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The Top Ten Things to Do This Week in Chicago

The Cher Show, Marin Alsop, Erica Mott: Mycelial, Windy City Smokeout, Figment Chicago, and more

Hayley Kiyoko   Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic Records/Amanda Churchman

The Ten

Don’t-miss picks for July 12 through July 18, 2018

1 The Cher Show

Theater:This Broadway-bound musical comes with a pedigree worthy of its subject. It’s produced by the same guy who produced Hamilton (Jeffrey Seller) and written by the same guy who wrote Jersey Boys (Rick Elice). With a score featuring songs made famous by the pop icon, the story of Cher’s life unfolds over five decades, from teenage phenom to Oscar-winning actress and beyond.
7/12–15. $32–$257. Broadway in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre. broadwayinchicago.com

2 Marin Alsop

Classical:A sedulous conductor, Alsop assumes the newly created role of music curator for this season—fitting for a year chock-full of the work of her mentor, Leonard Bernstein. Among the highlights of the six programs she will lead are Bernstein’s Serenade with the violinist Joshua Bell; Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony; Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9; and Bernstein’s Mass with an army of forces, including the stage director Kevin Newbury.
7/12–8/19. Free–$100. Ravinia. ravinia.org

3 Erica Mott: Mycelial

Art:The Arab Spring of 2010–2011 was notable for the way participants enlisted social media sites like Twitter to organize revolutions in real time. Choreographer Erica Mott, inspired by the ways that digital technology connects people, collaborates with dancers from Egypt, whom visitors can interact with in an immersive installation using custom-coded gaming technology.
7/13–8/26. $25 suggested donation. Hyde Park Art Center. hydeparkart.org

4 Windy City Smokeout

Festival:Few would call Chicago a country music town, but this festival—which boasts lots of beer and some of the best barbecue in the country, including Brooklyn’s Hometown Bar-B-Que and Central Texas’s Louie Mueller Barbecue—can make a convert of the most cynical city slicker. The bill is an accessible split of arena-packing young stars (Brett Young, Midland) and bluesy, rootsy crossover acts (Turnpike Troubadours).
7/13–15. $45–$700. 560 W. Grand Ave. windycitysmokeout.com

5 Figment Chicago

Art:Anyone can exhibit art at this family-friendly pop-up, provided there’s no money exchanged and no trace is left on the host turf at the end of the event—a sort of one-day Burning Man in a small city park instead of an enormous desert. Artist Stephan Wanger will showcase one of his projects, an attempt to create art out of recycled Mardi Gras beads.
FREE 7/14 at 1 p.m. Mozart Park. figmentproject.org

6 Rick Stone: The Blues Man

Theater:Black Ensemble Theater regulars already know that local bluesman Stone is electrifying. The rest of the city will have a chance to discover that for themselves in Jackie Taylor’s tribute to the man who famously played a gang member in Cooley High. Stone takes the stage, alongside Theo Huff and Dwight Neal.
7/14–8/26. $55–$65. Black Ensemble Theater. blackensembletheater.org

7 Rhythm World

Dance:Tickets to the opening of Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s annual showcase tend to sell out, but the other nights offer plenty of opportunities to see world-class tap dance. Catch a jazz-meets-tap improv session with the Eric Hochberg Trio or an outdoor performance at newly renovated Navy Pier.
7/16–22. Free–$100. Various Venues. chicagotap.org

8 Hayley Kiyoko

Pop:While other female pop stars may tease their sexuality to elicit controversy, Kiyoko has been upfront and vocal. No wonder her growing fan base refers to the former child actress as “Lesbian Jesus.” Expectations, her positively received major-label debut, full of dreamy pop music, is a rare achievement for queer artists eager to speak more honestly and authentically about their lives.
7/17 at 7 p.m. $69–$702. United Center. ticketmaster.com

9 Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy

Classical:The Emerson String Quartet, champions of Dmitri Shostakovich, arranged a multimedia drama, with projected visuals and theatrical interpretations of the composer’s life, around the performance of his String Quartet No. 14. The story shows Shostakovich struggling against the counterforce of Joseph Stalin and brainstorming on how to turn the Chekhov story “The Black Monk” into an opera. Actor David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) plays Shostakovich.
7/17 at 7:30 p.m. Free–$60. Ravinia. ravinia.org

10 Gustavo Dudamel and Yuja Wang

Classical:Last season, the young conductor Gustavo Dudamel was scheduled to make his Ravinia debut leading the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, but that country’s government canceled the tour after Dudamel criticized the regime. Now he belatedly leads the in-residence Chicago Symphony Orchestra in an all-Beethoven program featuring the Symphony No. 7 and Piano Concerto No. 1.
7/18 at 8 p.m. Free–$100. Ravinia. ravinia.org

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