Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Greenhouse Theater Center Hosts CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LATE NIGHT WRITERS ROOM Benefit for Howard Brown Health

Returns To Greenhouse Theater Center
Friday, December 1, 2017
Hosted by Chicago Drag Sensation Dixie Lynn Cartwright

**Recommended for ages 18+**

Following four sell-out performances, CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LATE NIGHT WRITERS ROOM returns for one-night-only on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 10 pm at The Greenhouse Theater Center (Downstairs Mainstage), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.  

The irreverent night of improv comedy is inspired by the popular and politically incorrect party game “Cards Against Humanity.” After audience members pitch their ideas, the best suggestions are acted out by the Cards Against Humanity writers and a team of improvisers. The worst suggestions will be mercilessly ridiculed. 

The evening will be hosted by Chicago drag sensation Dixie Lynn Cartwright, currently appearing in Other Theatre’s annual hit holiday musical BARNEY THE ELF at Greenhouse Theater Center. Tickets, priced at $10, are currently at, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. All proceeds from CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LATE NIGHT WRITERS ROOM will benefit Howard Brown Health. For additional information, visit 

About the Greenhouse Theater Center

The Greenhouse Theater Center is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre.

The Greenhouse Theater began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, after which came 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. This year, the Greenhouse announced a full subscription season, with a mix of multi-character and solo plays. With a focus on our community, the Greenhouse has also launched the Trellis Residency Initiative, an initiative designed to cultivate the next generation of Chicago theatre creators, as well as the MC-10, an ensemble of mid-career playwrights whose works will be included in future Greenhouse programming.

As a performance venue, our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, and to develop and produce their work. In 2016, the Greenhouse announced a new residency program, which offers a reduced rate to local storefront companies while giving the Greenhouse a stake in the resident’s success. We house Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex. 

With new ideas always incubating, the Greenhouse is flourishing. Come grow with us!

EXTENDED: Tracy Letts' The Minutes at Steppenwolf Now Playing Through January 7th, 2018

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Extended By Popular Demand Through January 7!

Steppenwolf Theatre Presents the World Premiere Production of
The Minutes
By Ensemble Member Tracy Letts
Directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro

A Scathing New Comedy about Small-Town Politics and Real-World Power

Now extended through January 7 due to popular demand, Steppenwolf Theatre Company opened the highly anticipated world premiere production of The Minutes by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning ensemble member Tracy Letts last night. Directed by Artistic Director and Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro, The Minutes is a political comedy about small-town politics and real-world power, featuring the return of six ensemble members Kevin Anderson (Mr. Breeding), Ian Barford (Mr. Carp), Francis Guinan (Mr. Oldfield), James Vincent Meredith (Mr. Blake), Sally Murphy (Ms. Matz) and William Petersen (Mayor Superba) with Brittany Burch (Ms. Johnson), Cliff Chamberlain (Mr. Peel), Danny McCarthy (Mr. Hanratty), Penny Slusher (Ms. Innes) and Jeff Still (Mr. Assalone). 

Tickets to the extension ($20-$105) go on sale Friday, November 24 at 1pm through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or Classic and Flex Memberships are still available and offer discounted prices and flexibility; more information at

Added performances of The Minutes include:
Tues, Jan 2, 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 3, 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 4, 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 5, 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 6, 3pm
Sat, Jan 6, 7:30pm
Sun, Jan 7, 3pm

Tracy Letts, the writer of Linda Vista and August: Osage County, debuts a scathing new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power that exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely-held American narratives while asking each of us what we would do to keep from becoming history’s losers.

"The Minutes explores how we define history and the stories that we tell ourselves. Many of our ensemble members have returned to dig into Tracy's funny and surprising new work. Being in the Steppenwolf rehearsal room is one of my favorite places to be, and surrounded by the incredible cast and so many ensemble members—it's simply the best environment a director could ask for," shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro.

This play marks the fifth collaboration between Anna D. Shapiro and Tracy Letts and the seventh play by Letts to premiere at Steppenwolf. This season is also the 10th anniversary of the internationally acclaimed production of Steppenwolf’s August: Osage County by Letts and directed by Shapiro, which also featured ensemble members Ian Barford, Francis Guinan and Sally Murphy who all reunite for The Minutes.

Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor and Steppenwolf ensemble member. He is the author of the plays Linda Vista, Mary Page Marlowe, The Scavenger’s Daughter, Superior Donuts, August: Osage County (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award), Man from Nebraska (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Bug and Killer Joe. Also an actor, he received the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. TV and film credits include Lady Bird, The Lovers, Christine, Elvis and Nixon, The Big Short, HBO’s “Divorce" and two seasons as Andrew Lockhart on Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Anna D. Shapiro is a Tony Award-winning director and Artistic Director of Steppenwolf. She has directed several notable productions at Steppenwolf, including Visiting Edna, Mary Page Marlowe, August: Osage County (2008 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Man from Nebraska, Tracy Letts’s adaptation of Three Sisters, and The Motherf**ker with the Hat (also on Broadway, 2011 Tony nomination for Best Director). Broadway credits include Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, Of Mice and Men and the revival of Steppenwolf’s This Is Our Youth.

About the Cast & Creative Team
Ensemble member Kevin Anderson last performed at Steppenwolf in Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit in 2010 and on Broadway in Come Back Little Sheba; Ian Barford most recently starred in Steppenwolf’s world premiere of Linda Vista and Visiting Edna in the 2016/17 season, and he originated the role of Little Charles in August: Osage County; ensemble member Francis Guinan has appeared in more than 30 Steppenwolf shows, most recently in this season’s The Rembrandt; ensemble member James Vincent Meredith most recently performed in 2015’s Between Riverside and Crazy and in a highly lauded production of Othello at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; ensemble member Sally Murphy was most recently seen in Visiting Edna and Linda Vista and was nominated in 2015 for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance in Three Penny Opera; and ensemble member William Petersen was last seen onstage in both Steppenwolf’s and The Geffen Playhouse’s productions of Slow Girl (2013) and is well known for his Emmy Award-winning performance as Gil Grissom in the CBS drama series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Brittany Burch is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and an ensemble member of the Gift Theatre. This will be Cliff Chamberlain’s 10th production at Steppenwolf, where he was most recently seen in The Herd. Danny McCarthy was in Steppenwolf’s acclaimed production of The Flick and is featured in Lionsgate Films, STRONGER alongside Jake Gyllenhaal. Jeff Still recently starred in the Tony Award-winning Oslo on Broadway. Penny Slusher is well known for her Chicago and regional theatre credits and was in Steppenwolf’s Australian production of August: Osage County.

The Minutes production team includes David Zinn (scenic design), Ana Kuzmanic (costume design), Brian MacDevitt (lighting design) and Andre Pluess (sound design and original music). Additional credits include Christine D. Freeburg (stage manager), Elise Hausken (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director) and Aaron Carter (artistic producer).

Tickets & Membership Info
Single tickets are available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or Previews: $20 – $54 and Regular Run: $20 – $105. Prices subject to change.

20 for $20: Twenty $20 tickets are available on the day of the performance by phone only at 312-335-1650. Limit 2 per person.
Rush Tickets: Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.
Student Discounts: A limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket;

Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season;
Classic Subscription Memberships offer 7-Play Packages securing dates and seats for the full Steppenwolf experience, as well as Create-Your-Own Packages with 5 or 6 plays. Perks include discount prices, easy and free exchanges and more.

Black Card Memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility with six tickets for use any time for any production. Black Card ticket credits are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts for pre- and post-show socializing.

Red Card memberships are available for theatergoers under 30.  To purchase a Card Membership, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit

**Night Out Gift Card** Perfect for both personal and business gifting, it’s easy to warm hearts with the gift of theatre. Night Out Gift Card includes two flexible ticket credits to any Steppenwolf performance and $25 Front Bar gift card for only $179. Limited time offer through January 6, 2018.

Visitor Information & Accessibility
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. The parking facility consists of both a covered garage ($12 cash or card) and an open-air lot, located at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance at 1650 N Halsted St starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12noon before Wednesday matinees. Street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at 312.335.1774.

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance. There is an induction hearing loop in both the main and balcony levels of the Downstairs Theatre and 1700 Theatre.

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks
Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks offering a welcoming, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso by La Colombe with food prepared by Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post-show service.

Sponsor Information
ComEd is the sponsor of The Minutes. United Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor for the 17/18 season.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble of 49 members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf for actors; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration and production training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit,, and

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Holiday Roundup: Chicago Theatre Shows On Our Radar In November/ December

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

Photo Credit for All: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Tis the season for a flurry of theatre in Chicago and shows are a great way to entertain family during the winter break, make memories with visiting guests, and take care of your holiday gift list in style. Theatre tickets make excellent presents that don't add to clutter or end up in a landfill. Think theatre for 2017. Here are some of our top picks here at ChiIL Mama (family friendly) and ChiIL Live Shows (adult). Check back early and often for our theatre news, original reviews, interviews, great ticket giveaways, and photo filled features. Use our side search bar and key words to make life easier.



This Wonderful Life
The Edge Theatre
Written by Steve Murray
Directed by Carmen Roman
Starring James Leaming
November 2 – 26, 2017
Tickets: $19 - $49

Founding Ensemble member and Chicago’s original “George Bailey” James Leaming inhabits every role in this hilariously touching stage adaptation of the iconic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, and the gang come to life as a single actor creates a heartwarming story about the effect one hardworking man’s life has on the people around him.

16th Anniversary Production of
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!
Stage 773
From Frank Capra’s film
Directed by Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside
November 17 – December 30, 2017
Tickets: $19 - $49

For 16 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940s radio broadcast of holiday favorite It’s a Wonderful Life. The incredible cast recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score and holiday carols. The Bedford Falls “residents” extend their hospitality after every performance when audiences are treated to milk and cookies served by the cast.

4450 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4451
The Annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve Show
December 31, 2017

Like all Black Ensemble events, the New Year’s Eve celebration will be an occasion filled with joy and excitement. Guests at the celebration will enjoy a performance by the stars of Black Ensemble Theater, along with great entertainment, fabulous food, dancing with the stars and champagne flowing all night long!

800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL  60611

Q Brothers Christmas Carol
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
Written by Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, Pos)
Developed with Rick Boynton
Directed by GQ and JQ
November 21 - December 31, 2017
Tickets: $30 - $52

Throw your hands up, Chicago—the holiday treat set to a bangin’ beat is back! CST and Chicago hip-hop sensation the Q Brothers—creators of Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin’—turn up the volume on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, mixing everything from reggae, dancehall, and dubstep to epic rock ballads. Brighten your festivities with some cheeky spirit and a whole lot of heart—complete with visits from a Jamaican Jacob Marley and that youngest of Cratchits, Lil’ Tim. The Q Brothers are joined by a live DJ as the ghosts of Hip-hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption.

Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 530-8300

Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences presents
By Charles Dickens
November 15 - December 23, 2017
Tickets: $15

With a lively score and captivating choreography, A Christmas Carol will take families on a timeless holiday adventure with Scrooge as he travels through time with three special ghosts. Over 30 colorful Dickensian characters are brought to life on stage in this uplifting tale of hope and redemption. Complete with falling snow, magical illusions and special effects, the play is a visually-stunning experience, and at one hour long, perfect for children of all ages. On select performance dates, families will have the opportunity to have breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus in Drury Lane's elegantly decorated dining room. Tickets for Drury Lane Theatre productions are available by calling the box office at (630) 530-0111, TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000 or visiting

Thursday, November 23, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $50
            Child 6 to 12 - $16
            Child 3 to 5 - $10
Child 2 and Under - FREE
Leave the cooking to Drury Lane this Thanksgiving! Start your morning off with our seasonal pumpkin chai latte before enjoying traditional favorites like roasted turkey, cranberry and apple stuffing, and roasted butternut squash. Then, stop by our dessert table to indulge in our warm bread pudding with caramel apple sauce or choose from our assortment of seasonal pies.

Saturdays, November 18 & 25 and December 2, 9, 16 & 23
11:00 a.m.
Price:   Adults - $20
            Child 4 to 12 - $15
            Child 3 and Under - FREE

Start your morning with Santa! Join us for our family-friendly breakfast before seeing our production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. Stop by our yogurt bar, make your own donuts, and enjoy our holiday hot chocolate station. Let the little ones write out their holiday wishes in a letter to Santa that we send straight to the North Pole! 

Sundays, November 26 and December 3, 10 & 17
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $50
            Child 6 to 12 - $16
            Child 3 to 5 - $10
Child 2 and Under - FREE
Celebrate the holiday season with our exquisite brunch! From eggnog and cinnamon rolls to green bean casserole and hand-carved roasted turkey, we have all your holiday favorites. Gather around our 20-foot sparkling Christmas tree for a family photo before seeing our toe-tapping production of 42nd Street. Don’t forget to say “hi” to Santa! 

Saturdays, December 2, 9, 16 & 23
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Price:  Adults - $35
Child 4 to 12 - $25
Child 3 and Under - FREE

Take a break from holiday shopping and indulge in our special holiday afternoon tea. Listen to Christmas favorites played by our classical pianist and enjoy seasonal specialties under the twinkling lights of Drury Lane’s festive 20-foot Christmas tree. Featuring freshly baked breads and scones, holiday tea sandwiches, enticing desserts, as well as an assortment of seasonal teas, including harvest apple spice and spiced ginger plum, and hot chocolate for the children. Champagne is also included!
Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
5:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $25
            Child 4 to 12 - $15
            Child 3 and Under - FREE

Treat the whole family to a festive evening with a savory dinner before the December 13th evening performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. Stop by our holiday hot chocolate station before enjoying our seasonal quiche, honey-glazed ham, and whipped potatoes with gravy. Take a photo with Santa (or write him a letter!) and then gather the whole family for a photo in front of our elegant 20-foot Christmas tree!

Monday, December 25, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Price:   Adults - $50
            Child 6 to 12 - $16
            Child 3 to 5 - $10
Child 2 and Under - FREE
On Christmas Day, bring the whole family to our special Christmas Brunch Buffet. Enjoy our elegant holiday decor including a 20-foot tree with sparkling lights. Sip our holiday eggnog or pumpkin chai latte while enjoying our savory Italian sausage with sweet bell peppers and roast prime rib with chestnut stuffing. Satisfy your sweet tooth with our assortment of holiday treats including Christmas cookies, cranberry-apple pie, and warm vanilla bread pudding with caramel bourbon sauce.

Saturday, December 31, 2017
3:00 pm, 3-course meal, $40
6:00 pm, 4-course meal, $70*
9:00 pm, 4-course meal, $65*
6pm and 9pm seatings include a commemorative flute
Ring in 2018 with Drury Lane’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. Gather your friends and indulge in a decadent four-course dinner at Lucille. As midnight approaches, celebrate with a complimentary champagne toast and dancing with our live band until 1 am.  Add to the celebration with a performance of the beloved tap classic 42nd Street.


4450 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4451

Sammy: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr.
Written and Directed by Daryl Brooks
December 9, 2017 - January 21, 2018
Previews: December 9, 10, 15 and 16
Tickets: $45 - $65


Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 530-8300

42nd Street 
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble
Based on the Novel by Bradford Ropes
Original Direction and Dances by Gower Champion
Originally Produced on Broadway by David Merrick
October 26 – December 21, 2017
Tickets: $42 - $62

Tap through this year’s holiday season with the 1980 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, 42nd Street! In this Broadway favorite, aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer lands a bigger break in New York City than expected. When the leading lady injures her ankle, Peggy gets the chance of a lifetime to rise from showgirl to star of a glitzy new Broadway musical. With show stopping tap numbers and unforgettable hits such as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” Warm your Chicago winter with 42ND Street – a love letter to the Great White Way. The creative team and cast for 42nd Street will be announced at a later date. 42nd Street is suitable for all audiences but most enjoyable for ages 5 and up.

821 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0665

Hard Times
Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman
From the Book by Charles Dickens
In Association with The Actors Gymnasium
Playing until January 14, 2018
Featuring Ensemble Members David Catlin, Raymond Fox and Artistic Associate Troy West
Tickets: $40 - $85 ($20 Student Rush Tickets)

Lookingglass launches its 30th Season with the return of the award-winning, circus-infused Hard Times.  

A Dickensian carnival of characters inhabits the streets of smoke-choked Coketown: grim Mr. Gradgrind’s school churns out joyless students; poor Stephen Blackpool toils in the nearby mines; and mill-owner Mr. Bounderby, full of bluster and bombast, presides over it all. Only when a traveling circus alights nearby, and young orphan Sissy Jupe enters their world, does a ray of hope shine through. 

Artistic Director Heidi Stillman adapts and directs this timeless love-letter to the power of beauty, hope, and imagination.  

9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 673-6300

The Book of Will
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Jessica Thebus
November 9 – December 17, 2017

William Shakespeare wrote some of the world’s most beloved plays – but without his friends, they may have been lost to history! Follow the members of Shakespeare’s own company as they cunningly navigate the production of the First Folio in 1623. They may not have any money or clear-cut rights to his work, but they’re armed with wit, humor, a deep camaraderie and a passion to preserve the plays that shaped their lives. With the help of their wives and colleagues, two actors set out not only to print a collection, but to uphold a legacy for the world.

1616 N. Wells St.
(312) 337-3992
The full schedule at The Second City, including holiday programing, is available online.

Dream Freaks Fall From Space

In one of the comedy industry’s most anticipated traditions, iconic Chicago comedy institution The Second City is proud to announce the opening of its upcoming 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall From Space. The all-new show is written and performed by second-time Mainstage cast member Kelsey Kinney and new cast members Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone. Jeff Award winner Ryan Bernier returns to direct his sixth resident show. Vinnie Pillarella returns as music director, as does longtime stage manager Craig Taylor, who has been at the technical helm of shows featuring legendary alumni including Chris Farley, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert over the course of his storied career at The Second City.


Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre
2433 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 871-3000

By Victory Gardens Theater Ensemble Playwright Tanya Saracho
Directed by Teatro Vista Ensemble Member Sandra Marquez
A Co-Production with Teatro Vista
November 4-December 23, 2017
Tickets: $15 - $56

In this witty behind-the-scenes drama, Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a ruthless Hollywood TV series. She soon discovers that the Mexican American custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. Fade, directed by Sandra Marquez, is an acclaimed new play from Tanya Saracho (How to Get Away with Murder, Looking, Girls) whose writing “lands in that sweet spot between comedy and drama” (Chicago Tribune).

325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 242-6000

The Importance of Being Earnest
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam
November 8 – December 23, 2017
Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Tickets: $35 - $80

One of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language, The Importance of Being Earnest introduces us to Jack and Algernon, two charming bachelors who are each living a double life, aided by a fictional alter ego called “Ernest.” But when they fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women, will they be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage? After all, “the one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.”

More Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s The Nutcracker, 
December 2 - 3

The House Theatre of Chicago’s The Nutcracker, 
Through December 30

Lifeline Theatre Kidseries’ Arnie The Doughnut,

Through November 26

Pegasus Theatre Company’s Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, 
November 8 - December 10

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Porchlight Revisits…Woman of the Year, November 14 - 16 at 7:15 p.m.

The Agency Theatre Collective’s Hellcab 
November 11 - December 17

The House Theatre of Chicago’s The Magic Parlour, Open Run, tickets now on sale through July

The Neo-Futurists’ The Infinite Wrench, 

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Billy Elliot
Through December 31

Theatre Y’s Yerma, 
Through December 10

The Factory Theater’s Captain Steve’s Caring Kingdom, 
Through December 9

Pegasus Theatre Company’s Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, 
Through December 10

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Porchlight Revisits…Woman of the Year, November 14 - 16 at 7:15 p.m.

The Agency Theatre Collective’s Hellcab, 
Through December 17

The Neo-Futurists’ Best of 2017: The Infinite Wrench, 
December 1 - 10

Chicago Tap Theatre’s Tidings of Tap!
Sunday, Dec, 10 at 3 p.m.

The Neo-Futurists’ 60 Sings in 60 Minutes: Mayfly’s Childhood Torn Into Traffic Light Cycles, 
December 14 - 16 at 7:30 p.m.

The Neo-Futurists’ New Year’s Party and Performance, 
Sunday, Dec. 31 at 9:30 p.m.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Alice Merton To Play Good Day NY + WGN-TV Chicago, U.S. Tour Starts Today

"No Roots" Currently Top 10 On iTunes, #10 Alt Radio, #6 AAA 

Out Now On Mom + Pop Music,
Over 75M Global Streams

Alice Merton - "No Roots"

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, one of our new favorite songs is Alice Merton's "No Roots". It's crazy catchy and we hope if your roots are in Chi, IL, you have a chance to catch her LIVE tonight at her sold out Schubas show. If not, catch her on WGN tomorrow morning. 

Today Alice Merton embarks on her fall U.S. tour. She plays a sold-out Chicago show tonight and will follow that with a performance on WGN-TV tomorrow morning. Alice will also play Good Day NY early next week.  Last month she was featured In Billboard's 'chartbreaker' section which has previously featured artists such as Cardi B & Khalid.  Ms. Merton continues her rise on the Billboard Alt Radio Top 40 coming in at #10, and is currently #6 at AAA Radio and #7 at iTunes Alternative Charts. The up and coming singer-songwriter recently signed to Mom + Pop Music and earned a major feature on Billboard, which is online now.  Her single "No Roots" has already captured an immense amount of attention with over 75 million global plays on Spotify and YouTube.

Order your tickets for her upcoming U.S. tour here!

11/20 - Chicago, IL - Schubas (SOLD OUT)

11/21 - Kansas City, MO - The Record Bar

11/22 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Jr 

11/24 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada 

11/28 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right 

11/29 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s 

11/30 - Washington, DC - DC9

12/02 - Atlanta, GA - Vinyl

12/09 - San Francisco, CA -  Oracle Arena (Not So Silent Night)

12/11/17 - Los Angeles, CA - The Moroccan Lounge

12/14 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom (December To Remember)

12/16 - Denver, CO - Lost Lake Lounge

12/17 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile

12/05 - MDR Sputnik Radio Concert -  Halle, Germany

"I've got no roots, but my home was never on the ground.“

One whole sentence seems to sum up the life of the English/Canadian singer and songwriter Alice Merton. Four countries and eleven moves later, she starts to take her first independent steps into the music industry. With success - No Roots reached top positions on iTunes, Spotify, Shazam and Hype Machine. In Germany, the song has already reached platinum status and was #1 in the official single charts.

Raised in Canada, finishing high school in Germany, then moving on to England with her family, Alice has gotten quite used to packing and unpacking boxes. With her debut single No Roots, she describes the life of having had many different homes, but comes to the realization that her home was never in one place.

At the age of five she started taking classical piano lessons, four years later she was introduced to vocal training. After spending many years being classically trained, Alice discovered the art of songwriting through one of her high school courses in Germany. She then went on to study songwriting and pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer/songwriter.

During her studies she started working with various producers. Finding the right producer is like finding a missing puzzle piece, you know it's there somewhere, but it takes a really longtime to find." However, after being introduced to Nicolas Rebscher, a Berlin-based producer, she knew she had found her match.

Creating a very analog and organic pop sound, going back to the basics of drum and bass driven music, they combined their individual styles to develop a style of their own. Nicolas Rebscher's arrangements were the perfect addition to Alice's melodies, combining the depth and softness in her voice, with his energetic and charismatic sounds.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

REVIEW: Blistering Lizzie Burns With Intensity as Firebrand's Inaugural Production at The Den Theatre Through 12/17/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 

Firebrand Theatre Presents 
the Chicago Premiere of
Through December 17, 2017 at The Den Theatre

All Production Photos by Marisa KM

Hell hath no fury like a woman sexually abused and about to lose her inheritance to a wicked stepmother. 

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we're loving Lizzie so hard right now, after an epic opening night. With the current public outcry of long silenced victims taking down powerful men who have assaulted and harassed them, this 1892 period piece is terrifically timely. Lizzie has killer punk and metal tunes, along with melodic ballads, an all femme band on stage, and vocals to die for. This powerful production has plenty of mystery, gore, a lesbian love interest, trial lying, intrigue, vindication, revenge, and a scorching score. Firebrand is the scream into the void, and we're so excited they're here.

Liz Chidester as Lizzie, Leah Davis as Bridget, Jacquelyne Jones as Alice and Camille Robinson as Emma are all fantastic, and it's especially enjoyable to see Lizzie evolve from cowering victim to exonerated lady. The set design is sparse but ingenious, with a solidly scary looking wooden throne of a chair serving as many locals. We also loved the symbolism of the entrapped lights in a cluster of hanging bird cages that flickered and flared, paralleling Lizzies love for the pigeons in the barn who met a grizzly end at the hands of her abusive undertaker father, and her own desire to fly free. The costume design is fabulous too, interspersing and ultimately merging late 1800's period piece dresses with corseted, black leather rock looks. Lighting and sound are also quite impressive for a storefront theatre.

Do note, there IS a splash zone in the front row. We had a lively debate on the way home, about just how Firebrand created the faux melon massacre and we're still baffled. Just know it's messy and effective.

Lizzie is a cathartic cacophony of creative energy, colliding art forms, and a magnificent merging of past and present. We highly recommend catching Lizzy and we're eagerly anticipating more from Firebrand. With their first offering, they have certainly lived up to their name.

Firebrand Theatre, the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage, is pleased to present its inaugural production, the Chicago premiere of LIZZIE, the rock musical based on the true-life story of accused axe-murderess Lizzie Borden. LIZZIE will play November 11 – December 17, 2017 at The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets for LIZZIE and season subscriptions (including 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL) are currently available at 

Directed by Victoria Bussert with music direction by Julia A. Miller and Andra Velis Simon and choreography by Janet Louer, LIZZIE features music by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner, book by Tim Maner, additional music by Tim Maner, additional lyrics by Alan Stevens Hewitt, based on an original concept by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner with orchestrations by Alan Stevens Hewitt. 

LIZZIE features Liz Chidester as Lizzie, Leah Davis as Bridget, Jacquelyne Jones as Alice and Camille Robinson as Emma. The late night cast/understudies, who will appear in four 11 pm performances, include Kyrie Anderson as Lizzie, Tatiana Bustamante as Bridget, Elle Walker as Alice and Dakota Hughes as Emma.

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one." So goes the nursery rhyme describing the crime of the century that took the nation by storm when Lizzie Borden murdered her parents with an axe in 1892. Or did she? LIZZIE is a musical that reimagines that bloody legend with four women fronting a female rock band. LIZZIE is American mythology set to a blistering rock score with rage, sex, betrayal and bloody murder. 

Comments Artistic Director Harmony France, “We knew pretty early on that we wanted Lizzie to open our season. It fits our mission perfectly. It's one of the few musicals that feature all women. The characters are flawed and complicated in a way that women don't normally get to portray in musical theatre. There is an unapologetic blistering rock score that will be played by our all femme band. It's sexy and scary and vulnerable and there's a splash zone. The alleged axe-murderess, Lizzie Borden, has captured our imagination for centuries. She is a fascinating historical figure who lived a very unconventional life and she is one of the few women in America responsible for a ‘crime of the century.’ At Firebrand, we are committed to illuminating women's stories whether they're good, bad or ugly – and Lizzie is definitely all of the above.”

The production team for LIZZIE includes: Eleanor Kahn (scenic design), Charlotte M. Yetman (costume design), Maya Michele Fein (lighting design), Victoria Deiorio (sound design), Jon Martinez (assistant director), Danielle Stack (production manager) and Jean E. Compton (stage manager).

Cast: Liz Chidester (Lizzie), Leah Davis (Bridget), Jacquelyne Jones (Alice) and Camille Robinson (Emma).
Late Night Cast/Understudies: Kyrie Anderson (Lizzie) Tatiana Bustamante (Bridget) Dakota Hughes (Emma) and Elle Walker (Alice). 

Location: The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Regular run: Thursday, November 16 – Sunday, December 17, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving Day).

Late Night Performances (featuring understudies): Friday, December 1 at 11 pm, Saturday, December 2 at 11 pm, Friday, December 8 at 11 pm and Saturday, December 9 at 11 pm.

Open Captioned Performances (by Molly Brennan): Sunday, November 26 at 3 pm and Sunday, December 3 at 3 pm

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $45. Late night shows $30. Students $20. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at

About The Creative Team
Victoria Bussert (Director) balances the professional and academic worlds working as an award-winning freelance director while serving as Director of Music Theatre for Baldwin Wallace University.  Her work has been seen at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodspeed Opera, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Dallas Theatre Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Dobama Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Pegasus Players, Beck Center for the Arts, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, among others.  Victoria serves as Resident Director for Cleveland's Great Lakes Theatre and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  She has directed seven national tours including Into The Woods, Once On This Island and The Who’s Tommy. Her international directing credits include The Adventures of Friar Tuck in Russia, the Danish premieres of Avenue Q and [title of show], as well as the European premiere of Lizzie for Fredericia Theatre which moves to London in February 2017. Victoria received a BA in Theatre and Dance from Barat College and an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Julia A. Miller (Music Director) performs as a guitarist with the electroacoustic trio Auris, with Gimlet Eye, and as a frequent soloist and collaborator in experimental and avant garde chamber music. Auris’s current CD has been released on Artco Records (2009). Julia completed the performance half of a double Master of Music in Classical Guitar Performance at Northwestern University, and served as the Jazz, Folk and Contemporary Guitar Department Chair at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she was also a Suzuki Guitar specialist. As a composer, Julia is active with the Chicago Composer’s Consortium and New Music Chicago, and has a CD of acoustic chamber music on the Southport Composer’s label. Julia’s music has been performed by artists including guitarist Fareed Haque, piano trio The Lincoln Trio, guitar and mandolin duo Ahlert & Schwab, and sopranos Toni Arnold and Julia Bentley, and has been featured at such festivals and venues as the Aspen Music Festival, May In Miami, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Depaul University, Northwestern University, and Oberlin University, as well as rock clubs, cabarets, bars and alternative spaces internationally. Julia has received awards and fellowships from the Chicago Tribune Foundation, the New York Art Ensemble, the United Arts Council, the American Composer’s Forum, and Meet the Composer.  Julia has been a member of the composition faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and has also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Sound and Liberal Arts, at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago.

Andra Velis Simon (Music Director) is a music director, adapter, arranger, vocal coach and pianist based in Chicago. Regionally, her work has been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Rep, Olney Theatre Center in Maryland and Three Oaks in Michigan. In Chicago: The Goodman Theatre (The Iceman Cometh and Camino Real), Theater Wit (Mr. Burns: a post-electric play and 10 out of 12), Chicago Children’s Theatre (The Hundred Dresses, A Year with Frog and Toad, Goodnight Moon), The Hypocrites (Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes, American Idiot, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore), Windy City Playhouse, and many others. Andra is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches several musical theatre performance courses, and where she served as the staff Musical Director for the Theatre Department from 2008-2016.

Janet Louer (Choreographer) has been responsible for launching many careers’ over the past 35 years that she has worked in the industry. Some of them are now Artistic Directors, Directors, Agents, Casting directors in Chicago, New York, and all over the country. Janet was the former manager of Tony Award Winner Heather Headley. Janet created the Musical Theatre Division at ATC and is currently the Artistic Director/Creator for Another Door theatre Project; The Ensemble Conservatory, a comprehensive training/performance opportunity for young actors. Janet is the Development Director of a new approach to acting called Acting;out of and through the Human Condition. National Tours: (all under direction of Victoria Bussert) BUDDY (Jeff Award for choreography), Assassins, The Secret Garden, Once On This Island, Barnum, Into The Woods and Anyone Can Whistle. Regional: The Frogs, You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow, Pacific Overtures, Company, Goblin Market, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Little Shop of Horrors, A Little Night Music and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Mission Statement
FIREBRAND THEATRE is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Firebrand is a 501(c)(3) Equity theatre.

Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France, Managing Director: Kimberly Lawson, Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Brenda Didier, Kate Garassino, Emjoy Gavino, Amber Mak, Danni Smith, Company Members: Kasey Alfonso, Sydney Charles, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Carly Glenn, Amanda Horvath, Jon Martinez, Eric Martin, Amelia Jo Parrish and Andra Velis-Simon.

HELP OUT: Gift Gala 2017 REVOLUTIONS Friday, December 1, 2017 at The Copernicus Center

The Gift Theatre is pleased to present its 16th annual benefit, GIFT GALA 2017: REVOLUTIONS on Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6 pm – 10 pm at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. in Chicago. 

Since 2001 and over 70 productions, The Gift Theatre has pioneered the frontiers of the American theatre via the most intimate professional theatre in the country, leading to national acclaim and a cultural revolution on Chicago’s northwest side. Join The Gift family for this celebratory evening at the Copernicus Center, named after the astronomer whose theory about revolutions changed everything. Tickets for GIFT GALA 2017: REVOLUTIONS are currently available at

The elegant evening will feature hors d'oeuvres, irresistible auction items and delectable desserts. Entertainment will include live jazz and classical music, a DJ and dancing and a short performance charting The Gift’s evolving place in the cosmos from Copernicus to NASA, SpaceX and beyond. The evening also includes the presentation of the Sheldon Patinkin Total Gift Award, which recognizes a key supporter and friend of The Gift. The theatre is pleased to announce Greg and Anne Taubeneck will be the recipients of this year's award.

This Gala Co-Chairs include Michelle Boone, Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer at Navy Pier Inc. and Chicago’s First Lady Amy Rule.

The Gala Committee incldues Lori Dimun, Laura Gale, George Karzas, Sharon Martwick, Rita Thornton and Shannon Wallace 


Date/Time: Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6 pm – 10 pm
Location: Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago
Details: Coctkails, hors d'oeuvres and dessert, auction items, live music, a DJ and dancing and a performance. Festive attire encouraged.
Tickets: Individual $150; Table $1500; VIP Table $3000. Tickets are currently available at

Gala food donors include: Gale Street Inn, Community Tavern, Pasta D'arte and Cafe Marbella.

About The Gift Theatre
The Gift’s 17th season consists of Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of Hang Man, directed by ensemble member Erica Weiss (February 9 – April 8, 2018); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Monty Cole (June 1 – July 29, 2018); and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s Cosmologies, directed by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton (October 12 –December 9, 2018). The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or by calling (773) 283-7071. 

THIS SATURDAY 11/18: Free Readings! AstonRep Theatre Company Presents 9th Annual WRITER’S SERIES

Free Readings!
AstonRep Theatre Company Presents 9th Annual
Saturday, November 18 at The Vagabond School of the Arts

AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to present its 9th annual WRITER’S SERIES, a daylong festival of staged readings of new works by local writers. This year’s series will showcase three productions on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 12 pm – 5 pm at The Vagabond School of the Arts, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave. #504 in Chicago. Patrons are invited to attend individual readings – or stay for the entire event. Readers are free – no reservations required. For additional information, visit or call (773) 828-9129.  

The 2017 WRITER’S SERIES Line-Up includes:

12:15 pm
By Lyn Lesch

As Albert Einstein develops his theory of relativity, he and his wife Mileva are growing apart. Michele Besso, a long-time friend to both, acts as an intermediary. The play draws parallels between Einstein’s relativity theory and the couple's evolving perspective of their relationship. They are not only moving apart from each other in space and time, but perceiving their relationship differently as their marriage proceeds. 

1:30 pm
By Lauren Sagendorph

Camryn is a strong but unfocused college student drifting through her life. Her career-driven boyfriend tries to support her but somehow makes her feel lamer by comparison. It takes a real spark in the person of Ellie, a 65 year-old student of life, to shock Camryn out of her daydreams. Ellie introduces Camryn to a world of art, community and passion that sets her on a path to a successful career as an artist in her own right. 

3:00 pm
By Molly Pease

After six years on a deserted island, Natalie is rescued with her companion, a large piece of driftwood named Stick. But when Stick (rebranded STIX) becomes a media darling back in LA, Natalie has to learn how to survive all over again. Stix is more than just a comedy, it is a deeply relevant piece of social satire which explores movement, survival and our misplaced worship of celebrities.

About the Playwrights

Lyn Lesch (Albert and Mileva) was founder and director for 12 years of The Children’s School in Evanston. A progressive, democratically run school, it received widespread attention in the Chicago print and electronic media as a unique approach to education. He has written four books on education reform, published by Rowman & Littlefield; all of them stressing the importance of what occurs inside a student while he or she is learning. He is now working on a book concerning consciousness expansion in the digital age, and recently finished work on a play concerning nihilism/terrorism in the modern world relative to the writer Dostoevsky. 

Lauren Sagendorph (Little Fingers with Red Strings) graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Theatre and Drama with a concentration in Acting and Playwriting in 2016. She is currently working as the Education Programs Manager for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Lauren considers herself a playwright, actor, administrator, educator and model.

Molly Pease (STIX) is a queer southern comedy writer from Atlanta, Georgia. She holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern and Bachelor's degrees in Public Relations and Theatre from the University of Georgia. Molly has done pretty much every form of comedy. During her time at Northwestern, she created original sitcom pilots, plays, screenplays and a sock puppet web series. She helps produce the annual showcase Queergasm at Northwestern. Her full-length play STIX received a stage reading at Northwestern in Spring 2017. Her feature length dramedy Can I Finish? won second place for the Krevoy Screenwriting Award. 

About AstonRep Theatre Company:

AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced 19 full-length productions and eight annual Writers’ Series. AstonRep Theatre Company is an ensemble of artists committed to creating exciting, intimate theatrical experiences that go beyond the front door to challenge audiences and spark discussion where the show is not the end of the experience: it is just the beginning.

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