The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago March 10-16
The St. Patrick’s Day parades, Bad Bunny in concert, and Black Ensemble Theater’s “It’s Just Like Coming to Church (Welcome to the Church of YOU)” are among the events to check out in the week ahead.
Sean Hayes (“Will and Grace”) stars in the world premiere of Doug Wright’s “Good Night, Oscar,” a drama about character actor, pianist and master of the one-liner Oscar Levant, who also suffered from mental illness. The 1950s-era play dramatizes one night in Levant’s life as he prepares for an appearance on Jack Paar’s evening talk show. Lisa Peterson directs. From March 12-April 17 at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $25-$98. Visit goodmantheatre.org.
- “Downton Abbey” fans take note, Mrs. Patmore is coming to town in the guise of her real-life counterpart, actress Lesley Nicol. The British performer shares her journey from up-and-comer to big-screen sensation in the autobiographical musical “How the Hell Did I Get Here?” She is accompanied by composer and collaborator Mark Mueller. Luke Kernaghan directs. From March 12-April 3 at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $30-$89. Visit howthehellmusical.com.
- A new staging of “Tosca,” a tale of doomed love, political intrigue and murder, comes to the Lyric Opera starring Michelle Bradley as the impassioned heroine Tosca, with Russell Thomas as her lover Cavaradossi and Fabian Veloz as her evil tormentor Scarpia. From March 12-April 10 at Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets: $39+. Visit lyricopera.org.
- Black Ensemble Theater presents “It’s Just Like Coming to Church (Welcome to the Church of YOU).” A musical story about the power of forgiveness, self-love and faith, it features music of many different genres including gospel, spiritual, soul, jazz, hip-hop and blues. Written and directed by Jackie Taylor. From March 12-April 24 at Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. Tickets: $55. Visit blackensemble.org.
- Definition Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of James Ijames “White,” a drama that explores white privilege, racial politics and the fine line between appropriation and opportunity. Ericka Ratcliff directs. From March 17-April 10 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, 1700 N. Halsted. Tickets: $20-$40. Visit steppenwolf.org.
- Rivendell Theatre stages Madison Fiedler’s “SPAY,” an unflinching look at addiction, Appalachia and the families our system has failed. Georgette Verdin directs a cast featuring Rae Gray, Tara Mallen, Krystel McNeil and Spencer Huffman. From March 12-April 17 at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge. Tickets: $25. Visit rivendelltheatre.org.
- Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre stages the musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress,” a rowdy twist on the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” From March 11-May 1 at Howard Street Theatre, 721 Howard. Tickets: $42-$54; dinner is an additional $29. Visit theo-u.com.
- Music Theater Works presents Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s Tony Award-winning musical “La Cage Aux Folles.” From March 10-April 3 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets: $19.50-$106. Visit musictheaterworks.com.
- St. Sebastian Players present the Tony Award-winning “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” From March 11-April 3 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey. Tickets: $30. Visit saintsebastianplayers.org.
Puerto Rican reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny, the most streamed artist on Spotify in 2021, comes to town for a three-night stand at Allstate Arena. His most recent album, “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo” came out in 2020, and he has since released a handful of new songs. The internet is currently ablaze with the trailer for the upcoming David Leitch-directed movie “Bullet Train,” in which Bad Bunny takes on Brad Pitt in what’s described as a “bloody, stylish action movie.” At 8 p.m. March 10-12 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont. Tickets: $200+. Visit ticketmaster.com.
Marisa Monte, one of Brazil’s most adventurous singer-songwriters, tours behind her new album, “Portas.” Her voice has the lilt and delicacy of bossa nova, but her songs are driven by an intelligent curiosity about the human condition. She hopes the new songs, written during the pandemic, “heal and help people to cross this moment.” At 8 p.m. March 15 at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield. Tickets: $50+. Visit jamusa.com.
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova first came to prominence after starring in the 2007 film “Once,” now considered a modern classic. The duo’s collaboration continued under the name The Swell Season with the 2008 critically acclaimed album “Strict Joy.” They are now reuniting for the first time in 10 years in a short run of concert performances featuring a career-spanning set of songs from The Swell Season, “Once” and their individual careers. At 7 p.m. March 12 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph. Tickets: $39.50-$75. Visit ticketmaster.com.
Drum Tao is known for its fiery and athletic Japanese taiko drumming routines that have wowed audiences around the world. The large-scale performance features heart-pounding drum routines, Japanese flutes and harps and energetic choreography. At 3 and 7 p.m. March 12 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. Tickets: $40-$49. Visit atthemac.org.
The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival returns March 10- 27 with 18 films —some streaming, some in theaters. The festival opens with two Chicago premieres March 10-13: “Plan A,” a thriller based on the true story of Jewish vigilantes who plot Holocaust revenge, and “The Un-Word,” a darkly humorous film about a Jewish student who is goaded into a schoolyard brawl. Tickets: $15. For a complete roster of films, visit jccfilmfest.org.
The PrideArts Spring International Film Festival features 32 short films from around the world that reflect the diversity of queer communities. The films are presented in four 90-minute streamed programs, the first of which (March 14-21) offers 10 musical films including a music video inspired by marriage activist Edie Windsor. The festival streams March 14-May 1. Tickets: $10, $25 festival pass. For a complete roster of films, visit pridearts.org.
“Beautiful Diaspora/You Are Not the Lesser Part” brings together 15 global artists of color who together challenge notions of global segregation and dividing lines. The artist’s perspectives range from drag performers in Ivory Coast to the family lives of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong to traditional festivals in the Zapotec community of Yalálag, Mexico, and imagined utopias of Black American politics and life. To June 26 at Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan. Admission is free. Visit mocp.org.
It’s time once again for step dancers, bagpipers and marching bands. The St. Patrick’s Day festivities get underway March 12 with the dyeing of the Chicago River at 10 a.m. and the downtown parade at noon on Columbus between Balbo and Monroe. The longtime tradition of the South Side Irish Parade, a family-friendly celebration of Irish heritage, kicks off at noon on March 13 on Western between 103rd and 115th. For additional St. Pat’s fun, visit choosechicago.com.
Old St. Pat’s Church presents Shamrock’n the Block, an event featuring live music, Irish dancing, food, a beer garden, kid’s activities and more. Performers include Liam Durkin, Chicago Garda Bag Pipes, Character Fleadh, Healy Academy of Irish Dance, Whiskey Mick, Trinity Academy of Irish Dance and St. James Gate. From noon-6:30 p.m. March 12 at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 W. Adams. Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the door, children under 5 free. Visit oldstpats.org.
“Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation” features everyone’s favorite honey-loving bear and his pals — Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet and Roo — and their adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. Rockefeller Productions brings the story to life via impressive life-size puppets. From March 15-June 12 at Mercury Theatre Chicago, 3745 N. Southport. Tickets: $34+. Visit winniethepoohshow.com.
The National Geographic Live Series presents “Wild Hope,” featuring photographer, filmmaker and global storyteller Ami Vitale, who shares her personal journey from documenting the tragic realities of war to awe-inspiring wildlife stories involving white rhinos, pandas, elephants and giraffes. At 2 p.m. March 13 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive. Tickets: $44+. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org.