Lyric, Goodman, Steppenwolf, and CSO face the music | Performing Arts Feature | Chicago Reader

Lyric, Goodman, Steppenwolf, and CSO face the music 

Major performing arts organizations recalibrate for COVID-19.

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After the crushing decision last month to cancel its long-awaited Ring Cycle, Lyric Opera today announced that the rest of its 2019/20 season has been postponed.

The annual spring musical, this year slated to be 42nd Street (scheduled for May 29-June 21), will dance two years forward, into the 2021-2022 season. Lyric notes that this will still be the U.S. debut for the Parisian production, and that Stephen Mear will still direct.

The regional premiere of Blue, by composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson (which was to run June 16-28 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Yard), will be rescheduled for January 2021 at Chicago Shakespeare. The Missy Mazzoli chamber opera Proving Up (libretto by Royce Vavrek) will also be rescheduled, dates not yet determined.

Tickets for Lyric’s annual Family Day (it was to have been May 16) will be shifted to Family Day next year (May 22, 2021). Tickets for backstage tours in May and June can be applied to tours in the fall. 

Lyric says ticket holders for all these performances and events will be contacted directly to discuss their options. Requests for refunds will be honored. 

General Director Anthony Freud notes in the announcement that the company is disappointed, but following official guidance: “We couldn’t be more grateful for the outpouring of support that we’ve received from our patrons.” 

Lyric estimates that the financial hit it’s taken from the virus shutdown so far is $15 million. There’s more information and music at lyricopera.org.  

Meantime, Goodman Theatre has decided to make available a streaming version of Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, directed by Lili-Anne Brown and recorded during previews in March. (The show shut down before opening night.) The production is available free of charge to current ticket holders through a password-protected online portal, and on a pay-what-you-can basis (starting at $15) for others here. Goodman hopes to resume performances as soon as it is deemed safe.

Steppenwolf Theatre has moved two shows from their current season to 2021-22. In addition to the previously announced move for James Ijames's The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington, ensemble member Rajiv Joseph's King James will also be scheduled for next season. Meantime, Steppenwolf offers free online workshops for teens, educators, and early-career professionals, and will be launching a new podcast series, Half Hour, on April 7 with founding ensemble member Jeff Perry. The podcast, hosted by more recent ensemble members Audrey Francis, Caroline Neff, Cliff Chamberlain, and Glenn Davis, aims to "make connections between artists in the Steppenwolf family." It's available on most major podcast platforms. For more information, go to steppenwolf.org.

And CSO fans can tune into WFMT (98.7 FM and streaming on wfmt.com) at 8 PM Tuesdays starting April 7 for a series of six broadcasts of archival concerts, selected by Maestro Riccardo Muti.  v

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