Around Town revisits Millennium Park concerts and takes a field trip to MSI

 

Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park hosts summer concerts. (JJacobs photo)
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park hosts summer concerts. (JJacobs photo)

 DCASE Millennium Park Concerts

Yes concerts across Chicago have been cancelled or postponed so the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is doing “Home,” a concert series you can catch on DCASE’s Youtube and Facebook pages..

It starts this weekend, May 22-23, with a DJ House mix that would have been in the city’s 5th Annual House Music Festival.

Next up, Gospel singers will be on the series May 29-30 because of Chicago’s 35th Annual Gospel Music Festival. That will be followed by blues, June 5-7 for what would have been the 37th Annual Blues Fest. For more information on the concerts, visit  youtube/com/ChicagoDCASE.

 

Museum of Science and Industry. City of Chicago (MSI photo)
The Clarence Darrow Bridge is behind the Museum of Science and Industry. (MSI photo)

 

HitPlay Chicago Museum Series

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s field trip goes to the Museum of Science and Industry

The field trip went live at HitPlay on Wednesday, May 20 and will be on WTTW the PBS TV station today, May 22 and again midday Monday, May 25.

An impressive building dating to the 1893 Columbian Exposition, MSI is known for, among other things, its coal mine experience. However, on this visit viewers will come across science experiments they may not be familiar with,and the popular indoor tornado section they may know of in the science Storm exhibit.

One stop that viewers may find fascinating and very current, is the Wanger Family Fab (fabrication) Lab that can make face shields.

Stay with the video to the Big Train Story where model trains go from Chicago to Seattle past well-known city buildings and mountain scenery.

For past field trips scroll down on HitPlay Chicago to see the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

 

 

Ravinia becomes the latest summer festival to cancel

 

The annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular fills the lawn at Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
The annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular fills the lawn at Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

If you have been to Ravinia Festival, the Highland Park summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a popular outdoor venue of pop, jazz, folk and classical music entertainers, you likely remember lawn picnics under the stars or sitting in the Pavilion to catch a favorite recording artist.

But today, May 1, 2020, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kaufman announced that the 2020 season has been canceled to protect the health and safety of its audiences, artists, staff and neighbors.

“Out lengthy and thorough discourse on this topic has brought us to the conclusion that it is impossible to move ahead with the season, “ said Kauffman referring to discussions with the Ravinia Board of Trustees and volunteers.

He also noted that Ravinia had been working with guest artists since February on how to proceed including rebooking performers in future seasons.

On the docket for this year were more than 120 programs from June 12 through Sept. 16 plus the Steans Music Institute, which will also be closed.

Ravinia, the oldest operating festival since 1904 had only canceled seasons from 1932 to 1935 due to the Great Depression.

Ticket holder options include refunds, vouchers for future programs and changing them to what would be much appreciated tax-donations.

The concert recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass,” announced earlier this year, is still scheduled for its PBS broadcast May 15.  Kauffman added that Ravinia is also developing other virtual experiences, such as classes and lectures geared to students of all ages.

“The lives of these young students have been thrown in total disarray, so it is important that Ravinia helps where it can to provide the structure of these virtual classrooms. Our programs give young people a means of expression and connection with each other and their own quarantined families. We teach them that music is their superpower, and what better time than now to have a superpower?” Kauffman said.

He was joined in the announcement by Ravinia Board Chairman Don Civgin who said, “The crisis created by the Covid pandemic has impacted so much of our lives in dramatic ways. Ravinia will do its part in helping the nation recover.”

Civgin added,“We will celebrate that recovery with music under the stars next summer.”

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Around town finds a couple of virtual Earth Day visits

 

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL (J Jacobs photo)

 

Of course we try to employ good recycling practices year round but we’re also used to helping out in volunteer clean-up groups on beaches and rivers on Earth Day.

Started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson,, WI, to encourage conservation and environmental awareness, Earth Day became an internationally observed day with a variety of related activities in 1990.

Typical Earth Day activities have generally been canceled in 2020 to avoid getting and spreading the Covid-19 virus. However Earth Day is still April 22 so think recycle but also take a couple of moments to virtually visit two of the Chicago area’s largest nature centers: The Chicago Botanic Garden in north suburban Glencoe and the Morton Arboretum west of Chicago near Lisle. They are sharing what’s blooming, garden tips, stay-at-home Earth Day activities and views of their grounds.

Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Earth Day and Smart Gardener sites for some activity ideas. Then go to ChicagoBotanic/Gardens for a live feed to see what’s in bloom.

At the Morton Arboretum look for Virtual Bloom Report and then go to Virtual Tours via Google Arts and Culture.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Virtual watch party scheduled for April Fourth

 

Highly praised "Verbote" ended with the shutdown of Chicago theaters to contain the C-virus. (Photo courtesy of the House theatre)
Highly praised “Verbote” ended with the shutdown of Chicago theaters to contain the C-virus. (Photo courtesy of the House theatre)n

Because seeing shows  and enjoying entertainment online has become the new norm, the House Theatre of Chicago whose last show before area theaters were closed due to the c-virus was the popular “Verboten,”  is re-presenting its 2002 hit production of “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan.”

The” repeat Pan” can be seen on April 4 at 7:30 p.m. CT. The show includes commentary from the original cast.

To watch the live-streaming production visit youtube/housetheatreofchi.

Artistic Director Nathan Allen characterized the show as “scrappy, and joyous, and crowing in the face of the impossible..”

Adapted by Philip Klapperich from J.M. Barrie’s story, the production was extended several times in 2002.

“We’re going to lean on some of that spirit right now and we hope you’ll join us. As we find ways to keep a light on at The House, we hope we can help you keep a light on too,” said Allen.

Viewers will be able to chat and post comments for the artists and other viewers.

Jodie Jacobs

Enjoy performances online

 

Savanah Music Festival canceled but has an online Noon30 program for performers. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Music Festival)
Savanah Music Festival canceled but has an online Noon30 program for performers. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Music Festival)

 

Stage venues have gone to YouTube, Facebook and various web sites to keep their performers and to give something to the vast majority of stay-at-home audience members. Here is one that goes live today and can become a noon plus 30 tune-in habit.

Savanah Music Festival

The popular music festival has canceled this spring’s concerts and has moved some artists to September. However it has started a new, online concert series called Noon30 that starts today at March 26 12:30 p.,. EST and will continue through April 11, 2020.

Find Germain Lopez premiering the series from his home in Spain where he will be performing an acoustic version of “A Punto de Nieve” at You Look for tube/SMForg.

Look for Vasen, also performing today from Uppsala, Sweden. You can find his performance of “IPA Gubben at You Tu Be.

Jodie Jacobs

Related: Grand entertainment online

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RWJLcchTVk&feature=youtu.be

Vasen will be on Noon 30 with “IPA Gubben” from Uppsala, Sweden.

Ravinia Festival highlights and ticket options

Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

If looking for something to distract from COVID-19 closings take a look at what Ravinia Festival, the famed  primarily outdoor music venue has on its l2020 Calendar.

Even a brief scan shows that pop stars such as Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood, folk icons Arlo Guthrie and Judy Collins, hip hop band The Roots, rock ‘n roll musician John Fogerty, pop-rock band Train, and classicalists pianist Jorge Federico Osorio and violinist Midori are on the schedule.

Plus, Ravinia’s newly appointed conductor and curator Marin Alsop will be conducting the CSO in an all Rachmaninoff evening with Lukass Vondracek playing the Rach 3, Itzhak Perlman will play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and the next day conduct the CSO for Ravinia’s annual Tchaikovsky spectacular.

Ravinia canceled events before June 1 due to the coronavirus but has said nothing so far, about the regular programing after June 1. Instead, its statement read: “Ticket sales to Ravinia’s summer lineup will occur as planned, with donors having access as early as March 17.”

April 28 is the date when the public can get tickets for the June and July concerts. August and September concerts go on sale April 29.

Tip: Ravinia goers sometimes become donors because the hottest tickets go quickly, Click Ravinia/Fund for the donor fee structure and what each level offers.

The Ravinia Festival is at the south end of North Suburban Highland Park between Sheriday and Green Bay Rds, just north of Lake Cook Road. For more Ravinia information visit Ravinia.

Jodie Jacobs

Jeff Award judging on hold until May

 

Lookingglass Theatre, in Chicago’s Historic Water Works is among the production companies to suspend its current show (J Jacobs photo)

Most show goers know by now that many theaters in the Chicago area have suspended or postponed their current 2020 productions in accordance with state and local recommendations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Ticket holders not sure if the show they were planning to see is currently on, should call the theater to check. Lookingglass Theatre (see photo) was among the latest to cancel its current production.

Given that so many shows have been cancelled or delayed and that going to a show even if it is still on has becomes health risk, the Jeff Awards, a group that usually sends judges to Chicago area’s opening nights, has suspended its judging of productions until May 1.

The organization will re-access the decision on that date if judging should resume.

Even though audiences may attend a show because they are season subscribers or because they are attracted by a production’s theme or title so don’t pay attention to whether the theater or the show receives an award from the Jeff Committee, the production companies, actors and associated directors and designers do care if they receive Jeff recognition.

The Jeff Awards have been recognizing excellent theater (also spelled theatre) productions and individuals since 1968. With approximately 250 theater production companies in the Chicago area, that means attending a lot of shows to nominate and award the ones deemed the best.

Since 1973, awards have not gone to just Equity (union) productions, but are also handed out to nonequity productions.

Anyone visiting the Review section of Theatre In Chicago can see if a show has received the note “Jeff Recommended.” What that means is that a Jeff judge thought that at the opening night performance at least one element was considered excellent. The production is then eligible for award nominations.

Jeff Awards Chairman John Glover explained the decision to temporarily suspend judges’ visits.

“Our social responsibility to the community also includes our own volunteer members. While many of the productions we had planned to attend have been cancelled or postponed, our members are such dedicated theater supporters that many plan, in an unofficial capacity, to evaluate each situation and where possible, pay for and attend local theater when productions are available, in an effort to continue to support the local theaters during this difficult time. I am proud to be part of an organization that is such a champion for theater excellence and the companies that bring it to life,” said Glover.

For more information visit Jeff Awards. For questions about eligibility visit equitywing@jeffawards.org. and nonequitywing@jeffawards.org.

Jodie Jacobs

 

World class Chicago arts and museum venues temporarily close

 

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577–79. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Nancy Atwood Sprague in memory of Albert Arnold Sprague. (Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577–79. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Nancy Atwood Sprague in memory of Albert Arnold Sprague. (Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)

 

Looks like the internet, TV and bookstores such as Barnes & Noble are going to be the go-to places for A & E, at least through March.

The latest closures to come into the Chicago Theater and Arts on-line desk are the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and some museums. Please carefully check possible reopening and rescheduling dates and ticket options.

Art Institute of Chicago

The museum will be shuttered from today, March 14, through March 28 but events such as tours, performances and lectures will be on hiatus through April 10, according to a just released statement.

It added that the closure will allow the museum to develop “rigorous health and safety standards and protocols.” Purchased tickets can be refunded to the card used within 10 business days.

Fortunately, AIC’s current exhibition, “El Greco: Ambition and Defiance” goes through June 21, 2020 so there is still time to see the famed artist’s most notable works and also learn he was skilled at more than religious paintings.

 

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Beginning March 12, all Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association concerts at Symphony Center and pre- and post-concert special events were canceled through at least the next 30 days . The CSOA’s statement said ticket holders to canceled concerts could exchange them for other concerts or request a refund. For more information call (312) 294-3000 or visit CSO org/alert.

 

Museum Closure Updates

Citing both IL Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mandate to close gatherings involving 1,000 people or more and their own desire to safeguard their patrons and staff, several museums have closed for the rest of March. However, their re-opening varies by museum so best plan is to check their websites.

 

Shedd Aquarium

Normally jammed with students on Spring Break, the Shedd, arguably Chicago’s top (non-art) museum attraction, is closed through March 29. Their statement reads: “Our dedicated caretakers and veterinarians will continue to provide the highest standards of professional care and welfare for our animals on site. And, until we can welcome you back, we invite you to stay connected to them behind the scenes via Shedd’s Facebook and Instagram, as well as explore, experience and learn more about the aquatic animal world through our other digital resources.

For information on refunds and rescheduling of previously purchased tickets, group and experience reservations, programs and events and more, please email contactus@sheddaquarium.org or call us at( 312) 939-2438.

 

Please also visit Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Science and Industry about their closures.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Some Chicago shows are still up and some are down or rescheduled

 

Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)
Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)

Due to safety concerns about the COVID-19 virus, Chicago area production companies, and there are about 250 of them, are busy trying to reschedule shows while canceling some. They are also dealing with options that include taking ticket credits for future performances or donating tickets instead of asking for refunds.

The number of such announcements increases every hour. Here are some of the latest Chicago theater updates.

Broadway in Chicago

A Broadway in Chicago statement reads: “The safety and health of our patrons, staff and theatrical companies is our top priority. In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) we will be canceling or rescheduling the following performances:

“The Bachelor Live on Stage” at the Cadillac Palace Theatre is changed to Oct. 10, 2020 “Keane- Cause and Effect Tour” at the Cadillac Palace theatre is cancelled. “My Fair Lady” at the Cadillac Palace theatre has been changed to May 10-23, 2021. (Note different year). Performances of “What the Constitution Means to Me” at Broadway Playhouse are suspended through the end of March. The show may resume from March 31 through April 12, 2020 with reduced seating numbers.

To discuss refunds or exchanges contact point of purchase. So for Ticketmaster call (800) 775-2000, for Broadway in Chicago call Customer Service at 312=977-1702, if a Broadway in Chicago subscriber call (312) 977-1717 or if purchased through Broadway in Chicago Group sales, call (312) 977-1710.

 

The Second City

The famed comedy company and venue, operating since 1959, is suspending Chicago performances through March 26 (or until further notice). The company’s statement reads: The Second City will get back to the business of making you laugh just as soon as we can. In the meantime, they will monitor the situation with the CDC and local government and provide updates as they become available.”

Ticket holders can call (312) 337-3992 or chat live at www.secondcity.com. Options will include refunds and also asking patrons to support actors, musicians, hosts, servers, and staff by rescheduling for future shows or putting the balance on a Second City gift card to use towards a future date. Second City Training Center classes remain in session.

 

Hit Her with the Skates

Previews of “Hit Her with the Skates” at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., been rescheduled. A coming of age musical starring American Idol couple Diana De Garmo and Ace Young, the show will now premiere April 23, 2020 and previews will resume on April 21. Purchased tickets may be refunded or exchanged.

“Chicago, we are here for you and excited to continue our journey to bring “Hit Her with the Skates”  home. Keeping our audience and company members safe is our top priority at this time. Forward Motion!” said Creative Producer Christine Rea. For more information visit www.HitHerWithTheSkates.com.

 

Skokie Theatre

The venue, a small, historic building with a small seating capacity well under the 250 number mentioned by IL Governor J. B. Pritzker, will currently stay open.

“We know that our patrons are concerned about what the Skokie Theatre is going to be doing relative to the corona virus. It is our plan to remain open for all performances and events until our patrons no longer wish to attend. We are a small venue of only 140 seats and to date, only much larger venues have been cancelling programming,” read a statement from MadKap Production company.

The statement continues with: “We have significantly increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in all public and backstage areas beyond the standard daily schedule, and we have plenty of soap and paper towels, in addition to disinfectant wipes available for your use.  We encourage patrons to make use of soap, paper towels, and tissues available in the restrooms. We are cleaning all chair backs and arms rests with disinfectant wipes. We will continue the same precautionary diligence in our bathrooms.”

The venue will accommodate patrons who prefer an even smaller number by exchanging tickets to less attended performances.

Jodie Jacobs

Related: More theaters weigh in on canceled performances. and  Chicago theatres temporarily suspend productions

 

 

More theaters weigh in on canceled performances

 

Court Theatre in Hyde Park is at the western end of the University of Chicago campus. (J Jacobs photo)
Court Theatre in Hyde Park is at the western end of the University of Chicago campus. (J Jacobs photo)

Lights are dimming from the south side’s Court Theatre to the north side’s Raven Theatre, and even to the west suburban Aurora’s Paramount. Due to concerns about COVID-19, the closing announcements came after IL  Governor J.B. Pritzker’s edict against gatherings of 1,000 and more people and urging stoppage of smaller gatherings of even 250 people or more.

In Hyde Park

The Court Theatre canceled the production of “The Lady from the Sea” and postponed performances of “An Iliad.”

“As leadership at the University of Chicago continues to monitor the evolving status of COVID-19 in Chicagoland and across the globe, we at Court Theatre are at a critical moment in our six-decade history,” said a joint statement from Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executvie director Angel Ysaguirre.

The statement continued to say, “Theatre can’t just be seen; it must be felt. It can’t just be watched; it must be experienced. At a time of division, bifurcated attention, and growing anxiety, theatre’s power to create community out of both artists and strangers has a powerful role to play. And yet, that same communal power represents a double-edged sword for any organization striving to prioritize the health, security, and safety of all those who touch its work.”

In addition, Newell and Ysaguirre explained why they made the difficult decision to cancel current shows and postpone decisions about “The Gospel at Colonus” slated for May.

.“According to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, many of our patrons and long-term supporters are most at risk of developing serious complications from contracting this virus, a fact we take quite seriously.”

Even though “Lady From the Sea” is cancelled, Court will pay the artists so are asking patrons with those tickets to consider them a donation or credit to a future show. Because “Iliad” is merely postponed, those tickets holders can see it another time. For more information call (773) 753-4472.

At Raven Theatre

Raven Theatre at 6157 N. Clark St.is suspending all shows on its stages including Griffin Theatre Company’s Midwest premiere of Lynn Nottage’s “Mima’s Tale.

“We are, of course, saddened that we are unable to complete the run of Mlima’s Tale, but the health and safety of our artists and patrons are more important during this challenging time. It’s going to be tough few months for Chicago theatre, but we will all get through this together,” said Griffin Artist dDrector Bill Massolia. For Griffin refunds, credits or deductible donation information call (773) 338-2177. Griffin has also cancelled its touring youth production of The Stinky Cheese Man.

Raven’s performances of “A Doll’s House and the children’s production of “Aesop’s Amazing Adventures in the Land of Fables,” have also been suspended.

Raven’s staff explained the actions in the following statement: “The health and safety of our artists and community members is our highest priority. Based on recommendations from Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, we have made the difficult decision to suspend performances of all productions currently running at Raven Theatre.

“As a small, non-profit arts organization, this hurts. It hurts our hearts to not be able to share our art with you. It also hurts us financially. This is why we are asking you to consider converting the value of your ticket purchases to a tax-deductible donation to our company. Your patience and generosity today will allow us to come back with the artistic vigor you have come to expect from Raven when we are able to return to the stage.”

As with other theatres, Raven has the following options: “If the option to donate is available to you, please contact our box office so we can issue you an acknowledgment letter. Otherwise, you may move your tickets to our upcoming production of Eden Prairie, 1971 (playing May 7 – June 21, 2020), request a refund, call (773) 338-2177 to discuss the options.

In Aurora

Paramount Theatre has canceled the remaining “The Secret of My Success” performances as mandated by Governor J. B. Pritzker, and has postponed but is working on rescheduling “Killer Queen,” “Stomp,” “Straight No” and other of the venue’s shows, according to Paramount President and CEO Tim Rater.

In his statement Rater said the move was “a cautionary measure to help combat the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).” The statement said that ticket holders to “Success” would receive an account credit to use toward future performances at Paramount Theatre or RiverEdge Park. Ticket holders to postponed shows will be contacted with new dates. In addition, Classic Movie Monday screenings also will not be presented in March or April. For more information call (630) 896-6666.

Jodie Jacobs

Related: Chicago theatres temporarily suspend productions