Kids digging up vegetables on World Environment Day


Chicago Botanic Garden's annual party for planet Earth is an excuse for kids—and adults—to play in the dirt. See sustainable planting demos, farm-to-table food talks, and a brand-new garden-as-classroom.


6/2 WGN’s sky-watcher Tom Skilling gives a keynote presentation at the garden’s World Environment Day bash. The festivities also include the dedication of the new Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden. Open 7 am–9 pm. Parking $7–$20. 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe.



Photograph: © Chicago Botanic Garden


Paul Oakley and Phylicia Rashad


He sings, he dances, he acts, he writes, and he's a staffer in the Obama White House: The multitalented former Chicagoan Paul Oakley Stovall is just the sort of guy who'd be a home run with Mom and Dad. In June, he debuts a new drama at Goodman about how a meet-the-parents scenario plays out in a Hyde Park family; the Tony winner Phylicia Rashad directs the limited run.


6/2–8/5 Previews 6/2–8; $20–$39. Regular run $20–$54. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn.



Photography: (Stovall) Stefan Blomquist; (Rashad) Charles Norfleet/PR Photos


Aziz Ansari


And with headliners such as Conan O'Brien, Patton Oswalt, and Aziz Ansari (right), there should be plenty during this comedy festival. Ansari, who plays the endearingly arrogant Tom Haverford on NBC's Parks and Recreation, performs a one-man show June 15 at the Chicago Theatre; O'Brien warms up the place June 11–14 with live tapings of Conan.


6/11–17 Schedule, prices, locations:



Photograph: Adriel Reboh/SIPA Press via AP Images


Outside the Museum of Broadcast Communications


Construction of this thoroughly modern institution at State and Kinzie Streets went through seven years of starts and stops. In the meantime, reality shows happened. But the collection kept up with the Kardashians: An up-to-date exhibit salutes TV's historic moments—both scripted and unscripted.


6/13 The museum cuts the ribbon at its permanent home—with help from Frasier’s John Mahoney, the former 20/20 anchor Hugh Downs, and Betty White, who needs no introduction. 360 N State. Hours, admission:



Photograph: Courtesy of the Museum of Broadcast Communications


The Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park


This free and far-reaching classical music fest, now in Millennium Park, kicks off the esteemed Grant Park Chorus's 50th year. The singers, directed by Christopher Bell, get the anniversary bash started with a trip down memory lane: On June 15, they premiere Michael Gandolfi's Only Converge: An Exaltation of Place, a commission inspired by Chicago's past.


6/13 Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No 1 is a fitting commencement for the 78th season of sprawling on the grass for free classical music from the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus. Elgar’s plaintive cello concerto and Dvořák’s Eighth also feature. At 6:30. Free.

6/15–16 The Grant Park Chorus premieres Only Converge: An Exaltation of Place, a Chicago-inspired piece by the American composer Michael Gandolfi. Also on the program are Liszt’s Les Préludes, the cantata A Free Song by the 20th-century composer William Schuman, and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. Actual fireworks follow at Navy Pier at 10:15 on 6/16. 6/15 at 6:30; 6/16 at 7:30. Free.

6/20, 22 Richard Strauss’s Don Juan, Britten’s Piano Concerto, and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. At 6:30. Free.

6/23 An evening of ballet music, with works by Bizet and Lalo, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and Ravel’s Bolero. At 7:30. Free.

6/29–30 The Grant Park Chorus celebrates its golden anniversary with a choral reef of programming: Stravinsky’s percussive Les Noces, Eric Whitacre’s lush Cloudburst, Veljo Tormis’s spooky Raua Needmine, and Carl Orff’s saturnalian Carmina Burana. 6/29 at 6:30; 6/30 at 7:30. Free.

Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington.


Photograph: Norman Timonera