Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the CSO in a program of works by Rossini, Mozart and Prokofiev on Sept. 29, 2022. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

What truly set Orchestra Hall on fire came in the second half of the program as Maestro Riccardo Muti, in subtle but wonderfully expressive balletic form, led an altogether blazing performance of Prokofiev’s “Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major,” a 1944 masterwork composed at the height of World War II.

From left, Reza Salazar as Rafael, Nedra Snipes as Letitia, Kevin Kenerly as Montrellous and Garrett Young as Jason in “Clyde’s” at the Goodman Theatre. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

Lynn Nottage’s most recent play, “Clyde’s — a nominee at last year’s Tony Awards that is now receiving a production at the Goodman Theatre — deals with a rarely explored but crucial issue. It’s the matter of the extreme difficulty faced by those who have been incarcerated and who, upon release, find it all but impossible to find a job.

Kristina Kadashevych of the Kyiv City Ballet. (Courtesy of Kyiv City Ballet)

One day before Ukraine was invaded by Russia earlier this year, the company unknowingly boarded one of the last flights out of Kyiv to Paris, the first stop on a planned tour. The company has not returned home since then.

Music Director Riccardo Muti opens his 13th year with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program that included the U.S. Premiere of Coleridge-Taylor’s “Solemn Prelude” and works by Brahms and Tchaikovsky. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

If you needed to be reminded of the glorious sound Maestro Riccardo Muti has nurtured during his 13-year tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Thursday evening’s concert, marking the start of the 2022-23 season, served as a perfect example.

Maestro Riccardo Muti rehearses with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 21, 2022. (WTTW News)

This weekend marks the beginning of the end of Maestro Riccardo Muti’s tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. WTTW News visited Symphony Center to hear him lead the orchestra in a rousing rehearsal of works by Tchaikovsky.

Tiffany Renee Johnson and Luigi Sottile in Lindsay Joelle’s “The Garbologists” at Northlight Theatre. (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

“The Garbologists” is an engaging, sharply written, and cleverly titled two-character play by Lindsay Joelle now receiving its first professional production by Northlight Theatre. The production follows two garbage collectors who have a competitive tension and developing connection. 

Dancers fly during Barrie Kosky’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Lyric Opera House. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Scaled to opera house grandeur, the production involves a total of 100 performers including a cast of strong actors, an ensemble of sensational dancers, a large chorus and the full Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Heidi Kettenring stars in the Marriott Theatre production of “Hello, Dolly!” (Credit: Liz Lauren)

In addition to its ideal cast, it is the seamless and often breathtaking dance sequences that set this production of “Hello, Dolly!” at Marriott Theatre apart. 

From left, Cindy Gold, Celeste M. Cooper and Sydney Charles in Steppenwolf Theatre’s “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” by James Ijames. (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

“I don’t come here to shame the founders (of our country), or in the case of my play, their spouses,” playwright James Ijames writes. “I come here to test the strength of their ideals.”

Celeste Williams, Eric Gerard and TayLar in Court Theatre’s production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

Court Theatre has opened its 2022-23 season with “Arsenic and Old Lace,” Joseph Kesselring’s maniacally zany 1941 Broadway hit that is probably most widely known by way of its 1944 film version starring Cary Grant and Boris Karloff.

“It Starts Now” by choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo was performed at the Harris Theater in Chicago on Sept. 8, 2022. (Credit: Kyle Flubacker)

It Starts Now is not an easy work to describe. It is a transfixing physical manifestation of human existence  epic in its emotional tension, its simultaneously real and mystical aura and its remarkable dancing.

Garvin Wolfe Van Dernoot as Kazimir Malevich, left, and John Drea as Marc Chagall in Grippo Stage Company’s “Chagall In School,” Sept. 6-Oct. 8, 2022 at Theatre Wit. (Credit: Anthony Robert LaPenna)

It was in 1919 that Chagall assumed the position of commissar of arts for Vitebsk and founded the Vitebsk Art School, which opened its doors to all who wanted to pursue their artistic dreams. That marks the setting for a world premiere play. 

Chicago Dance Crash. (Credit: Ashley Deran)

Both events served as the latest vivid illustration of why 2022 has rightly been designated “The Year of Chicago Dance.”

Antonio Lysy as Franchomme, Boris Giltburg as Chopin, Hershey Felder as Liszt. (Courtesy: Hershey Felder Presents)

“Chopin & Liszt in Paris” is the latest “musical film” created by Hershey Felder, widely known to Chicago audiences for his years of live performances in the city. Felder portrays the flamboyant Liszt, but he performs a great deal of Chopin’s music as he spins the story of his complex artistic relationship with that composer.

Enrique Mazzola, Lyric Opera’s Music Director and Donald Lee III, the inaugural Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist, led the Lyric Opera Orchestra and singers from the Ryan Opera Center’s esteemed training center on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion, Aug. 21, 2022. (Credit: Kyle Flubacker)

On Sunday evening, in the wake of a thunderous few days of the Chicago Air and Water Show, Enrique Mazzola, Lyric Opera’s Music Director (along with Donald Lee III, the inaugural Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist), led the Lyric Opera Orchestra and singers from the Ryan Opera Center’s esteemed training center on the same stage of the Pritzker Pavillion.

Cisco Lopez (Diego/Zorro), Emmanuel Ramirez (Ramon) in Music Theater Works’ ZORRO: THE MUSICAL, August 12, 2022 - August 21, 2022 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

Despite its many virtues and ambitious grand-scale staging, strong voices, daring swordplay, flamenco gypsy dances, lavish costumes, a tale of bitter sibling rivalry, political oppression and romance, plus the rousing music of the Gipsy Kings (including the irresistible “Bamboleo”) this take on the “Zorro” story needs work.