Don’t-miss picks for September 27 through October 3, 2018
1 Caroline, or Change
Theater:Set in 1963, this Tony-nominated musical by Tony Kushner and composer Jeanine Tesori infuses politics (JFK’s assassination looms large) with whimsy (a singing washing machine) for an emotionally rich story of a black maid and an 8-year-old Jewish boy devastated by the death of his mother. Tesori uses everything from Motown to Jewish folk tunes to tell a tale of love and loss, performed here by Firebrand Theatre.
9/25–10/28. $45. Den Theatre. firebrandtheatre.org
2 Expo Chicago
Art:If you can’t visit art galleries in Hong Kong, Berlin, London, and Stockholm this year, then consider Chicago’s international contemporary art fair your one-stop shop for some of the edgiest art being made today. More than 100 galleries attend, rounded out by special programming with artist and curator talks — don’t miss Theaster Gates reflecting on Chicago’s midcentury design history on September 28.
9/27–30. $20. Navy Pier. expochicago.com
3 Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Dance:The company featured in this month’s fashion preview gets a little funky for its fall series, with a new piece by Canadian choreographer Emma Portner, street-dance star Lil Buck, and So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Jon Boogz. The work is inspired by environmental sustainability and Paul Stamets’s Mycelium Running, a manual and manifesto about mushrooms, and scored with original music composed by Devonté Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange) and performed by Third Coast Percussion.
9/27–30. $40–$110. Harris Theater. hubbardstreetdance.com
4 Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Jazz:Jazz will flood the Plaisance for the 12th edition of this annual festival, which brings local and national musicians to a pair of outdoor stages. The event will run all afternoon and into the night Saturday, and then again for most of Sunday, overflowing into venues around the park. Event organizers expect more than 20,000 to turn out and soak in the music.
9/29–30. $5 suggested donation. Midway Plaisance. hydeparkjazzfestival.org
Opera:Haymarket Opera Company has introduced Chicago, not to mention the modern era, to several resurrected baroque operas, but here the company engages a work so mainstream that even Lyric once performed it — albeit 23 years ago. Handel’s opera Serse concerns not Circe or any Lannisters but King Xerxes of Persia, opening with his ode to a plane tree, “Ombra Mai Fu,” known to the loosely acquainted and specifically to readers of Our Town as “Handel’s ‘Largo.’” Mezzo-soprano Suzanne Lommler plays the title character.
9/29–10/2. $30–$85. Studebaker Theater. haymarketopera.org
6 Radio Golf
Theater:Sorrow, anger, and gentrification are inextricably linked in the final installment of August Wilson’s 10-play Pittsburgh cycle. Battles over real estate, eminent domain, and municipal politics might not sound like the subjects of riveting drama and poetic language, but Wilson skillfully achieves both.
Through 10/6. $20–$76. Court Theatre. courttheatre.org
7 Half Gringa
Folk:Chicagoan Izzy Olive, who performs with her band under the name Half Gringa, hasn’t forgotten her roots. Her world-weary songs are planted in the legacy of her alt-country folk-rock predecessors, like Neko Case and Linda Ronstadt.
FREE 10/1 at 8:30 p.m. Empty Bottle. emptybottle.com
8 Following the Box
Film:Jerri Zbiral and Alan Teller had the good fortune of discovering a shoebox containing more than 100 photographs of life in rural India from the 1940s. Recognizing the artistic value of the gorgeous prints, the Chicagoans embarked on a global research trip and learned that the pictures were made by a U.S. soldier stationed in West Bengal during World War II. Now the journey of the photos is documented in a film and concurrent exhibition on view through October 20. Zbiral and Teller will appear for a postscreening discussion.
FREE 10/2 at 6 p.m. Loyola University Museum of Art. luc.edu/luma
9 Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Theater:The trippy, macabre world of candy man Willy Wonka comes to the stage in a lavish musical that features puppets by MacArthur “genius” Basil Twist (The Addams Family, Symphonie Fantastique). The Broadway version embraces Dahl’s approach, which is darker than the 1971 cinematic rendition.
10/2–21. $22–$127. Oriental Theatre. broadwayinchicago.com
10 Dorothée Munyaneza
Art:In her newest work, Unwanted, the Rwandan choreographer uses song and dance as a way of examining the physical and psychological consequences of her native country’s civil war. The piece shares the stories of women who stayed in their homeland, surviving mass genocide, rape, and family separation.
10/3–7. $10–$30. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. mcachicago.org