About the Town in May



By Philip Vidal




May marks the end of the 2022/2023 season for many of Chicago’s music, opera and theater companies.


The 2022-23 season winds down for the Music Institute of Chicago with “Celebrating Music Institute of Chicago Luminaries,” May 6 at Nichols Concert Hall. Photo by Music Institute of Chicago.


The Music Institute of Chicago (MIC) winds down its Nichols Concert Hall Presents series on May 6 with “Celebrating Music Institute of Chicago Luminaries,” featuring MIC alumnae pianists Inna Faliks and Marta Aznavoorian, Quintet Attacca, and the Music Institute’s Academy Orchestra.  Chicago Sinfonietta’s 2022-23 brochure includes this invitation: “Join us as we celebrate our boundless momentum at the finale of our 35th Season” by attending their “Boundless” concert at Wentz Concert Hall on May 6, or Symphony Center on May 8.   Celebrating her 20th anniversary as Music Director, Dame Jane Glover conducts Music of the Baroque’s final concert of the season, “Circles of Friends,” on May 7 at the North Shore Center for the Arts, and May 8 at the Harris Theater. The concert is available on demand starting May 12.


The final concert of Bella Voce’s 40th anniversary season features their first collaboration with The Newberry Consort on May 13 for “Singen und Sagen: Music for Hope in a Time of War.” Photo by Bella Voce and The Newberry Consort.


The final concert of Bella Voce’s 40th anniversary season is also their first collaboration with The Newberry Consort.   “Singen und Sagen: Music for Hope in a Time of War” will be performed at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church on May 13, and St Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston, on May 14.

The Orion Ensemble performs the fourth and final concert of their 30th season, “Schubertiad,” in Aurora on May 14, Chicago on May 17 and Evanston on May 21.


I was mesmerized by Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas’s incredible performance at Symphony Center in March.  He returns to Chicago and is joined with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard for the Harris Theater’s final concert of the 2022-23 Harris Theater Presents Mainstage series entitled “Isabel Leonard + Pablo Sáinz-Villegas” on May 23.  This is sure to be a not-to-be missed performance.


On May 11 the Chicago Opera Theater’s Vanguard Composer Program presents “The Cook-Off.” Photo by Chicago Opera Theater.


Chicago Opera Theater (COT) wraps-up its regular 2022-23 season with two add-on performances: their Vanguard Initiative opera “The Cook-Off” on May 11, and “Another Sunrise/For a Look or A Touch,” a double-bill with Music of Remembrance on May 27-28.  Both operas will be performed at the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture.  “The Cook-Off” will be performed as a part of COT’s annual gala at the Athenaeum.


Shattered Globe Theatre Company concludes their 2022-23 season with the U.S. premiere of “London Road,” playing now through June 3. Photo by Shattered Globe Theatre Company.


The last play of Shattered Globe Theatre Company’s 2022-23 season is the U.S. premiere of the hit British musical “London Road,” through June 3.


About Face Theatre concludes its 28th season with Will Wilhelm and Erin Murray’s world premiere of “Gender Play, or what you Will,” May 13-June 3 at the Den Theatre. Photo by About Face Theatre.


I’ve mentioned in previous columns that this year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s “First Folio.”  About Face Theatre wraps up its 28th season with the world premiere of Will Wilhelm and Erin Murray’s “Gender Play, or what you Will” at the Den Theatre, May 13-June 3.  Part of the plot involves a séance that conjures up William Shakespeare.


The Lyric Women’s Board Wine Auction takes place at the Ardis Krainik Theatre for an evening you will not forget, May 13. Photo by Lyric Opera of Chicago.


It should be no surprise that the Newberry Library has a copy of Shakespeare’s “First Folio.” Support the Newberry and join them on May 5th for the Newberry Library Award Celebration at Venue Six10 as they honor Ken Burns, the award-winning documentary filmmaker.  The 13th annual Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens benefitting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago is May 5-June 4.  May 5 is the Preview Party.  I attended the Lyric Women’s Board Wine Auction in 2018.  The Lyric’s Ardis Krainik Theatre is transformed into a magnificent venue for the dinner and auction.  This black-tie event is on May 13.


The Glessner House’s Gala: Celebrating Chicago’s Two World’s Fairs takes place at Crown Hall at Illinois Institute of Technology campus on May 23. Photo by Glessner House.


Celebrate the Music Institute of Chicago’s over ninety-years of stellar teaching and performances at their gala benefit at the Peninsula Chicago May 15.  Conductor Marin Alsop will receive the Dushkin Award.  The Glessner House’s Gala: Celebrating Chicago’s Two World’s Fairs (World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and Century of Progress 1933-34) is May 23 at Crown Hall, IIT Campus. For something less formal, head to Soldier Field at The Stadium Green for the Anti-Cruelty Society’s 29th annual BARK walk and fundraiser on May 20. The Anti-Cruelty Society turns 125 next year.


I grew up with dogs and love them dearly, but my family was never able to keep them off the sofa.  I can’t imagine our family’s lapse in training our dogs is reflected in any way in the second installment of the Alliance Française de Chicago’s Symposium of the Arts of France is ”The Sofa: Staging Bodies in Eighteenth-Century Paris” with David Pullins, Associate Curator in the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  But who knows?  Lap dogs on sofas may be part of the presentation.


May is your chance to see architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s furniture in situ in eight private residences in Oak Park during the Wright PlusTM Architectural Housewalk on May 20.  Currently sold out, but last-minute vacancies can become available.


The JCC Chicago hosts a Violins of Hope performance on May 12 at Unity Temple. The collection of string instruments were played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. Photo JCC Chicago and Violins of Hope.


I’ve never seen the interior of one of Wright’s masterpieces — the Unity Temple in Oak Park.  I can remedy that this month.   The JCC Chicago hosts a Violins of Hope performance on May 12 at Unity Temple. The Unity Temple concert is just one of dozens of performances, exhibitions and programs that the JCC Chicago is bringing to the Chicago area from April through September featuring 70 violins, violas and cellos, played by Jewish musicians in the Holocaust. Winfred Haun & Dancers perform “The Light of Spring” there on May 5-6.


The inaugural Chicago Cabaret Week festival was so successful that it’s back this year showcasing Chicago’s cabaret talent at venues all around Chicago, from May 12-21.  I took a quick look at the Chicago Cabaret Week website to check those who are slated to perform. The performers cover different genres, including blues, Broadway, comedy, jazz, pop, French and Filipino music.  This promises to be a wonderful festival.


The Doc10 film festival will be held at the David Theater and Gene Siskel Film Center from May 4-7. Photo by Doc10 Film Festival.


The 8th edition of the Doc10 film festival is at the Davis Theater and Gene Siskel Film Center from May 4-7.  Many of the films that premiered at this all-documentary film festival have been nominated for Academy Awards.  The 10th annual Chicago Critics Film Festival is at the Music Box Theater from May 5-11.


May is the month of outdoor farmers’ markets! Several markets will open for the season including Chicago’s longest-running farmers’ market, the Daley Plaza City Market on May 11. Photo by City of Chicago.


While some things end, others take off, and the beginning of summer is almost here.  Outdoor farmers’ markets are a harbinger of summer.  The Division Street City Market and the Green City Market West Loop open May 6, and continue every Saturday thereafter through the fall.  The 46th season of Oak Park Farmers’ Market on Saturdays opens May 20.  There are dozens of farmers’ markets opening this month in Chicagoland, but the longest-running farmers’ market in Chicago, the Daley Plaza City Market on Thursdays, opens May 11.


The 61st annual Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society (WOOGMS) marches through my old East Lakeview neighborhood on Memorial Day.   Ah, Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer!


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