Saturday, August 28, 2021


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: 


Cast, creative team embrace "the perfect show to reopen our doors"



Kinky Boots has been one of my favorite musicals since the Pre-Broadway opening right here in Chicago, that I reviewed for ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows. It was a joy to meet Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein and the original cast and creatives at that first press junket. I also reviewed the show again when the Broadway touring company came back through Chicago again. That time it was my pleasure to bring the whole family along and they loved it just as much as I did. Now that we're in a post quarantine time of social and economic upheaval, where many businesses need to pivot or go under, this show is as timely as ever. This wonderful tale of resilience, acceptance, and change is the perfect piece for a covid weary world. I'm thrilled to hear our regional theatre arts are rebounding and I can't wait to catch live theatre in person again, and check out Paramount Theatre's rendition of Kinky Boots. 

Nearly 16 months after dimming its famous marquee due to COVID-19, Aurora’s Paramount Theatre has started rehearsals for its 10th Anniversary Broadway Series season opener, Kinky Boots, marking a pivotal moment for the second largest subscription house in the nation as it returns to live performances next month. 

“It’s my great pleasure to say: We look forward to being one of the first major theaters in Chicago to welcome audiences back, starting August 18! We appreciate our patrons for staying with us. We couldn’t do any of it without you,” said Tim Rater, President and CEO of Paramount Theatre.

Kinky Boots – the flashy, sassy, sexy story of big heels invading a small town – shook Broadway and was adored by critics and audiences, winning every major Best Musical Award including the Tony, the Grammy and London’s Olivier Award. The now mega-popular musical features high-kicking music and lyrics by Grammy-winner Cyndi Lauper, and a book rooted in fun, love and acceptance by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein.

Paramount Theatre’s Kinky Boots is directed by (from left) Trent Stork. The cast features Devin DeSantis as Charlie, Michael Wordly as Lola, Mark Lancaster as Don, Emilie Lynn as Nicola and Sara Reinecke as Lauren.

Now it’s Paramount’s turn to try Lola’s red, thigh-high stilettos on for size with the first regional production of Kinky Boots, fiercely directed by Paramount’s Associate Artistic Producer and Casting Director Trent Stork.

Meet Charlie, a reluctant shoemaker, and Lola, a fierce drag queen. Charlie and Lola could not be more different. But when they find common ground in shoes, they see a whole new world of possibilities that will turn their small town upside down, and just might save Charlie’s failing shoe factory. Inspired by true events, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of two people with nothing in common – or so they think. From its glorious costumes, to its dizzyingly tall heels and songs that will leave audiences humming for days, no show captures what it means to do what you love and love what you do more than Kinky Boots. 


Michael Wordly plays Lola in Kinky Boots.

“Kinky Boots is the perfect show to reopen our doors,” said Stork. “Kinky Boots has moments that feel like a rock show and tender-hearted moments that make you lean in. It expands from killer dance numbers to a book that is as humorous as it is heartening. It’s a show that makes audiences want to connect with their fellow humans. I think we can all use that right now!”

Kinky Boots runs August 18 to October 17, 2021. Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. Single tickets, $36-$74, are on sale now. For tickets and information, visit, or call the box office, (630) 896-6666, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(Top) Set rendering for Kinky Boots "Land of Lola" scene by Kevin Depinet and Christopher Rhoton. (Bottom) Kinky Boots costume renderings for Lola and Angel by costumer designer Ryan Park

Paramount’s 33-member Kinky Boots cast starts with one of Chicago’s most distinguished leading men, Devin DeSantis, as Charlie the shoemaker. DeSantis’s Paramount credits include Tommy in The Who’s Tommy, Corny Collins in Hairspray and Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Lola will be played by Michael Wordly in his Paramount debut. Wordly is a veteran of Spamilton Off-Broadway, national tours of Miss Saigon, The Color Purple and The Little Mermaid, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Paper Mill Playhouse.

The principal cast also features Mark Lancaster as Don. Lancaster has performed for Goodman Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Oak Park Festival Theatre and Babes With Blades. Emilie Lynn will play Nicola. Lynn recently starred as Mary Poppins at Drury Lane Oakbrook. Her Paramount credits include My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon and Hair. Lauren is played by Sara Reinecke, a stand out performer in many Paramount musicals including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Producers, Legally Blonde and Mamma Mia! Young actor Daniel Font-Wilets plays Young Lola. Patrick Scott McDermott and Nolan Maddox will alternate as Young Charlie.

Completing the cast are ensemble members Terrell Armstrong, Anthony Avino, Brian Bandura, Matthew Bettencourt, Lydia Burke, Jack Cahill-Lemme, Barry DeBois, Vasily Deris, Neil Friedman, Carisa Gonzalez, Christina Hall, Luke Halpern, Immanuel Houston, Dakota Hughes, De’Jah Jervai, Mark David Kaplan, Christopher John Kelley, Bernell Lassai III, Ken Singleton, Anthony Sullivan Jr., Dana Tretta, Shelbi Voss, J Tyler Whitmer and Missy Wise.

The full production team is Trent Stork, director; Michael George and Isaiah Silvia-Chandley, co-choreographers; Kory Danielson, music director, conductor and music supervisor; Kevin Depinet and Christopher Rhoton,

co-scenic designers; Ryan Park, costume designer; Greg Hofmann, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Joe Burke, projection designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Catherine Miller, dramaturg and gender consultant; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; John A. Tovar, fight director; Gaby Labotka, intimacy director; Max J. Cervantes, associate director; Darren Patin, associate director; TJ Tapp, assistant choreographer; Celia Villacres, associate music director/associate conductor; Jinni Pike, stage manager; Luci Kersting, assistant stage manager; Natalie Cohen; production assistant; and Bailey O’Neill, young performer supervisor.

Trent Stork (director), promoted in spring 2021 to Associate Artistic Producer and Casting Director at Paramount, has worked on the directing team for 19 productions at the theater, 13 of those alongside Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti. In 2018, Stork made his Paramount directorial debut at the helm of Legally Blonde ( Award – Best Direction of a Musical.) Outside of Paramount, Stork has worked at the Kaufman Center in New York City, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Angels Theatre Company and The Nebraska Repertory Theatre among others. They also started his own casting company, Trent Stork Casting, and was the Chicago casting director for the new West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg.

The original Broadway production of Kinky Boots, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein, was directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, The musical is based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth.

Kinky Boots performance schedule and ticket information

Kinky Boots runs through October 17. Show times are Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (exception: No 1:30 p.m. matinee on August 18). Tickets are $36 to $74. 

For tickets and information, visit,  call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Covid 19 protocols

Paramount Theatre will be adhering to all COVID-19 safety guidelines as mandated by the state of Illinois. Paramount anticipates updated guidelines by the state for indoor theater gatherings, and will communicate any updates and changes to policies with all ticket buyers. If Phase 5 gatherings require COVID-19 vaccinations for attendees, patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination to attend this performance. By purchasing tickets patrons are agreeing to adhere to the guidelines put in place at the time of their performance.

Access Services

To request wheelchair, special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or in advance

Paramount offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device.

For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, Kinky Boots will be presented on Friday, October 1 at 8 p.m. with two certified sign interpreters translating all dialogue and lyrics into American Sign Language. Patrons can purchase single tickets with special seating for this performance for $30 with the code ASLPARAMOUNT.

Or, ask for a sign-interpreted subscription to enjoy all four 2021-22 Paramount Broadway Series productions with live ASL interpretation for just $22.50 each.

What’s next in Paramount’s 10th Anniversary Broadway Series?

Cinderella, the classic musical from the genius minds of Rodgers and Hammerstein, is an enchanting story that will make entire families wish fairy godmothers and glass slippers weren’t just for fairy tales. Paramount is planning a mesmerizing new production that gives parents and children a familiar yet reimagined take on the story families have returned to over and over across generations. Brenda Didier, a multiple Jeff Award-winning director and choreographer, including a win for her choreography for Paramount’s 2019 staging of The Producers, will direct. Previews start November 10. Opening Night is Friday, November 19, at 8 p.m. Performances run through January 9, 2022.


Groundhog Day, based on the classic Bill Murray film comedy, will be the second Midwest regional premiere produced by Paramount Theatre in the span of one year. Imagine being stuck in a time loop, waking up and realizing you’re living the same day over and over and over and over again. Set your alarm to make sure you see this uproariously funny, surprisingly touching and simply inspirational musical comedy, nominated for seven Tony Awards. Paramount Theatre Artistic Director Jim Corti will direct. Previews start January 26, 2022. Opening Night is Friday, February 4, at 8 p.m. Performances run through March 13.

Are you ready to rock? Rock of Ages will take audiences back into the iconic music era of the ‘80s, where rock ‘n’ roll dreamers turn their fantasies into reality. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Rock of Ages is a Hollywood love story told through the mind-blowing hits of top ‘80s rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Poison and more. Paramount Theatre Artistic Producer and New Works Director Amber Mak will direct. Previews start April 13. Press opening is Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m. Performances run through May 29, 2022.

Join the growing ranks of more than 41,000 Broadway Series subscribers at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. New three--play subscriptions including Cinderella, Groundhog Day and Rock of Ages are on sale now, ranging from $54 to $118.50 (without fees).

To subscribe or purchase single tickets, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

About Paramount Theatre

 Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora, is the center for performing arts and education in the second largest city in Illinois. Designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp,

Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. Today, Paramount remains downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction, a beautiful, 1,843-seat theater graced with a 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur.

Since Paramount Theatre launched its own Broadway Series in 2011, it has grown to be the second largest subscription house in the U.S. More than 41,000 subscribers signed up from all over Chicagoland and the Midwest in 2019-20 to enjoy Paramount’s affordable, critically acclaimed, Broadway-quality productions.

In addition to its Broadway Series, Paramount presents an array of internationally known comedians, music stars, dance events and family shows.

Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals.

Paramount is one of five live venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also oversees the newly-renovated, 165-seat Copley Theatre, right across the street from Paramount; RiverEdge Park, the city’s outdoor concert venue; Stolp Island Theatre, slated to open in summer 2022 as a 99-seat immersive theater space, and the new Paramount School of the Arts.

For the latest updates, visit or follow @ParamountAurora on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

REVIEW: Chicago's Blue Man Group Takes The Stage For Live Shows Again

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Back In Blue: 

Chicago's Favorite Indigo Entertainers 

Return to Open Run at 

Briar Street Theatre

Photo by D. Kenaz-Mara


By Dugan Kenaz-Mara

The Blue Man Group is back and it’s as wonderful as ever! After 15 or so months off from performing, The Blue Man Group has brought all of their loveable antics back to Briar Street Theater and has reignited the joy of seeing live theater. And they do it all safely too! Everyone was required to wear a mask and any audience member drawn onto the stage was given a face shield before interacting with the Blue Men. 

Photo by D. Kenaz-Mara

Before the show even starts you get a fun experience! From the moment you enter the lobby, you might notice classical paintings lining the walls with a little extra blue thrown in. From there you’ll pass a giant blue face perfect for photo ops, before entering the actual theater bathed in blue light. Then the pre-show looping text helps set the chaotic funny mood for the upcoming show. How many twinkies does a Blue Man eat in his life? What bout the amount of toilet paper used in a day in the US? These questions and more are answered (sarcastically) before the show even starts. 

Photo by D. Kenaz-Mara

When the show begins, the audience is bombarded with spectacle after spectacle. From paint drums to musical pipes to Cap'n Crunch, there’s never a dull moment. I especially loved the design elements that went into making the show. The lighting design brought tons of colors to the black stage and out into the audience, the instruments and props were all super creative takes on normal items, and the set was able to change in an instant using their multitude of screens. In addition to that, all of the actors were fabulous too. The Blue Men were able to effortlessly connect to the audience without using words. From subtle gestures to knowingly blank stares, the Blue Men really tapped into human emotion which the viewers were able to recognize easily. They even brought that energy into their props, breathing life into instrumental pipes and controlling people using their signal light wands. 

One of their specialties is keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. When watching the show you never know when you specifically might be singled out. The pre-show announcements called out specific audience members, and the show stopped to call attention to people arriving late. There were also many points in the show where the Blue Men would venture out into the audience (sometimes via the aisles and sometimes climbing right over people’s heads) to pick an audience member to go on stage and help in the performance. But if you don’t get singled out you’ll still have the chance to participate. There are many moments scattered throughout the show where audience members will get to stand up, dance, scream out, and catch things thrown from the stage.

Photo by D. Kenaz-Mara

In the end, watching Blue Man Group was an exhilarating show and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to have fun and wants to have the experience of a lifetime. 

Dugan Kenaz-Mara is an actor, designer, and photographer studying theatre and psychology at Northwestern University. Contrary to popular belief, he is not a time traveler.

Blue Man Group Chicago. Photo credit Caroline Talbot Photography

Theatrical phenomenon Blue Man Group has made its long-awaited return to Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre! A dynamic combination of art, music, comedy and technology, Blue Man Group encourages audiences to reconnect with their inner (and outer) child in order to see the world through a new perspective.  

“For more than 20 years, Blue Man Group has established itself as one of the top entertainment destinations in Chicago,” said Mary Grisolano, Managing Director of Blue Man Group. “We are absolutely thrilled to return to the stage and welcome new and returning audiences to the Briar Street Theatre.”  

Blue Man Group originally debuted at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood in 1997. Three bald and blue men explore today’s cultural norms with wonder, poking fun at the audience’s collective quirks and reminding them how much they all have in common. The show is continually refreshed with new music, stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology.   

Blue Man Group Ticket Information

Blue Man Group Chicago ticket prices range from $49 – $89. Tickets can be purchased by visiting A full show schedule and pricing can also be found at  

Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more, varying from $57 – $70 per person. For groups of 10 or more, email to request information.  

2021 Performance Schedule: 


Thursday, August 26 at 8 p.m. 

Friday, August 27 at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, August 28 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Sunday, August 29 at 2 and 5 p.m.  


Wednesday, September 1 at 8 p.m. 

Thursday, September 2 at 8 p.m. 

Friday, September 3 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Saturday, September 4 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Sunday, September 5 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Wednesday, September 8 at 8 p.m. 

Thursday, September 9 at 8 p.m. 

Friday, September 10 at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, September 11 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Sunday, September 12 at 2 p.m. 

Wednesday, September 15 at 8 p.m. 

Thursday, September 16 at 8 p.m. 

Friday, September 17 at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, September 18 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Sunday, September 19 at 2 p.m. 

Wednesday, September 22 at 8 p.m. 

Thursday, September 23 at 8 p.m. 

Friday, September 24 at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, September 25 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Sunday, September 26 at 2 p.m. 

Wednesday, September 29 at 8 p.m. 

Thursday, September 30 at 8 p.m. 



Friday, October 1 at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, October 2 at 5 and 8 p.m. 

Sunday, October 3 at 2 p.m. 

Additional fall and holiday performances will be announced at a later date. 


About Blue Man Group 

Blue Man Group is a global entertainment phenomenon, known for its award-winning theatrical productions, iconic characters and multiple creative explorations. Blue Man Group performances are euphoric celebrations of human connection through art, music, comedy and non-verbal communication. Since debuting at New York’s Astor Place Theatre in 1991, the live show has expanded to additional domestic residencies in Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas, an international residency in Berlin, and multiple North American and World tours, reaching more than 35 million people worldwide. Blue Man Group is universally appealing to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds, and continually injected with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and sensory stimulating graphics. Blue Man Group is owned and operated by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. For more information, please visit  

Saturday, August 14, 2021

OPENING: Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse Team Up On "A Recipe for Disaster" Beginning October 6th at Petterino’s

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Of all the live shows slated to return to Chicago this fall, “A Recipe for Disaster” tops our short list. We've loved Windy City Playhouse since their inception and can't wait to get a taste of their collaboration with James Beard Award-winning Chef Rick Bayless! In 2012 I met Rick Bayless at the first press conference when he announced that he was joining forces with Lookingglass Theatre Company to create “Cascabel,” the story of food’s capacity to change lives. We were in the audience for opening night of “Cascabel” for a memorable meal with circus performers precariously balanced on a tightrope above the diners, and a gloriously fun, funny, crazy talented cast of actors, musicians, singers. We're beyond jazzed to catch this new pairing. This is not your parents' dinner theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein have announced that “A Recipe for Disaster,” their outrageous, immersive farcical experience, will take place on the Club Level at Petterino’s, located at 150 N. Dearborn in Chicago’s historic Theatre District. Tickets for the production, which begins October 6, are on sale now.  

Bayless, Rubenstein and Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger are teaming up to create a fully scripted immersive event, with audiences enjoying tastes of cocktails, wine and food created by Bayless as the hilarity unfolds. Based on Bayless’s real-life experiences, the story revolves around a special event at a well-known restaurant where everything that could possibly go wrong occurs, sending the restaurant staff into a tailspin. A drunk chef, a couple in crisis, a dishonest health inspector and a spy from a competing restaurant all contribute to the chaos with side-splitting results. 

“A Recipe for Disaster” will be directed by David H. Bell, who won a Jeff Award for his direction of Windy City Playhouse’s smash hit “Southern Gothic,” which ran for more than a year. The design team includes set designer William Boles, who won a Jeff Award for his design of Windy City Playhouse’s “The Boys in the Band,” and costume designer Uriel Gomez, who was nominated for a Jeff Award for his work on the same production and sound designer Willow James. Additional designers and casting will be announced at a future date.  

Petterino’s main dining floor, which has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is slated to reopen in mid-August. While the cocktails, wine and food served to “A Recipe for Disaster” guests are created by Bayless for the production, the chef will not be affiliated with the reopening of the main restaurant. “A Recipe for Disaster” attendees may enter Petterino’s Club Level from the Randolph Street entrance. 

Tickets to “A Recipe for Disaster,” which include six bite-size tastings and three cocktail and wine samplings are on sale now, with regular and VIP options (including an expanded food and beverage menu) available. For ticket availability and more information, please visit

About Rick Bayless  

Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” His highly rated public television series, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” is broadcast coast to coast and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades.  

Located in Chicago, Rick's Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” designation from the James Beard Foundation — an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants. His wildly popular fast-casual Xoco debuted in 2009 and Tortas Frontera at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has changed the face of airport dining. In 2016, he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. In 2018, Rick expanded his Clark Street restaurants by opening Bar Sótano, a Oaxacan-inspired mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food. Tortazo, Rick's new fast-casual concept, debuted in 2020 in Chicago's iconic Willis Tower, with plans to open an outpost in New York City in fall 2021.  

In 2012 and again in 2014, Rick joined forces with Lookingglass Theatre Company to create “Cascabel,” the story of food’s capacity to change lives. The audience for “Cascabel” shared a meal with the cast of actors, musicians, singers and circus performers as the tale of unrequited love resolved into magical beauty.  

Always a philanthropist, Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling nearly $3 million. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship, a culinary school scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago. 

In 2019, Rick founded Impact Culinary Training, a restaurant job readiness program on the city’s west side. And in 2017 he established the Bayless Family Foundation to support the city’s vibrant theater scene with grants to Chicago theater companies totaling $1.5 million to date. 

The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people. 

About Windy City Playhouse 

Windy City Playhouse is a professional theater and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located on Chicago's northwest side. Premiering in March of 2015 with a mission to present contemporary, relevant, and approach art, the Playhouse has quickly become a mainstay of the Chicago theater scene. In 2018, its runaway hit, the immersive “Southern Gothic” solidified the Playhouse as the first choice in Chicago theater for one-of-a-kind audience experience. "Experience driven. Audience first." 

For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.    

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Mercury Theater Chicago Grand Re-Opening Season to Include Diversity and Feel Good Fun

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:



Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've been reviewing at Mercury Theater for years, and we were devastated during the pandemic when it looked like they were going dark for good. Happily that's not the case and their upcoming season looks like a fun one. Check back with us early and often for updates. Tickets are on sale now for their first show opening November 5th through January 9th. We're crossing our fingers that Delta will be done with us by then and we can get back to in person theatre, with all the joy and energy of live performances. 

Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter and Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran announced the 2021-2022 Mercury Theater Chicago season. Mercury Theater Chicago welcomes audiences back in November to its beautiful home in the Southport Corridor with the feel-good blockbuster hit SISTER ACT directed by Reneisha Jenkins, featuring Chicago favorites Alexis J. Roston and Hollis Resnik.  The season continues with a tribute to WOMEN OF SOUL, written and directed by Daryl D. Brooks.  A spectacular musical based on the movie PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, will celebrate PRIDE Month directed by Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter and features Honey West; and the Chicago Premiere of the hilarious murder mystery CLUE, directed by Executive Producer Walter Stearns. 

“As Mercury Theater Chicago prepares for its joyous reopening, I am ecstatic and energized by the season we have assembled. Our goal was to program diverse productions that provide an entertaining experience for all as we gather together again,” comments Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter.

Memberships and tickets for Sister Act are on sale now at

The Mercury Theater Chicago 2021/22 Season:

SISTER ACT November 5, 2021 to January 9, 2022
Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellne, and Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Reneisha Jenkins
Music Direction by Diana Lawrence
Choreography by Christopher Chase Carter
Featuring Chicago Legends Alexis J. Roston (Deloris) and Hollis Resnik (Mother Superior)

This feel-good musical comedy is based on the hit 1992 film that has audiences jumping to their feet!  Featuring original music by Tony and Oscar winner, Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), this uplifting musical was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  When disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be a found: a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior. Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but, in doing so, blows her cover.  Sister Act is reason to rejoice!

About Mercury Theater Chicago
The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is in the heart of the Southport Corridor at 3745 North Southport Avenue, within a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful destination, Mercury Theater Chicago is a live-theater seating 280 people, adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (seating 80). 

The building that houses the Mercury opened in 1912 as a silent film nickelodeon, named The Blaine Theatre after actor and former Senator and Secretary of State James G. Blaine. The Blaine became obsolete when talking pictures became popular nationwide in 1928. The building served a variety of uses until 1994, when it was purchased by theater producer Michael Cullen and transformed into a live theatre, named the Mercury Theatre.

In 2010 the building was sold again and reopened as Mercury Theater Chicago under the direction of Walter Stearns, a veteran theater director and producer. Mercury Theater Chicago is thrilled to be part of the city's vibrant theatre community, boasting record-setting long runs, employing hundreds of artists and recognized with dozens of award nominations. Mercury Theater Chicago's team includes Christopher Chase Carter (Artistic Director), Shane Murray-Corcoran (Managing Director), Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon (Executive Producers) and Honey West (Cabaret Director). Visit

Sunday, August 8, 2021


After More Than a Year of Virtual Performances, 

Davenport’s Returns with LIVE Performers 

in The Cabaret and Piano Bar

Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret has long been a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows. We're thrilled they weathered the crazy past year of streaming shows and shuttered venues. We can't wait to catch their eclectic talent lineup in person! 

Chicago’s premier location for enjoying music in an intimate setting, announces its roster of August performances in its Cabaret and Piano Bar. Davenport’s, 1383 North Milwaukee Avenue, is open Thursdays from 7 - 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. - 12 a.m. and Sundays from 6 - 11 p.m.  Performers, tickets and more are available at

“We are so grateful for all the support during this past year our followers have shown for our virtual offerings,” said co-owner Donna Kirchman. “However, nothing can beat the sound of live music and seeing the audience’s response to the cabaret performers and our talented performing staff.”

General Manager Debra Steward added, “Our August kicks off our reopening to live shows with some of our most popular performers and we look forward to welcoming the audiences back to their favorite cabaret spot.”

All performances In the Cabaret are ticketed events with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance.

In The Cabaret this August are:

Joan Curto in Back in Business at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret

Thursday, Aug. 5 - Sunday, Aug. 8 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance.A joyful celebration of the re-opening of Davenport’s featuring Beckie Menzie on piano, Jim Cox on bass and Tim Davis on percussion and special guests each night.

Cathy Glickman and Anna Palermo in Judy and Liza, Don’t Tell Mama at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret

Saturday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m and Sunday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.

 Tickets are $25 with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance.

Cathy Glickman and Anna Palermo join forces with music director Beckie Menzie on piano as they pay tribute to Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and their similarities with men, addiction, money and their audience.

Kelly Tansor

Thursday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.

$10 cover with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance.

Kelly Tansor is a singer-songwriter and pianist from Chicago. She will be performing covers from artists such as Billy Joel, Regina Spektor, Olivia Rodrigo and more.

David Edelfelt in Broadway Baritones: The Men, The Music, The Magic at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret

Friday, Aug. 20 and Saturday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance.

The best of 100 years of songs from leading men of the Great White Way by an artist the Chicago Tribune calls “A consummate song interpreter [who] probably sounds great singing the weather forecast… one of Chicago's best." 

The Piano Bar has a variety of performances and performers each week. The Piano Bar is open to the public and does not require advanced ticket purchase.

August performances in the Piano Bar include: 

Thursdays 8 - 11 p.m.

Kieran McCabe & Friends

August 5, 12 and 26

Mark & Anne Burnell

August 19

Fridays 8:30 - 11:30 p.m.

Dan Stetzel & Guest 

August 6 

Jenny Farney & Dave Bugher

August 13 and 20

Julia Merchant 

August 27

Saturdays 9 p.m. - 12 a.m. with a $5 cover

Dan Stetzel & Guest 

August 7

Blendernitz  Experience

Andrew Blenderman & Daryl Nitz 

August 14

Daryl Nitz & Ester Hana

August 21 and 28


Sundays 8 - 11 p.m.

Sunday Night Social Lounge

Hosted by Micky York 

Every Sunday


Davenport’s prioritizes the health and safety of its patrons, staff and performers. Following current local, state and government protocols, Davenport’s asks that non-vaccinated persons wear a mask when attending performances and vaccinated individuals may choose to not wear masks.



Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret is Chicago's premier location for enjoying music in an intimate setting. With two performance spaces, visitors may enjoy performances by national and local talent. The cabaret room has performances most nights showcasing a variety of types of music. The piano bar provides music from an accomplished roster of musicians and a talented serving staff that can both make a drink and sing you a Broadway-caliber song.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

ART BEAT: The Art of BANKSY Opening in Chicago's River North August 14, 2021


The Art of Banksy will feature more than 80 works by the elusive street artist including many of his most recognizable images such as “Flower Thrower,” “Rude Copper” and “Girl with Balloon.” 

Here at ChiIL Mama we dig Banksy's stealth street art. Although it's an unauthorized exhibition, in true BANKSY fashion, this exhibit has gone through date and location changes, but we're excited to say, this illusive art opening is now slated for the second week of August. I'll be out for the press opening August 13th so check back soon for my full review.

The Art of Banksy, the largest touring exhibition of authentic Banksy artworks in the world, has announced the Chicago exhibition will be held on the 4th floor of 360 N. State St: a 45,000-square-foot space that was the home of other public exhibits. The public opening will be Saturday, Aug. 14.

Situated in the heart of River North adjacent to the Marina Towers, 360 N. State St. is quickly developing a reputation as an exhibition space. The modern venue’s tall, overarching ceilings provide ample room to showcase Banksy’s work in all its glory. Guests also have the opportunity to enjoy the space’s outdoor balcony and a VIP/Private reception room on the 3rd floor. The venue stands in a bustling, energetic region of River North, amongst esteemed restaurants, hotels, music venues and more, just steps away from the Chicago Riverwalk. With on-site parking available, 360 N. State St. is easily accessible via numerous L and bus lines, including the nearby Grand Avenue CTA Red Line stop. 

Banksy’s works are seen on city walls, bridges and streets throughout the world, but The Art of Banksy offers a rare chance to see a multitude of works in one location.

In true Banksy style, The Art of Banksy is not authorized or curated in collaboration with the artist, but rather sourced from private collections allowing the public to see works that would otherwise stay hidden in private homes or warehouses. Banksy, whose identity is the art world’s biggest secret, is an enigmatic artist and world-recognized activist. His graffiti-influenced stencil technique, often combined with anti-establishment slogans, is immediately recognizable and never fails to generate immediate attention.

Seen by 750,000 people worldwide, The Art of Banksy has already generated excitement in Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Auckland and Toronto with rave reviews from critics all around the world. Harper’s Bazaar advised “This isn’t one to miss,” Marie Claire proclaimed it “A must see!” while TimeOut Toronto described The Art of Banksy as “a welcome reminder of the explosive impact of the artist’s works, and of the powerful potential of street art.” 

Ticket prices start at $39.99 ($29.99 for children 16 or younger), with timed, flexible and VIP ticket options available. Tickets are on sale for viewings from Aug. 14 through Oct. 31, 2021. Ticket buyers will be contacted to be notified of the venue change. Individuals who have purchased tickets for a date before Aug. 14, will also be contacted to reschedule their tickets.  For more information about The Art of Banksy, visit Follow the exhibition on social media at @BanksyExhibit on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Please consult the website for updated information on COVID- 19 protocols.

 About Starvox Exhibits

 Starvox Exhibits is a new division of Starvox Entertainment. Starvox Entertainment, founded in 2005 by Corey Ross, has ranked on Profit Magazine’s list of Canada’s top growth companies for four years running - the only live Entertainment Company ever to be on the list. Starvox produces unique live theatre properties, including: the hugely successful “Wow Variety Spectacular,” currently in residence at Caesars Entertainment’s Rio Casino, the record-breaking “Evil Dead: The Musical,” successful touring West-End hit Harry Potter parody “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience,” “Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical” and  many others. Starvox Exhibits is also one of the founding producers of Immersive Van Gogh, the original immersive experience now on view in cities across North America. 

About [ collectiv presents ] 

[ collectiv presents ] is a full-service event promotion and production company focused on bringing unique and memorable concert experiences to fans and artist camps alike.

Founded by Chris Den Uijl, Lucas King, and Michael Berg, [ collectiv presents ] has decades of experience in talent buying and event promotion and production across multiple genres, and in multiple cities and states throughout North America.

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