The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, November 19 through November 25, 2014

1 Mavis Staples

Music: To celebrate her 75th birthday, Staples has called on a group of veteran blues and folk performers, including Gregg Allman, Ryan Bingham, and Aaron Neville, to perform some of her most indelible hits.
11/19 at 7:30. $72–$997. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.

2 A Christmas Carol

Theater: Larry Yando returns as the best Scrooge in town, channeling Dickens’s misanthropic miser and his evolution into a big-hearted philanthropist.
Through 12/28. $25–$87. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn.

3 Temptation: The Demons of James Ensor

Art: Following an extensive restoration, the Art Institute finally reveals the art of the Belgian symbolist painter James Ensor. View dozens of paintings and drawings—many never seen in Chicago.
11/23–1/25. $14–$23. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan.

4 Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance: Returning to Chicago for the first time in six years, the modern troupe dances to the music of Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
11/21–11/23. $30–$95. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.

5 Porgy and Bess

Opera: Lyric mainstay and now Chicago resident Eric Owens plays the handicapped but plucky hero Porgy in George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a remounting of the most successful opera in the company’s history, as measured by tickets sold.
11/17–12/20. $20–$299. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Nick Pupillo
Nick Pupillo Photo: Courtesy of Nick Pupillo

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Nick Pupillo, founder and artistic director Visceral Dance Chicago. The company’s fall engagement runs at the Harris Theater from Friday, November 21 through Saturday, November 22.

“This weekend, we’re premiering three world premieres, one company premiere, and two works from our inaugural season. I’m collaborating with the cellist Desiree Miller for my piece My Realm, so we’ll have live music which is always nice. The program is dynamic and intriguing—it’s quite a journey that the audience will go through.

“I’ll have the dancers rest on Friday night, but on Saturday, after the show we’re going to Filini at the Radisson Blu. It’s a real sleek and contemporary restaurant. It matches the aesthetic of our company.

“Sunday, my youth company has a performance out in the suburbs. If it wasn’t an all-dance weekend for me, I’d go to the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. The space is open and vast; there’s a really powerful energy there. I go there to reset. ” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Civic Orchestra

Classical: The baroque specialist Nicholas Kraemer helms the Civic Orchestra, the CSO’s training ensemble, in an Elgar overture and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, with the vocal assistance of Chicago Chorale, a top-drawer amateur choir.
11/24 at 8. Free. $25–$85. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan.