About the Town in April



By Philip Vidal




Poet T.S. Eliott wrote that “April is the cruelest month.” I don’t want to think of any month as cruel, but April can certainly be a transition from winter to spring, and that can be jarring.  The last snowfall and our final freeze usually occur in April, and April 1 marks the end of Chicago’s winter overnight parking ban.


A final show for longtime artistic director of the Goodman Theatre, Robert Falls. Catch performances of Anton Chekov’s “The Cherry Orchard” all throughout April. Photo by Goodman Theatre.


April also marks the final show for Robert Falls, the longtime artistic director of the Goodman Theatre.  His production of Anton Chekov’s “The Cherry Orchard” will run from April 1 to April 30.   More transitions:  The last production of AstonRep Theatre Company’s 15th and final season is Julia Cho’s “The Language Archive” (April 28-May 28) at the Edge Off-Broadway Theatre.  John Neumeier, who was born in Milwaukee and trained in Chicago, is stepping down after fifty-years as the director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet.  The Joffrey Ballet performs his “The Little Mermaid” (April 19-30) at the Lyric Opera House.


An evening of percussive dance featuring Dorrance Dance, M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Trinity Irish Dance Company takes places at the Auditorium Theatre, April 22. Photo by Steven Pisano.


Other dance performances this month are ‘Rhythms of Resistance” — New-York based tap dance troupe Dorrance Dance joins Chicago-based tap dance troupe M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Trinity Irish Dance Company for an evening of percussive dance on April 22 at the Auditorium Theatre.   Visceral Dance Chicago celebrates its 10th anniversary with a performance “SpringTEN” at the Harris Theater on April 28 featuring audience favorites from the past ten years, as well as the world premiere of a piece by founder Nick Pupillo.


April showcases the 10th edition of EXPO Chicago: The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art (April 13-16) at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall.  In partnership with EXPO Chicago, an art installation of four sculptures by Derrick Adams entitled “Funtime Unicorn” will be on display (April 13-June 25) at Navy Pier’s Polk Bros. Park.


Chicagoan Fred Eychaner, the founder of Wrightwood 659, recently received the National Medal of Arts from President Biden.   Three exhibitions open on April 14 at Wrightwood 659: “Shahidul Alam: Singed But Not Burnt,” “Patric McCoy: Take My Picture,” and “Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk.”


Back after three years! The Chicago Public Library Foundation’s Associate Board and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) host “Night in the Stacks” on April 14 at the Harold Washington Library Center Winter Garden. Photo by Chicago Public Library Foundation.


Fred Eychaner’s generosity and patronage is a meaningful example of philanthropy and volunteerism, which is a good segue to remind everyone that April is National Volunteer Month.  Several local organizations, empowered by volunteers, are having galas this month.   The Chicago Public Library Foundation’s Associate Board and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) host “Night in the Stacks” on April 14 at the Harold Washington Library Center Winter Garden. The first CPL opened its doors 150 years ago.  CPS Lives’ fifth anniversary celebration is the Arts Club of Chicago on April 26.   Over its past five years, CPS Lives has paired 60 members of Chicago’s creative community with over 72 Chicago Public Schools.  Stop by CPS Lives’ booth at EXPO Chicago.  The ChiArts Foundation, which supports The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), hosts Kerfuffle!, its annual spring gala, on April 27 at Morgan Manufacturing.  The Brookfield Zoo Women’s Board and the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) host the 42nd annual Whirl gala at the Chicago Hilton on April 29 to raise funds to care for the animals, as well as education and conservation efforts.


It’s National Poetry Month.   The Poetry Foundation, with support from the Richard Gray Gallery, hosts the exhibition “Alex Katz: Collaborations with Poets” through May 20.  The University of Chicago’s Phoenix Poets Literary Festival is April 12-14 at the Oriental Institute, Experimental Station and the Logan Center for the Arts.


Join in on Jazz Appreciation Month in April by watching the Marcus Roberts Trio perform at Nichols Concert Hall on April 15. Photo courtesy of Lynn Moore.


April is also Jazz Appreciation Month.  Celebrate by visiting one of Chicago’s many jazz clubs, such as the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, probably the oldest jazz club in the country, and certainly one of the most famous bars in the U.S.    Hear the Monterrey Jazz Festival on Tour at Symphony Center on April 14, or head to the Nichols Concert Hall to hear the Marcus Roberts Trio on April 15.


Visit one of Chicago’s independently-owned record stores for Record Store Day on April 22. Photo by Record Store Day.


Patronize one of the dozens of Chicago’s independently-owned record stores on April 22, Record Store Day,  or one of Chicago’s independently-owned bookstores on April 29, Independent Bookstore Day.   April 29th is also International Sculpture Day.  Internationally renowned Chicago sculptor Richard Hunt immediately comes to mind.


Just a couple of days before International Sculpture Day, Alicia Caticha presents “Lascivious Statues: Galatea’s Animation in Eighteenth Century France” at Alliance Française de Chicago. Photo by Alliance Française de Chicago.


The theme of this year’s Symposium on the Arts of France at the Alliance Française de Chicago is “La Sculpture: L’Art de la Séduction.” The first of the three presentations is “Lascivious Statues: Galatea’s Animation in Eighteenth Century France” by Alicia Caticha, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University, on April 26.


The Arts Club of Chicago hosts Mies and Me, a special double celebration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 137th birthday and Mies Society’s 20th anniversary. Photo by Mies van der Rohe Society.


Mies van der Rohe’s staircase at the Arts Club of Chicago is sculpture to me.  I’m old enough to remember when it was in its original location in the Arts Club’s Mies-designed prior space at 109 East Ontario.  The staircase was moved to the Arts Club’s current location at 201 East Ontario.  See the staircase, celebrate architect Mies van der Rohe’s 137th birthday and the 20th anniversary of the Mies van der Rohe Society at the Mies and Me reception on April 19 at the Arts Club.


The spring Chicago Humanities Festival (April 13-June 11) hosts an incredible array of performances, conversations, and presenters like Beto O’Rourke, Stacy Abrams, Rainn Wilson, Andy Cohen, Hebru Brantley, and Joan Baez.


And I can’t wait to see the results of the Chicago Reader’s annual “Best of Chicago” issue which is due out April 6.


Now through November, visit the Green City Market in Lincoln Park on Saturdays to discover local sustainable farmers and food producers, community programs and more! Photo by Green City Market. 


How can April be the cruelest month as T.S. Eliott asserts, when April includes the celebrations of Passover and Easter, and all they signify? April 1 also marks the first day of this year’s Green City Market in Lincoln Park – another harbinger of good things to come.


Dates, times, locations and availability are subject to change.