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20 Great Cultural Events to Fill Your Winter Weekends

Waste no weekend this winter

Catch Shemekia Copeland’s Holiday Party this month.   Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune

December 5

Return of the Exquisite Corpse Dr. Frankenstein lives on in this group show by 105 artists in which the head, torso, and feet of a figure drawing are crafted by different individuals. Printworks Gallery. Free. printworkschicago.com.

December 6

Ensemble Dal Niente The new-music ensemble premieres composer Johannes Kreidler’s Stil 1i, a musical commentary on capitalism. Constellation. $15. ticketfly.com.


December 12

Bel Canto The Lyric Opera stages its first world premiere in 11 years; this one is based on Ann Patchett’s best seller. Civic Opera House. $20 to $349. lyricopera.org.

December 13

Domesticated Bruce Norris’s new play examines a family ripped apart by a sex scandal. Steppenwolf. $49 to $86. steppenwolf.org.


December 19

Music Box Christmas Show Don’t miss the chance to binge on It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas back to back (to back to back). Music Box Theatre. $13 to $24. musicboxtheatre.com.

December 20

Shemekia Copeland’s Holiday Party Get into the Christmas spirit with the reigning queen of blues, though her most recent album, Outskirts of Love, veers country. City Winery. $28 to $38. citywinery.com.


December 26

Mike Lebovitz Expect scatological, adolescent humor with a wink of the eye and a tug of the mustache. Zanies. $25. ticketfly.com.

December 27

Waco Brothers Trade in the leftover eggnog for Jon Langford’s whiskey-soaked country tunes. Schubas. $14 to $15. lh-st.com.


January 2

Beautiful Abby Mueller steps into the lead role in this jukebox musical about the life and career of Carole King. Oriental Theatre. $30 to $135. broadwayinchicago.com.

January 3

Chicago Authored The Chicago History Museum’s first-ever crowdsourced exhibit celebrates Chicago authors past and present. Chicago History Museum. $12 to $14. chicagoauthored.com.


January 9

Byhalia, Mississippi Rising playwright Evan Linder’s latest examines what happens when a white couple has a half-black baby. Den Theatre. $15 to $30. thenewcolony.org.

January 10

Pop Art Design The contemporary answer to the Art Institute’s behemoth new show features pop art you can sit on. Museum of Contemporary Art. $7 to $12. mcachicago.org.


January 16

Another Word for Beauty José Rivera’s new musical tells the story of the annual beauty pageant in a Colombian women’s prison. Goodman Theatre. $25 to $77. goodmantheatre.org.

January 17

Tomorrow Never Knows The final day of Chicago’s dead-of-winter indie-rock fest features Lou Ballow and Andrew St. James. Various locations. $13 to $100. tnkfest.com.


January 23

Tortoise The jazz-rock quintet performs music from The Catastrophist, the group’s first album in seven years. Thalia Hall. $20. ticketweb.com.

January 24

Romeo and Juliet The Bard’s classic love story as performed by 55 dancers from the State Ballet Theatre of Russia. Harris Theater. $25 to $85. harristheaterchicago.org.


January 30

In Time This triennial fest features performance artists from around the globe, including Norway’s Ingri Fiksdal and dancer Anna Martine Whitehead. Various locations and prices. in-time-performance.org.

January 31

Fillet of Solo The annual storytelling festival cements Chicago’s reputation for great live lit. Various locations. $10 to $50. lifelinetheatre.com.


February 6

The Flick Three theater employees wax (un)poetic on art’s place in the zeitgeist in this Pulitzer winner. Steppenwolf. $49 to $54. steppenwolf.org.

February 7

Looking Over the President’s Shoulder James Still’s one-man show narrates the story of real-life presidential butler Alonzo Fields. American Blues Theater. $19–$49. americanbluestheater.com.


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