Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Stories by Hedy Weiss

At the CSO, a Pianist Shakes the Musical Universe With a Prokofiev Concerto

Daniil Trifonov is soloist in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with guest conductor Marin Alsop and the CSO. (© Todd Rosenberg)

You have just one more chance to catch a concert at Symphony Center that brings you into direct contact with absolute genius. Beg, borrow (or maybe even steal) a ticket to hear 27-year-old Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov in an electrifying performance.

Joffrey Ballet Dancers Demonstrate Their Prowess in ‘Swan Lake’

Joffrey Ballet dancers Victoria Jaiani and Dylan Gutierrez in “Swan Lake.” (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

It has been four years since the Joffrey Ballet first performed Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagining of “Swan Lake.” Its current revival serves as a vivid indication of the extraordinary artistry that now defines the Joffrey, from principal dancers to corps.

In Porchlight’s ‘Gypsy,’ a Mama Rose of Hurricane Force

E. Faye Butler as Rose in “Gypsy” from Porchlight Music Theatre. (Photo by Michael Courier)

With her force-of-nature personality, powerhouse voice and galvanic emotional range, E. Faye Butler was clearly was born to play Mama Rose.

African-American Women Assert Their Independence in ‘Flyin’ West’

From left: Tiffany Oglesby, Sydney Charles and Joslyn Jones in American Blues Theater’s production of “Flyin’ West.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

With echoes of “Oklahoma” in its evocation of the hardscrabble lives of exceptionally strong women, Pearl Cleage’s story revolves around the different choices made by four women, including the elderly but unbending matriarchal figure who experienced the abominations of slavery, yet survived to tell the story.

Luminous Play by Lynn Nottage Explores Faith, Politics, Family and Discrimination

Brianna Buckley, left, and Chanell Bell in “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” by Lynn Nottage. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

“Crumbs from the Table of Joy” – one of the playwright’s earliest works, now on stage at Raven Theatre – is continually engaging. And in the current climate, it also turns out to be uncannily timely.

2 CSO Concerts Showcase a Pianist’s Fluid Interpretation of Beethoven, Mozart

This past weekend saw the last Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts to be conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti until November, and they should not go without notice for several reasons.

Making Deals With the Devil in the Bloody Brilliant ‘Witch’

From left: Jon Hudson Odom, David Alan Anderson and Steve Haggard in “Witch” at Writers Theatre. (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

Now receiving an altogether riveting world premiere production at Writers Theatre, “Witch” is a pitch-black fairy tale for our times, and one that is not to be missed. 

Incendiary ‘Downstate’ Fearlessly Probes Unique Aspect of Crime, Punishment

 Matilda Ziegler (Em) and ensemble member Tim Hopper (Andy) in Steppenwolf’s world premiere production of “Downstate.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

The pitch black, profoundly provocative world premiere by Bruce Norris brings to the fore all the arguments and nuances around sexual predators, and will either make you question your opinions on the subject or confirm them. 

Themes of Freedom, Faith and Money Fuse With Brilliant Score in ‘Caroline, or Change’

From left: Rashada Dawan and Bre Jacobs with, in background, Emma Sipora Tyler, De’Jah Jervai and Roberta Burke in Firebrand Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of “Caroline, Or Change.” (Photo by Marisa KM)

With its incendiary production, Firebrand Theatre easily secures its place among the handful of Chicago’s hottest “smaller” musical theater companies. Though there is nothing at all “small” about this formidable assemblage of talent.

New Musical ‘Tootsie’ Eyes Gender Roles, But Its Heart Belongs to Show Business

Santino Fontana, center, in “Tootsie.” Also pictured, from left: Drew King, Leslie Donna Flesner, Sissy Bell and John Arthur Greene. (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)

For all its timely social commentary, “Tootsie” (a gently updated musical version of the hit 1982 film) feels a bit like show business balm – a feel good work for the #MeToo era.

Hubbard Street’s Percussion-Driven Experiment Probes Heaven and Hell on Earth

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “For All Its Fury.” (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

In its three-part fall season program, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago harkened back to the creation of the universe and the ascent of man before conjuring an apocalyptic vision of where it all went wrong.

David Cale Turns a Family Nightmare into a Dreamy Tour de Force of Survival

Playwright and performer David Cale in his world premiere solo musical memoir “We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time,” directed by Robert Falls at Goodman Theatre. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

If ever you had any doubt about the healing and transformative powers of art, “We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time,” David Cale’s hypnotically beautiful one-man show, will set you straight.

CSO Opens Season with Music of Liberty and Memories of Repression

Russian Bass Alexey Tikhomirov makes his CSO debut in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (“Babi Yar”) with the Orchestra and Men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus led by Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti. (Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Music is not apolitical. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s season opening concerts take note of this, with impassioned comments made by Maestro Riccardo Muti.

In ‘BigMouth,’ a Torrent of Oratory at Once Brilliant, Provocative and Dangerous

Valentijn Dhaenens in “BigMouth,” on stage at Chicago Shakespeare Theater through Sept. 22, 2018. (Photo by Maya Wilsens)

However you describe “BigMouth,” the virtuosic, one-of-a-kind, one-man show created and performed by Valentijn Dhaenens – its impact is undeniable.

3 Popular Musicals Sing of Quest for Self-Esteem

From left: “Sweet Charity,” “Legally Blonde” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” (Photo credit, from left: Justin Barbin, Liz Lauren, Brett Beiner)

They are set in different eras, and come with notably different sounds and story lines, but the three musicals now being produced on local stages share one major theme. Here’s a closer look.

Shattered Globe’s Piercing Dramatization of a Dostoyevsky Classic Soars

Ilse Zacharias (left) and Drew Schad in Shattered Globe Theatre’s new adaptation of “Crime and Punishment.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

The haunting dramatization of “Crime and Punishment” now on stage attacks the work with the same fire and attention to moral argument as the master writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, himself. 

‘Radio Golf’ Revival Tunes in to Hidden Wealth of August Wilson’s Final Play

Allen Gilmore, left, and James Vincent Meredith in “Radio Golf” at Court Theatre. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

A revelatory, brilliantly acted revival of August Wilson’s play is currently on stage at Court Theatre, under the direction of Ron OJ Parson.

Funny, Heartbreaking ‘No Child’ Taps Into the Art of Education

Adia Alli in Definition Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…” (Credit: Joe Mazza_Brave Lux, Inc.)

The blight, as well as the occasional bursts of beauty that define life in inner-city high schools is all too familiar. But rarely has it been captured with such a sense of wit, grace, exasperation and tragicomic insight.

Chicago Talent Headlines Bernstein’s ‘Candide’ in Knoxville, Tennessee

From left: Cecilia Iole, Aleah Vassell, Jeff Parker, Noelle Harb and Brittany Marie Pirozzoli in “Candide.” (Photo by Brynn Yeager)

Not only does director Calvin MacLean have deep Chicago roots, so do a number of the major players in this grand-scale production.

Black Button Eyes Brings John Collier’s Twisted Stories To Life

Kevin Webb in Black Button Eyes Productions’ world premiere of “Nightmares and Nightcaps: The Stories of John Collier.” (Photo by Cole Simon)

One thing you realize from the very start of “Nightmares and Nightcaps: The Stories of John Collier” is that its narrator – a dissipated, devilishly twisted writer – is not going to sugarcoat things. 

2018 Equity Jeff Award Nominations Announced

Liam Quealy as Huey Calhoun and Aeriel Williams as Felicia Farrell in “Memphis” from Porchlight Music Theatre. (Photo by Michael Courier)

Nothing more concisely captures the impressive scope of the work done on Chicago-area stages than this annual list of nominations.

‘Vietgone’ Explores Emotional Wars of Vietnamese Immigrants Forging New Lives In US

From left: Aurora Adachi-Winter, Ian Michael Minh, Matthew Yee in “Vietgone.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

Qui Nguyen’s play, now receiving its Chicago premiere at Writers Theatre, is a second generation, rap-era kid’s flashy, sexually charged version of a story about the pain and rage that come with being a refugee, and the difficult process of assimilation. 

Dancing the Night Away at Dance for Life

Chicago Dance Crash (Credit: Ashley Deran)

As always, the annual benefit concert served up a rich smorgasbord of styles Saturday. It also offered a subtle suggestion of Chicago’s dance history.

The Music and Mayhem of Midsummer Nights in Grant Park

Carlos Kalmar (Photo: Patrick Pyszka)

As difficult as it may be to believe, the summer of 2018 is winding down. One significant marker: the Grant Park Music Festival will give the final performances of its 84th season on Saturday.

A Glimpse of Magic in the Photo-Realist Paintings of Jeong Im Herbert

(Courtesy of Jeong Im Herbert)

The Chicago-based artist has an uncanny ability to capture the texture of surfaces in a way that is as precise as a photograph, yet at the same time, magically abstract.