The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, July 2 through Tuesday, July 8

1 The Qualms

Theatre: Having taken on race and real estate in the Pulitzer Prize–winning Clybourne Park, playwright Bruce Norris returns to Steppenwolf with a world-premiere comedy on the equally fraught subjects of sex and power. Set at a swingers’ party, the play charts what happens when a new couple attempts to join the group.
7/3–8/31. $20–$86. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted.

2 Chanticleer

Classical: The 12-voice all-male choir Chanticleer, usually here only for sold-out Christmas concerts, examines the sex divide not present in its membership in She Said/He Said, a chant-to-present program including a work by the local composer Stacy Garrop.
7/6 at 7. $10–$60. Lake Cook and Green Bay, Highland Park.

3 20 Feet from Stardom

Film: Watch this terrific documentary about rock music’s great, often marginalized background singers, in the heart of downtown.
7/8 at 6:30. Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph.

4 Seussical

Theatre: Characters from some of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved stories—including Horton, Miss Gertrude McFuzz, and of course, the Cat in the Hat—return to Navy Pier in Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s 75-minute distillation of the author’s whimsical world. Recommended for families, doggerel enthusiasts, and anyone whose heart is two sizes too small.
7/5–8/17. $18–$28. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand.

5 Summer Nights

Zoos: For a Fourth of July alternative that doesn’t involve Navy Pier, head out to Brookfield Zoo for its Summer Nights party series. There’s live music and—naturally—animals to see.
7/4. $15. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W 31st St, Brookfield.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Madalyn Mattsey
Madalyn Mattsey Photo: Courtesy of Madalyn Mattsey

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: actor Madalyn Mattsey. Alice in Wonderland runs from Saturday, July 5 to Sunday, August 10.

“We have rehearsal Friday morning and then we’re going to have a cookout for the Fourth. We’re also going to see some fireworks at Navy Pier. I don’t get out there too often, but in the summer, it’s nice to go have a drink at the Pavilion.

“Saturday, we have our show opening at the Morton Arboretum. We’re an outdoor theater company. What makes us different from other companies is that we hike along the trail and perform the scenes in different areas. So you’re able to see the arboretum and if you’re in the city, it’s a nice little getaway. After shows, I like to go to Floyd’s Pub. They have a great grilled cheese sandwich and it’s quiet and laidback. It’s a great place to bring a group of people.

“After our show on Sunday, I have tickets to see This is Our Youth at Steppenwolf. I love Arrested Development so I’m excited to see Michael Cera live and I’ve been going to Steppenwolf shows since I was little. We’ll probably get dinner afterwards at Little Goat. They’ve got an amazing, inventive take on diner food. They have fantastic poutine fries.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Loops and Variations

New Music: The influential, vanguardist New York chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound comes to Chicago for the first time. They’ll jam on their house arrangement of a new riff on Radiohead by Aphez Twin and Steve Reich.
7/3 at 6:30. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington.