Don’t-miss picks for January 31 through February 6, 2019
1 A Doll’s House, Part 2
Theater:Love and marriage are two completely different things. At least that’s what Nora — the woman who famously slammed the door on a stifling marriage in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House — tells her engaged daughter, Emmy, in Lucas Hnath’s sequel, set 15 years after Ibsen left off. Historically, most sequels don’t live up to the original, but Steppenwolf’s casting — Sandra Marquez and Celeste M. Cooper star as Nora and Emmy — would argue otherwise.
1/31–3/17. $15–$99. Steppenwolf Theatre. steppenwolf.org
2 Spectrum Dance Theater
Dance:It’s been nearly a quarter century since the decorated choreographer Donald Byrne came to Chicago with his contemporary dance company. They’ll be performing Rambunctious Iteration No. 3: The Immigrants, a timely collection of abstract pieces set to music by composers who immigrated to America from non-European countries, including Cuba and Iran.
2/1–2. $10–$30. Dance Center, Columbia College Chicago. dance.colum.edu
Theater:By the time playwright Dominique Morisseau was named a MacArthur “genius” in 2018, she had already found plenty of fans in Chicago, with productions of her piercing dramas Sunset Baby and Detroit ’67 at TimeLine and Northlight. The title of this 2017 work refers to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline—the idea that discriminatory disciplining in schools helps funnel disadvantaged youth into the criminal justice system. The play tracks a black public-school teacher’s fears for her own teenage son.
2/1–3/3. $20–$45. Victory Gardens Theater. victorygardens.org
4 Chicago Winter Ale Fest
Festival:Every winter, Chicagoans steel their hearts and bellies against tundra-like conditions and march outdoors in pursuit of great brews. This annual gathering of people who love to talk about drinking as much as they love to drink features more than 150 craft beers and bites from local and regional breweries such as Lagunitas, Dovetail, and Great Lakes.
2/2 at 11 a.m. $59–$69. Lacuna Lofts. chicagoalefest.com
5 Trinity Irish Dance Company
Dance:Chicago’s quintessential ensemble of Irish dancers plays to the home crowd for the first time in more than a decade. There’ll be plenty of their classic jigs and reels, including well loved pieces like Johnny (1991) and Curran Event (2000). In recent years, artistic director Mark Howard has been ditching the curly wigs and embroidered dresses in favor of more progressive themes like female empowerment.
2/2 at 7:30 p.m. $29–$80. Auditorium Theatre. auditoriumtheatre.org
Opera:Richard Strauss’s short-by-operatic standards, no-intermission tour de force comes packaged here in the provocative director David McVicar’s attention-getting production, redeployed for duty as a star vehicle for Nina Stemme, a Metropolitan Opera favorite making her Chicago debut. The demanding role—Elektra almost never leaves the stage—sees the Greek heroine urging on her mother’s murder, part of the cycle of vengeful killings spilling out from the Trojan War.
2/2–22. $59–$279. Lyric Opera House. lyricopera.org
7 Maia Cruz Palileo: All the While I Thought You Had Received This
Art:During the summer of 2017, this Brooklyn artist dug through the Newberry Library’s vast collection and found a strange trove of 19th-century photographs of indigenous people of the Philippines taken by the American zoologist Dean C. Worcester. The photos channeled the harmful intentions of colonialism, so Palileo, who is Filipina, decided to revise those images into colorful, intimate canvases as a way to imagine a new, positive history of her culture. This is her first solo exhibit in Chicago.
FREE 2/2–3/30. Monique Meloche Gallery. moniquemeloche.com
Art:This three-artist exhibition considers photography specifically as a riveting medium for capturing personal histories and memory. Look no further than the work of Karolis Usonis, who eyes homoerotic undertones in his father’s archive of military pictures.
FREE 2/2–4/7. Chicago Cultural Center. cityofchicago.org
9 Lake Geneva Winterfest
Festival:After a week of Arctic-level temperatures, you may need to head out of town for the weekend. And you don’t have to go far: Nearby Lake Geneva’s annual frosty extravaganza sports a number of fun wintertime events, including a snow-sculpting competition, a chili cook-off, helicopter rides, and much more.
Through 2/3. Various locations and prices. visitlakegeneva.com/winterfest
10 Bill Kim
Talk:In this latest installment of the “Authors on the Lake” Q&A series, the star chef discusses his debut cookbook from April of last year, ‘Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces,’ which aims to demystify Asian cooking, drawing upon the chef’s Korean American upbringing and his years manning the kitchens of local favorites Urbanbelly and BellyQ (RIP). The event will include light food and drinks.
2/6 at 7 p.m. $30–$40. Theater on the Lake. eventbrite.com