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What’s Next For Chicago’s Performing Arts Scene

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There is no shortage of artistic performances in Chicago. Whether the Lion King on Broadway in Chicago; the Nutcracker at the Jeffrey Ballet; or new works at the Steppenwolf, Lyric Opera House or Chicago Symphony Orchestra, travelers will find plenty of new programming for the upcoming season.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been part of the cultural fabric of Chicago for more than 130 years. “Since the spring of 2021, we’ve been excited to watch audiences return to concerts and reconnect with the unique experience of attending live performances,” says Jeff Alexander, President Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. The 2022/23 season is filled with over 100 CSO concerts featuring repertoire spanning three centuries. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center almost every week from mid-September through June (except for a few weeks when the orchestra is on tour nationally or internationally).

There is plenty going on at CSO, including Symphony Center Presents Jazz, Chamber Music, Piano and Orchestras series, as well as the popular CSO at the Movies series which caps the season in June 2023 with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Family programming includes the Once Upon a Symphony and Saturday Family Matinee concerts, as well as the annual holiday presentation Merry, Merry Chicago, a festive, music-filled tradition that features seasonal favorites.

Lyric Opera

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is a destination for not only fans of opera but also for the dance performances for the Joffrey Ballet—it’s also a hit for connoisseurs of architecture and design. The Lyric Opera House is an art deco jewel located right on the Chicago River, and the building is featured prominently in the city’s popular architecture river cruises. “There are only a handful of places in the world that can produce opera on the scale of Lyric – our ensembles regularly number more than 100 artists,” says Anthony Freud, General Director, President & CEO Lyric Opera of Chicago. “In fact, for our production of Verdi’s Don Carlos this season, there are more than 200 musical and dramatic artists on stage and in the orchestra pit. Only a company with the vocal, orchestral, and theatrical resources of Lyric can produce this kind of work on such a huge artistic scale.”

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is currently showing Verdi’s grand opera Don Carlos and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory.

This is a particularly groundbreaking season for the Lyric, as they are presenting two world premiere operas, both original Lyric commissions. “In February 2023 we present The Factotum, a soul opera that celebrates the bonds of community in a Black barbershop on the city’s South Side,” says Freud. “Proximity, coming in March and April 2023, is a trio of new works written by some of the country’s leading composers, poets, and playwrights. It explores the highly topical themes of gun violence, loneliness and alienation in modern society, and the fragility of the natural environment. It is essential that Lyric continues to cultivate and empower new and diverse voices and present new stories on stage that reflect our community, its issues and concerns.”

The Joffrey Ballet

“​In a city as large and diverse as Chicago, we pride ourselves on being able to present programs and performances that push the boundaries of what has been done before,” says Ashley Wheater, the Artistic Director at the Joffrey Ballet. “The rest of our 2022-2023 season is full of grand scale ballets, some of the biggest we have ever produced. It includes Anna Karenina by Yuri Possokhov—the first ballet from the Joffrey that commissioned everything from the choreography to the music to the costumes—and The Little Mermaid, an haunting interpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen fable by John Neumeier, soon to be the largest production the Joffrey has ever produced in its history. The Joffrey’s reimagined version of The Nutcracker is very special to me as we have adapted a holiday story that speaks to our city’s legacy. It is a story of community, magic, and bringing people together, something that truly captures the essence of holiday spirit. There isn’t a Nutcracker like it anywhere else.”

Wheater notes that first-time travelers to Chicago are surprised by the breadth and scope of what the city has to offer. Some of Chicago’s institutions have roots that date back hundreds of years and have inspired so many cultural organizations around the world. “Couple that with the fact that the city is world-class on multiple fronts: art, food, architecture,” says Wheater. “Positioning the Joffrey is easy in that sense because we can make ballet just one aspect of a journey that really embraces what it means to explore a city.”

Broadway in Chicago

Broadway In Chicago re-opened a year ago and presented 27 productions with 99 performance weeks including two tour launches and two world premieres. Currently, Broadway In Chicago is in the midst of the popular engagement of Wicked and a new and unique production at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, an interactive show called The Twenty-Sided Tavern. The holidays are filled with shows including Cabaret Zazou’s Luminaire; along with Disney’s The Lion King; A Magical Cirque Christmas and Dear Evan Hansen. “One of the number one reasons to visit Chicago is for its cultural scene with over 200 theatres presenting incredible shows,” says Eileen LaCario, Vice President, Broadway In Chicago.

Steppenwolf

In late 2021, Steppenwolf Theatre opened the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, a new 50,000-square-foot theater building and education center. At the heart of Steppenwolf’s new complex is The Ensemble Theater, an intimate and state-of-the-art 400-seat theater in the round. The new building also houses The Loft, Steppenwolf’s dedicated education space providing arts-driven learning for Chicago youth. This winter is the premiere of Bald Sisters in the new Ensemble Theater—this performance examines the ties that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together.

Also this winter, Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents the world premiere of Chlorine Sky, directed by Ericka Ratcliff and adapted by Mahogany L. Browne from her popular young adult novel of the same title, an intimate coming-of-age story about two friends told in verse. Throughout the winter months, Steppenwolf will present LookOut, a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. All LookOut performances take place in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, an intimate venue.

“Chicago’s performing arts scene is second to none. Artists of all disciplines have made our city their artistic playground, says Steppenwolf Theater Company Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan. “Known around the world for launching new work that pushes boundaries and catalyzes discourse on the issues of our time — Steppenwolf is one example of the exhilarating arts scene in Chicago.”

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There is no shortage of artistic performances in Chicago. Whether the Lion King on Broadway in Chicago; the Nutcracker at the Jeffrey Ballet; or new works at the Steppenwolf, Lyric Opera House or Chicago Symphony Orchestra, travelers will find plenty of new programming for the upcoming season.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been part of the cultural fabric of Chicago for more than 130 years. “Since the spring of 2021, we’ve been excited to watch audiences return to concerts and reconnect with the unique experience of attending live performances,” says Jeff Alexander, President Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. The 2022/23 season is filled with over 100 CSO concerts featuring repertoire spanning three centuries. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center almost every week from mid-September through June (except for a few weeks when the orchestra is on tour nationally or internationally).

There is plenty going on at CSO, including Symphony Center Presents Jazz, Chamber Music, Piano and Orchestras series, as well as the popular CSO at the Movies series which caps the season in June 2023 with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Family programming includes the Once Upon a Symphony and Saturday Family Matinee concerts, as well as the annual holiday presentation Merry, Merry Chicago, a festive, music-filled tradition that features seasonal favorites.

Lyric Opera

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is a destination for not only fans of opera but also for the dance performances for the Joffrey Ballet—it’s also a hit for connoisseurs of architecture and design. The Lyric Opera House is an art deco jewel located right on the Chicago River, and the building is featured prominently in the city’s popular architecture river cruises. “There are only a handful of places in the world that can produce opera on the scale of Lyric – our ensembles regularly number more than 100 artists,” says Anthony Freud, General Director, President & CEO Lyric Opera of Chicago. “In fact, for our production of Verdi’s Don Carlos this season, there are more than 200 musical and dramatic artists on stage and in the orchestra pit. Only a company with the vocal, orchestral, and theatrical resources of Lyric can produce this kind of work on such a huge artistic scale.”

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is currently showing Verdi’s grand opera Don Carlos and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory.

This is a particularly groundbreaking season for the Lyric, as they are presenting two world premiere operas, both original Lyric commissions. “In February 2023 we present The Factotum, a soul opera that celebrates the bonds of community in a Black barbershop on the city’s South Side,” says Freud. “Proximity, coming in March and April 2023, is a trio of new works written by some of the country’s leading composers, poets, and playwrights. It explores the highly topical themes of gun violence, loneliness and alienation in modern society, and the fragility of the natural environment. It is essential that Lyric continues to cultivate and empower new and diverse voices and present new stories on stage that reflect our community, its issues and concerns.”

The Joffrey Ballet

“​In a city as large and diverse as Chicago, we pride ourselves on being able to present programs and performances that push the boundaries of what has been done before,” says Ashley Wheater, the Artistic Director at the Joffrey Ballet. “The rest of our 2022-2023 season is full of grand scale ballets, some of the biggest we have ever produced. It includes Anna Karenina by Yuri Possokhov—the first ballet from the Joffrey that commissioned everything from the choreography to the music to the costumes—and The Little Mermaid, an haunting interpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen fable by John Neumeier, soon to be the largest production the Joffrey has ever produced in its history. The Joffrey’s reimagined version of The Nutcracker is very special to me as we have adapted a holiday story that speaks to our city’s legacy. It is a story of community, magic, and bringing people together, something that truly captures the essence of holiday spirit. There isn’t a Nutcracker like it anywhere else.”

Wheater notes that first-time travelers to Chicago are surprised by the breadth and scope of what the city has to offer. Some of Chicago’s institutions have roots that date back hundreds of years and have inspired so many cultural organizations around the world. “Couple that with the fact that the city is world-class on multiple fronts: art, food, architecture,” says Wheater. “Positioning the Joffrey is easy in that sense because we can make ballet just one aspect of a journey that really embraces what it means to explore a city.”

Broadway in Chicago

Broadway In Chicago re-opened a year ago and presented 27 productions with 99 performance weeks including two tour launches and two world premieres. Currently, Broadway In Chicago is in the midst of the popular engagement of Wicked and a new and unique production at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, an interactive show called The Twenty-Sided Tavern. The holidays are filled with shows including Cabaret Zazou’s Luminaire; along with Disney’s The Lion King; A Magical Cirque Christmas and Dear Evan Hansen. “One of the number one reasons to visit Chicago is for its cultural scene with over 200 theatres presenting incredible shows,” says Eileen LaCario, Vice President, Broadway In Chicago.

Steppenwolf

In late 2021, Steppenwolf Theatre opened the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, a new 50,000-square-foot theater building and education center. At the heart of Steppenwolf’s new complex is The Ensemble Theater, an intimate and state-of-the-art 400-seat theater in the round. The new building also houses The Loft, Steppenwolf’s dedicated education space providing arts-driven learning for Chicago youth. This winter is the premiere of Bald Sisters in the new Ensemble Theater—this performance examines the ties that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together.

Also this winter, Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents the world premiere of Chlorine Sky, directed by Ericka Ratcliff and adapted by Mahogany L. Browne from her popular young adult novel of the same title, an intimate coming-of-age story about two friends told in verse. Throughout the winter months, Steppenwolf will present LookOut, a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. All LookOut performances take place in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, an intimate venue.

“Chicago’s performing arts scene is second to none. Artists of all disciplines have made our city their artistic playground, says Steppenwolf Theater Company Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan. “Known around the world for launching new work that pushes boundaries and catalyzes discourse on the issues of our time — Steppenwolf is one example of the exhilarating arts scene in Chicago.”

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