Friday, October 30, 2015

Hemmingbirds Halloween Fun With Skeleton Video for Mess of Things

Living skeletons make for bad boyfriends (or do they?) in the darkly comic new video for “Mess of Things” by Chicago’s Hemmingbirds.

The clip was directed by Daniel J Clark and written by Megan Green, Joe Kwaczala, Joe McAdam and Chris Stephens who also star. They're part of LA’s The Wheel Show, where they've had guests Eddie Pepitone, Martin Starr, Mikal Cronin, Kumail Nanjiani, Todd Glass and Lisa Loeb, and formerly from Chicago where they did The Late Live Show and Creative Control. The troupe also does an online sketch called "Does Dave Know We're Here?" that's on IFC.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we love to support our locals so check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. Click here to learn more about Hemmingbirds on their site.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chicago Comedy Film Festival: Killing Poe Film Premieres November 6th

What We're Watching: Killing Poe

Killing Poe is a full-length feature film that was shot in Chicago with mostly Chicago cast and crew. They will be celebrating their Chicago homecoming with a Premiere at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival on Nov 6th, with two SOLD OUT showings, 5:30 and 7PM. The Chicago and L.A. cast will be coming to the festival. Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we love to support our locals and Killing Poe features Chicago native producers, director, writers, actors, soundtrack artists, and crew! We can't wait to check it out. Keep an eye out for this one.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

EXTENDED: Gift's World Premiere, Good For Otto Extended 3 More Weeks

Special reception and conversation on Monday, November 9 offers theatergoers the chance to hear from the acclaimed writer and director

To accommodate demand for tickets, The Gift Theatre has added performances and extended the run of its critically acclaimed new play, Good for Otto, written by Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe and directed by Gift artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton. Originally scheduled to close November 22, Good for Otto, will continue performances December 3- December 20, 2015. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Please consult The Gift’s website at or call the box office at 773-283-7071 for the most current schedule and ticket availability.  

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we haven't had a chance to catch this one yet, but the buzz has been amazing and it's high on our must see list. Book your tickets now. This one has been selling out regularly and the extension tickets are sure to go fast.

“I am deeply moved that this epic masterwork by American master playwright David Rabe has found its home and voice at The Gift Theatre in Chicago,” said Thornton. “We look forward to as many people as possible experiencing David's beautiful and mesmerizing opus, Good For Otto. In Good For Otto, one character's motto is ‘Fortune favors the brave’; David's writing, the ensemble's acting and the world created by our designers is bravery defined.”

In addition to the extension, the National Veterans Art Museum (4041 N. Milwaukee) will host “A Legendary Reception: David Rabe,” a special one-night event on Monday, November 9, 6:30 - 9:00pm featuring a rare and intimate conversation with director Michael Patrick Thornton, Theatre and Dance critic of the Chicago Sun-Times Hedy Weiss, and American theater legend David Rabe about his work and an exploration behind the scenes of The Gift's acclaimed world premiere of Good for Otto. Individual tickets are $100 and can be reserved at or by calling 773-283-7071.  Cocktails will be served throughout the evening.

Haunted by his own childhood, a psychologist tries to minister to the distressed souls who find their way to the doors of the health center he runs in a cluster of Connecticut hamlets and villages. Absurd at times, sadly comic and touching in the twists and turns of their simple humanity, men and women, young and old, rich and poor bring their pain in from the bucolic setting of trees, white churches, streams and mountains ranges for Dr. Michaels and his collogues with hopes of relief in the world premiere of this whimsical, yet tornadic, ensemble piece.

Playwright David Rabe received a Tony Award for Best Play in 1972 for Sticks and Bones and also received Tony Award nominations for Best Play in 1974 for In the Boom Boom Room, 1977’s Streamers and 1985’s Hurlyburly.

Cyd Blakewell – Marcy
Brittany Burch – Mother
John Connolly – Timothy
Paul D'Addario – Jimmy
Patricia Donegan – Teresa Gilchrist
John Gawlik – Dr. Robert Michaels
Caroline Heffernan – Frannie
Alexandra Main – Jane
Donna McGough – Mrs. Garland
Kenny Mihlfried – Jerome
Darci Nalepa – Nora
Lynda Newton – Evangeline Ryder 
Rob Riley – Barnard Gilchrist
Justine Serino – Denise
Jay Worthington – Alex

About The Gift Theatre
The 2015 Season began in January with TEN, The Gift’s annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and associate artistic director Paul D'Addario. The season kicked off March 5 with the world premiere of Mat Smart’s quirky and beautiful play The Royal Society of Antarctica, directed by Gift Ensemble member John Gawlik. Director Marti Lyons (Bethany) returned for Body + Blood written by The Gift Co-Founder, William Nedved; the season closes with David Rabe’s (Hurlyburly, Streamers) Good For Otto directed by The Gift Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton. Subscriptions for the entire 2015 season, which includes three world premieres, are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or call 773-283-7071.

The Gift Theatre is conveniently located at 4802 N. Milwaukee in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, and is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, the Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenue buses and the Kennedy Expressway. For more information about The Gift Theatre’s productions and programs, visit

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rockin' Farewell to Hypocrite's Idiot and Mark Your Calendars For The Rest of Their Season

It's your last chance to catch The Hypocrites' acclaimed production of American Idiot. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?! If you have seen it, go again. They've managed to create something incredible here. They've made a more legitimately punk performance than Green Day ever was. 

This scrappy store front troupe gives a stripped down, gritty realism to the musical that works far better for the story line than the big budget Broadway versions. The set is a graffiti strewn hole in the wall where the pre show is a band. During the show, characters grab and chug beers from the audience and toss dime bags (of Smarties) to the lucky. 

In this "Hair" for the new millennium, the teens experience love, loss, addiction, military deployment, and teen pregnancy. Although the kids begin the show desperate for freedom and jonesing to leave town for adventures, ultimately they all discover there's no place like home.  The vocals are powerful stuff, and the cast connects with each other and the audience in a compelling way. We loved it and highly recommend it.

Now Playing:
The smash musical by Grammy Award-winning punk rock band Green Day
"A visceral and impassioned theatrical experience"
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

"Succeeding where Broadway failed"
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

"An impressive, immersive underground-style gig"
Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer
Music by Green Day, Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong
Directed by Steven Wilson
Musical Direction by Andra Velis Simon
Choreography by Katie Spelman
Running August 28 – October 25, 2015

August 28 – October 25, 2015
Directed by Steven Wilson, Musical Direction by Andra Velis Simon

The critics agree, "American Idiot feels precisely as raw, real, reckless and angry as it should." - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times; "A visceral and impassioned theatrical experience... Director, Steven Wilson, integrates the amazing flexibility of his hugely talented young cast with the material in a strikingly rich fashion." - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune; "A rousing reinvention." - Time Out Chicago; "Utterly entertaining." - Chicago Readers; "Go see it before it's over." - Gapers Block; "This particular version ofAmerican Idiot is a work of endurance, timing, commitment, passion and insuppressible talent... The Hypocrites continue to rise not just to the rank of one of our city’s best storefronts but one of Chicago’s best theaters period." - Newcity Stage

American Idiot at The Den Theatre's Heath Main Stage, 1329 N Milwaukee Ave. Purchase American Idiot Tickets Today

It's your final chance to catch season opener, American Idiot (and pick up a Hypocrites tee & American Idiot drink ware!), but mark your calendars for 

They are some of our favorite locals with talent to spare and one of our consistent top picks here at ChiIL Live Shows. They have the dramatic chops to take on everything from French absurdist classics and ancient myths, to modern musicals, and everything in between! 

Congrats to Sean Graney and the cast of All Our Tragic for winning Best New Work and Best Ensemble respectively.

Up Next:

Sean Graney's The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-SuicideOct 30 - Nov 8. Co-directed by Joel Ewing and Mechelle Moe. Featuring Brian Baren, Justin Burns, Hunter Dunn, Heather Lauritzen, Jauhara Saunders, Cleo Shine and Olivia Shine. Presented in a special artistic collaboration with Senn Arts Magnet High School's The Yard.

More info, cast bios and tickets at

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Hypocrites Tixs:

October 30 – November 8, 2015
By Sean Graney, Co-Directed by Joel Ewing and Mechelle Moe

November 17 – December 13, 2015
Co-adapted by Sean Graney, Andra Velis Simon, and Matt Kahler; Directed by Sean Graney

November 19, 2015 – January 10, 2016
By Jay Torrence, Directed by Halena Kays

January 22 – March 6, 2016
By Tennessee Williams, Re-imagined and Directed by Hans Fleischmann

March 8 – 20, 2016
Adapted and Directed by Sean Graney

March 18 – May 15, 2016
Directed by Geoff Button

May 20 – 29, 2016
Co-Adapted by Emily Casey and Sean Graney; Directed by Sean Graney

July 14 – August 21, 2016
Adapted and Directed by Sean Graney; Pirates co-adapted by Kevin O'Donnell

Heads Up San Fran:

ChiIL Live Shows adored The Hypocrites' Pirates of Penzance and highly recommend it. Now Chi, IL theatre is taking California by storm, bringing The Hypocrites' delightfully immersive, lovingly loopy, and fantastically eccentric 80-minute take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s preposterous, topsy-turvy world to Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

If you are in the Bay Area, come join the party!

October 16 – December 20, 2015
Co-adapted by Sean Graney and Kevin O'Donnell, Directed by Sean Graney

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