Fall arts guide

By / Culture / August 25, 2016

10 works of theater, dance & art to fulfill your culture fix this season

‘Finding Neverland’ at Cadillac Palace Theatre (above)
Plays and movies about writers are often either less-than-thrilling (sitting at a desk all day doesn’t leave much room for adventure) or — when depicting scribblers behaving badly — little more than soap opera. But with Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie as its subject, this big-hearted musical has a fine time charting in its own imaginative way the evolution of the writer’s most famous creation, Peter Pan. Nov. 22–Dec. 4, 151 W. Randolph
Tickets: Available at a later date. For updates, visit Broadwayinchicago.com.

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‘Black Diamond’ at Harris Theater
Supremely stylish and utterly contemporary, this offering from Danish Dance Theatre rides on a combo of scenic simplicity and kinetic daring. It’s the sort of work that celebrates the fact that dance is a visual as well as a physical medium. Vaguely sinister yet completely open to interpretation, the piece progresses to a score that includes the electronics of Denmark’s Anders Trentemøller and master minimalist Philip Glass. Oct. 21-22, 205 E. Randolph
Tickets: $35-$125. Call (312) 334-7777 or visit Harristheaterchicago.org.

‘Moholy-Nagy: Future Present’ at the Art Institute
The Hungarian-born Bauhaus master and founder of what became the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, László Moholy-Nagy took a crack at just about everything, from sculpture to product design. Like any true modernist, he imagined a brave new world and, along the way, embraced abstraction, industrial materials and the matter-of-fact. Design, he stated, is “the integration of technological, social and economical requirements, biological necessities and the psychological effects of materials, shape, color, volume and space.” Featuring more than 300 examples of that ambition, “Future Present” is an eye-opening trip back to the future. Oct. 2-Jan. 3, 2017, 111 S. Michigan
Tickets: $14-$25. Call (312) 443-3600 or visit Artic.edu.

‘Visiting Edna’ at Steppenwolf Theatre
Tony winner and Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro helms the debut of this piece from David Rabe. The playwright, whose work ranges from a series of Vietnam War dramas (including the Tony-nomintated “Streamers”) to “Hurlyburly,” an excoriation of Hollywood directed on Broadway by Mike Nichols, now focuses his attention on the trials of a mother and child reunion: An aging and ill Edna (played by Debra Monk from Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle”) receives a visit from her estranged son Andrew (ensemble member Ian Barford). Sept. 15–Nov. 6, 1650 N. Halsted
Tickets: $20-$89. Call (312) 335-1650 or visit Steppenwolf.org.


‘Songs of Lear’ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Along with “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “King Lear” is arguably one of the best known and most popular of Shakespeare’s plays — but you’ve never experienced it like this before. An aurally imagistic rendering of the tragic tale, this production from Poland’s experimental Song of the Goat Theatre is a compelling distillation, its chant-like rhythms, a cappella echoing of musical instruments and snippets of text — in multiple languages — providing a fresh and innovative take on a classic. Sept. 15-18, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand
Tickets: Starting at $48. Call (312) 595-5600 or visit Chicagoshakes.com.

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‘Romeo & Juliet’ at The Joffrey Ballet
This is not your parents’ R&J. While the trajectory of love and loss remains, Krzysztof Pastor, choreographer and deputy director of the Polish National Ballet, has had his way with Shakespeare, infusing the tale with a socio-political edge, setting it in the Mussolini era, the ’70s heyday of the revolutionary Red Brigade and the reign of cruise-ship crooner-turned-media magnate, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. It may not be conventional, but it sure sounds like the world the bard imagined: “where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Oct. 13–23, The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress
Tickets: $34-$174. Call (312) 386-8905, or visit Joffrey.org.


‘The Magic Play’ at Goodman Theatre
Playwright Andrew Hinderaker likes to dig deep. He has set plays in a suicide call center and on a football field (complete with suited-up action and a halftime show). An ensemble member of The Gift Theatre and resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Hinderaker is no stranger to the Goodman, where he’s developed his latest show about a magician (played by real-life magic man Brett Schneider, pictured) whose powers of prestidigitation and illusion are tested when he hits the stage hours after his partner has drawn the curtain on their relationship. Oct. 21-Nov. 20, 170 N. Dearborn
Tickets: $10-$40. Call (312) 443-3800 or visit Goodmantheatre.org/magic.

Women's evening ball gown designed by Mainbocher

‘Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier’ at the Chicago History Museum
A West Side boy who wowed the sartorially savvy with a subtle style that could be severe in its simplicity, designer Main Rousseau Bocher was a master of art and business. In the early 20th century, he held his own in Paris and New York, counting among his clients the Duchess of Windsor. He embraced the exacting craft of haute couture, yet kept a sharp eye on the shifting times to produce garments that came to define the modern woman of taste. Oct. 22-Aug. 20, 2017, 1601 N. Clark
Tickets: $16, children under 12 free. Call (312) 642-4600 or visit Chicagohistory.org.

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‘Don Quichotte’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago
In real life, dreamers are more often dismissed than admired. But when it comes to novels, plays and movies, we love to root for anyone who follows the beat of a different drum — thus Cervantes’ impractical, idealistic man of La Mancha remains a fellow we can all get behind. Jules Massenet’s version of the inspiring tale comes to Lyric with renowned bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role. Nov. 19-Dec. 7, 20 N. Wacker
Tickets: $34-$299. Call (312) 827-5600 or visit Lyricopera.org/quichotte.

‘Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs’ at Oriental Theatre
For a fellow who has given some pretty fearless performances (think “Cabaret”), it wasn’t easy for Cumming to step in front of a mic without the comfort of a character to inhabit. But once he did, he never looked back. With his current show, which debuted at New York’s storied Café Carlyle and stops in Chicago for one night only, he dips into contemporary pop, offers acute renderings of Coward and Sondheim and banters — often outrageously — as he gives the audience his all. Dec. 2, 24 W. Randolph
Tickets: $46.50-$76.50. Visit Ticketmaster.com.


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