From music to theater to family fun, there’s much to see and do in the next week across the Chicago area. So make those big plans now! Here are some suggestions to help you navigate the area’s vibrant entertainment landscape:
THEATER: “Tap Dogs”
When it debuted in the late ‘90s, Dein Perry’s high-adrenalin revue “Tap Dogs” taught an old dance form some new tricks. Today, it continues to be a sensory overload — part vaudeville, part theater, part rock concert — all performed by a crew of fearless dancers on a set replicating a construction site. Sounds crazy but it works. From April 16-21, Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. Tickets: $15-$65.
VISUAL ARTS: Jonathas de Andrade
Visual artist Jonathas de Andrade lives and works in Recife, a city in northeast Brazil with a history of colonialism and underdevelopment. Inspired by the situation in this part of the country, he uses photography, installation and video to explore history, labor and language around themes of communication in the exhibit “Jonathas de Andrade: One to One.” This is the most recent installment of the MCA’s Ascendant Artists series. From April 13-Aug. 25, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Admission is $15.
MUSIC: Lee Fields
For five decades, Lee Fields has been performing old school soul that is always fresh and alive. He’s now celebrating the release of a new album, “It Rains Love.” Catch Lee Fields and the Expressions at 7:30 p.m. April 12, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport. Neal Francis opens the show. Tickets: $20-$40. Visit thaliahallchicago.com.
MUSIC: Ella Vos
Ella Vos is known for her dreamy pop sound and songwriting that digs deep into issues such as motherhood and love from a feminist perspective. On her new songs on the EP “Watch and Wait,” she gets even more personal. The songs were written while she was undergoing treatment for lymphoma and coming to terms with her new reality. The songs explore her illness, her diagnosis and the healing process through her own unique lens. Clara Mae opens. At 9 p.m. April 18, Chop Shop, 2033 W. North. Tickets: $18.
MUSIC: Citizen Cope
On his new album, “Heroin & Helicopters,” Citizen Cope (aka singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood) tackles themes of religion, political manipulation, the hollowness of the entertainment world and spiritual enlightenment while also contending with his role in these. According to Cope, the album’s title comes from a conversation he had with Carlos Santana who warned him to stay away from both as “the two H’s … don’t go well with musicians.” At 8 p.m. April 12, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $39.50-$46.
VISUAL ARTS: “Sign of the Times…”
The political poster first appeared in the 1844 presidential election and has been a hard-working campaign element ever since, as evidenced by the exhibit “Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844-2012.” Included in the 50 examples on display are works by print makers Currier & Ives, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and many unknown artists. Through April 28 at Elmhurst History Museum, 120 E. Park, Elmhurst. Admission is free.
The Boston-based quartet Darlingside creates a mix of traditional folk and indie rock, chamber pop and Americana that is filled with seamless harmonies and flawless instrumentation. The band is touring being the new album “Extralife,” which offers a haunting look at a post-apocalyptic world and asks the question: What comes next? Lula Wiles opens. At 8 p.m. April 17, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $25.
MUSIC: Pacifica Quartet
Over the past 25 years, the Pacifica Quartet has become one the country’s premiere chamber ensembles. While known for performing the complete string quartet cycles by composers such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Elliot Carter, the ensemble is also known for premiering new works by living composers. For this performance, the roster includes works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and David Dzubay. At 7:30 p.m. April 12, University of Chicago, Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th. Tickets: $10-$38.