The Band’s Visit
This modest musical is based on the 2007 film about an Egyptian orchestra, whose members are part of their country’s police force, that finds itself stranded in a small Israeli town for the night after a wrong turn on the way to a gig. Featuring a score by David Yazbek, the show earned a whopping 10 Tony Awards last year, including one for director (and former Chicagoan) David Cromer; the touring production, with Cromer again at the helm, is one of the most anticipated visits of the fall.
Details:Loop. Cadillac Palace Theatre. $36–$220. broadwayinchicago.com
Midsummer (A Play With Songs)
This past spring, actors Patrick Mulvey and Chaon Cross played lovers traveling in Mexico in Court Theatre’s stage adaptation of The Adventures of Augie March. They’ll embody another quirky couple in this rom-com about an unlikely pair — he a small-time crook, she a bitter divorce lawyer — who have an epic first date. Written by Scottish playwright David Grieg and songwriter Gordon McIntyre, Midsummer has earned favorable comparisons to Once.
Details:Lincoln Park. Greenhouse Theater Center. $10–$25. greenhousetheater.org
Collaborative Works Festival
Like a major third filling an open fifth, the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago nestles into the sweet spot between its regular season and the summer circuit with its annual art-song festival. This year it covers only works created by living composers, and the opener is even more specific, programming only female Chicagoans, including Augusta Read Thomas and Shulamit Ran.
Details:Various locations. Free–$35 per concert. caichicago.org
At this book launch party, Chicago’s “breakbeat poet” will read from his new collection–slash–graphic novel, Everything Must Go, which celebrates the unsung heroes of pregentrified Wicker Park. The event doubles as the opening of a monthlong gallery exhibition; Coval’s artistic collaborator, Langston Allston, will have illustrations on display.
Details:Logan Square. Galerie F. 6 p.m. Free. galeriefchicago.com
Stars of Lyric Opera
It’s the big chance each year to hear the city’s most august opera company for only the price of transportation to Millennium Park. This installment features a healthy clipping from The Barber of Seville, Lyric’s season opener, with many of the principals that will grace the grand stage. Also expect excerpts of famous moments from the operatic canon, with a focus on 2019–20 Lyric productions, which smart money would say means “Un Bel Di” from Madama Butterfly and “Là Ci Darem” from Don Giovanni.
Details:Loop. Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 7 p.m. Free. lyricopera.org
In plays like his Ibsen sequel A Doll’s House, Part 2 or the political conjecture Hillary and Clinton, the form-breaking young playwright Lucas Hnath might best be described as a generator of thought experiments. Hnath goes more personal with this new work about his mother, Dana, a psych ward chaplain who was kidnapped by an ex-con patient and held hostage for five months. The narrative is constructed from audio recordings of interviews with Dana; actress Deirdre O’Connell, alone onstage, lip-synchs to her voice.
Details:Loop. Goodman Theatre. $15–$45. goodmantheatre.org
Tiny Beautiful Things
Before the publication of her best-selling memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed did a stint as the anonymous author of the advice column “Dear Sugar.” Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) adapted some of Strayed’s empathetic exchanges with her advice seekers for this acclaimed tearjerker. The shrewd actor Janet Ulrich Brooks stars in the Chicago premiere.
Details:Lincoln Park. Victory Gardens Theater. $25–$65. victorygardens.org
Callas in Concert: The Hologram Tour
Holographic technology presents Maria Callas, the obsession-inducing soprano who died in 1977, singing some of her best recordings, accompanied by a living orchestra. Classical music reviewers, who can be curmudgeons, found themselves surprisingly affected by previous versions of the concert, with some of the all-time-great interpretations of Olympian arias such as “Casta Diva,” “Vissi d’Arte,” and Carmen’s “Habanera.”
Details:Loop. Lyric Opera House. 7:30 p.m. $39–$125. lyricopera.org
Counter Balance: The Power of Integrated Dance
This annual showcase highlights pieces created and performed by dancers and choreographers with disabilities. This year’s edition includes a novel collaboration between Vertigo Power of Balance, a Jerusalem-based integrated dance company, and Chicago choreographer Ginger Lane, an influential figure in integrated dance who has used a wheelchair since 1984.
Details:Lake View. Center on Halsted. $5–$20. momentadances.org
Renegade Craft Fair
In 2003, two Chicago makers combined forces to host a one-day arts and crafts fair on West Division Street. Renegade was such a hit that it spread to other cities and became a DIY-culture powerhouse. Now in its 17th year, the flagship fest will draw more than 400 local artists and thousands of attendees.
Details:Wicker Park. Division from Damen to Ashland. Free. renegadecraft.com
Moving Nature Dreams
Following up on last year’s Conference of the Birds, a roaming performance that traversed the lakefront and Burnham Wildlife Corridor, choreographer Nejla Yatkin moves to Lincoln Park for this equally imaginative project. As with Conference, Yatkin’s latest responds to natural habitats and sanctuaries tucked in the niches of Chicago’s concrete jungle — in this instance, the North Pond’s unique reflectiveness. Audience members can join in; whether or not you choose to participate, Yatkin is a mesmerizing dancer.
Details:Lincoln Park. North Pond Nature Sanctuary. Free. ny2dance.com
Eternal Light: The Sacred Stained-Glass Windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany
During the late 19th century, churches were being built all over America. The ecclesiastical department of the renowned Tiffany workshop helped to meet demand by designing and crafting site-specific stained glass windows. This exhibition presents 11 of these religious mosaics, from a triptych of Christ and his apostles in a verdant garden to a memorial for 10 women killed when a train hit their sleigh.
Details:Near North Side. Driehaus Museum. $10–$20. driehausmuseum.org
All due respect to “Old Town Road,” but the secret song of the summer was “Anybody,” the slinky barbecue jam from one of the brightest stars in Nigeria’s burgeoning Afrobeats scene. This Lagos-based singer has steadily built a global buzz: He popped up on Drake’s 2017 More Life album and won for best international act at this year’s BET Awards. Check out last year’s underrated Outside to get a sense of Burna Boy’s warm, wavy vibe.
Details:Near North Side. House of Blues. 8 p.m. $35–$75. ticketmaster.com
Choreographer Joanna Furnans relies on a formal approach in her group work, but her solos are more evocative — the most recent of which she performed with a dildo dangling from her breast pocket. For the culmination of her time as a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab grantee, Furnans channels her personal experiences by improvising the adaptations made necessary to her dancing by a chronic disk injury. More broadly, the piece is about the politics of a woman displaying her body onstage (sans dildo, this time).
Details:North Center. Grey Space. $20 (RSVP required). joannafurnans.com
The Bell Ringers
Third Coast Percussion spearheads a large-scale, community-inclusive world premiere along the lines of the countercultural In C and nature-revering Inuksuit. Written for a multitudinous ensemble of musicians, the piece centers on a 300-pound bell set in the middle of the lawn at Pritzker Pavilion. You can roam around the pavilion while performers, from novices to professionals, play their own instruments, guided by the four members of TCP. Those interested in participating should sign up to attend a rehearsal.
Details:Loop. Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 6 p.m. Free. thirdcoastpercussion.com
Unusual among American playwrights, J.T. Rogers specializes in wrestling complex geopolitical narratives into digestible drama. This 2017 Tony Award winner for best play depicts the delicate arrangements that led to the 1993 peace talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. To stage the sprawling story, with 13 actors playing nearly twice as many characters, TimeLine Theatre Company borrows the Broadway Playhouse’s larger space.
Details:Streeterville. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. $27–$97. timelinetheatre.com
Considering Matthew Shepard
To wrap up this summer’s classical music season, Ravinia brings back one of its most critically successful concerts from last: a powerful oratorio about the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. The composer, Craig Hella Johnson, leads the choir Conspirare through a quilt of choral styles, creating a modern Passion play that uses Shepard’s diaries as source material.
Details:Highland Park. Ravinia. 7:30 p.m. $10–$65. ravinia.org
Ours Poetica Launch
All the intimacy of a poetry reading, but online — this is the proposition of the Poetry Foundation’s new YouTube series, Ours Poetica. Created in partnership with Complexly (the maker of online educational shows Crash Course, SciShow, and The Art Assignment), Ours Poetica will feature rising and established poets from across the country. The launch party will be hosted by Paige Lewis, author of the poetry collection Space Struck; John Green, author of the YA bestseller The Fault in Our Stars; and Kaveh Akbar, poet and professor at Purdue University.
Details:Near North Side. Poetry Foundation. 7 p.m. Free. poetryfoundation.org
King Hedley II
Court Theatre and director Ron OJ Parson continue their commitment to staging August Wilson’s full 10-play cycle about black life in the 20th century with this 1980s-set entry. Revisiting some characters from Wilson’s earlier Seven Guitars, King Hedley II takes a dim view of how the Reagan era’s economic policies trickled down into historically impoverished neighborhoods like Pittsburgh’s Hill District.
Details:Hyde Park. Court Theatre. $20–$84. courttheatre.org
The musician Nathalie Joachim arranged and composed the concert-length Fanm d’Ayiti (Women of Haiti) to project a kaleidoscope of sonic impressions of powerful Haitian women in the arts and activism. Best known locally as the flutist in the sextet Eighth Blackbird (at least until she leaves the position at the end of the year), Joachim scored the work for flute and voice (both performed by her), electronics, and string quartet (courtesy of the impressive Spektral Quartet).
Details:Ravenswood. Black Ensemble Theater. 7:30 p.m. $25–$75. blackensembletheater.org
This British synth-pop band helped make disco cool again in the early 2000s. Nearly two decades later, Hot Chip is still kicking out tender dance-floor anthems that plug straight into your serotonin receptors. The group’s latest, the warm and sublime A Bath Full of Ecstasy, was coproduced by the late, great Philippe Zdar, the Dionysian studio wizard who helped pioneer French house.
Details:Uptown. Riviera Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $35. ticketfly.com
Break out your chain wallets and your scuffed pair of Vans for this annual showcase of music you’d hear at the mall during the ’90s and 2000s. (There are some exceptions, especially on Sunday, when both Patti Smith and the Village People drop by.) Highlights include riot-grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, the last local show for thrash-metal heroes Slayer, and multiple acts performing their albums in full, such as snotty pop-punkers Blink-182 running through its commercial breakthrough Enema of the State.
Details:Lawndale. Douglas Park. $50–$1,500. riotfest.org
World Music Festival Chicago
This citywide showcase of international sounds presents some of the coolest and, surprisingly, most approachable concerts of the year. The opening-day show is an opportunity to pull an all-nighter at the Cultural Center, with a 14-hour set of Hindustani and Carnatic music (classical music from northern and southern India, respectively). And on the last day, WMFC meets up with the World Dumpling Fest at Navy Pier for stuffed-dough treats and tunes courtesy of Fidel Nadal of Argentina, the Sudanese American group Alsarah & the Nubatones, and Chicago’s own LowDown Brass Band.
Details:Various locations. Free. worldmusicfestivalchicago.org
Inspired by Persian miniatures, this Iranian painter creates dyed-cotton portraits of men. But her dudes are comical caricatures, pink-faced oafs possessing little self-regard. It’s a vibrant critique of patriarchy in which there are no heroes, only clowns.
Details:West Town. Western Exhibitions. Free. westernexhibitions.com
Mass in B Minor
Anyone who says all baroque music sounds the same should hear Music of the Baroque, which goes big for its season opener: J.S. Bach’s mountainous take on the Mass text, composed for chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra, spreading across two hours of music led by the group’s vital music director, Jane Glover.
Details:Loop; Skokie. Sept. 14: Harris Theater; Sept. 15: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. $25–$85. baroque.org
LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze
In March, General Motors shut down its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, plunging thousands of workers and their families into economic crisis. Frazier, a Chicago-based photographer who captures the realities of the working class with an artist’s eye and a journalist’s tenacity, spent months speaking with those affected. This solo show features her black-and-white photographs, accompanied by interviews with her subjects.
Details:Hyde Park. Renaissance Society, University of Chicago. Free. renaissancesociety.org
The standup comic, former Parks and Recreation star, and paragon of rugged masculinity revisits Chicago (he grew up in Minooka) for his All Rise tour, promising “chuckles and light dancing.” Offerman’s brand of humor is inspired by long days building heirloom furniture at his wood shop in LA, his marriage to Will & Grace actress Megan Mullally, and his progressive politics — a notable distinction from the libertarian Ron Swanson character he’s become synonymous with.
Details:Loop. Chicago Theatre. 7 p.m. $40–$204. ticketmaster.com
Jordan Martins: Plant Strategies
This local artist rarely sticks to one medium: He makes collages out of his own photography and painting and from other found artworks, then scans and manipulates them to produce dizzying patterns. From this tangle of digital and analog processes emerge canvas works that dance — their surfaces teem with color, strange textures, and labyrinthine lines.
Details:East Garfield Park. Goldfinch. Free. goldfinchgallery.org
Ah, the tail end of summer — time to get in a few last patio beers, schedule a final beach hang, and, of course, pulverize your eardrums with experimental Japanese doom metal. This trio had planned on retiring in 2017 but returned with a new full-length, Love & Evol, in August — as good a reason as any to get lost in their heavy-as-hell (but still achingly gorgeous) wall of noise.
Details:Lincoln Park. Lincoln Hall. 8 p.m. $20. lh-st.com
Samson Young: Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me?
For this Hong Kong artist, who works in sound and performance art, progress doesn’t necessarily equate with evolution. In his first solo exhibition in the United States, Young presents a trilogy of videos that contemplate the consequences of idealist thinking, from the vestiges of the 1933–34 world’s fair to the failures of utopian Chinese thought within a 1980s-era shopping mall.
Details:Hyde Park. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago. Free. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu
You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes to fall’s biggest (and most taxing!) art event. The eighth edition of the city’s contemporary art fair is a maze of booths presented by some 135 galleries representing 24 countries; this year, local participants include veterans Carrie Secrist, Rhona Hoffman, and Monique Meloche.
Details:Near North Side. Navy Pier. $30–$45. expochicago.com
The baton falls for the downbeat of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s season, and that baton belongs to esteemed music director Muti, on a two-week residency. The highlight of his first week is the Gothic grandeur of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, under the fingers of Leif Ove Andsnes. The second begins a season-long circuit of all nine Beethoven symphonies, in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday.
Details:Loop. Symphony Center. $32–$254. cso.org
Reeling Film Fest
For 37 years, this LGBTQ film festival has been shining a light on queer cinema, from arthouse dramas to animated shorts. This year’s highlights include Making Sweet Tea, a documentary feature about gay Southern black men inspired by the work of Northwestern professor E. Patrick Johnson, and a panel on the emergence of queer web series in Chicago.
Details:Various locations. $10–$40. reelingfilmfestival.org
The third edition of this annual Latino theater festival features nearly a dozen productions staged by local, national, and international companies (including Chicago’s Teatro Vista, Aguijón Theater, and Repertorio Latino). Among the most intriguing productions: Feos, a North American premiere from Chilean puppet artist Aline Küppenheim and playwright Guillermo Calderón; Los Angeles–based solo performer Marissa Chibas’s autobiographical Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary; and the premiere of Back in the Day: An ’80s House Music Dancesical, from Chicago’s UrbanTheater Company.
Details:Various locations. $10–$35. clata.org
Chicago Architecture Biennial
The largest architecture expo on this side of the globe returns for its third edition with the theme “… And Other Such Stories,” which will examine the architectural effects of migration, ecology, and politics. Yesomi Umolu, curator at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center, will serve as artistic director this year, with featured contributions by architects, artists, and scholars from around the world. Local highlights include work by artists Theaster Gates and Maria Gaspar, as well as projects from the investigative journalism group Invisible Institute and the design firm Borderless Studio.
Details:Loop. Chicago Cultural Center. Free. chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org
The most metal band in the world right now is fronted by a trio of Japanese pop stars in schoolgirl skirts, and don’t let any bro rocking a Pantera T-shirt and a mullet tell you differently. Since the group’s 2010 formation, members Yuimetal, Su-metal, and Moametal have fused speed-metal instrumentation with super-cute J-pop vocals, which makes a lot more sense on record than it does on paper. Have you ever seen the Japanese horror movie Battle Royale, where rosy-cheeked adolescents fight to the death? It’s kind of like that.
Details:Uptown. Aragon Ballroom. 7:30 p.m. $53–$304. ticketmaster.com
Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival
When this festival launched a decade ago, it joined an already saturated field of contemporary dance showcases. Now it stands alone, as Chicago’s last remaining place to discover exciting and underrecognized choreographers from across the country on the same stage. New to this year’s lineup is Chicagoan J’Sun Howard, who presents a duet in his signature blend of contemporary and vogue style. And Melinda Jean Myers, a former Lucky Plush dancer known for her witty characters, brings a world premiere from her new home in Iowa City.
Details:Near North Side. Ruth Page Center for the Arts. $18–$25. hccdf.com
90s Forever: Throwback Concert
This isn’t your average throwback party — it’s a who’s who of house vocalists, from New Jersey queen Crystal Waters (of “Gypsy Woman” fame) to ghetto-house don Waxmaster. Be sure not to miss Dajae, the Chicago native who might have the best pipes in house music history; “Brighter Days,” her 1992 collaboration with Cajmere, will give you goose bumps.
Details:Logan Square. Concord Music Hall. 8 p.m. $15–$60. ticketfly.com
In need of purging your creeping existential dread on the dance floor? Enter Vatican Shadow, one of the many aliases of Dominick Fernow (who also makes music as Prurient). A veteran of the noise scene, Fernow channels sociopolitical angst into shadowy industrial techno, crafting danceable tracks with names like “Chopper Crash Marines’ Names Released” and “Wherever There Is Money There Is Unforgiveness.” He’s performing as part of the industrial music festival Cold Waves, which will take over Metro and Smartbar for the weekend.
Details:Wrigleyville. Smartbar. 11 p.m. $15. etix.com
Jeffrey Gibson: Can You Feel It
This Choctaw and Cherokee artist is perhaps best known for his series of punching bags embellished with beads, steel studs, crystals, and other craft materials — totemic objects that evoke Native American strength and traditions. Several will be featured in this solo exhibition, alongside large quilts and canvases of glistening beadwork.
Details:West Loop. Kavi Gupta. Free. kavigupta.com
Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Ballad of Etc.
The Mexican artist is known for his autoconstruccións, or “self-constructions” — precariously balanced assemblages made of feathers, old mirrors, and other found objects. For the sculptures in this solo show, he used a pre-Columbian lacquer technique and cast concrete, carpentry, and stone carvings created by skilled local workers to consider the migration of labor through borders and time.
Details:Streeterville. Arts Club of Chicago. Free. artsclubchicago.org
Greta Kline and her backing band have become DIY folk heroes over the past five years for their unassumingly poignant lo-fi songs about life, love, and dead dogs. On the 2018 album Vessel, Kline sang, “I wasn’t built for this world / I had sex once, now I’m dead,” a perfect halfway point between a “big mood” tweet and a Frank O’Hara poem.
Details:Pilsen. Thalia Hall. 7:30 p.m. $17–$30. eventbrite.com
Hosted by Bon Appétit and the Illinois Restaurant Association, this food fest is a who’s who of the city’s top chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists. This year’s kicks off with a VIP viewing of Hamilton with Rick Bayless; later events include a comedy night hosted by Pork & Mindy’s Jeff Mauro, morning yoga with brunch from Lula Cafe’s Jason Hammel, and a gourmet chili cook-off involving chefs like Fat Rice’s Abe Conlon and Mi Tocaya Antojería’s Diana Dávila.
Details:Various locations. $40–$2,015. chicagogourmet.org
A Doll’s House
Henrik Ibsen’s protofeminist drama gets a new look on the North Shore. Playwright Sandra Delgado (La Havana Madrid) and Writers Theatre artistic director Michael Halberstam streamline their adaptation to a single act; director Lavina Jadhwani’s cast is led by Cher Álvarez as Nora.
Details:Glencoe. Writers Theatre. $35–$80. writerstheatre.org
This celebration of polka music, bratwurst, and lager is as good an opportunity as any to pull your lederhosen out of the closet. Kids can enjoy face painting and story time at Kinderfest, while adults get a taste of Bavarian culture at Craft Beer Night.
Details:Lake View. St. Alphonsus Church. $5–$10. oktoberfestchicago.org
Fresh off hosting Bring the Funny, NBC’s comedy competition show, and debuting her first HBO special, I Be Knowin’ (only the network’s second to star a black woman), the comedian and cultural critic embarks on her Smart, Black, and Funny tour, in which she offers a corrective to the country’s white-centric historical narratives.
Details:Loop. Chicago Theatre. 8 p.m. $30–$100. ticketmaster.com
OI Centennial Public Celebration
The Oriental Institute has one of the largest collections of Middle Eastern artifacts in the world, and in honor of its 100th birthday, the museum is pulling its most prized items out of storage. At this kickoff event, the OI will unveil its yearslong renovation, as well as commissioned new works by an impressive roster of artists, including local star Michael Rakowitz and Syrian-born Mohamad Hafez.
Details:Hyde Park. Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. 1 p.m. $5–$10 suggested donation. oi.uchicago.edu
Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars
Native Yup’ik Alaskan Emily Johnson’s unique camping-dance hybrids include a stargazing sleepover in Calumet Park — and yes, it’s really all night. This interactive communal gathering also incorporates dance, poetry, music, shared meals (by “food futurist” Jen Rae), and storytelling.
Details:East Side. Calumet Cultural Center. 5 p.m. $1–$125. dance.colum.edu
The Barber of Seville
The matchless Lawrence Brownlee is down to play the Count who tries to gallantly and stealthily woo the young Rosina away from her guardian, who intends to marry her when she comes of age. And the limber Adam Plachetka does Figaro, only a few years after Lyric’s 2015 opener, when he portrayed the other Figaro (as in The Marriage of).
Details:Loop. Lyric Opera House. $39–$299. lyricopera.org
Eric Andre: Legalize Everything Tour
He may have voiced Azizi in the new The Lion King, but his comedy rarely is family friendly. On Andre’s mock talk show on Adult Swim, he maniacally destroys his desk (approximately 20 in the first season alone), participates in provocative faux-hidden-camera experiments, and even ceases to bathe until production is complete. Ads for this tour say Andre will “bring his surreal comedy with him,” but that shorthand can’t fully convey his anything-goes approach to getting laughs.
Details:Loop. Chicago Theatre. 7 p.m. $35–$199. ticketmaster.com
There’s a good deal of doom in Titanic Rising, the latest album from songwriter Natalie Mering: missed connections, late-capitalist burnout, climate-induced global apocalypse. But none of this sounds all that bad in Mering’s smoky melodies — a little bit Joni Mitchell, a little bit Kate Bush — which channel glimmers of hope through pristine chamber pop.
Details:Pilsen. Thalia Hall. 8:30 p.m. $20. eventbrite.com
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