The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago May 5-11
Chicago Fire Boat tours, “Notes & Letters” at Victory Gardens Theater, Historic Pullman District Walking Tours and Facets 47th Anniversary Celebration are among the highlights of things to see and do in the week ahead.
- Timeline Theatre closes its season with Lloyd Suh’s “The Chinese Lady,” a drama inspired by the true story of 14-year-old Afong Moy who was brought from China to America in 1834 and put on display as an “authentic Chinese lady.” Over 55 years, Moy must reckon with her own views of herself and the history of her new home. The two-person play features Mi Kang as Moy and Glenn Obrero as Atung, her interpreter. Directed by Helen Young. From May 8-June 18 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $42-$57. Visit timelinetheatre.com.
- In Gracie Gardner’s new play, “Athena,” two teenage fencers (Mary Tilden, Aja Singletary) training for nationals go from competitors to confidantes as they form a bond while navigating adolescence and training together only to learn the future is only certain for one of them. Jessica Fisch directs this portrait of two high-achieving young women. From May 5-July 10 at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe. Tickets: $35-$90. Visit writerstheatre.org.
- “Notes & Letters” is Annabelle Lee Revak’s new musical based on letter’s her great-great grandfather Joe Loula sent to his family upon his immigration to Chicago from Eastern Europe. The Underscore Theatre production features a jazz-contemporary score to tell the story of a young man who leaves war-torn Prague and lands at Williams Piano & Organ Co. in 1917 Chicago just as the U.S. enters World War I. Directed by Leah Geis. From May 10-28 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $32. Visit victorygardens.org.
- In “The Secretaries: A Parable,” set in 1944 Berlin, four women in Aryan drag vie to be The Fuhrer’s personal secretary as the Third Reich crumbles around them. Omer Abbas Salem’s absurd new work examines complicity and the lies we tell ourselves. The First Floor Theater production is directed by Laura Alcala Baker. From May 5-June 11 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $26, $36. Visit firstfloortheater.com.
- Resident director Max Truax returns to Trap Door Theatre to direct Heiner Muller’s “Medea Material,” a dance-theater spectacle which explores the story of Euripides’ “Medea” via Muller’s poetry and complex intersectionality. From May 5-June 4 at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland. Tickets: $25. Visit trapdoortheatre.com.
- Saint Sebastian Players concludes its 40th anniversary season with the world premiere of the corporate satire “The Shady Lady.” Written by Kara Poe Atnip and Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend, it’s the story of the executive director of an environmental nonprofit who falls in love with a yacht he can’t afford and uses the organization’s money to buy it. Adam Hoak directs. From May 5-22 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey. Tickets: $25. Visit saintsebastianplayers.org.
- The Mavericks have honed an eclectic mix of country, rock and Tejano/Tex-Mex in a sound that has served them well since their first Chicago show in 1992 in which they played hotel lounges. Now 30 years later, the critically acclaimed roots act expands its repertoire with the all-Spanish language album “En Español.” Rolling Stone says frontman Raul Malo is “once again making a case for himself as the greatest singer working in roots music.” At 8 p.m. May 5-6 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport. Tickets: $40. Visit thaliahallchicago.com.
- Music of the Baroque presents “The Brothers Haydn,” a program featuring the work of competing siblings Joseph and Michael Haydn. Dame Jane Glover leads a celebration of each man’s unique artistry, including Michael Haydn’s Symphony in E-flat Major (1788) and Joseph Haydn’s “Creation” mass, declared by one of his contemporaries “the greatest work of a very great man.” Also performed is a symphony by Mozart, who took inspiration from both brothers. At 7:30 p.m. May 8 at North Shore Center, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; 7:30 p.m. May 9 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph; and streaming at 10 a.m. May 13. Tickets: $25-$95. Visit baroque.org.
- Cellist Ian Maksin, a Russian-born American with Ukrainian roots, presents “Cello for Peace.” He performs a range of musical genres and sings folk and popular songs in multiple languages along with Ukrainian pianist and vocalist Sofi Fraser and other musicians in a concert to support peace and humanitarian aid in Ukraine. At 7:30 p.m. May 7 at Epiphany Center for the Arts, 207 S. Ashland. Tickets: $22+. Visit ianmaksin.com/chicago.
- Selections for this year’s Chicago Palestine Film Festival include Mounia Akl’s “Costa Brava, Lebanon,” about a family seeking refuge in a mountain home; Ameer Fakher Eldin’s “The Stranger,” Palestine’s submission to the Academy Awards; Ameen Nayfa’s adventure-drama “200 Meters”; Darin J. Sallam’s “Farha” and more. There’s also a screening of “Return to Ramallah,” Ziad Foty’s work-in-progress film followed by a discussion with the director and producers. From May 7-21 at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets: $12. Visit siskelfilmcenter.org.
- Throughout May, Facets 47th Anniversary Celebration features special screenings and events that celebrate Facets and founder Milos Stehlik’s legacy as well as the Chicago independent film community. Among the films are Federico Fellini’s “8½,” which stars Marcello Mastroianni, one of Stehlik’s favorite actors; Sergei Parajanov’s banned masterpiece “The Color of Pomegranates”; Steve James’ documentary “Life Itself,” about the life of Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert; Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” paired with Lindsey Martin and Julia Fuller’s experimental short “Every Speed”; Raul Zaritsky and Linda Williams’ documentary “Maxwell Street Blues” and many more. There’s also a film trivia night on May 26. From May 6-27 at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets: $12. For a complete list of films, visit facets.org.
- Chris Ligon and Heather McAdam’s present “Chris & Heather’s 16mm Film Festival,” which features three nights of selections from the couple’s vast film collection of classic musical performances including country, bluegrass, jazz, pop, rock and folk as well as novelty acts, movie trailers, TV commercials and cartoons. At 8:30 p.m. May 5 (live music by Chris Ligon), June 2 (Phil Angotti) and July 7 (Scott Ligon and Sharon Rutledge) at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn. Tickets: $15. Visit fitzgeraldsnightclub.com.
- The Field Museum’s newest exhibit, “Poems by Eric Elshtain,” features nine panels of poetry by Elshtain, the museum’s poet-in-residence. The poems can be found alongside the displays that inspired them including SUE the T. rex, Maximo the Titanosaur and a meteorites display. Elshtain hosts poetry pop-ups every Thursday from 10 a.m.-noon in locations around the museum. Through April 2023 at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. Admission: $11-$27. Visit fieldmuseum.org.
- Chicago’s newest champions, the women basketball stars of the Chicago Sky, open their 2022 season against the Los Angeles Sparks at 7 p.m. May 6 at Wintrust Arena, 200 E. Cermak. Also, before the game on May 24, the Sky host a pregame celebration, featuring a ring ceremony and banner unveiling to commemorate the team’s 2021 WNBA Championship. Don’t miss what promises to be a great season of great basketball. Tickets: $44+. For a season schedule, visit sky.wnba.com.
- Ride in a piece of Chicago history when Chicago Fireboat Tours has kicked off a new season of historical and architectural tours. The flagship vessel, the Fred A. Busse, was an active fireboat for the Chicago Fire Department from 1937-1981. Tours run through October. Tickets: $22-$40. For more information, visit fireboattours.com.
- Historic Pullman District Walking Tours continue the first Sunday of the month at 1:30 p.m. through October. The 90-minute guided tours ($10, $15) offer a lesson in the history of Pullman, its architecture and the landmark community today. Tours begin at Pullman Exhibit Hall, 11141 S. Cottage Grove. There also are self-guided tours; pick up a walking tour brochure at the Exhibit Hall. Make a reservation for guided tours at pullmanil.org.
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