Spotlight: McAninch streams New Philharmonic's 'A Night of Broadway and Opera'
Laugh more at Zanies
Zanies launches a virtual comedy series this month. Chicago comedian Calvin Evans, who appears regularly on Comedy Central's "South Side," hosts the livestreamed monthly series titled Laugh More. This weekend's premiere features Erica Nicole Clark, Joey Vollagomez, Dario Durham and Jim Flannigan.
The series debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23. $10, $25 for VIP access. See zanies.com.
Comedian Calvin Evans hosts a virtual "Laugh More LIVE" show from Zanies in Rosemont.
Broadway at the MAC
The New Philharmonic opens its 2021 season at the College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center with a concert devoted to Broadway and opera favorites. Recorded outside last October at the MAC's Lakeside Pavilion, "A Night of Broadway and Opera" features Broadway ballads and opera arias by Georges Bizet, Giacomo Puccini, Richard Rodgers, Marvin Hamlisch and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Joining the orchestra under conductor Kirk Muspratt are vocalists Alisa Jordheim (soprano), Kate Tombaugh (mezzo-soprano), Jesse Donner (tenor) and Bill McMurray (bass/baritone).
Streams at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, through Feb. 28. $40 per concert per household or $99 per household for a three-concert package. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org.
In other news
• American Blues Theater debuts "The Garage," a new monthly music series showcasing ensemble members' musical prowess at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. The premiere production is "Dead Ringer," a tribute to Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Phil Ochs, Hank Williams and others showcasing highlights from artistic affiliate Zachary Stevenson's performances. That's followed by "Valentunes," made up of ABT ensemble members' favorite love songs on Feb. 12.
"Throughout the pandemic, American Blues has been actively programming for our audiences and creating work for our performers, whether it has been through 'It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!,' 'The Room' reading series of new plays, or, now 'The Garage,' the American Blues family of artists is a remarkable group -- many of whom have extraordinary musical talent," said artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside in a prepared statement. Suggested donations range from $25 to $50. (773) 654-3103 or americanbluestheater.com.
• Steppenwolf Theatre's virtual stage series continues with "Red Folder," a short film written, illustrated and directed by playwright and ensemble member Rajiv Joseph ("Guards at the Taj," "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo") with narration by ensemble member Carrie Coon ("Bug," "Mary Page Marlowe") and an original score by Chris P. Thompson. "Rajiv's piece really resonated for me as a picture of how adults impose the anxieties and complexity of their world onto children," said Thompson in a prepared statement. "I found the palette of microtonality to be perfect for expressing that range." The production begins streaming Wednesday, Jan. 27, at steppenwolf.org/now. Season subscriptions for the virtual Steppenwolf Now series are $75 and include six productions. All productions are available to stream through Aug. 31. Season subscriptions are $50 for essential workers, artists, students and teachers.
• Bughouse Theater offers physically distanced performances outside of its storefront window at 2056 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago. "The Fishbowl" features comedy and music from 6-8 p.m. Saturdays. See bughousetheater.com.
• Performances run through Feb. 22 for Playmakers Laboratory's streaming revue "That's Weird, Grandma: A House Par-Tay" celebrating Black History Month, Presidents Day and Valentine's Day among other holidays through stories written by Chicago public school students and adapted for the stage by PML members. Tickets range from $2 to $4. They're available at playmakerslab.org.
• Improductions introduces "Hard Times of Northwest Indiana," a long-form, improv show that takes its inspiration from the online comments sections accompanying Indiana stories. The series runs online at 7 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 6-27. See improductionsllc.com.
• Theatre in the Dark has made recordings of all of its 2020 audio dramas available on demand. That includes co-founder Mack Gordon's original mystery "Three Stories Up," about a transit cop who disbelieves her detective husband's death was a suicide; an adaptation of H.G. Wells' 1897 novel "The War of the Worlds" set in present-day Illinois; and an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Tickets are $20 per listening event. See theatreinthedark.com.
• The second season of Chicago Dramatists' "The Sound & The Journey Podcast," which consists of interviews with Chicago writers, continues with resident playwright Sandra Delgado, whose play with music "La Havana Madrid" ran at Steppenwolf and Goodman theaters. Author Mark Larson ("Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater") serves as host. See chicagodramatists.org.
• The Kane Repertory Theatre in St. Charles selected Hammaad Chaudry as the playwright for its new Multiplatform Commission. The untitled play premieres online beginning March 29. An in-person premiere will be staged when it is safe to do so. Company members established the commission to "explore how virtual theater can serve the transition of a new play to the live stage." The commission is "unique because it gives a playwright the chance to develop a play across mediums," said artistic director Daniil Krimer in a prepared statement. "In 2020 we have seen Shakespeare, Chekhov and Shaw transition from the stage to the screen, but we haven't yet seen any plays that premiered digitally, transition to the stage. In 2021 Hammaad will have his play produced virtually and have that inform how he wants the play to be staged in front of a live audience."
• The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., has commissioned three works from Northwestern University's Imagine U series participants to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its young audiences program "Saturday Morning Live! At the National Theatre." The productions will center on the theme of "Life Now" and will incorporate music, storytelling and movement. They'll debut on the National Theatre D.C. Facebook page and can be viewed on demand on the theater's YouTube channel.