Friday, November 28, 2014

OPENING: Burning Bluebeard is Back at Theater Wit For 2014 #ChiILPicksList

Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more. 

Chi, IL Live Shows on stage and on our radar.

Ode to Burning Bluebeard: How do we love thee... let me count the ways. How can a show about the most deadly single building fire in HISTORY be a family friendly holiday show?! How can we return year after year, like a moth to the flame, strangely drawn to this crispy cast of castaways, to look into their soot smudged faces and hear their stories? 

**Click here & scroll down to check out 5+ of our past Burning Bluebeard features.** 

There are many of our all time favs returning for the 2014 holiday season. Burning Bluebeard tops our list of must see remounts. It's too good to just see once, or even once a season. Highly recommended! ChiIL Live Shows/ChiILMama's ChiIL Picks List for best holiday theatre.

Burning Bluebeard won't break the bank and is an amazing dark comedy, with thought provoking dialogue and amusing physical play. We thoroughly enjoyed it the past two years, I took both kids the first year, at The Futurarium, because Anthony Courser (Bluebeard) had been their circus instructor for a while and they love to see their instructors in creative projects. But there's one intense scene (blackout/audio only recap of the fire) sensitive kids may have a tough time with. 

We'd give it a PG13/mature tweens and up rating, because of the macabre subject matter (600 people-primarily women & children trampled, burned & dying in a theatre fire!), though handled tastefully. Of course, every kid is different, and since mine are fairly theatre savvy and unflappable, they were 9 & 11 when we first saw it. If in doubt, do your research. 

Burning Bluebeard is based on a true slice of history that should be seen and remembered, especially if you frequently see shows at The Oriental Theatre. 110+ years after this tragedy, Burning Bluebeard depicts this horrific event many are completely unaware even happened, in a poignant and creative way. It's a moving tribute.  


With Chi-town favs Jay Torrence, as writer, and Halena Kays directing, this is an absolute must see. Much of the original cast is back again as well, and a true joy to watch in action. They all do a stellar job with the grim subject matter, evoking not only empathy and emotion but laughs as well. They had to drop the fire escape rap (one of our fav parts of the first show-though specific to the TMLMTBGB space they began in). Please please put it on YouTube for me or let us run it here on the blogs for posterity! Otherwise, we imagine the remount this year will be quite similar and every bit as effective for the 2nd time around at Theater Wit.

BURNING BLUEBEARD 2014 will also add Pam Chermansky to the cast, another of our friends and favorites here at ChiIL Mama/ ChiIL Live Shows. My kids studied circus arts with both Pam and Anthony for several years. We also adore Molly Plunk, Jay Torrence, Leah Urzendowski Courser and Ryan Walters and have enjoyed their work in many places around town including 500 Clown, The Hypocrites, Actors Gym, Barrel of Monkeys and more.


"Burning Bluebeard"

Written by Jay Torrence

and Directed by Halena Kays 
Returns for Three Weeks Only

Tickets on sale NOW!
December 13, 2014 through January 04, 2015
Burning Bluebeard
Theater Wit/Theater Three
The Ruffians
Visiting Company

The critically acclaimed holiday hit BURNING BLUEBEARD returns for its third Chicago production. Don't miss your chance to see this limited engagement three week run of this audience favorite show that has the entire city reliving a piece of Chicago history. 

Inspired by the true story of Chicago's 1903 Iroquois Theatre Fire, BURNING BLUEBEARD is the story of six singed clown performers who emerge from the burnt remains of history attempting to perform their spectacular 1903 Christmas Pantomime once and for all. But this time they hope to finally reach the true happy ending of their second act and avoid the fateful fire that killed 600 of its audience members. Don't miss your chance to see the whimsical delight, the poignant drama and stunning visual beauty that is BURNING BLUEBEARD.

"The entire show is gripping in its originality, intensity and boundary-crossing audacity."

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune.


4 STARS - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

"Whip smart and feverishly emotional."

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times

"Hilarious, Horrific and Holy."

-Chicago Reader

Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes with no intermission

There is no late seating available for this production.

The Ruffians are an artistic collective of theater makers (clowns, daredevils, acrobats, dancers, writers, performers, designers, directors). The Ruffians have all honed their craft working over a decade in Chicago’s various and thriving experimental, clown and storefront theater communities. A Ruffians objective is to make beautiful things with rough edges. A Ruffians motto: Breathe. Dare. Live.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TONIGHT: The Singles at LiveWire Lounge Chicago 11/25/14 (21+)

Chi, IL Live Shows on Our Radar

US Tour 
Look How Fast A Heart Can Break LP Out Now

Photo Credit: Don Lupo

The Singles are Vince Frederick (guitar/lead vocals) and Nicky Veltman (drums/back-up vocals). Both originally from Detroit, the two joined forces in LA in 2012 to restart Vince's project The Singles. Their sound combines elements of garage rock, power pop, glam, blues, and punk. The band is now touring in support of their album Look How Fast A Heart Can Break, produced by Rick Parker (who has worked with bands including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, and Lord Huron). You can watch the new video for "We Don't Talk Anymore" on Brooklyn Vegan.

Tour Dates
11.05 - Ace of Cups - Columbus, OH
11.06 - Beachland Tavern - Cleveland, OH
11.07 - Cattivo - Pittsburgh, PA
11.08 - Bug Jar - Rochester, NY
11.09 - Silver Line Tap Room - Trumansburg, NY
11.10 - TT The Bear's - Cambridge, MA
11.11 - AS220 - Providence, RI
11.12 - BAR - New Haven, CT
11.13 - Pianos - New York, NY
11.15 - The Fire - Philadelphia, PA
11.16 - Galaxy Hut - Arlington, VA
11.17 - Pour House - Raleigh, NC
11.18 - Green Room - Athens, GA
11.19 - Mammal Gallery - Atlanta, GA
11.20 - The Basement - Nashville, TN
11.21 - Bar DKDC - Memphis, TN
11.22 - Heavy Anchor - St. Louis, MO
11.23 - New Vintage - Louisville, KY
11.24 - The Drinkery - Cincinnati, OH
11.25 - LiveWire Lounge - Chicago, IL
11.28 - The Magic Stick - Detroit, M


THE SINGLES are Vince Frederick (guitar/lead vocals) and Nicky Veltman (drums/back-up vocals). Garage rock, power pop, glam, blues, and punk all find their way into the band’s sound. Both originally from Detroit, the two joined forces in LA in 2012 to restart The Singles — a moniker Vince had used in the past to release his songs.

With friend’s stepping in on bass, the band began playing locally as a 3-piece, bringing their raw, frenetic live show to the LA music scene. Things got serious once they met producer Rick Parker. Having worked with countless rock n’ roll bands (including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, and Lord Huron), he had the right energy and ideas to work with the duo. Together they went into the studio to record a full-length album.

The Singles released "Look How Fast A Heart Can Break" on April 1st, 2014 to critical acclaim in both the US and Europe. Neil Hussy at Shindig Magazine UK, said the album was filled with “perfectly formed pop jewels.” Popmatters said, “The Singles excel in American power pop, all crunchy chords, catchy melodies and killer harmonies.” And USA Today said, “If you need a rock ’n’ roll release… I think I have the perfect song” referring to lead off single ‘Inamorata’.

The album, and songs from it, have broken into the top 20 on national indie radio charts. Since the release, the band has toured the US extensively. Gigs have included Southern California festivals, and support for national touring acts Brody Dalle, Holly Golightly, and The Weeks. The Singles will play over 100 shows this year with plans to tour internationally in 2015.

Press Quotes
"If you need a rock ‘n’ roll release… I think I have the perfect song. The Singles’ ‘Inamorata’ hooked me instantly. The duo, which formed in Detroit, pulls from some of my favorite bands to create a glam garage sound all its own."   -USA TODAY 

"Throughout 13 tracks, you’ll find sundry, buzzed love (Inamorata), sorrow-fueled twang (It’s So Hard To Get Over You) and the misleadingly optimistic (We Don’t Talk Anymore)."  -CMJ

"The Singles do karaoke, pay homage to T. Rex in new video." -AV CLUB

"…perfectly formed pop jewels crammed full of catchy hooks. A lovely, feelgood gem of a record." -NEIL HUSSEY, SHINDIG MAGAZINE UK

"Los Angeles via Detroit rockers The Singles excel in ’70s/’80s style American power pop, all crunchy chords, catchy melodies and killer harmonies." -POPMATTERS

OPENING: The Hypocrites Present Gilbert & Sullivan Rep #FamilyFriendly #Theatre

The Hypocrites are truly a treat. Highly recommended. Consider gifting your loved ones with tickets to this triple play. Last year we had the pleasure of seeing Mikado and it was one of our top favorites of the year. The Hypocrites worked the promenade style exceedingly well, and pulled the audience right into the show. This year we plan on checking out the acclaimed H.M.S. Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance as well.

ChiIL Mama & the kids ChiILin' at The Hypocrites' Mikado 

Gilbert & Sullivan Rep
Directed by Sean Graney and Thrisa Hodits
Music Direction by Andra Velis Simon

featuring the world premiere adaptation of
H.M.S. Pinafore
Adaption by Sean Graney, Matt Kahler & Andra Velis Simon

along with the highly anticipated return of BOTH
Pirates of Penzance 
Adaption by Sean Graney & Kevin O'Donnell
Adaption by Sean Graney

Looking for something fun to do with the family
this Thanksgiving holiday week?
Join The Hypocrites for the first week of
H.M.S. Pinafore:

Wed 11/26/2014 8:00 PM
Fri 11/28/2014 8:00 PM
Sat 11/29/2014 8:00 PM
Sun 11/30/2014 3:00 PM
Mon 12/1/2014 8:00 PM

H.M.S. Pinafore: Nov 26th-Feb 7th
Mikado: Dec 11th-Feb 7th
Pirates: Dec 18th-Feb 7th

The Hypocrites are one of our top local favorites, and the Jeff Committee seems to agree with us. We're elated to see The Mikado will return December 2014-February 2015 along with the whole Gilbert & Sullivan Rep. 

Mash Note to Mikado:

Dear Hypocrites Mikado-- We were so elated to see you last December. You lit up the darkest, coldest of times with flash and panache. We told everyone we knew about you and couldn't wait to introduce them to you. Of course you charmed anyone who came within reach of your siren's song!

You didn't just break down the 4th wall, you ran rings around it! We were so impressed with your acting, costumes, and the whole interactive, participatory vibe. You were a colorful, riotous explosion of song, dance and fun and a blast to spend an evening with.

We can't wait to see you again!
ChiIL Mama & the kids

The intimate tent like setting full of tiny bulbs was a welcoming beacon of warmth and celebration of light at the darkest time of the year. The rag tag band of circus sorts doing a hybrid of the traditional Mikado score with an utterly unique and playful spin was a compelling mix. We adore the improv elements The Hypocrites employ and the way they truly engaged the crowd and played off of them and WITH them.

Promenade staging (or shows where the audience stands and mingles in the performance space and follows the action, moving as needed) was used to great effect for The Hypocrites runaway hit, The Mikado. We've honestly never seen the 3rd wall so effectively broken down. The Mikado was playful, fun, interactive and highly effective as a promenade style piece.  

This past year, The House Theatre's acclaimed Dorian production was promenade style, as was a Midsummer Night's Dream at Strange Loop Theatre among others. Red Moon Theatre's Bellboys, Bears and Baggage, was billed as a promenade style spectacle, too. Yet we've never seen the style pulled off as well as The Mikado does.

Reviews from Mikado and Pirates:

★★★★ (out of ★★★★)   

"The Hypocrites apply their winning formula of hip deconstruction and dark comedy to the cherished operetta"
Chicago Tribune

"Spirited, affectionate, and nearly irresistible"
Boston Globe

"Terrific...The Hypocrites' musicianship has never sounded better."
TimeOut Chicago

All Our Tragic Returns June-August 2015

Missed All Our Tragic this time around?
Saw it but wanted to come back or tell your friends?
Well now you have a second chance
Buy your tickets for next summer now

The Hypocrites at
Den Theatre Mainstage 
1329 N Milwaukee  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Blind Shake New LP Breakfast of Failures Out On Goner Now

The Blind Shake On Fall Tour Now
Listen to "Parachutes" on 
Brooklyn Vegan
New LP Breakfast of Failures Out On Goner Now

Remaining Fall Tour Dates

11.19 - Subterranean Chicago IL

11.20 - Donovans Detroit MI

11.21 - Silver Dollar Toronto ON

11.22 - The National Montreal QC

11.23 - Great Scott Boston MA

11.25 - Cake Shop Brooklyn NY

11.26 - Baby's All Right Brooklyn NY

11.28 - Underground Arts Philadelphia PA

11.29 - Kings Raleigh NC

12.01 - Hi Tone Memphis TN

12.03 - The Earl Atlanta GA

12.04 - Siberia New Orleans LA

12.05 - Good Vibrations Festival at Hotel Vegas Austin TX
01. Old Lake

02. Parachute

03. Dots In The Fog

04. Breakfast of Failures

05. Go Lie

06. Young Carnival Waste

07. Pollen

08. In A Trance

09. Mildew

10. Nobody Else

Dense, massive locomotive music from this Minneapolis three-piece. Powerful sounds with the ability to careen through one cinematic, post-apocalyptic chase scene after another.  Breakfast Of Failures comes clanging and crashing through these confused times.
"The Blind Shake is at once spacey, primitive futuristic, and brutal: a kind of backyard extraterrestrial minimal surf-punk party. One guitar, one baritone guitar, a fuckload of reverb, and a drummer who deserves an Olympic medal." --SF Weekly
Fronted by brothers Jim and Mike Blaha, with friend Dave Roper on drums, the trio have been tunneling through the underground since before telephones could talk. Having six full length albums to their credit, several singles, three collaborations with psych legend Michael Yonkers and another with downstroke warrior John Reis, the band continues to push the sliding scale between catchy punk songs and pitch red noise.
Breakfast Of Failures was recorded by Chris Woodhouse at The Dock in Sacramento, CA.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

OPENING: The Mousetrap at Northlight Theatre

Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more. 

Chi, IL Live Shows on stage and on our radar.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we adore a good mystery and The Mousetrap is the world's longest running play (now at 62 years on London’s West End), written by one of the finest masters of the craft, renowned mystery writer Agatha Christie.

We'll be there for opening night tonight, so check back for our full review shortly. Northlight is a long running favorite of ours for stellar production values and excellent casting choices. Book your tickets before they disappear like the guests of Monkswell Manor!

On a snowy night at Monkswell Manor, newlyweds Mollie and Giles welcome a group of strangers to their guest house, only to discover news of a murderer in their midst! A police investigation reveals the sordid details of each guest’s mysterious past, but not soon enough to stop the killer from striking again. Agatha Christie’s masterful whodunit weaves an intricate plot filled with nerve-rattling suspense, all leading up to the ultimate final twist!

The Mousetrap
The cast of The Mousetrap includes Greg Matthew Anderson (Det. Sgt. Trotter), Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf), Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravincini), Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle), Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston), Lindsey Pearlman (Miss Casewell) and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston).

Title:  The Mousetrap
Written by: Agatha Christie
Directed by: Jonathan Berry
Featuring:                 Greg Matthew Anderson, Patrick Clear, Joey deBettencourt, Joe Dempsey, Laura T. Fisher, Keith Neagle, Lindsey Pearlman and Cora Vander Broek.
           Dates:  Regular run: November 15 – December 14, 2014

          Schedule:  Tuesdays: 7:30pm (except Nov. 18 and Dec. 2)
                           Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except Dec. 10) and 7:30pm (except Nov. 26)
                           Thursdays: 7:30pm (except Nov. 27)
                           Fridays: 8:00pm (except Opening on Nov. 14 at 7:30pm)
                           Saturdays: 2:30pm (except Nov. 8) and 8:00pm
                           Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (except Nov. 16 and 23 and Dec. 14)

Open Captioned   Sunday, December 7 at 7:00pm

Location:  Northlight Theatre is located at the North Shore
                             Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd,

                              Regular run: $25-$78
                             Student tickets are $15, any performance
(subject to availability)

Box Office:              The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

INCOMING: Quinn Tsan Debut EP Release at Constellation 11/14 (18+)

Chicago singer-songwriter Quinn Tsan will celebrate the release of her debut EP, Good Winter, with a show at Constellation on Friday, Nov. 14. Passerines and Kelsey Wild will be on hand to open the show.

Quinn Tsan
Kelsey Wild
FRI, NOVEMBER 14, 2014
9:30 PM

Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, singer/songwriter Quinn Tsan began playing music in 2008 when she relocated to Chicago, IL to sing back-up for Joe Pug. Classically trained in dance though always having an affinity for music, Tsan quickly immersed herself in the local scene, going on to sing with Sarah Holtschlag, Rachele Eve, Johnny Lewis, and Sima Cunningham, among others. This performance will celebrate the release of her debut EP, Good Winter. 

"precise and sweetly comforting, deliberate while staying endearing, all while showing off a knack for mood-building that most young acts don't develop so quickly."

Passerines is a Chicago based music group that weaves together aspects of chamber music, indie folk, and r&b.

Born: 1990 in Honolulu USA
Piano lessons: 1996-2002
Writing music since 2004

I have a cat, a dog, a goldfish named Nancy Kerrigan. I like to roller skate, I have a scar on my left index finger from a box-cutter, I love coffee, I hate licorice, and I don't like to dance except when the music's good and I'm with friends who are also bad at dancing. 
I love to play and write music, but not all the time. It's a relationship with highs and lows, plagued by doubt and frustration but always good enough to keep going. I read an essay by Ray Bradbury once about how art is created because of the artist's ego, and I think that's true. I try to find other reasons so I don't feel so guilty.

I like the ocean and I like to walk places.

SAVE THE DATE: "Mearra - Selkie From the Sea” at Old Town School Sunday 12/7 (6+) #FamilyFriendly

Chicago singer-songwriter Linda Marie Smith will be presenting the multimedia show "Mearra - Selkie From the Sea” at the Old Town School on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3PM.

This family-friendly performance features Smith's adaptation of a classic Celtic tale told with original songs and performed with a six piece orchestra playing along to projected animation. 

In this re-imagined story, Mearra, a mythical seal, makes use of her magical ability to transform into a human being, marries Ian, a lonely fisherman and eventually starts a family; knowing all the while she must inevitably return to the sea as a seal, or perish. The characters experience love, loss and transformation while emotionally charged music, beautiful stage lighting and evocative projected imagery all come together to make for an unforgettable multi-media concert experience.

This show comes to life on the heels of Smith's successful previous multi-media music production The Triumph of Artemisia. Smith's unique vocal style has a folk rock sensibility and her music has been described as romantic, soulful and earthy; her lyrics and melodies weave colorful stories of intriguing people and curious places. 

She received honorable mention in the Billboard Songwriting Contest, has co-produced and performed in two of the acclaimed Michael Smith's musical productions, teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and has been recognized by the Illinois Arts Council in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sunday, December 7, 2014    3:00 PM
Linda Marie Smith presents
Mearra - Selkie from the Sea
Recommended for Ages 6+
4544 N Lincoln Ave · Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall · 773.728.6000
  • $18 General Public
  • $16 Members

INCOMING: 10th Annual Barn Dance Apocalypse, featuring The Golden Horse Ranch Band (17+)

Chi, IL Live Shows on Our Radar

What began as a gathering of friends at Open End/Av Aerie has grown into huge crowds at unique and undisclosed locations around Chicago. After taking a tour of the unfinished Thalia Hall in 2013, The Golden Horse Ranch Band knew this old dancehall would be the perfect location for the 10th annual Barn Dance Apocalypse.

Third generation square dance caller Annie Coleman summons her roots of calling dances at her grandparents dude ranch, after which the band is named. While the band plays street festivals, city-sponsored events, and weddings year-round, the real deal is the Barn Dance Apocalypse. It's loud, wild, and loaded with love, with a strong queer following. Friends and lovers have met and a beautiful community of friends has been built.

This is the band's first ever public Barn Dance. In the past, the underground spaces have filled to the brim quickly, and a big crowd is expected for this exciting event at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport in Chicago, on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 8PM CST.

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