Best events for the week of July 20 – 10 Things To Do News

on Jul19

19 July 2017 | 1:00 pm

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon had never directed a musical before “An American in Paris,” the now-touring 2015 show based on the 1951 Gene Kelly movie based on the orchestral suite with taxi horns by George Gershwin. Wheeldon’s ballet background befit the Broadway blockbuster, compiled from Gershwin’s orchestral music and his popular songs with all-time rhymes by Ira Gershwin, his brother—the show twirls through about 30 minutes of pure dance set to wordless music. Wheeldon apparently found the groove pretty fast, because he was nominated for a Tony for best director. He didn’t win, but, less surprisingly, he did nab the best choreography Tony. July 25-Aug. 13. $27-$98. Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St.

The artist Theaster Gates creates work from urban salvage materials, transforming discarded materials just as he hopes to transform the surrounding communities. Rebuild Foundation, Gates’s community-development organization, headquarters its rebuilding efforts at the Stony Island Arts Bank, a converted bank within walking distance of the University of Chicago, where Gates is a professor. Spektral Quartet, a string quartet also affiliated with the U. of C., and co-conceived with Gates of a music series called Dovetail, where Spektral plans to play separately and together with Rebuild artists and musicians. The Dovetail events will repeat periodically, with no definite endpoint. “The element of outreach that always bothered me was the one-and-done approach to it, and this series is intended to be an ongoing concern for exactly that reason,” says Doyle Armbrust, Spektral’s violist. For the series opener, Spektral collaborates with the singer and spoken-word artist Maggie Brown, who works to promote the legacy of her father, the singer and songwriter Oscar Brown Jr. July 22. 7 p.m. Free. Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave.

Navy Pier this month opened two performance stages dedicated to free arts programming, located on the south part of the grassy pass between Lake Point Tower and the entrance to the touristoplex, on the way down toward what old-timers might remember as Dime Pier. Schedulewise, the pier pores over music (jazz Wednesdays at 7 p.m., the kiddie cats of Wiggleworms Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 and 11 a.m.), theater (“Romeo and Juliet,” from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s traveling troupe July 27-29 at 7:30 p.m.) and movies, in a series called Water Flicks, coincidentally also something I would do as a kid to my brother in a restaurant when my parents weren’t looking. The stages were christened in their very first event with the first Water Flick, “Sharknado”—future answer to a trivia question—but this week’s “Moana” is actually so good it’s good. July 24. 7 p.m. Free. Lake Stage, Polk Bros Park, 600 E. Grand Ave.

In two concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia, the fabulous Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki cross-multiplies two programs of Beethoven and her countryman Jean Sibelius. Sibelius’s violin concerto, played by the violinist’s violinist Vadim Repin, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), which marked the inflection point between the classical and romantic eras of Western music, add up to one. The other reshuffles a Beethoven concerto—the Piano Concerto No. 3, with the audacious Kirill Gerstein—and a Sibelius symphony, No. 2. July 20-21. 8 p.m. $10-$75. Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park.

John Adams, second to none among living composers, celebrated his 70th birthday in February, but the high was only 35 degrees that day, so Ravinia scheduled his metaphorical cake for now, in the form of his postminimalist quasi-symphony “Harmonielehre,” named for Arnold Schoenberg’s harmony textbook. Conductor Kent Nagano (of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, in his Ravinia debut) and the CSO elect to play the Adams first, succeeded by the “Emperor” concerto, a.k.a. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, with Nikolai Lugansky soloing. July 25. 8 p.m. $10-$75. Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park.

Shuffled into the dates when the Pritzker Pavilion doesn’t buzz with Grant Park Music Festival picnickers or show movies, the free Millennium Park Summer Music Series arranges a used-vinyl-store kind of eclecticism running from alt-country (Drive-By Truckers, July 20) to kosher gospel (Joshua Nelson, Aug. 17, possibly the genre’s only practitioner). On Monday, the sunny Afro-pop duo Amadou and Mariam, invariably described as “the blind couple from Mali,” brightens the pavilion. While their more recent music lays more heavily into synthesized beats than the street-corner stuff that made them famous, their contagious happiness cuts through all forms. July 24. 6:30 p.m. Free. Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.

Every year has a midsummer (except 1816 ), but this one has sported some particularly oneiric evenings. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has recurred locally in several productions, with varying levels of gimmickry or riffery, including those of Theatre-Hikes (alfresco, mobile) and Odd’s Bodkins (nontraditional casting), and if you go back to last year, First Folio (alfresco), Greenhouse Theater Center (1960s setting) and Chicago Opera Theater (in Henry Purcell’s edited-down version). Northwestern University’s summer-theater version of the august play, paradoxically retitled “A Midsummer Night’s Daydream,” ropes in song and circus, in a version adapted by David Catlin, the theatrical mind behind Lookingglass Theatre Company’s stunning, still-running “Moby Dick.” July 21-30. $6-$25. Ethel M. Barber Theater, Northwestern University, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston.


The playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, before he wrote “Gloria,” the uncomfortable office comedy-tragedy that whizzed through Goodman this past winter, wrote “An Octoroon,” a postmodern salad-spinning of the mid-19th-century play “The Octoroon” that plays and writes both playwrights into the story. “An Octoroon,” making its Chicago premiere here, comments on what has and hasn’t changed about race in the United States by racing through makeup changes, character changes and meta-theatrical devices, hooked to a story about whether a plantation owner will marry the one-eighth-black woman he adores. “An Octoroon,” together with his drama “Appropriate,” won Jacobs-Jenkins the 2014 Obie for best new American play(s). July 21-Aug. 20. $15-$40. Definition Theatre Company at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.

The music festival and the garden walk stand as pillars of the summer, so clearly both at once must be even better. The Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk, in its 49th year, fronts its former half with Foxygen (big hit: “San Francisco”) and We the Kings (big hit: “Check Yes Juliet”), and sides it with all-day tribute and cover bands. The latter half runs its toes through more than 100 neighborhood gardens self-guided, or three guided. Oh, and just to pour it on with summer staples, the festwalk teamed up with Chicago Craft Beer Fest, too. July 22-23. 12-10 p.m. $10 suggested donation; $20-$25 for mainstage headliners. 2200 N. Sheffield Ave.

The Uptown restaurant 42 Grams, a tasting-menu outgrowth of an underground dining series that garnered two Michelin stars in its meteoric life, closed abruptly and with only uninformative explanations last month. The chef, Jake Bickelhaupt, has not yet announced his plans for a new permanent gig, but this week he announced a return to the underground on Aug. 11 and 13, splitting the menu at the pop-up restaurant Claudia with its regular chef, Trevor Teich. The BYOB, no-corkage dinners seat 16 each, so for now the culinary weight of 42 Grams can reach only 64. Aug. 11 & 13. $225-$325. 327 N. Bell Ave.

Event schedules and availability change; phone ahead. Send your weekend tips in an email (without attachments) with the date in the subject line to 10things@chicagobusiness.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of submissions makes it impossible for us to respond individually to emails.Would you like to be notified via email of our weekly “10 Things to Do” column? Click here to sign up.



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