A new year is a magnificent opportunity to be the change you want to see (and have your kids become!) in the world. Here are three of our picks for starting off 2018 with a community-oriented–and wonderfully artistic–bang.
‘My Wonderful Birthday Suit’ at Chicago Children’s Theatre
Who better to challenge old, dusty notions and reframe evolving conversations than the very, very young? Small theatergoers (ages 4-7) and their party-loving grownups are invited to an extremely special birthday party in a Land Beyond the Rainbow, where three little kids explore race and differences, and celebrate what makes each of us unique.
Evolved from a conversation between Evanston playwright Gloria Bond Cunie and CCT’s Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell, the play takes themes from Michael Tyler’s picture book for children, The Skin You Live In. Through the use of puppetry and music (and one fantastic Thinking Tree), this gentle and loving production will help the entire community spark important change–with small children leading the way.
Jan. 16-Feb. 18; Chicago Children’s Theatre’s The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave., Chicago; chicagochildrenstheatre.org
Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah
Turns out, 13 can be a lucky–and downright inspiring–number. The 13th annual performance of Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah takes place, as always, over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend and celebrates Dr. King’s message of ™beloved community.∫
George Frideric Handel’s soaring 18th century masterpiece gets a joyful treatment of blues, jazz, gospel and a downright impressive collective of soloists, 100+ member choir, ensemble orchestra and jazz combo. Audiences are encouraged to clap along–as well as marvel that the roof hasn’t yet been blown off with the sheer enormity of ebullient soul.
7:30 p.m. Jan. 13, 3 p.m. Jan. 14; Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago; auditoriumtheatre.org
‘Family Day’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Don’t hibernate, create! With the Museum of Contemporary Arts’ monthly Family Days, families are invited to spark a lifelong love of the arts–while squashing any winter doldrums–through stroller tours, open studio sessions with Chicago artists and workshops galore.
It’s free for kids 18 and under (and adults with kids 12 and under), and is an accessible entry point into Chicago’s magnificent fine arts scene while starting off the new year with buckets of quality time.
Feelin’ feline? Felix, the MCA’s beloved 26-foot-tall cat skeleton, will be on display during the January date, so prepare yourself for the ultimate cat selfie.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 13; Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago; mcachicago.org