Center Stage photo

Photograph by Michael Brosilow

Caroline, or Change

September 11–October 19. Court Theatre, 773/753-4472. In this musical, which debuted on Broadway in 2004, Caroline, an African American housekeeper, looks after a wealthy Jewish family as well as her own in 1960s Louisiana. Court Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tony Kushner’s Caroline, directed by Charles Newell. The decade’s social change provides a backdrop for Caroline’s (E. Faye Butler) personal upheaval, and the score mixes blues, gospel, and klezmer.

Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art

October 2–January 25. Smart Museum, 773/702-0200. When the Chinese government completes the Three Gorges Dam in 2009, the project will generate a total capacity of 22,500 megawatts, roughly four times the power used by Los Angeles in a year. But its reservoir has already submerged thousands of towns and displaced more than 1 million people living near the Yangzi River. The exhibit, curated by Wu Hung, the Harrie A. Vanderstappen distinguished service professor of art history and Center for the Art of East Asia director, features the work of four Chinese artists who respond to the dam through traditional ink painting, realist oil painting, photography, and new media/performance.


Photograph courtesy the Smart Museum

University of Chicago Presents: 2008 Messiaen Festival

October 2–11. Multiple locations, 773/702-8068. To celebrate the centenary of French composer Oliver Messiaen’s birth, University of Chicago Presents hosts lectures, performances, master classes, and symposia that commemorate his legacy. Appearing around Hyde Park and downtown are six of the University’s ensembles-in-residence, and to kick off the celebration October 2 at 7:30 p.m., Dame Gillian Weir, a Messiaen specialist, performs on the newly restored E. M. Skinner organ in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

University of Chicago Press Book Sale

October 7–8. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. International House, 773/702-0890. Presenting its first book sale in more than 20 years, the U of C Press offers discounts on many titles. With volumes spanning disciplines from anthropology to poetry to zoology, the press gives bibliophiles a chance to save on everything from reference guides to contemporary best-sellers.

Humanities Day 2008

October 25. Multiple locations, 773/702-7423. This annual event features performances, discussion, and lectures by U of C faculty. Delivering the keynote address—“A Salon for the Masses”—on the social and cultural effect of Bronzeville reading circles in the mid-20th century, is associate professor of English Jacqueline Goldsby, who recently won an award from the Modern Language Association for her work on African American literature. Other programs explore topics from Beowulf to Japanese pop music, and several discussions of Shakespeare’s King Lear, one addressing an operatic version that Verdi considered composing and another on the possibility that there are two distinct versions of the play’s original text. 

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