Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Known for powerful and passionate live performances, Tamar Braxton will bring her dynamic and unforgettable show to audiences across North America this spring and summer.

Tickets on sale Friday, March 28 for Tamar Braxton at Concord Music Hall on Friday, June 6th, at

The Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, personality, and television producer is set to be direct support for R&B legend R. Kelly on his upcoming arena jaunt followed by a headline run of her own.

Expect to hear and see her Streamline/Epic debut, Love and War, come to life vividly and vibrantly on stage nightly. Her instantly recognizable voice always captivates, while her presence remains invigorating. Idolator has called her live show, "very impressive", while Perez Hilton claims, "her vocals are ON POINT". You'll definitely feel Love and War stage when she rolls through your town.

Right now, Tamar is also compiling ideas for her forthcoming release and preparing for the nationwide launch of The Real— the syndicated, one-hour daily talk show set to launch nationwide in Fall 2014 on Fox Television Stations and premiering in a second window on BET. Viewers can also catch her on the  hit series Tamar & Vince and Braxton Family Values.

In just the past year, Tamar has solidified herself as one of R&B’s leading divas. Love and War became the #1 R&B album upon debut, selling 400,000 copies since its September release. In support of the record, she performed to packed houses across the U.S. on a 30-city tour supporting John Legend, engaged in a whirlwind European promo run, and even picked up two 2013 Soul Train Awards, after performing at the event in Las Vegas. She also released her very first holiday album, Winter Loversland. On top of it all, she gave birth to her first son, feeling like as she puts it, “I won!”

Love and War hit #2 on the Billboard Top 200 upon release, making for 2013's highest debut from a female R&B artist. Meanwhile, it also topped the Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart and iTunes Top R&B Albums Chart. Press acclaim also showered the release. Vibe described the record as "Emotional and amazing", while called it "everything a classic R&B record should be and so much more". After gracing the cover of Ebony Magazine, she celebrated the album's release with performances on Good Morning AmericaLive With Kelly & Michael, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

WIN $1000!! TMBG Video Contest is ON through 4/12

Directors! Animators! Motion graphic folk! Puppeteers! Powerpointers! Claymators! Mixed-media makers!

This one's not an entry, but cool:

3 winners--$1000 US cashola to each! Judged by Judge John Hodgman. New deadline is April 12. 

Go to for all the important info. PREPARE TO WIN! 

Victory Gardens Theater announces an innovative and affordable $15 a Month Annual Membership

Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Chris Mannelli announce the new Victory Gardens Membership, an innovative program to encourage Chicagoans to frequent the theater and to take part in all programs at the venue.

Memberships are $15/month (based on a 12-month agreement) and are available year-round! Members are offered admission to almost any performance at Victory Gardens, including all Victory Gardens-produced shows, all Resident Company productions, all Public Programming, and many Visiting Companies (some exclusions apply). Members receive one reserved admission per production and are welcome to return an unlimited number of times on a standby basis.  Members may bring a non-member guest with them at a 20% discount for a regular ticket.  Members receive discounts with all Victory Gardens restaurant partners and access to exclusive specials at the VG bar.

Memberships are available on Wednesday, March 25, 2014 online, and by phone at the Victory Gardens Box Office at The Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln, 773.871.3000. Prior to Wednesday, Memberships are available by phone, 773.871.3000. Traditional subscriptions to the Victory Gardens 5-play season are also available and start at $100.

Managing Director Chris Mannelli states, “We have created an alternative loyalty model to traditional subscriptions; one that appeals to a wide range of audiences—especially a diverse, younger group of patrons we are seeing more and more at our theater. In today’s market, you can buy everything for a monthly fee: movies, music, even t-shirts and razors. Why shouldn’t art be as accessible and hassle-free?”

In addition to yet to be announced programs, Resident and Visiting productions, the following current and upcoming productions included in the Membership are:

The Gospel of Lovingkindness
Though March 30

Bailiwick Chicago presents
Dessa Rose
Through April 5

Teatro Vista presents
A View From The Bridge
April 11 - May 18

Bailiwick Chicago presents
Carrie: The Musical
May 29 - July 13

Death and the Maiden
By Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Chay Yew
Featuring Sandra Oh
June 13 - July 13

The 2014-15 Victory Gardens Season is included in the Membership and includes:

The Midwest Premiere of
by VG Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by Joanie Schultz
September 12 - October 12, 2014
Press Opening: September 19, 2014
A retirement home in northern Idaho is being shut down, and only three residents and a bare-bones staff remain. When a record breaking blizzard blows into town and an elderly resident disappears into the storm, everyone is brought to face their own mortality. Samuel D. Hunter (from last season's hit The Whale) returns with a tender and heartbreakingly funny play about life's unexpected beginnings and endings.

The Midwest Premiere of
The Testament of Mary
by Colm Tóibín
Directed by Dennis Začek
November 14 - December 14, 2014
Press Opening: November 21, 2014
A 2013 Tony Award nominee for Best Play, this incisive, intelligent and profoundly challenging work recounts in riveting detail Mary’s narrative of the last days in the life of her son, Jesus. Hailed as “beautiful and daring” by the New York Times, acclaimed author Colm Tóibín brings the world’s most famous mother to life in this fiercely lyrical solo play.

The World Premiere of
by Lauren Yee
Directed by Seth Bockley
February 6 - March 8, 2015
Press Opening: February 13, 2015
Americans Katie and Craig are having a baby with Suraiya, a surrogate from India. As all three “parents” anxiously await the baby's due date, Katie and Suraiya are attacked by flights of their imagination: a seductive Frenchman and a sharp-tongued fetus. Originally developed at Victory Gardens' IGNITION New Play Festival in 2012, this smart world premiere comedy takes us on a hilarious and highly theatrical journey into 21st century parenthood and modern-day colonialism.

The World Premiere of
A Wonder In My Soul
by VG Ensemble Playwright Marcus Gardley
Directed by Chay Yew
April 3 - May 3, 2015
Press Opening: April 10, 2015
A Wonder In My Soul, by the author of The Gospel of Lovingkindness, centers on the feuding members of the Soul Singers, Chicago's 1960's rhythm and blues music sensation, who unwillingly reunite after 35 years for a concert to raise money for a community center. Set in the Bronzeville neighborhood, this hilarious and heartrending musical play about ambition, passions and the unbreakable bonds of family premieres in Spring 2015.

The Midwest Premiere of
The Who and the What
by Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Kimberly Senior
June 12 - July 12, 2015
Press Opening: Jun 19, 2015
Raised in a conservative Muslim family in Atlanta, the outspoken and brilliant Zarina recently completed a book about women and Islam. When her traditional father and sister discover the manuscript, it threatens to tear her family apart. With humor and ferocity, 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and director Kimberly Senior examine the giant chasm between our traditions and our contemporary lives.

Victory Gardens Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Benefits of subscribing include convenient parking; easy access via CTA, ticket exchange privileges; invitations to special events; discounted series for seniors, educators, younger audiences and persons with disabilities and pre- and post-show deals at nearby restaurants and businesses.

About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Chris Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.  

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 299-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens,  Follow up on Facebook at and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, Venturous Theatre Fund of the Tides Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Leo S. Guthman Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), The Edgerton Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund, McVay Foundation, The Prince Charitable Trusts, Abbot Downing, Conant Family Foundation, Kemper Foundation, The Seabury Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Tool Works, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Irving Harris Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Berghoff Catering, and The Saints.

The New York Times Premieres Jon Langford's New Album Here Be Monsters - Out April 1 #FreeStreaming #AlbumStreaming #NewRelease

Here at ChiIL Live Shows & ChiIL Mama, Jon Langford has been a favorite of ours for decades! He's a musician, artist and Chicago legend with international appeal and an alt-country-punk-folk sensibility.  And now he's got a new album out!  Check out Here Be Monsters.  We're grocking the album art already and can't wait to review the new tunes.

Flavorwire Premieres Paintings by Langford Inspired by Each Song

Here Be Monsters, the new album by Jon Langford & Skull Orchard, finds the band scanning the outskirts of popular culture, its title born of medieval cartographers’ term for the dragons, sea serpents, and other mythical beasties that reside beyond the boundaries of the known universe.  Earlier today, The New York Times premiered the full album stream a week before its release date on April 1st.  Check it out HERE.

“There’s a lot of explosive stuff on the record,” Langford said.  “I don’t know if I was fashioning songs to exploit that, but I definitely wanted to make a band album.  It’s not just me strumming an acoustic guitar, sitting ‘round in my basement."  Jon continued, “It just turned into a really great band.  We existed and it seemed like a time to get everybody fully involved rather than it just being me.”

Langford plots a clear-eyed, sharp-elbowed course through such far-flung subjects as alternative hierarchies and astronomy, perpetual war for perpetual profit, the culture of detachment, middle age, fatherhood, fame, and the fleetingness of love.  Songs like “If You Hear Rumors” and the rather glorious power ballad, “Sugar On Your Tongue” are provocative and playful, with the hard-charging Skull Orchard kicking out genre-agnostic rock ‘n’ roll as rich and surprising as anything found in Langford’s far-reaching canon.  Added sonic color comes courtesy of New Orleans’ Bonerama Horns, who contribute big brass to “What Did You Do In The War?,” while Leeds’ own Barkley McKay (The Waco Brothers, The Pretty Things) adds Hammond B3 licks to the cheeky “Lil’ Ray O’ Light.”  A seething, stem-winding broadside, “Drone Operator” suggests that raining death from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles named “Reaper” and “Predator” might create a few “boundary issues” in their joystick-wielding, computer-jockey pilots.  It reaches its own frontier with “Don’t Believe,” a declaration of true faith penned and first performed by Langford’s longtime friend, musician/filmmaker/punk icon Viv Albertine.

“She’s a pal,” says Langford. “I just thought it was such a great song, it said a lot of things that really fit with my subject matter for this album.  It’s kind of like a star map of things not to believe in alongside a star map of things that are solid and tangible and real.  ‘I believe in corrugated iron’ – just fantastic.”

Best known for his work in The Mekons and the Waco Brothers, Langford has been a leading pioneer in the assimilation of folk/country music into punk rock since the genre's first evolution over 30 years ago.  Also a renowned and prolific visual artist, he will include individual artwork images specific to each track on the album, marking this release as the most complete unification of his dual creative careers.

Last week, Flavorwire premiered the full artwork along with the track "Sugar On Your Tongue."  Check it out HERE.

For the upcoming seventh annual Record Store Day on April 19, Jon will release an exclusive 7" titled Days & Nights which will feature two brand new studio tracks, "Days & Nights" along with B-Side "Here's What We Have."  Langford also recently released a FREE EP via Noisetrade that includes demo tracks from both releases and the studio version of the first single from Here Be Monsters, "Mars."

In celebration of the new releases, Langford has extended his US tour well into April and May. 

US Tour Dates
March 13 - Austin, TX @ Gingerman (SXSW)
March 14 - Austin, TX @ Rowdy's Saloon (SXSW)
March 15 - Austin, TX @ Yard Dog Gallery (SXSW)
March 21 - Madison, WI @ Kiki's House of Righteous Music
March 22 - Carbondale, IL @ The Old Feedstore
March 23 - Chicago, IL @ The Hideout (Hometown Record Release Party)
April 3 - Cambridge, MA @ Atwoods Tavern
April 4 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House
April 5 - Rehoboth Beach, DE @ Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats
April 6 - Arlington, VA @ IOTA Club & Cafe
April 7 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
April 8 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird
April 9 - Newport, KY @ The Southgate House Revival
April 14 - Berwyn, IL @ FitzGerald's w/ Dave Alvin
April 15-17 - Chicago, IL to Portland, OR @ Roots on the Rails w/ Dave Alvin
April 18 - Portland, OR @ White Eagle co-headline w/ David Olney
April 19 - Seattle, WA @ The Stables
April 20 - Vashon Island, WA @ The Cone Gallery (Free Acoustic show with art)
April 21 - Port Townshend, WA @ The Cellar Door
May 1 - New Orleans, LA @ Le Mieux Gallery (Free show)
May 17 - Portland, ME @ Last Church on the Left
May 18 - Peace Dale, R.I. @ Roots Hoot House Concerts

Here Be Monsters is available for CD pre-order HERE and LP pre-order HERE.

iTunes pre-order is available HERE and includes "Drone Operator" as instant grat for those who purchase.


Tickets On Sale Monday, April 7 at 10 a.m.

Performing on his United States Tour, world renowned tenor and classical music icon Andrea Bocelli will return to the Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, for one night only on Saturday, December 13 at 8 p.m. Bocelli will be joined by conductor Eugene Kohn, soprano Maria Aleida, featured violinist Caroline Campbell, and Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley for an a an evening of soaring arias, famed love songs, and crossover hits. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 7 at 10 a.m.

Thrilling audiences for more than 20 years, Andrea Bocelli exploded onto the world’s stage with his hit, “Con te Partiro” (and, later, the same piece’s arrangement as a duet with Sarah Brightman under the title “Time To Say Goodbye”).  He has since sold 80 million records and performed countless worldwide tours. Today, Bocelli is known for being one of the greatest singing talents in the world.

His commitment to performing and studying music is legendary. In 2013, Bocelli earned his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from The Conservatory of Music, Giacomo Puccini in La Spezia, Italy. Bocelli also released “Love in Portofino” in 2013, a CD/DVD compilation featuring his breathtaking performance in Portofino, Italy in August 2012. More recently, Bocelli has been nominated for two 2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards, including Latin Pop Album of the Year and Latin Pop Album Artist of the Year (Solo). Bocelli continues to perform deep and powerful emotional interpretations of both classical and pop genres.

“Bocelli's vocal prowess in both sacred repertoire and popular ballads is undeniable. His powerful, heroic timbre, along with his range, profound control and commanding presence, makes for an overwhelming live experience,” raved the Orange County Register.

Other stops on Bocelli’s 2014 tour include concerts in New York, Dallas, Houston, Detroit and Las Vegas.

Allstate Arena, located at 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont, presents Andrea Bocelli on Saturday, December 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets will go on sale to the public on April 7 at 10 a.m. and are $75 - $375. Tickets can be purchased online at via phone at 800-745-3000 or at the Allstate Arena box office located in the arena. For more information about the Allstate Arena, visit

Monday, March 24, 2014



25 million records sold and 30-plus years into her tenure as Pretenders founder and leader, Chrissie Hynde will release Stockholm, the first ever album under her own name, June 10 on Caroline Records in the U.S.

"It's the first album with my name on it," Chrissie says. "But it's not a solo album. In fact, making this album was more of a collaboration than any Pretenders album ever was."

We're huge fans of Chrissie here at ChiILMama & ChiIL Live Shows.  Click here to check out our coverage of her Kidzapalooza appearance back in the day!

Recorded at Ingrid Studios in Stockholm with co-writer/guitarist Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn and John at the helm, the album features contributions from Neil Young, John McEnroe and Joakim Ahlund of the Caesars. 11 tracks of fresh and irreverent rock n roll in Chrissie's unmistakable voice and style, Stockholm will be heralded by first single "Dark Sunglasses," which will go out instantly to all pre-orders on April 1. "Dark Sunglasses" is a perfect embodiment of the attitude and aim Chrissie employed in the creation of Stockholm: "I wanted to make a power pop album you could dance to - Abba meets John Lennon."

"Dark Sunglasses" can be streamed HERE and HERE.

Stockholm may not be a solo album but it certainly has the vibe of an energized debut by a vital artist, one who gives voice to the disaffected while celebrating the undeniable power of a classic love song, a night on the dance floor, honest authentic rock n roll and other things that make life worth living. "So much of rock n roll has become what I would call Glory Rock, with family values. It's the irreverence in rock that was always the turn-on. I disagree with people who say you shouldn't take yourself too seriously. I think life is serious, and you should take it seriously, but in rock n roll either have a fucking laugh or fuck off."

Track Listing:

1. You Or No One
2. Dark Sunglasses
3. Like In The Movies
4. Down The Wrong Way
5. You're The One
6. A Plan Too Far
7. In A Miracle
8. House Of Cards
9. Tourniquet (Cynthia Ann)
10. Sweet Nuthin
11. Adding The Blue 

Dave Brockie Lead Singer and Founder of Metal Band GWAR Passes Away Sunday March 23rd, 2014 #GWAR #DaveBrockie #metal

Jack Flanagan, manager of GWAR has issued an official statement:

"It is with a saddened heart, that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR passed away at approximately 6:50 PM EST Sunday March 23,2014.  His body was found Sunday by his band mate at his home in Richmond, VA. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified.   A full autopsy will be performed.  He was 50 years old, born August 30, 1963.

My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed."

We'll miss you Oderus Urungus! Here at ChiIL Live Shows we had the pleasure of shooting GWAR in action and catching their live shows many times over the years. You will be greatly missed! GWARs over the top theatrics were so much fun live. Click here for some of our photo filled GWAR features. Thanks for all the bloodbaths & memories!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Joffrey Ballet Celebrates 20 YEARS IN CHICAGO with 2014-15 Season #Dance

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, it's been our pleasure to promote and work with the Joffrey Ballet for years.  They put on world class productions and are a true Chicago treasure.  Check out their new season and reserve your tickets early for the best seats for their 20th anniversary season.  We're particularly jazzed about The Man in Black, Johnny Cash ballet. ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?!  Click here for some of our past photo and video filled Joffrey coverage. 

Chicago Premieres include a ballet set to Johnny Cash music by James Kudelka,
A major newly envisioned Swan Lake by Christopher Wheeldon,
And work by New York City Ballet’s Justin Peck,
Alongside work by George Balanchine, Nicolas Blanc, Alexander Ekman, Ashley Page, Yuri Possokhov, Antony Tudor and Stanton Welch

Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, announces programming for the company’s 2014-15 season celebrating 20 years of the Joffrey calling Chicago home. The 2014-15 anniversary season features both company favorites and a slate of eight premieres.

For the second year, following the success of the Joffrey’s “Russian Masters” program that launched the 2013-14 season, an additional season opener will be presented in September, a one-weekend-only engagement featuring the return of two Joffrey repertory favorites, George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, along with the Joffrey/Chicago Premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s Asian-themed RAkU, September 18-21, 2014. The Joffrey’s annual fall engagement brings the Joffrey/Chicago Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s newly envisioned Swan Lake, October 15-26, 2014, followed by the return of the classic holiday chestnut, Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker, December 5-28, 2014. The Joffrey continues its recent tradition of presenting a contemporary program for its winter engagement, featuring three company premieres, James Kudelka’s The Man in Black set to Johnny Cash music, Stanton Welch’s Maninyas and Alexander Ekman’s humorous Tulle, February 11-22, 2015. Rounding out the season is a spring program featuring the Joffrey/Chicago Premiere of New York City Ballet soloist Justin Peck’s In Creases, a World Premiere by British choreographer Ashley Page and Evenfall from the Joffrey’s own ballet master, Nicolas Blanc, April 22-May 3, 2015.

All performances take place in the Joffrey’s home venue, the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, in downtown Chicago at 50 East Congress Parkway. Various programs throughout the season feature live orchestral accompaniment by the Chicago Philharmonic conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

In 1995, escaping a crowded New York City ballet market, then Joffrey Artistic Director Gerald Arpino relocated the company he had started with Robert Joffrey from the East Coast to Chicago with the help of a group of ardent supporters. Having successfully toured through Chicago since 1957, the company found fertile soil in a city with a rich dance heritage but, until then, no major ballet company of its own. The Joffrey Ballet quickly became a bedrock of Chicago’s burgeoning theater district, moving into its own state-of-the-art home of Joffrey Tower at State and Randolph Streets in 2008 and soon after, opening The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of the Joffrey Ballet.

In its 20th Chicago Anniversary season, the Joffrey focuses on narrative in dance, exploring the concept of “story ballet” with a series of both repertory and evening length work that each tell a story in a freshly conceived way, either through iconic music, a familiar fantasy re-imagined, or by seeing human relationships through fresh eyes. Many choreographers who have made recent contributions to Joffrey’s repertory return this season, becoming signature artists of the company.

“Next season, The Joffrey Ballet celebrates twenty years in the city of Chicago with a series of programs exploring the expressive power of dance.  By telling stories drawn from diverse sources, by embracing our history and our future, we celebrate the voice and spirit of this great American city,” said Wheater.

About the Season
The Joffrey launches its new season with a mixed repertory program featuring George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden and the Joffrey Premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU

Prodigal Son, not performed by the Joffrey since 2000, was one of the first Balanchine ballets to achieve an international reputation. Set to music by Sergei Prokofiev, it is a dramatic story of sin and redemption based on the Gospel according to St. Luke. Wheater will make a rare return to the stage portraying the Father.

Lilac Garden, set to music by Ernest Chausson, is an intimate work showing Tudor’s increasing interest in revealing psychological motivation through choreography. It is a story of a young woman who must say farewell to her lover on the eve of her arranged marriage to a man she does not love. It was last performed by The Joffrey Ballet in 2008.

Finally, Possokhov, San Francisco Ballet Resident Choreographer, brings RAkU to Chicago for the first time since its San Francisco Ballet debut in 2011. Set to music by Shinji Eshima, this contemporary ballet with a modernist, sepia-toned costume and set design with projections and moving screens, tells the tale of a Japanese emperor, his wife and a jealous monk driven mad by obsessive love. It is a stylized interpretation of the burning of the Kyoto Temple of the Golden Pavilion, brimming with lush lyricism and dark drama.

Lilac Garden, Prodigal Son and RAkU are presented in five performances only, September 18-21, 2014.

For its main fall production, The Joffrey Ballet brings a newly re-imagined Swan Lake to Chicago, choreographed by one of ballet’s most acclaimed choreographers, Christopher Wheeldon. A $1.5 million production with lavish costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant and scenic design by Adrianne Lobel, Wheeldon’s Swan Lake was commissioned for the Pennsylvania Ballet in 2004 to celebrate the company’s 40th Anniversary. Set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s score and modeled from the original Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa choreography, Wheeldon sets Swan Lake in the 19th century milieu of the Paris Opera Ballet, during the time when Tchaikovsky was actually composing Swan Lake and when Edgar Degas was on the rise. The ballet uses actual Degas imagery to create an Opera Ballet studio as young boy Siegfried daydreams of escaping rehearsal for the lake, while the ensemble prepares for a major opening night gala. The ballerinas and their wealthy patrons serve as the central characters of the ballet in a re-telling of the classical fantasy. Swan Lake is presented in 10 performances only, October 15-26, 2014.

Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker, Chicago’s most popular holiday tradition and America’s #1 Nutcracker, returns for its seasonal run at the Auditorium Theatre, bringing Tchaikovsky’s classic score to life with battling toys, raucous rodents, swirling snowflakes, waltzing flowers and the splendor of the full Joffrey company on stage with over 100 young dancers from the Chicagoland area.  Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker is presented in 24 performances, December 5-28, 2014.

Three leading contemporary ballet choreographers, all former Joffrey guest artists – James Kudelka, Stanton Welch and Alexander Ekman – return with Joffrey Premieres in the winter of 2015, each working in a distinctly different mode from what Chicagoans have seen of them before.

Kudelka’s The Man in Black sets an ensemble of three men and a woman, all in cowboy boots, against the songs of soulful American crooner Johnny Cash. Six songs, all from the latter part of Cash’s career, reflect working-class grit, lighthearted looseness and moving tenderness as Kudelka’s choreography seamlessly sways between ballet and country western dance styles including line, square, swing and step dance. A 2010 premiere for the BalletMet Columbus, The Man in Black has garnered rave reviews from restagings by the National Ballet of Canada, Atlanta Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet. This will be the first time it’s seen in Chicago.

Originally created for San Francisco Ballet in 1996, Welch’s Maninyas is also a small ensemble work, a series of duets and trios, though more abstract in nature. It is set to Maninyas Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Australian composer Ross Edwards and presents dancers moving in and out of a series of shimmering veils, a dance metaphor for the unveiling of one’s self in a relationship, that gradual and sometimes frightening process of revealing layers both physical and emotional. 

Completing the contemporary program is Swedish choreographer Ekman’s Tulle (Tyll in Swedish), a ballet about ballet. Premiered in 2012 at the Royal Opera House of Stockholm, it was Ekman’s first piece working with pointe shoes and classical ballet vocabulary and is his affectionate commentary on the art form and where it comes from. Tulle, in characteristic Ekman style, incorporates video projected on three huge LED screens featuring interviews with the Joffrey dancers with their candid and often humorous thoughts on ballet.

The Man in Black, Maninyas and Tulle are presented in 10 performances only, February 11-22, 2015.

The season closes with a third mixed repertory program featuring three more premieres, including the Joffrey Premiere of In Creases by New York City Ballet soloist Justin Peck, a World Premiere by British choreographer Ashley Page, and the Joffrey Premiere of Evenfall by the company’s own ballet master Nicolas Blanc.

The first work Peck choreographed for New York City Ballet, In Creases premiered in 2012 at the company’s annual summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Set to Philip Glass’ Four Movements for Two Pianos, the choreography playfully uses neoclassical symmetry and geometry, matching the score’s energetic, looping melodies, throughout seven movements that build in speed and power as they unfold.

Page began his professional career as a dancer with London’s Royal Ballet in 1984, working closely with Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. He was promoted to Principal in 1984, the same year in which he choreographed his first professional work for the company, A Broken Set of Rules. Page continued to develop his choreographic voice alongside his dancing career, creating 17 ballets for the company. In 2002, after 27 years with the Royal Ballet, Page was offered the artistic directorship of the then-failing Scottish Ballet, and over the subsequent 10 years redeveloped the Company into an internationally renowned modern ballet company with an eclectic repertoire. Now in the third phase of his career as a freelance choreographer and director, Page is currently working on numerous commissions from ballet and contemporary dance companies around the world.

A ballet master with The Joffrey Ballet since 2011 after a career dancing with such companies as the Nice Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Zurich Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, Frenchman Blanc created Evenfall in 2013 for Joffrey dancers Derrick Agnoletti, Fabrice Calmels, Rory Hohenstein, Anastacia Holden and Victoria Jaiani, premiering it at the “Festival Danse en PlaceS” in Montauban, France. Set to Max Richter’s The Four Seasons, this lyrical piece follows the thread of poetry running through the lives of a couple at the beginning of their romance and then through their autumn years.  As the poet suggests, life is a collection of memories.

In Creases, Ashley Page’s World Premiere and Evenfall are presented in 10 performances only, April 22-May 3, 2015.

In the spring, the Joffrey plans a special gala performance celebrating 20 years in Chicago.

Tickets and Subscriptions
Three-program subscriptions, which do not include the September engagement or The Nutcracker, start at $84.  Subscriptions will be available for purchase as of February 19, 2014, online at, by mail (Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601), by telephone at 312-386-8905, by fax at 312-739-0119, or by email at  Subscribers have the option to add on the September engagement at 50% off the single ticket price.

Single tickets are priced from $32 to $170 for the September, October, February and April/May performances.  Single tickets for The Nutcracker are priced from $32 to $134.  Single tickets for the September engagement will be available for purchase June 2; single tickets for all other programs will be available starting August 1, 2014. Single tickets are available at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of 10 East Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at 800-982-2787, or online at  

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2014-2015 Season Sponsors and Partners.  With special thanks to Alphawood Foundation Chicago, The Anne and Burt Kaplan Fund of the Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation, NIB Foundation, Abbott Fund, Chicago Center for Orthopedics at Weiss, Dr. and Mrs. Josef Lakonishok, JW Marriott, United Airlines and AthletiCo.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs please visit

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Break: Added Shows & Specials For Blue Man Group Chicago #ChiILPicksList #OriginalPhotos

Catch Blue Man Group for Spring Break!  Their special deals and expanded spring break schedule for March & April are below. Advanced tickets are highly recommended.

We've seen Blue Man Group numerous times over the years and they blew my mind (or should I say "blue") every time!  This is one of our favorite long running shows here at ChiIL Live Shows and a shoe in for ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List.

We just went again last Friday with 3 generations of our family!  We've all been before but it's been a while. My kids caught them with me back in 2011, when they first updated the show and again in 2012 with their team mates from CircEsteem.  My parents haven't seen them in even longer than that.

Blue Man Group merges super human feats, music, art and biting social commentary into one hilarious, dance party of a show.  And drumming... lots of paint filled drumming. This is must see theatre for sure.  

I saw them the most recently, at a special press unveiling for their outdoor art works last June.  Check out our original photos and videos from that day. They had an art contest to enhance the exterior of their Briar Street home, and many of the winning artists were present to see their works unveiled.

Check out ChiIL Mama's full slideshow here. Our favorites are embedded below.  We couldn't shoot this past week, so here's our Blue Man blast from the recent past instead.  

The kids at the press conference were invited from Hawthorne School in the neighborhood and they walked over. Blue Man Group is great about partnering up with their neighbors, doing philanthropy, and supporting theatre access for kids (like the free block of tickets they gave to CircEsteem).

Lucky enough to live in a town with Blue Man Group shows in residence? Then GO already. Don't worry though... We won't call it a staycation if you don't plan to get outta dodge for spring break. We detest the word "staycation" and will never use it unless in jest.  Staycation can just die already.  Blue Man Group, however, lives on!  Come check out the funniest cobalt drummers in the universe and their Gi-Pads, quirky art, and more!

Sometimes it's easy to get complacent about the long running shows here at home, and just assume they'll be around for years, and you have plenty of time to go. But there's no time like the present. People do travel in from miles around, and even other countries to check out Chicago's world class theatre scene. So there's no excuse. If you don't live in Chicago, come on over.  You'll be glad you did!

Click here for some of ChiIL Mama's past photo filled features on Blue Man Group. 


Special Spring Break Packages Pair Blue Man Group Tickets with Exciting Chicago Attractions

The critically hailed theatrical phenomenon Blue Man Group at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted Street) will be adding performances to the spring calendar for Spring Breakers looking to escape the ordinary this year.
For Spring Break groups of 15 or more, special pricing will also be available. The additional performances have been added in March and April 2014, to give students and families the opportunity to see the critically-acclaimed theatrical production that combines heart-pounding music, hysterical comedy stunts and state of the art technology. For Spring Breakers looking to enhance their experience, Blue Man Group is partnering with Chicago-area attractions to create fun and exciting packages highlighting the city, all available through the show’s website

*The John Hancock Package pairs tickets to a Blue Man Group performance with a day at the John Hancock Observatory where visitors can enjoy the open-air skywalk, a cafe and one of the most beautiful views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. 

For a one-of-a-kind tour of the city, audience members who purchase their Blue Man Group tickets online, can save 10% on 1-day or 3-day Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. tickets. For those looking for a thrill, the Skydeck Package gives audiences the chance to experience a Blue Man Group performance and visit Chicago’s Willis Tower’s Skydeck. At the Skydeck, visitors can step outside the tallest building in the western hemisphere and onto one of the Ledge’s glass boxes that extend out 4.3 feet from Skydeck at 1,353 feet in the air.

*For Spring Breakers looking for the “Ultimate Theater Package” Blue Man Group has created an experience which includes: Two tickets to Blue Man Group, an overnight stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites River North, free breakfast and a gift card to Jack's on Halsted for a delicious dinner for two. For more information and pricing on special packages please visit: or call the box at: (773) 348-4000.

BLUE MAN GROUP TICKET INFORMATION   Tickets are available from $49-$99. Tickets may be purchased at the Briar Street Theatre by calling the box office at (773) 348-4000; by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787; at all Ticketmaster ticket centers or via the Internet at For more information, visit   

About Blue Man Group Blue Man Group is a unique and thrilling multi-sensory experience that fuses innovative theatrical spectacle and powerful original music with hilarious comedy to create a performance experience unlike any other. The iconic, silent, inquisitive Blue Man character has remained consistent since the show’s opening, but the world he reacts to is continuously changing, allowing for a production that continuously evolves. One of the world’s most popular theatrical productions, today’s Blue Man Group is a blend of signature material that has been in the show since the opening, as well as newer passages that examine the influence of technology on today’s world with a funny and perceptive look at contemporary communication vehicles. The performance then closes with a pulsating finale that has audiences up and out of their seats, featuring an original Blue Man Group music score. Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune gave the show a Four Star rating and said the material was “brilliantly revamped” and “truly joyous.” After seeing the new material, Hedy Weiss for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “The show's creators have cleverly updated the production with new wizardry while retaining its essential mind-set.” Chicago Parent editor Tamara L. O'Shaughnessy said “the coolest blue guys in Chicago just got cooler.” Currently, Blue Man Group theatrical shows can be seen in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin and on tour throughout the U.S. Blue Man Group can also be seen onboard the Norwegian Epic by Norwegian Cruise Line – the Official Cruise Line of Blue Man Group. The company’s music, featuring custom made instruments and signature, percussive sound, can be heard on five albums, including the Grammy-nominated “Audio,” as well as various film and television projects. As the company grows, it remains true to its vision of providing exciting experiences in a variety of media, appealing to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds.  

Blue Man Group’s Chicago 2014 Spring Break schedule is as follows:
Check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We'll have video interviews, the kids' reviews and more Blue Man stills up shortly.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cloud Gate Returns to Auditorium Theatre This Friday and Sunday Only #ChiILPicksList

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan's 
Songs of the Wanderers 

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List


We are pleased to welcome back to Chicago a visually stunning paean to spiritual pilgrimage.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan's Songs of the Wanderers creates a world of intense reverence, distinctly Asian in its imagery yet with powerful relevance far beyond Asia.

"Visually stunning and exquisitely performed in deliberate slow motion; the audience jumped up to offer a cheering ovation," raved The New York Times.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of TaiwanSongs of the Wanderers
  • FRIDAY, MARCH 14 AT 7:30PM
  • SUNDAY, MARCH 16 AT 3:00PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ACT OUT OPENING: Rock Of Ages at Bank of America Theatre #BroadwayInChicago


Get your 80's arena rock and hairband fix.  Break out those concert tees (yes, the audience does like to play dress up and we don't mean tuxes and little black dresses).  Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've seen the Broadway touring version of Rock of Ages twice and it's always a rockin' good time!  Yes, Rock of Ages is STILL rollin', but they'll be rollin' through Chicago for one week only, so get your tickets now, while you can.

My tweens still have their lighter shaped Rock of Ages flashlights, that everyone waved in the air, from the last run at Chicago Playhouse. They both totally dug the show.  It's sincere enough to be sweet and kitschy enough to be great fun.  This is the perfect play for rockers who are non-theatre goers, as it's less traditional musical and more of a melding of concert and storyline.  The characters are all too familiar archetypes and the fight the power, gentrification theme makes this a HAIR for the next generation... the children of the flower children.

If you're thinking of bringing the kids, do note there is language and some mature situations (pole dancing, mild sexual content) but it's all fairly tame and appropriate for tweens and up.  

Broadway In Chicago is pleased to present the smash-hit ROCK OF AGES. The show returns to Chicago for a limited one-week engagement at the Bank of America Theatre (18 West Monroe) from March 11 – March 16, 2014.

In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small-town girl met a big-city dreamer – and in L.A.’s most legendary rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the ‘80’s. It’s ROCK OF AGES, a hilarious, feel-good love story told through the hit songs of iconic rockers Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, and many more.  Don't miss this awesomely good time about dreaming big, playing loud and partying on!

ROCK OF AGES is a worldwide phenomenon with smash hit productions in Stockholm, London, Las Vegas and still rockin' on Broadway, featuring 28 classic rock tunes including “Don't Stop Believin'”, “We Built This City”, “The Final Countdown”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “Here I Go Again”, “Harden My Heart”, “Can't Fight this Feeling”, “Renegade” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”.

ROCK OF AGES is directed by Tony Award Nominee Kristin Hanggi (Bare, Pussycat Dolls on the Sunset Strip) and choreographed by Kelly Devine (Jersey Boys – Associate Choreographer).  With a book by Chris D’Arienzo (writer and director of the film Barry Munday), original arrangements by David Gibbs (Counting Crows, Film: That Thing You Do) and the Music Supervision, Arrangements & Orchestrations by Ethan Popp (Tarzan; Europe: We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia).

ROCK OF AGES  features set design by Beowulf Boritt (Spelling Bee, LoveMusik), costume design by Tony Nominee Gregory Gale (Cyrano, The Wedding Singer), lighting design by Jason Lyons (The Threepenny Opera), sound design by Craig Cassidy (Phantom, Mamma Mia), and projection design is by Zachary Borovay (A Catered Affair).

For more information on ROCK OF AGES:

PHOENIX ENTERTAINMENT (Producer) is an established international theatrical producing and management enterprise founded by long time colleagues Stephen Kane and Michael McFadden. Its mission is to develop, produce and present the very finest in touring Broadway musicals and family entertainment. Throughout their three decades of theatrical success and industry partnership, the Phoenix team has delivered thousands of performances of more than 80 live productions on four continents. Phoenix is currently launching Rock of Ages and all new seasons of their critically acclaimed touring productions of Monty Python's Spamalot and The Color Purple, which follow on the proud touring heels of Gypsy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Pajama Game.  Team Phoenix also represents the Korean language productions of Grease and Fame, both enjoying open-ended runs in Seoul. Under the direction of colleague Ellie Chung, their Singapore based affiliate Phoenix Asia Group brings international booking, producing, presenting, classical-artist management and theatrical investment to the collective production and management capabilities of Phoenix Entertainment.

The performance schedule for ROCK OF AGES is as follows:
Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Please note: Ticket prices and performance schedule are subject to change.


Tickets for ROCK OF AGES at the Bank of America Theatre range from $18-$85.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances.  Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at

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