Around Town: Filling December with joy

 

Larry Yando as Scrooge in Goodman theatre's audio version of 'A Christmas Carol' (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre
Larry Yando as Scrooge in Goodman theatre’s audio version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre

 

 Marley as undead as a 1940s-50’s radio program

It’s OK not to reveal your age but does anyone remember sitting by the radio to hear the weekly broadcast of a favorite program? The “spirits” of good old family entertainment are back thanks to Goodman Theatre.

With renown Chicago actor Larry Yando once again portraying Scrooge, Goodman will put on its annual holiday treat, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens as a free, audio broadcast beginning 7 p.m. Dec. 1.  The story line is adapted by Tom Creamer and directed by Jessica Thebus. It is  adapted for audio by Neena Arndt, Jessica Thebus and Richard Woodbury.

Visit Carol/goodmantheatre for more information. You can also tune in to WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 F.M. Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 25 at 11 a.m. The program will also be available through On Demand.

 

Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo courtesy of Joffrey Ballet)
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo courtesy of Joffrey Ballet)

A Joffrey “Nutcracker’ dance class

Remember when short, Nutcracker dance classes were available for youngsters at the Chicago Cultural Center? The Joffrey Academy of Dance is offering “Virtual enchanted Evening: The Nutcracker” in two sessions: ages 4-6, Dec. 4 and ages 7-9 Dec. 11. Hours are 6:30-7”30 p.m. CT. The fee is $15. To find out what is needed and for more information or to register visit Virtual enchantged evening/Evenbrite.

 

Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater)
Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure

It’s time after months of the pandemic for some faith and maybe,  a little pixie dust. You can visit Neverland via Chicago Shakespeare Theater, free, from noon Dec. 19, 2020 to 11:59 Jan. 1, 2021.

The production is a newly re-mastered, 80-minute feature film that was shot live of the 2018 production. Music is by the award-winning duo of Broadway’s “Mary Poppins” with a score by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewer.

Adapted from the play by J.M. Barrie with permission from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children the production is presented by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

For more information and to get the stream visit ChicaoShakespeareTheatre/PeterPan.

 

Around Town: Three fun activities

 

Tiffany dome at Chicago Cultural Center (J Jacobs photo)
Tiffany dome at Chicago Cultural Center (J Jacobs photo)

Now that November is here, normally, (and what is normal anymore?) calendars are full of fall and early winter events.  In the Chicago area that means many holiday activities and shows are usually available in person. Some of them are still taking place with timed tickets such as the Botanic Garden’s Lightscape and the Museum of Science and Industry’s Holiday Trees. More on those events next time. But other events will be presented differently this year. Here are a few suggestions.

 

Cloud Gate in Millennium Park (J Jacobs photo)
Cloud Gate in Millennium Park (J Jacobs photo)

Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park

Take a free tour of the Chicago Cultural Center or the art in Millennium Park.

The tours are offered virtually on demand by volunteers through the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Among stops at the 1897 Cultural Center is the Tiffany dome.

The Millennium Park tour includes work by Anish Kapoor and Kerry James Marshal. For more information and to sign up visit DCASEvolutuntours.

 

Art on theMART starts new projects. (Photo courtesy of theMART)
Art on theMART starts new projects. (Photo courtesy of theMART)

Drive or walk by theMART,

Art on theMart starts again Nov. 12. Among the scenes will be the Joffrey ballet’s images from “the Nutcracker,” and pictures from the Art Institujte of chicago’s M\”Monet and Chicago, “Bisa Butler’s Portraits and “
Arts of Life.

The images will on nightly at 7 and 7:30 through Dec. 30o. For more information visit artonthemart.com.

 

It's a wonderful Life Live (American Blues Theater photo
It’s a wonderful Life Live (American Blues Theater photo

“It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago

The American Blues Theater is bringing back its annual production. The classic show runs 80 minutes andcan be viewed virtually. However, it is live so there are specific times, dates and tickets.

“At American Blues, we miss so much of the experience of live theater, including its energy, social nature and ephemeral quality.,” said Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside

“This season, we will bring “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago” entirely live for every scheduled performance. We will also be interactive, bringing our popular audiograms to audience members during every performance.,” said. Whiteside. She added,” This year has been filled with so much uncertainty, but the one thing audiences can count on is the holiday tradition of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Based on Frank Capra’s film, it can be seen online Nov. 12 2020 through Jan. 2, 2021. For tickets and more information visit American Blues Theater.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Three reconfigured holiday shows

 

The Joffrey Ballet in The Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)
The Joffrey Ballet in The Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

Chicago’s theater community has come up with some interesting ways to present their shows for this COVID-directed 2020 holiday season.

 

“The Nutcracker”

The Joffrey Ballet is holding a one-time virtual look “behind the curtain” on the creation of the company’s famed “The Nutcracker” ballet. The event, held 3 p.m. Nov. 3, includes performance clips and interviews.  Tickets are $25. for tickets and more information visit Joffrey/event.

 

“A Christmas Carol”

The perennial Goodman Theatre favorite will be an audio play streaming  free, Dec. 1-31, 2020.

Directed by Jessica Thebus, the classic Charles Dickens holiday tale about compassion and redemption features Larry Yando in his 13th year as Ebenezer Scrooge.

“The notion of a holiday season without our production of “A Christmas Carol”—a favorite annual Chicago tradition for more than four decades—did not seem like an option in spite of the many challenges we face in producing live theater at this moment,” said Goodman Executive Director Roche Schulfer who initiated the production at the Goodman in 1978.

“At a time when this story is needed perhaps more than ever, we are pleased to offer this audio production free of charge as a gift to our city,” Schulfer said.

For more information visit Goodman Theatre.

 

“Christmas Carol”

Manual Cinema’s holiday show created for 2020 features live shows performed in the Chicago studio on specific dates that viewers will see via a streaming digital format on Marquee TV, Dec. 2-20, 2020.

This version follows Aunt Trudy, a holiday skeptic who is supposed to channel her late husband Joe’s Christmas cheer from the isolation of her studio apartment. She reconstructs Joe’s annual “Christmas Carol” puppet show over Zoom while the family celebrates Christmas Eve under lockdown.

As Trudy becomes more absorbed in her own version of the story, the puppets take on a life of their own. The show turns into a cinematic retelling of the classic tale. For information and tickets (15) visit manualcineman.  The event hosting and ticketing platform is mixily.com).

Go behind the scenes with The Joffrey Ballet

 

 

Joffrey Ballet's (Cheryl Mann photo from 2018)
Joffrey Ballet’s (Cheryl Mann photo from 2018)

Until the Chicago arts scene is back live on stage some of the companies have been streaming parts of their productions and others have been taking folks behind the scenes. The latest treasure find is The Joffrey Ballet

Go to “Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance to learn via a PBS American Masters documentary how a small ensemble became the international sensation now based in Chicago.

Then, go to “Romeo and Juliet” to watch the lead couple’s beautiful, intimate dance scene.

Follow that with Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker” dances starting with the snow scene.You get to see gorgeous dancing while listening to Tchaikovsky’s beloved music.

 

Related: Memorable Chicago Shakespeare Moments

Jodie Jacobs

Celebrating Saint Paddy

Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the Irish. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, claim a little Irish blood. Wear something green. Say Sláinte for cheers and toast Éire go Brách! (Ireland forever). But you don’t have to wait until March 17, the commemorative date of St. Patrick’s death to celebrate his feast day.

Chicago celebrates this patron saint of Ireland with parades, multiple pub toasts, Irish dancing, music, special boat cruises and of course, the famed turning of the Chicago River green several days before the official date.

The festival, concert and river scene

Siamsa Na Ngael celebration at Symphony Center, 220 S.. Michigan Ave. brings Celtic music, dance and stories to the Chicago symphony’s home, March 11.

House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, features the famed Gaelic Storm on March 13-14.

March 13-15 Cruises take off from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue docks to the sounds of Irish music and tour the Chicago River or watch it turn green. For March 14’s river dyeing event check with Wendella for a 21 and older cruise and a kids cruise.  Or visit Shoreline Sightseeing’s Architecture River Cruises that celebrate Saint Paddy’s weekend by also learning about Chicago’s buildings. Other cruise choices are to see what the Spirit of Chicago Lunch Cruise has on the menu for March 14 or consider the inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cruise to watch the river change color, March 14.

Irish American Heritage Festival  is the annual popular place to head for food, drinks, good Irish dancers and good bands when the City of Chicago parade is over on Saturday. The Heritage Center is at 4626 N Knox Ave. Tickets are needed for the festival which goes from 1 to 11:59 p.m.

Shamrock on the Block is another popular post Saturday parade spot for food, drinks and entertainment. It’s like a large block party outside Old St. Pats Church at 700 W. Adams St.

River Dyeing happens at 9 a.m. March 14 along Wacker Drive between Columbus Drive and State Street. To watch from the Michigan Avenue Bridge or the walkways, get there early because the event normally attracts crowds.

The parades

City of Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade is considered the largest of its kind in the U.S. Beginning at noon, politicians, floats, bagpipers, dancers and bands take three hours to go north on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe Drives.

Southside Irish Parade on March 15 is a neighborhood, family-friendly parade that draws from other areas. Once canceled because of drinking there is a strictly enforced no drinking policy in the neighborhood and along the parade route which  goes along Western Avenue from 103 rd  St. to 115th.St. The parade steps off at noon.

Northwest Side Irish Parade starts at noon at the William J. Onahan School then goes south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway then north to Harlem Avenue. Parade watchers often go to a post parade party at St. Thecla Falcon Hall, 6725 W. Devon Ave,. for food, drinks and entertainment from 1 to 5 p.m.

Sláinte

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Dancing near the river

 

Riverdance cast at Cadillac P:alace Theatre in Chicago (Jack Hartin Photo)
Riverdance cast at Cadillac P:alace Theatre in Chicago
(Jack Hartin Photo)

4 stars

“Riverdance” has played for a quarter of a century. Now appearing in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, Riverdance’s folk-driven exciting sounds and steps have been loved by people of all ages.

In 1995, the show’s premiere was in Dublin with Irish and international music and dance. Then it went to London followed by a hugely successful tour begn in New York in 1996.

During the next two decades, “Riverdance” toured North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania, South Africa, and South America. It has been a favorite Grammy Award-winning show all over the world!

Trading taps at the Riverdance show in Chicago. (Jack Hartin Photo)
Trading taps at the Riverdance show in Chicago. (Jack Hartin Photo)

The Riverdance Irish troupe was 24 dancers, with the six principals being Will Bryant, Maggie Darlington, Anna Mai Fitzpatrick, Patrick O’Mahony, Jason O’Neill, and Gianna Petracic.

The Riverdance tappers were Lamont Brown and Tyler Knowlin. And there were also additional dancers in the Russian folk dance troupe.

Not only was the audience thrilled with the dancing, but the singers, drums, saxophone, fiddles and whistles made the music fabulous. And the background showed many places, beginning with the river and continuing through many areas with spectacular lighting and beautiful costume designs.

DETAILS: “Riverdance” is at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre at 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago through Feb. 9 2020/. Running time: 2 hours with one intermission. For tickets and other information, call Broadway In Chicago at (800) 775-2000, or go visit Broadway in Chicago.

Francine Pappadis Friedman

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

From parades to performances Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

 

celebrates with its annual Argyle parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown Assoc.)
Uptown Chicago neighborhood celebrates with its annual Argyle parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown Assoc.)

Lanterns, dragons, colorful dances, art and instrumental music – there are Chinese New Year events in the next couple of weeks that will enrich our appreciation of Chinese culture.

But do you know your zodiac animal? If you go to any of the Chinese New Year programs in Chicago, you will likely hear that 2020 is the Year of the Rat. Because different elements also take turns, you might hear that it is the metal rat. A good, easy place to find out your animal sign and more about the Chinese Zodiac is the astronomy site of Time and Date.

Now you’re ready to check out the following events to see which fits into your calendar. They are free, open to the public and in Chicago unless otherwise noted.

Chinese Fine Arts Society Chinese New Year Kickoff

On Jan 24 at noon go to the Chicago Cultural Center during the lunch hour to see  lion dances, martial arts, traditional Chinese  dance and hear  China’s Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre. The location is the Preston Bradley Hall on the third floor of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. For more information visit ChicagoCulturalCenter/events.

Continue reading “From parades to performances Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year”

Holiday Happenings Part One

Seeing A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (2018 production)is a holiday tradition. (Goodman Theatre photo)
Seeing A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (2018 production)is a holiday tradition. (Goodman Theatre photo)

Instead of going crazy trying to get to even a quarter of the all terrific festivals, shows and events in and around Chicago this holiday season, make a plan. Figure out which show and happening you and/or your family want to see most, put them on the calendar, then list the next couple of things you would like to do.

Because there are so many events, they are divided into two parts with shows (because they need tickets) and special events (because they may be one-time, date-specific)  in Part I which is a sampler and not a complete list.

Continue reading “Holiday Happenings Part One”

Around Town finds art events and Jane Eyre this week

2018 Arts in the Dark lit up State Street with costumed performers. (Arts in the Dark photo)

There is so much going on in and around Chicago that it is easy to miss something good.

Here are just a few of the fun things to do this week.

See “Jane Eyre,” The Joffrey Ballet’s production. It opens Oct. 16 at the Auditorium Theatre (at Roosevelt University) 50 E. Ida b wells drive (Former Congress parkway). For tickets and other information visit Joffrey.

Find art for you house while The Art Center holds its annual Recycled Art Sale. Works have been donated by private individuals and corporations so TAC can raise funds for its classes and exhibitions. The art work is offered at a fraction of its market cost. General Admission Benefit tickets for Oct. 18 are $85. The rest of the weekend is $5. But check TheArtCenter for more information. TAC is at 1957 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park.

Go downtown Oct. 19 to State Street for Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. starting at Lake Street on the north and continues south to Van Buren Street. It’s theme honors “Year of Chicago Theatre” so the parade features several theater companies and other groups such as The Joffrey Ballet. Visit Arts in the Dark.

Visit Intuit, the Outsider Art Museum Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. because museum officials understand it is hard to fit in a visit during the day. The museum is at 756 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.  For all extended hours see IntuitArt.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around town end of June

A parade of trombones, a tap dance opera and a dog invite that includes you close out June with interesting, fun events.

 

Goodman Theatre os doing a revival of 'The Music Man.' (Goodman Theatre Photo)
Goodman Theatre os doing a revival of ‘The Music Man.’ (Goodman Theatre Photo)

76 Trombones

What: To celebrate the revival of “The Music Man” that starts Saturday in its Albert Theatre, Goodman Theatre will hold a parade of more than 76 Chicago area trombonists and percussionists performing the show’s famed tune.

When: Friday, June 28 beginning at 1 p.m.

Where: The parade tarts at Goodman theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, then continues to Daley Plaza (50 N. Washington St., then returns to Goodman about 1:15 to do an encore .

Who:  The parade is in partnership with Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles that includes LGBTQ members and friends.

 

Chicago Tap Company's new production ends the last weekend of June 2019. (Chicago Tap Company photo)
Chicago Tap Company’s new production ends the last weekend of June 2019. (Chicago Tap Company photo)

“Saving the World”

What:  Chicago Tap Theatre’s opera-style dramatic tale of disasters colored by greed and demagoguery.

When: June 28-30 is the last weekend of this production, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.

Who: Chicago Tap Theatre is a non-profit organization of tap dance professionals who put on story-based shows.

 

The Patio at Cafe Brauer is a popular pace for drinks or food with a view. (J Jacobs photo)
The Patio at Cafe Brauer is a popular pace for drinks or food with a view. (J Jacobs photo)

The Dog Days of Summer

What: A dog-friendly brunch where they can play and get treats while their people show down.

Where: The Patio that is the rear end of the historic Brauer building in Lincoln Park Zoo at 2021 N. Stockton Dr.

When: June 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. Reservations needed. Call (312) 507-9053

Who: The Patio at Cafe Brauer at the back of a Prairie School-style landmark is a popular summer cocktail and lunch stop that overlooks the pond at the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo  and its view of the Chicago skyline. Bentley’s Pets will have gift bags for the dogs.

Jodie Jacobs