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62 Things to Do in Chicago in March

Mar. 1–Apr. 7
Theater

Time Is on Our Side

Lake View

History, some say, is written by the victors. Not so in this R. Eric Thomas comedy about a pair of Philadelphia podcasters who reinterpret local lore through a queer lens. Their endeavor gets thrown for a loop when one of them finds a family diary that unveils a link to the early fight for LGBTQ rights. Megan Carney directs the Midwest premiere of a story that spans from the Underground Railroad to the pop culture of the present day.

Details:About Face Theatre at Theater Wit. $15–$38. aboutfacetheatre.com

Mar. 2
Auction

Beautiful/Night

Pilsen

Mana Contemporary hosts the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s winter party and art auction, part of the school’s new public fundraising campaign. Up for sale: 30-plus works by SAIC alumni and faculty members, including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Nick Cave, and Sanford Biggers.

Details:Mana Contemporary. 7 p.m. $100–$400. sites.saic.edu/beautifulnight

Mar. 2–3
Dance

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Loop

This New Taipei City company’s artistic director Lin Hwai-min has long been considered one of the most influential East Asian choreographers of his generation. Here, Cloud Gate performs his latest piece, Formosa, named for the Taiwanese republic that declared independence from China only to be overrun by Japanese troops five months later. The dance draws on legends and lore from Hwai-min’s home country to blend Eastern and Western movement.

Details:Harris Theater. 7:30 p.m. $15–$65. colum.edu/dance-center

Mar. 2–3
Hip-Hop

Tyler, the Creator

Uptown

Seven years after this L.A. emcee broke out with his scrappy rap collective, Odd Future, the thorny performer continues to deliver compelling new records. It’s increasingly tough to tell whether some of the musician’s lyrics are a further extension of his signature trolling or a slow, subtle revelation of his private life. (Take his recent single “Flower Boy,” on which the rapper, who once leaned heavily on gay slurs in his lyrics, alludes to his own bisexuality.) Ambiguity aside, his fans remain committed as ever.

Details:Aragon Ballroom. 6:30 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.

Mar. 2–5
Recreation

Monster Jam

Rosemont

Nothing beats the late-winter blues like an evening of high-octane monster truck races, car jumps, and destruction. In addition to big-wheel bruisers like fan favorites Grave Digger and El Toro Loco, this year’s Jam is a “triple threat,” featuring smaller, more agile ATVs and “Speedster” buggies. Arrive early (and drop a few extra bucks) for the preshow Pit Party, where kids of all ages can get up close and personal with the automotive monsters.

Details:Allstate Arena. $25–$120. ticketmaster.com

Mar. 2–Apr. 28
Art

Empire

Near North Side

Brooklyn photographers Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber create digital prints imagining a world after human extinction—cities overgrown with foliage; skyscrapers, freeways, food carts, and street signs melting into the natural world.

Details:Catherine Edelman Gallery. Free. edelmangallery.com

Mar. 2–May 27
Art

Gun Ballet: The Aestheticization of Violence in Video Games

Logan Square

This exhibit about violence in video games, in Chicago’s only gallery dedicated to the art form, reveals why blood and gore have been so ubiquitous in entertainment since the 1990s. “It’s an outlet for the pent-up anger and frustration of Generation X,” says the exhibit’s curator, Jonathan Kinkley. The show includes classic games like Mortal Kombat alongside reflective perspectives on game violence by Chicago artists and designers.

Details:Video Game Art Gallery. Free. videogameartgallery.com

Mar. 3
Beer

Chicago Beer Festival

South Loop

More than 70 breweries, including local craft operations Hopewell, Illuminated Brew Works, and Lagunitas, trot out their spring ales. Food is sold separately, but the chance to knock a few back while perusing the Field Museum after hours is worth the ticket price.

Details:Field Museum. 7 p.m. $45–$55. thechicagobeerfestival.com

Mar. 3
Pop

Tune-Yards

Pilsen

Stylized in its early days as tUnE-yArDs, Connecticut-raised songstress Merrill Garbus’s art-pop project has always been a little kooky. For evidence, look no further than her 2011 breakout “Bizness,” a genre-defying, weirdly danceable tour de force that became, thanks to its bizarre music video, something of a viral hit. In the years since, Garbus has polished her funk and fervor into digestible pop that retains its avant-garde cred, falling somewhere between Madonna and the Talking Heads.

Details:Thalia Hall. 8:30 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo Photo: Alice Blangero
Mar. 3–4
Dance

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

Loop

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s staging of The Sleeping Beauty, set in part to the original Tchaikovsky score and called “sublime” by Dance Magazine, gets its Chicago premiere. One of Europe’s foremost ballet companies, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo embraces the genre’s Diaghilev-era dedication to visual landscape (think rich embellishments in light, scenery, and costumes).

Details:Auditorium Theatre. Mar. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Mar. 4 at 2 p.m. $41–$120. auditoriumtheatre.org

Mar. 3–21
Opera

Faust

Loop

In addition to its gossamer Orphée et Eurydice with the Joffrey Ballet and its dazzling Ring continuation Die Walküre, Lyric’s third and final all-new production of the season is Charles Gounod’s Faust. The deal-with-the-devil French-Romantic staple stars the jewel-voiced tenor Benjamin Bernheim in his Lyric debut as well as Ailyn Pérez and Christian van Horn.

Details:Lyric Opera House. $17–$319. lyricopera.org

Mar. 3–Apr. 28
Art

Sheree Hovsepian

Wicker Park

The New York artist has a gift for packing potent human ephemera into shadow box–like assemblages. Hovsepian’s third solo show at Monique Meloche puts her dioramas front and center, including one focusing on women’s hosiery and another containing photos of women’s bodies.

Details:Monique Meloche Gallery. Free. moniquemeloche.com

Mar. 3–Sept. 23
Art

Keith Haring’s Murals for the Chicago Public Schools

Loop

Artist Haring came to Chicago in 1989 to paint a mural with 500 public school students. Here, a portion of that work is displayed. See “A New Exhibit Spotlights a Rarely Seen Keith Haring Mural.”

Details:Chicago Cultural Center. Free. cityofchicago.org

Mar. 4–5
Dance

Winning Works

Near North Side

Members of the Joffrey Academy’s preprofessional pool dance in world premieres by choreographers of color picked in a competitive national search. Among the winners is Chicago native Luis Vazquez, whose smart, sculptural choreographic debut, Siren, premiered at Thodos New Dances last year. Expect a sellout.

Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. $25. mcachicago.org

Mar. 5
R&B

Miguel

Uptown

It’s puzzling that Miguel’s War & Leisure failed to catch fire in 2017, a year with few groundbreaking albums. Brimming with cross-genre experimentation and lyrics about fear and paranoia sparked by contemporary politics, War & Leisure is an album lost in conversation with the present. Miguel’s athletic live shows, always a treat, remain just as compelling as his recorded music.

Details:Riviera Theatre. 8 p.m. $49–$174. ticketfly.com

Mar. 6
Classical

Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Hyde Park

The University of Chicago’s season-long exploration of the work of Hungarian composer (and Kubrick favorite) György Ligeti concludes with a recital by the 20th-century specialist Aimard, delivering Ligeti’s lickety-split, conceptual etudes for solo piano.

Details:Logan Center, University of Chicago. 7:30 p.m. $10–$38. chicagopresents.uchicago.edu

Mar. 6–8
Theater

They’re Playing Our Song

Near North Side

Porchlight continues its tradition of staging stripped-down versions of rarely staged musicals. Here, it tackles the 1978 collaboration by Neil Simon (book), Marvin Hamlisch (music), and Carole Bayer Sager (lyrics), about a love affair between a composer and a lyricist.

Details:Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. $35. porchlightmusictheatre.org

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Photo: Paul Kolnik
Mar. 7–11
Dance

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Loop

You can’t go wrong with any of these three distinct programs, presented over five days in Ailey’s annual visit to the Auditorium. Among the offerings: Twyla Tharp’s glittery Golden Section (previously performed by Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance), a new work from onetime Luna Negra director Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, and new material by company director Robert Battle.

Details:Auditorium Theatre. $41–$120. auditoriumtheatre.org

Mar. 8
R&B

Rhye

Pilsen

“Because we play live so much, we’ve built this show that’s somewhat different from Woman,” Mike Milosh, the lead singer of Rhye, told NPR last summer. He’s referencing the psychedelic live iteration of his R&B duo’s acclaimed 2013 debut, elements of which made it onto Rhye’s latest single “Please.” Crafted with live instrumentation and Milosh’s signature, whispery vocals, the song is a fitting addition to the act’s impeccable but sparse catalog.

Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $36–$58. eventbrite.com

Mar. 8–10
Classical

Oratorio per la Settimana Santa

Loop, Edgewater

For its bread and butter, Haymarket Opera Company unearths works from the nascence of the genre. So it’s right in character for the next installment of the company’s Lenten oratorio series to bring across the oldest known Passion oratorio, attributed to the 17th-century Italian composer Luigi Rossi. Haymarket assembles a period-instrument chamber orchestra, soloists, and chorus.

Details:Mar. 8: Chicago Temple. Mar. 10: Church of the Atonement. $10–$50. haymarketopera.org

Mar. 8–Apr. 15
Theater

Through the Elevated Line

Loop

Local playwright (and occasional Chicago mag contributor) Novid Parsi premieres this drama about a gay man from Iran seeking asylum in Chicago. Set in Uptown during the Cubs’s 2016 World Series run, Parsi’s drama is a tale of boundaries, families, and the conflicts that define both.

Details:Silk Road Rising at the Chicago Temple Building. $13–$35. silkroadrising.org

Mar. 9–11
Dance

Perceptual Motion

Roscoe Village

In Into the Forest, this multigenerational modern company, with dancers ranging in age from 23 to 84, explores humans’ bond with nature. Director Lin Shook colors the piece with her signature blend of modern dance and tai chi.

Details:Links Hall. 7 p.m. $18–$20. linkshall.org

Through Mar. 10
Art/Dance

Brendan Fernandes: The Master and Form

Near North Side

The New York transplant Fernandes lives out every choreographer’s dream: lording over a turn-of-the-century Near North Side mansion. In The Master and Form, the visiting Northwestern professor and the architecture collective Norman Kelley place students from the Joffrey Academy across the Graham Foundation’s Madlener House, placing the dancers-in-training in conceptual ballet poses to make still-life tableaus of body and architecture.

Details:Graham Foundation. Free. grahamfoundation.org

Mar. 10
Rock

Annual SXSW Sendoff Party

Bucktown

These days, South by Southwest tickets cost somewhere between an arm and a firstborn child. This sendoff party at the Hideout offers a financially responsible alternative, as festival-bound Chicago acts trot out their sets before hitting the road. Expect local indie favorites to be amped and ready for a wild week in Austin.

Details:Hideout. Noon. $10. hideoutchicago.com

Mar. 10
Opera

Celebrating 100 Years of Bernstein

Loop

To adequately represent the classical and popular strains of the career of Leonard Bernstein, whose 100th birthday would have been this year, Lyric Opera splits its tribute concert. The first strand sees opera stars Susan Graham and Nathan Gunn in Bernstein’s one-act Trouble in Tahiti. The second has Broadway headliner Kate Baldwin performing Bernstein standards.

Details:Lyric Opera House. $32–$149. lyricopera.org

Mar. 10–May 6
Theater

An Enemy of the People

Loop

In Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece, contaminated water runs from the taps of a resort town. Fixing the problem would mean vast expense and a loss of crucial tourism dollars for the two brothers who own the place, pitting the siblings against local community leaders. Robert Falls directs a 136-year-old story as urgent as today’s headlines.

Details:Goodman Theatre. $30–$65. goodmantheatre.org

Mar. 10–Apr. 21
Art

Doug Stapleton

Loop

This local curator calls his latest series of collages an Atlas of Heaven, layering tarot card imagery over star maps in a seamless design that marries science with spirituality. “This is how we might conceive of the universe in wholeness,” says Stapleton. Consider the remixed images an antidote to our era of chaos.

Details:Bert Green Fine Art. Free. bgfa.us

South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade
South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade Photo: Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune
Mar. 11
Parade

South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Beverly

Sure, it’s not the “official” St. Paddy’s Day gig, but the Irish contingency on Chicago’s South Side makes this procession the real must-see. The day kicks off with a foot race down the parade route—affectionately known as the Emerald Isle Mile—followed by floats, Irish dancers, marching bands, and plenty of green froth.

Details:Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th. Noon. Free. southsideirishparade.org

Mar. 13–Apr. 15
Theater

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Loop

En route to a summer opening on Broadway, this musical take on the 1990 film gets a test run in Chicago. You know the plot: A sex worker with a heart of gold teams up with a john possessing an irresistible combination of wealth, looks, and integrity. With music and lyrics by Bryan Adams—yes, that Bryan Adams—the show seems destined for a long, pricey stay in Manhattan. Catch it while you can.

Details:Broadway in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre. $30–$173. broadwayinchicago.com

Mar. 15–Apr. 18
Theater

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Hyde Park

Playwright Todd Kreidler tackles the 1967 film classic about an interracial couple whose romance leaves the girlfriend’s proudly progressive parents reckoning with deep-seated prejudices. Marti Lyons directs a story that remains relevant decades after U.S. miscegenation laws were overturned.

Details:Court Theatre. $38–$68. courttheatre.org

Mar. 15–Apr. 22
Theater

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Skokie

Martin McDonagh’s exploration of a poisonous mother-daughter relationship is as disturbing as it is funny. Laughs aside, the play remains, at its base, inspiring, as a much-abused daughter works to overcome her mother’s toxic wiles.

Details:Northlight Theatre. $30–$70. northlight.org

Mar. 16
New Music

The Crossing

Evanston

The exquisite Philadelphia-based choir The Crossing, led by Northwestern professor Donald Nally, makes its Chicago premiere with Anonymous Man, a new work by Michael Gordon, a founder of the new-music ensemble Bang on a Can. Anonymous Man sketches Gordon’s experience living in a changing Manhattan neighborhood, focusing on the omnipresence of the homeless.

Details:Galvin Recital Hall, Northwestern University. 7: 30 p.m. $10–$30. events.music.northwestern.edu

Mar. 16–17
Dance

Mark Morris Dance Group

Loop

Hailed as “magnificent” by the New York Times, Morris’s take on the Azerbaijani opera Layla and Majnun boasts live accompaniment by the Silk Road Ensemble and father-and-daughter singers Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova.

Details:Harris Theater. 7:30 p.m. $35–$125. harristheaterchicago.org

Mar. 16–25
Dance

Same Planet Performance Project

Irving Park

The prolific choreographer Joanna Read continues to churn out new works once every few years, each as riveting as the last. In her latest, Lie Through My Skin, Read examines how shame can render a person speechless. With costumes by Vin Reed, lighting by Jacob Snodgrass, and set design by John Wilson, the piece unpacks how embarrassment chips away at personal power and agency.

Details:Dovetail Studios. 7 p.m. $15–$22. same-planet.org

Mar. 16–Apr. 21
Art

Margot Bergman

West Town

Now in her 80s, this local painter exploits a lifelong talent for pushing wet paint into evocative portraits to lure emotion, humor, and strange beauty to the surface. Especially in her hometown, Bergman’s exhibits remain hotly anticipated by collectors and art lovers.

Details:Corbett vs. Dempsey. Free. corbettvsdempsey.com

Mar. 16–Apr. 28
Art

Experimental Approaches: Part II

Near North Side

Today, photographers have more tools at their disposal than painters do to dream up imaginative scenes. This exhibit samples some of the genre’s most experimental offerings—say, Bryan Hiott’s revival of 19th-century tintypes, ambrotypes, and glass plate negatives, manipulated with digital processes.

Details:Schneider Gallery. Free. schneidergallerychicago.com

Mar. 17
Rock

Graham Nash

Skokie

The songs of Graham Nash have served as a soundtrack for decades of political and social change. Expect tales from similarly trying political years at this event, where Nash will pair songs with the stories behind them.

Details:North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. 8 p.m. $45–$395. northshorecenter.org

Mar. 17
Parade

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and River Dyeing

Loop

Chicago’s annual celebration of Irish heritage is typically packed to the gills, so be sure to stake out a spot in advance. The real star of the show is the Chicago River, which receives its annual shamrock dye job—don’t worry, it’s organic—at 9 a.m. sharp.

Details:Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe. Dyeing at 9 a.m., parade at noon. Free. chicagostpatricksdayparade.org

Mar. 17–25
Opera

Fellow Travelers

Lake View

Lyric Unlimited, the arm of the Lyric covering everything but grand opera, presents this 1950s-era story of a gay romance between a government employee and a journalist, a relationship that must be kept secret in the time of Lavender scares. From the well-reviewed premiere two years ago in Cincinnati, Lyric booked several principal singers and the original director, Kevin Newbury (Norma, Bel Canto, this month’s Faust).

Details:Athenaeum Theatre. $29–$75. lyricopera.org

Mar. 19–20
Rock

The Zombies

West Loop

This British Invasion quartet may have broken out in the ’60s, but their sound still remains influential. Last year, the band embarked on a “final” tour to toast the 50th anniversary of their masterpiece LP, Odessey & Oracle. But as with so many rock luminaries, retirement hasn’t stuck, and the band is back on the road. Here, they’ll perform Odessey & Oracle in its entirety.

Details:City Winery. 8 p.m. $65–$78. citywinery.com

Mar. 21–25
Dance/Film

In/Motion Dance Film Festival

Various neighborhoods

In keeping with the university’s social justice bent, this Loyola-hosted fest highlighting dance on film turns the lens toward marginalized artists (such as women and dancers of color). Included with a festival pass are workshops, screenings, panel discussions, and access to more than three packed days of film.

Details:Various venues. Free–$30. inmotionfestival.com

Mar. 21–Apr. 8
Theater

On Your Feet!

Loop

The jukebox musical chronicling the life and times of Gloria Estefan returns with an infectious run of hits by the 7-time Grammy winner. With her husband, Emilio, as her producer, Estefan upended the sound of Top 40 radio, selling millions of records filled with Cuban-style congas and salsas.

Details:Broadway in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. $52–$700. broadwayinchicago.com

Mar. 21–Apr. 29
Theater

Hang

Lincoln Park

Sword, rope, gun, gas, lethal injection: If you had to choose how to carry out a death sentence, what would you pick? In Debbie Tucker Green’s taut drama, that’s the choice facing the victim of a man sentenced to die.

Details:Greenhouse Theater Center. $15–$54. remybumppo.org

Mar. 22–24
Classical

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Loop

In this program, CSO music director Riccardo Muti covers a slew of classics, including the grandiose Mass in E-flat Major by Franz Schubert, for which the orchestra will truck in the Chicago Symphony Chorus and a clutch of vocal soloists. But the wild card is Three Lisel Mueller Settings, a world premiere featuring poems by a local Pulitzer Prize-winning escapee of the Nazis.

Details:Symphony Center. $34–$220. cso.org

Mar. 22–Aug. 26
Design

Max Lamb: Exercises in Seating

Loop

British designer Lamb—trained at the Royal College of Art—has become notorious for his avant-garde takes on everyday furniture. This survey, focused on his quirky, elegant chairs, coincides with his recent book of the same title.

Details:Art Institute of Chicago. $14–$25. artic.edu

Mar. 23
Rock

Alvvays

Lake View

If it seems like this Canadian indie-pop outfit is constantly on tour, well, they are. The hard-working act continues to build a steady fan base, thanks in no small part to their lively, fun shows.

Details:Metro. 7:30 p.m. $25. etix.com

Mar. 23
Comedy

Janeane Garofalo

Pilsen

Garofalo has long flirted with mainstream stardom but never been completely seduced by it (she came famously close to playing Tom Cruise’s love interest in Jerry Maguire). Still, the stand-up comic seems content with her lot: Her appearances in cult classics (Wet Hot American Summer and its recent Netflix reboots) and Gen-X indie hits (Reality Bites) have made her an alternative comedy icon.

Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $34–$46. thaliahallchicago.com

Mar. 23–24
Dance

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Loop

In its first solo engagement at the Auditorium in 20 years, the modern company presents work by resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, including a world premiere. Also on the bill: Cerrudo’s 2015 hit Silent Ghost, a subtle, linear piece originally created for the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

Details:Auditorium Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $29–$110. auditoriumtheatre.org

Mar. 23–24
Dance

Giordano Dance Chicago

Loop

In addition to select jazz pieces plucked from Giordano’s 55-year history, this spring series boasts a world premiere by onetime lead Joffrey dancer Davis Robertson—his fourth work for the company.

Details:Harris Theater. 7:30 p.m. $15–$75. harristheaterchicago.org

'Ski Piece' from 'To Be Seen and Heard'
William J. “Prophet” Blackmon’s Ski Piece from To Be Seen and Heard Photo: Courtesy of a private collection/Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Mar. 23–June 17
Art

To Be Seen and Heard

West Town

Chicago’s premier folk-art gallery turns an eye toward Wisconsin. Increasingly, Chicago’s northern neighbor seems to be boiling over with talented self-taught outsider artists—those who defy traditional art movements and, typically, training. This exhibit of 59 paintings, sculptures, and photographs reveals rarely seen masterworks by Wisconsinites Prophet William J. Blackmon, Josephus Farmer, Simon Sparrow, Albert Zahn, and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein.

Details:Intuit. $5. art.org

Cedric the Entertainer
Cedric the Entertainer Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times
Mar. 24
Comedy

Cedric the Entertainer

Loop

One of the most instantly recognizable voices in comedy, Cedric the Entertainer has been around the block a time or two. The Barbershop star and frequent Steve Harvey sidekick admittedly has struggled to stay with the times—see his brief run as the host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire—but still takes the stage with his trademark fedora and bravado.

Details:Chicago Theatre. 8 p.m. $63–$93. chicagotheatre.com

Mar. 24
Classical

Cello Suites of J.S. Bach

Wheaton

Bach lent his string expertise to some of the most lyrical and intricate solo-instrument music ever written. Here, his set of six suites for solo cello, a landmark of any top cellist’s career, will spread across three locations in Wheaton in a sort of progressive dinner. The cellist Leonardo Altino plays two at each of three churches across the afternoon.

Details:Various venues. 1 p.m. $10–$20. wheaton.edu/artistseries

Mar. 24
Electronic

Mura Masa

West Loop

In 2017, the Guernsey-born producer Alex Crossan, who performs as Mura Masa, released his self-titled third album, one of the most widely acclaimed and gorgeous new LPs of the year. The record of lovely house-inspired dance music features a who’s who of cutting-edge musicians, from Christine and the Queens’s Héloïse Letissier to Brooklyn rapper Desiigner and English singer NAO. Though Crossan’s not likely to trot out any marquee guests at this stateside show, new fans ought to get a taste of his sound before he blows up.

Details:The Mid. 10 p.m. $25. ticketfly.com

Mar. 25–26
Classical

St. John Passion

Skokie, Loop

On Palm Sunday and Holy Monday, Music of the Baroque heads back to one of their backbone composers, J.S. Bach, and his setting of the Passion story according to the Gospel of John. Along with the St. Matthew Passion and the B Minor Mass, the St. John Passion is a pillar of Bach’s triumvirate of choral-orchestral wonders of the world.

Details:Mar. 25: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Mar. 26: Harris Theater. $25–$78. baroque.org

Lorde
Lorde Photo: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times
Mar. 27
Pop

Lorde

Rosemont

In 2017, this New Zealand pop sensation made headlines as the only woman that year to receive an album of the year nomination from the Grammys, for her sophomore LP, Melodrama. Though it didn’t win, the accomplished, poignant album, about first love and its near-inevitable demise, is more than deserving of praise. Hear the artist’s latest at her first Chicago show since a rainstorm ended her set at last year’s Lollapalooza after only 20 minutes.

Details:Allstate Arena. 7:30 p.m. $39–$99. ticketmaster.com

Mar. 27–28
Pop

Justin Timberlake

Near West Side

It’s been more than a hot minute since Timberlake’s last full-length album—2013’s The 20/20 Experiment: Part Two—but that hasn’t stopped the pop star from leaking out stray singles over the years. Case in point: 2016’s inescapable “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” for the kids’ movie Trolls. In February, just before his Super Bowl halftime appearance, Timberlake released Man of the Woods, his fourth full-length album, which taps Timberlake’s Tennessee roots. The music may not be as strong or interesting as on his 2006 masterpiece, FutureSex/LoveSounds, but after a mediocre first quarter of music in 2018, the return of such a beloved pop star is welcome.

Details:United Center. 7:30 p.m. $118–$257. ticketmaster.com

Mar. 28–29
Rock

Yo La Tengo

Pilsen

This New Jersey indie trio has never been a household name, but their decades-long history of innovation (and encyclopedic repertoire of cover songs) established them as favorites of critics long ago. In a live setting, the band often reimagines both classics from the rock ’n’ roll songbook (say, a heavily distorted take on the Beach Boys’ “Little Honda”) and tracks from their own catalog, moving effortlessly between moments of wailing noise and intimate calm.

Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $22–$45. thaliahallchicago.com

Mar. 28–May 13
Theater

The Gentleman Caller

Edgewater

From hotshot Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins (Failure: A Love Story, The Homosexuals) comes a story of the late, great Tennessee Williams. Set before Williams’s The Glass Menagerie made him a literary star, Gentleman Caller imagines a conversation between the young playwright and a contemporary, William Inge. Cody Estle directs, with Rudy Galvan portraying Williams.

Details:Raven Theatre. $15–$46. raventheatre.com

Mar. 29
World

Sinkane

Lincoln Park

Late last year, this Utah-raised son of a Sudanese politician—real name Ahmed Gallab—returned to his native country in search of his roots. “In the past being in limbo made me confused,” he tweeted at the time. “Now I’m at peace with it.” That duality plays out successfully in Sinkane’s music, which seamlessly blends elements of Krautrock, jazz, funk, and prog. Difficult to summarize, the music Gallab pens as Sinkane remains a reflection of the man behind it: complex, nuanced, and at peace with the unknown.

Details:Lincoln Hall. 7:30 p.m. $20. lh-st.com

Mar. 29–31
Dance

Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak

South Loop

Dance scholar Shanahan follows up last year’s solo show at Links Hall with this new quartet, exploring humans’ relationships with technology and the digital world. In the past decade, Shanahan has perfected a kind of dance that blurs the lines between her studio and formal work, improvisation and scripted movement, and the literal and abstract.

Details:Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. 7:30 p.m. $10–$30. colum.edu/dance-center

Mar. 30–31
Electronic

Tokimonsta

Rosemont

There are career setbacks, and then there’s Jennifer Lee’s story. In 2015, the musician and producer, who performs as Tokimonsta, was diagnosed with Moyamoya, a rare brain disease that shrinks a person’s main arteries, forcing blood into weaker collateral vessels. After surgery in January 2016, Lee lost the ability to speak or understand music. Her recovery wasn’t speedy, but by October 2017, she had put out an album, Lune Rouge, her third and most socially compelling LP yet. Toast the singer’s remarkable comeback at her first Chicago show since the illness.

Details:Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. 6 p.m. $119–$239. ticketfly.com

Mar. 31–Sept. 9
Art

Otobong Nkanga

Near North Side

This Nigerian artist’s wall-size tapestries tell the story of mining practices across Africa, specifically focused on landscapes ravaged to collect base materials for luxury goods like computers and makeup. No mere environmental exhibit, To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again examines global capitalism and trade as an aftereffect of colonialism and slavery.

Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. $8–$15. mcachicago.org

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