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Music director Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra in 2019. (Courtesy of the Grant Park Music Festival)

From Grant Park to Ravinia, music and dance are returning in a big way this summer. Theater critic Hedy Weiss is returning, too, to talk about some recent live shows.

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Theater seats were empty across the city in during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. (WTTW News)

When theaters across the city shut down last year, a local multimedia company took the performing arts from stage to screen. With the help of some celebrated collaborators, they kept audiences in touch with artists. 

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Chris Jones appears on "Chicago Tonight" via Zoom, June 30, 2021. (WTTW News)

Broadway shows are planning their long-awaited return to Chicago. Theater critic Chris Jones has the latest, plus an update on his new role on the editorial pages of the Chicago Tribune.

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Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra onstage in Orchestra Hall, June 10, 2021 (Credit Anne Ryan)

“Overture,” the final entry in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s springtime series of three different programs was performed live in Orchestra Hall on Thursday.  Remaining performances are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. 

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Erina Yashima, former CSO Solti Conducting Apprentice, joins the CSO for the opening performance of the program entitled "Strum," June 3, 2021. (Credit Anne Ryan)

It was a magical evening at Symphony Center Thursday as a meticulously spaced and masked audience gathered for “Strum,” the aptly titled second of three different programs of springtime concerts from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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A socially distanced, reduced-capacity audience listens to the sounds of the CSO brass at the concert that signaled the return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts, May 27, 2021. (Credit Anne Ryan)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra walked onstage to perform their first concert before a live audience in more than 14 months, Thursday evening.

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With the help of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, Jerrell L. Henderson created a one-man, one-puppet show about the consequences of “walking while Black.” (credit Elias Carmona)

When a member of Chicago’s theater community was racially profiled, he turned the experience into a short film with the help of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. Here’s a look at a one-man, one-puppet show about the consequences of “walking while Black.”

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Hershey Felder, left, and J. Anthony Crane in “Nicholas, Anna & Sergei.” (Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents)

In “Nicholas, Anna & Sergei,” Hershey Felder fully captures the “history, pride and melancholy of the Russians” with the fervor Sergei Rachmaninoff carried with him to the end. And he plays the composer’s sweeping music to magnificent effect.

The play by Adam Rapp will be streamed live through May 16

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Mary Beth Fisher (Bella) and John Drea (Christopher) in ’The Sound Inside’ by Adam Rapp, directed by Robert Falls at Goodman Theatre (May 13 – 16, 2021) (credit Cody Nieset)

Adam Rapp’s “The Sound Inside” depicts the brief but harrowing relationship between Bella (Mary Beth Fisher), a lonely, middle-aged Yale professor and author who teaches a course in creative writing, and her intense, gifted, profoundly alienated freshman student, Christopher (John Drea).

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Storyteller Priya Shya speaks with WTTW News about Collaboraction’s “Family Tree Stories.”

Thanks to support from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago theater company Collaboraction is exploring the impact of oral history, one story at a time. We learn about the group’s newest project, “Family Tree Stories,” and how it’s working to unite the city through storytelling.

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Megan Pachecano is Beatriz and Daniel Montenegro is Giovani in the Chicago Opera Theater production of Daniel Catan’s “La hira de Rappaccini” (“Rappaccini’s Daughter”). (Photo: Justin Barbin)

With most traditional theater spaces off-limits and Zoom an increasingly annoying way to have to watch anything, two Chicago opera companies have demonstrated in radically different ways that “all the world is a stage” — or can be turned into one.

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Evanston artist Steve Rashid created “Into the Mist.” (WTTW News)

Tired of livestreams that lacked variety, Evanston artist Steve Rashid wanted to offer a more immersive experience. With the help of his sons and their network of artists from around the country, he created “Into the Mist.” We get a peek at the virtual show that’s unlike any other.

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(WTTW News)

Chicago’s most storied arts institutions have elevated Black leaders to the helm in the last year. We talk with some of them about how the Chicago arts scene is planning its 2021 comeback.

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From left: Ariana Burks, Shantel Cribbs and Melanie Loren in “Chicago Sings Rock & Roll Broadway” from Porchlight Music Theatre. (Courtesy of Porchlight Music Theatre)

True to its title, this lavish production traces the evolution of Broadway scores from the 1960s until now, and explores the many ways in which pop music (as well as modern life) has expanded and altered the sound of musical theater.

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(Courtesy of Marco Badiani and The Florentine)

How do you tell the story of a musical genius whose operas are among the most beloved works in the Italian opera canon? If you are Hershey Felder, you create something unabashedly in the grand opera style that also manages to be hugely accessible for audiences still distanced from live performance by COVID-19.

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Empty seats await the return of Chicago theatergoers. (WTTW News)

Chicago is looking forward to live theater again as vaccines roll out and infection rates remain low. Here’s what you can expect — and when.