The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago Aug. 11-17

Lady Gaga at Wrigley, the Bud Billiken Parade, Dance for Life and a ‘Zorro’ musical are among the cool things to see and do in the week ahead.

SHARE The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago Aug. 11-17

Lady Gaga will bring her Chromatic Ball tour to Wrigley Field on Monday.

Norbert Schoerner


  • Music Theater Works presents the regional premiere of Stephen Clark, Helen Edmundson and John Cameron’s “Zorro: The Musical,” a retelling of the dramatic tale of the masked romantic hero. The action-packed musical was inspired by the fictional biography “Zorro,” written by the great Chilean author Isabel Allende. Staged in association with Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, it features a flamenco-based score by the Gipsy Kings. Cisco Lopez stars as Don Diego de la Vega aka Zorro. From Aug. 11-21 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Tickets: $19.50-$84. Visit

A song from “The Lion King” will be part of the Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert.

Deen Van Meer

  • The annual Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert features performances from popular musicals including “1776,” “Wicked,” “The Lion King,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “MJ,” “Les Miserables,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “Aladdin” and many more. At 6:15 p.m. Aug. 15 at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. Admission is free. Visit

Stefan Brun (left) and Lena Brün in “The Personal.”

Jenny Magnus

  • Curious Theatre Branch presents “Back at the House . . . With or Without Roommates,” a series of three two-person plays. In Beau O’Reilly’s “Benny and Margaret Say Goodbye,” a couple fess up and face off; Jenny Magnus’ “The Personal” is a conversation between two friends who know each other well, and in Myle Yan Tay’s “Fandom,” two nerds play a game. From Aug. 12-20 at Jimmy Beans Cabaret, 2553 W. Fullerton; Tickets: $15. Visit
  • Definition Theatre’s Amplify Series Two Festival showcases filmed scenes from eight new plays by playwrights Melda Beaty, Reynaldo Dumas, Tina Fakhrid-Deen, Ahon Gooptu, Walker Lee, Julian Parker, Brianna Yrene Ramirez and Khameron Townsend-Riley. The festival also includes play writing, acting and dance workshops, pop-up vendors, a community clean-up and more. At 3, 6 p.m. Aug. 13 and 3 p.m. Aug. 14 at Logan Center for the Performing Arts, 915 E. 60th. Admission is free. Visit
  • American Blues Theater presents a virtual reading of Mardee Bennett’s “The Reapers on Woodbrook Avenue,” the winner of the 2022 Blue Ink Playwriting Award. The drama explores the complex relationship between three generations of Black women. Streams at 7 p.m. Aug. 15. Tickets: $10 suggested or pay-what-you-can. Visit



Deeply Rooted Dance Theater will perform “Parallel Lives” at “Dance for Life 2022.”

Michelle Reid

  • Chicago Dancers United, an organization that supports the health and wellness of the city’s professional dance community, presents “Dance for Life 2022.” The annual fundraiser features performances by Chicago Dance Crash, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Giordano Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, NAJWA Dance Corps and Trinity Irish Dance Company. Randy Duncan choreographs the finale, “Never Enough,” featuring dancers from throughout Chicago. At 6 p.m. Aug. 13 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. Tickets: $25-$125. Visit


  • Lady Gaga returns to Wrigley Field with her pandemic-delayed Chromatica Ball tour in support of her 2020 synth-pop release “Chromatica.” Rolling Stone says the songs, set within a narrative of rebirth and salvation, “spectacularly come to life“ and “Gaga on every level gives nothing short of excellence.” At 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Wrigley Field, Clark and Addison. Tickets: $198+. Visit

Dan Wolff and Sarah Vos of Dead Horses.

Michelle Bennett

  • Milwaukee-based Dead Horses (Sarah Vos and Dan Wolff) celebrate the release of the new album, “Brady Street.” Blending elements of traditional roots with modern indie folk, the duo are unflinchingly honest in their portrayal of modern American life yet optimistic in their unshakable faith of brighter days to come. The Brother Brothers open at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Tickets: $20. Visit
  • Téada is now celebrating 21 years as one of Ireland’s best traditional bands. On the group’s new album, “Coiscéim Coiligh — As the Days Brighten,” actor-musician John C. Reilly, a Chicago native and the guest of honor this year at Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, provided vocals for the 19th-century humorous ballad “Eileen Óg.” At 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $28. Visit


Pullman Company maid with Pullman porters.

A Pullman Company maid with Pullman porters.

Hooks Brothers Photographers, Memphis. Photo from Newberry Library, courtesy of Earnestine Jenkins, Department of Art, University of Memphis.

  • “Handmaidens for Travelers: The Pullman Company Maids” is an exhibit that tells the story of the maids who have been overshadowed by the well-known Pullman porters. Drawing from the Pullman Company Records archived at the Newberry Library, curator Miriam Thaggert compiled a range of material for the exhibit including employee cards, an instruction manual for maids, advertisements, photographs and one maid’s written account of her work history. To Sept. 16 at The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. Admission is free. Visit

Festival Fun


Geek Squad performs during the 2021 Bud Billiken Parade.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

  • Generations of families have attended the historic 92-year-old Bud Billiken Parade, which celebrates the return of the school year. It features bands and floats and, at the post-parade festivities in Washington Park, there’s music, food, face painting, vendors, a hiring fair, school supplies, Zumba in the Park and more. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Aug. 13 at King and Oakwood and heads down King. For more information, visit
  • My House Music Festival features performances by DJ Sneak, Ralphie Rosario, Pumpin’ Pete, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Terry Hunter, Tim Schommer and more. Plus, food trucks and neighborhood food vendors. From 3-10 p.m. Aug. 13-14 at Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood. Tickets: $30-$125. Visit
  • Thirsty Ears Festival is Chicago’s only classical music street festival. Featured are ensembles and soloists performing music from Beethoven to Shostakovich to Reich and everything in between. Plus, vendors, food trucks and children’s activities. From 2-10 p.m. Aug. 13 and 2-9 p.m. Aug. 14 on Wilson from Hermitage to Ravenswood. Admission: $10 suggested donation. Visit

Tony Ocean will perform at Little Italy Festa—Taylor Street.

Courtesy of Fra Noi magazine

  • Chicago crooner Tony Ocean is among the more than 40 entertainers scheduled to perform at Little Italy Festa—Taylor Street, which celebrates the rich Italian culture of one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. There’s food from area restaurants, family entertainment, vendors and cultural attractions. (Ocean performs at 8:45 p.m. Aug. 11.) From 5-10 p.m. Aug. 11-12 and noon-10 p.m. Aug. 13-14 around Taylor and Ashland. Admission: $10 suggested donation. Visit
  • There’s plenty of fun to be found at the 2022 Illinois State Fair. Among the grandstand performers are Sam Hunt, Demi Lovato, Brooks & Dunn, The Ides of March, Willie Nelson & Family, Shaggy & TLC, Trevor Noah and more. Plus, there are rides, livestock competitions, food vendors and, of course, the Butter Cow. From 7 p.m.-midnight Aug. 11-21 at Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon, Springfield. Admission: $3-$10, children 12 and under free. Visit
  • The needs of African American women and their families are addressed at the Black Women’s Expo, which offers topical seminars, demos on wellness and finance, and entertainment from acts including Montell Jordan and DJ Mannie Fresh. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 12 and 13 and 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Dr. Tickets: $30/day. Visit
  • Printer’s Row Art Fest includes artisans selling paintings, jewelry, photographs, mixed media and much more. From 10 a.m-5 p.m. Aug. 13-14 on Dearborn from Harrison to Polk. Admission is free. Visit
  • Retro on Roscoe features live music, artisans, antiques, vendors, food, children’s activities and classic cars and motorcycles. From 5-10 p.m. Aug. 12 and noon-10 p.m. Aug. 13-14 around 2000 W. Roscoe. Admission: $15 suggested donation. Visit

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