Thursday, April 23, 2015

HELP OUT: Option Up! to host Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest, A Benefit Concert for Howard Brown Health Center, May 10 Featuring Wicked’s Heidi Kettenring, Les Miserables’ Marya Grandy and more!

Option Up!, the acclaimed musical theater cabaret and talk-show, celebrates co-host Christopher Pazdernik’s birthday with Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest, a concert to benefit Howard Brown Health Center on Sunday, May 10 at 7:30 in The Cab at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago. Featuring award-winning musical theater performers from across Chicago, the evening will be music directed by co-host Aaron Benham. Tickets are $10 and available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting

In February 2014, Jeff Award and Broadway World Award nominees Christopher Pazdernik and Aaron Benham teamed up to create a unique event for the Chicago musical theater scene.  A new show is performed one night each month, featuring both performances and interviews with guest musical theater performers alongside musical theater analysis and trivia. Over the past year, Option Up! has been featured in publications ranging from New City Stage to Glossed & Found, as well as a special mention from renowned theatre historian Peter Filichia.  

For the May 10 edition, leading ladies from every theater in town will join together to belt for a good cause, Howard Brown Health Center, in honor of HBHC’s medical care for Christopher since he was diagnosed HIV+ in 2009. Currently schedule to perform are multiple Jeff Award nominee Heidi Kettenring (Wicked in Chicago), Drama Desk nominee Marya Grandy (Broadway’s Les Miserables and off-Broadway’s The Great American Trailer Park Musical) and Jeff Award winner Alexis J. Rogers (Court Theater’s Porgy and Bess; Porchlight’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill) as well as Jeff Award nominee Charissa Armon (Porchlight’s Ragtime), Neala Barron (Griffin’s Titanic), Lillie Cummings (Paramount’s Les Miserables), Jeff nominee Landree Fleming (Drury Lane’s Spelling Bee), Kristen Freilich (Second City’s Jewsical!), Jeff Award nominee Angela Ingersoll (Chicago Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor), Jessica Kingsdale (Paramount’s Grease), Molly Kral (Paramount’s Cats), Jeff Award winner Elizabeth Lanza (Marriott’s South Pacific; Chicago Shakespeare’s Sunday in the Park with George), Samantha Pauly (Marriott’s Godspell), Lauren Paris (Piven’s Melancholy Play), Jeff Award nominee Laura Savage (Porchlight’s Pal Joey), and Wisconsin actress Amanda Petersen Fails, one of Christopher’s life-long best friends. More performers to be announced shortly! (Line-up subject to change.)

About Howard Brown Health Center
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) community and its allies. It is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves adults youth and children throughout the region. An innovative and patient-centered health home, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.

About the Hosts
Previous collaborations between Pazdernik and Benham include four hit cabaret revues at Davenport’s:  It’s an Art: the Songs of Stephen Schwartz; Nobody’s Side: Broadway’s Cult Classics (Vol. I)Un-Type Cast; and Carol and Patti: Together Again for the First Time. They also worked together on Anyone Can Whistle and City of Angels for Porchlight Revists—Porchlight Music Theater’s staged concert series of lost Broadway musicals.

Option Up: Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest performs one night only on Sunday, May 10, 7:30 PM, at Stage 773—The Cab, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.  Cover charge is $10. Cash bar is available one hour before and after the performance. Tickets are available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weeknight Premiere "In The Dust" Video On NOISEY Kicks Off Spring Tour April 24th 'In The Dust' Cassette Single Out April 21st On Dead Stare Records

Chi, IL Live Shows on Our Radar
INCOMING: Weeknight 4/29 at 
The Owl in Chicago
Tour Dates Below

US Spring Tour
4/24 - Bennington, VT - Bennington College
4/25 - Burlington, VT - Fort Sheen
4/26 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz PDB
4/28 - Toronto, ON - Nocturne
4/29 - Chicago, IL - The Owl
4/30 - Columbus, OH - Double Happiness
5/01 - Cleveland, OH - Now That's Class
5/02 - Wilkes-Bare, PA - The Other Side
5/05 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool

Photo by William Nixon


Weeknight is releasing a brutally haunting new music video for the track "In The Dust". NOISEY describes, "The duo manages to extract the elements of 80s goth and new-wave, and re-appropriate them in a context that isn't reliant on nostalgia." The song is the title-track off their upcoming cassette single due out April 21st on Dead Stare Records. Be sure to catch the synth-goth duo when they hit the road for their spring tour on 4/24 starting in Bennington, VT.

Following the success of last year's debut LP Post-Everything, the New York duo, consisting of Andy Simmons and Holly MacGibbon, took a break to create two hauntingly beautiful tracks. Both tracks showcase the duo's ability to emulate their dark-synth influences while creating tracks with their signature contrastingly melodic vocals woven thoughout hard beats and dreamscape guitar work.
Weeknight hops between genres effortlessly, creating an evocative mystique with lingering vocals and plucked solos. Truly mastering the ability to mix, Weeknight delivers a glorious phantasm to lose yourself in. Static synth lines bubble between the knocking beat of the drum, nudging you into an ephemeral trance. With each effort, Weeknight truly push the envelope, bringing audiences a dreamlike atmosphere.

Weeknight's In The Dust cassette single is out April 21st on Dead Stare Records. Spring tour kicks off 4/24 in Bennington, VT.

Press Quotes
The duo boss that same male-female vocal chemistry that saw Mosshart and Hince rise to prominence with The Kills, they boast a lyrical glumness that could rival the likes of Matt Berninger and Paul Banks, and in turns they are as melodiously miserable as The National and as sublimely macabre as Interpol.” - The Line of Best Fit

“The duo Weeknight make elegant synth pop that doesn’t let any of their darkness get in the way of beautifully orchestrated melodies.  - Stereogum

"The music on this debut disc falls into a category of its own (or deftly meshes a bunch of au courant ones), infusing dark-pop and shoegaze elements with pulsating synth beats and the blend of Holly and Andy’s disparate vocals." - CMJ

Saturday, April 18, 2015


APRIL 24 - JUNE 7, 2015

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're looking forward to Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews, a smart, savage comedy about the holy and holier-than-thou, which closes Wit's 2014-15 season April 24-June 7, 2015. 

Hailed by Charles Isherwood of The New York Times in 2013 as "the best comedy of the season," Harmon's critically acclaimed play asks questions about what you choose to believe, when you're chosen.

Bad Jews tells the story of Daphna Feygenbaum, a "Real Jew" with an Israeli boyfriend. When Daphna's cousin Liam brings home his shiksa girlfriend Melody and declares ownership of their grandfather's Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. Stir in the identity curation of the Facebook generation and Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Bad Jews, directed by artistic director Jeremy Wechsler, promises to be one of the funniest, wisest, most excruciating comedies on a Chicago stage this year.

Wechsler's cast for Bad Jews features Erica Bittner as Melody (credits include The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe for First Folio, Peer Gynt at DCA Storefront Theatre, and seven productions for Redmoon), Ian Paul Custer as Liam (national tour of Peter Pan; Annie Bosch is Missing at Steppenwolf; High Holidays at the Goodman; To Master the Art and 33 Variations for TimeLine; Fiddler on the Roof at Paramount), Cory Kahane as Josh (The Romans: Episode Quartus for Lincoln Square Theatre; A Midsummer Night's Dream at The James Dowling Theatre) and Laura Lapidus as Daphna (Women Beware Women for Two Pence Theatre at The Den Theatre; Griffin Theatre's Golden Boy and Balm in Gilead; Pavement Group's breaks & bikes; Pains of Youth for Odradeck Theater w/Oracle Theatre).

The Bad Jews design team includes Adam Veness (set), Kristof Janezic (lights), Janice Pytel (costumes), Cassy Schillo (props) and Michael Stanfill (lighting). Sarah Luse is stage manager.

Bad Jews:  Dates, Times and Ticket Prices
Tickets to Bad Jews are on sale now. Previews are April 24-May 3: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Previews are $12-$18. Press opening is Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m. Regular performances run through June 7: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. No shows Thursday, May 7 or 14. Regular run tickets are $20-$36. 

Theater Wit is located at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District. For tickets and information, visit or call 773.975.8150.
Bad Jews:  Behind the scenes
Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews received its world premiere at Roundabout Underground and was the first production there to transfer to the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, Best Play). Bad Jews opened in London at the St. James Theatre in January 2015 following an acclaimed run at Theatre Royal Bath. Harmon wrote the book for Radio City Music Hall's upcoming original show, the "New York Spring Spectacular." His work has been produced and developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, Ars Nova, and Actor's Express, where he was the 2010-2011 National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Atlantic Center for the Arts, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and the Eudora Welty Foundation.  Harmon is currently in the Playwrights Program at Juilliard and is under commission from Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater.

Jeremy Wechsler, artistic director of Theater Wit, most recently staged Theater Wit's current smash hit, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, the hit Midwest premiere of Madeline George's Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show's subsequent summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit's acclaimed productions of Completeness and The Four of Us (Itamar Moses), Tigers Be Still (Kim Rosenstock), This (Melissa James Gibson), Spin (Penny Penniston), Feydeau-Si-Deau (Georges Feydeau), Men of Steel (Qui Nguyen), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Will Eno), Two for the Show (James Fitzpatrick and Will Clinger) and The Santaland Diaries. Wechsler's productions have been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new work. He has taught at several universities, is an artistic associate at Collaboraction and currently serves on the board of the League of Chicago Theatres.

About Theater Wit
"A thrilling addition to Chicago's roster of theaters" (Chicago Tribune) and "a terrific place to see a show" (New City), Theater Wit is in its fourth season in its home at 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

Gone But Not Forgotten:

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we adored Theater Wit's smash hit, Chicago debut of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. We're already chomping at the bit for a remount! It was one of our favorites of the season for sure! The Simpsons is already such a fabulous amalgam of pop culture references, psychology, and the best and worst of humanity, encased in the hilarious that we can't think of a better mythology for a post plague and nuclear meltdown society to follow. Mr. Burnsa post-electric play is wickedly witty and scary insightful. And Theater Wit's casting was stellar! 

Anne Washburn's meta-apocalyptic comedy/drama/musical about America rebuilding itself from the ashes of an apocalypse, and the enduring power of Bart Simpson, was rewarded a 3.5 star review from the Chicago Tribune, which called it "an intellectual rush" and "very funny." Time Out Chicago agreed Mr. Burns is "wonderfully weird... brilliant...trippy...4 out of 5 stars." 

Founded in 2004, Theater Wit's mission is to explore contemporary issues with wit and wisdom through new works and Chicago premieres. As a production company, Theater Wit is Chicago's premier smart art theater, producing humorous, challenging and intelligent plays that speak with a vibrant and contemporary theatrical voice.  As an institution, Wit seeks to be the hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene. 

In its three spaces, Theater Wit brings together Chicago's best storefront companies. Here audiences find a smorgasbord of excellent productions, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago. 

In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater.

Theater Wit also offers a Flex Pass: 10 admissions for $215 to literally anything presented in the building, a savings of up to 40%. 

To purchase tickets to Bad Jews, Mr. Burns, any resident production, a Membership Program, Flex Pass, single tickets or for information about any production at Theater Wit, call 773.975.8150 or visit

SAVE THE DATES: Pride Films and Plays' THE BOY FROM OZ will Sizzle at Stage 773 in August

Pride Films and Plays will conclude its remarkable Summer Season with The Boy From Oz, the Broadway musical which tells the amazing life story of celebrated songwriter and performer Peter Allen. Featuring songs by Peter Allen, book by Martin Sherman and Nick Enright, Direction by David Zak, and Musical Direction by Robert Ollis, The Boy From Oz tells the exuberant yet heart-warming true story of a young Australian boy who loved to perform and ended up in the glamorous orbit of Judy Garland and her soon-to-be famous daughter Liza.

The Boy From Oz previews Wednesday, August 5 and Thursday, August 6. Press opening is Friday, August 7 at 7:30. Press tickets are also available for Saturday, August 8 at 7:30. Regular performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 5 through August 30 only. Tickets are $25 Wednesday, $30 Thursdays and $40 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Seniors can save $5 per ticket. For tickets call Stage 773 (773-327-5252) or order online at

The other main attraction during PFP's Summer Season is a 20th Anniversary Production of Guillermo Reyes' comic one-man show Men On The Verge Of A His-Panic Breakdown. This hilarious collection of monologues features PFP Artistic Associate Nelson Rodriguez directed by Sandra Marquez. Performances are at the Apollo Studio Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln from June 23 to July 26. Tickets will be on sale starting April 15 at 773-935-6100 or Find complete details at

Other events in PFP's Summer Season include:

May 19 -Nominee Night,a celebration of the city's musical theater talent, at Sidetrack. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or

June 1: Queer Bits Film Fest, featuring the Chicago debut of short LGBT films from around the globe. The fest is at The Public House Theater of Chicago, 3914 N Clark. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or

June 22 - Gay Today - A Pride Cabaret, created by PFP Artistic Ensemble Member Robert Ollis and featuring performances by Artistic Ensemble Members of Pride Films and Plays at Mary's Attic, 5400 N Clark. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or .

July 27 - LezFest, the kick off event for PFP's season long LezPlay celebration of plays and performances, screenplays and films written by women with lesbian characters and themes. LezFest features music, drama, comedy, spoken word, and performance art with a multi-generational cast at Mary's Attic, 5400 N Clark. Tickets can be purchased for this event starting June 1. 

About Pride Films and Plays
Founded in 2010, Pride Films and Plays has received 10 Jeff Nominations, and 3 Jeff Awards for productions in our first two Jeff eligible seasons. All of the performances in our 2014-15 seasons were Jeff Recommended, including the Chicago premiers of Terrence McNally's Some Men, Jeff Talbott's The Submission, Topher Payne's Angry Fags, and the world premiere of Leo Schwartz's musical The Book of Merman. Angry Fags is running in the Steppenwolf Garage Rep through April 26 (312-335-1650); The Book of Merman has been extended through May 17 at Apollo Studio Theater (773-935-6100).  

In addition, our script and screenplay development programs continue throughout the year at Center on Halsted, including Gay Play Weekend (May 15 to 17), LezPlay (September 11 to 13) featuring plays and screenplays written by women with lesbian characters or themes, and Gay Film Weekend (November 13 to 15) featuring LGBT screenplays and screenings.
For more information on contests or productions at

Friday, April 17, 2015

CIMMfest No. 7's Women Filmmakers' Showcase Features, Documentaries & Shorts #cimmfest #ChiILFlicksPicks

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar 
CIMMfest Style 

CIMMfest 2015 is proud to celebrate women filmmakers, showcasing an outstanding program of 18 features, documentaries & shorts – each uniquely expressing the relationship and inseparability of movies and music, and all uniquely from a woman’s perspective. Check out highlights The Dicks from Texas (4/16), Hardcore Devo Live! (4/18), Y/Our Music (4/18), Porch Stories (4/18), and Rye Coalition: The Story of the Hard Luck 5 (4/19).

In addition to our women filmmaker showcase, CIMMfest features 100+ events spanning 4 days, including film premieres, director Q&A’s, industry panel discussions, presentations, workshops, networking mixers, live music showcases, and more. We invite you to join us, April 16-19.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CIMMfest No. 7's Julien Temple Film Retrospective CIMMfest 2015 BAADASSSSS Award for Lifetime Achievement

From groundbreaking music videos, to highly acclaimed documentaries & feature films, Julien Temple epitomizes the inseparability of movies and music. 

This year CIMMfest honors Julien Temple with our BAADASSSS! Award for Lifetime Achievement, and is proud to present a select retrospective of his work including: Absolute Beginners in 35mm (4/18), Dave Davies: Kinkdom Come (4/17), Ray Davies: Imaginary Man (4/17), Rio 50 Degrees (4/18), The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (4/18) in addition to his latest documentary, Oil City Confidential (4/18).

Each film screening is followed by a Q&A w/ JULIEN TEMPLE. Our retrospective culminates in a celebration of Julien’s career at the CIMMfest Awards Ceremony (4/18). Get your CIMMfest Pass today and join us in the celebration.

INCOMING: Streetlight Manifesto at The Riviera Sunday May 17th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

VIA Our Friends at Streetlight Manifesto:
All of you non-East Coasters that kicked and screamed when we did October’s micro-tour will be happy that we set up a mini-tour just for you! 18 Show in 18 days, from Cleveland to Spokane! From May 14 to May 31! From La Jolla to Leo Carillo, and up to Pismo (sorry, we had to).

Tickets on sale NOW. As always, we will tell you right now: MOST OF THESE SHOWS WILL SELL OUT, SO PLEASE BUY YOUR TICKETS EARLY. Nowadays we tour when the stars align, so get it when it’s there to be gottened.

We’re so incredibly pumped for these shows! Support will come in the form of Dan Potthast on all shows except for the first three, where Kevin Seconds will play in his place. Also, Sycamore Smith will be on the entire damn tour! Huzzah!

Lovely poster art provided by the inimitable Zelda Devon (!
See you guys at the shows!

5/14 Cleveland, OH
5/15 Pittsburgh, PA
5/16 Detroit, MI
5/17 Chicago, IL
5/18 Lawrence, KS
5/19 Denver, CO
5/20 Salt Lake City, UT
5/21 Las Vegas, NV
5/22 Phoenix, AZ
5/23 Los Angeles, CA
5/24 San Diego, CA
5/25 Anaheim, CA
5/26 San Francisco, CA
5/27 Portland, OR
5/28 Seattle, WA
5/29 Victoria, BC
5/30 Vancouver, BC
5/31 Spokane, WA

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