The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Fun You Can Have in Millennium Park

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on May 27, 2005 7:31PM

While we’ll miss the full Cloud Gate experience this summer, we can still look forward to spending nights inside the nearby Pritzker Pavilion cage. The 2005_05_27_pritzker.jpgPritzker provides that upscale picnic feel without the commute to Ravinia. And once again, it will be the home of the Grant Park Music Festival, the country’s only remaining free classical music fest. This is its second year in Millennium Park, which seems confusing until you remember that such concerns don’t stop Maxwell Street Polish from going wherever they want.

The Festival kicks off Wednesday, June 15, and will occupy the pavilion most Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through August 20. There’s something here for almost everyone:

Connoisseurs have probably already reserved tickets for Modern Masters (July 1 & 2), the only shows staged in the nearby Harris Theater, and Suites for Orchestra (July 20).

For movie buffs, there’s Gotta Dance! (June 25), where the Orchestra collaborates with the likes of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

Theater freaks, a term Chicagoist uses lovingly, will be intrigued by Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 15), which includes actor readings. And for something a little lighter, The Three Broadway Divas (July 27 & 29) will deliver the hits you just can’t hear enough.

International traveler wishing you had time or cash to globetrot this summer? Well, at least you can enjoy the music. This year’s fest draws composers and talent from England (June 17-18); the Baltic states (June 28-29); China (July 6); Russia (July 15-16); Mexico (July 30); Germany, Spain, and France (August 12-13), with a celebration of American music just before the Fourth.

Lastly, you can join the party animals who want to get home by 10:30 PM at WTTW’s 50th Anniversary Celebration (August 20), which packs classical, Broadway, Celtic, and Gospel musicians onto one stage.

While the fest is free, prime seats are made available to GPMF donors. If you flinch at the prospect of paying for a free event, do the math, compare the $3-4/show to what you’d pay at Symphony Center, and realize it’s not so steep after all.

Thanks, Justin!