Monday, March 20, 2023

49th Anniversary Jeff Awards for Non-Equity Theater March 27th at Park West

Chi, IL Live Awards Shows On Our Radar



An evening of major celebration is planned for the Chicago theater community Monday, March 27th, at Park West in Chicago with the 49th Anniversary Jeff Awards for Non-Equity Theater. One of the biggest parties of the theater season with ticket sales nearly sold out, this is the first live Non-Equity awards ceremony for the Jeff Awards since 2019.

I'll be there covering non-equity "theatre prom" for and Follow along in real time on our social media channels and/or catch our recap after.

The evening will begin at 6:00pm with a Red Carpet event hosted by two-time Jeff Award Nominee and 2020 Ceremony Host Parker Guidry. Guests striking a pose will include award nominees, theater industry luminaries, and future stars of the Chicagoland theater community. Be sure to follow @thejeffawards on Instagram for photos and updates through the evening.

And the party will continue directly following the awards ceremony with Park West hosting the After Party of music, dancing, and community celebration with a cash bar available.

The 49th Anniversary Non-Equity awards spotlight 167 theater artists across 28 categories of excellence in theater production among shows from 30 companies. Award nominations honor the dedicated artists, behind the scenes teams and theater companies producing during the most recent Non-Equity season which was extended due to the pandemic, running from July 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022.

This year’s program is hosted by award-winning entertainers Honey West and Mitchell J. Fain and under the direction of Adrian Abel Azevedo and with music direction by Dr. Michael McBride. Tommy Novak is the announcer. The production team also includes Emily Marrazzo (stage manager) and Kevin Vilchez (assistant stage manager), musicians Harper Caruso (guitar) and Ben Heppner (percussion), along with Jeff Ceremony Ambassadors Alix Rhode and Quinn Simmons.


General Admission tickets are $65 (includes $50 ticket + required fees) and available at A group rate of $54 (includes $40 ticket + required fees) is available for parties of 10 or more. Information can also be found on social media including Facebook (Jeff Awards), Instagram (@thejeffawards) and Twitter (@josephjefferson).

The Jeff Awards website,, lists all the current nominees, along with previous recipients and nominees as well as other Jeff Awards information and news.

Names of award recipients will be released immediately following the ceremony March 27th by email and on our website under Non-Equity Awards at


The Jeff Awards is one of the most active and engaged theater awards organizations in the country evaluating hundreds of theatrical productions annually and holding two awards ceremonies highlighting work over the past Equity and Non-Equity seasons. Through our recommendations, awards, and honors we help foster the growth of companies, encourage artists, bring new appreciation for diverse storytelling, and cultivate civic pride in the achievements of the Chicago theater community. Originally chartered in 1968 to recognize Equity productions, the Jeff Awards Non-Equity Wing was established in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theatre. For more information, visit

Thursday, March 16, 2023

REVIEW: TINA- THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL at the James M. Nederlander Theatre Through April 2, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar


Produced in association with Tina Turner

Written by Tony Award nominee, Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award-winner Katori Hall


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

"This is literally the best show I've ever seen." My friend, Teresa exclaimed as the audience rose en masse, for a rousing standing ovation, at the press opening for TINA- THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL at Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre. 

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara, and sisters Catherine and Teresa Hellmann, at the press opening of  TINA- THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL at Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre

The energy was palpable and the kudos well deserved. It's no easy feat playing a living legend, particularly one with powerhouse vocals and such a striking presence. Tina Turner's real life story is at once as tragic and triumphant as any Shakespearian masterpiece and Zurin Villanueva and Ari Groover share the role to bring this tale to life in style. We caught Villanueva on opening night and she was stunningly talented in this challenging role.

Zurin Villanueva as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL. 

All Production Photos by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Ike Turner (Garrett Turner) is also exceptionally well played as the villain we loved to hate. Though his audacious abuse is hard to watch and may be triggering for some, it's a story that can't be glossed over, and a cautionary tale of toxic masculinity that's still all too common an occurrence. 

Garrett Turner as 'Ike Turner' and Roz White as 'Zelma'

In the early years and again at curtain call, accompanying her older self, Young Anna-Mae (Ayvah Johnson) stole the show with her incredible voice and a confidence far beyond her years. Roz White as Zelma Bullock, Lael Van Keuren as Rhonda, and particularly Ann Nesby as Gran Georgeanna are standouts as well

Ayvah Johnson as 'Young Anna-Mae' and the cast of the North American touring production of 


Zurin Villanueva as ‘Tina Turner’ and Ann Nesby as 'Gran Georgeanna' 

One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner has won 12 Grammy Awards and her live shows have been seen by millions, with more concert tickets sold than any other solo performer in music history.

It's a joy to see a rags to riches story this empowering, where Anna-Mae/Tina, a child abandoned by both parents, a young woman physically and psychologically abused by her husband, and a single, middle aged mom struggling to make a comeback in a racist, sexist, agest industry, not only survives but thrives. Don't miss this! ★★★★ Four out of four stars.

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, artist, and Mama to 2 amazing adults. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Photo Credit: B. Kenaz-Mara

"Writer Katori Hall has created A MUSICAL THEATER MASTERPIECE.” 

– Amsterdam News

TINA - THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, the electrifying production produced in association with Tina Turner and written by Katori Hall is now playing a limited engagement at the James M. Nederlander Theatre through April 2, 2023. Tickets are on sale at Additional ticket information and the performance schedule are below. 

The cast is led by Zurin Villanueva (The Lion King, Mean Girls, Shuffle Along, The Book of Mormon) and Ari Groover (TINA Broadway, Head Over Heels, Holler If Ya Hear Me) who will evenly share the role of Tina Turner, each playing four (of eight) performances a week. Groover will play the full run in Chicago, stepping in for Naomi Rodgers who is on a temporary leave from the show. Also starring are Garrett Turner as Ike Turner, Roz White as Zelma Bullock, Ann Nesby as Gran Georgeanna and Lael Van Keuren as Rhonda. 

Ann Nesby as 'Gran Georgeanna' 

All Production Photos by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade 


A story that needs to be shared, especially today.” 

– ABC News

The ensemble includes Daelyanna Kelly Benson, Antonio Beverly, Taylor A. Blackman, Karen Burthwright, Aliyah Caldwell, Lillian Charles, Max Falls, Zachary Freier-Harrison,  Reyna Guerra, Gordia Hayes,  Andre Hinds, Takia Hopson, Ayvah Johnson, Geoffrey Kidwell, Parris Mone’t Lewis, Nia Nelson-Williams, Gracie Phillips, Nicole Powell, Terance Reddick, Shari Washington Rhone, Jacob Roberts-Miller, Aniya Simone, Chris Stevens, Jeff Sullivan, and Carlton Terrence Taylor. 

“It has been years since I toured the US and I am very excited that my own musical can now bring my music and story to my fans in their home cities across America. It’s a homecoming and that is very special to me,” said Tina Turner.

“We are delighted to begin this next chapter for TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL. The North American tour will see the show enjoy its sixth production around the world since opening in the West End in 2018, which is testimony to Tina’s extraordinary legacy. This tour clearly has special resonance for Tina herself, and now more than ever we can’t wait to uplift audiences across America with her joyful and triumphant story," the producers, Tali Pelman from Stage Entertainment and Jimmy Nederlander said. “We can’t wait to introduce America to the two megawatt superstars—Ari Groover and Zurin Villanueva — who will share the role of Tina, Garrett Turner in the role of Ike, and the incredibly talented company who are hitting the road on tour!"

Garrett Turner as 'Ike Turner'


– The Daily Beast

Produced by Stage Entertainment, James L. Nederlander and Tali Pelman, in association with Tina Turner, TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL was written by Tony Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is directed by Tony Award nominee Phyllida Lloyd with choreography by Tony Award nominee Anthony van Laast, set and costume designs by Tony Award nominee Mark Thompson, musical Music Supervision, Arrangements & Incidental Music by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Tony Award nominee Bruno Poet, sound by Tony Award nominee Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Tony Award nominee Jeff Sugg, orchestrations by Tony Award nominee Ethan Popp, wigs, hair and makeup design by Drama Desk Award winner Campbell Young Associates, and casting by The Telsey Office.  


– NY Times

Zurin Villanueva performing _Higher_ as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL.


An uplifting comeback story like no other, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll.  

Zurin Villanueva as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of 


This new musical, based on the life of legendary artist Tina Turner and presented in association with Tina Turner herself, received its world premiere in April 2018 in London, where it opened to five-star reviews and has broken box office records at the Aldwych Theatre. In March 2019, the German production opened at Stage Operettenhaus in Hamburg, and the Dutch production opened at the Beatrix Theater, Utrecht, in February 2020. A third European production opened in the Fall of 2021 at the Teatro Coliseum in Madrid, Spain.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL originally opened on Broadway on November 7, 2019, and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The production reopened at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on October 8, 2021, following the 18-month industry-wide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Broadway production ended performances Sunday, August 14.

Produced by Stage Entertainment and Ghostlight Records and featuring the original London cast, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical: Original Cast Recording is available worldwide on CD, both online and in stores. The CD features a 20-page booklet, which includes liner notes, synopsis, and production and studio photography. The album was recorded in February 2019 at Angel Studios and RAK Studios, produced by the show’s Music Supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck and Kurt Deutsch and co-produced by Tom Kelly. To download or stream the album or order the CD, please visit

When she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in October 2021, Tina Turner became one of only three women in the institution’s history to be inducted twice (she was initially inducted in 1991 alongside Ike Turner).

Garrett Turner as 'Ike Turner'

Zurin Villanueva performing as ‘Tina Turner’ and Garrett Turner as 'Ike Turner'

The Emmy-nominated feature documentary TINA is now available to stream on HBO Max. A revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, TINA charts her improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life, and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s. The feature documentary is from Academy Award-winning directors Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin, and Lightbox, the production company founded by Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn, together with Emmy-nominated producer Diane Becker.


Ticket prices range from $52.50 -$152.50 with a select number of premium tickets available. Individual tickets are available by visiting, or going to any Broadway In Chicago venue box office. Tickets are available for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing

Follow @TinaBroadway on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 22 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District, entertaining up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop, including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre.

For more information, visit

Follow @broadwayinchicago on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok

@broadwaychicago on Twitter



Zurin Villanueva as ‘Tina Turner’ in the North American touring production of TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

THE WHITE CITY: AN AUDIBLE EXHIBITION ON H.H. HOLMES, MURDERER Via A Theater in the Dark March 14, 15, and 16 prior to general release on March 30, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  

Audio Play 


Original thriller by Rick Kinnebrew will premiere with three live online broadcasts on March 14, 15, and 16 prior to general release on March 30

The third and final audio production of A Theater in the Dark’s 2022-23 digital season will be the original audio play THE WHITE CITY: AN AUDIBLE EXHIBITION ON H.H. HOLMES, MURDERER by Evanston-based playwright Rick Kinnebrew, directed by Corey Bradberry. WHITE CITY is a theatrical thriller surrounding the notorious Chicago serial killer H. H. Holmes, who is said to have murdered more than 20 people during the World’s Columbian 1893. The story focuses on the victim of the only murder for which Holmes was convicted, that of his business partner Ben Pitezel. A Theater in the Dark Artistic Director Corey Bradberry is directing the original script by Kinnebrew, author of the screenplay for the Windy City Film Festival finalist FOG CITY and the play TEN DOLLAR HOUSE. The production will feature an original musical score composed and performed by Nick Montopoli and sound design created by Jake Sorgen, engineered by Bradberry.  THE WHITE CITY: AN AUDIBLE EXHIBITION ON H.H. HOLMES, MURDERER will be launched with live public preview performances online at 8 pm (Central Daylight Time) on March 14, 15, and 16; and a recording of the production will be available online for an open-ended run beginning March 30, 2023. 

Access to the three live performances on March 14, 15 and 16 at 8 pm (CDT) will be available on a pay-what-you-can basis, and patrons who pay $15.00 or more for a live preview will also receive a free download of a recorded version of the audio play. The recording of the production will be available on demand as a stream or download for $12.99 per stream or download. 

Ethan Carlson, who recently completed a run in the ensemble of the bloody SWEENEY TODD with Kokandy Productions where he also understudied the role of the villainous Judge Turpin, will play the murderous H.H. Holmes in WHITE CITY. Holmes’ doomed business partner Ben Pitezel will be played by Keenan Odenkirk, seen last year as Nick in Invictus Theatre’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Annie Beaubien, who played Josephine Strong in Surging Films and Theatrics’ Jeff-nominated ensemble of URINETOWN, has been cast as Pitezel’s long-suffering wife Carrie. Dylan Walker – a recent transplant to Chicago from Texas whose roles have ranged from Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR to Jeff in SUBURBIA, will play Hatch - a carnival barker who serves as the narrator of the audio play.

Brian Parry, a Jeff award winner who has seven Jeff nominations for roles ranging from Willy Loman to Richard Nixon, will be heard as Frank Geyer, the detective who finally stops Holmes’s murder spree. Playing others caught in Holmes’ web are Erin Lin (of A Theater in the Dark’s A MURDER IN THE COURT OF XANADU) as Holmes’ office girl Emie Cigrand; Katherine Jordan (of Red Theater’s production of VINEGAR TOM) and Robin Fertitta as Julia and Ned Connor, a couple who make the mistake of renting a space for their jewelry store from Holmes; and Taylor Wilkes (whose resume includes A.R. Gurney’s THE DINING ROOM) as Holmes’ accomplice Quinlan.

Top Row L-R: Annie Beaubien, Ethan Carlson, Robin Fertitta.

Middle Row L-R: Katharine Jordan, Erin Lin, Keenan Odenkirk.

Lower Row L-R: Brian Parry, Dylan Walker, Taylor Wilkes.

A Theater In The Dark emerged in fall 2019 with its innovative in-person production of its original noir thriller THREE STORIES UP, performed for audiences sitting in complete darkness, When the COVID pandemic shut down all live performances in 2020, the company was perfectly positioned to pivot to streaming productions of audio plays. Returning to the traditions of the golden age of radio, they received critical acclaim and popular success with their live audio play productions of A WAR OF THE WORLDS, A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN THE DARK, and A WHITE WHALE. Their previous productions of the 2022-23 season are the noir comedy-mystery A MATTER OF RED HERRINGS and the mystery A MURDER IN THE COURT OF XANADU.

The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES said A Theater in the Dark’s 2021 A WHITE WHALE (an original adaptation of Melville’s MOBY DICK) was “packed from stem-to-stern with some of the best, most evocative writing I’ve heard from a theater this year.” The production was honored with the “Critics Choice Award” of the 2021 Atlanta Audio Fringe Festival and the “Best Audio Production” at the 2021 Thornhill Theatre Festival.

Live online preview broadcasts Tuesday, March 14; Wednesday, March 15; Thursday, March 16; at 8 pm each evening. All access for previews is Pay What You Can. Those who pay $15.00 or more for preview performances will be given access to the recorded version to be released Thursday, March 30. Virtual tickets for either the previews or the recorded version can be purchased at

WHITE CITY is a theatrical thriller surrounding the notorious Chicago serial killer H. H. Holmes, who is said to have murdered more than 20 people during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The story focuses on the victim of the only murder for which Holmes was convicted, his business partner Ben Pitezel.


Corey Bradberry (Director, Producer)is a Chicago-based director and producer, Producing Artistic Director of A Theater in the Dark, and a Faculty Member at The Second City Training Center. Most recently, Corey directed and produced A Theater in the Dark’s fall drama A MURDER IN THE COURT OF XANADU and earlier this year, served as Production Manager for A Red Orchid Theatre’s Equity-Jeff-Award-winning production of The Moors(Best Production, Mid-Sized). In summer 2021, Corey directed SHIPWRECKED!: AN ENTERTAINMENT at Oil Lamp Theatre which won 2021 Broadway World Chicago Awards for “Best Director”, “Best Play”, and “Best Production”. Corey’s audio play A WHITE WHALE, which he wrote and directed, won top prizes at the 2021 Atlanta Audio Fringe Festival and Thornhill Theatre Festival; and also directed A Theater in the Dark’s hit original audio play A WAR OF THE WORLDS. Corey has assistant directed with major institutions including the Second City and Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Corey is a 2015 Kennedy Center National Directing Fellow and was awarded the 2013 Emerging Artist Award from the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Education: M.F.A. Directing; B.A. Theatre & Performance Studies. Additional Training: Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Second City Advanced Directing program. Instagram: @corey.bradberry.

Rick Kinnebrew (Playwright)

As a beloved children’s librarian, Rick tells stories, teaches storytelling, and designs play scenarios. His stage plays and radio plays have reached audiences from Chicago to New Orleans. He is the author of TEN DOLLAR HOUSE (Pride Films & Plays; Broom Street Theater; Mineral Point Opera House). The screenplay FOG CITY--a superhero story set in alt-history California--was a Windy City Film Festival finalist and a top 10% finisher for the Nicholl Fellowship. He is currently enrolled in UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

About A Theater in the Dark 

Inspired by hard-boiled paperback novels and the radio mystery plays of the ‘30s and ‘40s, A Theater in the Dark invites audience members to tune out today’s visual barrage and explore three dimensional soundscapes combining the human voice, recorded sound, and live foley effects to create a theatre experience audiences will never forget. Exceptional in engaging the audience, A Theater in the Dark creates stories through sound - producing both in-person pitch-black theatre experiences and immersive audio plays. Their online audio dramas have broadcast LIVE to listeners in 40 states, 8 Canadian provinces, and 12 countries! Their stories use compelling characters, descriptive language, and stunning soundscapes to pierce through the dark.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Congo Square Theatre Hosts 'Celebration of Healing' - Free Community Events Exploring Healthcare Inequality

Congo Square Theatre Company hosts Celebration of Healing programming in conjunction with 

World Premiere of How Blood Go

The Chi’s Yolonda Ross hosts FREE expert-led community events that raise awareness of racial disparities in health care.

Congo Square Theatre Company (Congo Square) proudly announces the latest iteration of its Celebration of Healing programming initiative, to be held in conjunction with the World Premiere of How Blood Go by Cleveland-based playwright Lisa Langford, presented at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater (1700 N. Halsted Street) as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series March 11 - April 23, 2023. How Blood Go analyzes the past, present, and future of racial inequality in America’s healthcare system; the Celebration of Healing programming, will examine the real-world implications of the biases articulated in the play.

Founded during Congo Square’s production of What to Send Up When It Goes Down in Fall 2022, Celebration of Healing is an initiative that collaborates with Congo Square’s annual productions to provide audiences with a curated space geared toward individual and community healing. The Celebration of Healing is one of five artist projects commissioned by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for We Will Chicago – the first citywide plan since 1966. We Will is the first-ever plan to be rooted in equity and resiliency and to be drafted by residents and community leaders. The Celebration of Healing connects to the goals residents shared addressing systemic inequities in public health, and exemplifies how artists and cultural organizations bring attention and resources to the issues most important to Chicago communities.

These free in-person and digital events will take place during the run of How Blood Go and include film screenings, panel discussions and community conversations led by experts in the field. All Celebration of Healing events are free and open to the public, registration is required for all events. For in-person events, attendees without access to transportation can arrange to have free transport to the events through the registration link. To register for a Celebration of Healing event, visit

Celebration of Healing Events:

In-person Film Screenings + Community Conversations


Power to Heal

Date: March 29, 6:00 PM

Location: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St., Claudia Cassidy Theater

Host: Yolonda Ross (The Chi & How Blood Go Cast)

Facilitator: Jhmira Alexander, MPH (Executive Director, Public Narrative)

Panelists: Barbara Berney, PhD (Producer, Power to Heal), Paris Thomas, MS, MCHES, PhD (Executive Director, Equal Hope at RUSH Medical University), Margie Schaps, MPH (Executive Director, Health and Medicine Policy)

Power to Heal is an hour-long public television documentary that tells a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans. Central to the story is the tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country in a matter of months.

The Healthcare Divide

Date: April 5, 2023, 6:00 PM

Location: Equal Hope, 300 S Ashland Ave #202

Host: Yolonda Ross (The Chi & How Blood Go Cast)

Facilitator: Jhmira Alexander, MPH (Executive Director, Public Narrative)

Panelists: Laura Sullivan (Correspondent, NPR Investigates), Sista Yaa Simpson (Community Epidemiologist and Bioethicist, TACTS-The Association of Clinical Trials Services), Paris Thomas, MS, MCHES, PhD (Executive Director, Equal Hope) 

FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the growing inequities in American healthcare exposed by COVID-19. The Healthcare Divide examines how pressure to increase profits and uneven government support are widening the divide between rich and poor hospitals, endangering care for low-income populations.


Date: April 12, 6:00 PM

Location: TBD

Host: Yolonda Ross (The Chi & How Blood Go Cast)

Facilitator: Jhmira Alexander, MPH (Executive Director, Public Narrative)

Panelists: Anya Tanyavutti (Executive Director, Changing Worlds), Lakeesha Harris (Executive Director, Chicago Volunteer Doulas), Kalynn Dunn, MA, LPC (Assistant Executive Director, Caris Pregnancy Counseling and Resources), Jeanine Valrie Logan (Midwife & Lead Steward, Chicago Southside Birth Center)

Aftershock––Following the preventable deaths of their loved ones due to childbirth complications, two families galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises of our time – the US maternal health crisis.


Virtual Webinars

From March 23 – April 27, every Thursday at 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM, Public Narrative will present a webinar series dedicated to holistic public health conversations that generate solutions to improve health systems in Chicago. In this 6-part webinar training series journalists, researchers, care givers, patients and other community members will explore findings of Chicago-based community engaged research studies for communities experiencing health disparities and other implications to public health. To register for the webinar series, visit

Talk Forwards

In addition to these public events, audience members attending Sunday matinee performances of How Blood Go on March 26, April 2, and April 9 can participate in Talk Forward discussions with artists and community members immediately following the performance.



Celebration of Healing events are made possible through partnerships with DCASE, DPD, We Will Chicago, Public Narrative, Equal Hope at RUSH Medical Center, and the Center for Health Equity Transformation at Northwestern Medicine. How Blood Go and the Celebration of Healing are partially funded by The Celebration of Healing are partially funded by the Venturous Theatre Fund of the Tides Foundation. Additional funding for the webinar series comes from the MacArthur Foundation and Northwestern Medicine.


About How Blood Go

How Blood Go weaves the present and past together to explore the strained relationship between the healthcare system and African Americans in this country. Just when Quinntasia is ready to take her wellness program, Quinntessentials, to market, she learns that her healthy body is not the product of her hard work, but of a futuristic experimental device—activated without her consent—that makes her appear White to doctors and nurses. She must decide if she’s willing to give up her Blackness to make her dream come true. Meanwhile, Bean and his brother, Ace, experience unethical medical treatment in the American South (the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment 1930-1970). Under the direction of Tiffany Fulson, the How Blood Go cast features Congo Square Ensemble Member Ronald L. Conner (Ace) and The Chi star Yolonda Ross (Didi). I'll be out for the press opening March 19th, so check back soon for my full review.

How Blood Go will be performed March 11 - April 23. Tickets, priced at $25 for preview performances and $35 for all other performances ($20 for seniors and students), are now on sale by calling 312-335-1650 or visiting

Congo Square continues its radical generosity model partnering with community organizations throughout the city to donate up to half of all tickets for every performance. To learn more about discounted community partner tickets, please email


About the organizations

Congo Square Theatre Company is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative work rooted in the African Diaspora. Congo Square is a haven for artists of color to challenge and redefine the theatrical canon by amplifying and creating stories that reflect the reach and complexities of Black Culture.

Public Narrative is a Chicago-based nonprofit that facilitates training, programming and resource building focused on cultivating media literacy, uplifting community voices in media, and shifting narratives around public health, public safety, and public education.

LookOut is Steppenwolf’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends.

We Will Chicago is Chicago’s first citywide plan since 1966. The plan is a strong, community-driven, and data-informed 10-year vision for Chicago that is rooted in the principles of equity and resiliency. Drafted by hundreds of residents, community based organizations, and city staff, the plan was adopted unanimously by the Chicago Plan Commission in February 2023. “We Will Chicago” consists of more than 40 goals and 150 objectives to guide the City’s governance across eight “planning pillars” for the next decade. The pillars include Arts & Culture; Environment, Climate & Energy; Housing & Neighborhoods; Lifelong Learning; Public Health & Safety; Transportation & Infrastructure; Civic & Community Engagement; and Economic Development. To learn more and read the plan, visit

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

FLASH GIVEAWAY: WIN Tickets To The Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival March 9-12, 2023, at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar   

Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival


ENTER AT THE END OF THIS POST FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A Pair of Tickets to Any Adult Circus Act! and/or 

A Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Any Family Show 

March 9-12 at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre, Opening Gala March 9

Chicago-Based Ensembles Offer Circus, Burlesque, Dance & Comedy

Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, the Windy City’s newest multidisciplinary fest, will run March 9-12, 2023, at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre at 1331 N. Milwaukee. Thirteen unique performances from Chicago-based companies include traditional circus acts, avant-garde sideshow and burlesque offerings, family-friendly juggling and clowning shows, queer-themed work, plus several evening-length pieces that also include dance. Several shows are double features: twice the fun for the same price!

Single tickets are $15-40 and are available online or at 773-697-3830. The lobby features cashless cocktails from the newly renovated Haven Lounge before and after performances. The Opening Gala is on March 9, from 6-10 PM and includes vendor tables from local businesses and Chicago circus schools, door prize giveaways, and a silent auction. Exclusive previews for media and donors will be performed throughout the night. Metered street parking is available, and the apps ParkChicago, Spot Hero, Park Whiz, and Parq Ex are recommended to secure a spot. The venue is also accessible to the Blue Line (north of Division, south of Damen stops) and via various bus routes. The Festival’s media sponsors are The Actors Gymnasium and CircusTalk.



Thursday, March 9

Heath Mainstage & Lobby: 

6:00-10:00 pm Opening Gala: Show previews for media and donors, silent auction, local vendors.


Friday, March 10

Bookspan Stage: 

6:00-7:30 pm Creature Double Feature by Such Creatures (circus + dance fusion, queer-themed)

7:45-9:15 pm BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (classic circus cabaret, all BIPOC cast)

9:30-11:00pm the Back Side Show by Yes Ma’am Circus (side-show, burlesque, circus, ages 18+)


Saturday, March 11 

Bookspan Stage: 

12:45- 2:15 pm Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature by Luther Bangert & Dinder Brothers’ Circus (juggling solo show, family circus troop, side-show, family friendly)

2:30- 4:00 pm Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader by Raphael Entertainment (solo juggling + solo magic, family friendly)

4:15- 5:45 pm BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (classic circus cabaret, all BIPOC cast)

6:00- 7:30 pm Autobiography of a Late Bloomer by Lucid Banter Project (dance, queer-themed, ages 13+)

7:45- 9:15 pm Circus Dungeon Crawl by Yes Ma’am Circus (circus cabaret, burlesque, nerd-themed, ages 18+)

9:30- 11:00 pm Queer Double Feature: And They Were Shipmates, A Queer Pirate Romance Adventure & Queer Dance Freakout by Counterfeit Combat & Gender Fucked Productions


Sunday, March 12 

Heath Mainstage: 

10:30 am- 12:00 pm Serious Cirque by Duo Refraction+ (circus, clown, family friendly)

12:15- 1:45 pm Circus Cabaret of Wonder by the Amazing Prizzini Brothers (classic circus cabaret, clowning, family friendly)


Bookspan Stage: 

12:15- 1:45 pm Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader by Raphael Entertainment (solo juggling + solo magic, family friendly)

2:00- 3:30 pm Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature by Luther Bangert & Dinder Brothers’ Circus (juggling solo show, family circus troop, side-show, family friendly)


The Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ Circus Cabinet of Wonder: The Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ classic circus cabaret features family-friendly circus acts and clowning. The goal is simple: to make the audience complicit in the mischief. 

Autobiography of a Late Bloomer: Lucid Banter Project presents Autobiography of a Late Bloomer, a collection of work created over a span of 15 years, following the choreographer's coming-out journey. Following Paula, Lucid Banter Project's director, through professional growth, family drama, religious realizations, sexual awakenings, relationship highs and lows, injury, and emotional abuse, the audience is brought along through the experiences, emotions, and growth of a late bloomer lesbian.

BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest Showcase: This circus cabaret features circus artists of Color as they share individual stories that depict human emotions and unique challenges faced by POC in contemporary America. Disciplines will include rope, straps, aerial hammock, diabolo, and silks. For ages 13+

The Back Side Show: Produced by Yes Ma'am Circus, the Back Side Show features burlesque, sideshow, and variety acts from around Chicago. For ages 18+

Circus Dungeon Crawl: Yes Ma’am Circus’ longest running cabaret! Come see the Chicago debut of Circus Dungeon Crawl, previously only shown to the elite crowd of gamers at GenCon in Indianapolis! Journey with Marcus the Bard as they attempt to drink, seduce, and thieve their way through the Multiverse, along with a cast of aerialists, clowns, and burlesque dancers.

Creature Double Feature: Creature Double Feature brings you not one, but TWO new works by Such Creatures Co-Directors Luke Greeff & Ashaand Simone. Missile Kid by Luke Greeff shows a punk-rock apocalyptic horror movement suite on unmasking the Autistic soul within the confines of an Allistic world … or a dancey existential crisis to good tunes… you decide. intimate youniverse by Ashaand Simone transports the audience into an 8-bit arcade world where they’re in charge of helping the protagonist’s disparate parts work towards some amount of peace. In doing so, they will learn firsthand what it looks like to re-wire the brain away from the impacts of (Complex) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and towards acceptance of intimacy and connection.

Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature: A family friendly double feature. A solo contemporary juggling show performed by Luther Bangert, Distillations takes the audience on a multimedia and multidimensional journey through the anatomy of a moment, investigating causality, and emerging into the ground state of the juggling universe. Dinder Brother's Circus is proud to present the "DONT TRY THIS AT HOME SHOW!!!" Seen across the midwest since 2015 this blend of circus, magic, and danger is sure to entertain anyone ages 4 and up!  With mystifying aerials, feats of death, and astounding illusions everyone will find something they enjoy.

Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader: A funny and dazzling 1-man duo show! Welcome to an experience that aims to have you question the absolute limits of what is humanly possible. Brought to you by one of Chicago's top jugglers, Poised is a family friendly show full of laughs and amazing feats of balance and coordination. Then stay and watch as someone with the ability to read minds shows off his powers while talking about the pains and annoyances that come with always hearing what people are thinking. The Reluctant Mind Reader showcases how some gifts aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

Serious Cirque: Serious Cirque is a not so serious deconstruction of contemporary circus performance. It transparently and unabashedly reveals the hilarity, failures, successes and discoveries that come out of circus creation. What happens when Siri tries to third wheel your adagio duet opener? What if the duo trapeze porter loses his flyer and must perform only with sock puppets?

Queer Double Feature- And They Were Shipmates, A Queer Pirate Romance Adventure & Queer Dance Freakout: First, Counterfeit Combat presents a gay pirate show full of fights and fun that you can’t miss! Join us onboard Calico Jack’s ship, The Ranger, as we follow the tale of the infamous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. This occasionally true story based on historical facts will have you laughing, sighing, and gasping, oh aye! Then stick around for Queer Dance Freakout, an interactive, choose your own adventure spectacle produced by Gender Fucked Productions. This company of queer, trans, and nonbinary choreographers and storytellers will perform up to 30 dances that will have audiences booty shaking, grooving, and connecting with the queer community.

*Click HERE for your chance to WIN a FREE Family 4 Pack of Tickets to your choice of any family friendly show at the 2nd Annual Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival!

**Click HERE for your chance to WIN a FREE Pair of Tickets to your choice of any Adult Show at the 2nd Annual Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival!

Winners announced at noon Thursday, March 9th.

ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows are thrilled to partner up with the 2nd Annual Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival to give away A Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Any Family Show and/or A Pair of Tickets to Any Adult Circus Act!

Thursday, March 2, 2023

INCOMING: Nathan Graham, The Pinkerton Raid and Nicholas Johnson at SPACE March 6, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Nathan Graham, The Pinkerton Raid and Nicholas Johnson at SPACE next Monday, March 6: 


Evanston, IL // Doors: 6pm | Show: 7pm // Tickets: $12 - $20

The Pinkerton Raid is "a towering forest of indie rock with a timbre of folk that shadows Langhorne Slim, Cold War Kids and The Killers," says THE SPILL.

The Pinkerton Raid PinkertonRaid
Photo Credit: Kendall Bailey 

2022’s THE HIGHWAY MOVES THE WORLD begins two decades ago in band leader Jesse James DeConto’s childhood basement, where he learned The Beatles and first turned a songwriter’s eye on his own rich and complicated family life. "Radiant," says AMERICAN SONGWRITER. 

"Poignant," claims ROLLING STONE. "Anthemic," according to AMERICANA-UK.

Since the lockdowns, DeConto is back on the road with a totally new Pinkerton Raid lineup but, as always, they are a gang of friends with a full-band sound.

The Highway Moves the World: 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

THE REVOLUTIONISTS Via Oil Lamp Theater March 16-April 30, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 


Written by Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Elizabeth Mazur Levin

PLOT: Imagine if four badass, very real women, who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror had met and exchanged ideas before losing their heads? What if former queen Marie Antoinette,  playwright Olympe De Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle, uncensored and full of ideas, grappled together with how to change the world? Oh…and it’s a comedy!

CAST (in order of appearance):

Olympe De Gouges: Hannah Hammel

Marianne Angelle: Noelle Klyce

Charlotte Corday: Ksa Curry

Marie Antoinette: Lisa Dawn

Olympe De Gouges (understudy): Abby Gilster

Marianne Angelle (understudy): Jasmine Robertson

Charlotte Corday (understudy): Maddie Powell

Marie Antoinette (understudy): Emma Soden


Director: Elizabeth Mazur Levin

Stage Manager: Reina McGonigle

Assistant Director: Ashley Greenwood

Costume Designer: Emily N. Brink

Lighting Designer: Trey Brazeal

Properties Designer: Ellen Markus

Technical Director: Greg Korak

Scenic Designer: Liz Hadden

Sound Designer: Jay Pastucha

Wig Stylist: Karen Procopio


March 16 - April 30


Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 7:30pm

Saturday, Sunday: 3:00pm


Previews (March 16, 17, 18 3:00pm): $30 adults / $20 student

Run (March 18, 7:30pm - April 30): $45 adults / $28 student

Buy tickets HERE

The performance runs approximately two hours with an intermission.


Now serving as the Artistic Director of Oil Lamp Theater, Elizabeth Mazur Levin's Oil Lamp Theater directing credits include Now and Then, Bad Dates, Beau Jest, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (2017 & 2020), Motherhood Out Loud, and two seasons of On the Road—Oil Lamp’s touring series. She will also be directing this summer’s production of Collected Stories by Donald Margulies. Other credits include work with Theater D, Taslitz/Reichenbach Productions, Citadel Theatre, Ouroboros Big Noise Theatre, Bowen Park Theatre, Phoenix Ascending, Centerlight Sign and Voice Theatre, Weathervane Repertory, and Apple Tree Theatre. Proud graduate of Miami University (B.F.A and B.A.) and Loyola University Chicago (M.Ed.) Many thanks to the “E’s”.

"You may notice that there is a blend of historical and contemporary elements throughout [The Revolutionists] from themes, to language, to design choices. While these women are people from long ago, what they are saying and feeling is eerily current to the times in which we are living. They laugh, and share bonds, and live in the moment. If you listen closely, their struggles are similar to the plights we are facing today. These figures are smart, and witty, and authentic, relatable, and all too human."

-- Elizabeth Mazur Levin

Where Theater Welcomes You Home

Oil Lamp Theater is an award-winning sixty-seat storefront theater located in the heart of downtown Glenview. We produce six mainstage theatrical plays per year, and offer special events such as our Speak Easy Nights. When you arrive at the theater, you are personally welcomed by our friendly box office staff. Our lobby features warm decor and comfortable seating, reminiscent of a home. Our theater’s intimate space and ambitious productions connect the audience and performers to create a truly unique experience. To top it all off, we offer complimentary cookies at all mainstage shows.

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