Chicago Theater Report: February 16, 2020

A lightly edited transcript of the Chicago Theater Report from the February 16, 2020 edition of Playtime with Bill Turck & Kerri Kendall on WCGO 1590 AM & 95.9 FM in Chicago.

Facebook video. (Chicago theater report starts at around the -56:00 mark.)

Soundcloud (starts around 52:30 mark)

Chicago Theater Report: Raven’s Theater Camps, Lyric’s New Season, and The Joffrey’s “The Times are Racing”

A little bit of everything this week, including a theater summer camp announcement, Lyric Opera’s 2020/2021 season, and a report on The Joffrey’s latest production, The Times are Racing. Let’s get started!

Raven Theater has announced its Take Flight Summer Camp sessions for 2020. There will be five camps this year, offering training in the theater arts for children ages 6-16, including a one-week theater tech class at the beginning of the summer. These classes run Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm, with an extended daycare option.

During these two week camps, kids will create their own productions based on children’s stories. Family and friends will be invited to see the performance. Camps are held at the Raven Theatre complex in Edgewater. Special early-bird discounts are available, so visit www.raventheatre.com or call 312-785-5091 today.

The Lyric Opera has announced its new season and the city is abuzz: Lots is going on over the opera house next year. First of all, this is Sir Andrew Davis’s final season as the Lyric’s music director, ending a run of over two decades. He’s passing the baton to the marvelous Maestro Enrique Mazzola and each will be directing shows this season.

Secondly, The Joffrey Ballet will be making its new home at the Lyric starting with the coming season, which is an exciting development for everyone. While I like the Auditorium, I confess to preferring the opera house, which also has the advantage of being close to the train station and the delightful French Market.

Finally, The Lyric has decided to switch things up for opening night in 2020: Instead of staging a production at the opera house, with a reception at another location afterward, The Lyric will be hosting Renee Fleming, who will give a performance, with the gala event to follow at the opera house itself. I’m not seeing a lot of details yet, but this sounds like it could well be a fantastic event. I’ll keep you posted about what is happening.

As for the productions themselves, the Lyric has taken pains to point out that this season includes 8 new-to-Chicago productions, as well as Christine Goerke in recital and a special concert featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Highlights include the North American premiere of Lessons in Love and Violence, Verdi’s Attila, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, and Singin’ in the Rain as this season’s musical. The full program for the season can be found at www.lyricopera.org.

This week I got to attend The Joffrey’s Latest production, “The Times Are Racing.”This is actually a mixed repertory program of five short performances, each with a distinct theme. Justin Peck’s “The Times Are Racing,” is the last performance in the set, and it is from this ballet that the production gets its name. Each short ballet is distinctive and I must admit that my personal favorite was The Sofa, a decidedly cheeky take on a rather interesting love triangle. Some of the music is recorded, but the orchestra does a fine job with Stravinsky in two of the segments. Times Are Racing runs through Sunday, February 23rd and tickets are available at www.joffrey.org.