Thursday, October 28, 2021

OPENING: US Premiere of Queen C at Trap Door Theatre October 28 through December 4, 2021

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


is proud to present the US Premiere of... Queen C

Written by: Laura Ruohonen Translated by: David Hackston Directed by: Michael Mejia

Featuring: Maureen Azzun, Neema Lahon, David Lovejoy, Gavin Rhys, Faiz Siddique, Carl Wisniewski

Laura Ruohonen creates her own special world in her plays, whether depicting a seventeenth-century court or a modern apartment block. Ruohonen’s texts are both poetic and down-to-earth, combining humour and tragedy into an organic whole. In her plays, people are inextricably bound to their environment, and an individual’s inner and outer life reflect one another, sometimes getting blended in the process. Ruohonen writes on many levels, and her works can be interpreted in many different ways. At the heart of her works lies a strong ethical core. From 2008 to 2013 Laura Ruohonen was the Professor in Drama of the Theatre Academy Helsinki.

Michael Mejia (they, them, theirs) is extremely excited to be making their main stage directing debut with Trap Door Theatre! Michael studied acting and music performance at Indiana University before coming to Chicago. Michael is the Company Manager for Trap Door Theatre, where they are also a proud ensemble member. Trap Door Directing credits: ALAS and Decomposed Theatre Episode 3. Acting credits: The White Plague, Father; Love and Information, Actor; The Killer, Architect; The Old Woman Broods, Waiter; Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman, Beaumarchais/Wilkes (Trap Door Theatre); Proxy, Doug (Underscore Theatre); Kingdom, Alexander (Broken Nose Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey 2 (Stoughton Village Players); Hair, Hud (Harper Ensemble Theatre). Michael is also a musician who plays guitar, piano and writes. Michael would like to thank Trap Door Theatre and this amazing cast for allowing them to take this beautiful journey.

Costume Designer: Rachel Sypniewski / Lighting Designer: Richard Norwood / Set Designer: Michael Griggs / Sound Designer: Deon Custard / Make-up Designer: Zsofia Otvos / Graphic Designer: Michal Janicki / Stage Manager: Anna Klos

Opens: Thursday, October 28th at 8PM (CST) Closes: Saturday, December 4th at 8PM (CST)

Runs: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. No show on Thanksgiving day, with an added show at 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 28th.

Admission: $20 on Thursdays and Fridays, $25 on Saturdays, with two for one admission on Thursdays.

Where: Trap Door Theatre is located at 1655 W. Cortland St.

What: In Queen C, a Queen pushes back against being defined by the obligations she was born to fulfill.


Chicago and Trap Door COVID-19 Protocol


Trap Door Theatre has joined with a consortium of over 60 Chicago area performing arts venues and producers to follow safety protocols for protecting our patrons, artists, staff, and volunteers in the face of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting September 1st, all performances at Trap Door Theatre will be requiring patrons to be fully vaccinated and masked for entry into the theatre. Persons are considered “fully vaccinated” when 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO authorized double-dose vaccines (such as Moderna or Pfizer) or that 14 days have passed since receiving the single dose of FDA or WHO authorized single-dose vaccines (such as Johnson & Johnson).

Those who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition or closely held religious belief, or for those for whom the vaccine is not yet approved (i.e. children under 12), the theatre will require proof of a negative test from within 72 hours of the show.

Proof of vaccination can be showed at the door by showing a vaccination card or a photo of a vaccination card.

These protocols will remain in effect until December 31, after which they will be reevaluated based on current trends. The theatre has additionally required vaccination for all staff and artists working in the building.

Please direct any questions to 773-384-0494 or

STREAMING: LOVE IN THE TIME OF JONESTOWN – A Radio Play November 21 – December 12, 2021

 New Dates Announced!

The New Coordinates Present the World Premiere of


By Ensemble Member Omer Abbas Salem

Directed by Sophiyaa Nayar

Streaming November 21 – December 12, 2021

The New Coordinates, formerly The New Colony, has announced new dates for its world premiere Love in the Time of Jonestown – A Radio Play, streaming on demand from November 21 – December 12, 2021 at Sinister and seductive, this brand-new audio experience by Ensemble Member Omer Abbas Salem and directed by Sophiyaa Nayar explores the splendid ache of acceptance and the profound bliss of betrayal. 

Tickets ($15) are currently available at

Love in the Time of Jonestown will feature Tina El Gamal (Reporter), Niko Kourtis (Henry), Tommy Malouf (Ahmed, Congressman Ryan), Omer Abbas Salem* (Rassoul), Stephanie Shum* (Wendy) and Mary Williamson (Jim Jones).

We want you to be safe – to feel supported. We want to create space for everything about you because we love you exactly as you are. We want to break oppressive systems and rebuild a world that not only accommodates all of us, but celebrates and fosters our beautiful individuality. All we ask is that you come with an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to dialogue. Welcome to Jonestown, we hope you'll stay. 

The production team includes Eric Backus (sound design and original music), Nadya Naumaan, (associate director), Catherine Miller (dramaturg) and Devonte E. Washington (production stage manager).

*Denotes The New Coordinates Ensemble Member

About the Artists

Omer Abbas Salem (Playwright) is a Chicago actor and playwright. As an actor, he's worked with The New Coordinates, Jackalope Theatre, Steep Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Griffin Theatre, The House, Bailiwick Chicago, Actors Theatre of Louisville and The Atlantic Theater. His play Mosque4Mosque was developed through the National Queer Theater and then chosen for further development through Steppenwolf Theatre's SCOUT Program. The Secretaries was workshopped through The New Coordinates, a semi-finalist in Definition Theatre's Amplify Commission, and developed through the Goodman Theatre's Future Labs. Pretty Shahid was commissioned as part of Jackalope Theatre's 2020/21 New Frontier Series. He is a member of the 2021/22 Goodman Playwrights Unit and is the recipient of the 2021 Cunningham Commission through DePaul University. He was an apprentice of the Actors Theatre of Louisville (17/18) and a proud ensemble member with Steep Theatre and The New Coordinates. He is represented by DDO Artist Agency and the Gersh Agency. More at

Sophiyaa Nayar (Director) is from New Delhi, India. Most recently, she directed Shakuntala by Lavina Jadhwani (Future Labs, Goodman Theatre). She is a member of the Women’s Project Lab 2020-22, an ensemble member with Definition Theatre, member of Director's Lab Chicago 2017 and was a resident in Milwaukee Rep’s 2017/18 season. She is part of the SDC Foundation’s Observership Class, through which she worked on Soft Power by Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang at The Public. Recent work includes: Good Years by Ada Alozie (Definition Theatre), Being Julia Roberts by Omer Abbas Salem (Jackalope Theatre), MLK Project by Yolanda Androzzo (Writers Theatre), EthiopianAmerica By Sam Kabede (Definition Theatre) which won BTA Awards for Best Play, Featured Actor and Actress and a Jeff Award for Fight Choreography. She just finished workshopping a screenplay with Sundance Collab under Jessica Sharzer. Learn more about her on


About The New Coordinates

The New Coordinates (formerly The New Colonyd) develops New Art and New Artists in order to educate and build New Audiences. Now in its 13th year, The New Coordinates has established itself as “one of Chicago’s essential off-Loop companies” (Chicago Tribune). Through the development of countless new plays and musicals, 32 world premieres, and a conscious shift toward becoming an anti-racist theatre, The New Coordinates has cultivated a diverse audience of theatergoers eager to have a voice in the storytelling. Conversation, collaboration and innovation remain at the heart of everything they produce. The New Coordinates' work has been honored with five non-Equity Jeff Awards, Broadway In Chicago’s 2011 Emerging Theatre Award, and their shows have gone onto productions across the country and beyond. Learn more at


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar






Tickets are now on Sale for Pump Boys & Dinettes, Directed by Daryl Brooks+, Music Directed by Robert Reddrick+ and Choreographed by Rueben D. Echoles+


Award-winning Porchlight Music Theatre returns to live performances and the launch of its 27th Mainstage season with Pump Boys & Dinettes, October 30 - December 12 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. 

Created by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Tony winner Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel, and Jim Wann

Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)

Directed by Daryl Brooks+

Music Directed by Robert Reddrick+

Choreographed by Rueben D. Echoles+

October 30 - December 12

The Ruth Page Center for the Arts

1016 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago

Previews: Saturday, Oct, 30 at 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 and 6:30 p.m.,  Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. (Industry Night), Thursday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Press opening is Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

The regular run performance schedule is: 

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.

Fridays at 8 p.m.

Saturdays at 3:00 and 8 p.m. and 

Sundays at 2 p.m. 

Weekday matinees:

Thursday, Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.

Ticket Price: $45 – 74


Created by John Foley+, Mark Hardwick+, Tony winner Debra Monk*, Cass Morgan*, John Schimmel+ and Jim Wann+, directed by Daryl Brooks+, music directed by Robert Reddrick+ and choreographed by Rueben D. Echoles+, Pump Boys & Dinettes’ previews are Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m. with the press opening Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. 

I'll be out to catch the show Sunday, November 21, so check back soon for my full review. The regular run performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with weekday matinee Thursday, Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m. Single tickets are $45 - $74 and subscriptions to the entire 2021 - 2022 season are available at or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884.

One of the longest running shows in Chicago Theatre history, Pump Boys & Dinettes is a music theatre phenomenon filled with toe-tapping music on guitar, piano, bass and a kitchen utensil or two! This North Carolina dinette is your home off the highway and located just across the street from the filling station. Run by Prudie and Rhetta Cupp, beloved sisters who are always ready with a cup of Joe, a slice of pie, a homespun song and a “Welcome back!” The New York Times said “It doesn’t merely celebrate the value of friendship and life’s simple pleasures, it embodies them.”

“Being raised in Waynesboro, Virginia (a small town off of Highway 81), I relate to Pump Boys & Dinettes in a whole different way. The connection of community and values really strikes a chord with me. Today, times have changed and people have changed, but not the sense of community,” said Pump Boys & Dinettes Director Brooks+. “When Porchlight asked me to direct Pump Boys, I realized that it was time to show off the diversity not just in the people, but the music! At every turn, this show will be a slice of comfort and excitement, just like a piece of my grandma’s lemon meringue pie!” 

The cast of Porchlight Music Theatre’s Pump Boys & Dinettes includes: Rafe Bradford+ (Eddie - Bass); Shantel Cribbs* (Prudie Cupp); Ian Paul Custer+(Jim - Rhythm Guitar & U/S L.M); Frederick “Ricky” Harris= (L.M - Piano); Melanie Loren* (Rhetta Cupp) and Billy Rude+ (Jackson - Lead Guitar) with Caitlin Dobbins* (Standy by Rhetta and Prudie Cupp); J.J. Smith+ (Stand by Jim and Jackson); Kelan Smith+ (Stand by Jim and Eddie)

Pump Boys & Dinettes’ production team includes: Daryl Brooks+, (director); Robert Reddrick+, (music director), Rueben D. Echoles+, (choreographer/costume designer); Jennifer Aparicio*, (production manager/SM swing); Eric Backus+, (co-sound designer) Gianni Carcagno*/=, (assistant stage manager/assistant audio engineer); Matthew R. Chase+, (audio engineer); Andrea Enger=, (assistant stage manager/wardrobe manager); Deya Friedman*, (production stage manager, AEA); Denise Karczewski*, (lighting designer); Sydney Lynne*, (scenic designer); Caitlin McCarthy*, (properties designer); Johnnie Schleyer+, (technical director); Stefanie M. Senior*, (co-sound designer); Rachel West*, (lighting supervisor), Rashaad A. Bond+, (producing artistic associate); Alex Rhyan+, (production and operations director) and Michael Weber+, (artistic director).


Daryl D. Brooks is a Chicago  based director, writer and actor who was born and raised in Waynesboro, Virginia. He is currently the producing managing director of the Black Ensemble Theater. His musical revue, You Can’t Fake the Funk: A Journey Through Funk Music, premiered at Black Ensemble Theater and earned him an African American Arts Award, Black Theater Alliance Award and the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Musical/Revue. His production Men of Soul also received multiple awards and nominations including the Chicago BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Director for a Musical/Revue, a Jeff Award Nomination for Best Director of a Review, and was selected for production at The National Black Theater Festival. He has directed over fifty productions and some credits include; Black Pearl: A Tribute to Josephine Baker, Women of Soul(Black Ensemble Theatre), Memphis (Porchlight Musical Theatre), Million Dollar Quartet(Theatre At the Center), Akeelah and the Bee and Fast Food Chain (Adventure Stage and Northwestern Settlement). In 2019 Brooks received the Chicago Defender’s “Men of Excellence Award” for building diversity and equity within the Chicago theater community. 

ABOUT ROBERT REDDRICK+, music director 

Robert Reddrick is the music director and drummer for Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater. He is a seven-time recipient of the Black Theater Alliance award and five-time nominee for the Joseph Jefferson award for best music director.  Additionally, he has been music director for projects at Steppenwolf Theatre (Traffic series), University of Illinois, Free Street Theater, as well as drummer for many other productions throughout Chicago.  In the late 1990’s he toured with “The Platters featuring the Legendary Monroe Powell” and travelled worldwide with them.  He also has his own band, “The R2Project featuring Bonnie Phillips” with CD’s available online. Reddrick has performed, produced and engineered many recordings for local Chicago artists. 

ABOUT REUBEN D. ECHOLES+, choreographer/costume designer

Rueben D. Echoles is an accomplished playwright, director, choreographer and designer. He is an associate artistic director for Black Ensemble Theater and has been since 2005. Echoles has had the pleasure of working with many theater companies across the country and in the Chicagoland area such as ETA creative Arts Foundation (director/choreographer/costume designer, Showfolk TYA, Co playwright with Euseni Eugene Perkins Voices of HIV) Congo Square, Refuge, Porchlight Music Theater (costume designer), Paramount (asst. wig designer) and Studio One Dance Theater (playwright, director creative consultant 2003 – present), just to name a few. His most recent projects include Call Me Madam (costume design PMT), A New Attitude, In Tribute to Patti Labelle, My Brothers Keeper: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers and The Last Dancer Standing.


Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to be a member of the vibrant Ruth Page Center for the Arts community and an In-Resident Organization. Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts’ programming is this program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they grow or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and assisting dance and other performing artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artistic community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a destination for quality performing arts, accessible to a wide community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability. An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the vision of its founder, legendary dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community.



Porchlight Music Theatre is the award-winning center for music theatre in Chicago. Through live performance, youth education and community outreach we impact thousands of lives each season, bringing the magic of musicals to our theatre home at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in the Gold Coast and to neighborhoods across the city. Porchlight has built a national reputation for boldly reimagining classic musicals, supporting new works and young performers, and showcasing Chicago’s most notable music theatre artists, all through the intimate and powerful theatrical lens of the “Chicago Style.” 

Now in its 27th season, Porchlight's quarter-century production history includes more than 70 Mainstage works with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Porchlight’s commitment to the past, present and future of music theatre led the company to develop the Porchlight Revisits and New Faces Sing Broadway program series, both quickly becoming audience favorites. 

Porchlight's education and outreach programs serve schools, youth of all ages and skill levels and community organizations, most notably the ongoing collaboration with Chicago Youth Centers. Porchlight annually awards dozens of full scholarships and hundreds of free tickets to ensure accessibility and real engagement with this uniquely American art form. 

The company’s many honors include 178 Joseph Jefferson Award (Jeff) nominations and 45 Jeff awards, as well as 33 Black Theatre Alliance (BTA) nominations and 12 BTA awards. In 2019, Porchlight graduated to the Large Theatre tier of the Equity Jeff Awards, and was honored with eight nominations in both technical and artistic categories and won three awards in its inaugural year in this tier, most notably Best Ensemble for Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies. 

Through the global pandemic, Porchlight emerged as one of Chicago’s leaders in virtual programming, quickly launching a host of free offerings like Sondheim @ 90 Roundtables, Movie Musical Mondays, Porchlight by Request: Command Performances and WPMT: Classic Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio. For the 2020-2021 season, Porchlight’s fall schedule included all-new ticketed virtual programs including Broadway by the Decade, New Faces Sing Broadway 1987, Chicago Sings Rock & Roll Broadway, New Faces Sing Broadway 1961 and the return of The Ruffians’ Burning Bluebeard as well as collaborations with Hershey Felder and L.A. Theatre Works. Porchlight recently launched its first summer performance schedule including a sold-out performance of New Faces Sing Broadway 1979 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, the premiere of its outdoor music series Broadway in your Backyard, performed throughout Chicagoland this summer and special appearances at Sundays on State and Navy Pier’s Chicago Live Again.

Award-winning Porchlight Music Theatre returns to live performances and the launch of its 27th Mainstage season with Pump Boys & Dinettes, October 30 - December 12 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. Created by John Foley+, Mark Hardwick+, Tony winner Debra Monk*, Cass Morgan*, John Schimmel+ and Jim Wann+, directed by Daryl Brooks+, music directed by Robert Reddrick+ and choreographed by Rueben D. Echoles+, Pump Boys & Dinettes’ previews are Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m. with the press opening Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The regular run performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with weekday matinee Thursday, Dec. 2  at 1:30 p.m. Single tickets are $45 - $74 and subscriptions to theentire 2021 - 2022 season are available at or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884. (Please note: complete performance schedule is available at the end of this release.) 

Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from ; Allstate; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Chapman | Spingola, LLP; Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation; Glimpse Vision; James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation; Hearty Boys; The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince; the Pritzker Traubert Foundation; Ryan and Spaeth, Inc.; Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation; The Saints and Dr. Scholl Foundation.

 The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.. 

Porchlight Music Theatre wishes to thank members of the Matching Gift Corporate Program including abbvie; Allstate; CDW, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Peoples Gas; Pepsico; Polk Bros Foundation,The Saints, State Farm, U.S. Cellular and We Energies. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

OPENING: Return of the Chicago Premiere of HUNDRED DAYS November 7, 2021 – January 9, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Kokandy Productions Presents the Return of the Chicago Premiere of


Music & Lyrics by The Bengsons

Book by The Bengsons & Sarah Gancher

Directed by Lucky Stiff

Music Direction by Matthew Muñiz

Choreography by Collin Quinn Rice

November 7, 2021 – January 9, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre


HUNDRED DAYS was first presented by Kokandy Productions in March 2020. Due to the pandemic, the original run was shut down on opening night. The original cast (featured in the above photo) included Abigail Cline, Chris Farrell Jr., Lucas "Looch" Johnson, Royen Kent, Emilie Modaff and Melanie Vitaterna.

Kokandy Productions is proud to present the Chicago premiere of the bold new musical Hundred Days, featuring music and lyrics by The Bengsons, and book by The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher. After the pandemic forced the original Kokandy run to close on opening night, Hundred Days returns to make its Chicago debut, having enjoyed successful runs at La Jolla Playhouse and New York Theatre Workshop, Hundred Days will be helmed by director Lucky Stiff with music direction by Matthew Muñiz and choreography by Collin Quinn Rice. Hundred Days will playNovember 7, 2021 – January 9, 2022 at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at, or in person at The Chopin Theatre box office. The press opening is Monday, November 15 at 8 pm.


Please note: Kokandy Productions will require proof of vaccination and masking at all performance.


The cast is led by Emilie Modaff as Abigail Bengson with Royen Kent and Alec Phan alternating in the role of Shaun Bengson, with Grace Bobber, David Gordon-Johnson, Lucas “Looch” Johnson, Brennan Urbi and Melanie Vitaterna. 

Hundred Days is an uncensored, exhilarating and heartrending true story about embracing uncertainty, taking a leap and loving as if you only had 100 days to live. With magnetic chemistry and anthemic folk-punk music, creators Abigail and Shaun Bengson explore a fundamental question: how do we make the most of the time that we have?

 A New York Times Critics’ Pick, Hundred Days was hailed as “a luminous musical memoir that celebrates and laments the elusive radiance of a shared life.” New York Magazine called the show “a series of ecstatic songs that make the case for living and loving. Hundred Days shines a light in the darkness. There’s something about that way of moving through the world – chest up, heart open, irony pushed firmly aside – that feels downright daring right now.”

Comments Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham, “Hundred Days is a celebration of life. The communal, ritualistic aspects of the show will invite us all to come together, to rejoin the living, and to be human again. It’s an invitation, a celebration, a well-earned reunion – closing the circle on a very trying time. The energy, the humor, the love and the care innate in the show are what I want to share with our audience.”

The production team includes Jackie Fox (scenic and original lighting design), Virginia Varland (original costume design), Mike J. Patrick (sound design), Patrick O'Brien (sound design, engineer), Noah Watkins(associate director), Abby Teel (stage manager), Irena Hadzi Dordevic (associate scenic designer),Nicholas Reinhart (production manager), Henry Muller (lighting design), Scot Kokandy (executive producer) and Derek Van Barham (producing artistic director). 

Cast (in alphabetical order): Grace Bobber (ensemble) David Gordon-Johnson (ensemble), Lucas Looch Johnson (ensemble), Royen Kent (Shaun Bengson, Saturdays & Sundays), Emilie Modaff (Abigail Bengson), Alec Phan (Shaun Bengson, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays), Brennan Urbi (ensemble) and Melanie Vitaterna (ensemble).

Location: The Chopin Theater, 1543 W Division St. in Chicago

Dates: Previews: Sunday, November 7 at 5 pm, Monday, November 8 at 8 pm, Friday, November 12 at 8 pm, Saturday, November 13 at 8 pm and Sunday, November 14 at 5 pm

Press performance: Monday, November 15 at 8 pm

Regular run: Thursday, November 18, 2021 – Sunday, January 9, 2022

Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 5 pm.

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $38. Students/senior $30. There will be a limited number of $15 tickets available for students and artists for each performance. Tickets are currently available at, or in person at the Chopin Theatre box office.

About the Artists

The Bengsons (Book, Music, and Lyrics) have appeared at such venues as Joe’s Pub (NYC), MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) and the Market Theater (Johannesburg, South Africa). Their music has been featured onSo You Think You Can Dance (FOX) and in The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova); Anything that Gives Off Light (National Theatre of Scotland/The Team); Sundown, Yellow Moon (Ars Nova/WP); Hurricane Diane(NYTW/WP, Two River Theatre); you’ll still call me by name (New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow) andIphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company). They have been nominated for the Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel Awards. Abigail Nessen Bengson has toured as a member of tUnE-yArDs, including an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Sarah Gancher’s (Book) writing has been seen on such stages as London’s National Theatre, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Steppenwolf, Seattle Rep, Hartford Stage, RoundHouse, Ars Nova and The Flea. Honors include New York Stage and Film Founder’s Award, Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, AR Gurney Prize, Lortel and Drama League nominations. With The Bengsons, she also wrote The Lucky Ones. co-writer of The TEAM’s Mission Drift (Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize, Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel; international tour to Europe, Asia and Australia). Alumna: P73, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellows, Women’s Project Lab and Ars Nova Play Group. Resident playwright at New Dramatists. M.F.A.: NYU.

Lucky Stiff (Director) is a director and performer working in Chicago and New York. They build original experiences that often combine nightclub culture with performance art as well as classic stories, and their work takes inspiration from Weimar, Germany, Pierrot clowns and golden age musicals. They have been featured at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Disco Dining Club (Los Angeles), Boy Friday Dance Company and Bushwig Festival of Drag, among many others. They are a co-producer of the monthly shows GODDESS at Berlin Nightclub and Delirium: A Bohemian CabaRave at The Newport Theater, and they are a cohost of The Tea Podcast. They hold an MFA in Directing for Theater from Northwestern University.

Matthew Muñiz (Music Director) is a pianist, composer, songwriter and teacher. He's a company member with The House Theatre of Chicago, where his music direction and performance credits include The Nutcracker (2010-2018), Verböten (2020), United Flight 232 (2016), The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz (2017) and Hatfield & McCoy (2018). As a composer, he most recently created music for The House Theatre’s production of Pinocchio (2019). His work has appeared in two short films and in one feature-length zombie horror flick, and in plays and podcasts. In 2013, he produced and released a full-length album of his songs with his band, The Live Debate! (available on all streaming services). His music can be heard in The Last Defender, an Escape created with Cards Against Humanity, and in the upcoming Escape, Nova to Lodestar. When Matthew isn’t making music, he’s probably making (or playing) games

Collin Quinn Rice (Choreographer) is a queer actor, dancer and multi-media artist based in Chicago. Recent movement credits include The Hilary Duff Project (2017 & 2020); The Dog, The Night, and The Knife; Disco Pigs (Silencio); and Big Love (Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts). They were most recently seen as an actor in The Tasters (Rivendell), All Quiet on the Western Front (Red Tape Theatre), Mike Pence Sex Dream (First Floor Theater), The Harvest (Griffin Theatre Co.), Hatfield & McCoy (The House), Le Switch (About Face Theatre), Masque Macabre (Strawdog Theatre Company), Going to a Place… (Redtwist Theatre) and The Ode at Pint's End (Birch House Immersive). Film credits include The Right Swipe and The Play Cycle. Collin is a graduate of Northwestern University, and they are represented by Big Mouth Talent. Collin also moonlights as a headshot photographer – their comprehensive work can be found at

About Kokandy Productions

Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago's non-Equity musical theater community.

The company's artistic staff is comprised of Derek Van Barham (Producing Artistic Director), Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer) and Adrian Abel Azevedo & Leda Hoffman (Artistic Associates). The Board of Directors includes Preston Cropp, Katherine Smith, Allison Hendrix, Scot T. Kokandy, and Katie Svaicer.

For additional information, visit

A MICHAEL MARTIN TRIBUTE Via Curious Theatre Branch November 11 – 28, 2021 at Pride Arts Center

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: 

Curious Theatre Branch Presents


Curated by Kelly Anchors

November 11 – 28, 2021 at Pride Arts Center

Curious Theatre Branch is please to host a three-week celebration of the solo performance monologues of the late Michael Martin, curated by Kelly Anchors. A Michael Martin Tribute will take place November 11 – 28, 2021 at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets are available at or at the door ($15 or pay-what-you-can). For additional information, visit

Performance Schedule:

Thursdays: November 11 & 18 at 8 pm. Danne W. Taylor performs The Bearer and Max McKune performs Bachelor in New Orleans.

 Fridays: November 12, 19 & 26 at 8 pm. Chris Bower performs Justine Bateman.

 Saturdays: November 13, 20 & 27 at 8 pm. Mark Chrisler performs Hinckley on Foster.

*Please note: there will be an added performance of The Bearer and Bachelor in New Orleans on Sunday, November 28 at 7 pm.

Michael Martin was a playwright, actor, storyteller, social media maven, director and friend to hundreds of people in the Chicago and New Orleans fringe art scenes and beyond. His death in April 2021, while working the third shift in a New Orleans hotel, left a huge gaping hole. (And here Michael would have inserted a good joke as to how it should be filled.) Many of us who loved him and his work will come together for performances of four of his monologues.


Monday, October 25, 2021

OPENING: The Battlefields of Clara Barton a Workshop Production at Northwestern's Wirtz Center October 29–31, 2021

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar 

The Battlefields of Clara Barton

a workshop production

October 29–31, 2021

By Suzan Zeder & Jenn Hartmann Luck

Directed by Rives Collins

The Battlefields of Clara Barton is a modern folk/rock musical about the vibrant life of Clara Barton, a Civil War nurse, a political activist, and a revered founder of the American Red Cross. In a tumultuous life that spanned almost a century, Clara fought on many battlefields: historical, political, and emotional. Brought to life by an ensemble of women playing multiple roles where age and gender are fluid, the threads of Clara's story run from past to present with seamless synchronicity, creating a rich tapestry of themes as personal and potent today as they were then.

Since 2017, The Battlefields of Clara Barton has been under creative development here at Northwestern University, the University of Texas, and the Austin Playhouse at the Paramount Theatre in Texas. This workshop brings Northwestern's MFA and undergraduate programs together to develop the theatrical world of a brand-new musical, all with the writers in the room providing feedback throughout the month-long process. The creative team will elicit audience reactions after each performance to refine the piece before its ultimate premiere.


Fri., 10/29 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sat., 10/30 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sun., 10/31 @ 2 p.m.

Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

Josephine Louis Theater

20 Arts Circle Drive

*Proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test required.

OPENING: GOD OF CARNAGE Via AstonRep Theatre Company November 12 – December 12, 2021

 ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

AstonRep Theatre Company Presents


By Yasmina Reza

Translated by Christopher Hampton

Co-Directed by Derek Bertelsen & Robert Tobin

November 12 – December 12, 2021 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theater


AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back audiences this fall with a revival of Yasmina Reza’s frenetic dark comedy God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and co-directed by directed by Derek Bertelsen* and Robert Tobin*. God of Carnage will play November 12 – December 12, 2021 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theater, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 828-9129. I'll be out for the press opening Saturday, November 13th, so check back soon for my full review.

Please note: all patrons will need to provide proof of vaccination when picking up tickets and wear a mask inside the venue during the performance. Please visit AstonRep's safety page for additional COVID-related information.


Two high-strung couples, Alan and Annette Raleigh and Michael and Veronica Novak, decide to meet one evening for a civilized discussion about a playground altercation between their two young sons. What follows is a comically explosive downhill slide from polite, political correctness to full-on character assassination. A no-holds-barred look at what happens when the littlest things end up pushing us completely over the edge.

God of Carnage co-directors Derek Bertelsen and Robert Tobin comment, “We at AstonRep are excited to go back to our roots to produce this though provoking and timeless play, which we also presented nine seasons ago. With a new cast and new venue, this seems like the perfect script for us as we get back to producing live theatre again.”

The cast includes Mark Tacderas, Erin Kathleen O'Brien*, Mike Newquist, and Maggie Antonijevic

 The production team includes Jeremiah Barr* (scenic/props design, technical director), Uriel Gomez (costume design), Becca Venable (lighting design), Robert Tobin* (sound design), Samantha Barr* (production manager) and Heather Branham (stage manager).

 *Denotes AstonRep Company Members.



Cast (in alphabetical order): Maggie Antonijevic (Annette), Mike Newquist (Michael), Erin Kathleen O'Brien* (Veronica) and Mark Tacderas (Alan). Understudies: Claire Allegra Taylor.

Location: The Edge Off-Broadway Theater, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews:  Friday, November 12 at 7:30 pm

Press performance: Saturday, November 13 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, November 14 – Sunday, December 12, 2021

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance Thursday, November 25 (Thanksgiving Day).

Tickets: Previews: $10; Regular run: $20. Student/seniors discounts available. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 828-9129.


About the Artists

Yasmina Reza (Playwright) is a French playwright and novelist, based in Paris, whose works have all been multi-award-winning, critical and popular international successes, produced worldwide and translated into 35 languages. She has written seven plays (Conversations After a Burial, The Passage of Winter, ‘Art,’ The Unexpected Man, Life x 3, A Spanish Play, God of Carnage, How You Talk the Game) and six novels (“Hammerklavier,” “Une Desolation (Desolation),” “Adam Haberberg,” “Dans la Luge d'Arthur Schopenhauer,” ‘Nulle Part” and “L'Aube, le Soir ou la Nuit (Dawn Dusk or Night)”). Films include: Le Pique-Nique de Lulu Kreutz, directed by Didier Martiny and Chicas, written and directed by the author.

Derek Bertelsen (Co-Director) joined AstonRep in 2012. Previous directing credits with AstonRep include Doubt, Next Fall, Wit, The Laramie Project, The Crowd You're In With, Equus and co-directing Eleemosynary with Jeremiah Barr. He served as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The Comrades from 2016-2020 where he directed and produced numerous productions. Summer stock credits include Festival 56, Shawnee Summer Playhouse, and five seasons at Timber Lake Playhouse.

Robert Tobin (Co-Director, God of Carnage) is an actor, director and founder of AstonRep. Select directing credits with the company include 1984, The Women of Lockerbie, and The Water’s Edge. Acting credits with AstonRep include Equus, The Lonesome West, Time Stands Still, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Doubt among others. Locally, he has worked with Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, First Folio, Oak Park Festival Theatre and Redtwist, among others. Regional credits include Colorado, Montana and Utah Shakespeare Festivals.  


About AstonRep Theatre Company:

AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced numerous full-length productions, along with their annual Writer’s Series. They are currently in residence at The Edge Theater. AstonRep Theatre Company is an ensemble of artists committed to creating exciting, intimate theatrical experiences that go beyond the front door to challenge audiences and spark discussion where the show is not the end of the experience: it is just the beginning. 


Goodman Theatre's Fannie Extended Through November 21, 2021 Due to Popular Demand

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar



Yesterday, the Goodman closed one production (American Mariachi by Jose Cruz González, which “went clean”/sold-out its final weekend) and tonight opens and extends another (Fannie, The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer)—both directed by Resident Artistic Associate Henry Godinez—and tomorrow, begins rehearsals for the 44th annual A Christmas Carol, directed by Jessica Thebus. I'll be out for the opening night of Fannie tonight and can't wait to catch the incomparable E. Faye Butler on stage once again. It's always a treat to hear her sing, and I'm eager to see her take on the character of the legendary Fannie Lou Hamer. Check back soon for my full review. 

Five performances have been added to the schedule of the powerful and electric Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer) by Cheryl L. West, now through November 21—new performance dates appear below. This immersive call-to-action is West’s original play from which she adapted the abridged version—Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It!, which toured Chicago parks in September/October 2020. Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer) appears through November 21 (opening night is tonight at 7pm); tickets (starting at $15) are now on sale at or by calling 312.443.3800. This Goodman co-commission with Seattle Repertory Theatre previously appeared as part of the 2019 New Stages Festival.  The Goodman is grateful for the support of PNC, Arts in Community Sponsor; Abbott Fund, Corporate Sponsor Partner; and Allstate, Youth Arts Sponsor.

Health and safety note: Proof of full vaccination with an FDA-authorized vaccine is required for all guests 12+ and a recent negative test must be presented for children under 12. Patrons must wear face coverings at all times while inside Goodman Theatre. Visit for more information.


Thursday, November 18 (7:30pm)

Friday, November 19 (8pm)

Saturday, November 20 (2pm & 8pm)

Sunday, November 21 (2pm)

The “utterly unstoppable” (Chicago Tribune) E. Faye Butler expands her performance as American civil rights freedom fighter Fannie Lou Hamer, hailed in theaters across the country as “magnetic” (Washington Post), “powerhouse” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), “moving and memorable” (Oregon’s Times-Standard). Three musicians—Deonté Brantley, Morgan E. and Felton Offard (during performances between October 25-31) and Michael Ross (during performances between November 3-21)—join Butler on stage to breathe new life into more than 10 iconic spirituals, including “We Shall Not Be Moved,” “I’m on My Way to Freedom” and “I Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round.”

Fannie Lou Hamer, who would become known for her political activism and continuous efforts for civil rights, was 44 years old before she discovered that she had the right to vote. It took her three attempts to pass Mississippi’s voter registration test, which was designed to disenfranchise people of color and those with few educational opportunities. Ms. Hamer spent the rest of her life as a fierce advocate of civil and voting rights, surviving extreme violence to help found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the National Women’s Political Caucus.

For tickets and more information check out Goodman Theatre's Page here.


Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer)

By Cheryl L. West

Directed by Henry Godinez

Originally co-commissioned and developed by Goodman Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre, with additional development by Oregon Shakespeare Festival.


Fannie Lou Hamer…………..E. Faye Butler

Fannie Lou Hamer Understudy….Melody A. Betts


Drumset/Percussion/Vocals….Deonté Brantley

Piano/Organ/Auxiliary Keyboards/Vocals…..Morgan E.

Acoustic/Guitar/Electric Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals Alternate…..Buddy Fambro

Acoustic/Guitar/Electric Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals (during performances between October 15-31)…..Felton Offard

Acoustic Guitar/Electric Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals (during performances between November 3-21)…..Michael Ross

Piano/Organ/Auxiliary Keyboards/Vocals Alternate…..Dominique Johnson

Drumset/Percussion/Vocals Alternate…..Linard Stroud

The creative team includes Colette Pollard (Set Design), Michael Alan Stein (Costume Design), Jason Lynch (Lighting Design), Victoria Deiorio (Sound Design), Rasean Davonte Johnson (Projection Design) and Mr. Bernard (Wig Design). Music Direction and Arrangements are by Felton Offard, dramaturgy is by Christine Sumption and casting is by Lauren Port, CSA. Kaitlin Kitzmiller is the Production Stage Manager.


Touch Tour* and Audio-Described Performance: Saturday, November 7 | 12:30pm Touch Tour and 2pm performance – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset.

*Touch tours for the 2012/2022 season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.

ASL-Interpreted Performance: Saturday, November 13 at 2pm – Professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played.

Open-Captioned Performance: Sunday, November 14 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.

Visit Goodman for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts. 


Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement.

Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” It’s longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fifth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

Using the tools of the theatrical profession, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home to these programs, which are offered free of charge for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s Action Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Access (IDEAA) was born out of the belief that progress means action, which includes building on the decades-long commitment to using art, assets and resources to contribute to a more just, equitable and anti-racist society.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Rebecca Gilman, Dael Orlandersmith, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Jeff Hesse is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Fran Del Boca is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Davenport’s celebrates 23rd Anniversary With Broadway Star Karen Mason's Vaccinatin' Rhythm November 4 - 7

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Ms. Mason Returns to Wicker Park to Celebrate the 23rd Anniversary of her First Davenport’s Appearance with Vaccinatin' Rhythm

Photos by Gene Reed

*Please note: All patrons must be vaccinated. For entry, patrons must provide proof of vaccination, such as a Vaccination Card, and a valid photo ID. Masks will be required upon entry and when not seated.

Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret, 1383 North Milwaukee Ave., celebrates its 23rd Anniversary as Chicago’s premier location for enjoying music in an intimate setting with the return of Broadway actress and multi-award-winning cabaret performer Karen Mason with Vaccinatin' Rhythm, Thursday, Nov. 4 - 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. This is a ticketed event held in the Cabaret. Tickets are $40 per person with a two-drink minimum on the night of the performance. For information, tickets and more, please visit

Time to celebrate! She’s back! In her first cabaret show in Chicago in 2021, Karen Mason brings a night of unforgettable music, stories, laughter, joy and perhaps a few surprises…..because you never know what will happen with this vaccinated gal! Mason’s all-new show will feature her favorite songs and arrangements, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Lulu’s Back in Town,” “On Broadway,” “Broadway Baby” and including songs written by the songwriters she has known throughout her career, such as Kander & Ebb, Amanda McBroom, Marilyn & Alan Bergman, Sheldon Harnick and her husband Paul Rolnick, as well as new music chosen specifically for this celebratory night. 

“Anniversaries are about spending time with your favorite people at your favorite place. And there’s no place that I would rather be than with you and this music at Davenport’s,” said Mason. “It has been 23 years since Davenport’s opened and I was there. I am thrilled to be back, again, to celebrate more than two decades of music and memory making!”

Photos by Gene Reed


Karen Mason has starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television and recording: and “has few peers when it comes to ripping the roof off with her amazing voice that knows no bounds!” ( 

Ms. Mason was recently seen opposite Ewan McGregor in Netflix’s “Halston” and as “Madame Giry” in the North American premiere of  Andrew Llyod Webber’s sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies. Previously on Broadway, she garnered rave reviews starring as “The Queen of Hearts” in Wonderland and originated the role of “Tanya” in ABBA’s Mamma Mia!, for which she was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress. Her other leading roles include “Norma Desmond” in Sunset Boulevard, which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; “Velma von Tussel” in the final Broadway company of Hairspray, “Monotony” singer and “Mazeppa” in Jerome  Robbins’ Broadway; “Rosalie” in Carnival (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway’s Torch Song Trilogy and Play Me A Country Song.

Ms Mason won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in And The World Goes ‘Round and starred Off-Broadway in her own show Karen Mason Sings Broadway, Beatles And Brian.

In regional theater, she starred in the first National Tour of A Christmas Story, as “Miss Shields,” in the world premiere of the stage production of White Christmas, (playing the Rosemary Clooney role at St. Louis Muni Opera), Side By Side By Sondheim (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida), Gypsy (Sundance Theatre in California), the world premiere of  One Tough Cookie (Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago), Heartbeats (Goodspeed Opera House in NY) and Company (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Most recently in New York, she starred in the one-woman musical about Dorothy Parker, You Might As Well Live.

As a performer, Ms. Mason has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Feinstein’s at The Regency, Rainbow & Stars, the Algonquin, Arci’ Place, The Supper Club and The Ballroom in NYC; The Cinegrill and the UCLA/ASCAP Concert Series in Los Angeles; The Plush Room in San Francisco and Davenport’s in Chicago.

She has shared concert stages with Michael Feinstein, Jerry Herman, Chita Rivera, Luciano Pavarotti, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli and John Kander & Fred Ebb, among others. She has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Tokyo and Osaka. Her starring symphonic performances include The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Michael Berkowitz, The Philly Pops with Peter Nero, The New York Pops with Skitch Henderson, The Oklahoma Philharmonic with Joel Levine, the premier performance of The Chicagoland Pops, The Indianapolis Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony with John McDaniel.

Ms. Mason has a new cd called “Let the Music Play” debuting late in 2021. Her recording career includes the single, “It’s About Time,” written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham;  her 2009 MAC AWARD-winning “Right Here/ Right Now,” 2005’s “The Sweetest of Nights,” the MAC Award-winning ‘When The Sun Comes Out,” as well as three other CD’s: “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!,” recorded live at the West Bank Café; “Better Days,” featuring songs by her longtime composer/arranger, Brian Lasser (including the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song “Hold Me“) and “Not So Simply Broadway.” She has been featured on the soundtrack of the original cast CD of Wonderland;  Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande), the studio cast recording of Wonderful Town (JAY Records), the original cast album of And The World Goes ‘Round (RCA Victor), The Child In Me, Vol. 1(Harbinger Records) and Lost in Boston ll (Varese Sarabande).

Her television appearances include the dramas “Ed” and “Law & Order: SVU” and her film credits include “Sleeping Dogs Lie” and “A Chorus Line.”


Davenport’s prioritizes the health and safety of its patrons, staff and performers. Following current local, state and government protocols, Davenport’s asks that all patrons be vaccinated. For entry, patrons must provide proof of vaccination, such as a Vaccination Card, and a valid photo ID. Masks will be required upon entry and when not seated.


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.

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: Fall 2021 Theatre Favorites in Chicago

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Mask up and see some shows! Photo credit: Milan Pejnovich 
Pictured: Milan Pejnovich, Bonnie Kenaz-Mara (ChiIL Mama), Catherine Hellmann, Deb Frels

The ghost lights have been on 24/7 as stages across the US went dark for over 18 months, while covid ravaged our country. It's not over yet, but with vax cards in hand and masks on faces, we are finally able to gather in person again. Treat yourself! There are many stellar shows on stage in Chicago this fall and we've never been happier to gather with friends and family for a change of scene and some epic story telling. Here are just a few of our favorites. 

Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara


5050 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640


Music & Magic

Mondays at 7:00pm

Tickets: General Admission $20

Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

The Showcase

Tuesdays at 7:00pm

Tickets: Standard: $35; Front Row: $40

Luis Carreon and Paige Thompson, August 10-August 31.


Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

The Signature Show

Thursdays-Sundays at 7:00pm, Fridays and Sundays at 10pm 

Tickets: $50-$55 (Standard); $65-$75 (Premium, includes 654 Club admission)

Featuring Special Guest Nick Diffatte

654 Club features Luis Carreon 

Special Guest Nick Diffatte is quickly becoming one of the most talked about and in-demand young comic magicians working today. His unique brand of entertainment seamlessly blends dry humor, quick wit, and incredible skill. His performances are presented with perfect comedic timing and a deadpan delivery that has kept audiences laughing uncontrollably all over the country for over 14 years. Most recently, Nick has been seen in a residency at the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas, The World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, luxury cruise lines and “The Late Late Show with James Corden” on CBS.



800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611


As You Like It

By William Shakespeare

Adapted & directed by Daryl Cloran

Conceived by Daryl Cloran and the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

In the Courtyard Theater

Regular Run: October 16 – November 21, 2021 


Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

Set in the ‘60s, the exuberant celebration of love features nearly 20 musical numbers from The Beatles songbook, performed live onstage, including “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Let It Be,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” The company includes Melanie Brezill (Celia) Adam Wesley Brown (Forest Lord/Hymen), Tony Carter (Oliver), Austin Eckert (Charles the Wrestler/Amiens), Lachrisa Grandberry (Audrey), Kevin Gudahl (Duke Senior/Duke Frederick), Heidi Kettenring (Phoebe), Kayvon Khoshkam (Touchstone), Kieran McCabe (Forest Lord), Steven Pringle (Adam/Sir Oliver Martext), Liam Quealy (Orlando), Lakeisha Renee (Rosalind), and Nancy Voigts (Corin).


Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski

By Clark Young and Derek Goldman

Directed by Derek Goldman

Starring David Strathairn

In The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare

Press Opening: November 4, 2021 at 7:45pm

Regular Run: November 5 – November 14, 2021


Academy Award-nominated actor David Strathairn takes the stage in a tour-de-force solo performance, Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski. Best known for acclaimed performances in Good Night, and Good Luck, Nomadland, and Lincoln, Strathairn takes on the role of real-life World War II hero Jan Karski. After surviving the devastation of Poland by Nazi Germany, Karski swears allegiance to the Polish Underground and risks his life to carry the first eyewitness reports of the Holocaust to the White House, where his warnings are met with inaction and disbelief. Strathairn captures the remarkable life of the self-described “insignificant, little man” who spoke truth in the halls of power in a timely story of moral courage.


Q Brothers Christmas Carol

Written by Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, Pos)

Directed by GQ and JQ

Developed with Rick Boynton

In The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare

Preview Performances: December 8 – December 9, 2021

Press Opening: December 10, 2021 at 7pm

Regular Run: December 11 – December 23, 2021


The Theater’s raucous and irreverent holiday tradition returns in a special limited engagement in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Created and performed by Chicago hip hop sensations the Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, and Pos) and developed with Creative Producer Rick Boynton, this wildly entertaining 80-minute reinterpretation of the Charles Dickens classic mashes up hip hop with contemporary musical styles ranging from reggae and dancehall music, to dubstep and epic rock ballads—all underscored with beats spun live at the turntables by DJ Supernova


5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 753-4472


Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Charles Newell and Gabrielle Randle-Bent

Featuring Kelvin Roston, Jr as Othello

Regular Run: October 17 - November 21, 2021

In addition to live performances, a digital version will be available to stream on-demand.


Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

Othello—the noble general, husband, scholar, and traveler—fights for his life, right to love, and position in society. When Othello’s closest confidant objects to his actions, their brotherhood is shattered, provoking a series of tragic events for Othello and everyone around him.

Co-directors Charles Newell and Gabrielle Randle-Bent helm this theatrical examination of humanity and tragedy in Shakespeare’s fraught and famous work. Through scenic design that place audiences in the middle of the action, this telling grapples with how complex notions of race, gender, and complicity at the heart of the play’s murderous events speak to a world on the brink of change.



Drury Lane Theatre

100 Drury Lane

Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

(630) 530-8300


Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

Forever Plaid

Written and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Stuart Ross 

Musical Continuity Supervision and Arrangements by James Raitt

Originally Produced by Gene Wolsk

Directed and Choreographed by Paul Stancato

With Music Direction by Valerie Maze

Preview Performances: September 17 – September 22, 2021

Press Opening: Thursday, September 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Regular Run: September 24 – November 7, 2021


Photo credit: B Kenaz-Mara

On the way to their first big gig, tragedy strikes Forever Plaid, a “guy group” specializing in barbershop quartet harmonies and pitch-perfect melodies. Forever Plaid begins when the guys are given the chance to perform from the afterlife. This smash hit musical is a nostalgic homage to the music of the ‘50s and includes hits such as “Three Coins in the Fountain” and “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.”

The cast of Forever Plaid features Brian Eng (Sparky), Michael Ferraro (Frankie), Yando Lopez (Jinx) and A.D. Weaver (Smudge).


3745 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

(773) 325-1700


Sister Act                                                                                                 

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)

Preview Performances: November 5 – November 10, 2021

Press Opening: November 11, 2021 at 7:30pm

Regular Run: November 12, 2021 – January 9, 2022

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!




9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, IL 60077

(847) 673-6300


Songs for Nobodies

By Joanna Murray-Smith

Directed by Rob Lindley

Music Direction by Andra Velis Simon

Featuring Bethany Thomas

Preview Performances: September 23 – September 30, 2021

Press Opening: October 1, 2021at 8pm

Regular Run: October 2 – October 31, 2021


This tour-de-force performance celebrates the iconic work of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas. Share in the unexpected encounters between these legendary divas and the ordinary women whose lives were changed by their brush with fame. Featuring such favorites as “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Crazy,” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” Songs for Nobodies illuminates the power of song to share a story, heal a heartbreak, and inspire a dream.


The World Premiere of

Mr. Dickens’ Hat

A Play with Music

By Michael Hollinger

Directed by David Catlin

Music Direction by Chuck Larkin

Preview Performances: November 26 – December 2, 2021

Press Opening: December 3, 2021 at 8pm

Regular Run: December 4, 2021 – January 2, 2022


In a cozy Victorian shop sits the hat of Charles Dickens, who once used it to carry water to the victims of a train wreck (that’s true!). When a pair of bumbling thieves plots to steal it (that’s imaginary!), young Kit sets out to foil their plan, save the hat, and free her father from debtors’ prison. Filled with a host of colorful characters, constables, and carolers, this warm winter’s tale with original music brings to life the universal lesson: “Beneath our hats, we are all the same.”




1616 N. Wells Street, Chicago


The Second City presents its 109th Mainstage revue

Happy to Be Here*

Press Opening: September 30, 2021 at 7pm

You’re gonna want to sit down for this news. We’re warming up the bentwood chairs and ready to invite you back inside our theater! Join humans on stage making humans in the audience laugh as we toast being together again. Our Mainstage performances are a celebration of our resilience, our relationships, and our mutual need to get back into the habit of making eye contact. We’ve been pushed apart both physically and politically for way too long…now it’s time to enjoy some good, clean (or at the very least...ultra-hygienic) togetherness.

ChiIL out in Chi, IL, mask up, and see some shows! As always, check back with (adult) and (family friendly) early and often for original reviews, arts and entertainment news, photo filled recaps, giveaways, and more. See you out there!

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