Things to do in Chicago Feb. 2-8: The Mix

Lyric Opera’s world premiere of “The Factotum,” the return of Pilobolus, and Mavis Staples in concert are among the week’s entertainment highlights.

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Pilobolus performs “On the Nature of Things.”

Robert Whitman



Mi Kang (center) stars in “Villette.”


  • “Villette,” Sara Gmitter’s adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel, is the story of Lucy Snowe (Mi Kang), a young woman who, after a family tragedy, travels from her English home to a city in mainland Europe, where she finds adventure and romance. Terry Walsh directs. Feb. 8-April 23 at Lookingglass Theatre, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan. Tickets: $45+. Visit
  • Remy Bumppo Theatre presents “Anna in the Tropics,” Nilo Cruz’s drama set in a Cuban American cigar factory where, as a lector reads “Anna Karenina” aloud to pass the hours, workers’ hidden desires bubble to the surface. Laura Alcala Baker directs. From Feb. 8-March 19 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $32-$40. Visit
  • Lyric Opera presents the world premiere of Will Liverman and DJ King Rico’s “The Factotum.” Loosely inspired by “The Barber of Seville,” it follows two brothers as they clash over the future of their family’s Chicago South Side barbershop. The music runs the gamut from soul opera, gospel and funk to hip-hop, barbershop and R&B. From Feb. 3-12 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets: $35+. Visit
  • “Dance Like There Are Black People Watching: A Black Excellence Revue” features an all-Black ensemble of up-and-coming writers and performers with new sketches, songs and improv. Rob Wilson directs. From Feb. 3-April 1 at The Second City, 230 W. North. Tickets: $29+. Visit
  • “The Second City Swipes Right: An Incomplete Guide to the Ultimate Date Night!” is a naughty 90 minutes as the cast of comedians takes on everything about love, dating and relationships. From Feb. 2-May 14 at The Second City, 230 W. North. Tickets: $29+. Visit
  • Definition Theatre presents “Alayio,” Micah Ariel Watson’s choreopoem about a hopeless romantic who realizes she’s in love with her best friend and sets out on a quest to tell him how she feels and along the way uncovers more about herself. From Feb. 3-26 at The Revival, 1160 E. 55th. Tickets: $20. Visit

“This Is Not a Churchill”

Jeffrey Bivens

  • Curious Theatre Branch and BeauTown Cabaret bring together Chicago theater fringe writers, directors and performers for “This Is Not a Churchill,” an experimental collection of four short plays paying homage to playwright Caryl Churchill. From Feb. 3-25 at Facility Theatre, 1138 N. California. Tickets: $15 or pay-what-you-can. Visit
  • The Porchlight Revisits series presents “I Am a Camera,” John Van Druten’s 1951 Broadway play (adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel “Goodbye to Berlin”) which became the inspiration for the musical “Cabaret.” Nate Cohen directs. From Feb. 8-9 at Porchlight Music Theatre, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $52. Visit
  • Buffalo Theatre Ensemble stages “Andy Warhol’s Tomato,” Vince Melocchi’s fictitious play, set in 1946 Pittsburgh, about 18-year-old Andy finding unlikely friendship and inspiration. Steve Scott directs. From Feb. 2-March 5 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. Tickets: $42. Visit
  • “The Christians” is Lucas Hnath’s drama, set in a megachurch, where a pastor poses philosophical and theological questions to his congregants. Scott Phelps directs. From Feb. 8-March 12 at Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan, Lake Forest. Tickets: $40, $45. Visit


  • Pilobolus, now in its 50th season of boundary-pushing dance, returns with a program of pieces from its repertoire: “Megawatt,” “Behind the Shadows,” “On the Nature of Things,” “The Ballad” and “Branches.” At 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. Tickets: $55-$65. Visit

Drew Lewis’ “Heavy Objects” at “Work Around.”

Michelle Reid

  • Steppenwolf Theatre’s LookOut performance series launches its new curatorial residency program, “Work Around,” featuring new pieces by dance artists: Cat Mahari’s “Blk Ark: the impossible manifestation” (Feb. 4-5, $25), Tuli Bera’s “Bangali Meye” (Feb. 9-10, $5-$20 or pay-what-you-can) and Drew Lewis’ “Heavy Objects” (Feb. 11-12, $30). At Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, 1700 N. Halsted. Visit



Mavis Staples performs at the 2018 Chicago Blues Festival.

Sun-Times File

  • Gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples’ vast repertoire ranges from iconic Staples Singers classics like “I’ll Take You There” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” to the songs on two albums written and produced more recently by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Singer-songwriter and spoken word artist Celisse opens the show at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $45-$99. Visit

Greensky Bluegrass

Dyllan Lengille

  • Greensky Bluegrass embraces tradition while also ushering bluegrass forward on its eighth full-length album, “Stress Dreams.” Holly Bowling opens at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3-4 at Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield. Tickets: $41-$66. Visit
  • Mezzo-soprano Susan Platts joins the Chicago Philharmonic for “Songs of a Wayfarer,” a program featuring works by Gustav Mahler, Robert Schumann and Libby Larsen. At 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Tickets: $27-$77. Visit



Charlie Stagg sits in a bottle and concrete construction in a 1999 photo from “Ted Degener: At Home with Artists.”

Courtesy Ted Degener

  • “Ted Degener: At Home with Artists” is the photographer’s first major exhibition showcasing portraits and videos of makers of art environments. The artists Degener encountered have transformed personal spaces like homes, gardens and studios into continually evolving, site-specific and life-encompassing works of art. To Sept. 4 at Intuit, 756 N. Milwaukee. Admission: $5, 18 and under free. Visit
  • Weinberg/Newton Gallery, in partnership with Planned Parenthood, presents “For Those Without Choice,” an exhibit of artworks, many inspired by the recent rollback of Roe v. Wade, that address abortion and reproductive rights. From Jan. 20-April 15 at the gallery at 688 N. Milwaukee. Admission is free. Visit

Family Fun

  • Teens passionate about songwriting and music will want to check out the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Teen Open Mic. Taking place the first Saturday of the month, this event is for anyone ages 13-19: singer-songwriters, guitarists, vocalists, spoken-word artists, rappers, acoustic groups, Irish fiddlers, jazz bands and rock bands. At 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at Old Town School of Folk Music’s Armitage Hall, 909 W. Armitage. Tickets: $3. For more information, visit

Woodstock Groundhog Days

The Groundhog Days Committee

  • Woodstock Groundhog Days is a weeklong event celebrating Woodstock Willie, the rodent whose appearance at 7 a.m. Feb. 2 predicts a longer winter or early spring. It’s the town’s reenactment of the scene from the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day,” which was filmed on Woodstock Square. Other events, including a Q&A with the film’s screenwriter Danny Rubin, movie screenings, bingo, a bags tournament, a walking tour of movie sites and more, continue through Feb. 5. Prices vary; many are free. For more information, visit

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