The Mix: ‘Moby Dick,’ Valerie June and more cool things to do April 19-25

SHARE The Mix: ‘Moby Dick,’ Valerie June and more cool things to do April 19-25

Richard Cox as Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick.” | Pat Kirk

From music to theater to family fun, there’s much to see and do in the next week across the Chicago area. So make those big plans now! Here are some suggestions to help you navigate the area’s vibrant entertainment landscape:

OPERA: ‘Moby Dick’

An epic adaptation of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” is the season finale at Chicago Opera Theater. The story of Captain Ahab and his revenge-filled quest to find the great whale that cost him his leg features music by Jake Heggie and a libretto by Gene Scheer. Kristine McIntyre directs the Chicago premiere; Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts. The cast of 52 includes tenor Richard Cox as Captain Ahab with baritone Aleksey Bogdanov as Starbuck. At 7:30 p.m. April 25 and 3 p.m. April 28, Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets: $45-$145. Visit

MUSIC: Billy Bragg
Musician Billy Bragg | Murdo MacLeod

Musician Billy Bragg | Murdo MacLeod

Adrift as a young man, Billy Bragg came out of a stint with the British Army in 1981 determined to make a living as a singer and songwriter. Over the following decades, he would prove to be a dedicated and fearless recording artist unafraid to take on issues and politics. For his current tour, Bragg settles in for three shows at each stop. The first night features a career-spanning set, the second songs from his first three albums (“Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy,” “Brewing Up,” “Talking with the Taxman About Poetry”) and the last night moves on to the next trio of albums (“Workers Playtime,” “Don’t Try This at Home,” “William Blake”). Bragg says he’s having “a lot of fun revisiting my back pages.” At 8 p.m. April 25-27, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $45. Visit

CULTURE: Chicago Humanities Festival

The 30th anniversary of the Chicago Humanities Festival (April 24-May 4) kicks off with a spring lineup of 25 events exploring the complexities of power. “Many of our programs focus on our power to be and to do good,” says artistic director Alison Cuddy. Scheduled presenters include Melinda Gates, Stacey Abrams, George Packer, Jennifer Egan, David Brooks, Alex Kotlowitz, Emily Bazelon, Sigrid Nunez and more. The festival get underway with a staging, co-presented with the Museum of Contemporary Art, of Yan Duyvendak’s “Please, Continue (Hamlet),” which will feature actors performing alongside Chicago judges and lawyers. Expected to participate are Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and federal judge Joan Lefkow. For a complete list of events and locations, visit

MUSIC: Valerie June
Singer/songwriter Valerie June | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Singer/songwriter Valerie June | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

With her blend of Southern sounds, African rhythms and ambient textures, Valerie June is one of the more interesting artists to hit the music scene in the last decade. Her mystical imagination and intricate songwriting push roots music to new levels; her rapturous live shows are not to be missed. Parker Gispert opens at 7:30 p.m. April 22, Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Tickets: $27.50. Visit

DANCE: Joffrey Ballet
“Vespertine” as performed by the Atlanta Ballet. | Kim Kenney

“Vespertine” as performed by the Atlanta Ballet. | Kim Kenney

For its spring repertory program, the Joffrey Ballet looks across the pond for works by leading British choreographers. The pieces include two world premieres — Andrea Walker’s “HOME” and Andrew McNicol’s “Yonder Blue” — and the Chicago premiere of Liam Scarlett’s “Vespertine.” April 24-May 5 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells. Tickets: $35-$179. Visit

ART: Susan Te Kahurangi King

Artist Susan Te Kahurangi King has been non-verbal since the age of 8 but her artwork speaks for her. Curator Alison Amick has gathered more than 60 examples of the New Zealand-based artist’s drawings in an exhibit at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. The drawings range from her early colorful mashups of Donald Duck and cartoon imagery to her detailed graphite abstractions and more recent work created during a residency at the Elaine de Kooning House in New York. Through Aug. 4 at Intuit, 756 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $5. Visit

MOVIES: Sound of Silent Film Festival

Access Contemporary Music’s 14th annual Sound of Silent Film Festival features modern, silent short films from around the world accompanied by new scores performed live. ACM’s contemporary classical ensemble will perform the scores at a 7 p.m. April 20 screening followed by Origin of Animal, an ensemble that combines elements of classical, rock, jazz and metal, playing the scores for a second set of films at 9:30 p.m. Davis Theatre, 4614 N. Lincoln. Tickets $15-$75. Visit

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

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