Monday, December 11, 2017

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of NEVERMORE – The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe at The Edge Theater Via Black Button Eyes 1/5-1/28/18

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Chicago Premiere!
Black Button Eyes Productions Presents
NEVERMORE – The Imaginary Life and 
Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Christenson 
Directed by Ed Rutherford 
Music Direction by Nick Sula
Choreography by Derek Van Barham

January 5 – 28, 2018 at The Edge Theater

Following its hit production of SHOCKHEADED PETER, Black Button Eyes Productions is pleased to conclude its 2017-18 season with the Chicago premiere musical NEVERMORE – The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, the moving life story of the iconic American writer told through haunting music, poetic storytelling and stunning stagecraft, with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Christenson. Directed by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, with music direction by Nick Sula and choreography by Derek Van Barham, NEVERMORE will play January 5 – 28, 2018 at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at

NEVERMORE features Kevin Webb as Edgar Allan Poe with Megan DeLay, Jessica Lauren Fisher, Ryan Lanning, Matt McNabb, Maiko Terazawa and Jeremy Trager.

Edgar Allan Poe’s life reads like one of his short stories: an unrelenting tale of misery and woe. His death is also shrouded in mystery. Was he just spectacularly unlucky, or did a supernatural shadow fall over his life? This Chicago premiere weaves fact and fiction into a tapestry of music and poetry.

The production team for NEVERMORE includes: Jeremy Hollis (scenic design, technical director) Beth Laske-Miller (costume design), Liz Cooper (lighting design), Robert Hornbostel (sound design), Catherine Woods (props design, puppet design) and Hazel McCabe-Flowers (stage manager).

Location: The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago
Regular run: Saturday, January 6 – Sunday, January 28, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. 
*Please note: there will be added matinee performances on Saturday, January 13, Saturday, January 20 and Saturday, January 27 at 2 pm. 

Tickets: $30. Tickets are currently available at Tickets may also be purchased in person beginning one hour prior to each performance.

About the Artists:
Jonathan Christenson (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a director, writer and composer whose original musical plays have been presented at major theatres and festivals throughout the U.K., Australia, the U.S. and Canada. His work has been recognized with more than 40 British, Canadian and American awards and nominations, including a Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding New Musical of New York’s 2015 Off-Broadway season. His plays have been published by Playwrights Canada Press, Newest Press and Bayeaux Arts, recordings of his music can be found on iTunes and at Broadway Records, and his productions are featured in American Theatre, Maclean’s, CTR, PRISM International, Canada World View and All Stages. He was named one of “Alberta’s Fifty Most Influential People” by Venture Magazine and Alberta Playwrights Network chose him as one of Alberta’s one hundred most significant theatre artists of the past one hundred years.

Ed Rutherford (Director) recently directed Black Button Eyes’ Jeff-Recommended Shockheaded Peter, preceded by Amour (Chicago premiere), Goblin Marke, and Stephin Merrit's musical adaptation of Coraline (Midwest Premiere). In 2017, Ed also directed the Jeff-Recommend productions of The Liar with Promethean Theatre Ensemble and Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz at Brown Paper Box Co. He is an artistic associate at Promethean, where he additionally directed his own world premiere adaptation of the Peter S. Beagle fantasy novel The Last Unicorn, Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle and the company's inaugural production, Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy. As an actor, he has performed with Drury Lane Oakbrook, Porchlight, Theater Wit and many others. A graduate of Northwestern's theater program, he is currently completing his MBA at Kellogg.

Nick Sula (Music Director) is a pianist, arranger and award-winning music director for theater and cabaret. He is proud to return to Black Button Eyes where he performed as music director for Amour and Coraline. Recent theater credits include music direction at Porchlight Music Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble and Chicago Theatre Workshop. Nick is an instructor, music director and vocal coach at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He is also a member of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals, performing with vocalists at venues such as Davenport’s, Uptown Underground, Stage 773, Victory Gardens, The Twisted Vine and the Park West.

Derek Van Barham (Choreographer) is the Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays, a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble and a former Artistic Director of The Ruckus. For PFP, he has directed Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage Repertory), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination: Best Director of a Musical or Revue), PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert: The Musical (co-directed by David Zak). He also wrote, directed and choreographed BITE: A Pucking Queer Cabaret and Kill Your Boyfriends. Other directing credits include Three Days of Rain (Boho), Miracle! by Dan Savage and Skooby Don't (Hell in a Handbag) and Trash (New American Folk Theatre). He has choreographed for Black Button Eyes (Shockheaded Peter, Coraline the Musical, Goblin Market, Amour), Permoveo (Albert Cashier), The Plagiarists, Inappropriate Theatre,and Salonathon. He can currently be seen improvising with the LGBT team Baby Wine (Fridays at The Annoyance). He was recently named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing individuals from Chicago's LGBTQ community. He holds an MFA from Chicago College of Performing Arts.

About Black Button Eyes Productions
Along with the Jeff-Recommended Chicago storefront premiere of Shockheaded Peter, the other production of the 2017-2018 season, Nevermore continues Black Button Eyes Productions' mission to bring to Chicago premieres and seldom-seen works containing elements of fantasy, in which the magical and surreal invade reality. The company was founded in 2014 with the acclaimed Midwest Premiere of the musical Coraline, and continued in 2015 by producing the musical Goblin Market in its first Chicago production in over 15 years, attended by the author, Chicago native Polly Pen. In 2016 the company presented the Chicago premiere of the musical Amour.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 


It takes talent to talk a room full of strangers into feeling like friends. And it takes balls to shed the facade of playing roles others have written and tell your own backstory, warts and all, playing yourself. Mitchell Fain does all this and more. Whether he's kicking back on the Christmas set, relaxing in his bedroom slippers, or prancing across the stage in long time friend and former roommate Meghan Murphy's stiletto heels (Yes they have the same size feet!), Fain gives us the intimate treat of walking in his shoes for a few hours.

He is utterly at home on stage, playing himself, and he brings us home with him, for a drink, holiday song serenade with a few good friends, and tales of his childhood. The true chemistry of long time friendships shines through with easy camaraderie. Cameos by a rotating roster of Chicago cabaret powerhouses like Meghan Murphy, Vanessa Dunleavy and Amy Lewis Montgomery and madcap pianist Julie B. Nichols are also on tap, which is truly a treat. 

The set is dominated by a huge Christmas tree, all decked out for the holidays, a faux fireplace, a snowy window, a piano and mic ripe for holiday favorites and improv originals, and a cozy living room complete with blanket. It's an odd set up for a "Christmas special" seeing as how Fain is Jewish, and this is his story, but it works better than more schmaltzy Christian "meaning of the season" shows, as he hits a rare authenticity and joyful celebration of friends, festivities, and family, even when they're flawed. This is a holiday tale of the families we find and keep as our own, as much as it is of the families we come from.

I was expecting comedy, and Fain is a funny guy with a flair for the dramatic, and great comedic timing. Yet, I left feeling more moved and sentimental about the holidays than my usual Christmas jaded self ever gets. Since then, at least once a day, his stellar line about Christmas haunts me: "You need Jews to entertain and gays to decorate."

This show changes a bit each time, so it's a core of the same backstories along with a dose of audience inspired tangents and improv. Though certainly not kid appropriate, the press opening ended up being more sincere than snark and I left feeling like I'd just had one of those chance encounters at a party where you finally get past the small talk with someone you've known peripherally for years and genuinely get to know what they're all about.

THIS WAY OUTTA SANTALAND is both personal and universal in an exciting and relevant way, and a joy to see. Highly recommended.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've enjoyed Mitchell J. Fain's annual holiday snark in The Santaland Diaries for years. I worked two seasons as an actor in a "santaland" set up in Ohio, with a trail of full blown improv fairy tale scenes leading up to Santa. We lost one alcoholic Santa after payday when he was a no show. The next, much more animated elf, was fired after the director and I walked in on him in an elevator actually smoking a crack pipe! As much as I empathize, and as funny as the Sedaris classic is, we're truly looking forward to the next iteration, as Fain returns as creator and performer of his own Very Special Xmas Special(tm), playing his own funny self in Chicago’s frothiest holiday show.

After an amazing workshop last year, Chicago's favorite holiday performer, Mitchell J. Fain, returns to Theater Wit with a full-blown, mainstage production of his hilarious and touching tell-all, This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles). Press opening is Friday, November 24 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through December 30.

For eight seasons as the star of Theater Wit’s The Santaland Diaries, Fain was forced to restrain his most anarchic, improvisatory impulses while constrained in stripey tights and a silly elf costume.

A tour-de-force blend of storytelling, improvisation, cabaret and cocktails, This Way Outta Santaland is a sweet, sentimental evening of hard truths that change night to night. Fain squeezes holiday tales from his audience, then swirls them with his own personal war stories about family, drunks, jewelry, funerals, the holiday spirits and more than 250 performances as Crumpet the Elf.

Chicago Theater Review hailed last season’s workshop production "Highly recommended. A brand new, indispensable tradition, at once hilarious, tragic, moving and profane."

Don’t miss This Way Outta Santaland, conceived and performed by Fain, in this new, fully decked-out production directed by Jeremy Wechsler, and designed by Julie B. Nichols (music), Courtney O’Neill (set), Mike Durst (lights) and Jeffrey Levin (sound).

Performances are November 24-December 30: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., with two added holiday week performances, Wednesday, December 20 and 27, at 7:30 p.m.

Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

The best way to secure seats to This Way Outta Santaland is to sign up for a Theater Wit Membership. Wit’s “all the theater you can eat” deal comes with special perks and lets members see as many plays at they want in any of Wit’s three spaces for one low monthly fee of $29/$22 for students. This includes shows presented at Wit by 2017-18 resident companies About Face, Kokandy Productions and Shattered Globe, and other top storefront and visiting companies.

Single tickets to This Way Outta Santaland are $28-$40.

To purchase tickets, a Membership, or to inquire about Flex Pass options, visit or call the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150.

Behind-the-scenes of This Way Outta Santaland

In addition to eight years in Theater Wit’s perennial holiday hit The Santaland Diaries, Mitchell J. Fain has also been seen in This at Theater Wit, Le Switch at About Face, at UP Comedy Club at The Second City as host of Best Musical, at La Jolla Playhouse with The Second City and at Actors Theatre of Louisville in Lookingglass Theatre’s Lookingglass Alice. Fain is an Artistic Associate of The Midnight Circus and About Face Theatre and former co-host of The Windy City Queercast. Other credits include Stilettos, Circus and Soul, Hamlet-The Musical, Henry VI, Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As Bees in Honey Drown, Bitches, Hay Fever, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and The Lynching of Leo Frank. He also performed improv and sketch comedy on The Norwegian Star as a part of a Second City touring company.

Jeremy Wechsler (director) most recently staged Theater Wit’s Midwest premiere of Anne Washburn’s 10 Out of 12, last season’s holiday workshop of Mitchell Fain’s This Way Outta Santaland and the extended Midwest premiere of Mat Smart’s Naperville. Other directing credits at Wit include the company’s election night reading of The Trump Card by Mike Daisey, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Madeline George’s Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show’s summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit’s acclaimed Completeness and The Four of Us (Itamar Moses), Tigers Be Still (Kim Rosenstock), This (Melissa James Gibson), Spin (Penny Penniston), Feydeau-Si-Deau (Georges Feydeau), Men of Steel (Qui Nguyen), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Will Eno), Two for the Show (James Fitzpatrick and Will Clinger) and The Santaland Diaries. A veteran director in Chicago with over 50 productions, his work has been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new plays. 

About Theater Wit

Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, is a major hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago.

In addition to This Way Out of Santaland, Theater Wit’s 2017-18 season opens with Significant Other by Joshua Harmon, author of Wit’s 2015 smash hit Bad Jews, about a gay man in New York whose girlfriends are all getting married, co-produced with About Face Theatre (November 2–December 10, 2017). Wit also presents America’s premiere monologist, Mike Daisey, three nights only, in three different shows commenting on the current state of the U.S.A.: This is Not Normal, The End of Journalism and The White Man’s Burden, November 16, 17 and 18.

2018 opens with Wit’s world premiere of The Antelope Party, Eric John Meyer’s comedy about adult fans of My Little Pony (January 5-February 24, 2018). Spring sees the Chicago debut of Women Laughing Alone with Salad, Sheila Callaghan’s meta-feminist satirical comedy about friendship, salad, sex, bodies, yoga, salad, men, envy, diets, salad, uppers and salad (March 9-April 29, 2018).

“A thrilling addition to Chicago’s roster of theaters” (Chicago Tribune) and “a terrific place to see a show” (New City), Theater Wit is now in its seventh season at its home at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater.

The company’s most recent hits include 10 Out of 12 and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, and Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses.

To receive an “artisanal selection of consonants and vowels from Theater Wit,” sign up at for exclusive updates, flash deals and behind-the-scenes production scoop every few weeks.

Saturday, December 9, 2017




(top, from left) Dr. Lauren Streicher, Terri Kapsalis,
and (bottom) Rochelle Therrien and Melissa Canciller in TimeLine Theatre Company’s
IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY. Production photo credit: Lara Goetsch

Noted women’s sexual health expert and TV personality Dr. Lauren Streicher, and educator Terri Kapsalis, author of "Hysteria, Witches, and The Wandering Uterus, Or Why I Teach 'The Yellow Wallpaper'" will headline TimeLine Theatre Company’s “Sunday Scholars” panel connected to IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY, Sunday, December 10 at 4:30 p.m. at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.

Catch the buzz at TimeLine’s free Sunday Scholars event, which follows immediately after the 2 p.m. matinee of its current hit production of Sarah Ruhl’s intimate and humorous play about a Victorian era doctor, his sexually repressed wife, and the invention of a new piece of electrical machinery meant to treat the common affliction of female “hysteria.”

Streicher is an Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school, The Feinberg School of Medicine; the medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause; and a noted TV personality.

Kapsalis is the author of Jane Addams’ Travel Medicine Kit, The Hysterical Alphabet, and Public Privates: Performing Gynecology from Both Ends of the Speculum; a co-founder of Theater Oobleck; and a collective member at Chicago Women’s Health Center.

Both will bring their deep expertise to TimeLine’s “Sunday Scholars,” and delve into the story and themes of sexual awakening and female equality found in Ruhl’s IN THE NEXT ROOM, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award nominee for Best Play.

TimeLine Company Member Maren Robinson, who served as dramaturg on the production, will moderate the panel, followed by audience Q&A.

Rochelle Therrien and Anish Jethmalani in TimeLine Theatre Company’s IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY. Credit: Lara Goetsch

Inspired by the book The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel P. Maines, Sarah Ruhl’s IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY is set in the 1880s, when Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light began to change the fabric of daily life. Inspired by Edison’s discovery, scientist and inventor Dr. Givings experiments with a piece of machinery to treat the increasingly common affliction of female hysteria. When he starts to see a new patient regularly, his wife’s curiosity with the invention and what occurs “in the next room” grows, leading to discoveries of her own. This intimate and humorous story of self-discovery reveals that human connection is not simply a means to an end, but a vital part of life itself.

ChiIL Live Shows' Review: TimeLine Theatre Company In the Next Room, or the vibrator play

**Wow! Hysterical historical gem on sexuality science vs. sensuality at the dawn of the electric light! ** 

When I heard what playwright Sarah Ruhl was tackling IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY, I was excited to see it. I enjoy her thought provoking writing style immensely. She has the wit and wisdom to delve deeply into the psychology of human behavior and relationships while keeping things delightfully funny. 

We were drawn in by the great lobby display of a vintage vibrator and hilarious ads. Since the 773 space is shared by several shows simultaneously Timeline couldn't do their customary full blown lobby installation, so there's an on line component, which is an up side for those not in Chicago, or theatre goers who want to learn more, or were short on time to peruse the lobby at show time.

It's thrilling that Ruhl’s IN THE NEXT ROOM is now a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award nominee for Best Play. This is an era and an area of study woefully underrepresented on stage, particularly from women's point of view and it's at once enlightening and amusing how much sexually bumbling and clueless male scientists presumed they knew about women physically, emotionally and mentally. It's funny that many men still haven't caught up, in over a century!

It's particularly striking that the 1880's were bringing illumination in the form of the brand new electric light, and how the fears and excitement over this advent mirrored the evolution of vibrators. There were naysayers who wanted to maintain the relative darkness and mystique of candlelight and thought that romance and gentility would be lost in the bright wash of electric light. Some thought it would be dangerous or harmful. Yet, once lights became more familiar, people found them quite useful and superior to the dangers and drawbacks of candlelight.

The Victorian era costumes in Timeline Theatre's production are absolutely delightful, as is the attention to detail in the set design and props. All "treatments" are tastefully and modestly done, so the production never crosses into exploitive or prurient realms, and stays story based. The entire cast is phenomenal, making this period piece a joy to see. The chemistry on stage is palpable and it's fascinating to see the relationships developing among unlikely friends. This production brings in racial tensions, class issues, motherhood, lesbian attractions, the agonies of having to hire a wet nurse and having to be one, infant love and loss, loneliness, orgasms, and maladies, real and perceived. Even the link between creativity, creative blocks, loss, and sexual tension are explored. Ultimately, women take charge of their own methods and means of satiation, and the tightly wound doctor learns the sensual joys of letting go and doing something out of character and out of doors, one snowy evening with his passionate wife. This is an utterly satisfying play and a unique night out. Highly recommended.

Here’s what the critics are saying about TimeLine’s fresh new staging of IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY:

"Plugged in and amped's like director Mechelle Moe
took the show and gave it a firmer shove toward the
right spot for the here and now. 3 stars!”
-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, full review

"A charming and titillating look at life
in the bad old 19th century…
where clueless men misunderstand female sexuality.”
-Nancy Bishop, Third Coast Review, full review

“Hot stuff, fundamental stuff
and surprisingly funny stuff."
-Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times, full review

IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY runs through December 16 at Stage 773. Single tickets are $42.50-$56.50. Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine also offers $25 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family. Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are also available. For tickets and information, visit or call the Stage 773 Box Office at (773) 327-5252.

Stage 773 is located one-half block west of the corner of Belmont and Racine and immediately east of Theater Wit in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. The theater is accessible via the CTA El stop at Belmont (Red/Brown/Purple lines). CTA bus #77-Belmont stops at Racine. Valet parking is available for $12 and there is also limited free and metered street parking nearby. Visit for complete directions and parking information. Stage 773 is accessible for people with disabilities.    

TimeLine’s IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY is directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe. The cast features TimeLine Associate Artist Anish Jethmalani (Dr. Givings), Edgar Sanchez (Leo Irving), Dana Tretta (Annie), Melissa Canciller (Sabrina Daldry), Joel Ewing (Mr. Daldry), Krystel McNeil (Elizabeth) and Rochelle Therrien (Catherine Givings).The production team includes Sarah JHP Watkins (Scenic Designer), Alison Siple (Costume Designer), Brandon Wardell (Lighting Designer), Andrew Hansen (Original Music / Sound Designer), Vivian Knouse (Properties Designer), Katie Cordts (Wig Designer), Eva Breneman (Dialect Designer), Maren Robinson (Dramaturg), Jared Bellot (Assistant Director), Daniel Parsons (Production Assistant), and Miranda Anderson (Stage Manager).

What's the buzz about TimeLine's Theatre's
Watch the teaser video:

Theater maker and educator Terri Kapsalis is the author of Jane Addams' Travel Medicine Kit, The Hysterical Alphabet, and Public Privates: Performing Gynecology from Both Ends of the Speculum. As a collective member at Chicago Women’s Health Center, she co-founded TGAP (Trans Greater Access Project) and the Integrative Medicine Program. Since 2000, she has taught a renowned course at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago titled "The Wandering Uterus: Journeys through Gender, Race, and Medicine." Her essay “Hysteria, Witches, and The Wandering Uterus: A Brief History, or Why I Teach ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’” was published on Literary Hub in April 2017. A co-founder of Theater Oobleck, she has performed in over 35 productions.  

Lauren Streicher, MD is an Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school, The Feinberg School of Medicine and the medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause. Her clinical interests include all aspects of women’s health but Dr. Streicher has a particular interest and expertise in menopause and sexual health. She frequently speaks and writes about the history of medicine including her recent lecture at a national medical conference on The History and Current Medical Use of the Vibrator. She is the author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health and Your Best Sex Ever which includes a chapter on the history of the vibrator. Dr. Streicher has also published The Essential Guide to Hysterectomy. She appears weekly on WGN Morning News and is a frequent guest on shows such as The Dr. Oz Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The Today Show and Good Morning America. She is a Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a member of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, Inc., The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, The Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer, and is a Certified Menopause Practitioner of The North American Menopause Society.  

Friday, December 8, 2017

Klingon Christmas Carol at Raven Theatre Via E.D.G.E THEATRE

Klingon Christmas Carol,   
AT Raven Theatre, November 30th-December 17th

Get your geek on with a rendition of Christmas Carol like no other! Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we caught A Klingon Christmas Carol a few years back and were astonished. It plays out like a foreign language movie with subtitles, yet the carefully crafted script and translation is far from gibberish. The Klingon values of courage and honor shine through and the language is impressive, to say the least. This is a must see for Star Trek fans and anyone who enjoys pop culture, unique takes on holiday classics, and a fun night out.

A Klingon Christmas Carol, written by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom & Sasha Warren, and translated by Laura Thurston, Bill Hedrick, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom & Chris Lipscombe. This production is directed by John Gleason Teske and performs  November 30th-December 17th at Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark St, Chicago, IL.  

The performance schedule is Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:00PM and Sundays at 2:00PM (with a special Friday performance on December 1st at 8:00PM). Tickets are $22 and may be purchased at

A Klingon Christmas Carol is the first play to be performed entirely in Klingon, a constructed language first appearing in Star Trek. It is the Charles Dickens classic tale of ghosts and redemption, adapted to reflect the Klingon values of courage and honor, and then translated into Klingon (performed with English supertitles).

The cast of  Kllingon Christmas Carol includes  Jamie Spagnola (Narrator); Tony Bunnell SQUJA’ (Scrooge); Matt Calhoun QACHIT (Cratchit); Justin Blankenship VRED (Fred); Andrea Hansen EMLI (Mrs. Cratchit); Alexander C. Ferguson BEN QEYLIS QA' (Christmas Past); Rhys Read DAHJAJ QEYLIS QA' (Christmas Present); Kreg Kennon PIQ QEYLIS QA' (Christmas Yet-To-Come); Angela Rak

SQUJA' QUP (Young Scrooge); Darrick Jackson VESIWIQ (Fezziwig); Mandi Corrao VAN (Fan); Cat McKay BEL (Belle); John Mobley MARLI'(Marley); Erin Caswell SUY (Weapon Merchant/Old Joe); Lucinda Lodder Lindstrom TIMHOM (Tiny   Tim).

The  Klingon Christmas Carol production team includes  Shauna Warren,  stage manager; Rachel Flesher, fight director; Peter McManus, set designer and  David Trudeau, lighting designer.

E.D.G.E.’s anachronism stands for “Esteem Development through Greater Expectations”. Using the theatre arts, they educate and entertain to foster the tools of social change. E.D.G.E has a goal of finding every participant’s personal best and holding them accountable to it. E.D.G.E. main thrust is developing theatre for marginalized communities and to bring a message of non-violence, civic and social change through exploration of the theatre arts. E.D.G.E.’s four sectors are: E.D.G.E Core, company produced classes offered on a select curriculum in theatre, social skills, history and stage combat; E.D.G.E. Satellite, 

E.D.G.E programs produced, collaborated or sub contracted by an outside produced program; E.D.G.E Troupe, a professional actor program providing a training ground for interns from our marginalized community to observe the highest standards of professionalism and be part of the process and E.D.G.E Workshops, limited time commitment programs are meant to harness their educational and entertainment abilities in a workshop environment. These programs are targeted for school assemblies, conventions, and camps.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

SAVE THE DATES: 2 Days Only THE ILLUSIONISTS PRESENT ADAM TRENT at Cadillac Palace Theatre 3/16 & 17 2018


MARCH 16-17, 2018

Broadway In Chicago and the producers of the world’s best-selling touring magic show, THE ILLUSIONISTS, are delighted to announce that Broadway and television star Adam Trent will bring his signature brand of magic and illusion to Chicago in THE ILLUSIONISTS PRESENT ADAM TRENT, an immersive entertainment extravaganza of magic, comedy and music designed to entertain the entire family. The stage spectacle is touring more than 60 cities and will play Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) for a limited two-day engagement March 16 and 17, 2018. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.

Showcasing his “futuristic” brand of magic, Trent has mesmerized live audiences around the globe, in person and as a featured guest on America’s Got Talent, The Today Show, Ellen, the Travel Channel and Disney Channel among countless other TV appearances. The 31-year-old also stars in his own recently launched 10-episode TV series ‘The Road Trick’ on Red Bull TV.

Trent inaugurated the first 2 years of THE ILLUSIONISTS’ record breaking Broadway runs, which served as a launching pad for his own live show and tour. “I am so excited to hit the road and bring an entirely new show to audiences around the world,” says Trent, who has always thought that magic should be entertaining first and tricky second. He doesn’t want people to remember “tricks” as much as the laughs and memories made with the performance. “This will be a show like you’ve never seen.”

THE ILLUSIONISTS PRESENT ADAM TRENT is produced by MagicSpace Entertainment and The Works Entertainment. “Adam Trent is unlike any magician working today, a funny, witty and accomplished entertainer — the next David Copperfield meets Justin Timberlake,” says creative producer Simon Painter. “He has a knack for electrifying giant television and theatre audiences with his unique brand of magic.”

For more information and a tentative tour schedule, visit Follow @AdamTrentMagic on all social media platforms for tour info.

MagicSpace Entertainment is headed by Lee D. Marshall, Joe Marsh, John Ballard, Steve Boulay and Bruce Granath and has been producing and presenting national tours, Broadway shows, concerts and museum exhibits worldwide for over 30 years. Consistently one of the top promoters in North America, MagicSpace Entertainment typically produces and presents more than 250 events in 75 cities per year.  They have offices in Park City and Salt Lake City, UT.

The Works Entertainment established and led by Creative Producer Simon Painter and Executive Producer Tim Lawson, is one of the most successful live entertainment companies in the world, creating, presenting and producing first class entertainment throughout over 300 cities and 30 countries.  Their award-winning shows including The Illusionists, Le Noir and Circus 1903 have smashed box office records multiple times around the world from Sydney to Mexico to London and Broadway. 

Individual tickets for THE ILLUSIONISTS PRESENT ADAM TRENT at the Cadillac Palace Theatre will go on sale at a later date. 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 and online at  For more information,

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 17 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Oriental Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

OPENING: WORLD PREMIERE Steampunk Christmas Carol at Raven Theatre Via E.D.G.E THEATRE 12/6-16

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

ADAPTED BY Jared McDaris, at Raven Theatre
December 6-December 16

Get in gear, break out your top hats and check out Steampunk Christmas Carol. 

E.D.G.E. Theatre is pleased to announce the world premiere of Steampunk Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Jared McDaris, December 6-December 16 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark St, Chicago, IL. Opening night is December 6. The performance schedule is 12/6, 12/8, 12/15 at 8pm and 12/9, 12/16 at 2pm. Tickets are $18. Tickets may be purchased at

Charles Dickens meets Jules Verne (the Father of Science Fiction) in EDGE Theater and Steampunk Chicago's inventive reimagining of the classic holiday tale A Christmas Carol. Set in fanciful Victorian England, mechanized ghosts tell of the fate of a world without Christmas. In this land of industry, populated with strange machines powered by gas, gears and electricity, Scrooge comes to realize that the best investment man can make is in mankind. Witness the revolution of a soul when Jared McDaris' Steampunk Christmas Carol swings into Chicago's Raven Theatre.

The cast of Steampunk Christmas Carol includes X-2: Gilly Guire
Engineer: Sarah Franzel
Joshua Carroll

Fred: Erik Burke
Ratchet: Elizabeth Quilter
Jessica Goforth
Past: Kate Lass
Madam Fizzlewig: Jennifer Mohr Young Scrooge: Seamus McMahon
Creation "Claire": Sarah Jean Tilford Christmas Present: Kaelea Rovinsky

The Steampunk Christmas Carol production team includes Roxie Kooi, stage manager; Kate Lass, fight director; Peter McManus, set designer and David Trudeau, lighting designer.

E.D.G.E.’s anachronism stands for “Esteem Development through Greater Expectations”. Using the theatre arts, they educate and entertain to foster the tools of social change. E.D.G.E has a goal of finding every participant’s personal best and holding them accountable to it. E.D.G.E. main thrust is developing theatre for marginalized communities and to bring a message of non-violence, civic and social change through exploration of the theatre arts. E.D.G.E.’s four sectors are: E.D.G.E Core, company produced classes offered on a select curriculum in theatre, social skills, history and stage combat; E.D.G.E. Satellite, E.D.G.E programs produced, collaborated or sub contracted by an outside produced program; E.D.G.E Troupe, a professional actor program providing a training ground for interns from our marginalized community to observe the highest standards of professionalism and be part of the process and E.D.G.E Workshops, limited time commitment programs are meant to harness their educational and entertainment abilities in a workshop environment. These programs are targeted for school assemblies, conventions, and camps.

REVIEW: Griffin Theatre's Violet Reverberates With Sounds of 60's South

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Book & Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Music by Jeanine Tesori 
Directed by Scott Weinstein 
Music Direction by John Cockerill

November 26, 2017 – January 13, 2018 
at The Den Theatre
Griffin Theatre Company Launches 30th Anniversary Season

Griffin is off to a mythic start to their 30th anniversary season. Violet has the intimacy and connection of a small storefront production upstairs at The Den Theatre, yet it's remarkably big on sound, and this score is amazing. With an onstage band and power vocals, the show fills the space in a huge way, to tell a traveling tale of self discovery, healing, accidental friendships, adventure and the Grayhound bus ride that altered the future.

I thought it was an interesting choice to not use stage makeup to create Violet's huge facial scar from a childhood ax accident, since it was such a huge plot point, yet other characters' reactions to her face spoke volumes. It was even more apparent without special effects makeup that her scaring went deeper than the surface and the bullying and ostracism she'd lived with since childhood had been internalized and given her self consciousness and self hatred but also stubborn tenacity, emotional survival skills and a honed sense of humor.

The rock, folk and gospel score easily and effectively transports the audience to the 60's south where Violet is setting off on a pivotal journey that turns out quite different than she expected. Violet is heartbreaking, poignant, and stellar storytelling, reinforcing the idea that it's the travels not the destination that matter more and change one the most. Ultimately this is a unique love story and a celebration of the discovery of those who see past surface scars and skin color to truly see into each other's souls. 

I'm thrilled to see another show with a female protagonist portrayed both as a young teen and a young adult, and to hear this story from her perspective. Violet's story is a tale full of painful tragedy, loss, coping, and longing. Yet ultimately this is a tale of bravery, tenacity, friendship, acceptance, forgiveness and soul mates. Nicole Laurenzi as Violet and Maya Hlava (Young Violet) are stand outs, as is Will Lidke as Monty, and Stephen Allen as Flick. Brianna Buckley, and LaShera Moore are also quite impressive and a joy to hear.

Griffin Theatre Company is pleased to launch its 30th anniversary season with a revival of the Tony-nominated musical VIOLET, with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley (A Little Princess), music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Caroline, or Change), direction by Scott Weinstein (Ragtime, Bat Boy: The Musical) and music direction by John Cockerill (Bonnie & Clyde). VIOLET will play November 26, 2017 – January 13, 2018 at The Den Theatre's Upstairs Mainstage, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. 

Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830. 

PHOTO CREDIT: The cast of Griffin Theatre Company’s production of VIOLET: (top, l to r) Nicole Laurenzi as Violet, Will Lidke as Monty, Stephen Allen as Flick, Matt Miles as Father and Maya Hlava (Young Violet) with (bottom, l to r) Connor Baty, Brianna Buckley, Nick Druzbanski, Sarah Hayes, Anthony Kayer and LaShera Moore.

Based on the short story "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts, this award-winning musical fuses a powerful rock, folk and gospel score. With a ticket, a suitcase and a heart full of expectation, Violet Karl, facially disfigured since childhood, boards a bus and travels across the deep south in 1964 to see if a faith healer can transform her life. Along the way, she forms unlikely friendships with her fellow passengers, who teach her about beauty, love and courage and that it's the journeys you take in life that help you discover who you are.

The production team for VIOLET includes: Lauren Nigri (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Alexander Ridgers (lighting design), Keegan Bradac (sound design), Jamie Karas (properties design), Kasey Alfonso (choreographer), Catherine Allen (production manager), Laura McClain (asst. director) and Jon Ravenscroft (stage manager).

Dates: Previews: Sunday, November 26 at 3 pm, Monday, November 27 at 7:30 pm, Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 pm, Friday, December 1 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, December 2 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run: Thursday, December 7, 2017 – Saturday, January 13, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3pm. 

Please note: there will not be a performance on Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) or Sunday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve); there will be an added performance on Saturday, January 13 at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews $30. Regular run $42. Students, seniors & veterans $37 ($25 previews). Group discount are available for groups of ten or more. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830.

About the Creative Team
Scott Weinstein (Director) is an award-winning director whose upcoming work includes Sex With Strangers (Cardinal Stage), Million Dollar Quartet (Phoenix Theatre) and Frost/Nixon (Redtwist Theatre). Favorite Chicago credits include Rock of Ages (Drury Lane Theatre), a new chamber version of Ragtime, Titanic (Jeff Nomination – Best Director, Best Musical) and Bat Boy: The Musical (Jeff Nomination – Best Director) all with Griffin Theatre; Rent (Theo Ubique, Jeff Award – Best Director & Best Musical); She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Theatre Garage Rep); and Seussical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Favorite New York and regional credits include Million Dollar Quartet (Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival); Baristas (New York International Fringe Festival) Knights of The Sales Office and Murder For Two (Adirondack Theatre Festival). He is a company member with Redtwist Theatre where he has directed Circle Mirror Transformation, All-American and The Drawer Boy. Scott is the Associate Director for the National Tour, Las Vegas, Chicago and Norwegian Cruise Line productions of Million Dollar Quartet and directed the first regional production currently running at the Lawrence Welk Theatre. Scott is a proud graduate of Northwestern University and member of SDC.

John Cockerill (Music Director) is a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and music director. Recent credits include: Bonnie & Clyde (Kokandy Productions). María de Buenos Aires (Des Moines Metro Opera), Xanadu (American Theatre Company), and High Fidelity (Refuge Theatre Project). He was a featured pianist on the premiere recording of Ross Crean’s opera, The Great God Pan (Navona Records, 2017), and he’ll be joining Chicago Fringe Opera for their upcoming season of As One and The Great God Pan. 

The Griffin Theatre Company's 2017/2018 Premiere Season Sponsors are Michael and Mona Heath.

The Griffin Theatre Company is a Blue Star Theater and is proud to support our military enlisted and veterans. 

About Griffin Theatre Company
Established in 1988 and celebrating its 30th season, the mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.

The Griffin Theatre Company is the recipient of 115 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for theater excellence in Chicago. The Griffin was the repeat winner of the 2016 Jeff Award for “Best Production of a Play” for London Wall having won the same award in 2015 for its production of Men Should Weep.

The Griffin Theatre Company is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

For additional information, visit

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