Already have weekend plans? Fantastic! Cancel them. These three theatrical experiences are beautiful, inspirational, and deserving an automatic bump to the front of the “must-see” line.
Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare who? The North American premiere of Alexander Ekman’s vibrant Midsummer Night’s Dream ballet has little in common with the Bard’s take on summertime revelry — except, of course, the craziness that can ensue when “rollicking” turns to “riotous.” Midsummer, a celebration with pre-Christian solstice roots, is considered a time of powerful magic, a time for romance (Swedish proverb: Midsummer night is not long but it sets many cradles to rock) and, as many Chicagoans would heartily agree, a time for being — and staying — outdoors. Set to a live score by the Chicago Philharmonic and featuring Swedish pop sensation Anna Von Hausswolff as a narrator of sorts (the kind with an absolutely killer range), the fevered dream conjured by the dazzling cast of supremely talented dancers will stick with you long into the autumn months. (The production is recommended for older kids due to the debaucherous theme although, really, it’s nothing they wouldn’t see on the first giddy day with soaring temps on a Chicago lakefront.)
Runs through May 6, 2018
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy
Last Stop on Market Street
There’s so much to love on Market Street — and the world premiere musical about the trek across town adds another one to that list. “Star-studded” doesn’t even begin to cover it; the Newbery- and Caldecott-honored book by Matt de la Peña has been adapted by nationally acclaimed playwright Cheryl L. West (“Akeelah and the Bee”), stars musical theatre legend E. Faye Butler as “Nana,” and features an original score by Motown legend Lamont Dozier and his son Paris Ray Dozier (Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money). Directed by Goodman Theatre resident artistic associate Henry Godinez and starring local child actors Alejandro Medina and Kei Rawlins in the shared role of C.J., this hip-hop happy, heart-warming tale celebrates the beauty that can be seen in everyday moments — even from the window of a city bus.
Runs through May 27, 2018
Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine Ave.
This one falls firmly in that elusive category of “required viewing for all Chicagoans.” Albany Park Theater Project, long celebrated for championing the stories coming out of one of the nation’s most diverse zip codes, strikes the heart as well as the brain with Ofrenda. Literally translated to “an offering,” these true life tales shared from the APTP’s absolutely stunning teen ensemble lay bare the thought-provoking (and often heartbreaking) realities of immigration, families across borders, and what, exactly, is “home.” Filled with beautiful song, razor-sharp performances from the multiethnic cast, and an earnest entreaty for acceptance that’ll take your breath away, Ofrenda is the safe space for America’s hopes, dreams, and memories — even yours.
Runs through June 2, 2018
Laura Wiley Theater, 5100 N. Ridgeway Ave.