Find out what's new on Chicago's arts scene this month.
The Best of Fall Theater Season
Katherine Keberlein and Catherine Combs in the 2013 production of Smokefall.
Chicago’s fall theater season begins this month with a rich offering of plays. At the Goodman Theatre, last year’s hit Smokefall returns for an encore production to kick off the Goodman’s 90th season (September 20-October 26).
Native Son—Richard Wright’s landmark, Chicago-set novel of racial prejudice and societal repression—goes from the page to the stage in Nambi E. Kelley’s adaptation, a project of American Blues Theater and Court Theatre (Court Theatre, September 11-October 12).
Tony winner Deanna Dunagan (August: Osage County) stars in the Chicago premiere of Lucas Hnath’s Death Tax, in which a woman takes on end-of-life issues with a vengeance (Lookingglass Theatre, September 12-October 12).
And in The Commons of Pensacola, by film star Amanda Peet (Saving Silverman), a 40-something actress and her mother—whose husband has made funny with other people’s money—struggle to handle life’s downward trajectory (Northlight Theatre, September 12-October 19).
Celebrating Marc Chagall’s The Four Seasons on its 40th Anniversary
“It’s really of Chicago and from Chicago,” says the Art Institute of Chicago’s curator of modern art, Stephanie D’Alessandro, of Marc Chagall’s mosaic masterpiece, The Four Seasons, which was dedicated in the Loop at Dearborn and Monroe Streets 40 years ago on September 27. Among inlaid chips of glass and stone from France, Belgium, Italy, and Israel, the kaleidoscopic sculpture (featuring more than 250 colors) outside Chase Tower is also composed of bricks native to the Windy City. Grateful for the city’s support of his work, Chagall would go on to create the stained-glass America Windows in 1977 for the Art Institute of Chicago.
Don Giovanni Returns for Lyric Opera's 60th Anniversary Season
The Lyric Opera, at Chicago’s historic Civic Opera House
“Some people regard [opera] as just a historic interest, [but] I completely disagree,” says Lyric Opera of Chicago general director Anthony Freud. “If you distill it down to its basics, opera is telling stories through words and music—and that’s utterly universal.”
Case in point: Don Giovanni, Lyric’s calling-card show in 1954, which is being reimagined for the company’s 60th anniversary season. With local legend Robert Falls of the Goodman Theatre directing and Lyric music director Sir Andrew Davis conducting, Freud looks forward to presenting audiences with a dynamic, fresh take on Mozart’s standard. “The unity of theater and music is at the heart of great opera,” says Freud. “Having Sir Andrew Davis working in close collaboration with a great director—and one who has made such a fantastic impact in the Chicago theater scene for so many years—is really exciting.”
Additionally, through the new Lyric Unlimited and American Musical Theater Initiative programs, Freud hopes to introduce more audiences to opera. “We want to be the pride of opera lovers who have come to opera for many years, and we also want to earn the interest and support of the hundreds of thousands of people around us who may not have taken an interest yet, but who will be encouraged by our work to give opera a try.” 20 N. Wacker Dr., 312-827-5600
'Carved, Cast, Crumpled: Sculpture All Ways' at the Smart Museum of Art
Launching its 40th anniversary year, the Smart Museum of Art presents “Carved, Cast, Crumpled: Sculpture All Ways,” a show that “seeks to think more deeply about what we call sculpture,” says museum director Tony Hirschel. Among the works is Michael Rakowitz’s paraSITE, which doubles as a portable homeless shelter. September 27-December 21; 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., 773-702-0200