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The Top Five Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Bel Canto, Domesticated, The Nutcracker, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Cameron Esposito

FUNNY GIRL Stand-up comic Cameron Esposito performs on Thursday.   Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, December 2 through December 8, 2015

1 Bel Canto

Opera Written by Jimmy López and Nilo Cruz and based on the novel by Ann Patchett, this world premiere is an opportunity to witness the exceptional talent of soprano Danielle de Niese, who gave a memorable performance in Cleopatra at the Lyric in 2007.
12/7–1/17. $20–$319. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker. lyricopera.org

2 Domesticated

Theater Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris’s scathing tale of a philandering politician is as shocking as it is hilarious. Norris (Clybourne Park) directs a cast of local standouts, including Mary Beth Fisher and Tom Irwin.
12/3–3/7. $49–$86. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

3 The Nutcracker

Dance This year is your last chance to see Robert Joffrey’s take on the classic ballet. Rising choreographer Christopher Wheeldon will debut a brand-new version in 2016.
12/4–27. $35–$136. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. joffrey.org/nutcracker

4 Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Classical The maestro Muti captains Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. A relative oddity in relation to the robust 7th and 9th Symphonies, the piece brims with compositional genius and is paired here with the delightful nuggets of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 (“Classical”), Scriabin’s Prometheus, and Ludwig’s own Coriolan Overture.
12/3–12/5. $35–$215. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. cso.org

5 Cameron Esposito

Comedy Sure, Dave Chappelle is Thalia Hall’s hottest comedy act performing this week, but good luck getting in—his 12 shows sold out in minutes. Luckily you can still nab tickets to Esposito’s Thursday show, a double bill with the Chicago native’s fiancée, Rhea Butcher.
12/10 at 10:30. $16–$156. Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport. thaliahallchicago.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Jessica Deahr
Jessica Deahr Photo: Eddo Photography

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—Jessica Deahr, artistic director for the contemporary dance company Chicago Dance Crash.

“Friday is the premiere of my show New Alaska. It includes everything from contemporary dance to hip hop. The gimmick is that I gave each choreographer three different premises: it’s set in Alaska, 100 years in the future, and something apocalyptic has happened.

“Saturday, when I’m not doing  contemporary dance, I moonlight as a Fly Girl for the Too White Crew. It’s this old school hip-hop band that plays live songs from the golden era of hip-hop. We have a show at Joe’s on Weed.

“Sunday, I’m going to try and gather my dancers to go to Headquarters Beercade in River North. I love old-school video games and they have great Bloody Marys.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Spektral Quartet

Classical French accordionist Julien Labro accompanies the contemporary ensemble in a vibrant mix of Latin jazz and tango composed by Andrés Carrizo.
12/3 at 3. Free. Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon. spektralquartet.com

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