Summer?s movie gems may be beckoning you into an air-conditioned, tricked-out theater, but there will be plenty of time for that come fall. Right now, catch a flick in the great outdoors--with extras that take the experience beyond spreading your blanket on a grassy knoll.
West Side Story at Ravinia Festival, July 17 and 18
You?ve seen the 1961 classic at least a dozen times--and you always snap right along with the Sharks and the Jets. But the twist is hearing Leonard Bernstein?s brilliant score played live by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the stars. Tickets $25 to $50; Ravinia Festival, 200 Ravinia Park Rd.; ravinia.org
Talladega Nights at Lincoln Park Zoo, July 24
Your prayers to baby Jesus have been answered! See Will Ferrell?s NASCAR romp on the South Lawn of the zoo. Upgrade to a VIP package ($29) and you?ll get parking, refreshments and access to the animal houses (plus private bathrooms) included. Free, starts at dusk; 2200 N. Cannon Dr.; lpzoo.org
Newsies and Singin? in the Rain at Morton Arboretum, August 8 and 9
Most drive-ins are history, but the nostalgia lives on. So pack ?em in for the per-vehicle entry fee and check out the schmaltzy 1992 Disney musical Newsies (starring a young Christian Bale) and the funny 1952 Gene Kelly favorite Singin? in the Rain. Singing along is encouraged, of course. $40 per car, 8:30 p.m.; 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle; mortonarb.org