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Lightfoot Announces New Chicago Performance Events For This Summer

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There are big changes coming for summer in Chicago.

The city announced a comeback for music and more.  CBS 2's Steven Graves reports on what's on Chicago's calendar.

New and reimagined entertainment festivals are coming this summer as the city announced events to reopen the city's music, dance and theater performances.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced "Open Culture" as part of "the next phase of Open Chicago."

What does this mean for audiences?

Summer events will have activities including what's being called  "Chicago In Tune." It's a festival, according to a news release from the city, "celebrating Chicago's diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music, as well as concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion featuring the 2021 season of Grant Park Music Festival."

Live music at Chicago's Goodman Theatre marked the long awaited announcement. Shows will take place at the venue starting in August and at other venues later this summer.

It's a huge step for theaters, some of the first places to close and some of the last to open.

"And to know the the Chicago theatre community, the fearless soul of Chicago is about to come back to all of our stages," said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly.

The venue's reopening joins festival kick offs and art shows. Many that had virtual confines last year. With a much anticipated more robust return.

Along with the performing arts, there will be new public artworks by Nick Cave, Bob Faust, Andrea Carlson and other artists.

"Despite the unimaginable challenges that were thrown our way last year, we were still able to persist and come together to slow and stop the spread of this virus and put our city on the right path toward a safe reopening," said Lightfoot. "It also serves as the latest step in our mission to fully restore a sense of normalcy within our city by bringing back and reimagining some of our favorite summer and fall-time activities."

Not mentioned is whether the Air and Water Show, Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago Gospel Festival, and Chicago International Jazz Festival would be returning this summer.

"We've been in conversation with the organizer producers for some time, but we're not ready to kind of analysis, what might happen later in the summer but stay tuned," Lightfoot said about the Air and Water Show.

Some of the outdoor events part of Chicago City Markets include the historic Maxwell Street Market, Taste of Chicago To-Go community meals, and others.

Most DCASE events will have limited capacity and require advance registration. All summer events will adhere to the latest public health and safety guidelines, according to the city.

"A critical component of this mission is revitalizing arts and culture scene, which is essential to our ability to recover from this pandemic, both for our economic and social needs," Lightfoot said.

Some of the events that will reopen beginning this month include:

  • The return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center including "Fanfare" opening on May 27
  • Hyde Park Art Center – Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed open May 3 – July 24
  • Rosa's Lounge – Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band on May 7
  • Pivot Arts Festival: Reimagining Utopia – A Performance Tour: Live, Multi-Arts Experience from May 21 – June 5
  • Chicago Latino Theater Alliance – Sola en la pandemia está cañón at Joe's on Weed Street on June 19
  • The South Side Jazz Coalition – Jazzin' On The Steps on May 23
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – Tuesdays on the Terrace kicking off June 1
  • Old Town Art Fair on June 12 & 13
  • Art Institute of Chicago – The Obama Portraits from June 18 – August 15
  • Pride in the Park on June 26 & 27
  • Goodman Theatre – School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play reopening in August
  • Court Theatre – Othello from July 8 – August 8
  • Southport Art Fair on July 10 & 11
  • Smart Museum of Art – Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 on view July 15 – December 19
  • Chinatown Summer Fair on July 17 & 18
  • Jazz Institute of Chicago – Chicago Latin Jazz Festival on July 23 & 24
  • Printers Row Lit Fest on September 11 & 12
  • Hyde Park Jazz Festival on September 25 & 26
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago 2021/22 season including opening night featuring an all-new production of Verdi's Macbeth on September 17
  • Broadway In Chicago – Six at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place running October 5, 2021 – January 30, 2022

For information and ticketing go to and for DCASE summer programming including its artist lineups and ticketing (free advance registration), which will be available in the next weeks.

Lightfoot announced there will be a series of COVID vaccination events for those in the Chicago arts community.

One is at he Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave) on May 20 from 12:00-7:00 p.m. and Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont Ave) on May 21 at 12:00-7:00 p.m.

And mobile vaccinations will take place at several city-sponsored summer events.


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