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Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of works by Debussy and Tchaikovsky in the final weekend of his April residency at Symphony Center. (© Todd Rosenberg)

The work of both composers shares the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s current program led by Maestro Riccardo Muti. And the result is a most winning mix of opposing musical temperaments.

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Rainn Wilson and Celeste M. Cooper in “The Doppelgänger (an international farce)” by Matthew-Lee Erlbach. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

A sort of equal-opportunity snake pit of corruption, violence and ridiculous sex-capades, Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s play is now receiving its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre.

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Hershey Felder in “Our Great Tchaikovsky” at Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre.

For those still unfamiliar with the magic Hershey Felder can create, an introduction to the man, whose enthralling show about Tchaikovsky is now in a limited engagement at Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre, is essential.

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The beautifully thought-out program serves as a subtle but revealing portrait of the deep but varied influences that have taken root in this country.

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“Carousel” on Broadway. (Credit: Julieta Cervantes)

In many ways this show was ahead of its time when it was created. And now, whatever the flaws might be in this 21st century “rotation,” it is worth the price of a ticket for a ride on the “Carousel.”

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Guest conductor Matthias Pintscher leads the CSO in Ravel’s orchestration of Debussy’s “Saraband and Danse.” (Photo © Todd Rosenberg)

The concert now being performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus – with the German conductor-composer Matthias Pintscher in flawless command – is sure to serve as a vivid reminder that Maurice Ravel’s genius was far more complex than “Bolero.”

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Curtis Edward Jackson, left, and Rudy Galvan in Raven Theatre’s world premiere of “The Gentleman Caller.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

A richly evocative new play by Philip Dawkins is now receiving a vividly acted world premiere at Raven Theatre.

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Frankie Leo Bennett as Tobias Ragg in “Sweeney Todd” at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. (Credit: Cody Jolly Photography)

Theater critic Hedy Weiss reviews “Pretty Woman,” “Sweeney Todd,” plus dramas at the Goodman Theatre and more.

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From left: Julian Parker, Kayla Carter, Deanna Myers and Erik Hellman in “Smart People” at Writers Theatre.

In her brilliant play “Smart People,” Lydia R. Diamond creates an impossibly thorny and twisted verbal, emotional and intellectual maze of race, sex and “super-achieverdom.”

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Samantha Barks and Steve Kazee in the world premiere engagement of “Pretty Woman: The Musical” at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Can a story that feeds on the decades-old roots of the #MeToo movement serve as a deftly massaged corrective?

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Bryce Gangel, Michael Aaron Pogue in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” through April 15, 2018 at Court Theatre. (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

I confess I was wary about how this story would hold up a full half-century after the film dealt with some very uncomfortable truths. But the more things have changed, the more things have remained (almost) the same.

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Dancers Maeghan McHale and Devin Buchanan in Brock Clawson’s “Give and Take” (2009). (Photo by Reveuse Photography)

The work of two of Chicago’s most enduring but dramatically different contemporary dance companies – Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Giordano Dance Chicago – was on elaborate display this past weekend. 

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From left: Soprano Amanda Forsythe and tenors Paul Appleby and Nicholas Phan are soloists in Schubert’s “Mass in E-flat Major” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

The human voice is a remarkable instrument. And when the 115 heavenly souls of the Chicago Symphony Chorus gather on stage with the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, something extraordinary happens.

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Philip Earl Johnson (Thomas Stockmann) and Scott Jaeck (Peter Stockmann) in “An Enemy of the People” by Henrik Ibsen, adapted and directed by Robert Falls at Goodman Theatre. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

Corrupt and greedy politicians, a poorly educated citizenry skeptical of science and “facts,” and short-term thinking about the impact of pollution on health were all issues in 1882 when the play debuted and still resonate today.

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Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the CSO in Mozart’s “Symphony No. 36” on March 15, 2018. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography)

A memorable moment from the film version of Peter Shaffer’s play, “Amadeus,” came rushing back to mind as I listened to this weekend’s glorious, spirit-altering concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which opened with Haydn’s “Symphony No. 89” and was followed by two works by his younger contemporary, Mozart.

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The National Theatre of Great Britain’s award-winning production of J.B. Priestley’s thriller “An Inspector Calls.” (Photo by Mark Douet)

With its three major venues on Navy Pier, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a nonstop operation. Evidence of that can be seen in the just-announced season: 14 productions, a slew of guest directors and a mix of shows created both here and abroad.