Escape online to great art museums

Edward Hopper Gas 1940 The Museum of Modern Art NY

Enjoy the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Go into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Cross back over the pond to New York to visit the Museum of Modern Art. While in NYC explore the huge Metropolitan Museum of Art without wearing out the shoes.

The first two places are excellent stills and 180 degree shots you can maneuver to see galleries and works up close. The next two places you visit are really good YouTube videos that are part of the Great Museums film series.

Musée d”Orsay

Google Arts & Culture takes you to Paris’ famed Musée d”Orsay to see works by Renoir, Monet,  Manet and Degas among others. Its giant clock is a reminder that the museum is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay railway station and hotel on the Seine’s Left bank across from the Tuileries Gardens.

Instead of watching a video, with this visit you go to the floor you want, the work you want and the views of the galleries.

Van Gogh Museum

On this site you can scroll down past highlighted works by Vincent van Gogh to four circles, each a different floor for you to visit at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.


What is modern? What is art? The video on New York’s Museum of Modern Art starts with those often asked questions, then takes you on a tour so you can find your own answers.


As expected with a building that stretches 1,000 feet along New York’s Fifth Avenue at Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is filled with more than paintings. It’s two million square feet covers multi cultures and multi centuries. Stay with the video after its introduction to get to the film itself to answer its question “What makes a masterpiece.”


Jodie Jacobs

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

And the music plays on


Concert venues around the globe are putting concerts on to youtube and facebook. Here are a few sites to watch and listen to musicians while you work from home or take a break from re-organizing the house or office.


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Look for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Facebook at 3 p.m. April 12. Led by Riccardo Muti, the concert concludes with “Ode to Joy” which we all need now to uplift our spirits. For more CSO Beethoven and other options go to CSO YouTube Channel.

In addition, the CSO and other groups can be heard on WFMT (98,7 FM) and at


City of Chicago virtual events and concerts

The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs is partnering with Do312 to continue Chicago’s Year of Music as part of #DoStuffAtHomke. They include dance parties, solo artists and webinars. Check it out at yearofchicagomusic.


Savannah Music Festival

The famed festival is continuing its lineup on line. To catch the artists still to play before it ends April 11, 2020, visit youtube/SavannahMusicFestival. Concerts can be heard as part of the Noon30 program which airs at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Jodie Jacobs

See memorable Chicago Shakespeare moments


Cast of 'Six" at Chicago Shakespeare. (Liz Lauren photo)
Cast of ‘Six” at Chicago Shakespeare. (Liz Lauren photo)

As a Chicago theater critic I often receive videos that could be embedded in a review. So I’m going to go back to see if I can retrieve some because they remind us of wonderful moments on stage. But while I’m going through my archives, please take a few minutes to see these clips recently sent to me from Chicago Shakespeare Theater to share with all of you.

Then, to see more of what Chicago Shakespeare is providing everone at home go to ChicagoShakes/plays and events and then click on Shakes@Home in the top left of the banner.

Artistic Director Barbara Gaines said, “Our stages may be dark for now, but we are still here to connect you with the power (and magic) of Shakespeare. Introducing Shakes@Home —a new digital platform that will be updated each week with engaging, original content from our artists and staff. Whether you’re teaching remotely or looking for a fun activity for the family this weekend, we’ve got you covered. Explore education tools, centuries of critical thinking, artistic interpretation, and more. Together, let’s connect, learn something new, and bring the Bard home!”


Chicago Shakespeare Clips

“We’ve gathered some of our favorite Chicago Shakespeare moments in a video playlist to help lift your spirits during these uncertain times. Go ahead: take the stage, “speak the speech,” and sing along!,” said. Barbara Gaines

The Tempest, directed by Aaron Posner and Teller (from Penn & Teller) added magic and physicality to the production.

Six, gone for now to Broadway, will be back as a touring show in Broadway in Chicago.

Slam, the fun 2019 final bout.

King Charles III, the Chicago premiere of the 2015 Olivier Award winner for Best New Play.

Ride the Cyclone (Montage), was the US premiere in 2015.

Macbeth, Aaron Posner and Teller return to direct a remarkable “Macbeth” in 2018.

Madagascar, was a children’s musical that delighted the whole family with the antics of Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra and some sly Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra and some sly, adventure seeking penguins.

Shakespeare in the Park, wouldn’t it be great if Shakespeare in the Park could return this summer.

Jodie Jacobs

Next theater season should be a production bonanza


heater venues range from Chicago's Lookingglass theatre in the historic Water Works (top left) and the lyric Opera House, bottom left to Goodman Theatre in a remodeled former movie theater building to the new Yard at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier, bottom right. (J Jacobs photo)
Theater venues range from Chicago’s Lookingglass theatre in the historic Water Works (top left) and the lyric Opera House, bottom left to Goodman Theatre in a remodeled former movie theater building to the new Yard at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier, bottom right. (J Jacobs photo)

With most Chicago theater productions postponed, audiences should start thinking of all the great entertainment that has been moved to later in the 2020-21 and over to the 21-22 season.

Here are just a few of the productions that audiences can put on their reminder calendar.

Lyric Opera of Chicago

According to Lyric General Director Anthony Freud, the rest of this spring’s offering have been canceled so “42nd Street,” a new-to-Chicago, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, production conducted by Stephen Mear, will be on stage next spring.

The Midwest premiere of composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson’s “Blue” has been moved to January 2021 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater from this coming May-June’s dates at that venue. A coproduction of Washington National Opera, The Gimmerglass Festival and the Lyric, it will be conducted by Lyric music director designate Enrique Mazzola.

The Lyric Opera House is downtown at 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. For more information visit Lyric Opera of Chicago. To see and hear what’s on the Lyric’s blog including clips from operas, go to Lyric Lately.


Steppenwolf Theatre

“King James” by Steppenworlf ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, a coproduction with the Center theatre Group, has been moved to the 2021-22 season from May 7 2020 and will be directed by Artistic director Anna d. Shapiro. The first episode of the “Half Hour Ensemble Podcast begins on April 7 with co-founder Jeff Perry.

Steppenwolf Theatre is in the Lincoln Park neighborhood at.1650 No. Halsted St. Chicago. For more information, to also see an interesting, historic video and hear a podcast, and to see free virtual sessions, visit Steppenwolf.


Broken Nose Theatre

A pay-what-you-can production group, Broken Nose Theatre has moved its world premiere of “This is Only a Test” to the 2020-21 season from May 2020. Broken Nose theatre is a resident group of The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. For more information visit Broken Nose Theatre.

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

Grand entertainment online


Berliner Philharmonie. (Photo courtesy of Berliner Philharmonie)
Berliner Philharmonie. (Photo courtesy of Berliner Philharmonie)

Where are you? I’m working from home but am also at the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Hall watching Sir Simon Rattle conduct Joseph Haydn’s “Oxford” Symphony No. 92 in G major  and Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor.

The concerts are free. The digital concert hall site asks you to redeem a voucher. Once done you go to trailers and/or the various concerts.

I’ve started with Concert 39 to hear the Oxford and the Brahms First but will return to check out the other concerts.


Metropolitan Opera is streaming Wagner's Ring cycle. (Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera)
Metropolitan Opera is streaming Wagner’s Ring cycle. (Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera)

Then, sad that the Lyric Opera of Chicago had to cancel its much anticipated  “Ring” this spring due to the C Virus,  I took a time-machine back the to the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle that began in 2010.

The Met is doing nightly opera streams. However, it also has free videos that can be watched any time of day. During week 2, now through March 29, 2020, videos concentrate on Wagner.

I loved “Wagner Dreams,” a fascinating behind the scenes journey of producing an unusual Ring. It depended on a giant machine with moving steps and platforms and terrific lighting but also spectacular voices and performances. I will try “Wagner Leitmotifs,” later.

To watch “Gotterdammerung,” slated for today, March 27, 2020 which stars Deborah Voigt, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Waltraud Meier, Jay Hunter Morris, Iain Paterson, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, (conducted by Fabio Luisi. From February 11, 2012) means signing up for a Met on Demand subscription. There is also a rental for about $5.

Jodie Jacobs

Related: Enjoy performances online

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

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

Around Town looks at now and then in Chicago theater


Steppenwolf Theatre in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. (Kyle Rubacker photo)
Steppenwolf Theatre in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. (Kyle Rubacker photo)


Now, brings an updated schedule of Broadway in Chicago play changes

Then, is a wonderful look back at the shows and people of the famed Chicago Steppenwolf ensemble.


Visit Steppenwolf Theatre Anniversary Video

Relive the shows or get to know the artists better in a video the company made for its 40th birthday. (So glad friends dragged us to their shows in a Highland Park church basement and then to their other venues when they moved to Chicago.)



Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower. (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)
Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower. (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)

Visit Broadway in Chicago for show and ticket information.


The following is current show information as of March 25, 2020.

“Keane- Cause and Effect Tour, Cadillac Palace Theatre, cancelled.

“My Fair Lady,” Cadillac Palace Theatre, moved to May 12-23, 2021

“What the Constitution Means to Me,” Broadway Playhouse, cancelled.

“Once Upon a One More Time,” James M. Nederlander Theatre, cancelled.

“The Choi of Man,” Broadway Playhouse, moved to Feb. 2-7, 2021.

“The Crown-Live,” Broadway Playhouse, moved to Feb. 23-28, 2021.

“The Office! A Musical Parody,” Broadway Playhouse, moved to Feb. 9-21, 2021.

“The Simon & Garfunkel Story,” CIBC Theatre, moved to Dec. 1-6, 2020.

“Waitress,” CIBC Theatre, moved to Feb. 16-21, 2021.

“Goshen,” Broadway Playhouse, cancelled.

Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards, Broadway Playhouse, cancelled but will take 2020 student submissions and will recognize students virtually and highlight their talent on a virtual stage in “Around Broadway in 80 Days.”


Jodie Jacobs

Three places to visit while staying at home


When you need a break from working at home, catching up with spring cleaning because you’re at home, or dashing to the grocery store for comfort food, go to a portal to one of Chicago’s arts organization.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Marriott Theatre and Second City are among those places reaching out with fascinating info, lively videos and home classes.


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)


Art Institute of Chicago

Whether you made it to the famed museum before its temporary c-virus closure or not, you still can see and get inside information on some special art works.

Visit Inside Features to learn the backstory on El Greco’s “The Assumption of the Virgin” which is the current exhibition.

Also while at Inside Features go to the West African headdress  to see it from another angle.

Also, check out an ancient Grecian vase that became known as Chicago Painter’s vase.

Before leaving the site learn about conserving a carousel from the Golden Age of Carousels and the story behind an antislavery medallion.


Marriott Theatre

The cast of  “Kiss Me, Kate, Marriott Theatre’s next show in Lincolnshire, has taped interviews and videos. Visit this youtube channel to see and hear from the artists but also go to the videos on the site that have segments from such recent shows as”Grease.”


Second City Training Center 

Maybe you know that past students of The Second City Training Center include Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. But even if you don’t aspire to the national comedy limelight, a Second City class would liven up the stay at home experience.

Starting today, March 23, 2020, the Training Center has online classes at different price points and lengths.

“As social distancing separates us physically, we’ve had to improvise the ways we hang out and remain connected. The Second City Training Center immediately rose to the challenge in pioneering new ways, andsays Second City Hollywood Artistic Director Joshua Funk.

Joshua Funk, Second City’s Hollywood Artistic Director, announced that the entire curriculum has been adapted for online compatibility. “Turns out, improv works online! If we all need to hunker down for a while, it’s essential that we are still able to spend time together and laugh,” Funk said.

The faculty in Chicago, Toronto, and Hollywood and over 100 students beta tested the new classes over the last week, according to Abby Wagner, Training Center Vice President. “They’ve proven to be both educational and a true lifeline of communication in these strange and isolating times,” Wagner said.

Classes require Internet and web camera access. Pajamas are optional. Classes ranges from one-time drop-in to 4 weeks and 8 weeks and are for all ages. For more information visit Second City From Your Couch.

Jodie Jacobs