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In a message recorded for the virtual 3Arts Awards celebration Oct. 19, muralist and teaching artist Dorian Sylvain described herself as a bit of a “bridge.” By working in the public sphere, she's trying not only to give back to the community, particularly the youth, but also to address the …

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It’s not news that small businesses are struggling in the time of COVID-19. Sadly, this applies to small arts groups as well. Yet Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, a very small and rather young Chicago opera company, has persevered, and this weekend offered a low-budget, high-impact streaming even…

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Just in time for the momentous 2020 presidential election, the Neo-Futurists have commissioned “45 Plays for America's First Ladies.” A companion piece of sorts to its earlier “43 Plays for 43 Presidents” — originally produced in 2004 and remounted in 2012 as “44 Plays for 44 Presidents” — t…

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new, paid and online series "CSO Sessions" continues to offer high-quality performance combined with expert audio and visual presentation, making it the next best thing to being there.

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British playwright Titas Halder's 2017 “Run the Beast Down” belongs to a long line of stories about privileged young men who suffer psychological meltdowns because of professional or personal problems—often of their own making—but Strawdog Theatre Company deserves credit for recognizing the …

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Last week, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra began its series of weekly paid concerts online with a one hour performance. Part of the “CSO Sessions,” the main portion of the concert featured five CSO principals, while a middle section featured two other members of the orchestra. 

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The final Rush Hour concert of the season, which streamed online last week, was a fitting and splendid way to end the summer season for the International Music Foundation. The Kontras Quartet — made up of Eleanor Bartsch and Francois Henkins, violins; Ben Weber, viola; and Jean Hatmaker, cel…

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Both Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have announced further details about the upcoming season and their responses to pandemic conditions that will not allow live performances before large audiences for some time to come.

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In the fall of 2019, when Remy Bumppo Theatre Company was putting together its 2020-2021 season, the plan was to offer an escape from what promised to be divisive election proceedings by opening with a raucous dark comedy by Martin McDonagh.

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Chicago Opera Theater opened its 2020–2021 season, where every performance will be streamed online, with a concert version last week, of the new opera “The Transformation of Jane Doe.”

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Hyde Park Jazz Festival artistic and executive director Kate Dumbleton has spent years bringing international jazz stars and local heroes to a growing neighborhood audience. The COVID-19 pandemic made her completely reverse course and discourage mass numbers from gathering while still presen…

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Lyric Opera of Chicago formally kicked off its 2020–21 season Sunday night with a free online gala concert. Lyric had originally planned a cabaret-type event but when coronavirus restrictions made large events impossible, it pivoted and created a virtual concert instead.

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With performances before large live audiences still considered unsafe, some of Chicago’s biggest music makers are moving forward with digital offerings either for the rest of the year or for the entire season. Both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater have just made impor…

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The Rush Hour Concert Series, hosted by the International Music Foundation, continues their weekly free summer concert streams on Tuesdays, concluding Sep. 22. This past week they featured a talented and exciting trio from Nexus Chamber Music.

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Chicago Opera Theater teamed up with the Refugee Orchestra Project to offer four performances overlooking Lincoln Park this past weekend, two performances each on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the Chicago History Museum’s Uihlein Plaza. Matching up these two groups was natural to Lidiya …

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The International Voices Project (IVP) started a decade ago with the goal of bringing world theater to Chicago, but the shift to an online format because of the Covid-19 pandemic has made founder and executive director Patrizia Acerra see its potential to bring Chicago theater to the world.

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At a time marked by racial strife and deep-seated social and economic inequity, one theatrical work paints a picture of the struggles and successes of Black people in the United States. 

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Fulcrum Point New Music Project had an idea that would allow them to perform live music in public with an audience and which would maintain physical distance among listeners. They found large park spaces where several dozen folks could space themselves out and still enjoy the music. And what…

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When Kelvin Roston, Jr. moved from St. Louis to Chicago to further his acting career in the spring of 2008, he rented a Hyde Park apartment with his then-wife and infant son and expected to spend the rest of the year auditioning to line up roles for 2009, although he had a day job as a pirat…

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Faheem Majeed, artist and former executive director of the South Side Community Art Center, and his assistant, artist Eric Perez, use an 80-foot boom to make a graphite rubbing of the façade of the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. State Street, Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

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Two principal players from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — both relatively recent appointments by music director Riccardo Muti — and a talented freelance pianist joined forces for a marvelous concert of trios last week.

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Before the pandemic, Goodman Theatre planned to offer three live performances of “Stateville Voices,” one each at the theater, Kennedy-King College, and Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, IL where the 21 short plays were written by the incarcerated men who were students in a Sprin…

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Fundraisers are a time to put a group’s best foot forward, brag a little, and offer tempting examples of the kind of performances your organization is known for. There was all that and more for the Chicago Sinfonietta’s online fundraiser this past weekend. 

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The opera and classical music communities continue to grapple with coronavirus restrictions that make live performances nearly impossible. Planning for future performances remains a tricky enterprise because no one knows when venues will be able to reopen.

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No one who saw the world premiere of Manual Cinema's “Frankenstein” at Court Theatre in late 2018 will forget the unique blend of shadow puppetry, 3D puppetry, actors, old-fashioned cinematic techniques, sound design, and live music that brought both Mary Shelley's novel and parts of her bio…

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When the COVID-19 pandemic began to seriously affect everyday life earlier this year, museums and galleries that were forced to close responded by moving their collections online, creating viewing rooms for digital visitors. (In Hyde Park, the Museum of Science and Industry launched a websit…

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company had an ambitious 45th-anniversary season planned for 2020-2021 with six main stage productions, the opening of a brand-new, in-the-round theater, and lots of other activities, but the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying uncertainty have changed much of that.

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The Rush Hour concerts began 20 years ago as a brief respite of music between the end of the Chicago workday and the beginning of a warm summer evening. The International Music Foundation (IMF), the organization putting on these concerts, knew that government coronavirus rules wouldn’t allow…

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and WFMT have announced the extension of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra radio broadcast series launched in April of this year. The programs air under the somewhat bulky title, “From the CSO’s Archives: Maestro’s Choice—For All Music Lovers in These …

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When I got the press release about Court Theatre's latest plan to engage audiences, I thought it might be a joke. Called “The Liminal Space,” the project is a 24-hour live video feed of the stage of the Abelson Auditorium as it was in mid-March right after Ibsen's “The Lady from the Sea” was…