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“An Unapologetic Dream,” the Hyde Park Art Center’s (HPAC) Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, will take place virtually on Monday because of the recent COVID-19 omicron surge. 

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Two popular classical music stars have joined forces in a recording of American music that lifts the spirits and simultaneously celebrates exceptional women. “Unexpected Shadows” pairs the music of Jake Heggie with the exceptional mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. Heggie himself is the pianist, an…

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This is the time of year, with concerts scarce on the ground while musicians share holiday time with friends and family, that I turn to new recordings for musical inspiration. A new CD by Chicago-based soprano Michelle Areyzaga and pianist Dana Brown was the perfect tonic as I stayed inside …

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The world premiere of “When Harry Met Rehab” has all the ingredients of a modern tv sitcom. Besides the unfortunately jokey title and the tagline “a comedy that takes sobriety seriously,” the 90-minute play brings together a situation fraught with comic (and tragic) possibilities, a group of…

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In 1965, Japan’s Prince Mikasa, the younger brother of Emperor Hirohito, toured the United States along with his wife and eldest daughter. At the University of Chicago, Japanese faculty, students and alumni were eager for a visit from the royal family, but had a slight dilemma: The nature of…

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Theaters nowadays tend to shy away from “Kiss Me, Kate,” and that's a shame. While Sam and Bella Spewack's book for the 1948 backstage musical is sexist, silly and makes light of spousal abuse by our standards, Cole Porter's marvelous music and lyrics more than compensate. Most of his dozen-…

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One of the most interesting unforeseen consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the classical music and opera world is the rise of the new music video. Before 2020, only a relatively few large organizations were well known for producing video options for the public, the Metropolitan Opera an…

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The multi-site “Toward Common Cause” exhibition drew to a close this weekend, as the Rebuild Foundation hosted “Mirrors and Misconceptions,” a two-day event at the Stony Island Arts Bank put on in partnership with Court Theatre.

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Hannu Lintu — a conductor who leads symphonies, operas and ballet — was the guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of “Serenades” by Magnus Lindberg. There was something special in the air as these two Finns joined forces for an evening of fascinating music.

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Ballet has “The Nutcracker.” Theater has “A Christmas Carol.” But there is no evergreen Christmas opera. Chicago Opera Theater decided that this December it would mount a relatively unknown Christmas work and the results are a mixed bag.

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The toy soldiers stand a bit taller this year, and the Nutcracker Prince towers over sturdier-than-usual mice. But in most ways, it’s going to be the same delicious dance extravaganza that Hyde Parkers have claimed as their own every Christmas since 1993. The Hyde Park School of Dance produc…

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Daniel Burnham famously said, “Make no little plans.” There was certainly nothing tiny in one of his most celebrated projects, the 1893 Columbian Exposition, which took place right here in Hyde Park and neighboring Woodlawn. Working with numerous notables, including Frederick Law Olmsted and…

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Tracy Letts’ “Bug” shut down in mid-run in March 2020 because of the pandemic, so it's fitting that the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre should reopen with its stellar production of this scary and disturbing play. Director David Cromer, the entire cast and the design team are back, and because…

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On Nov. 15, ​​the Silver Room hosted a storytelling event for women of color, with six performers telling stories around the theme “What am I carrying?” It was put on by the SOL Collective, a new volunteer group founded by a trio of close friends from the South Side — Shelley A. Davis, Emily…

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has made a wide variety of content on its CSOtv platform free to the public. This means that a range of concerts and other events are available on-demand anytime to anyone. I thought the cold Thanksgiving weekend would be a good time to give it a try from the c…

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When six multi-talented actor-singer-musicians wrote “Pump Boys & Dinettes” for themselves to perform in 1981, they probably had little idea that the show would still be around four decades later. But the cheeky tribute to small-town Southern-ish life created by John Foley, Mark Hardwick…

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I wish I could say that the pre-Broadway engagement of “Paradise Square” at the Nederlander Theatre is the sure-fire hit it could be.

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The pandemic-inspired “Sound/Sites” video series offered by UChicago Presents continues even though music with live audiences has returned. This is great news, because the idea of the series is to showcase marvelous performances that also highlight beautiful and interesting spaces and archit…

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New love, tired love, lost love, family love, spiritual love — that’s a considerable amount of affection for a two-act opera. But “Florencia en el Amazonas,” the 1996 opera that premiered in Houston and is now considered Mexican composer Daniel Catán’s greatest work, delivers the goods. This…

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It's “influencer night” at the Contumacious Pig, and anything that can go wrong...does. That's the premise of “A Recipe for Disaster,” the new play by James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef/restaurateur Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, etc.), which is enjoying a boisterous world …

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“Moments In Between,” on display until Nov. 24 at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC), showcases new pieces made by interdisciplinary artist Tran Tran during their ceramics apprenticeship at the center. Tran, who was born in Vietnam and raised in California, broadly engages with transitional sta…

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Directors are sometimes the divorce lawyers of the opera world. Even stalwart and steady marriages such as those between Verdi and Shakespeare or Tchaikovsky and Pushkin can be dissolved by fiat in the hands of directors who are certain in their own concept of the true happily ever after on …

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I'm enough of a Shakespeare purist that I was skeptical when I heard Chicago Shakespeare Theater was staging “As You Like It,” set in the 1960s and infused with almost two dozen Beatles songs. The long pre-show entertainment on stage, featuring wrestling matches to the tune of “Money (That's…

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It was chilly in Hyde Park on Sunday, a dull, gray day stained with cold rain. But inside the Logan Center’s Performance Hall, University of Chicago Presents transported the assembled audience to another place and time, serving up 16th century music for the lute that conjured the gaiety of s…

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Since 1977 the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series has provided free concerts to Chicago music lovers. The series honors the British musician who performed in London during World War II in order to boost morale.

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Derrick Judkins calls himself the real-life Spider-Man. As a clinical research assistant at the University of Chicago during the day and a street dancer by night, he has to balance two lives while he moves through the world.

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“Songs for a New World” put Jason Robert Brown on the map when it premiered at New York's WPA Theatre in 1995, and though it has been eclipsed by the composer-lyricist's “The Last Five Years,” “Parade” and other musicals, the revue holds up surprisingly well after more than a quarter of a century.

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Bethany Thomas excels in every production she's in, but her stellar performance in Joanna Murray-Smith's “Songs for Nobodies” shows off the breadth and depth of her talent on a whole new level. Although the one-woman tour de force originally was written in 2010 for Australian Bernadette Robi…

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One of the world’s most talented and celebrated mezzo-sopranos sang a world premiere in Hyde Park last Friday night and only a tiny audience was there to hear it. Susan Graham was the headliner for the University of Chicago Presents concert at Mandel Hall where the main work was a stirring n…

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Lyric Opera of Chicago has moved from a very dimly lit and hard to fathom production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” as its opening opera of the season to a brightly lit, colorful, and utterly charming rendition of Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore” (“The Elixir of Love”). With a new-to-Chicago production …

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José Cruz González's “American Mariachi” at Goodman Theatre packs enough plot points and socially relevant content into 95 minutes to make a person's head spin, but the live mariachi music pulls everything together for an evening that's simultaneously joyous and sorrowful.

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Chicago Opera Theater opened its season with a bang, offering an unusual take on a popular opera. Bizet’s “Carmen” is a staple of the repertoire and normally a concert version wouldn’t be the most exciting way to experience it. But the two performances offered by COT were something very unus…

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Riccardo Muti ascended the conductor’s podium on the Symphony Center stage last week for the first time since February 2020. The audience reacted with thunderous applause, mixed with cheers and welcoming whistles. Folks who had presented proof of vaccination outside the building and came rea…