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58 Things to Do in Chicago in January

Jan. 1
Recreation

New Year’s Day 5K

Lincoln Park

Consider this rain-or-shine jaunt through Lincoln Park a down payment on your lofty New Year’s resolutions. The breakfast buffet at the finish line should take the edge off.

Details:Lincoln Park at La Salle and Stockton. 11 a.m. $40–$50. eventbrite.com

Jan. 5–Feb. 25
Theater

Traitor

Old Town

Adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, in which a polluted water supply threatens the lives of those around it, Brett Neveu’s world premiere focuses on a suburban Chicago charter school built on polluted land. With two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon in the director’s chair, you’d best get your tickets early.

Details:A Red Orchid Theatre. $15–$35. aredorchidtheatre.org

Through Jan. 7
Theater

42nd Street

Oakbrook Terrace

Peggy Sawyer gets her Broadway break in this Drury Lane staging of the tap musical, directed by Michael Heitzman with choreography by Jared Grimes.

Details:Drury Lane Theatre. $40–$62. ticketmaster.com

Jan. 10–Mar. 18
Theater

Boy

Lake View

In 1966, when a botched circumcision left infant David Peter Reimer without a penis, doctors advised his parents to castrate him and raise him as a girl. With that, Reimer, reared alongside his identical twin brother, became the object of a decades-long science experiment. Using his life as inspiration, Anna Ziegler probes gender, identity, and the ageless debate over nature vs. nurture.

Details:TimeLine Theatre. $25–$54. timelinetheatre.com

Jan. 11
Art

Artists Connect: Haley Fohr

Loop

In the recurring series Artists Connect, the Art Institute taps a local artist to create work inspired by a piece or gallery in its collection. This month, Haley Fohr, known for penning haunting ballads under the name Circuit des Yeux, sings in the museum’s Ando Gallery.

Details:Art Institute of Chicago. 6 p.m. Free with admission. artic.edu

Jan. 11
Pop

Lana Del Rey

Near West Side

This loungey pop star (real name Lizzy Grant) is no stranger to the headlines, but it’s unlikely she anticipated the recent spike in attention to her 2012 track “Cola”—inspired, many surmised, by Harvey Weinstein. (Opening lines: My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola / My eyes are wide like cherry pies / I gots a taste for men who are older.) Grant has since dispelled the rumors, saying she envisioned “a Citizen Kane,” but discontinued the song nevertheless. She’s now focusing on Lust for Life, her solid (if rambling) fifth album, which marks a return to form for the provocative artist.

Details:United Center. 8 p.m. $40–$395. ticketmaster.com

Jan. 11–Feb. 11
Theater

All My Sons

Hyde Park

Director Charles Newell helms Arthur Miller’s classic about war profiteering, family ties, and the price of success. Set during World War II, the drama examines how war destroys families thousands of miles from the frontlines. John Judd leads an all-star cast, including Timothy Edward Kane and Kate Collins.

Details:Court Theatre. $38–$74. courtheatre.org

Jan. 11–Feb. 24
Theater

Five Mile Lake

Lake View

Think Chekhov—loneliness, ennui, and all—transported from a humdrum small town in Russia to a humdrum small town in Pennsylvania. Ambitions are thwarted and love unrequited in this Rachel Bonds drama, where immobility looms (in the form of the titular frozen lake) over a group of young adults stuck in their provincial lives.

Details:Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit. $20–$35. sgtheatre.org

'Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite 1968–1975'
Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite 1968–1975 Photo: Artist’s Collection/Courtesy of Lusenhop Fine Art © David Lusenhop
Jan. 11–Mar. 25
Art

Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite 1968–1975

Lincoln Park

The ’60s and ’70s were a time of liberation for minority groups in Chicago, in both civic life and the arts. Barbara Jones-Hogu, who passed away in November at the age of 79, was at the artistic center of Chicago’s Black Arts Movement, screenprinting bold images of black empowerment for the collective AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). This exhibit presents iconic images of that revolutionary period and tracks the evolution of the Chicago Heights artist’s style.

Details:DePaul Art Museum. Free. museums.depaul.edu

St. Vincent
St. Vincent Photo: Nedda Afsari
Jan. 12
Rock

St. Vincent

Loop

Forget what you think you know about this avant-garde singer-guitarist (real name Annie Clark). On Masseduction, Clark’s fifth and most accomplished solo album yet, the sonically gifted and occasionally transgressive rocker spins a near-masterpiece about the intersection of power, sex, and human relationships. Incorporating genres from industrial techno to glam rock, the album checks in as the most boundary pushing by an already out-there artist. Its accompanying live show, which previewed in October in Los Angeles, is a visual feast of Memphis design, neon, and abrasive rock ’n’ roll.

Details:Chicago Theatre. 8 p.m. $75–$225. ticketmaster.com

Brian Brooks Moving Company
Brian Brooks Moving Company Photo: Erin Baiano
Jan. 12–13
Dance

Brian Brooks Moving Company

Loop

Brooks, best known for collaborations with ballet superstar Wendy Whelan, returns to the Harris Theater with his New York company for two programs. Friday’s abridged performance—part of the theater’s millennial-targeted Mix at Six series—features food trucks and booze; the Saturday matinee is for the whole family.

Details:Harris Theater. $10–$15. harristheaterchicago.org

Jan. 12–18
Classical

Winter Chamber Music Festival

Evanston

A warm oasis in a huddling-under-the-blanket time of year, the three-weekend chamber music series at Northwestern University programs an avalanche of big-name small-ensemble talent. The lineup features three string quartets (Dudok Kwartet Amsterdam, Rolston, and in-residence Dover), all incidentally incorporating Mozart, as well as 24 caprices, à la Paganini, by top contemporary composers (violinist Jennifer Koh performing)—a project so big it snowballed to two concerts.

Details:Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University. $10–$30 per concert; $27–$126 multiconcert pass. events.music.northwestern.edu

Jan. 12–Mar. 11
Theater

Rose

Lincoln Park

Jeff winner Linda Reiter stars as Rose Kennedy in this Laurence Leamer play about the legendary political matriarch. The script doesn’t shy away from the skeletons in the family closet, including the parade of mistresses Rose endured and the lobotomy forced on her daughter Rosemary. A near-perfect merger of cast, direction, and writing, Rose sold out its short run at Greenhouse last year. If you missed this hit then, now’s your chance to catch it.

Details:Greenhouse Theater. $20–$45. greenhousetheater.org

Jan. 13
Classical

Robert Chen

Highland Park

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster takes advantage of a night off from Symphony Center to play a winter recital at the orchestra’s summer home. Chen plans a program of Mozart, Brahms, a piece by the virtuoso violinist Fritz Kreisler, and the Sonata for Violin and Piano by John Corigliano, who composed the score to The Red Violin and will soon celebrate his 80th birthday.

Details:Ravinia. 8:30 p.m. $11–$50. ravinia.org

'Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah'
Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah Photo: Paul Natkin
Jan. 13–14
Gospel

Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah

Loop

The 13th annual presentation of a jazz and gospel take on George Frideric Handel’s Messiah features more than 100 voices, a 37-piece orchestra, and a jazz quintet. The performance commemorates the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Details:Auditorium Theatre. $29–$68. auditoriumtheatre.org

Jan. 13–Apr. 22
Art

Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt

Evanston

A rare exhibit brings paintings of mummies to Northwestern University. Rendered on wood, these portraits, which were wrapped up with mummified bodies, document Roman Egyptians who lived and died 2,000 years ago—their faces not much different from ours today. Also on view, the property of a theology seminary on campus: a wrapped mummy that curators believe was a young girl.

Details:Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. Free. blockmuseum.northwestern.edu

Jan. 14–15
Classical

Chicago Sinfonietta

Naperville, Loop

For the latest in its annual raucous remembrances of Martin Luther King Jr., this diversity-jubilant orchestra devotes the whole concert to Ask Your Mama, a piece that embodies variety in its styles and instrumentation. The composition by the film-and-TV composer Laura Karpman, inspired by Langston Hughes, unites the orchestra with jazz musicians, electronic samples, video projections, spoken word, and sundry other influences. The operatic soprano Janai Brugger, in town for the second cast of Lyric’s Turandot, solos.

Details:January 14: Pfeiffer Concert Hall at North Central College; January 15: Symphony Center. $10–$62. chicagosinfonietta.org

Jan. 16
Rock

The Killers

Near West Side

How, you might ask, do the Killers stay relevant more than a decade after “Mr. Brightside”? Lizzy Goodman’s Meet Me in the Bathroom, 2017’s best-selling oral history on the New York rock scene through which they ascended, offers a clue: their work ethic. Goodman reports that while the Las Vegas band’s peers partied through the aughts, the Killers spent their nights perfecting the sound that separated them from craggy one-hit wonders. The result is an enduring career, which last year yielded a fifth LP, Wonderful Wonderful, and a headlining slot at Lollapalooza.

Details:United Center. 7:30 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.

Jan. 16–Jul. 1
Art

Paul Heyer

Gold Coast

Consider Heyer the local emerging painter of the moment: His pastel-hued scenes recall the glory days of LGBTQ sexual liberation in Chicago and beyond. (See “Painter Paul Heyer Takes Inspiration from His South Suburban Hometown.”)

Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. $8–$15 donation. mcachicago.org

Jan. 18
R&B

Lalah Hathaway

Near North Side

“It’s a brutally difficult time to create art,” the Chicago-born singer told Forbes last fall. “As artists, what strikes us is what we can hang onto, [and] a lot of times that is pain.” On her October release, Honestly, Hathaway explores that pain, referencing the 2014 Ferguson protests, Standing Rock, and Charlottesville on her way to illustrating the intersection of social justice and contemporary life.

Details:House of Blues. 6:30 p.m. $35–$135. livenation.com

Jan. 18
Comedy

Wham City and Helltrap Nightmare

West Town

The members of the Baltimore collective Wham City frequently blur the lines between comedy and performance art. Their sketches and videos can skew existentially horrifying (take the 2014 short Unedited Footage of a Bear, shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, a follow-up to the surprise hit Too Many Cooks). Expect an evening of horrific hilarity as they join forces with the local oddballs of Helltrap Nightmare.

Details:Hideout. 7 and 10 p.m. $12. hideoutchicago.com

Jan. 18 and 20
Classical

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Loop

The 127-year-old grande dame of classical music in Chicago kicks off the new year with a youthful new-leaf concert, featuring its 24-year-old principal bassoonist, Keith Buncke, and the conductor Rafael Payare, who at 37 is practically in conductor toddlerhood. Payare leads Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto (with Buncke soloing), and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

Details:Symphony Center. $34–$221. cso.org

Jan. 18 and 20
New Music

On the Threshold of Winter

Lincoln Park

Ensemble Dal Niente puts on Michael Hersch’s one-woman opera, based on the dying-breath verses of the Romanian poet Marin Sorescu. Ah Young Hong, the soprano who premiered the piece in 2014, resurrects the role of a woman not going gentle, accompanied by savage, gloomy instrumentals that oscillate between unsettling tonality and disjunct atonality.

Details:Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. $20–$30. dalniente.com

Jan.19
Classical

Chiara String Quartet

North Park

This Nebraska-based quartet, renowned for playing by memory, recently announced that they will break up after this performance season. At what is likely their last local appearance, they’ll play NEIU’s intimate Jewel Box series, their swan song a program of Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, and Debussy.

Details:Recital Hall at Northeastern Illinois University. 7:30 p.m. $10–$25. neiu.edu/jewelbox

Jan. 19 and 26
Kids

Dozin’ with the Dinos

South Loop

Kids ages 6 to 12 can spend a bona fide night at the museum via this sleepover at the Field, which includes educational programming and a flashlight tour. The event starts at 5:45 p.m. on Friday. Pickup is at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Details:Field Museum. $60–$90. fieldmuseum.org

Jan. 19–Mar. 11
Theater

Hatfield & McCoy

West Town

The infamous Appalachian feud unravels in this bluegrass-tinged musical—part Romeo and Juliet, part Li’l Abner, and wholly original. Shawn Pfautsch and Matt Kahler’s score calls for backwoods instruments like fiddle, mandolin, and upright bass, all of which color a twanging tale of forbidden love in the hollers of Kentucky.

Details:House Theatre at Chopin Theatre. $15–$50. thehousetheatre.com

Through Jan. 20
Art

Rebecca Shore

West Town

This contemporary painter has a gift for stylish, abstract compositions that show patterns drawn from various influences on her life—including jewelry design, musical instruments, rock walls, and costume embroidery.

Details:Corbett vs. Dempsey. Free. corbettvsdempsey.com

Jan. 20
Country

Rayland Baxter

Lincoln Park

Rayland Baxter on social media is a far cry from Rayland Baxter on a record. While the singer’s tweets offer rapid-fire quirkiness and are occasionally cryptic (for example, “fLat water in a tweLve ounce can … a pLease to drink”), his alt-country tunes are painfully grounded in reality. The storyteller’s poignant takes on contemporary life have helped revitalize the Americana music genre.

Details:Lincoln Hall. 9 p.m. $15–$17. lh-st.com

Jan. 20
Country

Cash for Kids Johnny Cash Night

Irving Park

It’s never too early to introduce your tykes to the classics, and the discography of Johnny Cash makes as rollicking a crash course as any. Here, artists including Chicago’s Waco Brothers power through the Man in Black’s catalog, with all proceeds benefitting the Gompers Park Athletic Association’s baseball and softball teams.

Details:Irish American Heritage Center. 6 p.m. $15–$20. irish-american.org

Jan. 20
Recreation

Chicago Polar Bear Plunge

Gold Coast

Few events bring out Chicago’s celebrity population like this charge-for-charity into icy Lake Michigan. Locals Vince Vaughn and Chicago Fire star Taylor Kinney have joined in the past, as have out-of-towners Lady Gaga, Jimmy Fallon, and Dax Shepard. That said, it’s rude to rubberneck—jump on into the water yourself.

Details:Oak Street Beach. Noon. $30–$40. chicagopolarbearclub.com

Jan. 20
Rock

Destroyer

Lake View

Dan Bejar is known for songs that make his personal paranoia public, but his latest release, Ken, is his most direct yet. Cut with producer Josh Wells, the album finds Bejar, who formed the band Destroyer in the ’90s and continues to perform under the name, at his most meditative and minimalist, broaching feelings of psychosis and estrangement in his trademark baritone drone. All in all, it amounts to what Bejar promised in Billboard back in October: “The most goth record you’re going to hear from Destroyer.”

Details:Metro. 9 p.m. $21–$23. etix.com

Jan. 20
Comedy

Jo Firestone

West Town

This New York comedian sports one of the most diverse résumés in the biz. Beyond appearing in Don’t Think Twice, Broad City, and The Chris Gethard Show and writing for Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show, Firestone co-hosts a game show podcast, and in 2016 helped write Punderdome, one of Amazon’s best-selling card games. Here, she channels her offbeat charm into standup.

Details:Hideout. 7 and 10 p.m. $10. hideoutchicago.com

Jan. 20–Mar. 3
Art

Eric Finzi

Near West Side

Few painters emerge from their traumas as triumphantly as Frida Kahlo, who as a child endured abuse, bullying, polio, and a near-fatal bus crash. The now-famous Mexican surrealist was lauded for her expressive, piercing self-portraits, which painter Eric Finzi pays homage to in a new series. To re-create the icon, he employs a special technique that involves using syringes to inject pigment into resin.

Details:Linda Warren Projects. Free. lindawarrenprojects.com

Jan. 20–Mar. 4
Art

Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape

Elmhurst

Known for hosting wild jazz parties at her Hyde Park home in the ’40s, Abercrombie also developed a style of surrealist painting that often featured solitary women in moody Midwestern landscapes.

Details:Elmhurst Art Museum. Free–$9. elmhurstartmuseum.org

Jan. 21
Comedy

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

Bucktown

Founded by local hero Hannibal Buress, this Brooklyn-based trio and their namesake show wield plenty of clout in New York. All three hosts—Clark Jones, Will Miles, and Kenny DeForest—have been named among the 50 funniest people in Brooklyn by Brooklyn Magazine. While those accolades don’t mean much in Chicago, expect pedigree standup and doubtless some big-name guests.

Details:Hideout. 7 p.m. $10. hideoutchicago.com

Jan. 21
Rock

Hinds

Lincoln Park

You’d be forgiven for missing this Spanish quartet’s charming debut, Leave Me Alone, in 2016’s flood of big releases—but even two years later, their sunburned, woozy garage-pop is like a much-needed shot of vitamin D in the doldrums of January.

Details:Lincoln Hall. 9 p.m. $15. lh-st.com

Jan. 21
Classical

The Play of Daniel

Hyde Park

The Boston Camerata, an early-music ensemble, brings the story of the Old Testament prophet to one of the most resonant spaces around. The 13th-century piece, a touchstone of medieval performance, uses melodic music (no harmonies) to describe Daniel, the court of Belshazzar, and the literal handwriting on the wall.

Details:Rockefeller Chapel at University of Chicago. 2 p.m. $10–$38. chicagopresents.uchicago.edu

Jan. 24–Mar. 11
Theater

Nice Girl

Edgewater

After giving up an Ivy League education out of high school, Jo, now 37, finds herself stuck living at home with her aging mother. Melissa Ross’s dialogue can be biting (one character opines
that happiness is like a “scratch-off lottery ticket”), but in her story of quietly thwarted ambitions, hope shines through in unexpected places.

Details:Raven Theatre. $29–$46. raventheatre.com

Jan. 25
Dance

Boomerang

Loop

This New York–based dance and performance project is known for aggressive, edgy, and, above all, sweaty performances. Here, they debut work inspired by the French sculptor Rodin—chiefly his ability to mold wet clay into lifelike muscles and flesh—alongside the Art Institute’s new exhibition on the artist.

Details:Art Institute of Chicago. 6 p.m. Free with admission. artic.edu

Jan. 25–27
Dance

If Left Unchecked

Lake View

Paige Caldarella, a former staple in Merce Cunningham Dance Company, choreographs a mix of ballet and contemporary dance, mining the implications the two art forms have on each performer’s gender, race, and body.

Details:Links Hall. $5–$10. linkshall.org

'Las Ideas: Federico León'
Las Ideas: Federico León Photo: Bea Borgers (KFDA)
Jan. 25–28
Performance Art

Las Ideas: Federico León

Gold Coast

Buenos Aires artist León performs live video manipulation using cameras, software, and a Ping-Pong table. The hourlong theatrical work simulates a creative encounter between two collaborators with a shared love for digital art, toys, and tricks.

Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. $10–$30. mcachicago.org

Jan. 25–30
Classical

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Loop

The CSO, a perfect vehicle for the outsize scale and drama of Gustav Mahler, takes on his 70-minute Symphony No. 5, conducted by Manfred Honeck, a fellow Austrian. To open the concert, Honeck heads Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, featuring the pianist Till Fellner (another Austrian).

Details:Symphony Center. $36–$152. cso.org

Jan. 25–Mar. 4
Theater

We’re Gonna Be Okay

North Center

Set during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this Basil Kreimendahl comedy looks back on a time when nuclear annihilation seemed imminent. As President Kennedy tries to calm a jittery nation, two suburban families build a bomb shelter on their shared property line while coping with internal crises of their own.

Details:American Theater Company. $20–$38. atcweb.org

Jan. 25–Mar. 11
Theater

You Got Older

Lincoln Park

Death, desire, and a kinky cowboy collide in Clare Barron’s dramedy about a young woman who returns home to care for her cancer-stricken father. Friction ensues as she and her siblings try to make peace with the past and plans for the future. Jonathan Berry directs a cast that includes Steppenwolf regulars Audrey Francis, Francis Guinan, Glenn Davis, and Caroline Neff.

Details:Steppenwolf. $20–$89. steppenwolf.org

Jan. 26–27
Film

B-Fest

Evanston

Each winter, B movie buffs congregate at Northwestern University for 24 hours of low-budget horror, shoestring sci-fi, and decidedly dated monster flicks. Staples include a midnight screening of the campy classic Plan 9 from Outer Space, themed raffle prizes, and live presentations by the B-Fest Players.

Details:McCormick Auditorium at Northwestern University. 6 p.m. $5–$40. b-fest.com

Jan. 26–27
Books

Elgin Literary Festival

Elgin

Readings, author signings, panel discussions, and all-around bookishness hit downtown Elgin at this fest for writers and readers of all ages.

Details:Hemmens Cultural Center. Free. sidestreetstudioarts.org

Jan. 26–Feb. 8
Food

Chicago Restaurant Week

Various neighborhoods

This culinary celebration, which boasts deals at the city’s best eateries, turns 11 in 2018. Prix fixe is the name of the game, with lunch and brunch starting at $22 and dinners starting at $33.

Details:Various venues. choosechicago.com

Jan. 26–Mar. 11
Theater

Merrily We Roll Along

Near North Side

Starting in 1976 and moving backward for two decades, Stephen Sondheim’s rarely staged gem follows a composer who gives up life in the theater for a Hollywood mansion and film career. The show is absolute catnip for Sondheim aficionados, and under the direction of Michael Weber, it should also appeal to everyone else.

Details:Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts. $33–$50. porchlightmusictheatre.org

Through Jan. 27
Art

Chris Garofalo

Near West Side

The Lake View artist is known for her small ceramic sculptures, carved and colored to evoke bizarre botanical and aquatic specimens. In Precious Fragments Exquisite Longing, she displays her creations in glass apothecary jars to enhance their wonder, at the same time raising questions about the future of biodiversity in light of species that have gone extinct.

Details:Rhona Hoffman Gallery. Free. rhoffmangallery.com

Jan. 27
World

Pedro Fernandez

Loop

After unexpectedly canceling an appearance in November, the Mexican singer, songwriter, TV personality, and one-time child star returns to Chicago with highlights from a four-decade career and his uniquely sensual brand of mariachi.

Details:Auditorium Theatre. 8 p.m. $63–$153. auditoriumtheatre.org

Jan. 27–Feb. 4
Festival

Winterfest

Lake Geneva

While Chicago-area winters are more often suffered than celebrated, there are worse ways to mark the season’s midpoint than a jaunt to Lake Geneva. Across nine days, the city hosts a human dogsled race, helicopter rides, the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition, and more. Warm up indoors at shows from Milwaukee magician Tristan Crist.

Details:Lake Geneva. visitlakegeneva.com/winterfest

Jan. 28
Poetry

Andrea Gibson

Pilsen

The poet Gibson’s spoken-word pieces are a master class in self-reflection. Drawing on the traditions of songwriting as much as slam, she cuts to the truths at the heart of complicated subjects, particularly queer identity. It’s raw, emotional stuff—don’t forget the tissues.

Details:Thalia Hall. 7:30 p.m. $21–$23. thaliahallchicago.com

Jan. 28
Classical

Minnesota Orchestra

Loop

Followers of the symphony scene know that a few years ago, a lockout silenced the Minnesota Orchestra for 15 months. They should also know that Osmo Vänskä, the respected Finn who returned as music director after the lockout, interprets Jean Sibelius like few can. Here Vänskä leads a symphonic poem by Sibelius, followed by the crowd-pleasing Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky and Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven.

Details:Symphony Center. 3 p.m. $25–$160. cso.org

Jan. 28–29
Classical

Mozart Dialogues

Skokie, Loop

Jane Glover, the music director of Music of the Baroque, has a special affinity for Mozart. To mark the weekend the composer would have turned 262, Glover leads a small and agile orchestra in his Symphony No. 33 and two sinfonia concertantes spotlighting several soloists: one for violin and viola and one for four winds.

Details:January 28: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts; January 29: Harris Theater. $25–$78. baroque.org

Jan. 29
Pop

Wafia

Lake View

Australia, much like Sweden, is known for churning out synth-pop stars (Empire of the Sun, Cut Copy, global superstar Kylie Minogue). Fans eager to discover the next big export ought check out Wafia. In 2016, the singer released (M)edian, her second EP. A collaboration with fellow Aussie producer Taku, the sensual, focused collection of R&B-laced pop is sure to please even the most fickle of listeners.

Details:Schubas. 8 p.m. $15. lh-st.com

Jan. 30–Feb. 3
Comedy

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous

Loop

In an alternate universe, this Chicago-born vet of the SNL writers’ room could have replaced Macaulay Culkin as the star of Home Alone. In our universe, though, his parents refused to let him audition, and he ultimately decided to pursue standup. We’re all the better for it, given Oh, Hello, his sidesplitting collaboration with fellow comedian Nick Kroll, which blossomed into a surprise off-Broadway hit, and The Comeback Kid, his beloved Netflix special from 2015. Catch new material on this hometown tour stop.

Details:Chicago Theatre. Sold out; see resellers.

Jan. 30–Feb. 11
Theater

The Humans

Loop

The last time Stephen Karam’s family drama played in Chicago, it was at a tiny black box in North Center. Now the show returns after a hit run on Broadway and four Tonys. Set on Thanksgiving Day, the story offers a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the human heart, with a dash of supernatural lurking in the background. In its previous incarnation, the play was a feast for the heart and mind. Here’s hoping the cavernous new venue doesn’t compromise the intimacy.

Details:Oriental Theatre. $25–$98. broadwayinchicago.com

Jan. 31
Funk

George Clinton

Pilsen

When Clinton took the stage at last summer’s Pitchfork Music Festival, many wondered if he could still bring the funk; recent concert reviews had been mixed at best. But within minutes, he was blasting Union Park with piercing brass, hypnotic bass, and Funkadelic’s full-bodied vocals. In his later years, Clinton has added an even more sizable band to his live show, letting young and new artists contribute to the history he’s been writing since the ’50s. The result is surprisingly charming and, thankfully, still loads of fun.

Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $38–$80. eventbrite.com

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