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Stories by Marc Vitali

Chicago Theater Recommendations from Hedy Weiss

Tiffany Topol, seated, and, from left: Cassidy Stirtz, Nik Kmiecik, Jeanne T. Arrigo and Everleigh Murphy. (Photo credit: Liz Lauren)

Theater critic Hedy Weiss gives us her take on shows from American Blues Theater, Shattered Globe, Porchlight, the Paramount Theatre and more.

Ivan Albright, ‘Master of the Macabre,’ in the ‘Flesh’ at Art Institute

Ivan Albright. “Portrait of Mary Block,” 1955-‘57. Gift of Mary and Leigh Block. (© The Art Institute of Chicago)

By all accounts, Ivan Albright was a lighthearted fellow – but in the mid-20th century, the Chicago artist painted some very dark pictures.

Teller Brings Dark Magic to ‘Macbeth’

Aaron Posner, left, and Teller (of Penn & Teller) adapt and direct Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Macbeth.” (Photo by Bill Burlingham)

Witches, sorcery and ghosts: Shakespeare’s spookiest and shortest play gets adapted into a horror thriller with modern day magic.

Faces, Places from a Chicago Photographer Now 90 Years Old

Barbara Crane, “Little Darlings,” 2012 (Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery)

She’s been photographing Chicago for nearly 70 years. Meet artist Barbara Crane.

Resurrecting ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Jo Lampert in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” (Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Jo Lampert and Michael Cunio, who currently appear in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Lyric Opera of Chicago, join us in performance and discussion.

Remembering the Lasting Contributions of Art Shay and Art Paul

The remarkable work of photographer Art Shay, and Art Paul, the first art director for Playboy who designed the iconic bunny logo.

Motown Mastermind Lamont Dozier Makes Music with Chicago Children’s Theatre

From left: E. Faye Butler, Alejandro Medina, Breon Arzell and Jesse Bhamrah in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s world premiere of “Last Stop on Market Street.” (Photo credit: Charles Osgood)

He wrote a multitude of Motown classics, and now he’s working with Chicago Children’s Theatre. Legendary songwriter Lamont Dozier and his son talk about their new musical “Last Stop on Market Street.” 

Taking Flight with 30 Years of the Illinois Butterfly Network

(Courtesy of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)

We peek behind the scenes at an exotic butterfly sanctuary in Chicago, and learn how volunteers help scientists track butterfly populations.

Chicago Cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, 15, Makes Symphony Center Debut

The young musician joins us in conversation and performance ahead of her Chicago professional debut with the Chicago Sinfonietta next month. 

Rainn Wilson at Steppenwolf Theater In a Farce to be Reckoned With

The actor known for his role as Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office” talks about his dual roles in Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s new play “The Doppelganger.”

Tech Titan Howard Tullman to Lead New Innovation Institute at IIT

(Illinois Institute of Technology / John Ronan Architects)

An innovation hub opens this fall at the Illinois Institute of Technology. We speak with newly named executive director, Howard Tullman.

Weird, Wonderful Wildlife at Reptile Fest

A common musk turtle (Colin Osborn / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

We meet some rare and remarkable critters that are part of this weekend’s annual Reptile Fest.

George Freeman Tells Us How to Lead a Life in Jazz

At age 91, the jazz guitarist is a living legend from Chicago’s first family of music. We pay him a visit.

History Museum Highlights Photographer’s Exploration of Chicago Blues

Picturing Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and More

Portrait of Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) at his home during an interview with Mike Bloomfield, Chicago, Illinois, 1964. Raeburn Flerlage image, colorized.

His photographs captured a key moment in time. A new exhibition looks at the history and legacy of the Chicago blues through the lens of Raeburn “Ray” Flerlage.

Chicago’s Spring Theater Season In Full Bloom

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.

‘Native American Woven Arts’ Explores Methods, Meaning Behind Artistry

Weaving function and design at a local museum dedicated to Native American art and culture.

Faces, Places from a Chicago Photographer Now 90 Years Old

Barbara Crane, “Little Darlings,” 2012 (Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery)

She’s been photographing Chicago for nearly 70 years. Meet artist Barbara Crane.

Bryan Adams: ‘Pretty Woman’ Collaboration ‘A Magical Thing’

Bryan Adams performs in 2007 (Marco Maas / Flickr)

Songwriter Bryan Adams and other members of the creative team behind “Pretty Woman: The Musical” talk about the intersection of pop music, movies and musicals.

Globe-Trotting Local Curator to Lead Next Chicago Architecture Biennial

Yesomi Umolu

Chicago as the global center for the future of architecture. Meet Yesomi Umolu, the new artistic leader of the next Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Keith Haring’s Chicago Mural Speaks to Youth, Artists

Nearly 30 years ago, artist Keith Haring enlisted the help of 500 Chicago students to paint a 488-foot long mural. Chicago Tonight caught up with a trio of those teens who grew up to be artists themselves. 

Music of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ Inspires Chicago Jazz Singer

A local jazz singer joins us for her take on the musical compositions of Fred Rogers, the late host of the eponymous children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” 

David Mamet Revisits ‘Chicago’ in New Book

David Mamet

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, director and screenwriter joins us to talk about his new book – and the city that inspired it.

Inside the Studio of an Italian Sculptor Who Made His Name in Chicago

Virginio Ferrari (Chicago Tonight)

Born in Italy, Virginio Ferrari came to Chicago in the 1960s, and he blossomed into an internationally sought-after sculptor. We visit the 80-year-old in his Bridgeport studio.

Rare Mummy Portraits Offer Peek into the Past at Block Museum

Portraits of mummies greet visitors at a new exhibition where art, science and history intersect. 

‘Native American Woven Arts’ Explores Methods, Meaning Behind Artistry

Weaving function and design in a new exhibition at a local museum dedicated to Native American art and culture.