The Mix: Things to do in Chicago Jan. 27-Feb. 2
TimeLine Theatre’s ‘Relentless,’ a Punch Brothers concert and an innovative Illinois Holocaust Museum exhibit are among the entertainment options this week.
TimeLine Theatre’s 25th season gets underway with the world premiere of “Relentless,” written by company member Tyla Abercrumbie. The drama, set in 1919 during the Black Victorian era, is the story of two sisters who come home to Philadelphia to settle their mother’s estate. After the discovery of her diaries, they are confronted with buried truths and a woman they never really knew. Ron OJ Parson directs. To Feb. 26 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $42-$57. Visit timelinetheater.com.
You can see Steven Spielberg’s version of “West Side Story” on the big screen, or you can see it on stage when the Marriott Theatre rolls out its production directed by Victor Malana Maog. Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ musical about star-crossed lovers caught in a turf war between rival gangs debuted on Broadway in 1957 and quickly achieved classic status. Starring in the musical are Lauren Maria Medina (Maria), Jake David Smith (Tony), Gary Cooper (Bernardo) and Vanessa Aurora Sierra (Anita). From Feb. 2-March 27 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire. Tickets: $50-$60. Visit marriotttheatre.com.
Victory Gardens Theater returns to live performances with travis tate’s “Queen of the Night,” about a divorced father and his queer son who try to relive the camping trips of earlier, easier times. The playwright sketches a family portrait about reckoning with a shared past while facing an uncertain future. Artistic director Ken-Matt Martin helms the production. From Jan. 29-March 13 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $29-$32. Visit victorygardens.org.
Drury Lane’s season continues with Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita.” The Tony Award-winning musical is based on Eva Perón’s real-life, rags-to-riches life story that culminated in her becoming the First Lady of Argentina, a role in which she uses popularity and politics to serve her people — and herself. And, of course, the score includes the now classic song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” The cast includes Michelle Aravena (Eva), Sean MacLaughlin (Perón), Richard Bermundez (Che), Paul Aguirre (Magaldi) and Nina Poulimas (Young Eva). From Jan. 28-March 20 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $59-$74. Visit drurylanetheatre.com.
Tracy Turnblad, a girl with big dreams, dances her way onto TV’s most popular dance show and attempts to change the world in “Hairspray.” Following in the footsteps of Harvey Fierstein (Broadway) and John Travolta (the movie version), this touring company of the Tony Award-winning musical comedy features drag queen Nina West in the always memorable role of Tracy’s mother Edna. From Feb. 1-13 at CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, $33-$106. Visit broadwayinchicago.com.
“Women of Soul” is Daryl D. Brooks’ celebration of great female singers including Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Janis Joplin and more. The feel-good revue debuted at Black Ensemble Theater in 2018. From Jan. 28-March 6 at Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, $35-$80. Visit mercurytheaterchicago.com.
Mardra Thomas stars in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a portrait of singer Billie Holiday. From Jan. 27-March 12 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights. Tickets: $40. Visit metropolisarts.com.
Lauded as one of “12 Black artists shaping country music’s future” by USA Today, Brittney Spencer is carving her own unique path in the genre. Growing up in Baltimore, she was exposed to pop, hip-hop and R&B but fell in love with country when she heard The Chicks. After taking a deep dive into country music, she landed in Nashville, where she honed her songwriting and storytelling skills. She’s developed a singular vision and calls herself a “country-alternative artist.” Her recent single “Sober and Skinny,” written with Nelly Joy and Jason Reeves, has garnered high praise, and her cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whisky” is sublime. At 8 p.m. Jan. 28 at Space, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. Tickets: $16. Visit evanstonspace.com.
In November 2020, caught in the uncertainty of the pandemic, the Grammy-winning progressive bluegrass band Punch Brothers recorded “Hall on Church Street,” a reimagining of bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album, “Church Street Blues.” Rice was a major influence and inspiration to the band members, and singer-mandolinist Chris Thile says, “We wanted to thank him for being one of the biggest influences on us and anyone who interacts with American roots music.” Unfortunately, Rice passed away on Christmas Day 2020 and never received this gift from the band. Saddened by the loss of their friend, banjoist Noam Pikelny says, “We realized what Tony had left with us was his music, his spirit and his legacy. And clear marching orders to ‘make it all count.’ ” In addition to Thile and Pikelny, band members are Paul Kowert (bass), Gabe Witcher (fiddle), and Chris Eldridge (guitar). At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield. Tickets: $40-$60. Visit jamusa.com.
Pianist Jan Lisiecki performs an all-Chopin program including the Opus 10 Etudes at 3 p.m. Jan. 30 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $21-$87. Visit cso.org … The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performs pieces by Brahms, Mahler, Dvorak and Franck at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets: $30-$70. Visit harristheaterchicago.org … The Music Institute of Chicago presents CSO concertmaster Robert Chen and pianist Matthew Hagle with a program of works by Bach, Debussy, Prokofiev and Ysaye at 3 p.m. Jan. 30 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston. Tickets: $25-$50; livestream $25. Visit nicholsconcerthall.org.
“The Journey Back,” a new exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, is a unique experience as it applies virtual technology to connect the present-day visitors with the experiences of Holocaust survivors through two award-winning films, “A Promise Kept” and “Don’t Forget Me,” narrated by survivors Fritzie Fritzshall and George Brent. Visitors control their own 360-degree experience as they are placed inside the 3-D environment in an intimate, one-on-one setting. Fritzshall and Brent guide participants around the preserved concentration camps (Auschwitz, Mauthausen and Ebensee), sharing what they endured during the Holocaust. The exhibit opens Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, at 9603 Woods Dr., Skokie. Admission $6-$18. Visit ilholocaustmuseum.org.
“IMAX: The Beatles: Get Back — The Rooftop Concert” is a film of the Beatles’ concert on the rooftop of Apple Corps’ Savile Row headquarters on Jan. 30, 1969. It’s followed by a Q&A with Peter Jackson, director of the eight-hour docuseries from which the concert is pulled. “It’s the Beatles’ last concert, and this is the absolute perfect way to see and hear it,” says Jackson. At 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at Regal City North, 2600 N. Western ($23.55-$26.29), and AMC Oakbrook Center, 600 Oakbrook Center ($20). Visit tickets.imax.com/state/illinois.
A new 35mm print of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film “The Conversation” begins screening Jan. 28 at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Gene Hackman stars as a lonely wiretapping expert who is hired to record a seemingly innocuous conversation, only to come to the belief that in so doing he’s putting people in danger. In his Great Movies column, Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert called the four-star movie “a taut intelligent thriller” and addd of Hackman’s role, it was “one of the key performances of a great career.” Tickets: $11. Visit musicboxtheatre.com.
Absent for the past two pandemic years, the Chicago Film Society returns for its 27th season with a roster that includes silent movies from the 1920s, two restorations from the Library of Congress and neglected films from John Ford, Jim Jarmusch, Jane Campion, King Vidor, George Cukor and more. First up are the Harold Lloyd classic “The Freshman” (Jan. 29) and Jarmusch’s “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” (Feb. 1) at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. The series continues through May 4 at several venues. Tickets: $10-$12. For a complete list of films go to chicagofilmsociety.org.
For a twist on Valentine’s Day, check out “Bad Romance,” a series of nine films portraying toxic or tumultuous love. The films are George Cukor’s “Gaslight,” Elaine May’s “A New Leaf,” Adrian Lyne’s “Fatal Attraction,” John Stahl’s “Leave Her to Heaven,” Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” Luis Bunuel’s “That Obscure Object of Desire,” David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart,” Nagisa Oshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses” and Wong Kar-wai’s “Happy Together.” From Feb. 1-27 at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets: $12. Visit siskelfilmcenter.org.