, a successful mystery writer is a New York Jew and Lucinda, an elegant woman who needs a cigarette during tense situations, is a born and bred Southern belle who converted when they married. Their marriage is experiencing mid-life angst.
The situations of exploring sexuality, midlife-crisis, mixed faith marriages and mixed race relationships are real. But throwing them all into the same play has given the dialogue and actions a contrived feel. That is even with the exceptional acting of Burgess as Charlotte.
Turner, who was outstanding in Lookinglass’ “Thaddeus and Slocum” and Second City’s “Longer, Louder Wagner” at the Lyric, appeared uncomfortable with his clichéd dialogue as Jonny.
As good as actors Kupferer and Mortensen are, it felt as if you were watching them perform the dialogue of representative characters rather than becoming real people.
Details: ‘The Mystery of Love & Sex,’ written by Bathsheba Doran and directed by Marti Lyons, is at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, now through July 9, 2017. For tickets and other information call (847) 242-6000 and visit Writers Theatre.
In East Texas Hot Links, Writers Theatre’s current show, the rhythmic speech of Adolph the “Professor,” the café setting, the discussions about work, life and death, and a sense of the economic futility of being black in a white man’s world, is somewhat reminiscent of playwright August Wilson’s Two Trains Running that ran at Goodman Theatre in 2015.
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.
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.
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.