Stories by Marc Vitali

‘Downton Abbey’ Actor Harry Hadden-Paton Rehearses for Royal Role in Chicago

We go backstage as an actor prepares “The King’s Speech” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater – and remembers his role on “Downton Abbey.”

Chicago Band Big Sadie Weighs in on Ken Burns’ Documentary ‘Country Music’

As Ken Burns’ latest series “Country Music” airs on PBS, a look at Chicago’s role in the history of country music with local band Big Sadie.

At the Driehaus Museum, a Chance to Look at Old Material in a New Light

A Tiffany and Company window on display as part of the “Eternal Light” exhibition at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Louis Comfort Tiffany led an all-star team of artists and designers who could create almost anything out of glass: lamps, jewelry, mosaics and also artwork of a spiritual nature. We visit the exhibit “Eternal Light.” 

Revisiting Farnsworth House, a Masterpiece of Modern Architecture

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois.

It is an international destination for architecture fans. We visit Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, with a photographer from Berlin.

‘Caution Freedom’ Shines Light on Artwork Too Provocative for Putin

Alexander Kosolapov, “Hero, Leader, God,” 2007. Painted Bronze, 25 x 28 x 13 inches. (Courtesy One After 909 gallery, Chicago)

Artwork once under attack by the Russian government is now on view in Chicago. We explore a show at the One After 909 gallery in West Town.

Crème Sheri Brings a Big Personality to All Things Jazz

When there’s a jazz band on stage, there’s often an artist in the crowd. We visit a Chicagoan who obsessively draws the area’s jazz scene.

Restoring Artwork and Treasures at a Chicago Conservation Lab

We visit The Conservation Center, the country’s largest private conservation lab, for a look at how they are rejuvenating an artful piece of Chinese history.

Exhibit Digs Up Satire and Skeletons of ‘Legendary Printmaker’ Posada

A Mexican artist who died 100 years ago still influences popular culture. Inside the exhibit “Jose Guadalupe Posada: Legendary Printmaker of Mexico.”

Vivian Maier Photos, Artifacts Donated to University of Chicago

Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

The legend of street photographer Vivian Maier has grown immeasurably since her death. Now the collector who acquired the majority of her work has made a gift to the University of Chicago: 2,700 of her images and some artifacts.

At Bridgeport Arts Center, Artists Search for Meaning in Migration

(Bridgeport Art Center / Arceo Press)

For decades, the southern border of the U.S. has been a flash point for conflicting points of view. Now, artists from both sides of the border – including Chicago – are navigating the rocky road of migration in “The Border Crossed Us.”

Chicago’s Music Box Theatre Celebrates 90th Anniversary

The Music Box Theatre, 1993. (Credit: Jerry Vasilatos / Music Box Theatre)

On Aug. 22, 1929, the North Side theater opened its doors as the first dedicated “talkie” house in Chicago. What makes this old movie house unique today.

Rare Coins, Cash on View as World’s Fair of Money Returns to Chicago Area

U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Director Len Olijar speaks with WTTW News.

Coins and cash are the focus the annual World’s Fair of Money. It’s in the Chicago area this year and we visited to get a load of all the loot.

Multimillion-Dollar Art Collection Sparks Creative Thinking at Suburban School

We visit the newly upgraded Nettie McKinnon Gallery inside in Park Junior High School in La Grange Park.

Modern Manet: Beauty, Fashion and Intimacy in New Show at Art Institute

Édouard Manet. “Jeanne (Spring),” 1881. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

For its big summer show this year, the Art Institute takes a fresh look at the early modern artist, Edouard Manet. We tour the show.

Art Show Highlights Sheldon Peck’s Passion for Painting, Human Rights

We visit a local house on the route of the Underground Railroad that was built by a man who was also an accomplished painter of early Illinoisans.

Teatro ZinZanni Brings Vegas-Style Vaudeville Show to Chicago Loop

Sam and Sylvia Rose (WTTW News)

A Chicago couple is part of an international team bringing a flashy new take on “dinner and a show” to local audiences. Meet the stars of Teatro ZinZanni.

Local Acts Ric Wilson, Lala Lala Make Their Pitchfork Debuts

This weekend is the 14th annual Pitchfork Music Festival – a homegrown stage for adventurous music from around the world, including Chicago. We visit a pair of young local artists as they prepare for their Pitchfork debut.

5 Chicago Theater Recommendations: ‘Music Man,’ ‘True West’ and More

Monica West (Marian Paroo) in “The Music Man” with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson and a book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by Mary Zimmerman. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

There’s a parade of new shows on stage in Chicago. Theater critic Hedy Weiss recommends her current favorites.

At Museum of Science and Industry, a Brave New World of Wearable Tech

Richard Browning of Gravity Industries demonstrates his Jet Suit as he takes off from the steps of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. (Courtesy of MSI Chicago)

The exhibition “Wired to Wear” aims to lift the veil on clothing and accessories that can boost your health and wellness – or just express your creativity.

Mary Zimmerman Reimagines ‘The Music Man’ at Goodman Theatre

A scene from “The Music Man” at Goodman Theatre, with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson and a book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by Mary Zimmerman. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

“The Music Man” marches into the Goodman Theatre. Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman gives us details on the big parade.

Chicago Jazz Orchestra Celebrates 40 Years of Big, Bold Sounds

Chicago Jazz Orchestra in concert. (Photo credit: Charles Osgood)

They started swinging back when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Michael Bilandic was in City Hall. How the Chicago Jazz Orchestra brings a fresh approach to timeless music.

Blues Prodigy Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram Hits Chicago

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Buddy Guy called him “the next explosion of the blues” when he was still a teenager. The long-delayed debut album by Christone “Kingfish” Ingram has finally arrived – and it’s on Chicago’s Alligator Records. 

Acclaimed Photographer Recalls Learning His Trade in Chicago 70 Years Ago

We visit a career-spanning show of work by Marvin E. Newman, a still-working photographer who captured Chicago and its people in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Meet the Artist Behind ‘The Obama Paintings’ As They Debut in Chicago

Artist Rob Pruitt compiled a display of 2,922 images of former President Barack Obama, one for each day of Obama’s presidency.

Artist Rob Pruitt created a painting for each of the 2,922 days of Barack Obama’s presidency. His project is now on display in Chicago. 

Art Institute Show Explores ‘Iconic Photographs’

Paul Strand. Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951. Collection of Robin and Sandy Stuart. © Aperture Foundation, Inc. Paul Strand Archive.

Photography has long been used to make images of iconic works of art. Sometimes the photographs themselves become icons. A new show explores a collection of famous pictures from the 20th century.

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