The Happy Fits | Rahil Ahsruff
There’s plenty to see and do online and in-person in the week ahead.
Macy’s Holiday Traditions shine bright this year beginning with the store’s windows along State Street between Randolph and Washington. This year the colorful display tells the story of a small reindeer named Tiptoe who is “too shy to fly” with Santa’s team on Christmas Eve. Inside the store, the 45-foot-tall Great Tree is the centerpiece to holiday dining in the Walnut Room (to Jan. 9). And children can visit a certain jolly old man in Santaland, an enchanted world showcasing Santa’s workshop (to Dec. 24). Reservations are required for the Walnut Room (macyswalnutroom.com) and Santaland (macys.com/Santaland).
Namir Smallwood and Carrie Coon star in Steppenwolf’s production of “Bug.” Steppenwolf Theatre picks up where it left off with “Bug,” Tracy Letts’ searing, paranoid drama which was on stage in March 2020 when the theater shut down at the start of the pandemic. Returning are ensemble members Randall Arney, Carrie Coon, Namir Smallwood plus Jennifer Engstrom and Steve Key; David Cromer directs. From Nov. 11-Dec. 12 at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets: $20-$110. Visit steppenwolftheatre.org.
Lynn Lane/Houston Grand Opera
Lyric Opera of Chicago is presenting the Spanish opera “Florencia en el Amazonas”
Journey down the Amazon with the Lyric Opera’s premiere of “Florencia en al Amazon.” Mexican composer Daniel Catan’s Spanish-language opera, about a glamorous diva (Ana Maria Martinez) on a life-changing adventure on the Amazon, is suffused with lush music and magical realism. Francesca Zambello directs, Jordan de Souza conducts. From Nov. 13-28 at Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets: $39+. Visit lyricopera.org.
With hopes of creating a new holiday tradition, The House Theatre of Chicago presents the world premiere of Lanise Antoine Shelley’s adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fable “The Snow Queen.” Directed by Amber D. Montgomery, the story is infused with The House’s trademark use of magic, puppetry and music. From Nov. 12-Jan. 2 at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Tickets: $20-$50. Visit thehousetheatre.com.
Another new holiday show, “Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody,” is Bob and Tobly McSmith’s parody of the iconic romantic comedy film. The Off Broadway hit follows nine quirky couples looking for love. “In under 90 minutes, six actors play 50 plus roles as they conquer 144 costume and 42 wig changes,” director Tim Drucker says. From Nov. 17-Jan. 2 at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $29-$69. Visit ticketmaster.com.
“Kiss Me Kate,” the first Tony Award winner for best musical, is the next production at the Marriott Theatre. The musical, with a book by Sam and Bella Spewack and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, follows the hijinks as a married couple, Lilli Vanessi (Susan Moniz) and Fred Graham (Larry Adams), battle on stage and off during a production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” From Nov. 17-Jan. 16 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire. Tickets: $50-$60. Visit marriotttheatre.com.
Yasmina Reza’s dark comedy “God of Carnage” uncovers what happens when two high-strung couples meet for a civilized discussion about a playground altercation between their two young sons. Co-directed by Derek Bertelsen and Robert Tobin. From Nov. 12-Dec. 12 at AstonRep Theatre at The Edge Theatre, 1133 W. Catalpa. Tickets: $20. Visit astonrep.com.
The Porchlight Revisits series, which celebrates rarely seen musicals, presents three performances of Dan Goggin’s “Nunsense,” about the Little Sisters of Hoboken and their plan to raise some emergency money. Directed by Michelle Lauto. At 7 p.m. Nov. 17, 1:30 and 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $49. Visit porchlightmusictheatre.org.
Spenser Davis Photo
Broken Nose Theatre is presenting “Primer” featuring JD Caudill and Aria Szalai-Raymond.
Broken Nose Theatre presents the world premiere of Spenser Davis’ audio drama “Primer,” which looks at how a singular act of destruction at a Michigan Avenue store affects a host of individuals, from the store’s security team and managers to its employees. Directed by Brittney Brown. Streams from Nov. 15-Dec. 5. Tickets: pay-what-you-can. Visit brokennosetheatre.com.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”: Clark Gesner, Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa’s musical in which the entire Peanuts gang explore life’s great questions. From Nov. 11-Dec. 23 at Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan, Lake Forest. Tickets: $20-$45. Visit citadeltheatre.org.
Babes with Blades’ Fighting Words Festival features readings of three new plays: “Phantom Queens” by Jessica Johnson, “Child’s Play” by Frank Garland” and “The Mark” by Jillian Leff. From Nov 13-14 at The Factory Theatre, 1623 W. Howard. Admission is free, a stream also is available. Visit babeswithblades.org.
Dance Chicago presents “Dance Transformations,” a program showcasing young dancers and choreographers new to the Chicago dance scene. Dance styles include ballet, tap, jazz, ethnic and more. At 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets: $18-$31. Visit athenaeumtheatre.org.
Asian Improv Arts Midwest and Links Hall present the Bridge Dance Festival, featuring performers who connect to their Asian heritage. The online event includes work by Yuko Takahashi Dance Company, Marina Fukushima, Ray Nakazawa and Pranita Nayar and Ashwaty Chennat. Streams at 7 p.m. Nov. 12-13. Tickets: $15, $20 or pay-what-you-can. Visit linkshall.org.
English rock band Genesis kicks off its first U.S. tour in 14 years at the United Center. Billed as a farewell tour, Phil Collins (front-and-center as lead singer), Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford are joined by their longtime guitar and bass player Daryl Stuermer and, on drums, 20-year-old Nic Collins replacing his father who can no longer play because of health issues. At 8 p.m. Nov. 15-16 at United Center, 1901 W. Madison. Tickets: $145+. Visit ticketmaster.com
Shervin Lainez Photo
Singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton’s catchy songs are filled with hints of country, folk, soul, swing and pop. Her recent album “Love & Rage” is filled with what she calls protest songs written during the pandemic. Blanton also is a longtime John Prine fan and wrote the lovely tribute “Fishin’ with You,” when the beloved performer passed away in 2020. The soulful music of Milton opens the show at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn. Tickets: $15. Visit fitzgeraldsnightclub.com.
New Jersey trio The Happy Fits create orchestral tinged indie-pop that has been called “some of the freshest, catchiest pop music around right now” by NPR. The band tours behind the new album “What Could Be Better” featuring more of the band’s unique guitar-and-cello rock. Also on the bill: M.A.G.S. and Snarls. The all-ages show begins at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont. Tickets: $16. Visit beatkitchen.com.
Grammy Award-winning Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov wows audiences with his virtuosic playing which has been called “colorful, dazzling and imaginative.” He’ll perform works by Debussy, Szymanowski, Prokofiev and Brahms at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $27-$150. Visit cso.org.
The New Philharmonic, with conductor Kirk Muspratt and violinist David Taylor.
The New Philharmonic performs Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9 in E-Minor “plus Pablo de Sarasate’s Fantasy on Bizet’s “Carmen” featuring guest violinist David Taylor, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s assistant concertmaster. The piece is considered one of the most challenging for violin. Soprano Alisa Jordheim joins Taylor for Strauss’s “Morgen!” At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 3 p.m. Nov. 14 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. Tickets: $10-$53. Visit atthemac.org.
At the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s fall concert CYSO alum Mary Elizabeth Bowden performs the Chicago premiere of Vivian Fung’s “Concerto for Trumpet,” CYSO’s Bianca Ciubancan performs Paganini’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major” and CYSO’s Louis Auxenfans performs Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A Major.” The program also includes works by Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and Tchaikovsky. Allen Tinkham conducts. At 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $20-$60. Visit cyso.org.
Works by Mozart and Beethoven are on the program for Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert, conducted by Stilian Kirov, opens with Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Winds” featuring four of IPO’s own principal wind players as soloists: Naomi Bensdorf Frisch (oboe), Erin Kozakis (bassoon), Trevor O’Riordan (clarinet) and Lee Shirer (French horn). Rounding out the concert is Beethoven’s light-hearted “Symphony No. 8.” At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Ozinga Chapel, Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College, Palos Heights. Tickets: $10-$67. Visit ipomusic.org.
Ravi Shankar’s beloved sitar is on display in the exhibit “Ravi Shankar: Ragamala To Rockstar.”The South Asia Institute presents Ravi Shankar: Ragamala to Rockstar, a Retrospective of the Maestro’s Life in Music,” an exhibit showcasing the legacy of the musician who was instrumental in bringing Indian classical music to mainstream audiences. George Harrison called him the “godfather of world music.” Included are rare concert posters and art prints, photographs, videos, record covers and personal artifacts. To March 5 at South Asia Institute, 1925 S. Michigan. Admission: $10. Visit saichicago.org.