This Week In Chicago: A Musical About A Lynching—And Lots of Books!

As your mother said, “It’s nice! Go outside!” The corpse flower is in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden. What are you waiting for?

This weekend also marks the return of the annual Printers Row LitFest, when the book people inherit the earth, or at least take over the entire South Loop. Publishers and booksellers from across the Midwest will set up booths along Polk between State and Clark and Dearborn between Harrison and Polk where you can spend many happy hours browsing. (Don’t worry, there will be food and beverage booths to sustain you.)

In addition dozens—yes, dozens—of authors will be on hand to talk about their work, including Allegra Goodman, Jason Diamond, Sidney Blumenthal, Kevin Coval, Doree Shafrir, Renee Rosen, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dani Shapiro, and a lot of other writers who aren’t even Jewish. As in years past, all author events are free, except for the headliners: Senator Al Franken and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($35 each); a $50 festival pass will get you access to both headliners and the express signing lines as well as some free swag.

A musical about a lynching is kind of a hard sell. But Writers Theatre’s production of Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s “Parade,” is presenting a dramatization—yes, with singing—of the trial, kidnapping, and killing of Leo Frank, a New York Jew accused of raping and murdering a young employee of his Atlanta pencil factory. The play has received lots of praise from the city’s theater critics. The Tribune’s Chris Jones writes that “Parade” has special resonance at this particular moment, just weeks after New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared the Confederacy “was on the wrong side of history and humanity” and that the performances by the cast are just as worthy.

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This Week In Chicago: A Musical About A Lynching—And Lots of Books!

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