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46 Great Things to Do This Winter: Expert Picks

Fly with the culture vultures.

Anna Clyne
Photo: Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune


From Anna Clyne, a composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Ben Melsky “A phenomenal harpist. New music for the harp does a lot with the pedals, glissandi, and odd scales. You can use a credit card to scrape the strings—it almost sounds like a zipper.” November 30 at 8:30. $10–$15. Constellation

Tsukasa Taiko “I’m curious to hear Taiko drumming for the first time,” says Clyne of the muscular, driving traditional style of Japanese percussion. The performance will feature Ayako Kato, one of Chicago’s leading dance improvisers, and local musicians. December 20 and 21 at 7:30. $10–$20. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

MusicNOW This mid-January event features the score from There Will Be Blood, a suite by Jonny Greenwood. Clyne has a piece titled A Wonderful Day on the program. January 19 at 7. $10–$26. Harris Theater

Alfonso Ponticelli “He is this old-school musician with a Gypsy string band—guitars, fiddle, and bass. Really great music. I love Gypsy jazz, and winter is the coziest time to be at the Green Mill.” Wednesdays at 9. $6. Green Mill


Marie Casimir
Photo: Kelly Anderson


From Marie Casimir, associate director of Links Hall

Dances for the Underground Carrie Hanson, artistic director of the contemporary dance group the Seldoms, choreographed a piece using Michael J. Kramer’s The Republic of Rock as her inspiration. “It should be very thought provoking.” December 5 to 7 and 12 to 14. $15–$20. Links Hall

Oubliette “It will feel like an underground dinner: There are 12 seats per night, and the work examines group mind and individual expression,” says Casimir of the contemporary dance company Khecari’s unique performance. Through December 7. $15–$35. Indian Boundary Park

Star Dust Leading choreographer David Roussève is known for his layered pieces. “He creates theater that is emotional and moving.” February 5 to 7. $24–$30. Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago


Deb Clapp
Photo: Ratko Radojcic


From Deb Clapp, executive director of the League of Chicago Theatres

The Addams Family “I loved this when it had its world premiere with Broadway in Chicago, and Mercury Theater has been doing tremendous work with musicals.” January 28 to April 5. $25–$65. Mercury Theater Chicago

Circle-Machine Playwright Emma Stanton and director Thom Pasculli adapt Charles Mee’s comedy, Full Circle, about a hapless woman raising a baby in 1989 East Berlin. January 24 to March 15. Free. Oracle Theatre

Marie Antoinette “I’ve always been fascinated by her life and death, and this play looks at her story through our contemporary obsession with celebrity.” February 5 to May 10. $20–$86. Steppenwolf Theatre

Princess Mary Demands Your Attention This new play, inspired by the long-suffering Princess Mary in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, includes a drag queen and is set in Richmond, Virginia. “I can’t wait to see this one by Chicago playwright Aaron Holland.” January 15 to February 21. $40. Bailiwick Chicago


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