Best events in Chicago week of Aug. 16 – 10 Things To Do News

on Aug16

16 August 2017 | 1:00 pm

Entering the life of Chicago dance during a darker time 26 years ago, the benefit performance Dance for Life now raises money not just for its founding mission of combating HIV and AIDS, but other expensive life crises that befall dancers and other members of the dance community. Participating companies usually dance recent or signature works, laying out a choreographic smorgasbord that teaches those who only dip into the dance scene what each company does. As always, Giordano Dance Chicago (performing “Can’t Take This Away” to live sung accompaniment), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (“Jardi Tancat,” most recently from its spring program) and the Joffrey Ballet (“Joy,” premiered in April) step in, joined this year by five other ensembles and a world-premiere collaborative finale, punctuated by emceeing by two Second City comedians. Aug. 19. Gala: 5 p.m. $275-$600. Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. Performance: 7:30 p.m. $15-$75. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.

Just as Arthurian knights sat at a headless round table, the chamber orchestra the Knights governs itself collectively, making artistic decisions collaboratively. They also leave a few seats open at that table for high-profile guest artists, such as Susan Graham, the mezzo-soprano who sang Didon in last year’s Les Troyens at Lyric Opera and will sing the folk settings of Joseph Canteloube here. In one noble collective decision, the Knights skewer long-held (they might say benighted) principles of programming where the various pieces line up in chronological order or in formulas like overture-concerto-symphony. This concert begins with Purcell’s clever “Fantasia Upon One Note,” where you barely notice middle C is always sounding, ends with Mozart’s 40th and squeezes the Canteloube and two contemporary pieces by John Adams in between. Aug. 17. 7:30 p.m. $10-$60. Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park.

On Thursday, feast your eyes on the fruits of the annual Canstruction competition, where architects, designers and other people who build stuff professionally show off sculptures made of canned food (still in the cans). Attendees can eat uncanned food catered by recently opened Marshall’s Landing in the Mart, and drink beer supplied by Lagunitas and wine from wine-auction house Hart Davis Hart. At the end of the event, all the money and cans in the sculptures go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Aug. 17. 5:30-8 p.m. $50. Ground floor lobby, Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza.

The Grant Park Music Festival’s season ends as Beethoven’s symphonic career did, magnifying joy in his Symphony No. 9, whose fourth movement sets the text of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” to one of Western music’s most famous melodies. Sitting quietly onstage for the first three and a half movements of the piece, the vocal contingent is headlined by the Chicago-native soprano Janai Brugger and the Grant Park Chorus, who, before they sing about joy in the Ninth sing about destiny in Brahms’s gorgeous “Schicksalslied,” to open the concert. Till next year, GPMF, schner Götterfunken. Aug. 18-19. Free. Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.

Check out the cast list for “Barbecue,” the play by Robert O’Hara (“Bootycandy”) that Strawdog Theatre Company cooks up for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s LookOut series starting this week. Ten actors, in five pairs of identically named characters. They’re not understudies—the play develops two versions of the same family, one white and one black, as they stage a pot-and-kettlelike intervention for their crack-addicted sister. To gauge from productions in other cities, “Barbecue” starts off in rare form, funny and perceptive, seems well done by intermission, and then gets a little overcooked in the second half, although it always stays saucy. Aug. 17-Sep. 30. $15-$45. Strawdog Theatre Company at 1700 Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1700 N. Halsted St.

The Museum of Contemporary Art turns 50 this year, and its cake takes the form of a major three-part exhibition titled “We Are Here.” Two of the three parts open in October, but the first part begins with the first person, with “I Am You” debuting this weekend. “I Am You” assembles works commenting on how you, I and we shape our environments, boldfacing names such as Jasper Johns, Francis Bacon and Rene Magritte. At the writhing center of “I Am You,” two dancers interrelate and osculate all day long, according to choreography designed by Tino Sehgal, in “Kiss.” Aug. 19-April 1. Free-$12. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.

Although the prurience of centering a musical on a striptease artist pricks up plenty of ears, “Gypsy” has a lot of other things going for it beyond how Gypsy Rose Lee came to take her clothes off. For example, music by Jule Styne (the songwriter behind “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Let It Snow”), lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and the maddening and pitiful character of Rose, the love-hate stage mother who, by cultivation of approval-seeking, steers her daughter from being cherry-cheeked Louise toward Gypsy, spicing up the meaning of “Let Me Entertain You.” Music Theater Works’ production advertises itself as appropriate for children as young as 12, so you should read it for the articles anyway. Aug. 19-27. $17-$96. Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston.

Whoosh! It’s that time of year where conversations indoor and out pause for the wall-shaking sounds of aerobatics and formation flying. The Air and Water Show, one of the largest free spectator events in the country, with claimed attendance hovering around 2 million a year, this year whizzes with parachuters from the army and navy, the Blue Angels and, in a tandem skydive, inexplicably beloved retired Cubs backup catcher David Ross, who has gotten more attention than world champion White Sox catcher Chris Widger ever did. Other than Ross, who jumps Saturday, the program is identical on the two days. A great spot for watching is the new Shore Club at North Avenue Beach, practically in the cockpit of the show, which has an open bar and brunch for $125 general admission. Don’t forget earplugs. Aug. 19-20. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. North Avenue Beach, 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive.

The British writer Peter Morgan has put a great deal of creative energy into the crown, specifically to dramatizing the real life of Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to the Academy Award-winning “The Queen” and the still-reigning Netflix series “The Crown,” Morgan penned the play “The Audience,” about Elizabeth Regina’s meetings with 65 years of prime ministers, ranging from modern figures such as David Cameron and Gordon Brown back to Winston Churchill. (“Crown” lovers can revisit episode 7, based on the play, as a one-hour trailer.) TimeLine Theatre Company, international men and women of history, give the play, which has had audiences on Broadway and the West End, its Chicago premiere. Aug. 24-Nov. 12. $25-$54. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

The Museum of Contemporary Art’s theater gets a lot of use out of its stage, but less out of the seats. Recently, David Lang’s “The Whisper Opera” constructed its own few dozen seats sunk into a raised platform, and the six-hour confessional “Speak Bitterness” allowed audience members to come and go as they pleased. The latest seat-spurning infects the theater in the 2017-18 MCA Stage opener, “The Fever,” an audience-participatory improvisatory play about empathy between strangers, produced by the experimental-theater troupe 600 Highwaymen. The limited space for audience members to sit on stage means only 75 tickets will be sold to each of the six performances, which means over the show’s run there will be 150 fewer audience members than Highwaymen. Sep. 7-10. $10-$30. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago 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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