Things to do in Chicago Jan. 5-11: The Mix

The Young Playwrights Festival, a Billy Wilder film series and the return of the Chicago Boat Show are among the entertainment highlights in the week ahead.

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“The Icicle Picnic: Journey For the Sun” is seen in a 2021 production by The Actors Gymnasium.

The Actors Gymnasium


The Young Playwrights Festival features works by Elliott Valadez (from left), Lucas Bigos and Jonathan Soco.

The Young Playwrights Festival features works by Elliott Valadez (from left), Lucas Bigos and Jonathan Soco.

Joe Gallagher

  • Pegasus Theatre Chicago presents the 36th annual Young Playwrights Festival, which features fully staged productions of works written by Chicago high school students. The competition winners this year are Elliott Valadez’s “Dead Boy Walking,” about an isolated teen desperate to escape his own loneliness; Lucas Bigos’ “Terms and Conditions, a story set in 2086 about a boy who realizes technology is taking over his life; and Jonathan Soco’s “Another Star in the Sky,” about the last two scientists on a space station preparing to thwart an alien invasion. To Jan. 28 at Chicago Dramatists, 765 N. Aberdeen. Tickets: $15-$30. Visit
  • “The Icicle Picnic: Journey for the Sun” is Cabinet of Curiosity’s family-friendly production which features music, beat boxing, giant puppets, crazy devices and transforming sets to tell the story of two brothers who embark on a journey to save the earth from an exploding sun. A new edition of a show originally presented at the Actors Gymnasium, it’s written by Seth Bockley and collaboratively directed by Frank Maugeri, Sadie Rose Glaspey, Michelle Billingsley, Alexandra Plattos Sulack and Yuri Lane. From Jan. 11-15 at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Tickets: $25, $15 (18 and under), free (5 and under). Visit
  • Pride Arts along with drag performers Tirrany Reigns and Ramona Mirage stage Reigns’ queer family dramedy “In the Family.” Set just after the New Year, it follows a drag family facing the trials and tribulations that come from a major loss in the family and a raucous New Year’s Eve. Reigns and Mirage co-direct. From Jan. 6-15 at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25. Visit
  • Magician Harrison Lampert’s “Mixtape” combines magic, stand-up, sketch and improv. An alumnus of The Groundlings Sunday Company, he’s a frequent performer at Hollywood’s Magic Castle and can be seen in the viral video “Magician Sells Weed to a Cop.” To March 29 at Chicago Magic Lounge, 5050 N. Clark. Tickets: $40, $45. Visit


Marin Alsop has been named the first-ever chief conductor and curator of the Ravinia Festival.

Marin Alsop will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Patrick Gipson/Ravinia Festival

  • Conductor Marin Alsop leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of works by 21st century women composers: Anna Clyne’s “This Midnight Hour,” Jessie Montgomery’s “Rounds” (with pianist Awadagin Pratt) and Julia Wolfe’s “Her Story” (with the Lorelei Ensemble). At 8 p.m. Jan. 6-7 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $35+. Visit

David Bowie in 2001.

Dave Hogan/Getty Images

  • Celebrate the life and legacy of musician David Bowie at “The Bowie Ball,” a glam and drag dance party on what would have been his 76th birthday. Features DJ sets by Heaven Malone, drag and burlesque by Nico, Sally Marvel, Mick Douch and more. Mistress of Ceremonies is Lucy Stoole. At 9 p.m. Jan. 7 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets: $12, $15. Visit
NCT 127 

NCT 127 will perform Jan. 9 at the United Center.

SM Entertainment

  • With the members of BTS taking a time out to serve in the South Korean military (regrouping sometime in 2025), you can still get your K-Pop fix in concert. The nine-member NCT 127 is another chart-topping act that has, according to Billboard, an “eclectic versatility as they run through R&B, pop, electronic dance and hip-hop leaning sounds.” At 8 p.m. Jan. 9 at United Center, 1901 W. Madison. Tickets: $59+. Visit
  • The new season of World Music Wednesday, a showcase of music and dance featuring local and touring acts, includes Tamikrest (Jan. 11), a Chinese New Year Concert (Jan. 18), the Chicago International Salsa Congress (Jan. 25), Adam Zanolini (Feb. 1), Breabach (Feb. 8), Chicago Latin Brass Ensemble (Feb. 15), Cecilia Zabala (Feb. 22), Wanees Zarour (March 1), an International Women’s Day Celebration (March 8), Harley Figueroa (March 15), Sona Jobarteh (March 22) and Yves Francois & Rocambu Jazz (March 29). Performances are at 8 p.m. at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Most concerts are free (a $10 suggested donation is appreciated). Visit



“La Llegada (The Arrival)” by Raul Ortiz Bonilla

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

  • “Semillas (Seeds)” is the first museum solo show of Puerto Rican-born Chicago artist Raul Ortiz Bonilla. Featured are 16 works in the artist’s signature style of pointillism that take a journey through three stages of Puerto Rico’s history: pre-colonization, mass migration during colonial periods and the present day. Bonilla says he hopes the exhibit “encourages a dialogue about immigration to help others better understand the fears and aspirations of people who undertake the journey to live in a new land.” From Jan. 6-Sept. 30 at National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, 3015 W. Division. Admission is free. Visit



Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in “Ninotchka.”


  • “Nobody’s Perfect” is a two-month matinee series featuring films either directed or co-written by the great Billy Wilder, who was known for his skill in working with actors and for his biting satires of American life. The films screened are “Ninotchka” (Jan. 7-8), “Ball of Fire” (Jan. 14-15), “Double Indemnity” (Jan. 21-22), “Sunset Boulevard” (Jan. 28-29), “Ace in the Hole” (Feb. 4-5), “Some Like It Hot” (Feb. 11-12), “One, Two, Three” (Feb. 18-19) and “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (Feb. 25-26). At Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Tickets: $9. Visit

Jean-Pierre Leaud in “Out 1.”

Carlotta Films

  • Test your moviegoing endurance at “Settle In,” a series featuring films with marathon running times: Jacques Rivette’s “Out 1” (Jan. 7, 776 minutes), Mariano Llinas’ “La Flor” (Jan. 14, 808 minutes), Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Dekalog” (Jan. 21, 572 minutes), Bela Tar’s “Satantango” (Jan. 28, 439 minutes) and Sergei Bondarchuk’s “War and Peace” (Feb. 4, 453 minutes). At Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets ($36) include bottomless popcorn and coffee, boxed lunch option also available (for $16 more). Visit

Family Fun


Agility demos will be part of the Great American Dog Show.

American Kennel Club

  • Dog lovers will want to visit the “Great American Dog Show,” a family-friendly entertainment and education event. Featured are activities for children, demonstrations in agility, obedience and tricks, a dog grooming competition, seminars, health clinics for dogs, vendors and more. From Jan. 6-8 at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, 1551 Thoreau, Schaumburg. Tickets: $25+. Visit

Chicago Boat Show

Discover Boating Chicago Boat Show

  • After a two-year hiatus, Discover Boating’s Chicago Boat Show returns with visions of summer fun for boating enthusiasts of all ages. On display are the newest power boats and boating products, fishing gear and marine electronics plus DJ sets, virtual boat rides, wake sport demos, sandcastle sculpting and beach games. From Jan. 11-15 at McCormick Place South Building, 2301 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. Admission: $15, under 12 free. Visit

Color Factory’s winter look.

Color Factory

  • Color Factory invites visitors to experience the joy of color through permanent interactive installations, immersive rooms and other multi-sensory experiences. A temporary installation, “Winter Colorland” (to Jan. 31), features seasonal treats and fun including a ski lift through a confetti snow storm. Located in Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker. Tickets: $39, $42. Visit

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