The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This April

Alicia Keys, sports scenes at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra does Bach, and more.

Illustration by John Ritter

Photography: (Keys) Frank Micelotta/AP; (Muti) Todd Rosenberg/Chicago Symphony Orchestra; (Severance) courtesy of Slow gallery; (Spectator Sports) works by Ewan Gibbs, Michelle Grabner, Katja Stuke, and Charlie White courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Photography; (Pal Joey) Brandon Dahlquist;
Illustration: John Ritter

1. ALICIA KEYS

Move over, Rihanna. With five No. 1 albums and 14 Grammy Awards, the R&B powerhouse brings her Set the World on Fire tour to the United Center.

DETAILS:

4/18 The girl’s on fire; she has been since her debut with Songs in A Minor in 2001. In the 12 years since, she has kept the flame going with 14 Grammy Awards and 30 million albums sold. Keys may be the most anticipated pop star to come off the bench this year. At 7:30. $59.50-$125. United Center, 1901 W Madison. ticketmaster.com.

 

2. BACH MASS

Riccardo Muti returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to conduct Bach’s epic Mass in B Minor in four performances.

DETAILS:

4/11–16 After canceling his winter residency, Riccardo Muti returns to Chicago to lead Bach’s Mass in B Minor, a work of stunning craftsmanship and emotional range. 4/11–13 at 8, 4/16 at 7:30. $45–$275. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org.

 

3. EMILY SEVERANCE

Slow gallery continues its streak of bizarre but fascinating art with crocheted walkers and original poetry from the New Mexico–based artist.

DETAILS:

4/6–24 Emily Severance crochets decorations for crutches and walkers. The artist will also read poetry to visitors in one-on-one performances. For his part, the Viennese artist Helmut Heiss ambitiously attempts to dangle a disco ball from a drone hovering above Chicago. 2153 W 21st. paul-is-slow.info.

 

4. SPECTATOR SPORTS

There’s plenty to cheer about at this Museum of Contemporary Photography show that captures the connection between fans and athletes.

DETAILS:

4/12–7/3 Spectator Sports weaves sports and art together, encouraging viewers to scream at their televisions during a game. The show includes works by notable artists including Paul Pfeiffer, Andreas Gursky, and Cory Archangel. 600 S Michigan. mocp.org.

 

5. PAL JOEY

Catch this Rodgers and Hart musical, about a nightclub performer scheming to score his own club, at Porchlight Music Theatre.

DETAILS:

4/20–5/26 Susie McMonagle (Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia!) leads an impressive cast in Richard Rodgers (music) and Lorenz Hart’s (lyrics) Chicago-set story of a scheming nightclub performer who charms a society dame. Previews through 4/22, $30. Regular run $32–$40. Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont. porchlightmusictheatre.org.

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