Looking for some fun things to do in and around Chicago in the coming week? We’ve got you covered. Check out these suggestions when making your entertainment plans.
What: On her 2016 album “Stripped,” Macy Gray left her usual gritty R&B and instead recorded jazzy covers of classic tunes like Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Now on her 10th album, “Ruby,” she takes her unmistakable raspy vocals back to originals for a fresh sound that spotlights her funky spirit.
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 28-29
Where: City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph
Cost: Tickets, $55-$75
YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL
What: Three new works by emerging playwrights, all Chicago high-school students, are unveiled at the 32nd annual fest presented by Pegasus Theatre Chicago. The fully staged plays are “A Green Light” by Alexis Gaw, “Fragile Limbs” by Anonda Tyler and “Good Strong Coffee” by Luna MacWilliams. The playwriting program encourages students to research their communities and explore their personal journeys in their writing.
When: Jan. 3-27
Where: Chicago Dramatists, 773 N. Aberdeen
Cost: Tickets, $18-$30
‘BOB DYLAN: ELECTRIC’
What: Continuing through April 30 at American Writers Museum is this exhibit highlighting the music icon’s songs, poetry and prose from his 1965 Newport Folk Festival performance to his 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Items on display from collectors across the country include the electric guitar Dylan played at Newport and his personal copy of “Catcher in the Rye.” The artifacts serve as a jumping off point to explore Dylan’s literary and musical influences and the idea of songwriting as literature, a debate that was sparked by the 2016 Nobel win.
When: Through April 30
Where: American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan
Cost: Admission, $8-$12
What: Windy City Playhouse’s smash hit “Southern Gothic,” the winner of three Jeff Awards, reopens at the theater’s new second venue in the South Loop. Leslie Liautaud’s immersive play takes audience members into a full-scale 1960s home as fly-on-the-wall guests at a party, which descends into disaster as alcohol is consumed and secrets are unloaded.
When: Begins Jan. 2, open run
Where: Windy City Playhouse South, 2229 S. Michigan
Cost: Tickets, $80-$100. Visit windycityplayhouse.com.
‘PRACTICAL RADIO THEATRE ON THE AIR’
What: Three members of the Practical Theatre Company, a comedy group founded by Northwestern students (including Julia Louis Dreyfus and Brad Hall) in the 1980s, return for an evening of old-time fun. Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen present an evening of comedy and music in a classic radio format — think handmade sound effects. Steve Rashid and His Studio5 All-Stars supply the music.
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 28-29
Where: Studio5 Performing Arts Center, 1934 Dempster, Evanston
Cost: Tickets, $35-$40
‘SALUTE TO VIENNA’
What: Celebrate the New Year with “Salute to Vienna,” a program featuring classic Strauss waltzes and melodies performed by the Strauss Symphony of America featuring the Chicago Philharmonic plus soprano Beate Ritter, tenor Brian Cheney, members of the Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine and international champion ballroom dancers.
When: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 30
Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan
Cost: Tickets, $33-$131
ALEX CHILTON BIRTHDAY BASH
What: The Empty Bottle’s annual event honors the singer-songwriter’s legacy with a line-up of local singers and musicians performing tunes from his memorable songbook and career, which began as a member of The Box Tops and continued with power-pop pioneers Big Star. This year’s performers are ButterBean, Chill-Tones, Christopher Elam, 40 Years Gone, Frog Island, The Injured Parties, Mark Jaeschke, The League of Erics, Letterbomb, Morse & Wagner, Thomas Pace Band and J. D. Reager.
When: 1 p.m. Dec. 29
Where: Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western
Cost: Admission, free