Friday, March 30, 2012

Act Out: Midsummer Nights Dream and Taming of the Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare Closing

It's Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's 25th Anniversary Season and they're continuing their impressive world class offerings.   We've been raving about  A Midsummer Night's Dream and Taming of the Shrew, Short Shakespeare since opening night of both shows late last month.   ChiIL Live Shows highly recommends
both.   If you haven't gotten out to see these productions yet, don't
delay.   Shrew and Midsummer close April 7th & 8th respectively.   
Both are family friendly, impressive and accessible.  
Congrats again to ChiIL Mama's family 4 pack Taming of the Shrew ticket winner, Kathy E.    She'll be checking out the show this weekend.

You could travel the globe and be hard pressed to find a rival for the award winning Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.   In fact, on opening day of Taming of The Shrew, Chi Shakes was playing host to delegates from Shakespeare Fests around the world.         

Short Shakespeare in particular, is designed with families in mind.   They keep the original language and intent in tact, but condense Taming of the Shrew into an action packed romp with a few modern nods, like sunglasses and funky boxer shorts beneath ornate, traditional costumes and contemporary music at transition points.   These additions bridge the historical gap and help the audience more easily grasp the modern relevance of Shakespeare's timeless themes and endearing characters.  We also liked the female director, Rachel Rockwell's take on the "taming", which is sometimes played up as a misogynistic nightmare.   Her take was that Kate was a victim of labeling and self fulfilling prophecy and instead of having her will broken by her new husband, she became more completely herself by someone who could appreciate her spunk and intensity.

Kate, played by Ericka Ratcliff, and Bianca, played by Tiffany
Yvonne Cox, were a true pleasure to see.   On opening day, we ran into another friend and member of the press, who plays "count the black people" with her kids when they go to theatre and movies.  She was elated to see the sisters were played by women of color. 
Of course, in an ideal world, skin color would be as irrelevant in casting as eye color, and Chicago is moving in that direction.   Still, I'm amused by her game and agree it's a valid point she makes with her children, as they strive to find role models in entertainment that represent and resemble them.  Kudos to Chicago Shakespeare for casting an interracial leading couple, and letting talent and temperament trump genetics.   The entire cast was impeccable, amusing and adept.

We're big fans of prepping the kids when they're going to see a challenging play.   We try to read the books first, when it's literature based theatre and the kids still love playing the same/different game when we've read a book version or seen a movie version first.   There are numerous adaptations of Shakespeare's works that are age appropriate for a wide range of kids.   This prep can be particularly helpful with younger theatre goers or older kids who have little experience with the language, so they'll know the basic plot going in and be less confused or intimidated if they can't easily grasp the unfamiliar words.    Our absolute favorite children's book version is by author Bruce Coville, who also has a sweet version of The Tempest.   The story and illustrations are amazing.   There's also a fun, early chapter book in the Magic Tree House series that my kids enjoyed in early elementary school.   Here's a link with loads of great suggestions for introducing Shakespeare to Children, including an audio version including both A Midsummer Night's Dream and Taming of The Shrew.

That said, Chicago Shakespeare does a fabulous job with the playbills for their short Shakespeare.  If you don't have time to check out a book or movie version before hand, go early and read the program together.  There's a short form of the story, cool bits of trivia, fun bios, and games, all presented in a colorful, funky, visual way.    

My kids' first live Shakespeare show was Midsummer Night's Dream, performed by Rosebriar Shakespeare Company of Columbus, OH, back in 2009.   A close, family friend was in the outdoor production, Puck was a puppet, and the kids were enamored.   Check out our Midsummer 2009 coverage here.

Midsummer is a great introduction to the bard, as it's colorful, amusing and fast paced.   Chicago Shakespeare Theatre has a much slicker, high budget production, that's truly something to see.   I've seen this play done numerous times over the years and this one was by far the funniest version I've ever had the pleasure of attending!   The audience was laughing enthusiastically throughout the show.   I won't spoil Puck's fabulous reveal, but it was a creative twist, worthy of the bard.  Oberon was so smolderingly sexy that it was easy to believe he bewitched and commanded everyone.   Between the charismatic actors, the gorgeous costumes and sets and the consummate acting, this show makes for a memorable, Shakespeare experience for a first timer or a seasoned aficionado.   Both are highly recommended.

Check out Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's main site for ticket booking, behind the scenes info, photos, education materials and more.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy World Theatre Day!

ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama celebrate Chicago's amazing, world class theatre scene year round, with original video interviews, photo filled features, show reviews and ticket give aways.    We cover adult shows and family friendly offerings and a range from elaborate Broadway in Chicago touring productions to free, quirky store front offerings.   So check in with ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.

Here's what ChiIL Live Shows has coming soon  

Original Video Interviews: 

Adventure Stage Theatre--The Giver:  Video footage and a photo filled feature on opening day of The Giver with author Lois Lowry.    
*Also check out our video interview with Tom Arvetis of Adventure Stage right here.      

We have an exclusive interview with Tom Arvetis, Adventure Stage's Producing Artistic Director, and his infant daughter, Vivian.   Check out our video above for insights into balancing creative work and parenting, life after birth with 3 girls under 6, Walk Two Moons, and The Giver.   Walk Two Moons was adapted by Tom, who also expounds on "adapting" to fatherhood & life in theatre.   We continue our series on "How Creatives Parents and How Parents Create".

The House Theatre--Death and Harry Houdini--Original Video Interview with Dennis Watkins, star of Death and Harry Houdini and Magic Parlour.

Also click the links to check out our recent Houdini Box video interviews at Chicago Children's Theatre with:

Reviews on:
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Midsummer Night's Dream 
& Taming of the Shrew

  • Lifeline Theatre-Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (K)
  • Collaboraction's Me Tube
  •  Goodman Theatre's Camino Real
  • Step Up Productions-The Sweetest Swing in Baseball
  • Adventure Stage-The Giver (K)
  • Polarity-Tom Jones
  • UrbanTheater Company-F***KING A
 *K= kid friendly

For today's World Theatre day events in Chicago, click here.

Prong-Carved Into Stone 4/24 & Chicago 4/20 Show

New Album Carved Into Stone In Stores April 24th on Long Branch Records

Chicago--Save the date and come out to see them live on 4/20 at Cobra Lounge!    ChiIL Live Shows will have an exclusive video interview with the band and we'll be shooting stills at the show.

PRONG are set to release their new album Carved Into Stone April 24th on Long Branch Records. Today the band is premiering a track from the album exclusively on Metal Insider. Get a first listen to the song "Eternal Heat" today and be sure to check out an exclusive interview with Tommy Victor HERE.
PRONG will be hitting the road tomorrow for a string of headlining dates with support coming from Black Tusk. This leg runs through March 26th in Fullerton, CA. Following those shows PRONG will be hitting the road with Crowbar and Witchburn. All dates are listed below
PRONG has completed work on their Long Branch Records debut with producer Steve Evetts.  PRONG (whose lineup includes bassist Tony Campos and drummer Alexei Rodriguez) has taken a major step forward in their constantly evolving brand of sonic schematics.
Carved into Stone is quintessentially PRONG. It stretches into the band's earliest and dirtiest foundations on which the band was founded on New York's Lower East Side to the present as a staple of today's post-metal and rock scenes.
PRONG recently unveiled the tracklisting and the album art for Carved Into Stone. The artwork was created by Vance Kelly (Down, The Sword)
Carved Into Stone Tracklisting
1) Eternal Heat
2) Keep on Living in Pain
3) Ammunition
4) Revenge ... Best Served Cold
5) State of Rebellion
6) Put Myself to Sleep
7) List of Grievances
8) Carved Into Stone
9) Subtract
10) Path of Least Resistance
11) Reinvestigate
See PRONG Live:
3/21: San Diego (Hillcrest) @ Ruby Room
3/22: Los Angeles, CA @ The Viper Room
3/23: Las Vegas, NV @ LVCS
3/24: Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse
3/25: Fresno, CA @ Starline
3/26: Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar
With Crowbar and Witchburn:
4/5: Dallas, TX @ Trees
4/6: Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
4/7: San Antonio, TX @ Green Room
4/8: El Paso, TX @ House of Rock
4/11: Hollywood, CA @ The Whisky
4/12: Flagstaff, AZ @ Orpheum Theater
4/13: Gallup, NM @ Slopshot Billiards
4/14: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
4/16: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
4/17: St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
4/18: Cleveland, OH @ Peabody's
4/19: Louisville, KY @ Phoenix Hill Tavern
4/20: Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge
4/21: Detroit, MI @ Harpo's
4/22: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
4/23: Little Rock, AR @ Downtown Music Hall
4/24: Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse
For more info visit:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CircEsteem Team Circus Show 2012-Toys Take Over-Opening Group Scenes & Lyra

Check out our HD show video from the beginning of Toys Take Over, CircEsteem's Team Circus Show 2012.   This show was entirely created, produced, directed, choreographed and publicized by the kids themselves.

Monday, March 19, 2012

ACT OUT: The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later at Redtwist Theatre (Review)

Where else can you currently see 8 actors take on upwards of 50 characters in two interrelated shows?!

Redtwist Theatre is one of our local favorites, with a long string of Jeff recommended productions, and an intimate performance space.   They've got a new entry way into their black box space, off the front lobby now, and a thought provoking show that provides a new entry way into the hot button issue of how hate impacts society.  We've been promoting The Laramie Project:  Ten Years Later since February, on our Facebook and Twitter streams, but if you still haven't seen it yet, you just have until April 7th to check it out.   

We were blown away by Red Twist's current and incredibly timely offering, The Laramie Project:  Ten Years Later.   The choice of simple costume pieces ...glasses here, a tie there, and the presentation of the show on a bare bones set, only serve to accentuate the immensity of the content.   Thirteen years after the horrific beating death of Matthew Shepard, hate crime protection has finally been enacted on the federal level by President Obama, after his two predecessors failed, yet hate crimes, harassment and bullying are still increasing.  As Matthew's mother so eloquently states, "These plays are not about being gay.  They are about being hurt for being different, or perceived to be different, whatever that difference may be."    As the right wing amps up the hate rhetoric to the point where gay teen suicides are in the news frequently and bullies feel sanctified in their violence against others, this production's message is as urgent as ever.

I was saddened though not surprised by the townspeople's collective amnesia, and eagerness to spin history to support a more palpable view of themselves.   A mere ten years later, people who once saw irrefutable court room proof of a heinous, lethal gay bashing, bandied about victim blaming falsehoods about a drug deal gone bad.   Who wants to openly identify with a homicidal homophobic town where peaceful college students are killed for pocket change and partner preferences?   It seems a robbery co-opted into a hate crime by liberals, to advance their politics, is an easier lie to believe.   

On a parallel note, my husband's presently on a TV shoot
with someone who was a student at Columbine during the shootings, and
she recently met with similar resistance and hostility when she wanted
to make a 10 year documentary.   Even as an insider, many of her
classmates refused to talk to her and were adamantly against the
project.   People wanted to forget and not dredge up the past, and gave her so much resistance that the project may not advance.

Still, for all the haters and amnesiacs, there is an encouragingly dogged group in Laramie and beyond, still making sure Matthew's death meant something, and will make a difference for future generations.  The scene of the gay marriage political debate and vote gave me hope, as well.   Even with our current two steps forward, one step back, politics in 2012, there are still leaders who will cross conservative and liberal lines and party views to vote with wisdom and compassion.   This courageous and vital set of shows spread the message to that many more people.   Suggested for adults audiences and mature teens.   Highly recommended.

L-R: Jan Ellen Graves, Gene Cordon, Eleanor Katz, Matt Babbs, Matthew Klingler,Lisa Herceg, Kurt Brocker, Devon Candura,  Photo: Kimberly Loughlin

The Laramie
Project: Ten Years Later

Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg
Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen

Directed by three-time Jeff Award-winner, Greg

The ten-year epilogue is a companion piece to
the iconic, The
Laramie Project

one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. and
around the world.


On October 6, 1998, a gay University of Wyoming
student, Matthew Shepard, left the Fireside Bar in
Laramie, Wyoming, with Aaron McKinney and Russell
Henderson. The following day he was discovered at
the edge of town. He was tied to a fence, brutally
beaten, and close to death.

By the following day, Matthew's attack and the town
of Laramie had become the focus of an international
news story. On October 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard
died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins,

On November 14, 1998, the members of Tectonic
Theater Project traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, and
conducted interviews with the people of the town.
During the next year, Tectonic would return to
Laramie several times and conduct over two hundred
interviews. The play that resulted is edited from
those interviews, as well as from journal entries by
members of the company and other found texts.


The Laramie Project premiered at The Ricketson
Theatre, performed by the Denver Center Theatre
Company in February, 2000. It was then performed at
the Union Square Theater in New York City, before a
November, 2002, performance in Laramie, Wyoming. The
play has also been performed by high schools,
colleges, and community theaters across the country,
as well as professional playhouses around the world.
In addition, the HBO film directed by Moisés
Kaufman, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in
March, 2002.

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is the
epilogue to the original. Ten years after Shepard's
murder, members of the Tectonic Theater Project
returned to Laramie to conduct follow-up interviews
with residents featured in the original play. Those
interviews were turned into this companion piece.

The play debuted as a simultaneous reading at nearly
150 theatres across the US and internationally on
October 12, 2009 - the 11th anniversary of Matthew
Shepard’s death. Most of the theaters were linked by
webcam to New York City where Judy Shepard and the
play's producers and writers gave an opening speech
to begin this unique memorial and evening of

Greg Kolack, former Artistic Director of Circle
Theatre, has won three Jeff Awards as Best Director,
most recently for columbinus,
at Raven Theatre.
Greg has been interested in
directing these two projects together since the
nationwide reading in 2009. Several years ago, he
visited Laramie to gather research for the project.
On January 6, 2012, Greg made his second trip to
Laramie on the cusp of the rehearsal period, to meet
with various real-life characters depicted in
The Laramie Project.
His travelogue, reported via email to the cast each
evening was filled with first-person reports shared
by the locals who lived through the experience, and
who shared with Greg their unique insights and
poignant reflections on the events over thirteen
years ago that catalyzed tectonic change in our
society. Greg’s diligent research and his eye for
detail as an award-winning director, will surely
inform and enliven this production with a unique
theatrical style.

Both shows will be performed by only eight actors,
who portray dozens of roles in our signature,
intimate space. The actors and director have
personally talked with the real characters in the
play, and also with members of the Tectonic Theater
Project. A number of post-show discussions are
scheduled for groups and upon special request.

Matt Babbs, Kurt Brocker, Devon Candura, Gene
Cordon, Lisa Herceg, Jan Ellen Graves, Eleanor Katz,
Matthew Klingler

Greg Kolack (Director), Allison Queen (Stage
Manager), Amanda Lautermilch (Assistant Stage
Manager), Justin Castellano (Tech Director), Andrei
Onegin (Set Designer), Rachel Spear (Sound
Designer), Christopher Burpee (Lighting Designer), kClare Kemock (Costume Designer), Mary Reynard
Liss (Vocal Coach) Jan Ellen Graves (Graphic
Designer), Charles Bonilla (Box Office Manager),
Johnny Garcia (Associate Producer), Michael Colucci
& Jan Ellen Graves (Producers)


The Laramie Project (the

Saturdays Mar 17, 24, 31, Apr 7, at 3pm

Running time: approx.
2:30 incl. 2 intermissions


The Laramie
Project: Ten Years Later

Performs:  Thu, Fri, Sat at 7:30pm
& Sun at 3pm, Also April 1 at 7:30pm

Sat, Apr 7, 7:30pm

Running Time:
approx. 1:45 incl. 1

Thursdays, $25; Fridays &
Sundays, $27; Saturdays, $30 (seniors & students
$5 off)

Group Rates:
Special discounts for groups
of 10 or more, and groups of 25 or more





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.

CircEsteem-HD Video--Pre Team's Pre Show Opener for Toys Take Over

Check out the next gen of up and coming CircEsteem performers with Pre-team's juggling pre-show!   ChiIL Mama's own Du-Jay and Sagezilla love learning from their mentors on team and were excited to be asked to open the Team Circus show yesterday.    For upcoming show dates, class info and more, check out CircEsteem's main site right here.

CircEsteem Team Circus Show 2012--Toys Take Over #1 Juggling

Check out ChiIL Mama's original HD videos from Toys Take Over. This
show features CircEsteem's performance team and was entirely conceived,
publicized, choreographed, directed, produced and acted by the kids

#1 features ball juggling.

CircEsteem Team Circus Show-Toys Take Over 3-18-12 (best of photo filled recap)

Here's the "best of" our original show stills from the 2nd half of Toys Take Over, CircEsteem's 3rd Annual Team Circus.   Look for our HD show clips of the first half all week!

It's a delight to see teens involved in producing, directing, choreographing, publicizing and enacting an entire circus arts show themselves.    And these are extraordinary teens.    

They've traveled the country, Germany and Switzerland performing hundreds of shows.   They're not only excellent performers, they teach and mentor younger kids in CircEsteem's highly recommended classes and summer camps.   

ChiIL Mama's own Du-Jay (11) and Sagezilla (8) have been involved with CircEsteem since fall of 2010 and love it!   They've both acquired the skills for pre-team now and can be seen in the show, opening for their team mentors.

Sagezilla's contortionist tricks include going through juggling hoops!

We highly recommend CircEsteem for the playfully serious vibe, excellent caliber of instruction, and their commitment to multiculturalism and making circus arts affordable to all Chi-Town kids.   

Du-Jay was shy and reluctant to even do a scene with a partner in class when he first began at CircEsteem.   Now he has three shows under his belt, with a real audience and little stage fright.  He has blossomed into quite the confident kid and uses his circus skills to break the ice in other social situations.

Four of the talented team kids are headed off to college in the fall with the help of scholarships and matching funds from CircEsteem's work/college program.   If you'd like to take classes--available for toddlers to adults--or register for summer camp (slots are filling fast!), or make a donation to this rockin' non profit,  then check out their main site here.   For loads more CircEsteem coverage from ChiIL Mama, try the search bar in the top right and/or type CircEsteem in at ChiIL Mama's YouTube Channel

*We've bartered a reduced fee for circus classes in exchange for video, photography & writing services.   All opinions expressed in features are our own.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Act Out: Openings-Me Tube, CircEsteem Toys Take Over & Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

Act Out is where you'll find our take on Chi-Town's amazing theatre scene.   We review family friendly and adult shows and let you know what's opening, closing, extended and highly recommended.   We love theatre and there are zillions of shows running in Chicago simultaneously.  We also feature original video interviews with key players in the theatre scene and live photos and footage when we can.   Obviously we can't catch everything, but we see as many shows as we can, and give you the low down.   Also check out, like, and/or follow our ChiIL Live Shows Facebook Page for breaking daily music and theatre updates and press releases that don't run elsewhere.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get out and play!  

 production photos from Collaboraction

Saturday Opening:  Me Tube at Collaboraction 

Tonight, 11 year old Du-Jay and I are stoked to be checkin' out opening night of Me Tube and we'll have a full review for you shortly. 


Collaboraction announces the addition of a special show into their 2011 – 2012 season; MeTube featuring beatbox harmonica virtuoso Yuri Lane. Written by Rachel Havrelock and directed by Rachel Havrelock and John Wilson, with live visuals by Sharif Ezzat, MeTube will run for four weeks only, March 16 – April 8, 2012 Fri – Sun evenings at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Saturday evening performances will also feature special musical guests and post show collaborations.

What is it like to be an overnight Internet sensation? Chicago beatboxer Yuri Lane knows all about it. His beatbox harmonica video, featuring his extraordinary talent, went viral on YouTube, garnering millions of hits and making him an instant star in cyberspace. Created with Sharif Ezzat and Rachel Havrelock, MeTube, Yuri’s new sixty minute multimedia beatbox show, reflects on this exhilarating and strange experience by turning virtual reality into theatrical fantasy.

Yuri Lane is a world-renowned solo beatbox performer who combines beatbox, acting, mime and movement to tell a story. With his creative partner Sharif Ezzat and his wife Rachel Havrelock, Yuri created “From Tel Aviv to Ramallah,” a hip-hop play that tackles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “From Tel Aviv to Ramallah” had its world premiere at Theater J in Washington DC in 2003 where it was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for best new play. The show enjoyed runs in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore and Atlanta. It toured across the US at theaters, campuses and peace events. International venues include Helsinki, London and Jerusalem. Inspired by Yuri’s famous beatbox harmonica video, which garnered over 17 million views on YouTube, MeTube was previously seen in Chicago for two performances in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival as part of the Victory Gardens Fresh Squeezed Series.   Click here to watch the videos behind the man.

MeTube opens Saturday, March 17. Performances will run through April 8, 2012, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. There will also be an industry night Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$20. A limited number of $9 student rush tickets are available one hour prior to curtain. To purchase tickets or for more information visit or call 312.226.9633.

Artist Bio:

Yuri Lane was born on a small island in Holland. His parents, a painter and a violinist, soon moved to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district to ride the 70's counter-culture current. Raised in the Haight, Yuri learned rhythm by osmosis and began to breathe beats.

In the 80's, Yuri started breakdancing and teaching moves at middle school parties. He discovered his true passion in a sixth grade math class where Yuri made sounds to compensate for his lack of skill in arithmetic. When his teacher ordered him to "turn off the radio," Yuri knew that he was on to something.
Yuri spent his teenage years on stage at theaters like San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theater while attending high school at the San Francisco School of the Arts. After finishing a theater degree at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Yuri returned to San Francisco to pursue mime, improvisation and alternative theatrical forms. During the dot-com boom, Yuri found himself as "the geek" in several local and national commercials as well as in TV episodes.

As San Francisco's boom went bust, Yuri returned to theater and began developing his one- man human beatbox musical, Soundtrack City. Yuri created Soundtrack City by performing one scene at a time at clubs, bars, coffee shops, and small theaters of San Francisco. The full- length production of Soundtrack City debuted in November 2001, with runs in San Francisco and New York in 2002 and a run in Chicago in 2005. Soundtrack City chronicled the transformation of urban neighborhoods during gentrification.

With his partner Sharif Ezzat and his wife Rachel Havrelock, Yuri created “the coolly extraordinary” From Tel Aviv to Ramallah, a hip-hop play that tackles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.1    From Tel Aviv to Ramallah steers clear of ideology in order to show the daily lives of young people during the Second Intifada. From Tel Aviv to Ramallah had its world premiere at Theater J in Washington DC in 2003, where it was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for best new play. The show enjoyed runs in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore and Atlanta. It toured across the US at theaters, campuses, and peace events. International venues include Helsinki, London and Jerusalem.

Beatbox Harmonica is Yuri’s extraordinary talent, which the world began to experience with the birth of YouTube. In fall 2007, his beatbox harmonica video became the number one video on YouTube. This led to live beatbox performances at Google parties around the world, several commercials and the formation of a YouTube community bound by beatbox.

When the economic crash led to a slowdown in sponsored appearances, Yuri began work on MeTube, a personal journey through the world of YouTube celebrity that confronts issues of authenticity, originality, and self-image through beatbox and live video performance. MeTube premiered at the Chicago Humanities Festival in spring 2010. Yuri hopes to touch just a fraction of his 15 million (but who’s counting) YouTube fans with a live show in real time. He is excited to bring,” MeTube” to Victory Gardens and be a part of the wonderful Fresh Squeezed series at VG!!!
1 Michael Phillips, “ ‘Beatbox Journey’ a clear-eyed look at Mideast issues,” Chicago Tribune, Dec. 2, 2004. 

Sunday Opening (family friendly, 5+) Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed at Lifeline:

Wilbur (Nathaniel Niemi), a naked mole rat, indulges in his love of getting dressed; in Lifeline Theatre’s world premiere family musical, “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed,” adapted by Robert Kauzlaric, music by Paul Gilvary, and directed by Paul S. Holmquist, based on the popular children’s book by Mo Willems. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett.




Lifeline produces much of our all time favorite kids' theatre in Chicago!  Their book based adaptations and world premiers are incomparable.   Our kids have grown up with Lifeline, and we've been enjoying their high caliber, world class shows for kids and adults for years.   We'll be checking out opening day and we'll have a full review up soon.  

Preview Performances: Saturday March 17 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, March 18 at 11 a.m.

New Stories Come Alive! Hour Workshops Every Sunday During the Run

Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries presents a world premiere musical adaptation of Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, based on the book by New York Times bestselling author Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!).  The production is adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric (two-time Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning adaptor), with music by Paul Gilvary, and directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Paul S. Homquist (Non-Equity Jeff Award nominated director).  

Unlike other naked mole rats, young Wilbur loves to wear clothes. By daring to defy social tradition, Wilbur makes life miserable for himself and his best friend. When the teasing and bullying at school get out of control, the pups take their case before Grand-pah: the greatest, wisest, and most naked naked mole rat ever. Will Grand-pah crush Wilbur’s self-expression, or open the door of acceptance to a misunderstood outsider? A heartwarming lesson on tolerance, in a world premiere musical adaptation for the whole family. This production is appropriate for children ages five and up, and runs approximately one hour with no intermission. The book will be on sale in the lobby. 

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed runs Saturday, March 17 – Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.  Press opening is Sunday, March 18 at 1 p.m.  Regular performance times are Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  (Previews are Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, March 18 at 11 a.m.)  Ticket prices are $15 and may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

PLUS: Join Lifeline Theatre every Sunday at 12 p.m. during the run of Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (following the 11 a.m. show, or before the 1 p.m. show) for our new Stories Come Alive! Hour. Children of all ages will get up close and personal with the book that inspired the play in an interactive storytelling session, followed by theatre games exploring the characters, plot, and themes of the play. The cost is only $10 per child. Parents are welcome, though not required. Contact the Lifeline Theatre Box Office at 773-761-4477 for more information.

Lifeline Theatre also offers “Name Your Price” tickets a half-hour before the show (subject to availability), group rates and other discounts available upon request.  A party room is available for full-service birthday and special event parties.  Free parking is available at the designated lot west of the theatre (NE corner of Morse and Ravenswood) with free shuttle service before and after the show.  Street parking is also available and Lifeline Theatre is handicapped and CTA accessible (Red Line Morse stop/busses).

Also highly recommended Sunday:

12pm & 4pm CircEsteem Teen Circus--Toys Take Over (family friendly, all ages)

You won't want to miss Toys Take Over this Sunday March 18th and 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  Toys Take Over is the third annual youth created, directed, and produced circus show presented by the CircusTeens. These young performers are part of CircEsteem's youth employment in the arts program that hires the most talented and skilled teens to teach, perform and mentor younger students. Collectively, they have performed hundreds of shows throughout the United States, Germany and Switzerland. 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids and all of the profit will go directly to the performers. The CircusTeens are also collecting new toys to give to less fortunate kids right here in Chicago.  Can't make it to the show but still want to support CircEsteem's teen performers?  Forward this email to a friend or share it on Facebook.

Don't miss this great opportunity to support local, grassroots, youth created social circus in action.   For more information, check out CircEsteem's main site, right here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Play Locally-Logan Theatre Grand Reopening This Saturday!

The Logan Theatre is celebrating it's grand reopening this Saturday 3/17/12 with an eclectic mix of movie favs and dollar deals on flicks, drinks, & that ubiquitous show staple, popcorn.    Check out shows, times and details above.

Rumor has it, they ditched the lumpy, old chairs & the moldy smell and will be showing more art films in addition to new releases that have been out a short while already.   Hope you don't raise the admission price too much for the new fancy schmancyness.   We dig that you offered $3.00 shows all the time.   Welcome back Logan.   We've missed you.    

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Winners Announced for Sold Out Lost & Found and The North Plan

Congrats to this week's theatre ticket winners.    Lost & Found at The Actor's Gym is now completely sold out through the end of their run....but we still have 4 tickets today for one of our lucky readers!

Meg M.--4 tickets to (sold out) Lost & Found at Actor's Gym at 7:30pm THIS Friday night.   Click here for full show details and links to ChiIL Live Shows' review.

Aviv H.--2 tickets to teen night at The North Plan at Theater Wit THIS Saturday night.   Pre-party 7pm.   Show at 8pm.   Pizza and talk back with the actors after the show.    Click here for ChiIL Live Shows' review and show details.    

The North Plan is Jeff recommended, which complete a trifecta of
Jeff-y goodness, with all three shows currently at Theater Wit considered excellent by the hard-attending members of the committee!! Big congrats from ChiIL Live Shows. We saw The North Plan and Punk Rock and highly recommend both. Great stuff happening over at Theater Wit these days.

As always, check back with ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.   We have loads of great nationwide give aways and free Chicago concert and theatre tickets.


ChiIL Live Show Shots--Black Tusk-Thou-Monstro at Ultra Lounge 11-13-11


*ChiIL Live Shows will be interviewing BLACK TUSK and shooting stills at their show tomorrow night at Ultra Lounge   Check out the show details and get your tickets here. Presents
Black Tusk/ Royal Thunder / East of the Wall / Hull
Friday, Mar 09, 2012 8:00 PM CST (8:00 PM Doors)
- Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 1:00 AM CST
Ultra Lounge
, Chicago, IL
21 years and over

BLACK TUSK Confirmed For Metallica's Orion Music + More Festival

North American Tour Kicks Off Today
Savannah, Georgia's BLACK TUSK have confirmed that they will be appearing at the inaugural "Orion Music + More Festival" curated by Metallica. The festival will be held in Atlantic City, New Jersey at Bader Field on June 23rd and June 24th. BLACK TUSK will be playing on Saturday January 23rd. More information on the festival can be found on the official "Orion Music + More Festival" Website, Facebook Page and Twitter.
"We are honored to play the first Orion Fest. Metallica has always been an influence for our band. This is yet another contribution they are making for music, not just metal," says BLACK TUSK drummer James May.
BLACK TUSK are preparing to kick off an extensive North American tour starting today in Memphis, TN. This run will feature headlining tour dates with support coming from East of the Wall, label-mates Royal Thunder and Hull, plus a string of dates supporting Prong and select shows with Intronaut and Skeletonwitch in March. The band will also be appearing at this year's SXSW Festival in Austin, TX on March 14th. BLACK TUSK will perform at the Pitchfork Showcase, Metal Sucks Showcase and Converse Showcase.
BLACK TUSK will be taking part in an exclusive in store signing event on March 19th in Hollywood, CA at 6:00 PM. The signing will take place at Sound Check Hollywood, which is located at 8872 Sunset Blvd. For more information visit:
The guys cannot wait to hit the road:
"We're getting ready to put some miles on the van and have some good times playing shows and meeting new friends and seeing old ones! SXSW is going to be pretty awesome this year, we are doing three shows in one day and playing with some amazing bands and good friends.  We are super stoked to get out to the west coast again and we will hopefully see y'all at the shows!"
Following the North America dates, BLACK TUSK will be heading over to Europe providing direct support to label mates RED FANG  The tour will kick off April 5th in Segrate, Italy and wraps up on May 5th in Essen, Germany. A teaser video for the tour can be viewed HERE. A complete list of dates can be found below.
BLACK TUSK is currently streaming Set The Dial at this location. The album is available for purchase via here and iTunes here.    
BLACK TUSK is available for interviews upon request. To speak with the band, please contact the relevant publicity contact listed below. Updated BLACK TUSK news and tour information will be made available at the Relapse Records website and BLACK TUSK Facebook page.   
BLACK TUSK Tour Dates:
3/8: Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone
3/9: Chicago, IL @ Ultra Lounge
3/10: Detroit, MI @ I ROCK
3/11: Portage, IN Camelot Arean
3/12: St Louis, MO @ Fubar
3/13: Fayetteville, AR @ Stone Pony
3/14: Austin, TX @ ND Venue (Pitchfork / Show No Mercy SXSW Showcase)
3/14: Austin, TX @ Metalsucks SXSW Showcase
3/14: Austin, TX @ Converse SXSW Showcase
3/16: Scottsdale, AZ @ Chaser's
3/17: Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
3/19: West Hollywood, CA @ The Whiskey
3/21: San Diego, CA @ Ruby Room
3/22: West Hollywood, CA @ Viper Room
3/23: Las Vegas, NV @ LVCS
3/24: Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse
3/25: Fresno, CA @ Starline
3/26: Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar
3/27: San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
3/28: Portland, OR @ Rotture
3/29: Tacoma, WA @ Hell's Kitchen
3/30: Seattle, WA @ Highline
3/31: Boise, ID @ The Venue
4/1: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
4/2: Englewood, CO @ Moe's
4/3: Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
4/5: Segrate, Italy (MI) @ Magnolia
4/6: Roma, Italy @ Traffic
4/7: Montecchio Maggiore, Italy (VI) @ E20 Underground
4/8: Bulle, Switzerland @ Ebullition
4/9: Lyon, France @ TBA
4/10: Nantes, France @ Le Ferrailleur
4/11: Paris, France @ Les Combustibles
4/12: Tilburg, Holland @ Roadburn Festival
4/13: Torhout, Belgium @ Club de B
4/14: Marbehan , Belgium @ Bois Des Isles
4/15: Southampton, UK @ Joiners
4/16: Manchester, UK @ Star and Garter
4/17:Wrexham, UK @ Central Station
4/18: London, UK @ Underworld
4/19: Nijmegen, Netherlands @ Doornroosje
4/20: Leeuwarden, Netherlands @ Asteriks
4/21: Berlin, Germany @ Desertfest
4/24: Helsinki, Finland @ Tavastia
4/26: Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang
4/27: Wiesbaden, Germany @ Schlachthof
4/28: Winterthur, Schweiz @ Gaswerk
4/29: Salzburg, Austria @ Rockhouse Bar
4/30: Bozen, Italy @ Halle 28
5/1: Wien, Austria @ Arena
5/2: München, Germany @ Feierwerk
5/3: Wroclaw, Poland @ Asymetry Festival
5/4: Kiel, Germany @ Schaubude
5/5: Essen, Germany @ Cafe Nova
"Orion Music All That Music and More Festival
/23: Atlantic City, NJ Bader Field

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