Wednesday, September 29, 2021


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Venus Cabaret Theater, the intimate performance space at Mercury Theater Chicago, under the director of Cabaret Director Honey West, Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter and Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran, announces its reopening celebration this fall with The Dark Night Series.

In theater, the night off is known as a ‘dark night’ since the lights are off.  At Mercury Theater Chicago, the ‘ghost light’ burns so brightly that even when we are taking a break, the doors to the Venus Cabaret Theater are open for The Dark Night Series. The schedule will include open mic nights, karaoke, comedy, bands, variety, celebrity guests, and cabaret, and so much more. 

The Venus Cabaret Theater will open with The Dark Night Series on October 2.  The signature programming from Sundays through Tuesdays includes cabaret performances by Luminaries on Sundays, Comedy hosted by actor, comedian and OUT Chicago Radio’s Scott Duff, and Open Mic Nights with Chuck Larkin plus artists produced Cabaret. The month concludes on Halloween with a special Murder Mystery event.  The intimate venue features specialty cocktails by Beverage Director Sarah Wurz.

Cabaret Director Honey West comments, “We are thrilled to celebrate the Grand Reopening of Venus Cabaret Theater. The Venus Cabaret Theater is a gorgeous, versatile space that gives a home to musicians, actors, variety artists and comedians.” 

Christopher Chase Carter adds, “There is no other cabaret venue in Chicago as special as our gorgeous gem on Southport Avenue. Honey and I are assembling a lineup of shows by Chicago’s favorite artists, along with nationally recognized visiting artists, for not-to-be-missed evenings. We look forward to welcoming audiences back to experience the music, joy, comedy and variety with us and our family of artists.”

The calendar of events for The Dark Night Series and other events is available at Programing includes:

Cabaret performances special guest Luminaries as well as local talented favorites

Comedy Night, hosted by Scott Duff

Open Mic featuring Chuck Larkin on piano

Karaoke with Cray from Craoke in Chicago

Variety Nights and Jam Nights


Tickets to Venus Cabaret Theater produced shows are $15 with a two-drink minimum.  Tickets for all Venus Cabaret Theater and Mercury Theater Chicago performances are available at

The previously announced Mercury Theater Chicago season follows. Season memberships and tickets to Sister Act and Women of Soul are currently available at


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!

WOMEN OF SOUL                               January 27, 2022 to March 13, 2022

Written and Directed by Daryl D. Brooks


A celebration of the most powerful women of soul to ever grace the stage. You’ll jump to your feet as we honor incredible women including Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Janis Joplin, and of course, you’ll get a little of Gladys, Dionne and Patti. Featuring powerhouse voices singing memorable music including “I Say a Little Prayer” “I Will Survive” and “Respect.”  This concert recognizes the struggles and triumphs these women went through to reach the pinnacle of their success. This is a once in a lifetime musical masterpiece that you will want to experience over and over again! 


PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT      June 10, 2022 to August 7, 2022

Book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott

Based on the MGM Film

Directed and Choreographed by Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter

Music Direction by Executive Producer Eugene Dizon

Featuring legendary cabaret chanteuse Honey West as Bernadette


Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla is the heartwarming, uplifting adventure of a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio who take their show to the middle of the Australian outback. They hop aboard a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla) searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they ever imagined. With a hit parade of dance floor favorites including “It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," "Hot Stuff," "Boogie Wonderland," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and "I Love The Nightlife" this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of fabulous!


CLUE on stage                                   August 26, 2022 to October 30, 2022

Adapted from the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn and Sandy Rustin

Additional Materials by Hunter Foster and Eric Price

Directed by Executive Producer Walter Stearns


Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery. The tale begins at a remote mansion, where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Led by Wadsworth – the butler, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up. Clue is the comedy whodunit that will leave both cult-fans and newcomers in stitches as they try to figure out…WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT!


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's second performance space, Venus Cabaret Theater, offers a unique intimate theatrical experience complemented by specialty cocktails. 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

Carter, Murray-Corcoran, Dizon, Stears

BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATER Is Back With Their BE GALA October 15 And CONCERT CABARET SERIES Through December 19, 2021

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar

Black Ensemble Theater will cautiously open its doors again this fall for live performances starting October 1, 2021. Black Ensemble Theater will launch its pre-opening with an exciting different kind of entertainment titled Concert Cabaret. This fun, uplifting, inspiring and soothing Concert Cabaret Series will feature inspirational spoken word, comedic vignettes, and great music. The Series is designed to move audiences through the challenges and uncertainties of the time with a strong message of faith and hope.

The pre-opening is not be the beginning of the regular season. The Four Play Season of Excellence will be announced at a later time. 

Black Ensemble Theater Founder, Executive Director Jackie Taylor states “Due to the challenges and uncertainties that have been brought about by the pandemic, Black Ensemble Theater is proceeding slowly, cautiously, and carefully. In an effort to keep our audiences as safe as possible, the Concert Cabarets will be 80 minutes with no intermission. Concessions will not be sold. Everyone entering the building must wear a mask and we are asking that masks remain in place the entire time until folks are outside of the building. There will also be hand sanitizers throughout the building. For social distancing purposes the audiences will be limited to 80 people. And of course, thorough cleaning will take place after every performance. We know our audiences are accustomed to large casts but, along with the safety measures that we have taken for our artists, technicians and volunteers, the Concert Cabaret cast will be small but mighty! We have the best audiences in the world – so I’m expecting that they will be amenable and adjust to the changes.”  

The Concert Cabaret Series will feature a potpourri of musical styles including jazz, gospel, pop, rock, soul, and blues. Each concert will feature a variety of music, including old school, new school and in-between. 

Black Ensemble Theater’s Concert Cabaret Series guarantees to lift your spirits and soothe your soul. Come join us for all three concerts and make a joyful noise – let the music move you. 

Tickets are $45 and are available at or by calling the box office at 773-769-4451. No contact ticketing is available. 

Cynthia Carter. Jessica Seals. Ariel Williams. Jayla Williams Clark. 
Photo Credit Alan Davis

The schedule of events includes:

The Feel Good Musical Revue

directed by Producing Managing Director Daryl D. Brooks

starring Dwight Neal, Robin DeSilva and Cynthia Carter

Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 3 at 3:00 p.m.

The Joy of Life

directed by Black Ensemble Theater Founder, Executive Director and CEO Jackie Taylor

starring Rhonda Preston and Cynthia Carter

Friday, November 19 and Saturday, November 29 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 21 at 3:00 p.m.

A Black Ensemble Holiday Spectacular

directed by Producing Managing Director Daryl D. Brooks

featuring favorite Black Ensemble performers

Saturday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec 12 at 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 18 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 19 at 3:00 p.m.

Black Ensemble Theater  

Founded in 1976, by the phenomenal producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. Through its Four Play Season of Excellence, The Black Ensemble Theater dazzles audiences locally, nationally and internationally with outstanding original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists. 

The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts. For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, visit or call 773-769-4451. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

OPENING: Lyric Opera of Chicago Presents Donizetti’s THE ELIXIR OF LOVE September 26 - October 8, 2021

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 
What You Need to Know About Donizetti’s


September 26 - October 8 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

The Elixir of Love is a co-production of Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera, originally created by Opera North, UK.

Opera’s most heartwarming comedy, filled with Donizetti’s delectable music, is sure to bring nonstop smiles. Nemorino, the naive waiter, pines for the flirtatious Adina, the owner of the town’s hotel and Nemorino’s boss. His only hope to win her love is Dr. Dulcamara’s “elixir” — little does he know that it’s just Bordeaux wine! As we root for Nemorino, audiences are sure to laugh, gasp, “ooo” and “ahh”.


·       Classic Italian repertoire: While Donizetti and librettist Felice Romani may have hastily adapted a French comic opera to Italian in six weeks, The Elixir of Love has become one of most frequently performed Donizetti operas in the world and a classic of the bel canto repertoire.


·       After launching his career as Lyric’s Music Director with Verdi’s Macbeth, Maestro Enrique Mazzola, a true master of the bel canto repertoire, returns to the podium to lead the Lyric Opera Orchestra. The Maestro will have the difficult yet impressive task of performing back-to-back Verdi and Donizetti during these runs, demonstrating his versatility and expertise in the craft.


·       Exciting Lyric directorial debut: British director Daniel Slater comes to Lyric with over sixty productions in seventeen countries under his belt, including operas at Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, Santa Fe, Houston Grand Opera, and San Francisco. Slater started his career as acting Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre and Associate Director of the Nottingham Playhouse.


·       Ailyn Pérez in her element: The Chicago soprano steps into the role of Adina, which she has performed to great acclaim at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper and Washington National Opera. You can also see Pérez in Lyric’s upcoming Pagliacci film.


·       Charles Castronovo’s long-awaited Lyric return: After triumphant performances in Lyric’s The Magic Flute(2011/12) and Eugene Onegin (2016/17), the American tenor returns to Lyric as Nemorino — a role he’s known for internationally. Castronovo and Pérez are sure to bring one of the best Elixir love duos to Lyric’s stage.


·       Also featuring fellow Lyric favorites: Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins, most recently seen as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte (2017/18), and American bass-baritone Kyle Ketlesen, who can be seen in Lyric’s Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis production, round out the Elixir cast as Belcore and Dulcamara respectively. 


·       Only five chances to experience the magic : September 26 (matinee), 29 (matinee) and October 2, 5, 8


·       2 hours and 30 minutes, including 1 intermission.


·       Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.


·       For more information and to order tickets, visit or call 312-827-5600.

For updated information about Lyric’s ongoing initiatives regarding health and safety protocols, visit

Maestro Enrique Mazzola is generously sponsored by Alice & John Butler, Sylvia Neil & Daniel Fischel, and the Robert & Penelope Steiner Family Foundation

Lyric’s presentation of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love is generously made possible by Sonia Florian.

Lyric Opera of Chicago thanks its Official Airline, American Airlines. 

Lyric Opera of Chicago is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Enrique Mazzola, and Special Projects Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

Join us @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric2122 #LongLivePassion

For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar


**COVID POLICY: Vaccine Proof (card or phone photo of vax card and photo ID) and masking for the duration of all shows required.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama, we've caught Destinos festival productions every year since its inception. Whether you're of Latinx descent or want to expand your multicultural horizons and catch world class productions, we highly recommend making time for some excellent theatre this month and next. Runs are short so book your tickets as soon as possible. Don't miss this!

I'll be out to review American Mariachi on September 27th, AMAL on September 30th, Mal de Amores on October 8th, Y tu abuela on October 11th and Brujaja October 24th. Check back early and often for our original reviews, interviews, giveaways, entertainment news and more. 
Written by Combat Hippies and Teo Castellanos
Directed by Teo Castellanos
Chopin Theatre
1543 W. Division St., Chicago
AMAL examines the impact of war with equal parts humor and urgency. It explores the quest for meaning, purpose and identity sought through enlisting in the military and shares the unifying experiences of combatants and noncombatants as people of color.

Tough and tender, AMAL relays stories of veterans', refugees' and civilians' adjustment to life after war, placing Puerto Rico’s colonial status, cultural and military heritage center stage. 

AMAL aborda el impacto de la guerra con humor y urgencia en partes iguales. Explora la búsqueda de significado, propósito y identidad a través del alistamiento en el ejército, y comparte las experiencias unifcadoras de combatientes y no combatientes que se identifican como personas de color. Doloroso y conmovedor, AMAL transmite historias de cómo los vetarnos, refugiados y civiles se adaptaron a la vida después de la guerra. 

Esta compañia de teatro totalmente puertorriqueña coloca en el centro del escenario el status colonial, la herencia cultural y militar de Puerto Rico.

Watch the trailer for AMAL

Led by renowned theater artist and director Teo Castellanos, Combat Hippies is an ensemble of Puerto Rican military veteran performing artists based in Miami, Florida. The company focuses on works about combatants as people of color, and shares experiences of veterans' adjustments to live after war as well as that of civilians from war-torn countries.

AMAL is one of ten productions that are part of Destinos, 4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, September 23-October 17, at theaters and cultural destinations large and small throughout the city.
Performer and director Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, Mexico Cityblurs the line between fiction and reality in Tijuana, about a man from the city who takes a job at a sweatshop near the U.S. border. Tijuana makes it Chicago premiere September 23-26 at the National Museum of Mexican Art as part of Destinos-4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival
Photo credit: Manuel G. Vicente courtesy Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol.

CHICAGO, August 30, 2021 - Tickets are now on sale for select performances during Destinos – 4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival,returning with live and hybrid performances, September 23-October 17, 2021.

Visit for tickets, show dates, times, locations and information about the artists. To receive first notice of all festival news, sign up for the Destinosweekly e-update, and follow the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), producer of the annual festival, at @latinotheater on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

A late addition to the Destinos line-up is Chicago’s own Teatro Vista with Futurology presents: The Fifth World. This world premiere live listening party experience will offer Destinos audiences to be the first to hear the first two episodes of Teatro Vista’s new true crime, audio serial play, and what the company’s new co-artistic directors Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo are planning for the company’s 2021-22 season and beyond.

That brings the total number of Chicago productions in this year’s Destinosfestival to six, with American Mariachi, a Midwest Premiere about an all-women Mariachi band presented by Goodman TheatreBrujaja, a World Premiere live/virtual production about an “accidental witch” by UrbanTheater Company; and, La Gran Tirana: Descarga dramáticaa World Premiere play with music inspired by La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul, at Aguijón Theater.

Two local companies making their Destinos debut: Visión Latino Theatre Company with the World Premiere Y tú abuela, where is she?, about an interracial couple given the chance to choose the color of their unborn child, and Teatro Tariakuri with La manera como luces esta noche, an adults-only, Latino fairy tale. 

Four out-of-town productions round out the festival, including Amal, in which Miami’s Combat Hippies fuse spoken word with music to examine the impact of warTijuana via México City’s Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, in a co-production with the National Museum of Mexican Art, about the true story of a man who abandoned his life in the city to work for minimum wage at the U.S. border; Santurce, Puerto Rico-based Agua, Sol y Sereno withCorazón de Papel, a powerful depiction of post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico told through contemporary puppetry, co-presented with the Segundo Ruis Bevis Cultural Center; and, Mal de Amores, about an old man who tells his love stories as a woman with a wonderful, powerful voice sings boleros, baladas and rancheras, from Casa de Teatro in the Dominican Republic

The Chicago premiere of Corazón de Papel, a powerful depiction of post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico told through contemporary puppetry, by Agua, Sol y Sereno from Santurce, Puerto Rico, is one of the international productions that is part of Destinos-4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival Performances are October 14-17 at Chopin Theatre. Photo credit: George Riveron.

Destinos is the signature program of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), a transformative cultural engine helping drive Chicago’s local Latino theater community to newfound prominence. 

“After 18 months during which our stages went dark, Destinos, Chicago’s annual citywide international Latino theater festival, is back!” said Myrna Salazar, Executive Director, CLATA. “Please be sure to join us this fall. It’s been too long, and now more than ever, it’s time to come together to share the Latino experience as told by Latino artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S. and Latin America.”

Mal de Amoresabout an old man who tells love stories as a woman sings boleros, baladas and rancheras, comes to Destinos-4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival via Casa de Teatro in the Dominican Republic. Photo credit: Pedro Bonilla.

To get things started, CLATA will host a Destinos 2021 Kick-Off Party at the National Museum of Mexican Art’s new Ray Castro Plaza on Monday, September 20, starting at 5:30 p.m. A live performance stage, VIP tents with complimentary food and drinks, live music by Mariachi Perla de México, and more will toast the launch of this year’s fourth Destinos fest, while celebrating Chicago’s Latino theater community’s contributions to the city’s cultural and economic landscapes. The National Museum of Mexican Art is located at 1852 W. 19th St. in Pilsen. The event will move indoors in the event of rain. Proof of vaccination and masks are required to attend. 

Note: CLATA and its partner venues will adhere to all COVID-19 safety precaution protocols as mandated by the state of Illinois throughout the festival. Specific Covid policies for each venue will be shared with ticket buyers prior to their performances.

AMAL by Miami’s Combat Hippies examines the impact of war with equal parts humor and urgency. AMAL makes it Chicago premiere September 30-October 3 at Chopin Theatre as part of Destinos-4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. Photo credit Romaine Maurice.

More about the shows

Visit to purchase tickets and learn more about the rich, diverse array of Latino-themed shows, panels and student performances on tap at marquee venues downtown, neighborhood theaters and cultural institutions throughout the city for four consecutive weeks this fall. 

Chicago productions:

American Mariachi
Midwest Premiere 
A co-presentation with Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Ave. in downtown Chicago
September 18-October 24
Use promo code CLATA25 to unlock this exclusive Destinos discount

Meet Lucha, who spends her days caring for her ailing mother, but longs to shake up her 1970s home life. When a forgotten record album sparks her mother’s memory, Lucha and her cousin strike upon a radical idea: to create an all-female mariachi band. Infused with live mariachi music, this “big-hearted, musical tug at the heartstrings” reveals how music and love can make just about anything possible (Denver Post). American Mariachi is written by José Cruz González, directed by Henry Godinez and features Chicago's Sones de México Ensemble. Presented in English with sprinkles of Spanish.

American Mariachi, courtesy Goodman Theatre

La manera como luces esta noche
World Premiere
Teatro Tariakuri
3117 W. 63rd St. in Marquette Park
Opens Saturday, September 25 at 8 p.m.
Runs through October 17
Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 8 p.m., except Sunday, October 17 - 3 p.m. matinee
Tickets: $30

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a King whose precious daughter Beatriz needed to be betrothed. But the king’s wish is suddenly shattered by an invasion of a peculiar handmaiden/soldier. Ubaldo the welder falls in love with the princess, but being not of noble blood, seeks the help of a wizard to meet the princess. Hilarious entanglements ensue as Ubaldo discovers how to win the princess and not to be hanged in the process. This comedic fairy tale, for adults only, is written by Alejandro Licona and directed by Karla Galván. Presented in Spanish.

World Premiere
UrbanTheater Company 
at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture
3015 W. Division St. in Humboldt Park
Opens Saturday, October 9 at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Also Sunday, October 10 at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Tickets: $30

After living above her mother's botánica her whole life, Ifé, an accidental witch, finally finds her purpose by tapping into her ancestral power to fight the larger fight against oppression and wellness. Written by Melissa DuPrey and directed by Miranda GonzálezBrujaja will be a hybrid experience pairing live theater, dance and drumming for in-person audiences with a theatrically filmed virtual stream for viewing at home. Presented in English with sprinkles of Spanish.

Futurology presents: The Fifth World
a World Premiere live listening party experience from Teatro Vista
at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Wicker Park
Opens Saturday, October 10 at 7 p.m.
Second show: Sunday, October 11 at 4 p.m.
Tickets: $10
At the beginning of the pandemic, Sebastian Reyes arrives in the small desert town of Palomas, Arizona to make his name producing a true crime story about a missing child in the desert. His search fatefully entangles him in a horrifying myth as old as the world. The Fifth World chronicles a desperate need to find and connect with another human being when the future of the world depends on it. Destinos audiences will be the first to hear the first two episodes of this new serial audio play before its official premiere on October 28. In addition to the listening party, the new co-artistic directors of the company, Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo, will be announcing the new season of work for Teatro Vista along with the exciting future on the horizon for this 30-year company.

Y tú abuela, where is she?
World Premiere
Vision Latino Theatre Company
at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Opening: Monday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Runs through October 24: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $60 VIP Experience; $60 VIP Experience II; $35 Door; $30 Regular (online); $25 Group Tickets (5 or more); $10 Students

An interracial couple, Xavier and Adalina, are accepted into a program that allows them to modify the genes of their children before they are born. Excitement over the prospect of altering their offspring helps them forget the issues that plague their relationship, until they get stuck on one question: what color skin should the child have? As they navigate the answers, bigger problems are exposed and divine intervention may be needed for the entire family to survive. Y tú abuela, where is she? is written by Nelson Diaz-Marcano and directed by Xavier M. Custodio. Presented in English and Spanish.

La Gran Tirana: Descarga dramática
World Premiere
Aguijón Theater
2707 N. Laramie in Belmont-Cragin
Opens Friday, October 15 at 8 p.m.
Runs through November 21
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $30 Regular; $15 students, teachers and seniors; 
$10 for 60639 residents; Free on Sundays

This exciting new work is inspired by the incomparable Afro-Cuban legend Lupe Victoria Yolí Raymond, better known as La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul. This love letter to Caribbean rhythms and sounds explores the journey of Ana Morgana, an immigrant, a castoff, but, above all, an artist, who transcends her everyday reality by imagining herself a star: La Lupe. La Gran Tirana was conceived and is directed by Sándor Menéndez, written by Rey Andújar, and features Ana Santos SanchezSándor Menéndez and pianist Adrian RuizPresented in Spanish with English subtitles.
Ana Santos Sanchez, courtesy Aguijón Theatre

National and international productions:
Chicago Premiere
Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, México City
A co-presentation with the National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th St. in Pilsen
Opens Thursday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Runs through September-26: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20-$25

Mixing video art and a sculptural stage environment with piercingly poetic text, Tijuana blurs the line between fiction and reality, using multimedia as mechanisms to link work and life and give voice to overlooked moments in social and political history. With movement and text, performer and director Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez depicts a man’s social experiment in which he mysteriously appears as a resident of a new neighborhood with a new sweatshop job and a secret history. Tijuana asks: What does democracy mean in Mexico today for some 50 million people living on the minimum wage? What do we expect from democracy today? What do we expect from politics beyond democracy? Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.

Performer and director Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, Mexico City in Tijuana. 
Photo credit: Manuel G. Vicente courtesy Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol.
Chicago Premiere
Combat Hippies, Miami
Presented at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Wicker Park
Opens Thursday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Runs through October 3: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20-$25

AMAL examines the impact of war with equal parts humor and urgency. It explores the quest for meaning, purpose and identity sought through enlisting in the military and shares the unifying experiences of combatants and noncombatants as people of color. Tough and tender, AMAL relays stories of how veterans, refugees and civilians adjusted to life after war, placing Puerto Rico’s colonial status, cultural and military heritage center stage. AMAL is written by Combat Hippies and Teo Castellanos and directed by Teo Castellanos. Presented in English.

Tough and tender, AMAL by Miami’s Combat Hippies examines the impact of war with equal parts humor and urgency. Photo credit: Romaine Maurice.

Mal de Amores
Midwest Premiere
Casa de Teatro, Dominican Republic 
Presented at The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Opens Friday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Runs through October 10: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $26-$31

An old man tells his love stories as a woman with a wonderful, powerful voice sings boleros, baladas and rancheras. Mal de Amores is a fusion of storytelling, song and two talented artists: Freddy Ginebra, whose true life experiences transform into beautiful stories, and Diomary Castillo, who takes audiences breath away with her energy and alluring voice. Mal de Amores is written and directed by Ginebra. Presented in Spanish.

Mal de Amores features Freddy Ginebra (right, both photos) whose true life experiences transform into beautiful love stories, and Diomary Castillo (left)who takes audiences breath away with her energy and alluring voice. Photo credit: Pedro Bonilla

Corazón de Papel
Chicago Premiere
Agua, Sol y SerenoSanturce, Puerto Rico 
A co-presentation with the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
Presented at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Wicker Park
Opens Thursday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Runs through October 17: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20-$25

Corazón de Papel is a powerful new depiction of post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico told through contemporary puppetry. This 11-member, multigenerational Puerto Rican theater collective is internationally acclaimed for its deep social and human commitment and its dynamic brand of popular, experimental performances featuring colorful and iconic costumes, set pieces and “cabezudos,” or giant papier mâché heads. Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.

Corazón de Papel by Puerto Rico's Agua, Sol y Sereno is a powerful new depiction of Puerto Rico, post-Hurricane Maria, told through contemporary puppetry. Credit: George Riveron

CLATA is thrilled to return to a live, multi-week, international festival in 2021, and gratefully acknowledges generous support from The Paul M. Angell Family FoundationThe Joyce FoundationThe Ford FoundationThe Walder FoundationThe Arts Work FundThe Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly FoundationIllinois HumanitiesThe Shubert Foundation, a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special EventsIllinois Arts Council AgencyNational Endowment for the ArtsWintrustAllstateComEd and Comcast/Xfinity

About Destinos – the 4th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival
Now entering its fourth year, Destinos is the signature program of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), a transformative cultural engine helping drive the city’s local Latino theater community to a more prominent level.
“In Spanish, the word 'destinos' has multiple meanings: destinies, destinations or fate,” explains Myrna Salazar, Executive Director, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance. “Destinos showcases Latino theater artists from Chicago, across the U.S. and Latin America to present engaging and thought-provoking stories that transcend boundaries, amplify Latino voices, and diversify Chicago stages to encourage cross-cultural conversation.”  

The first Destinos in 2017 ran five weeks, and presented 61 performances by 10 companies from Chicago, U.S. and Latin America. In 2018, the festival expanded to six weeks, with 81 performances by 14 companies, engaging approximately 10,000 people, including nearly 700 students who attended matinee performances and participated in post-show discussions with artists, directors and playwrights. Destinos returned in year three with six more weeks of highly attended, critically acclaimed local, national and international programs, with a special contingent of U.S. and international programmers brought in to view the work of Chicago’s top Latino companies. Last fall, CLATA responded to the pandemic by postponing the full festival and instead staged one of Chicago’s first outdoor public art events, Destinos al Aire, a one-night celebration of Latino theater, music and dance presented under the stars to a sold-out crowd at ChiTown Movies. 

“Despite the 18-month ‘intermission’ we all just had, CLATA has remained very active behind the scenes, supporting our amazing community of Latino theater artists while planning a high-profile platform for their return to live theater this fall,” said Marty Castro, CLATA Board Chairperson and President and CEO of Casa Central. “So we are excited to announce that Destinos is back this September! We are ready to celebrate the joy and healing power of Latino theater with audiences who are hungry to reconnect with live art and the world around them.”

CLATA was founded in 2016 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization by Myrna Salazar and Chicago’s three most prominent Latino arts organizations: National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA)International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC), and Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), with the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
CLATA’s goal is to create the country’s leading international Latino theater festival with an emphasis on showcasing Chicago Latino theater artists and companies. Additionally, CLATA provides local groups ongoing organizational, marketing and financial support, and works diligently to create a permanent home for Chicago’s Latino theater artists. Ultimately, CLATA strives to underscore Chicago’s reputation as one of the most exciting and culturally diverse theater cities in the world.

For more, visit or call (312) 631-3112.

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