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If you find yourself in Chicago this year, here are a few recommendations for shows to check out:

The Marvin Gaye Story runs11 May to 29 July at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center. The much buzzed about Marvin Gaye Story was written by Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center founder Jackie Taylor, who worked with Gaye’s second wife, Jan Gaye, to do justice to the Motown legend’s story. Previews for the production begin this Friday, and the official opening is 20 May.  

RENT is running now through 17 June at the American Theater Co. Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award winning musical brought the topic of young people living with HIV to the forefront of public discourse in the 1990s. Sadly, though, Larson would never see the social impact or success of his creation, as he died tragically of an aortic aneurysm the morning before the show’s off-Broadway premier. In Chicago, a talented cast of performers interprets this celebrated play at the American Theater Company, which prides itself on using theatre to answer the question, “What does it mean to be American?”

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! tickets are available (for semi-monthly tapings) beginning 21 June at the Chase Bank Auditorium. One of Chicago’s more unique performances, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is a hilarious weekly show on National Public Radio which combines improvisational humour with scripted jokes, inside the format of a quiz show about the week’s news. Tickets sell out quickly, so check the calendar  for the taping schedule; tickets for 21 June go on sale this Friday.  

Buddy Guy, with Jonny Lang plays 15 September at the Chicago Theatre. If you can catch Chicago blues phenomenon Buddy Guy when he is actually in his hometown rather than touring the world, do it. The recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and owner of Buddy Guy’s Legends, one of the very best places to hear live blues in Chi-town, will be playing with blues guitarist Jonny Lang. For serious fans, today is the release of Guy’s autobiography, When I Left Home,.

The Windy City Burlesque Festival
runs 12 to 15 July at Stage 773. This edgy and artistic festival, now in its second year, harkens back to the days of showgirls, pinup models, cabaret and vaudeville. The scintillating performances features performers with suggestive stage names like Booty Garland and Vivacious Miss Audacious.

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