September Calendar

There is a lot going on this month! Some great music festivals and exciting season openers. September is a great month for arts in Chicago because the summer weather is still lingering and outdoor festival wrap up while indoor seasons get started.

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‘Sept. 8 – Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park

Sept. 8 – 24 – Chicago World Music Festival 

Sept. 9 – Oct. 15 – A View from the Bridge – Goodman Theatre

Sept. 14 – Gustavo Dudamel and the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela – Ravinia

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Sept. 16 & 18 – Trademark – Chicago Sinfonietta with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre

Sept. 19 – Nov. 12 – Fun Home – Victory Gardens Theater

Sept. 21 – 23 – Chicago Human Rhythm Project – Dance Center Columbia College

Sept. 22-30 – Blackbird’s Ventriloquy – Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak – Links Hall

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Sept. 23 – 24 – Hyde Park Jazz Festival 


Chicago’s Nutcracker


photo by Cheryl Mann

The Joffrey Ballet’s new presentation of The Nutcracker came in with a flash, but fully demonstrated its intention to become a fixture in the Chicago performing arts scene. Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, the production will run until December 30.

I appreciated the connection to Chicago with the production taking place during the construction for World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. It’s a musicologist and dramturg’s dream. Continue reading

What is Artistic Quality? On Dog Art, One Minute Plays, and The Musical of a Generation


Rent was a huge component of what got me interested in adaptation. La Boheme turned 90’s Aids Crisis, how did Jonathan Larson, musical wizard, create this masterpiece?!? That sincerely spoke to me when I was in high-school, full of angsty and artistic dreams.

But there are moments of the story that can come across as heavy-handed or cliche. It’s not perfect. A 1996 reviewer for the New York Times states it well as “one forgives the show’s intermittent lapses into awkwardness or cliche because of its overwhelming emotional sincerity.”

This staging of RENT at Theo Oubique had a stunning balance of pluck and intimacy. It was an incredible set for the performance and the artists made the audience feel as if they were another member of the circle of friends.

This staging made the elements that are still relevant today shine.  Continue reading