Stories by Marc Vitali

Chicago Gospel Group Brings New Energy to Old Spirituals

Adrian Dunn (WTTW News)

They are making music with a mission. A rousing Chicago gospel group brings a modern approach to traditional spirituals as they work toward social justice. We catch up with the Adrian Dunn Singers.

New Play Tells Story of Nancy Pelosi, ‘The Adult in the Room’

An image from video of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (WTTW NEWS via C-SPAN)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was center stage in the House impeachment hearings. Now she is on stage, in a sense: a new play about Pelosi is receiving its world premiere in Chicago. We drop by an early rehearsal.

Inside the ‘Bug’ Infestation at Steppenwolf Theatre

Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts talk “Bug” with WTTW News.

The revival of Tracy Letts’ 1996 play “Bug” stars his wife, Steppenwolf ensemble member Carrie Coon. We spoke to the creative team right before opening night.

Marin Alsop Named Chief Conductor, Curator of Ravinia

Marin Alsop (Credit: Patrick Gibson)

Ravinia Festival just announced a major new hire, and she comes with an amazing pedigree: conductor Marin Alsop was mentored by Leonard Bernstein. 

Video: Hedy Weiss Reviews 5 Plays on Chicago Stages

Karissa Murrell Myers, left, and Aurora Real de Asua in “Top Girls” at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. (Photo by Michael Courier)

The winter theater season is upon us, with a blizzard of good shows to see. Chicago theater critic Hedy Weiss gives her take on “Roe,” “Top Girls,” “The Mousetrap,” “Juliet” and “Verboten.”

Newly Found Photos Highlight Breadth, Depth of Joseph Sterling

Photographs from the Archive of Joseph Sterling (Courtesy Stephen Daiter Gallery)

Sixty years ago, a young photography student aimed his camera at Chicago teens. His name was Joseph Sterling, and we visited an old classmate of his for a closer look at the process of capturing youth culture and Chicago in the mid-20th century.

New Punk Rock Musical ‘Verboten’ Tells True Story of ‘80s Chicago Band

The Chicago band Verboten in the 1980s. (Courtesy of Jason Narducy)

A new rock musical from the House Theatre of Chicago tells the incredible story of a teenage punk band from Evanston. We meet the cast of “Verboten” and an original member of the band.

Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones Share Spotlight at Oak Brook Museum

There is now more to explore at a local museum that really rocks. We visit the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, which recently reopened to the public.

At the Art Institute, a Panoramic View of Andy Warhol’s Artistic Output

Andy Warhol. “Self-Portrait,” 1986. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; gift, Anne and Anthony d’Offay in honor of Thomas Krens. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

He was called the Pope of Pop – pop art, that is. Andy Warhol predicted 15 minutes of fame for everyone. His own fame lasted decades and has endured since his untimely death in 1987. We explore “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again.”

For 30 Years, Chris Ware Has Chronicled the Adventures of American Misfits

Artist Chris Ware (WTTW News)

For fans of comics and graphic novels, he is a superstar. But the artist Chris Ware lives a low-key life just outside Chicago. At his home studio, we meet the engaging comic book artist with an unusual eye for everyday life.

Meet 2 New Members of Teatro ZinZanni, Where Vegas Meets Vaudeville

Liv Warfield, left, and Alseny Sylla are new cast members of the Teatro ZinZanni show “Love, Chaos and Dinner.” (WTTW News)

Circus arts, comedy and cabaret come together at Teatro ZinZanni. Six months into its run, the show has completely juggled its cast. New performers include two people with Chicago ties but very different backstories.

New Shedd Scientist Studies Impact of Invasive Species in Lake Michigan

The round goby. (Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

The Great Lakes are home to an estimated 180 invasive species. Freshwater biologist Scott Colburn, who recently joined a research team at the Shedd Aquarium, tells us about the latest efforts to protect Lake Michigan from invasive fish, mussels and more.

Chicago’s Bloodshot Records Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Chicago-based musician Jon Langford speaks with WTTW News about long relationship with Bloodshot Records. (WTTW News)

The independent record label sets the gold standard for roots music in Chicago and beyond. We visited the headquarters of Bloodshot Records on the eve of its silver anniversary – and got an earful.

Vintage Toy Collection Inspires Exceptional Group of Local Artists

For years, vintage toys have inspired renowned Chicago artist Karl Wirsum. And recently he shared his fun-filled collection with an extraordinary group of local artists at Project Onward.

Behind the Scenes of ‘The Light in the Piazza’ with Renée Fleming

Renée Fleming speaks with WTTW News about “The Light in the Piazza.” (WTTW News)

Following a run on London’s West End and at LA Opera, the Tony Award-winning musical “The Light in the Piazza” now comes to Chicago. We visited the cast during a recent rehearsal.

‘Merry, Merry Chicago!’ Returns to Symphony Center. Here’s a Preview

For the fifth year, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra presents “Merry, Merry Chicago!” a celebration of holiday music that features members of the orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Andrew Bird Takes Flight in 2001 – A Deep Dive into the WTTW Archives

Andrew Bird in 2011 (WTTW News)

On Sept. 5, 2001, indie rock songwriter Andrew Bird invited WTTW into his Wicker Park home for a raw rehearsal with his band Bowl of Fire. As Bird prepares for a run of sold-out shows in Chicago, we revisit this archival footage.

‘Memory Unearthed’ Shines Light on a Dark Chapter of WWII

Ghetto residents happily strolling, 1940-1944. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of the Archive of Modern Conflict)

The recovered photographs of Henryk Ross reveal complex stories of life in the Lodz ghetto. We visit an exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie.

Cirque du Soleil’s First-Ever Holiday Show Premieres in Chicago

Cirque du Soleil’s world premiere show “‘Twas the Night Before …” (Credit: Errisson Lawrence)

We get a behind-the-scenes peek at “‘Twas the Night Before …,” the new holiday production from Cirque du Soleil that’s making its debut in Chicago.

Delightful Designs of Chicago and the Holidays by Artist David Lee Csicsko

Since the early 1980s, some of the most prominent art in the city has come from the studio of David Lee Csicsko. We caught up with him on the eve of an exhibition at an unusual location.

Blues Prodigy Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram Hits Chicago

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (WTTW News)

Buddy Guy called him “the next explosion of the blues” when he was still a teenager. The debut album by Christone “Kingfish” Ingram arrived this summer on Chicago’s Alligator Records – and this week earned a Grammy nomination.

Tetsuya Ishida’s First US Show Features Moody Portraits of 20th Century Life

“Contact,” 1998 © Tetsuya Ishida, 2019 Photograph Takemi Art Photos, courtesy Kyuryudo Art Publishing Co., Ltd.

An artist with a cult following in Japan and Europe has his first show in the United States, and it is in Chicago. We visit the exhibition “Self-Portrait of Other” for a strong dose of surrealism and satire.

‘Pop America’ Reframes Pop Art, Expands Notion of ‘America’

Antonio Berni, Mediodía (Noontime), 1976. Acrylic and collage on canvas, 78.22 x 78.34 inches (198.7 cm x 199 cm). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin. Barbara Duncan Fund, 1977.97. © José Antonio Berni.

Pop art gets reframed in a museum show that looks closely at the visual culture of the 1960s and ‘70s – and sheds light on an entire hemisphere of artwork that really pops.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Reunites with Steppenwolf for ‘Lindiwe’

A rehearsal for the Steppenwolf Theatre production of “Lindiwe.” (WTTW News)

From a Chicago blues club to South Africa, a new show at Steppenwolf Theatre explores music and love across cultures. We get a behind-the-scenes look at “Lindiwe.”

Hedy Weiss Reviews ‘A Doll’s House,’ ‘I’m Lenny Bruce’ and More

Greg Matthew Anderson and Cher Álvarez in “A Doll’s House.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

There are many treats on Chicago stages these days. Theater critic Hedy Weiss joins us with her latest roundup.

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