Don’t-miss picks for November 14 through November 20, 2019
1 Fields of Vision: Ran, Suzuki, and Thorvaldsdottir
New Music:Spektral Quartet, Chicago’s most dynamic four-person string outfit, threads together quartets by Pulitzer winner Shulamit Ran, who can probably just walk from her office to the concert; the sound artist Kotoka Suzuki; and the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir. Thorvaldsdottir’s contribution, Enigma, here in its concert version, will anchor a much-anticipated performance with immersive projections later this season at the Adler Planetarium.
FREE 11/14 at 7:30 p.m. Fulton Recital Hall, University of Chicago. spektralquartet.com
2 Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them
Theater:Eclipse Theatre Company devotes each calendar year to the works of a single playwright; its 2019 season of productions by renowned satirist Christopher Durang concludes with his passionately absurdist take on the war on terror and its excesses. Steve Scott, who staged Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike for the Goodman in 2015 and was the producer of the theater for more than 30 years, takes directing duties here as well.
11/14–12/15. $20–$30. Athenaeum Theatre. eclipsetheatre.com
New Music:Its name employing the Latin word for “darkness,” this otherworldly chamber choir brings exotically gorgeous unaccompanied music, including the contemporary classic Path of Miracles, to the resonance of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Contrasting with the new music, they will make the atmosphere old — and take the group’s name literally — by turning off the electric lights and singing by candles.
11/15 at 7:30 p.m. $10–$38. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago. chicagopresents.uchicago.edu
4 The First Deep Breath
Theater:This new drama by Lee Edward Colston II centers on the pastor of an African American church and his family, who must confront long-buried history when a prodigal son comes home from prison. An early version of Colston’s script was a breakout hit at Victory Gardens’ Ignition Festival of New Plays in 2018; now the theater premieres the finished product.
11/15–12/22. $25–$65. Victory Gardens Theater. victorygardens.org
Seasonal:This transplanted German tradition — which originated in Nuremberg circa 1545 — still feels uniquely magical and Chicagoan every time it comes around. The mulled wine, spiced nuts, and plates of bratwurst and sauerkraut can be enjoyed at both Daley Plaza and outside Wrigley Field. Make sure to grab a melted raclette sandwich.
FREE 11/15–12/31. Various locations. christkindlmarket.com
6 Camille Norment: Untitled (Red Flame)
Art:Immerse yourself in an abstract chorus of voices in this sound installation, commissioned specifically for this site. The recordings were made during workshops that the Oslo-based artist conducted with South Side residents, where they engaged in vocal exercises and discussed the relationships between sound, black cultural life, and political agency in Chicago.
FREE 11/15–1/5. Logan Center, University of Chicago. arts.uchicago.edu
7 Jessica Vaughn
Art:While art traditionally adorns gallery walls, this exhibition will have you casting your eyes to the floor and ceiling. Vaughn, a Brooklyn-based Chicago native, produces works that isolate the power structures embedded in everyday infrastructure, such as on the CTA and in corporate cubicles. For this show, she will use acoustic tiles and fluorescent lights to modify the space so it resembles a contemporary office.
FREE 11/15–1/20. Patron Gallery. patrongallery.com
Opera:Chicago Opera Theater, presenting nothing but local premieres lately, one-ups even itself by putting on two in a single evening. The double bill pairs Aleko, a love triangle composed by a teenage Sergei Rachmaninoff, with Everest, an adaptation of the true-adventure life-and-death story from Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, created just five years ago by the British composer Joby Talbot.
11/16–17. $45–$150. Harris Theater. chicagooperatheater.org
9 Always … Patsy Cline
Theater:This modest but crowd-pleasing jukebox musical hinges on the pen-pal correspondence between Cline, the midcentury country crooner, and Louise Seger, a superfan who became a confidante. In Firebrand Theatre’s production, actors Christina Hall and Harmony France will trade off roles at alternating performances — a plan so “Crazy” it just might work.
11/16–12/15. $20–$50. Den Theatre. firebrandtheatre.org
10 Red Bull Music Festival Chicago
Pop:Last year, this energy-drink-sponsored series of improbably cool concerts hosted everything from arena-filling rap shows to sweeping jazz performances at the South Shore Cultural Center. This time around looks to be just as extraordinary, with Lupe Fiasco doing a front-to-back run-through of Food & Liquor, his most acclaimed album, and a 50th-anniversary celebration of the fabulous local record store Gramaphone at both Metro and Smartbar.
11/17–30. Various prices and locations. redbull.com/chicago
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