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Stories by Marc Vitali

Hedy Weiss Reviews ‘Blind Date,’ ‘Ragtime,’ ‘Skeleton Crew,’ More

Jim Ortlieb (George Shultz), Rob Riley (Ronald Reagan), William Dick (Mikhail Gorbachev), and Steve Pickering (Eduard Shevardnadze) in “Blind Date” by Rogelio Martinez. (Liz Lauren / Goodman Theatre)

“Ragtime,” Ronald Reagan and a rarely seen Stephen Sondheim show are currently featured on Chicago-area stages. Theater critic Hedy Weiss joins us with recommendations – and two exclusive reviews.

Cautionary Tales of City Life by Chicago Painter Bill Walker

We take a look at the powerful—and sometimes graphic—works of art featured in the exhibit “Bill Walker: Urban Griot” at the Hyde Park Art Center.

John Mahoney, ‘Frasier’ Dad and Steppenwolf Actor, Dies at 77

John Mahoney appears on “Chicago Tonight” in August 2017.

Actor John Mahoney died Sunday at the age of 77. He was best known for his role as Martin Crane in the hit series “Frasier,” but Mahoney was also a long-time ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre.

‘The Humans’ Revisits Chicago with Actors Richard Thomas, Pamela Reed

Actors Richard Thomas and Pamela Reed talk about the comedy of “The Humans,” a touring play with deep Chicago roots.

Magic Realism in Paintings by Chicago’s ‘Queen of Bohemian Artists’

Gertrude Abercrombie is a one-of-a-kind Chicago artist. Though she has been gone for 40 years, she is now getting a rare show at the Elmhurst Art Museum. 

Block Museum Explores William Blake’s Influence on the Age of Aquarius

A who’s who of great artists and writers of the 20th century was influenced by one who died in semi-obscurity nearly 200 years ago. We take another look at “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.”

Chicago Restaurant Week Highlights 370 Spots to Dine

The 11th annual event kicks off Friday and features a record 370 restaurants this year, including 100 new additions. We get a preview of what’s on the menu.

Rare Mummy Portraits Offer Peek into the Past at Block Museum

Portraits of mummies greet visitors at a new exhibition where art, science and history intersect. 

At DePaul Art Museum, A Pair of Shows Offer Power to the People

Vivid colors bring to life messages of hope, and resistance. A pair of new art shows on the campus of DePaul University look at the power of the people through the power of printmaking.

‘Too Hot to Handel’: Jazz-Gospel ‘Messiah’ Reaches into State Prisons

Classical music gets a soulful twist in a show that reaches from Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre to a notorious prison in Louisiana.

Inside the Studio of an Italian Sculptor Who Made His Name in Chicago

Virginio Ferrari (Chicago Tonight)

Born in Italy, Virginio Ferrari came to Chicago in the 1960s, and he blossomed into an internationally sought-after sculptor. We visit the 80-year-old in his Bridgeport studio.

New Play Looks at Life of Trailblazing African-American Actor

Actor Dion Johnstone portrays Ira Aldridge in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Red Velvet.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Exploring the connection between a controversial painting at the Art Institute and the new play “Red Velvet” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Jeannie Tanner’s ‘Words and Music’ Shines Light on Other Jazz Artists

Jazz can bring to mind a dark nightclub after hours with a lot of booze, but we met a group of Chicago jazz musicians on a sunny summer morning – and they were fueled only by coffee and cake.

Kerry James Marshall Unveils Monumental Mural in the Loop

A new mural at the Chicago Cultural Center honors 20 women, past and present, who contributed to the cultural life of the city. “Chicago Tonight” was on site throughout the creation of the work, the largest to date by Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall.

David Broza on Building Bridges with Musical Artistry

He has been called “The Bruce Springsteen of Israel.” But unlike the Boss, David Broza can sing in four languages and plays a mean flamenco guitar. David Broza joins us in conversation and performance.

Holiday Theater in Chicago: Alternative Picks from Hedy Weiss

Steppenwolf ensemble member Sally Murphy (Ms. Matz) in Tracy Letts’ new play “The Minutes.”

Hedy Weiss reviews alternative holiday shows on Chicago stages—with not a “Nutcracker” or “Christmas Carol” in sight.

The Life and Landmarks of Chicago’s John Vinci

The re-created Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room at the Art Institute of Chicago.

A new illustrated biography takes a close look at the life of the Chicago architect, preservationist and restorer of architectural masterpieces.

New Museum Showcases Massive Collection of Stained Glass, Rare Clocks

Historic clocks from around the world and brilliant stained glass windows fill a new museum in Evanston. We go for a look.

100 Nativity Scenes Highlight Variety of Interpretations

Creche of the Year -- Poland (Courtesy Loyola University Museum of Art)

From ostrich eggs to walnut shells: We explore a collection of unusual and traditional Nativity sets from around the world.

New Play Looks at Life of Trailblazing African-American Actor

Actor Dion Johnstone portrays Ira Aldridge in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Red Velvet.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Exploring the connection between a controversial painting at the Art Institute and the new play “Red Velvet” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

‘Hunting Charlie’ Seeks to Find the Elusive Enemy in the War in Vietnam

Propaganda and political cartoons show different perspectives of Vietnam at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Rare Holiday Crèche on Display at Art Institute of Chicago

The Christmas season is the only time to see a rare Nativity scene that blends both spiritual and earthly pursuits. We go for a look.

Kerry James Marshall Unveils Monumental Mural in the Loop

A new mural at the Chicago Cultural Center honors 20 women, past and present, who contributed to the cultural life of the city. “Chicago Tonight” was on site throughout the creation of the work, the largest to date by Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall.

Cautionary Tales of City Life by Chicago Painter Bill Walker

A new exhibition looks at rare works of art that are powerful—and sometimes graphic. The historic work was made by an artist with a strong connection to Chicago public art.

‘All The Queen’s Horses’ Tells the Story of Rita Crundwell

A city treasurer with a love of horses managed to embezzle nearly $54 million from a small town of just 16,000 people. The new documentary “All The Queen’s Horses” looks at the case of Rita Crundwell.

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