Monday, January 25, 2016

OPENING: Theatre at the Center Presents Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: 
Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps
Delightfully Dizzy, Indomitably Funny!  Ben Brantley, NY Times

A hit on Broadway and in London’s West End, the thrilling comedy, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” kick starts Theatre at the Center’s 26th season beginning February 18 and continuing through March 20, 2016.  This comedic spoof offers non-stop action and features four actors playing more than 150 different characters.  The show is filled with an incredible series of lightning fast costume changes that make for a great deal of laughter and excitement. 

© Theatre at the Center, photo by Guy Rhodes
Pictured are Matt Mueller portraying Richard Hannay,  Linda Gillum as Annabella, Norm Boucher and Kevin McKillip as the mysterious men in Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" which opens at Theatre at the Center in Munster on February 18.

Adapted from the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film and the 1915 novel by John Buchan, the story follows Englishman Richard Hannay, who inadvertently embarks on a chaotic adventure full of narrow escapes and mishaps after trying to help a female spy. When he wakes up to find her dead in his apartment, he flees from the police and an espionage organization, desperately trying to find the truth. 

This whirlwind story is directed by David Perkovich with Matt Mueller (“Shining Lives: A Musical” at Northlight Theatre) as Richard Hannay.  Linda Gillum (“A Christmas Story” and “The Fox on the Fairway” at Theatre at the Center) plays several roles including Hannay’s romantic interests.  And Norm Boucher (“Big Fish” and “On Golden Pond” at Theatre at the Center) and Kevin McKillip (“Making God Laugh” at Theatre at the Center) each play more than 30 characters ranging from men, women, children, heroes, villains and even the occasional object. 

“The 39 Steps” production team includes Ann Davis, scenic designer, Brenda Winstead, costume designer, Michael McNamara, lighting designer, Barry G. Funderburg, sound designer, and Brittney O’Keefe, props designer. Matt McMullen is the stage manager. Richard Friedman is general manager and Linda Fortunato is Theatre at the Center’s new artistic director. 

Linda Fortunato has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director. She received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Choreography in the 2013-2014 season, garnering Theatre at the Center their first award for her Choreography of 42nd Street.  In addition to her award-winning work on 42nd Street, Fortunato has been involved with over a dozen shows at Theatre at the Center, including choreographing Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof; performing in Lend Me a Tenor, The Diary of Anne Frank, and directing A Christmas Story. Fortunato settled in Chicago directly after college and now lives in Evanston with her husband, actor Sean Fortunato, and their seven year old son.

Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year-round professional theater at its home, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana.  Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking.  Theatre at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.

The 39 Steps is recommended for adults and children 11 years old and up. Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings and Saturday matinees. Individual ticket prices range from $40 - $44. To purchase individual tickets call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or at 800-511-1552. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit

Sunday, January 24, 2016



Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama we can't wait to check this one out!

Nell Benjamin, Tony Award™-nominated co-composer and lyricist of Broadway’s Legally Blonde, penned this madcap physical comedy, animated by lightning-quick dialogue, daredevil stunts, precision acrobatics and onstage snakes and guinea pigs. The prolific David H. Bell, currently developing the English-language version of La Révolution Française in Chicago, directs with stunts and precision choreography staged by Max Fabian.

The antics, uproarious barbs and rejoinders of The Explorers Club are propelled by Phyllida Spotte-Hume (Cristina Panfilio) who believes Luigi, the blue NaKong tribesman she’s brought to London from a newly discovered race of Spoon worshipers, is her entree into the society as its first woman member. Goofy admirer Lucius (Alex Goodrich), a botanist and the Club’s acting president, sponsors Phyllida, while intrepid explorer Percy (Ryan Imhoff), returning from his expedition to the East Pole, vies for Phyllida’s affections even though he can’t take seriously the notion of a woman scientist. Neither can the Club’s resident zoologist (Matt Browning), herpetologist (Zach Shornick) and “archeo-theologist” (Dan Rodden). Chaos ensues in The Explorers Club after Luigi inadvertently insults the Queen, possibly setting the British Empire at war with the world.

Windy City Playhouse, Chicago’s newest professional theater, launches 2016 with the Chicago premiere of Nell Benjamin’s slapstick farce The Explorers Club, set in a Victorian-era scientific gentleman's club. David H. Bell directs Cristina Panfilio (Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Pericles) as a female anthropologist vying for membership. 

Alex Goodrich (Elf: The Musical), Ryan Imhoff (Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Matt Browning (Redtwist’s Incident at Vichy), Graham Emmons (Prologue’s Porcelain), Dan Rodden (Theater at the Center’s On Golden Pond) and Zack Shornick (MPAACT’s Ghosts of Atwood) make up the Club members, while Colin Morgan (Oracle’s No Beast So Fierce) is Queen Victoria’s private secretary and Wesley Daniel (Chicago Shakes’ Pericles) is a blue-skinned primitive. Previews for The Explorers Club begin Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 West Irving Park Road. Press performances are Thursday, February 4 at 7:30 pm. and Friday, February 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets, $15-$55, are available by calling the box office at 773-891-8985 or visiting

By Nell Benjamin
Directed by David H. Bell
Previews begin: January 27, 2016

The Explorer’s Club has enough to deal with. One member has lost nearly all his guinea pigs, another can’t seem to locate the East Pole, the bartender is missing and, on top of all that, a woman wants to join. Before the British Empire crumbles under the weight, these good old boys must grapple with the approach of modernity, save the world from an international war and, for God’s sake, find a new bartender — but not until after brandy and cigars.

The Windy City Playhouse performance schedule is: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; and Sundays (consult website for Sunday times).

Single tickets range from $15-$55 and are available by calling 773-891-8985 or visiting Flexible subscription packages are available for 2016.

The Explorers Club is part of Chicago Theatre Week 2016. Select performances, between February 11 and 21, are available for $15 and $30 via

About Windy City Playhouse

Windy City Playhouse is a new theater at 3014 West Irving Park Road. Opened in March 2015, the Playhouse is a professional theater meant to entertain through exceptional contemporary, relevant and approachable art. Combining relatable material with high quality artistry, Windy City Playhouse seeks to create work accessible by audiences of all kinds. With a full service bar and light snacks, the Playhouse is not a traditional theater, rather a fun, relaxing and entertaining environment. With amenities such as swivel club chair seating, the Playhouse is designed as a space for audiences to linger before and after the performance—a place to decompress with art.



Casting is complete for Henry Wishcamper’s contemporary take on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker—the inspiration for the musical Hello, Dolly!, praised as “one of the sweetest and smartest romantic farces ever written” (The Wall Street Journal)—revealing social truths through mistaken identity, outrageous misbehavior and spontaneous romance. 

Tony Award nominee Kristine Nielsen is Dolly Gallagher Levi, the vivacious matchmaker who is recruited to find a wife for the wealthy yet prickly widower, Horace Vandergelder, portrayed by Chicago favorite Allen Gilmore. Little does Horace know that Dolly is plotting to become the next Mrs. Vandergelder herself! 

Joining Nielsen and Gilmore are a cast of acclaimed talents and rising stars, including Theo Allyn (Ermengarde), Behzad Dabu (Barnaby Tucker), Larry DiStasi (Cabman/Rudolph), Marilyn Dodds Frank (Flora Van Huysen), Sydney Germaine (Minnie Fay), Marc Grapey (Malachi Stack), Anita Hollander (Cook/Gertrude), Ronobir Lahiri (Ambrose Kemper), Elizabeth Ledo (Mrs. Malloy), Postell Pringle (Cornelius Hackl) and Ron Rains (Joe Scanlon). The creative team includes: Neil Patel (sets), Jenny Mannis (costumes), David Lander (lights) and Richard Woodbury (sound). Alden Vasquez is the Production Stage Manager. 

The Matchmaker appears in the Goodman’s 856-seat Albert Theatre, March 5 – April 10, 2016. Tickets ($25-$82, as well as a special $10 ticket price for students) go on sale Friday, January 22; visit, call 312.443.3800 or purchase in person at the Box Office at 170 N. Dearborn. For images and bio information for the company, visit Ernst & Young LLP and Interactive Health are the Corporate Sponsor Partners.

“I’m thrilled to collaborate with this diverse group of extraordinary artists on the play Thornton Wilder called ‘a farce with social implications’—and what I believe is his most unappreciated major play,” said Director Henry Wishcamper, who has earned critical acclaim for his productions of classic plays, including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, among others. “Effortlessly charming, funny and romantic, The Matchmaker also touches on many issues—economic inequity, diversity and the search for the authentic self—that feel relevant to our current cultural moment. Like the play, I hope our production will capture both levity and emotional depth.”

Broadway star Kristine Nielsen makes her Goodman debut.

“This will be my first time back in Chicago since I graduated from Northwestern University 30-odd years ago, and I can't wait to unleash ‘Dolly Gallagher Levi’—crossing fingers for hijinks and hilarity results,” said Nielsen, who previously appeared as ‘Sonia’ in the Broadway sensation Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, earning her the 2013 Tony Award Nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Play.

On the heels of his appearance in Wishcamper’s production of A Christmas Carol, Allen Gilmore joins Nielsen to lead the 13-member cast.

“I'm happy to return to the Goodman for this exciting reimagining of Thornton Wilder’s iconic play and am likewise overjoyed to reunite with Henry, Theo Allyn and Ron Rains, my buddies from A Christmas Carol,” said Gilmore, the 2015 recipient of the 3Arts Award, whose past Thornton Wilder credits include Our Town at Seattle’s Intiman Theater.

OPENING: Neil LaBute’s Vices and Virtues at Profiles Theatre

 Profiles Theatre presents
Neil LaBute’s Vices and Virtues
two full evenings of new short works in rotating repertory

Profiles Theatre continues its 27th season with Vices and Virtues, two full evenings featuring eleven short plays by Resident Artist Neil LaBute, performing in rotating repertory. Each evening features Midwest and World premieres of some of LaBute’s newest shorts, staged by individual directors and featuring an ensemble cast of twenty performers. Profiles’ production runs at The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway, January 14 - March 6, 2016.

Vices will play Thursdays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm (new time) and Sundays at 7pm.  Virtues will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm (new time).

An Evening of Vices. An Evening of Virtues. Running in rotating repertory, Profiles presents two full evenings of short works by Neil LaBute, each filled with many surprises, both virtuous and otherwise. Each evening features stories of lust and hate, humor and sadness, virtue and depravity. Through them all, “love” will be the dominant theme--what it is, what it's not and how far it can be stretched.

The first evening, Vices, contains the World premieres of LaBute’s "I'm Going to Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart" and "Totally,” as well as the Midwest premieres of "Happy Hour," “The Great War” and “Lovely Head.”
The second evening, Virtues, provides LaBute's World premiere of "Swallowing Bicycles," the Midwest premieres of "Good Luck (in Farsi)," "Romance" and "10-K," as well as the Chicago premieres of "Kandahar" and "Mulberry Bush."
“It’s so great to be working on another project with Profiles Theatre and it’s especially nice to have it be two evenings of short works,” says playwright Neil LaBute. “I love writing in this form and it’s always hard to find a home for this kind of piece. Thankfully, my collaboration with Profiles allows for this type of experimentation and creates a home for so many artists to work on this project at the same time. This is a really terrific way to start the new year!”
This marks Profiles Theatre’s thirteenth collaboration with Resident Artist Neil LaBute. Previous productions include the American premiere of In a Forest, Dark and Deep and acclaimed Midwest premieres of Wrecks, reasons to be pretty, The Mercy Seat and Fat Pig as well as the World premiere of his revised stage version of In the Company of Men, recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Best New Adaptation.

The directors for Vices and Virtues include Bradley Bartolo, Tara Branham, Profiles ensemble member Eric Burgher, Brianne Duncan Fiore, Profiles Artistic Associate Jeff Gamlin, Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, Miles Mabry, Kay Martinovich, Andy Root, Benjamin Thiem and Scott Wolf. The ensemble cast includes many performers returing to Profiles, including Marilyn Bass (Dream of the Burning Boy), Betsy Bowman (The Jacksonian),Tamara Chambers (Hellcab), Tim Curtis (The Jacksonian), Rob Grabowski (Hellcab), Drew Halliday (Hellcab), Nik Kourtis (Cock), Eleni Pappageorge (Cock), Brennan Roche (In the Company of Men), Steve Silver (The Other Place), Adam Soule (Bachelorette) and Laura Berner Taylor (The Jacksonian). Making their Profiles Theatre debuts are Elizabeth Birnkrant, Sarah Brooks, Patrick Gannon, Brian Goodman, Brookelyn Hebert, Tom McGregor, Sarah Ruggles and Marie Weigle.

The designers are Greg Pinsoneault (set), Mike Rathbun (lights), Brandon Reed (sound), and Uriel Gomez (costumes). Amber R. Dettmers serves as production stage manager.

Profiles’ 2015-16 season continues with the Midwest premieres of Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, opening in March and The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner.

Tickets for either evening of Vices and Virtues are $40 each. Patrons who purchase tickets to one evening may purchase a discounted ticket to the second program for $10 off regular price. Tickets are available by phone, (773) 549-1815, or online,

NEIL LABUTE (Playwright) is a Resident Artist at Profiles Theatre and has been working with them since their 2006 production of Autobahn. His World premiere adaptation of his original play and film In the Company of Men (New York Critics’ Circle Award for Best First Feature and the Filmmakers’ Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival) had its debut at Profiles in 2013 and received a Jeff Nomination for Best New Adaptation. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University and was the recipient of a literary fellowship to study at the Royal Court Theatre, London and also attended the Sundance Institute’s Playwrights Lab. His films include Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty, Possession, The Shape of Things (a film adaptation of his play by the same title), The Wicker Man, Lakeview Terrace, Death at a Funeral, Some Girl(s), Some Velvet Morning and Dirty Weekend. LaBute made his television debut with a new series for DirecTV entitled Full Circle. His plays include Bash: Latter-Day Plays, The Mercy Seat, The Distance From Here, Filthy Talk for Troubled Times, Autobahn, Fat Pig, Wrecks, Some Girl(s), Things We Said Today, This is How it Goes, In a Dark Dark HouseThe Break of Noon, In a Forest, Dark and Deep, The Money Shot, Lovely Head, Miss Julie and The Way We Get By. Reasons to be Happy, a follow-up to his acclaimed play reasons to be pretty, opened at MCC in May 2013. reasons to be pretty premiered off-Broadway in 2008, receiving three Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Play. It became Neil LaBute’s first play ever to be staged on Broadway when it opened in 2009 and was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play. LaBute is also the author of several fictional pieces including “Seconds of Pleasure,” a collection of his short stories published by Grove Atlantic.

Profiles Theatre, founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, joined shortly thereafter by Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox, was formed as an actor-driven theatre ensemble dedicated to creating provocative and emotionally truthful productions. Passionate about shaping an original vision for new works, they focused on performing World, American and Midwest premieres as well as rarely performed plays. Critically acclaimed hits, such as BLACKBIRD, FAT PIG, GRACELAND and the multiple Jeff Award-winning KILLER JOE, established Profiles as a destination for challenging and edgy theatre. Their unique collaboration with playwright Neil LaBute led the ensemble to perform an entire season of his plays in 2007-2008. Now a Resident Artist at Profiles, LaBute remains an unequivocal artistic influence on the ensemble.

After performing at 4147 North Broadway for more than two decades, Profiles acquired an adjacent theatre at 4139 North Broadway in 2012. Profiles’ new theatre, The Main Stage, with its larger seating capacity, increased performance space and higher ceilings, accommodates more ambitious and technically demanding productions. Their long-time venue, renamed The Alley Stage, continues as the home for plays strengthened by a more intimate staging. Driven by an undiminished appetite for creating honest and resonant theatre, Profiles still seeks to present work that illuminates the determination and resiliency of the human spirit.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Der Rosenkavalier returns to Lyric Opera Monday, February 8

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Romantic comedy, sublimely beautiful music…
plus love triangles and double-cross-dressing!
to Lyric Opera
Monday, February 8

 Photo: Robert Kusel

Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the perfect midwinter getaway: a beautiful production of Richard Strauss’s delectably bittersweet romantic comedy Der Rosenkavalier, which opens on Monday, February 8 for eight performances.

The opera stars Sophie Koch (Feb. 8-20) and Alice Coote (Mar. 4-13) in the title role as the teenaged “Rose Cavalier,” Octavian, who is amorously involved with a woman twice his age, Princess von Werdenberg, a.k.a. the Marschallin, sung by Amanda Majeski. Her cousin, the boorish Baron Ochs (Matthew Rose/debut), plans to marry Sophie (Christina Landshamer/American debut) for her family’s money. Sophie, however, falls hard for the betrothal messenger Octavian instead, and he with her. Much merry confusion ensues – including Ochs pursuing a chambermaid who’s really Octavian in disguise – before the rapturous trio and duet that conclude this musically divine comedy, when the Marschallin releases her young lover and Sophie and Octavian are united.

Edward Gardner conducts the production directed by Martina Weber (both debuts). Sets and costumes are designed by Thierry Bosquet with lighting by Duane Schuler. Michael Black is chorus master.

“Edward Gardner is marvelous – I’m so happy he’s coming to conduct Strauss’s most popular opera,” says Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director. “He’s a real hot property, and he’ll make a wonderful Lyric debut.”

“The cast is really superb,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “Amanda Majeski triumphed here as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro to open our season and recently sang her first Marschallin in Frankfurt. Sophie Koch and Alice Coote are two of today’s most remarkable interpreters of Octavian. Christina Landshamer is a brilliant young German soprano who gave one of the most exciting auditions I’ve ever heard, and Matthew Rose is a tremendous young bass with a major international career, both of whom will be making their Lyric debuts.”

Performance dates are February 8, 13, 16, 20, March 4 and 7 at 6:30pm; and March 10 and 13 at 1pm. For tickets and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to

Lyric’s presentation of Der Rosenkavalier is generously made possible by an Anonymous Donor and Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross.

About Lyric
Founded in 1954, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.


Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:


This Original Play Inspired by A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, Other Letters Tells Parallel Stories of Gay and Lesbian Couples Featuring Two Separate Scripts and Performed in Repertory by New Cast Members Every Night

The Other Theatre Company (TOTC) and Artistic Director Carin Silkaitis are proud to present the next show in the company’s 2015-2016 season Other Letters, written by Bryan Renaud and Carin Silkaitis, and directed by Artistic Director Carin Silkaitis, February 7 – 29, with opening night Sunday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. at Side Project, 1439 W Jarvis Ave. 

The regular run schedule is Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. $25 tickets. Tickets may be purchased at For more information, please visit

Inspired by A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, Other Letters will tell parallel stories of gay and lesbian couples. TOTC wants to replace phrases such as “normalizing gay relationships ” and “normalizing queerness” with “queering normal.” Queer relationships are just as flawed, just as messy, and just as wonderful as straight relationships. They aren’t interested in re-creating Love Letters with gay couples; they’re interested in showing a beautiful relationship, maintained through letters, that happens to be queer. People who are friends, lovers, and confidantes. People who come together, and drift apart, remember,, and forget. People who cannot be together, but cannot be apart. Other Letters will feature two separate scripts performed in repertory by new cast members every night.

The Cast for Love Letters include:
February 7 – Emma Smith (actor 1) and Colleen DeRosa (actor 2)
February 8 – Alex Weisman (actor 1) and Will Allan (actor 2)
February 14 – Grant Stokes (actor 1) and Evan Michalic (actor 2)
February 15 – Patti Lavery (actor 1) and Sarah Charipar (actor 2)
February 21 – Robyn Coffin (actor 1) and Kristin Collins (actor 2)
February 22 – Jake Szczepaniak (actor 1) and Bryan Renaud (actor 2) 
February 28 – Madrid St. Angelo (actor 1) and Mark David Kaplan (actor 2) 
February 29 – Janet Ulrich Brooks (actor 1) and Carin Silkaitis (actor 2) 

A director and actor, Silkaitis has directed plays at North Central College, Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University, XIII Pocket, Stage 773, Music By The Lake, and Echo Theatre Co. Recent Chicago acting credits include: Chloe in Lips Together, Teeth Apart (Eclipse), Doctor Manor/Physician's Assistant/Board Member 1 in Sons of the Prophet (American Theater Company), Dean Wreen in Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (u/s with 2 full weeks of performance, Theater Wit), Clem in Raggedy And (Stage Left Theatre - Leapfest), Queen Margaret in Richard III (Oak Park Festival Theatre), Mama (and other roles) in Distracted (u/s American Theater Company), and Izzy in Rabbit Hole (u/s Goodman Theatre). Her favorite regional credits include: Love Letters, Dangerous Liaisons, and A Comedy of Errors. She will appear in the upcoming TOTC production of The Realm and in the 2017 production of Visiting with Artemisia Theatre. Silkaitis recently appeared in the SAG Feature Film Unexpected, and has been busy acting in commercials, industrials, and voiceovers. She is the current Department Chair of Art and Theatre at North Central College. 

The Other Theatre Company is a collective of artists dedicated to telling the stories of those who are "othered" by systems of oppression.
Comprised of activists who openly express their opinion on the various issues presented in the media and beyond, The Company engages their audience in a dialogue through performance and educational outreach. The Other Theatre Company believes in and fights for equality and rejects cultural hegemony.

OPENING: Midnight Cowboy at Lifeline Theatre February 29th

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Lifeline Theatre Presents Midnight Cowboy,
A World Premiere Adaptation Of The Book by James Leo Herlihy
Opens February 29, 2016
Performance with Open Captioning on March 5
Performance with Touch Tour and Audio Description on March 19


Lifeline Theatre presents a world premiere adaptation of James Leo Herlihy’s 1965 novel, Midnight Cowboy, adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Chris Hainsworth (2015 Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Adaptation – Monstrous Regiment), and directed by Lifeline ensemble member Christopher M. Walsh. 

ChiIL Live Shows will be there on opening night, so check back soon for our full review, here and at our family friendly sister site, ChiIL Mama.

Joe Buck escapes his dead-end life in Texas and heads to New York City with dreams of making his fortune as a hustler for wealthy socialites. But his rugged cowboy persona masks the gullibility of a child, and Joe falls victim to all manner of con artists and predators. At the end of his rope, he partners with street-savvy Rico “Ratso” Rizzo in an alliance that could either save or destroy them both. A meditation on loneliness and the need to form real connections amidst the crushing isolation of 20th-century life. The production runs approximately two hours with one intermission. The book will be on sale in the lobby.

Midnight Cowboy runs February 19 – April 10, 2016 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see below). Press opening is Sunday, February 28 at 4 p.m. Opening night is Monday, February 29 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, February 19 and 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, February 20 and 27 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 21 at 4 p.m.)
Regular performance times (March 3 – April 10) are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 for regular single tickets, $30 for active and retired military personnel (with ID), $30 for seniors, $20 for students (with ID), $20 for rush tickets (available half hour before show time, subject to availability), and $20 for previews. Group rate for 12 or more is available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Accessible Performances: The Saturday, March 5, 4 p.m. performance will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Saturday, March 19, 4 p.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 2:30 p.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Erica Foster at 773.761.4477 x703 or at

The complete cast and production team for Midnight Cowboy includes:

Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Patrick Blashill (Woodsy/Towny); with guest artists Megan DeLay (Cass), Micah Kronlokken (Bobby), Anne Marie Lewis (Sally), Zach Livingston (Joe),
Gregory Madden (O'Daniel), Adam Marcantoni (Ratso), Jack Miggins (Perry), and Heather Smith (Anastasia). With understudies Aislinn Eng, Jay Donley, Shawn Hansen, and Nellie Kay

Lifeline Theatre ensemble members Chris Hainsworth (Adaptor), Elise Kauzlaric (Dialect Coach), and Christopher M. Walsh (Director); with guest artists Benjamin W. Dawson (Production Manager), Matt Engle (Fight Director), Sarah Espinoza (Sound Designer), Lavina Jadhwani (Casting Director), Theresa Kelly (Assistant Lighting Designer), Ryan McCain (Properties Designer), Lindsey Miller (Stage Manager), Sam Moryoussef (Master Electrician), Patrick Runfeldt (Dramaturg), Joe Schermoly (Scenic Designer, Technical Director), Rachel Sypniewski (Costume Designer), and Brandon Wardell (Lighting Designer).

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).

Now in its 33rd season, Lifeline Theatre is driven by a passion for story. Our ensemble process supports writers in the development of literary adaptations and new work, and our theatrical and educational programs foster a lifelong engagement with literature and the arts. A cultural anchor of Rogers Park, we are committed to deepening our connection to an ever-growing family of artists and audiences, both near and far. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close.

Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by Alphawood Foundation; The Arts Work Fund; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; The Common Cup; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Flex Print , Inc.; The Grover Hermann Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; Netrix LLC; The Polk Bros. Foundation; S&C Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"CELEBRATION OF LATINA|O ARTISTS” Hits Chicago For 8 Weeks January 16th through March 13th


Goodman Theatre, in collaboration with off-Loop theaters, DePaul University and Northwestern University, presents an eight-week “Celebration of Latina|o Artists,” centered around its first two productions of 2016, both of which are world premieres—Another Word For Beauty by José Rivera (starts this Saturday, January 16) and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, adapted and directed by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley (starts February 6). Curated by Henry Godinez, Goodman Theatre Resident Artistic Associate and 2666 cast member, the celebration highlights the careers and influence of noted writers Bolaño, María Irene Fornés and Rivera and includes a slate of readings, discussions and more—many of which are free of charge. Celebration events begin January 16 and continue through March 13. For ticket reservations and information, visit

Tickets for Another Word for Beauty ($25 -$77) and 2666 ($20-$45) are available at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).

Highlights of “A Celebration of Latina|o Artists” include the following events:
  • Readings and panel discussions of works by José Rivera (References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, School of the Americas, Marisol and The Hours are Feminine) and María Irene Fornés (Fefu and Her Friends, Mud, Sarita and The Conduct of Life) at venues including: Urban Theater Company, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, The Hypocrites Theater Chicago (The Den), Northwestern University and DePaul University
  • A one-night-only reading of Issac Gomez’s play, La Ruta—a new work inspired by the unsolved murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (the US/Mexican border city that serves as inspiration for the fictional city of Santa Teresa in 2666)—at The National Musuem of Mexican Art. Additionally, clips from Lourdes Portillo's award-winning documentary, Señorita Extraviada, will be shown
  • “Club Colombia,” a dance party with DJ at the Goodman following Another Word for Beauty 



Broken Lizard, the hilarious comedy troupe best known for the cult film comedy Super Troopers (and its long-awaited 2016 sequel Super Troopers 2), is coming to Chicago with their live one-night comedy extravaganza Meow What?  Lizards’ Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske, stars and creators of the movies Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest, appear live in Meow What?: An Evening with Broken Lizard, Thursday, February 25, 2016, 8 p.m. at Park West, 322 W. Armitage. 

Tickets, $25-$45, benefit Halcyon Theatre, the Albany Park-based Equity theater company fiercely committed to making the stage as diverse as the city of Chicago.

Meow What?: An Evening With Broken Lizard
Thursday, February 25, 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.)
Park West
Tickets: $25, $30, $35 and $45 at
All ages; under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian

About Broken Lizard
Broken Lizard is a five-man comedy and film-making group, devoted to intense sunshine, Floridian deep tissue massage and the advanced study of keeping it realism. During their travels, they made Super Troopers, Beerfest, Club Dread, The Slammin’ Salmon and Puddle Cruiser. Now they are raising funds to complete Super Troopers 2 at

About Halcyon
Halcyon Theatre is fiercely committed to making the stage as diverse as the city of Chicago. Dedicated to presenting new voices from inadequately represented communities, Halcyon works to recast classic works in order to showcase contemporary relevance.

Based in the Albany Park neighborhood, Halcyon Theatre was formed in 2006 to connect people, transform borders and ascend toward a more just union. The theatre’s artistic philosophy is driven by the continuing belief that at every point of human history where there has been an explosion of artistic creativity, it has happened when different cultures and traditions have met and learned from each other. Halcyon’s work includes productions as well as providing platforms—including Compass Lab as well as writing workshops & new play labs—for artists to grow and reach their full potential.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Photo Recap: CLUTCH NYE 2016 at Bogart's

2016 came in with a roar and a cowbell. CLUTCH killed it at Bogart's, an intimate and infamous venue that's been a staple of the Cincinnati scene since the mid 70's as a concert hot spot and as early as 1905 as vaudeville venue. We were super stoked to be there shooting for ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama.

You've heard of "The Hottest Band in the Land... KISS" 
and "The Only Band That Matters... The Clash." 
Now meet "The Best Metal Band With Cow Bell... CLUTCH!!"

D.C. Sound Attack indeed!! What a welcome for 2016.

Click the image below for our 
full Clutch NYE slide show. 
More photo favs are embedded at the bottom of this feature as well. Photo credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

One thing we dig about Clutch is the band members take turns writing the set lists. I don't know who planned the NYE show, but it was a stellar mix of old school and new tunes and the pre-show music was a big ol' Lemmy fest.

*Pure Rock Fury was played instead of Son of Virginia.

We've been fans of Clutch's unique rock stylings since they began in the early 90's and we're happy to see them finally getting the critical acclaim and wider audience they deserve. Clutch fans are some of the friendliest, most unpretentious people out there and it's always a great vibe at shows. 

One thing we love about Bogart's is their all ages shows truly are. We're not talking just 18+ under agers. Kids were welcome at the Clutch NYE show and some of the next gen rail riders even left with drum sticks and guitar picks!

NYE can be a time of reflection and of celebrating the old and new. Speaking of old, I was there with my husband of 15 years, a guy I've been catching Clutch with since the early 90's. And we made a whole slew of new friends at the show and met others in person that we've known on line from the Clutch facebook group!

One of our new friends confessed to discovering the first Clutch album when she worked at a college radio station. It wasn't getting much air play, and she loved it so much she stole it. She admitted to feeling a twinge guilty in later years, but she's made amends by spreading the Clutch love since then. In fact, she was there with her boyfriend who was a live Clutch virgin till the Cleveland show the night before. By NYE he was an enthusiastic full convert! 

Our Clutch initiation was less dramatic. We were turned on to their first album by mutual friends, and have caught them every chance we get for the past 20+ years. 

I've been shooting and reviewing their shows for about the past 5 years and it was truly a treat to catch Neil for a video interview right before Earth Rocker came out a few years back.

Happy new year all. Hope 2016 is filled with music, creativity, laughter, friends, family and fun. We'll see you out there.

Remember to check back with ChiIL Live Shows for arts & entertainment news, reviews, interviews and giveaways for Chi, IL and beyond.

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Fan Shot Favs Clutch NYE:

Favorite Show Shots Clutch NYE: 

Just another brick in the wall.... Had to include this. Security was standing on cinder blocks in the photo pit so they'd have better sight lines on the crowd. Never seen anything like it!

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