Labor Day is behind us, school is back in session, and the warm days of summer are dwindling down to a precious few.
Depressed yet? No need to be. September also heralds the arrival of a whole new season of arts and entertainment, and it’s especially exciting this year. After COVID-19 left us with dreary autumns in 2020 and 2021, things are looking up in these final months of 2022. Music stars are playing to packed arenas and stadiums. It’s business as usual at museums and galleries. Theaters and comedy clubs are running at full capacity. At long last, things are starting to feel — dare we say it? — normal.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of a dozen events headed our way between now and mid-November. We’ve focused on big-name shows (Chris Rock, Post Malone, “Hamilton,” Kid Rock), but there’ll be plenty to see at smaller venues, too. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. The entertainment world will be springing to life as the leaves start to fall.
TicketSmarter: Purchase tickets for many of these events here.
So has anything interesting happened to Chris Rock this year? The comedian-actor-filmmaker who was on the receiving end of Will Smith’s Oscar slap seen around the world hasn’t addressed the seismic news in a big sit-down interview yet. But you never know what thoughts he might share during his Ego Death World Tour, due Sept. 16-18 in Detroit. He originally planned a two-day stop in the Motor City, but an extra day became necessary because of high demand. That’s what you call rocking it. Expect Rock’s shows to be one of the hottest tickets around.
Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 313-471-7000. $49.50 and up.
Pine Knob, by whatever name, has been a second home for Kid Rock through the years: By the time he knocks out his latest two-night stand Sept. 16 -17, he’ll have played 38 shows at the Clarkston amphitheater, going back to a three-night run in 2000. Much has changed for Rock since those days. He’s now a Nashville resident, for starters, and politics has made him a divisive figure in 2022. But he’s bound to pull out the stops for a homecoming show, this one part of a tour supporting his spring album, “Bad Reputation.” Classic rock stalwart Foreigner and country singer Trey Lewis will open.
Pine Knob Music Theatre, I-75 at Exit 89, Clarkston. $130-$399.
Detroit Public Theatre kicks off its eighth season Sept. 21 with Tony nominee and Detroit native Dominique Morisseau’s “Mud Row.” Playwright Morisseau, who also serves as DPT’s executive artistic director, shares a tale of two generations of Black sisters coming to grips with heritage and with one another in a play that shifts back and forth between past and present. The play, which is alternately heartbreaking, funny and hopeful, is making its Michigan debut.
Detroit Public Theatre, 3960 Third Ave., Detroit. 313-974-7918. www.detroitpublictheatre.org. Friday-Saturday general admission: $52.50, $40 for ages 30 and younger and 65 and older. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday general admission: $45 and $35.
First on “Politically Incorrect” and now on HBO’s “Real Time,” Bill Maher has thrived on leading provocative conversations (not to mention the multiple Emmy nominations he’s earned for outstanding variety series). But doing stand-up is where Maher got his start and it’s why he’s heading to Detroit on Oct. 8. Here’s guessing he’ll have some divisive jokes about American car companies and the Detroit Lions.
Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 313-471-7000. $39.50 and up.
In 1922, the Detroit Institute of Arts became the United States’ first public museum to purchase a painting by post-impressionist master Vincent Van Gogh with the acquisition of his “Self-Portrait, 1887.” A century later, the museum is marking the occasion with “Van Gogh in America,” an exhibition of approximately 65 paintings and works on paper from collections around the world that will open Oct. 2 and run through Jan. 22. The pieces (and an accompanying essay catalog) will tell the story of America’s introduction to the art icon. This exhibition is exclusive to the DIA, and is sure to draw visitors from around the country and beyond.
Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward., Detroit. 313-833-7900. www.dia.org. $7-29, free for museum members.
The Detroit-born R&B-pop dynamo was breaking out nationally in a major way when she last performed here, playing a pair of 2019 concerts on her Cuz I Love You Tour. With the wind at her back, she undoubtedly would have already made this Little Caesars Arena debut if not for the pandemic, but here she is at last, arriving Oct. 6 as part of the North American tour in support of her colorful summer album “Special.” Fast-rising rapper Latto, the BET Awards’ recently coronated best new artist, is part of an opening slate that includes Saucy Santana.
Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward, Detroit. $75-$149.
If you like movies, TV, comic books or pop-culture collectibles (and, really, that covers 99.9% of people who read entertainment guides, right?), get ready for the Motor City Comic Con, which runs Oct. 14-16. It’s the biggest gathering of its kind in metro Detroit. Although the numerous comic book artists, authors and vendors who’ll be there are the backbone of the show, the Con is also known for bringing celebrities to town for meet-and-greets and photo opportunities. This year’s luminaries include iconic rocker and hometown favorite Alice Cooper, Jamie Farr and Loretta Swit from the classic sitcom “M*A*S*H” and Laurie Holden, aka Andrea from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” And now for an obligatory zap, pow, bam!
Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi. 248-426-8059. www.motorcitycomiccon.com. Adults: $35 Friday and Sunday, $40 Saturday; ages 6-12: $10 Friday and Saturday; free Sunday for ages 12 and under. See website for prices for weekend package, VIP passes, photo opportunities and more.
For his star-studded fourth album, “Twelve Carat Toothache,” Post Malone dressed his tortured-soul confessionals in slick, catchy trimmings for his most pop-leaning effort to date. His accompanying tour, which launches this month, will bring him to Little Caesars Arena on Oct. 1, nearly three years to the day since the Texas-bred rapper-singer played the downtown venue as part of his Runaway Tour.
Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward, Detroit. $80-$229.
Wynton Marsalis’ epic blues suite “All Rise (Symphony No. 1),” due in Ann Arbor on Oct. 14, will combine the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, the University of Michigan Choirs and the University Musical Society Choral Union to breathe life into 12 movements addressing “togetherness and ascendance” of humanity through jazz. The piece pulls together influences ranging from gospel and African chant to New Orleans parade music and Latin music. Marsalis has said it’s about “the rise from destruction to creativity, drawing joy out of tragedy and refusing to be beaten down.”
University of Michigan Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-764-2538. www.ums.org. $18 and up.
America’s hottest musical returns to Detroit when Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” hits the Fisher Theatre from Nov. 15 through Dec. 4. The internationally acclaimed hip-hop stage biography of American founding father Alexander Hamilton will dazzle audiences for nearly three weeks, including an open-caption performance Nov. 20 and an ASL performance Nov. 27. After debuting off-Broadway, the 2015 Broadway production snagged 11 Tony Awards, seven Olivier Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Don’t throw away your shot —“Hamilton” is a can’t-miss event.
Fisher Theatre, 3011 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit. 313-872-1000. $100 and up.
It’s easy to go out on a limb and call Kathleen Madigan the funniest woman in stand-up comedy. But that obscures another fact: She is arguably the funniest person currently working in the art form. Instead of pursuing sitcoms and rom-coms, Madigan has stuck to the old-school practice of standing in front of a microphone and making crowds of people laugh. And thank goodness for that. She mines politics, Irish Catholic families, daily life, you name it, for comic gold. Her Do You Have Any Ranch? Tour arrives here Oct. 22.
Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. 4th St., Royal Oak. $34.75-$59.75. Ages 18 and up.
Fifty-seven years after their single “I Can’t Explain” turned up on the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 music chart, those “hope I die before I get old” rockers Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are keeping the Who legend alive with the Who Hits Back!, their 2022 tour. Expect Townshend, 77, and Daltrey, 78, to raid their treasure trove of hits dating to 1964 while also drawing from their most recent album, “WHO,” released in December 2019 on the eve of the COVID-19 shutdown. They’re due Oct. 4 at Little Caesars Arena, site of their last Detroit show in May 2019.
Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward, Detroit. $41 and up.