Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Tis the season for fabulous films and music and Music Box Theatre makes our ChiILpicks List as one of the city's best.   We adore the vintage decor, and their excellent lineup.   The Music Box is brimming with fam friendly sing alongs, Oscar winning classics, and new release international, indie and art films.  

Music Box & The Stage
In 2012 we caught a number of The National Theatre of Great Britain's excellent live theatre productions, filmed and shown around the world, like Frankenstein staring dual Sherlocks (Benedict Cumberbatch from the BBC revival and Jonny Lee Miller from Elementary).   Check out our review here.  And more of our past coverage here.

Live theatre on film is an acquired taste, and many film critics dislike the genre, but theatre people are flocking to the shows.   Folks dress up for the films, more like a night out at a Broadway in Chicago show, and applaud like a live performance.   We think they're a hoot, and relish the opportunity to see world renowned stars on stage without a pricy flight across the ocean!   We hit up press previews of most of Music Box's National Theatre offerings.   The Last of The Haussmans, and Timon of Athens which we had just seen live at Chicago Shakespeare, were some of our favs pf 2012.   Keep an eye out for more in 2013.   Highly recommended.


Presented by National Theatre Live

Julie Walters plays Judy Haussman with Rory Kinnear and Helen McCrory as her children in this eagerly-anticipated new play: a funny, touching and sometimes savage portrait of a family that’s losing its grip.
Anarchic, feisty but growing old, high society drop-out Judy Haussman remains in spirit with the Ashrams of the 1960s while holding court in her dilapidated Art Deco house on the Devon coast. After an operation, she’s joined by wayward offspring Nick and Libby, sharp-eyed granddaughter Summer, local doctor Peter, and Daniel, a troubled teenager who makes use of the family’s crumbling swimming pool. Together they share a few sweltering months in this chaotic world of all-day drinking, infatuations, long-held resentments, free love and failure.
One of Britain’s best-loved and most versatile actors, Julie Walters has wonBAFTA, Golden Globe and Olivier Awards for her work. Her screen credits range from Educating Rita to celebrated work with Victoria Wood, from lead roles in the movies of Mamma Mia! and Harry Potter to portraying Mo Mowlam for Channel 4.
Rory Kinnear recently won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for his performance as Hamlet at the National Theatre. Helen McCrory’s acclaimed work includes the films The Queen and, recently, Hugo.


Simon Russell Beale takes the title role in Shakespeare’s strange fable of consumption, debt and ruin, written in collaboration with Thomas Middleton.
“A perfect parable for our times in Nicholas Hytner’s exhilarating production featuring a compelling central performance by Simon Russell Beale.”

The Guardian
The National Theatre’s acclaimed contemporary staging of Shakespeare’s strange fable, set against a backdrop of modern-day London where money is power, has enjoyed a sell-out run at the theatre.
Wealthy friend to the rich and powerful, patron of the arts and ostentatious host, Timon of Athens suddenly finds his coffers empty. When he calls for upon his friends for help, they hang him out to dry. So begins Shakespeare’s strange fable of conspicuous consumption, debt and ruin.
Simon Russell Beale, who has been described by the Independent as ‘the greatest stage actor of his generation,’ takes the title role in Nicholas Hytner’s (HamletOne Man, Two Guvnors) bold production, which makes Timon of Athens more relevant and compelling than ever before.

One showing, Thursday, December 27, 7:30pm at Music Box Theatre

We had the great pleasure of catching a press preview and were blown away by Christopher Plummer's Barrymore.   We've been giving you the heads up on this one on our FB and Twitter feeds since the first week of December.   Check back January 10th to see if rumors of Oscar nominations for this film come true and absolutely catch it if you can.

BARRYMORE, a captured-live stage production, stars Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer as American acting legend John Barrymore. In a career defining performance, Plummer (as Barrymore) reckons with the ravages of his life of excess while rehearsing a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in Richard III

Music Box is pleased to offer BARRYMORE, plus "making of" documentary BACKSTAGE WITH BARRYMORE featuring Helen Mirren, Julie Andrews and Zoe Caldwell, on Thursday, December 27, 7:30 p.m. at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.

BARRYMORE, based on the 1997 Broadway production, is set in 1942, and follows acclaimed American actor John Barrymore, a member of one of Hollywood’s most well-known theatrical dynasties, as he rehearses the Shakespearean triumph that made him a household name, Richard III. The film finds Barrymore in his faded glory reckoning with the ravages of his life of excess, only months before his premature death. The film is directed and written by Érik Canuel, based on the play by William Luce.

Barrymore is played by Academy Award winner and master thespian Christopher Plummer, reprising his 1997 Tony Award-winning role. His nuanced performance has earned him rave reviews and, for a film that didn’t find a distributor after its World Premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, talk of a third Academy Award nomination, and more importantly, a nomination for Best Actor after three nominations and one win for Best Supporting Actor. Could this staged one-man play, where Plummer chews the scenery for the entirety of its running time, get him that nomination? 

“I’m all but convinced he has the Oscar in the bag,” Hollywood Elsewhere critic Jeff Wells exclaimed after seeing it. 

David Edelstein of New York Magazine says, “God, I love Plummer’s performance — the twiddling fingers, the tipsy sway of the head, the reverberating roar, as well as the pathos of a man who can’t stop acting long enough to hear the cry of his own soul.”

There is a precedent for plays on film getting Academy love.  A 1965 filmed version of Britain’s National Theatre presentation of Othello earned acting nominations for its cast. In 1975, James Whitmore was nominated in the Best Actor category for the production of his one-man show Give ’Em Hell, Harry!

The December 27 showing includes a ”making of” documentary, Backstage with Barrymore, featuring Helen MirrenJulie Andrews, and Zoe Caldwell.  Total running time of the film (84m) plus the documentary (45m) is 129 minutes.

Starring Christopher Plummer, directed and written by Érik Canuel, based on the play by William Luce. In English, 129 minutes.

About the Music Box Theatre: 
For nearly 30 years the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films, festivals and some of the greatest cinematic events in Chicago. It currently has the largest cinema space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States. For additional information please visit 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dickens' Women #Review #ChicagoShakespeare @DickensWomen

Miriam Margolyes is a talented character actor and a colorful character in her own right.   Her mannerisms, facial expressions, and characterizations truly bring Dickens' women off the pages and into our imaginations in all their quirky glory.   She is a master at her craft and a true joy to see in action, as she shades and nuances Dickens' characters, who still live on 200 years after his birth.   We also adored her running commentary and backstory on the real life women who inspired Dickens fictional females.   From dwarf hairdressers to debutants and victorian cougars, Margolyes' characters and hilarious, heartfelt and entirely endearing.

Her final show is tonight, December 22, at 8pm and we highly recommend you catch it.   This is not just her final show in Chicago, but the last time she'll be performing this show for the foreseeable future.   If you just can't swing it, she has written the script in book form with extra goodies like photographs and characters she had to cut from the show.   Check it out here.    

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chicago Shakespeare Goes Global With World's Stage Collaborations in 2013 #ChicagoShakespeare

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Announces 2013 World’s Stage Presentations

Stories from Belarus, South Africa, Nigeria and Italy Come to Chicago
Social and Political Issues Take Center Stage

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today four new World’s Stage presentations in 2013—bold theatrical events from across the globe, each in its own voice, provoking discussion on issues of international significance. On the heels of celebrating the Year of Creative Scotland with two critically acclaimed National Theatre of Scotland productions this fall, Chicago Shakespeare Theater continues to demonstrate its commitment to engage audiences in global issues, bringing to Chicago conversations of searing social and political importance through the work of internationally acclaimed theater artists.

Following its widely acclaimed 2010 production of Being Harold Pinter, the provocative Belarus Free Theatre returns to Chicago this winter, exploring the nature of sex in one of Europe’s last surviving dictatorships with Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker (January 30–February 3, 2013). 
In February, Chicago Shakespeare partners with The Market Theatre of Johannesburg to present the world premiere of Cadre, written by and featuring South African artist Omphile MolusiCadre tells the story of a former soldier in the Azanian People's Liberation Army during and after Apartheid, juxtaposing South Africa’s violent and passionate past with its disillusioned present (Chicago: February 15–23, 2013; Johannesburg: March 18–April 14, 2013)

In the spring CST presents the American premiere of the Olivier Award-winning Roadkill,site-specific performance for which audience members are transported by mini-van to an apartment in Chicago and are confronted with the brutal realities of sex trafficking. Drawn from the harrowing details of a young Nigerian woman trapped in a living nightmare, this production is the catalyst for The British Council’s collaboration with CST and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York City to create a public program that engages local partners in a dialogue on the impact of human trafficking (Chicago: May 11–26, 2013; New York: June 4–30, 2013)

This June, Chicago Shakespeare joins the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago to commemorate the Year of Italian Culture in America with the American premiere of Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s Inner Voices. Written by Eduardo De Filippo, one of Italy’s most translated and respected writers, the play investigates perceptions of morality amidst a devastating post-war landscape (June 25–29, 2013).

Committed to shining a spotlight and fostering dialogue on the substantial international issues explored in the 2013 World’s Stage Series, Chicago Shakespeare is encouraging broad-based participation from across the City. In support of this engagement initiative, all tickets for Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker and Cadre are $20.
“Chicago Shakespeare’s World’s Stage presentations, commissions and international touring have redefined the Theater’s reach and importance to Chicago,” said CST Executive Director Criss Henderson. “We are actively contributing to an aspiration of the City’s Cultural Plan—to be a ‘global destination for creativity, innovation and excellence in the arts,’ by stimulating the international conversation on critical global issues.”
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s line-up of international presentations is emblematic of the scope of work presented in the World’s Stage Series—a year-round initiative that brings the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences and presents Chicago Shakespeare’s work abroad. Chicago Shakespeare has collaborated with more than 600 international artistsrepresenting 16 countries on five continents ,engaging audiences in a dialogue with the world’s established and emerging theater artists. Strengthening its reputation as a leader in cultural diplomacy, CST partners regularly with respected international affairs organizations, including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Consular Corps, Chicago Sister Cities and World Business Chicago.
"Chicago Shakespeare's international exchange is a great asset to Chicago and enhances the city's global reputation," said World Business Chicago President Rita Athas. "Chicago Shakespeare Theater is making important connections and these efforts contribute greatly to the global city we continue to build."
Since the inception of the World’s Stage Series in 2000, Chicago Shakespeare has imported international productions ranging from pedestrian-based live art events ( Australia’s one step at a time like this ) to grand aerial and water spectacles ( France’s Compagnie Transe Expressand Ilotopie ); to iconic theaters such as Shakespeare’s Globe (London), the Maly Drama Theatre  (St. Petersburg) and La Comédie-Française (Paris). As a leading cultural ambassador, Chicago Shakespeare has presented its work at the Royal Shakespeare Company ( Stratford-upon-Avon ), The Donmar Warehouse (London), on tour in Germany and Australia, and this past spring, was among the 37 international companies that came together for an unprecedented 37-play “Globe to Globe” festival for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
2013 World’s Stage Series:
Belarus Free Theatre’s
Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker Performed in Russian with projected English translation January 30–February 3, 2013 | Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
text by Natalia Kaliada with Nicolai Khalezin | directed and adapted by Uladzimir Shcherban
Belarus Free Theatre returns to Chicago following its widely acclaimed 2010 production ofBeing Harold Pinter . Now, one of the world’s most provocative and inspiring companies presents a new work entitled Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker . In a sexually repressed society,Minsk 2011 laments for the city that has lost its way, pining for a beloved home that has turned ugly and for a people who cannot express themselves. Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 in Europe’s last surviving dictatorship, and the company is one of the most outspoken critics of Belarus’ repressive regime. Despite the loss of jobs, freedom and home, the company continues to develop award-winning work with the support of artists and theater companies around the world. Tickets are on sale now for $20.
World Premiere of Cadre 
Chicago | February 15–23, 2013 | Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
Johannesburg | March 18–April 14, 2013 | The Market Theatre of Johannesburg
written by Omphile Molusi
Chicago Shakespeare and the The Market Theatre partner to present the world premiere of Cadre in Chicago and Johannesburg. South African artist Omphile Molusi ’s play is inspired by true events in the life of an activist during, and after, the Apartheid era. Following Molusi’s internationally acclaimed production Itsoseng, presented by Chicago Shakespeare in 2010,Cadre explores the life of a former soldier in the Azanian People's Liberation Army who struggles with feelings of disappointment and betrayal in his quest for democracy. Bordering between present-day South Africa and its turbulent past, Cadre is a story of dreams and change, honoring families, friends and all the unsung heroes who died hoping for a better futureMolusi, one of South Africa’s leading young theater artists, was the first recipient of the Royal Shakespeare Company/Baxter Theatre Brett Goldin Bursary Award, which earned the young playwright a life-changing scholarship to study with the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon. Presented with Richard Jordan Productions in association with The Market Theatre of Johannesburg and the Adelaide Festival of Arts. Tickets are on sale now for $20.
American Premiere of Roadkill 
Chicago | May 11–26, 2013 | Location TBD
New York | June 4–30, 2013 | Location TBD
text by Stef Smith | conceived and directed by Cora Bissett
Following sold-out runs in London (where it received the Olivier Award) and Paris, Roadkill has its American premiere in Chicago. Based on the real-life experiences of a young woman trafficked from Nigeria, Scottish writer/director Cora Bissett's critically acclaimed, site-specific theatrical and multi-media event explores the terrifying complexities of human trafficking. Transported by mini-van to an apartment in a Chicago neighborhood, audiences will come face-to-face with the brutal and hidden truth behind the newspaper headlines—sharing the intimate, harrowing details of a young woman trapped in a living nightmare. Roadkill premiered at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was the first production in history to win every major theatre award of the Festival, as well as a special Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.The British Council partners with CST in Chicago and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York City to create a public program that engages local partners with a vested interest in the eradication of sex-trafficking, exploring the impact of this issue on these two important American cities.Presented with Pachamama Productions and Richard Jordan Productions in association with Traverse Theatre.
Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s
American Premiere of Inner Voices

Performed in Italian with projected English translation
June 25–29, 2013 | Courtyard Theater
by Eduardo De Filippo | directed by Toni Servillo
Chicago Shakespeare joins the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago to commemorate the Year of Italian Culture in America with the American premiereof Inner Voices, a production by one of Italy’s most important theaters, Piccolo Teatro di Milano. The Piccolo was last in Chicago in 2005 when CST presented Arlecchino, Servant of Two Masters. In collaboration with Théatre du Gymnase, Marseille on the occasion of Marseille Capitale de la Culture 2013, The Piccolo will debut Inner Voices written by Eduardo De Filippo , one of the most translated and respected Italian writers in the world. Written in 1948 as a reaction to the post-war period, the characters of Inner Voices move against the backdrop of the wreckage of World War II– with startling relevance to the rubble of today’s economic crisis. Following his successful production of Goldoni’s Vacation Trilogy at New York’s Lincoln Center Festival, acclaimed Italian director Toni Servillo will stage Inner Voices in CST’s Courtyard Theater.Produced by Teatri Uniti/Piccolo Teatro di Milano in association with Teatro d’Europa and Teatro di Roma.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

ACT OUT CLOSING: Dickens’ Women Featuring Miriam Margolyes #ChicagoShakespeare

Spend an evening being schooled in Dickens by Professor Sprout in the flesh!   There are only 3 shows left in Chicago and Saturday's 3pm is SOLD OUT.   Get your tickets now.   This may be the season of Scrooge, but you can celebrate the bicentennial of Charles Dickens' birth in style, with Dickens' Women.

Miriam Margolyes is recognized for the iconic role of Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films, The Nurse in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and Mrs. Mingott in Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence for which she won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award. Margolyes brings to the stage 23 of Dickens’ best-loved characters—from doe-eyed young heroines to brow-beating old harridans—as she sets out to discover Charles Dickens himself.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Joins International Dickens 2012 Celebration
Marking Bicentennial of Charles Dickens' Birth
With World’s Stage Presentation of
Dickens’ Women
Featuring Miriam Margolyes
Recognized for Her Screen Roles in
Harry Potter, Romeo + Juliet and The Age of Innocence
December 18–22, 2012
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) joins the international celebration of the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’ birth, Dickens 2012, with a World’s Stage presentation of the Olivier Award-nominated production Dickens’ Women, featuring actress Miriam Margolyes, December 18–22, 2012 in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
The year-long international celebration of the life and work of Charles Dickens, Dickens 2012, marks the bicentennial of his birth. Chicago Shakespeare Theater joins institutions and organizations from around the globe that have created programs, events and activities to commemorate this special anniversary. Charles Dickens remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings have inspired more than 180 motion pictures and TV adaptations.
Miriam Margolyes has acted in over 100 films and television productions, including her multiple appearances in the British sitcom Blackadder. In addition to her screen credits, Margolyes created the role of Madame Morrible in the London stage production of Wicked, which she reprised on Broadway. She also starred as Nell in Theatre du Complicite’s West End production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, for which she won a What’s On Stage Award for Best Supporting Actress. Margolyes will soon be seen with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan in the film The Guilt Trip, scheduled for release in December 2012.
Margolyes originally developed Dickens’ Women with co-writer and director Sonia Fraser for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1989. The production pays homage to some of English literature’s most iconic women, including Mrs. Micawber from David Copperfield, Miss Havisham in Great Expectations and the grotesque Mrs. Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit. Dickens’ Women offers an intimate evening of indelible characters, revealing everything from the raucous humor of Dickens’ characterizations to the darker, more sinister aspects of his life and work.
Dickens’ Women has been performed at Festivals around the world, including Edinburgh, London, Sydney, Jerusalem, Santa Cruz, New York City, Boston, and all over India. As part of the Dickens 2012 celebration, Margolyes embarked on an international tour to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, the UK and the United States, receiving international acclaim for the production. The Guardian raves, “A virtuoso display… Margolyes’ genius is to entertain, fascinate and challenge.” The Sydney Morning Herald declares: “Margolyes conveys her enthusiasm for and knowledge of Dickens with the lightest of touches” and The Telegraph proclaims Dickens’ Women “remains a masterclass not only in acting, but in the power of literature.”
Presented with Richard Jordan Productions in association with Andrew McKinnon and Pleasance, Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s limited one-week engagement of Dickens’ Women runs December 18–22, 2012, in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets are on sale now for $50–60, with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website here.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare’s work has been recognized internationally with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare; unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series.
Chicago Shakespeare’s presentation of Dickens' Women is emblematic of the wide scope of work presented through the World’s Stage Series—a program that brings the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences and presents Chicago Shakespeare’s work abroad. Since the inception of the World Stage Series in 2000, CST has imported international productions ranging from pedestrian-based live art events (Australia’s one step at a time like this) to grand aerial and water spectacles (France’s Compagnie Transe Express and Ilotopie); to iconic theaters such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (London), the Maly Drama Theatre (St. Petersburg) and La Comédie-Française (Paris). As a leading cultural ambassador, Chicago Shakespeare has presented its work at the Royal Shakespeare Company (Stratford-upon-Avon), The Donmar Warehouse (London), and on tour in Germany and Australia. This past spring, CST was among the 37 international companies that came together for an unprecedented 37-play “Globe to Globe” festival for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

ACT OUT OPENING: Purple Heart at Redtwist

Add some color to your holidaze with Purple Heart at Redtwist! 
ChiIL Live Shows will be there for opening day, this Saturday, and we'll have a full review for you shortly.
Purple Heart
By Bruce Norris 
Directed by Jeff Award-winner, Jimmy McDermott
Opens at Redtwist Theatre Saturday, Dec 22, at 3pm

In this twisted, dark comedy, company member, KC Karen Hill, and guest artist, Kathleen Ruhl, engage in ferocious battle as grieving Carla, and nitpicky mother-in-law, Grace. Clay Sanderson as mystery man, Purdy, and Nicky Roget-King as Carla's son, Thor, are the needy men who complicate her teetering world.

Carla has issues: a recently killed-in-battle husband, a terror for a son, a nattering mother-in-law, a mysterious suitor, weird medical problems, and an affection for vodka. Purple Heart is a sick, twisted, wickedly funny drama about love and hate that defies description and expectation, written by Bruce Norris, recent Pulitzer Prize-winner for Clybourne Park. Since its world-premiere at Steppenwolf in July, 2002, Mr. Norris has restricted productions of this explosive and volatile play. In July of this year, he granted the rights to Redtwist personally, via interview, which included approval of director, Jimmy McDermott.

Featuring company member, KC Karen Hill (Carla), and guest artists, Nicky Roget-King (Thor), Kathleen Ruhl (Grace), and Clay Sanderson (Purdy).

Jimmy McDermott (Director), Aaron Henrickson (Assistant Director), Allison Queen (Stage Manager), Olivia Leah Baker (Assistant Stage Manager), Sarah Burnham (Production Manager), Frank Sjodin (Tech Director), Dennis Mae (Set Designer), Christopher Burpee (Lighting Designer), Christopher Kriz (Sound Designer), Rachel S. Parent (Costume Designer), Jeffrey Shields (Prop Designer), Mary Reynard (Vocal Coach), Kevin McDonald (Dramaturg), Chris Rickett (Fight Director); Garvin Jellison (Master Electrician); Jan Ellen Graves (Graphic Designer); Charles Bonilla (Box Office Manager); E. Malcolm Martinez (Box Office Associate); Johnny Garcia (Associate Producer); Michael Colucci & Jan Ellen Graves (Producers)

Opens: Sat, Dec 22, 3pm
Runs: Thu, Fri, Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 3pm
Note: no evening performance on Sat, Dec 22 AND no performance on Sun, Dec 23 
Closes: Sun, Jan 27, 3pm
Running Time: Approximately 2:10, which includes one intermission
Previews: $15; Wed, Thu, Fri, Dec 19, 20, 21, at 7:30pm
Tickets: Thursdays, $25; Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, $30 (seniors & students $5 off)
Group Rates: Special discounts for groups of 10 or more, and groups of 25 or more

Call: 773-728-7529

Redtwist is located at 1044 W Bryn Mawr, 2 blks W of LSD, 2 blks E of the Red Line El station. Street parking (paybox/meters until 9pm) is available on Bryn Mawr, side streets, and Broadway. Please reserve 48 hours in advance. Credit cards accepted by phone and via Paypal to guarantee seating.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


ChiILpicks--ChiIL Mama's Great Gifts List

It may be hard to think beyond the holidays at the moment, but tickets are on sale now for the 8th annual “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah,” January 19 and January 20.   Tickets are great clutter busting gifts that create lasting family memories.

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with this annual, aural, all ages, celebration.

Chicago favorites Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson join 200 of Chicago’s finest musicians and vocalists, under the direction of Bill Fraher and Suzanne Mallare Acton, for two public performances only—filling the historic landmark theater with the joyous sounds and exuberance of this All-American reinvention of Handel’s “Messiah.”

200 Musicians and Vocalists With Soloists Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and
Karen Marie Richardson Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with the 8th annual “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah,” January 19 and January 20. Chicago favorites Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson join 200 of Chicago’s finest musicians and vocalists, under the direction of Bill Fraher and Suzanne Mallare Acton, for two public performances only—filling the historic landmark theater with the joyous sounds and exuberance of this All-American reinvention of Handel’s “Messiah.” Tickets ($30 – $74) are on sale now and available online at, by calling (800) 982-2787 or at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Congress Pkwy). 

A one-hour Student Matinee performance is offered on Friday, January 18, open to any student elementary through high school for $10 each. Tickets are available by calling (312) 341-2357.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” performs at the Auditorium Theatre:
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 at 11 a.m. (one hour Student Matinee Performance*)
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 213 at 3 p.m.**

Tickets to the Jan. 19 and 20 performances are $30 - $74, available online at, by calling (800) 982-2787 or in-person at the Auditorium’s Box Office (50 E Congress Pkwy).

*The Friday, Jan. 18 student matinee is available to elementary through high school student groups of 10 or more people. Group tickets are $10 each and available by calling
(312) 341-2357.

**A free Q&A with “Too Hot to Handel” artists immediately follows the Sunday afternoon performance.

Since its 2006 Chicago debut, “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” has continued to reinvigorate audiences while paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This show provides our community with a truly unique way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, not only because of Dr. King’s deep love of gospel and jazz music but the way in which it represents Chicago’s diversity in both performers and audience members,” said Executive Director Brett Batterson. “It’s incredible to see an entire audience brought to their feet with such vigor and excitement. It is a true celebration of music, and of a man so important to United States history.”

Ingeniously re-imagined to embrace black musical tradition, the aptly named ‘Too Hot to Handel’ proved that even the most revered classical masterpieces can be taught to swing.” (Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich). Mixing gospel and jazz stylings, “Too Hot” brings music lovers of all genres to their feet. Brought to life onstage by 200 Chicago musicians including 150 voices from the citywide “Too Hot” Choir under the direction of Old St. Patrick’s Church music director Bill Fraher, and a 50-piece symphony orchestra and jazz ensemble under the baton of conductor Suzanne Mallare Acton. “Too Hot to Handel” then brings the powerhouse voices of Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson to lead the group through the incredible music that fills the Auditorium Theatre. The show is enhanced through LED screens that will not only display historical photos of Martin Luther King Jr. but will also capture the performers and audience members during the performance. Video Production made possible through the generosity of Bill & Shelley Farley.

In tandem with “Too Hot to Handel,” the Auditorium’s Department of Creative Engagement utilizes innovative programming to involve the community by teaching Chicago students about Martin Luther King Jr. and the power of music and celebration. For the 4th consecutive year, the Auditorium invites Chicago Public School students, grades 3-12, to write an original poem celebrating Dr. King's vision of the beloved community. Finalist’s poems will be published in “N’DIGO” Magazine. In addition, the grand prize-winner will receive 4 free tickets to the “Too Hot to Handel” opening night performance and will recite their poem on stage before the show.  Poems must be sent via mail to Attn: THTH Poetry Contest, 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605, and received by Friday December 7, 2012.
Auditorium Theatre’s Department of Creative Engagement is also reaching out to CPS High School Choirs and inviting them to apply to a “Too Hot to Handel” Master Class facilitated by the “Too Hot to Handel” stars. Students will have the opportunity to work with “Too Hot” conductor Suzanne Mallare Acton, perform a solo piece and receive coaching from “Too Hot” vocalists Alfreda Burke and Rodrick Dixon and are invited to attend the Student Matinee performance. Please contact for more information on the Master Class.

The Auditorium also offers the “Too Hot” Residency Program, bringing together the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jrand the music of “Too Hot to Handel.” A free program for CPS Grades 3 – 8, students will examine Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the beloved community while gaining a basic understanding of musical composition. Under the guidance of “Too Hot” Teaching Artists, students will create a final musical composition reflecting on and musically articulating their own vision of what Dr. King’s beloved community means to them now. Residencies take place in December and early January. No musical training or instruments necessaryAlso available free to CPS Grades 3 – 8, is a One-Day Workshop where students will study elements of “Too Hot” to understand how small personal choices have a big impact the community.  Students will use this knowledge to create a quilt that will be displayed in the Auditorium lobby expressing how they individually can make a positive difference.  Contact Christina BournéDirector of Education and Creative Engagement at (312) 341-2353 or

Too Hot to Handel” is presented by Exelon. “Too Hot to Handel” educational outreach programs are made possible through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation with additional support from The PrivateBank and The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation for the student matinee performances.  Additional support provided by Friends of “Too Hot to Handel”, “N’DIGO”, and “Chicago Jazz Magazine”.

We also highly recommend America's #1 Nutcracker, running through the 27 at Auditorium Theatre.   Check out our video interviews with some of the Joffrey Nutcracker kids and our original dress rehearsal footage (2011) right here.

Auditorium Theatre 2013 Subscriptions

Subscriptions for the Auditorium Theatre’s current season are now on sale. For more information or to purchase a subscription call (312) 341-2356 or visit
The Auditorium’s season packages include:

2-Show Jazz Series – Save 10% when you purchase tickets to both “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz Gospel Messiah” on January 19 – 20, 2013 and River North Dance Chicago with Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic - The Cuban Project on April 13, 2013.

About the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy, is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural and community programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. The Auditorium Theatre is generously supported by the Illinois Arts Council, CityArts, and the Palmer House Hilton. For more information about programming, volunteer and donor opportunities or theater tours, call (312) 341-2310 or visit

Google Analytics