Travis A. Knight, Michael Shannon and Lawrence Grimm in “Turret.” (Courtesy of Fadeout Media and Jesus Santos)

In the world premiere play “Turret,” humans dwell at the bottom of the food chain, and their days at the top are a distant memory.

Larissa FastHorse. (Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Larissa FastHorse is the first Native American woman to have a play produced on Broadway. “The Thanksgiving Play” is now onstage at Steppenwolf Theatre. It’s a satire about earnest theater folks who attempt to stage a historically accurate Thanksgiving play.

Martin Helmchen in a performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kazuki Yamada. (Todd Rosenberg Photography)

In a recent performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, German pianist Martin Helmchen displayed fabulous speed-of-light fingering at one moment and lyrical grace the next, writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss.

Contestants in the Illinois State Championship of the National Physique Committee are pictured on May 11, 2024. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Mighty men and well-toned women paraded through the lobby of the Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park last Saturday, crossing paths with fans, supporters and vendors. The muscled masses were competitors in the Illinois State Championship of the National Physique Committee.

Grant Reynolds, bottom center, and the company of “Mamma Mia!” (Credit: Joan Marcus)

For Chicago area native Grant Reynolds, the performances mark his debut in a national tour for a Broadway show.

Violinist Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a CSO first subscription concert performance of Kreisler’s “Liebesleid.” (Todd Rosenberg Photography)

The sound that filled Orchestra Hall during a recent CSO performance was absolutely glorious as Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, the Danish-born conductor and violinist, did double duty, writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss.

“Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed by the Joffrey Ballet ensemble. (Cheryl Mann)

It is a very good bet that you have never seen (and might never see) anything quite like Alexander Ekman’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss. She calls the show a wild and crazy dream-come-to-life that is brilliantly performed.

(The Silverman Group)

In a series of back-to-back English and Spanish performances set for the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend, the “Physician Magician” will become “El Medico Mago” at the Rhapsody Theater in Rogers Park.

A performance of “Guys and Dolls” at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. (Brett Beiner)

Sin and salvation form an odd power couple in Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls,” a true classic of American musical theater that’s tuneful and fresh nearly 75 years after it premiered. And Drury Lane Theatre’s new staging of the beloved 1950 musical finds the funny in its sturdy old bones.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Solomon Dumas, Constance Stamatiou and Yazzmeen Laidler in “Revelations,” 2021. (Paul Kolnik)

For WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s recent Chicago run brought back vivid memories. She first saw the company in New York City in 1972.

Hershey Felder in “Monsieur Chopin, A Play With Music.” The show runs at Writers Theatre in Glencoe through May 12. (Courtesy of Hershey Felder)

If you happen to be looking for a synonym to the word “polymath” you are sure to find its very best definition by heading straight to Writers Theatre. That is where the exceptionally multi-talented Hershey Felder is lighting up the stage with his remarkable performance of “Monsieur Chopin, A Play With Music.”

Harry Lennix, clockwise from left, Alana Arenas, Glenn Davis, Tamara Tunie, Ayanna Bria Bakari and Jon Michael Hill in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s “Purpose.” (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

“Purpose,” the new world premiere play from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins now running at Steppenwolf, is also a very specific story about a family rooted in Black American politics, featuring a Civil Rights activist, pastors and a congressman. 

Australian native Harry Milas is bringing “The Unfair Advantage” to Steppenwolf’s Merle Reskin Garage Theatre through April 21. (Courtesy of Harry Milas)

A magician who once worked in casino security is doubling down on revealing the secrets behind card tricks. And there’s a catch: Everyone must sign a confidentiality contract before the show.

CSO principal flute Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson in the CSO-commissioned, world premiere performance of Liebermann’s “Flute Concerto No. 2” with conductor Susanna Mälkki and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Todd Rosenberg)

The CSO invariably generates pure musical magic, and it is undeniably one of the greatest cultural treasures of this city, and far beyond, writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss.

(left to right) Harry Lennix, ensemble members Alana Arenas, Glenn Davis and Jon Michael Hill with Tamara Tunie and Ayanna Bria Bakari in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere of “Purpose.” (Joel Moorman)

The play about a Black political Illinois family is brand new — so new that cast members didn’t even have a complete script when WTTW News sat down with them.

Michelle Aravena, right, plays Mrs. Wilkinson, the ballet teacher of Billy, played by Neo Del Corral, center, in “Billy Elliot: The Musical” at Paramount Theatre in Aurora. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

The run of this grand-scale Paramount production ends on March 24 and, if at all possible, I urge you to try and catch what is one of the most superb shows I’ve seen this season.