This fall was to mark the Joffrey’s first season in its new home on the Lyric Opera stage after many years of residence at the Auditorium Theatre.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
Dancers, perhaps more than any other group of performing artists, have been hit hardest, both artistically and financially, by the fallout from the coronavirus. So this year’s Dance for Life 2020 event will feature a new virtual format.
How do you design a pandemic-era theater season? The Glencoe-based theater has devised a multifaceted plan that combines a degree of certainty with the option of built-in flexibility, with the ultimate goal of keeping live theater alive.
Amid all the dire warnings that live performances might not start up again until 2021, the news that the richly creative company plans to begin its three-production season in November comes as an enormous spirit-raiser.
With all the uncertainty facing theaters and their audiences, the Goodman Theatre is postponing the four productions remaining in its current spring and summer 2020 season, and will announce additional shows for the coming season at a later date.
The news is increasing familiar, yet heartbreaking. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, yet another much-beloved live music series is being silenced this summer.
The decision to cancel the season was made with the “health and safety of the festival’s artists, staff and neighbors,” in mind, Ravinia’s President and CEO Welz Kauffman said in a statement.
With 10 nominations, Griffin Theatre led the pack on a list that serves as a vivid reminder of the exuberance of pre-pandemic times on Chicago stages. But it suggests what has been lost, too.
Lyric’s canceled productions of “42nd Street” and “Blue” are now slated to run in 2022 and 2021, respectively. Meanwhile, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is partnering with WFMT on a series beginning next week.
Because Chicago is the storefront theater capital of this country, it’s worth looking at the situation now facing some of these small companies and how they are trying to deal with the global pandemic.
Lookingglass Theatre’s dazzlingly performed world premiere production is a theatrical and sociological gem of a work that should catapult its writer-director, ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks, to genuine fame.
Chicago’s dance card is full to bursting. And one of the city’s most beloved “visitors” – the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – is now drawing its usual huge crowds to the Auditorium Theatre.
When it comes to revivals of Henrik Ibsen’s plays in this era of neo-feminism, “A Doll’s House” attracts the most attention. But it is the title character in “Hedda Gabler” who takes the cake. And in this new production, she has never been more compelling and convincing.
Many of the concerts at Symphony Center are one-time-only events for which Orchestra Hall’s 2,500 seats are nearly sold out. But attention must be paid to the hours of remarkable music-making brought to the stage. Here are a few recent cases in point.
In 90 uninterrupted minutes of altogether irresistible satire, Robert Dubac – an actor, writer, comedian and grand master of sleight-of-hand (and mind) – ingeniously nails the current regrettable state of the nation and the world at large.
Lynn Nottage’s 2018 play about the savage slaughter and potential decimation of Africa’s “big tusk” elephant population, and the illicit trade in ivory that drives it, is a stunning piece of work – equal parts poetry, ritual and an anatomy of corruption.
What Maestro Riccardo Muti and the orchestra have made continually clear throughout this year of celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth is how thrillingly modern the composer’s work can feel.
A coming change of venue for the Joffrey Ballet is a major shift, and its initial opening season will be of great importance, especially since it also will mark the 25th anniversary of the Joffrey as a formidable Chicago cultural institution.
Throughout its history, the Joffrey Ballet’s dancers have been renowned for their ability to create characters as well as to put their superb technical skills to work. They also are capable of carrying over their acting ability to contemporary “plotless” works.
The flaws and fancies, and triumphs and comeuppances of Jane Austen’s characters continue to ring true two centuries after the publication of her books. The latest proof can be found in this utterly charming production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
The formidable full schedule will feature 10 major productions, eight of which will be “new to Chicago.” The season also will mark the grand finale of Sir Andrew Davis’ tenure as music director of the Lyric Opera.
In its airtight, fervent, emotionally riveting 90 minutes, “Freedom Ride” vividly captures a pivotal moment in American history and the civil rights movement of the early 1960s in the most sophisticated yet accessible way.
The true magnificence of Mascagni’s 1890 opera – now focused entirely on the beauty of the music and the truthfulness of the singers, and stripped of the distractions of scenery, melodramatic acting and all the rest – was a great revelation.
Agatha Christie’s play, “The Mousetrap,” is now receiving a wonderfully entertaining revival at Court Theatre, while Northlight Theatre is presenting the world premiere of Steven Dietz’s “How a Boy Falls,” a compelling whodunit with very dark overtones.
Fresh off a grueling but much heralded European tour, the CSO has returned to the Symphony Center stage with Sir Andrew Davis.