Classical legends, art openings, Christmas with the Rat Pack: 11 weekend arts options

Classical legends, art openings, Christmas with the Rat Pack: 11 weekend arts options

From Christmas with the Rat Pack to numerous art openings to legends of classical music, there’s more to be found among the arts in Detroit this weekend than any one person can manage. Here’s a rundown of 11 events.

A classical superstar

Beloved violinist Itzhak Perlman will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium, presented by the University of Michigan’s University Musical Society. He’ll be joined by not one, but two pianists — Emanuel Ax and Jean-Yves Thibaudet — as well as the Juilliard String Quartet for a program of chamber music by Mozart, Jean-Marie Leclair and Ernest Chausson.

“We wanted to have a nice and balanced program,” Perlman told the Free Press. “I ask myself, ‘What would I like to hear when I go to a concert?’ So we’re starting with two violins, then we have a quartet and then we have a concert for piano and so on. And the first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet is a former student (of mine)!”

Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-764-2538. Tickets starting at $25, with student tickets starting at $12.

Violin master Itzhak Perlman will perform in Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022.

Classical standards and a bold new work

Last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning classical composer Tania León was celebrated at the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors. This weekend, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will premiere her “Pasajes,” a vivid new work co-commissioned by New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices program. “Pasajes” is León’s reminiscence on growing up in Cuba and will open the performance, which also includes Mendelssohn’s piano concerto and Dvořák’s powerful Symphony No. 8.

Pianist Yeol Eum Son will join the orchestra for the concert, which will be led by sought-after conductor Jonathan Heyward. Heyward will return to Detroit at the end of this month to conduct Detroit Opera’s “Aida.”

“The piece by Tania León that we start off with has a lot of influences (from) South American music, including samba and salsa as well, which is really indicative to her style of writing,” Heyward told the Free Press. “In the course of the Dvořák, there’s a lot of sense of folk tunes from within the Czech world. So to bookend the evening, we have music represented by one’s culture. And then, sandwiched in the middle is Mendelssohn’s first, which is an extraordinary piece that I think is actually underrated as a work that complements anything and everything. Particularly with our fantastic, really amazing Yeol Eum Son, whom I’ve worked with several times.”

Performances are 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 313-576-5111. Tickets starting at $25.

Poetry, soul and jazz

Though she has performed all over the world and even at the famed Carnegie Hall, poet Jessica Care Moore still calls Detroit home, and she’s bringing her unique brand of magic to the Carr Center’s stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. She’ll be joined by some of Detroit’s best musicians, including Wayne Gerard Milton on guitar, Chris Spooner on bass, Nate Winn on drums and Allen Dennard on trumpet, plus special guest vocalists Ideeyah and Apropos.

The Carr Center (located inside the Park Shelton), 15 E. Kirby St, Detroit. 313-437-9244. Update: This performance is now sold out.  

A neighborhood holiday

A free, family-friendly holiday event can be found Friday when the Marygrove Conservancy hosts Light Up Marygrove from 5 to 9 p.m. The Tune-Up Man from WDMK-FM (Kiss 105.9) will serve as the evening’s host, with live entertainment including 3D Dance Academy, Jit Masters the Institute of Dance at Marygrove and music from the 313 Live Experience Band. Caroling, arts and crafts, giveaways and refreshments will be part of the fun, as well as a small business marketplace. The night will conclude with a tree lighting and laser light show.

The Marygrove Conservancy, 8425 West McNichols Road, Detroit. 888-213-4832. Event registration can be found at Complete information can be found at

A production still from “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Christmas” as the character Sammy Davis, Jr. takes the stage.

Christmas with the Rat Pack

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts will roar to life at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Christmas,” an original, holiday-themed musical about one of the 20th century’s most legendary stage acts. Join cast members portraying Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop as they sip and swing their way through jazzy classics and new tunes.

The performance will be a homecoming for Lisa Dawn Miller, who guests in the production as Ava Gardner, Sinatra’s one true love. Miller’s father, Ron Miller, was a master Motown songwriter who penned such hits as “For Once in My Life,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday” and “Someday at Christmas.” Along with favorite hits by the famous characters, Hackett’s script incorporates never-before-heard Ron Miller songs you’ll leave the theater humming. A glance at the Macomb Center’s seating chart shows that the performance is almost completely sold out, so book quickly if you want to get in on the act!

More info on the show can be found at

Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp. 586-286-2222. Tickets starting at $39.

“Self:Portrait” (2022) by McArthur Binion is just one of many pieces in “Self:Portraits,” an exhibition at Library Street Collective.

An artist’s homecoming

Internationally renowned artist and native Detroiter McArthur Binion will showcase his work with an exhibition opening Saturday at Library Street Collective. It’s his first Detroit show in more than a decade. The artist will be on hand for the opening of his “Self:Portraits” show from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Immediately preceding, at 5:30 p.m., Binion and Juana Williams, associate curator of African American art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, will share an intimate conversation about his work. Fourteen of Binion’s Minimalist abstract pieces, more than half of them created this year, will be on display.

Library Street Collective, 1274 Library St. (in The BELT), Detroit. 313-600-7443. Free.

A satire of the wealthy class

Detroit artist Mary-Ann Monforton will debut her newest show, “LUXE,” at noon Saturday at Birmingham’s David Klein Gallery. Featuring sculpture and drawings from her recent series “Everybody Is a Star,” it’s a tongue-in-cheek look at what’s considered fashionable and highly valuable to social media influencers and wealthy collectors of luxury goods. Parodies of top-name brands like Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Fendi are highlighted in works made of wire mesh, plaster gauze, paint and the occasional steel spike. The installation includes a 40-inch gold-painted chandelier made of wire mesh and plaster gauze.

“The real and the fake is constantly at play in my latest body of work,” said Monforton in an artist statement. “LUXE explores the psychology of fame, fortune, mega-wealth and privileged consumption. The broader concepts of ascribing value to things is played out in this line of luxury goods that defy perfection and are rife with failure and humor.”

The exhibition will remain on display until Feb. 4.

David Klein Gallery, 163 Townsend St., Birmingham. 313-818-3416. Free.

Charlie Brown jazz

Pianist and bandleader Cyrus Chestnut brings his band to the DSO’s Orchestra Hall at 8 p.m. Friday for hip and grooving takes on Vince Guaraldi’s classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” jazz score. Chestnut rearranged and reimagined Guaraldi’s adored pieces for his serenely swinging 2000 “Charlie Brown Christmas” album, and those interpretations are the ones Friday night’s audience will hear.

Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 313-576-5111. Tickets starting at $45. The Civic Jazz Orchestra will perform an opening set at 7 p.m. in the Cube; tickets are $15 and can also be purchased at

An art anniversary

Playground Detroit’s contemporary gallery is celebrating five years in the city. During that time, it has had 45 exhibitions showcasing more than 150 artists and attracting thousands of visitors. Their ARCHIVE exhibition, on display through Jan. 31, includes work from the Playground vault by artists who’ve exhibited there. Visitors can also check out a holiday pop-up offering fine art, jewelry, apparel, home goods and more.

Playground Detroit, 2845 Gratiot Ave., Detroit. 313-649-7741. Free. Hours are noon-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

An LGBTQ+ coming-of-age story

Matrix Theatre Company’s “Swimming While Drowning,” running through Dec. 17, follows teenager Angelo Mendez, who leaves his homophobic father’s home and lands in a queer homeless shelter in Los Angeles. Gritty, sweet, funny, heartbreaking and visceral, it’s a tale strongly told by local playwright Emilio Rodriguez that explores the resilience of young gay and trans teens.

Matrix Theatre Company, 2730 Bagley St., Detroit. 313-967-0999. $22; $17 for students, seniors 65 and up, veterans and active military personnel.

Pass the glogg!

Detroit’s Irwin House Gallery will host Glogg & Cookie Sundays on Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. It’s a holiday mixer, with artists and guests encouraged to bring their favorite cookie(s) and enjoy a spiced holiday beverage inspired by Norwegian glogg.

The gallery has also extended artist Donald Calloway’s “Cheap Wine & Chicken” exhibition at its alternate location through the end of the year. Visitors may access the location by coming to the main gallery during regular business hours and from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Irwin House Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. 313-932-7690. Free.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Itzhak Perlman, Rat Pack show, exhibits fill weekend arts calendar