The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago April 21-27

“The Magic Victrola,” the Black Playwrights Festival, the “Golden-Con” “Golden Girls”-themed convention, and the 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival are among the cool things to do in the week ahead in Chicago.

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“The Magic Victrola,” a 70-minute opera begins when two children discover their grandfather’s old victrola and his prized collection of opera records that sends them on a musical adventure.

“The Magic Victrola,” a 70-minute opera begins when two children discover their grandfather’s old victrola and his prized collection of opera records that sends them on a musical adventure.

Todd Rosenberg Photography

Family fun

  • “The Magic Victrola” introduces children to the world of opera. The 70-minute opera begins when two children discover their grandfather’s old victrola and his prized collection of opera records that sends them on a musical adventure. Includes selections from “The Magic Flute,” “Carmen,” “The Elixir of Love” and more. For ages 5-10. At 2 p.m. April 24 at Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets: $5, $10. Visit
“Carmela Full of Wishes” stars Maria Clara Ospina as the title character.|

“Carmela Full of Wishes” stars Maria Clara Ospina as the title character.|

Courtesy Chicago Children’s Theatre

  • “Carmela Full of Wishes” is Alvaro Saar Rios’s adaptation of Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson’s popular picture book about a young girl learning about the possibilities of her vibrant migrant community. The hourlong production features Maria Clara Ospina as Carmela; Michelle Lopez-Rios directs. From April 23-May 22 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine. Tickets: $32. Visit


  • Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” is set against the backdrop of a repressive and provincial late 19th century Germany. It’s the story of youthful self-discovery and awakening sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teens. Directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier with musical direction by Justin Akira Kono. From April 23-May 29 at Porchlight Music Theatre, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, $25-$74. Visit
  • The House Theatre of Chicago presents the North American premiere of Aimé Césaire’s “The Tragedy of King Christophe.” Written in 1963 and translated from the French by Paul Breslin and Rachel Ney, it’s the true story of the rise and fall of Henri Christophe, who was elected Haiti’s president but, in 1811, chose to declare himself king. Directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley. From April 22-May 29 at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Tickets: $20-$50. Visit
  • Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well” unwinds a captivating story about a resourceful young woman in love with a man who does not return her affection. From April 23-May 29 at Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand. Tickets: $35+. Visit
  • Chicago Opera Theater presents the world premiere of “Quamino’s Map” by British composer Errollyn Wallen and featuring an all-Black cast and an all-female creative team. The opera is set in the post-Revolutionary War years when London was the unlikely refuge for thousands of Black Americans who fought for their liberty on the side of the British. At 7:30 p.m. April 23, 29 and 3 p.m. May 1 at Studebaker Theater, Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan. Tickets: $45+. Visit
  • Exal Iraheta’s “Last Hermanos” is a story of tenacious brotherhood and love in a not-to-distant future. The conflict between two Latinx men on the run comes to a head—one desires revolution, the other longs for normalcy. Ismael Lara Jr. directs. From April 21-June 12 at Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. Tickets: $30-$40. Visit
  • The Black Playwrights Festival features readings of Viola Bennett’s “More Than a Maid: Hattie McDaniel Past and Present,” Jill Ross’ “What You See Is What Your Get: The Flip Wilson Story,” Lillian Mitchum’s “The Tammi Terrell Story, Her Trials and Triumphs,” Reginald Williams’ “The Phyllis Hyman Story” and Dwight Neal’s “Disco Heat: In Tribute to the Queen of Disco Sylvester.” From April 26-30 at Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. Tickets: $25. Visit
  • The Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival presents 10 Chicago-based ensembles performing traditional circus acts, avant-garde sideshow and burlesque offerings, family-friendly juggling and clowning shows, sketch comedy, queer-themed work plus several evening-length pieces that also include dance. From April 21-24 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $10-$35. Visit
“Rasheeda Speaking” is being staged by Shattered Globe Theatre.|

“Rasheeda Speaking” starring Daria Harper (left) and Deanna Reed-Foster is being staged by Shattered Globe Theatre.|

Jenn Udoni/Franco Images

  • Strawdog Theatre presents Karissa Murrell Myers’ “On the Greenbelt,” a story of family, love and memory and loss. From April 22-May 28 at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western. Admission is free. Visit
  • Shattered Globe Theatre stages Joel Drake Johnson’s workplace thriller “Rasheeda Speaking.” From April 22-June 4 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $45. Visit
  • “My Big Fat Italian Wedding Murder” is an interactive murder mystery written by Jimmy Ferraro and David Craven. From April 23-May 15 at The Reveler, 3403 N. Damen. Tickets: $69, includes dinner. Visit
  • Steve Martin’s comedy “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” imagines a meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein. From April 22-May 22 at Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan, Lake Forest. Tickets: $40, $45. Visit


Zephyr dancers Joanne Barrett (left) and with Molly Strom.

Zephyr dancers Joanne Barrett (left) and with Molly Strom.

Courtesy of Zephyr

  • The experimental dance company Zephyr presents “Not Dead Yet,” featuring a program of new in-progress works by choreographers Tom Brady, Michelle Kranicke and Joanna Reed. Performed at SITE/less (1250 W. Augusta), a space with a goal of rethinking the connection between movement and architecture. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 21-23. Tickets: $22. Visit


  • Fans of the classic television comedy “The Golden Girls” will want to check out “Golden-Con,” a first-of-its-kind event dedicated the show and its stars — Bea Arthur (Dorothy), Rue McClanahan (Blanche), Betty White (Rose) and Estelle Getty (Sophia). Fans will find a number of activities including a costume parade, disco party, pop-up bar, trivia competitions, many guest appearances (from members of the show’s writes’ room to guest stars) and a performance from Hell in a Handbag’s “The Lost Episodes” series, a drag adaptation of the sitcom. From April 22-24 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. Ticket prices vary. For more information, visit


Nellie McKay

Nellie McKay|

Photo by Shervin Lainez

  • Nellie McKay is a singer/musician who finds delight in any musical era. Her albums range from “Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day” to “My Weekly Reader,” a 1960s covers album of featuring renditions of songs by Moby Grape, The Small Faces, Frank Zappa, Herman’s Hermits and The Beatles. At 8 p.m. April 22 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $28. Visit
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Leah Wellbaum of Slothrust

Leah Wellbaum of Slothrust |

Lindsey Byrnes Photo

  • Slothrust, led by singer-songwriter-guitarist Leah Wellbaum, is an alt-rock power trio with backgrounds in classical, jazz and blues. The new album, “Parallel Timeline,” finds the band leaning into improvisation but never shying away from the fierce guitar work Wellbaum has become known for. Calva Louise opens at 8:30 p.m. April 21 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $16. Visit
  • The Cardinal Bartolucci Foundation Choir from Rome performs sacred music and Italian opera arias plus “Habanera” from Bizet’s “Carmen” accompanied by dancers from Ensemble Espanol. At 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. April 22 at Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr. Admission is free. For reservations, visit

Museums & Galleries

Mel Bochner, “Measurement: 1” to 12” (Color)” (detail), 1994.

Mel Bochner, “Measurement: 1” to 12” (Color)” (detail), 1994.

© Mel Bochner. Photography by Nicholas Knight Studio, New York Courtesy of Peter Freeman, Inc., New York

  • While Mel Bochner has produced works in almost every medium (painting, photography, sculpture, prints and books), drawing has always been his foundational practice. A new exhibit, “Mel Bochner Drawings: A Retrospective,” is the first show to focus on this aspect of the artist’s work. Nearly 90 pieces are featured. From April 23-Aug. 22 at Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. Tickets: $14-$25. Visit
  • Meet new artists and new art at The Other Art Fair, which features work by more than 100 independent artists as well as immersive installations, printmaking demonstrations by Chicago artists Blake Jones, JS Rivera and Elloo, on-site painted portraits by Ewrks, performances and DJs. From 6-10 p.m. April 21; 3-10 p.m. April 22; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. April 23; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 24; at Revel Fulton Market, 1215 W. Fulton Market. Tickets: $18, $35. Visit


Roma Diaz’s “Bye Bye Chicago”

Roma Diaz’s “Bye Bye Chicago”


  • The 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival returns April 21-May 1 with a hybrid format with in-person screenings at the Landmark Century Center (2828 N. Clark, $14), several drive-in presentations at ChiTown Movies (2343 S. Throop, $55/car) and virtual screenings ($12). Among the 50 features and 36 shorts are Abner Benaim’s “Plaza Catedral,” Panama’s submission to the Academy Awards about a woman mourning the death of her young son; Chicago-based playwright/director Roma Diaz’s “Bye Bye Chicago,” the story of the friendship between a dying Mexican immigrant and a young Colombian college student; and Eva Longoria Baston’s “La Guerra Civil,” about the rivalry between boxers Cesar Chavez and Oscar de la Hoya. For a complete list of films, visit
  • Cinema/Chicago presents the 17th CineYouth Festival which features short films written and directed by filmmakers 22 years old and younger. From April 22-24 in person at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton, and streaming April 25-May 1. All screenings are free. For more information, visit
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