The Mix: Cool things to do May 19-25 in Chicago

“Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations,” the Long Grove Chocolate Fest and a National Tap Dance Day celebration are among the cool things to see and do in the week ahead.

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Ephraim Sykes (from left), Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope, Derrick Baskin and James Harkness star in “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.” 

Ephraim Sykes (from left), Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope, Derrick Baskin and James Harkness star in “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.”

Matthew Murphy


  • “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations” is the Broadway musical that follows the popular group’s journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Features a hit parade of songs including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and many more. From May 24-June 5 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph. Tickets: $29.50-$116. Visit
Julia Morales (from left), Kiley Fitzgerald, Evan Mills, Claire McFadden, E.J. Cameron and Andy Bolduc in “Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not.” at Second City.|

Julia Morales (from left), Kiley Fitzgerald, Evan Mills, Claire McFadden, E.J. Cameron and Andy Bolduc in “Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not.” at Second City.|

Timothy M. Schmidt Photo

  • The Second City’s 110th Mainstage revue, “Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not,” looks at the things we have in common and navigates role-playing relationships, code-switching and even high school on TV. The ensemble includes Evan Mills, E.J. Cameron, Andy Bolduc, Kiley Fitzgerald, Claire McFadden and Julia Morales; Jen Ellison directs. At Second City, 1608 N. Wells. Tickets: $29+. Visit
  • In “Grandma’s Jukebox,” a family begins to heal after the death of their matriarch when they listen to the music from her old jukebox. The musical play, written and directed by Michelle Renee Bester, features Jessica Seals, Aeriel Williams, Vincent Jordan, Jeff Wright and Blake Reasoner. From May 21-June 26 at Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. Tickets: $55. Visit
Adam Wesley Brown plays Pastor Greg in “Hand to God.”

Adam Wesley Brown plays Pastor Greg in “Hand to God.”|

Amy Nelson

  • Paramount Theatre’s BOLD Series presents Robert Askins’ “Hand to God,” a dark and very funny play that’s been described as “Avenue Q” meets “Little Shop of Horrors.” Set in a church therapy group in Texas, it features a terrifying hand puppet that just might be a reincarnation of Satan. Trent Stork directs. From May 25-July 10 at Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena, Aurora. Tickets: $67-$74. Visit
Skates actors Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young photo by Russ Rowland

Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young star in “Skates.”|

Russ Rowland Photo

  • “American Idol” alums Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young lead the cast of Christine Rea and Rick Briskin’s new musical “Skates.” It’s 1994 and a rock star is about to go on tour when she agrees to attend the reopening of her childhood roller rink only to unexpectedly take a trip back in time. Brenda Didier directs. From May 24-Aug. 28 at the newly renovated Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan. Tickets: $65-$99. Visit
  • Free Street merges its Pulaski Park and Storyfront Youth Ensembles for “57 Blocks,” an immersive play that investigates issues of education, immigration and incarceration in the city. Directed by Katrina Dion, Marilyn Carteno and Sebastian Olayo. Performances begin at Pulaski Park (1419 W. Blackhawk) before the audience boards a bus and travels to The Storyfront (4346 S. Ashland). Tickets: Pay-what-you-can. Visit
  • Chicago Writers Bloc New Plays Festival presents staged readings including Joanne Koch and Fern Schumer’s “Motherland,” Richard Reardon’s “Long Term Care,” Wencke Braathen and Gerald H. Bailey’s “Hell Is Cancelled: The Musical,” Gerald Cole, Gerald H. Bailey and John S. Green’s “A Stranger in This World: The Musical,” Barbara Georgans “Café Sounion,” Brian Kalz’s “A Cornucopia of Short Plays,” John S. Green’s “Boundaries,” Chloe Bolan and Gerald H. Bailey’s “Driving the Dream: The Musical,” Trish Elliott’s “A Stunning Evening of Short Plays” and Gayle Ann Weinstein and Gerald H. Bailey’s “Meet Me on the Corner: The Musical.” From May 23-June 14 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. Tickets: $10. Visit
  • Light and Sound Productions stages “Seven Days at Sea,” Martha Hansen’s drama about five older women who meet on a lesbian cruise and reflect on the highs and lows of their lives. Margaret Knapp directs. From May 19-June 5 at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. Tickets: $20-$40. Visit
  • Water People Theater presents “Lorca, Living the Experience,” a play in which the protagonists of Federico Garcia Lorca’s works become immersed in the flamenco atmosphere with music also written by Lorca. Written and directed by Iraida Tapias. At 7 p.m. May 25 and June 1 at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio. Tickets: $25-$35. Visit


  • South Chicago Dance Theatre, a multicultural organization that fuses classical and contemporary dance, celebrates its fifth anniversary with a program featuring world premieres by five choreographers: Ron De Jesus, Stephanie Martinez, Crystal Michelle, Wade Schaaf and Kia S. Smith. At 7:30 p.m. May 20 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets: $15-$50. Visit
  • The Ruth Page Civic Ballet performs two programs in a 50th anniversary celebration. The first on May 20 features contemporary and neoclassical works by international choreographers, including a dance commissioned from Nejla Yatkin that reimagines “Expanding Universe,” Ruth Page’s groundbreaking 1932 collaboration with artist Isamu Noguchi. On May 21, a showcase of dance and theater features a mixed program with Giordano Dance Chicago, Hedwig Dances, DanceWorks Chicago and Porchlight Music Theatre. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at Ravinia, 418 Sheridan, Highland Park. Tickets: $20. Visit
Starinah “Star” Dixon of M.A.D.D. Rhythms.

Starinah “Star” Dixon of M.A.D.D. Rhythms.|

William Frederking

  • M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Chicago Tap Theatre partner for a celebration of National Tap Dance Day with a weekend of classes and a performance May 21-22 at Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Dr. There’s also a screening of the film “Bojangles,” starring Gregory Hines, and a community shuffle on May 25 at the 400 Theatre, 6746 N. Sheridan. For more information, visit


Vieux Farka Toure.|

Vieux Farka Toure.|

Kiss Diouara Photo

  • Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure, the “Hendrix of the Sahara” and the son of the late desert blues pioneer Ali Farka Toure, spent two years working on his new album “Les Racines.” Recorded in Bamako, Mali’s capital, the songs are steeped in his deep connection to the traditional music of West Africa but also contain a contemporary relevance via his fiery guitar playing and urgent messages that speak to difficult situations in modern Mali. At 8 p.m. May 19 at Space, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. Tickets: $25. Visit
  • Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus presents its spring concert, “unimaginable,” featuring songs such as “It’s Quiet Uptown” from “Hamilton,” “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Eric Whitacre’s “Cloudburst” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” At 8 p.m. May 20 at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 8 p.m. May 21 at North Shore Center, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie, and 3 p.m. May 22 at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th. Tickets: $28-$50. Visit
Bakar headlines the Park West this week.

Bakar headlines the Park West this week.|

Gabriel Moses Photo

  • Ever since his breezy 2019 love song “Hell n Back” hit the U.S. airways, fans of British singer Bakar have been waiting for a new album and tour. The son of a Tanzanian mother and raised in North London, Abubaker Baker Shariff-Farr has now accomplished both. His new album, “Nobody’s Home,” is a soulful blend of indie, rap and rock, and he’ll perform at 7:30 p.m. May 23 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Tickets: $25. Visit

Museums & Galleries

Moga: Modern Women & Daughters in 1930s Japan,”  Ito Shinsui, “Untitled,” Early Showa Period, Four Panel Screen, 108 x 75 in.|

“Moga: Modern Women & Daughters in 1930s Japan,” includes: Ito Shinsui, “Untitled,” Early Showa Period, Four Panel Screen, 108 x 75 in.|

Private Collection of Naomi Pollock and David Sneider, USA

  • Wrightwood 659 presents three separate exhibitions: “American Framing,” a reinstallation of the U.S. entry in the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale exploring the architecture of wood framing, presented in cooperation with the University of Illinois Chicago; “Rirkrit Tiravanija: (who’s afraid of red, yellow, and green),” an installation recasting Wrightwood 659’s second-floor gallery as a communal dining space, and “Moga: Modern Women & Daughters in 1930s Japan,” a selection of rarely seen paintings of women and children from 1930s Japan. To July 16 at Wrightwood 659, 659 W. Wrightwood. Admission: $15. Visit


Ron Howard’s “We Feed People” is screening at the Doc10 Film Festival.|

Ron Howard’s “We Feed People” is screening at the Doc10 Film Festival. Pictured are chef José Andrés (right) and Sam Bloch, WCK’s Director of Emergency Response.|

National Geographic/Sebastian Lindstrom

  • Doc10 Film Festival returns with its always interesting lineup of documentary films: Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes’ “The Janes,” Ron Howard’s “We Feed People,” Margaret Brown’s “Descendant,” Sierra Pettengill’s “Riotsville U.S.A.,” Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” Jason Kohn’s “Nothing Lasts Forever,” Kevin Shaw’s “Let the Little Light Shine,” Alex Pritz’s “The Territory,” Sara Dosa’s “Fire of Love,” Simon Lereng Wilmont’s “A House Made of Splinters” and a program of short films. Director Q&As follow each film. From May 19-22 at The Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln, and Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets: $16, a few films are free. Visit

Festival Fun

The Greek Heritage Parade in Chicago’s Greektown. 

The Greek Heritage Parade in Chicago’s Greektown.|

Courtesy Greektown Chicago

  • Greek Heritage Parade and other activities in Greektown celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence. Parade begins at 2:30 p.m. May 22 along Halsted. Visit
  • Chicago Mayfest kicks off the neighborhood music fests with Funkadesi, Lynne Jordan & the Shivers, Chicago Funk Mafia and more. From 5-10 p.m. May 20 and noon-10 p.m. May 21-22 on Armitage from Sheffield to Racine. Visit
  • Lincoln Roscoe Spring Art & Craft Fair is a new event which also features live music, food and activities for kids. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 21-22 on Lincoln from School to Roscoe. Visit
  • Skokie Festival of Cultures features ethnic food and music. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m. May 21-22 at Oakton Park, Oakton and Skokie Blvd, Skokie. Visit
  • Northbrook Art in the Park includes art, music, food and children’s activities. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 21-22 at Village Green Park, 1810 Walters, Northbrook. Visit
  • Long Grove Chocolate Fest returns with chocolate vendors, music and family activities. From noon-10 p.m. May 20, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. May 21 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 22 in downtown Long Grove at 308 Old McHenry Rd. Visit

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