Showing posts with label Evanston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evanston. Show all posts

Thursday, March 2, 2023

INCOMING: Nathan Graham, The Pinkerton Raid and Nicholas Johnson at SPACE March 6, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Nathan Graham, The Pinkerton Raid and Nicholas Johnson at SPACE next Monday, March 6: 


Evanston, IL // Doors: 6pm | Show: 7pm // Tickets: $12 - $20

The Pinkerton Raid is "a towering forest of indie rock with a timbre of folk that shadows Langhorne Slim, Cold War Kids and The Killers," says THE SPILL.

The Pinkerton Raid PinkertonRaid
Photo Credit: Kendall Bailey 

2022’s THE HIGHWAY MOVES THE WORLD begins two decades ago in band leader Jesse James DeConto’s childhood basement, where he learned The Beatles and first turned a songwriter’s eye on his own rich and complicated family life. "Radiant," says AMERICAN SONGWRITER. 

"Poignant," claims ROLLING STONE. "Anthemic," according to AMERICANA-UK.

Since the lockdowns, DeConto is back on the road with a totally new Pinkerton Raid lineup but, as always, they are a gang of friends with a full-band sound.

The Highway Moves the World: 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo at Northwestern University's Wirtz Center April 22 – May 1, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Northwestern’s Wirtz Center closes season with bold dramas

“Bengal Tiger” and “Water by the Spoonful” 

provide relevant connections to our time

I'll be checking out Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo on the 23rd, with my son. I reviewed this play at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre back in January of 2013 and still recall the deep impact it made. I just reviewed the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's new smash hit at Steppenwolf last month (King James Review) and can't wait to see Northwestern's take on his award winning words.

"GROUNDBREAKING… I'm tempted to call it the most original drama written so far about the Iraq war, but why sell the work short? The imagination behind it is way too thrillingly genre-busting to be confined within such a limiting category."

—Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

The complexities of our current times are reflected in two bold dramas set to take the stage at Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts on the Evanston campus this spring. “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” blends the realities of war and humor as a tiger haunts the streets of present-day Baghdad seeking the meaning of life. The second offering, “Water by the Spoonful,” is a Pulitzer prize-winning drama about forgiveness, redemption and family in a precarious, virtual world that reverberates in real life.

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”

April 22 – May 1

Josephine Louis Theater

“Bengal Tiger at Baghdad Zoo” is based on a real-life incident at the Baghdad Zoo involving two U.S. Marines and an Iraqi translator who encounter a tiger. The play unfolds to reveal how war influences each of these characters.

“When I picked this play, there was no war,” said director Hamid Dehghani, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Communication. “But now, we are unfortunately dealing with a terrible war in Ukraine, making this show even more relevant.”

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” was written by Steppenwolf Theater ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, and appeared on Broadway in 2011 starring Robin Williams as the Tiger in the actor's Broadway debut.

“I think Rajiv Joseph realized that a play all about war and violence is a challenging play to watch — it does have its moments that are quite intense,” said Ph.D. student Keary Watts, dramaturg for the production. “Joseph layers in comedy and absurdist elements to give the audience a break, in some sense, but also to show that these characters have levity and that these characters are more than just a type. They're more than just soldiers or interpreters, or animals, they are fully formed beings capable of being serious in one moment and lighthearted in the next.”.

Performances of "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.


“Water by the Spoonful”

May 20 – 29

Ethel M. Barber Theater

“‘Water by the Spoonful’ is a heartfelt, poetic meditation on people at the brink of redemption and self-discovery that takes place during a time of heightened uncertainty,” said director Ji Won Jeon, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Communication.

“This play is especially relevant given the impact of human connections and the virtual aspects related to the pandemic these past few years,” he said.

Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, Tony-nominated for “In the Heights” and screenwriter for the film, tells the story of two families — one connected by birth, one discovered online — who struggle with human connection but reveal that honest relationships are the lifeline in our brutal world.

“‘Water by the Spoonful’ paints a vivid portrait of addicts' struggles,” said Lia Christine Dewey, dramaturg and Northwestern Ph.D. candidate. “It's all about human connections and failing the people you care most about.” 

Performances of "Water by the Spoonful" are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.



More information and tickets for both shows are available on the Wirtz Center website. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 847-491-7282 or in-person at the Wirtz Center box office, located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday’s from noon to 4 p.m.  The box office is closed Sundays and Mondays.

The Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

Monday, January 27, 2020

OPENING: Legally Blonde: The Musical at Northwestern’s Wirtz Center Feb. 14 to March 1, 2020

America’s beloved blonde law student takes the stage at Northwestern’s Wirtz Center
“Legally Blonde: The Musical” 
(complete with canines) 
opens Valentine’s Day

Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts presents “Legally Blonde: The Musical” Feb. 14 to March 1.

Elle Woods, Bel Air's favorite pink-clad blonde, and her equally stylish Chihuahua, Bruiser seem to have it all until Elle’s boyfriend dumps her to attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle charms her way into law school, then discovers she has far more legal savvy than she ever imagined. 

Based on the popular 2001 movie, this musical comedy with book by Heather Hatch and music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin is directed and choreographed by Christopher Chase Carter.

“‘Legally Blonde’ is just as relevant today because it is all about breaking down stereotypes,” said Chase Carter, known to Chicago audiences for his recent directing work for Theo Ubique Cabaret’s production of “Working” and choreography for Porchlight Musical Theatre’s production of “A Chorus Line.”

Chase Carter even believes Elle’s signature color “pink” is about breaking down stereotypes.  “For many people, pink is seen as soft, or for girls, but in this show, pink makes a statement,” Chase Carter said. “It’s power, it’s vibrant and bold, and it’s a symbol for breaking down stereotypes.”

In addition to plenty of pink, this production includes two campus canines: Atty, who plays Bruiser, Elle’s stylish Chihuahua and Shlomo, who plays Rufus, Elle’s manicurist and confidant’s dog. Bruiser’s pet parent is Caleb Whittaker, a Northwestern student, and Rufus’ pet parent is China Whitmire, house manager for the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

“It’s always interesting working with animals,” Chase Carter said. “You can’t always communicate 100 percent of what you want them to do.” Despite the communication challenges, Chase Carter knows the canines add something very special to the cast. “Bruiser is Elle’s dearest friend, he serves as an important support system for her,” Chase Carter said.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” opens Valentine’s Day, Fri., Feb. 14 and continues performances through March 1 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.

Tickets are available now on the Wirtz Center website, by phone at 847-491-7282 or in-person at the Wirtz Center box office, which is located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater.

Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. The box office is closed Sundays and Mondays. 

The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts annually mounts more than 40 productions in theater, music theater and dance. Undergraduate actors, managers and playwrights, alongside graduate actors, designers, directors and dramaturgs, collaborate on works both classic and contemporary for audiences of all ages. The Center adheres to and reflects the academic mission of the University, the curricular needs of the theater and performance studies departments and the educational priorities of communication students. It exists in service to the campus and the greater community of the Metropolitan Chicago area.

The Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.  

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

SAVE THE DATE: Last Thoughts of Mary Stuart An Equity Staged Reading with Music at Evanston’s Celtic Knot 4/18/19

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Phantom Collective Presents 
Last Thoughts of Mary Stuart
An Equity Staged Reading with Music
Thursday, April 18, 7 pm at Evanston’s Celtic Knot

WHAT: Last Thoughts of Mary Stuart by June Sawyers is a dramatic reading about the final hours before Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed in 1587 at age 44. The reading will be preceded by a concert of music associated with or about Mary. Reading runs about 90 minutes without intermission.

WHEN: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7 p.m. 

WHERE: Celtic Knot Public House, 626 Church Street, Evanston, IL, 847-864-1679, street parking, Davis Street Purple Line EL stop
TICKETS: FREE (suggested $15 donation at the door)

Top: Amy Montgomery. Clockwise from upper left: Erica Bittner, Kathy Cowan, Melissa Van Kersen, Justine Serino. 

ARTISTS: Amy Montgomery (Mary, Queen of Scots)

Erica Bittner, Kathy Cowan, Justine Serino,and Melissa Van Kersen (the Four Marys)

Bittner will also sing “Fotheringay,” about Mary’s last hours

Tim Macdonald (fiddler) and Andrew Calhoun (singer)

Karin McKie (director)

HISTORY: Mary Stuart has long been a topic of fascination across mediums, most recently in the 2018 biopic starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth. Last Thoughts of Mary Stuart explores the final hours of Mary, Queen of Scots, before her execution at Fotheringay Castle, England, on February 8, 1587. After 19 years of imprisonment in various castles and manor houses throughout England for conspiring to assassinate the Protestant Elizabeth I, the Catholic Mary is suddenly told the night before she will face the chopping block the next morning. With her four loyal ladies in waiting––the famous Four Marys of legend who serve as a Greek chorus––and as the hours tick away, Mary looks back at her life as a monarch and as a woman living in a world dominated by powerful men. Was she a conniving villain, as some have portrayed her, or a victim of the sexist times in which she lived?

 Clockwise from upper left: Andrew Calhoun (guitar), Tim Macdonald (fiddle), Karin McKie, June Sawyers.

Inspired by pub theater,The Phantom Collective is a grassroots group that sponsors theater and music programs around Chicagoland, mostly but not exclusively, from the North American and Anglo-Celtic-Nordic traditions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

OPENING: Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter at The Actors Gymnasium With Chicago Theatre Week Discount Tickets

Actors Gymnasium joins the 100s of theatres participating in 
Chicago Theatre Week

ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows are long time fans of the phenomenal classes and shows produced at The Actors Gymnasium (AG). In fact, we'll be there on Sunday to shoot stills and review their latest, Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter. We adore the circus arts genre and can't wait to catch this year's winter offering from AG. Check back soon for our full review. 

We've also been on board with promoting Chicago Theatre Week since it's inception 4 years ago and highly recommend checking out as many shows as possible. We're all about celebrating the rich tradition of theatre-going in Chicago and these ticket specials are hard to beat. Chicago Theatre Week 2016 will be held February 11-21 and will include specially-priced tickets to more than 100 shows. 

Visitors and residents will again have the opportunity to sample the extraordinary range of theatrical offerings throughout Chicagoland. The CTW ticket offers are listed on a centralized website - Book yours ASAP as many of these shows do sell out. Chicago Theatre Week is presented by the League of Chicago Theatres with support from Choose Chicago.

As part of the celebration of Chicago's theatre scene, The Actors Gymnasium will offer discounted tickets to the first two weekends of Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter, the latest production in its winter circus series.

Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter trailer - 
Actors Gym 2016 Winter Circus

Through the spectacular circus wizardry of The Actors Gymnasium, Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter tells a time-spanning, multi-generational story that explores how our friendships stay with us over time, recede, and can come back to save us just when we need them to. Marnie and Phil met when they were just young circus students, and became instant friends.

But when the inevitable twists and turns of fate take them separate ways, they make a promise to always write to each other no matter where they are. As they each somersault through adventures of fame and heartache, and age begins to take its toll on their once nimble physiques, they seek each other out to perform one last show-their long-awaited debut! 

A new, original work of circus theatre, Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter is written and directed by Chris Mathews (ensemble member of The House Theatre of Chicago), and features a cast of Actors Gymnasium and Lookingglass Theatre favorites including Lindsey Noel Whiting (Lookingglass Alice, Lost & Found, The Magical Exploding Boy and The Invisible Circus), David Catlin (founding ensemble member of Lookingglass), Samuel Taylor (Lookingglass Alice, Back Room Shakespeare Project), and AG Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, as well as the premier students of the Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble. 

The show includes original songs by Lindsey Noel Whiting and music by award-winning Chicago composer Kevin O'Donnell (The House Theatre of Chicago, Andrew Bird), as well as lighting design from Maggie Fullilove-Nugent (The Hypocrites, The Ruffians). Jaw-dropping circus choreography will be led by Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. 

Beat the rush - Get your tickets today at 

February 13 - March 20, 2016 
Fridays at 7:30pm 
Saturdays 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm 
Sundays at 3:00 pm 

$25 for adult tickets! 
$15 for children, students and seniors! 
$25 At the Door

The Actors Gymnasium is located at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL - just off of the Noyes purple line 'L' stop. The Noyes Cultural Arts Center is owned by the City of Evanston and home to over 20 artists and arts organizations offering music, theater, and visual arts programs and studios. The galleries exhibit local artists, with exhibitions changing every two months.

About The Actors Gymnasium:

The Actors Gymnasium is dedicated to bringing a new physicality to the American Theatre. Encouraging ground-breaking theatrical exploration, The Actors Gymnasium teaches circus arts, physical theatre and multi-disciplinary performance to children and adults; produces original, daring works of circus-theatre; and serves as a talent resource, providing performance opportunities to our students and innovative professional event entertainment for a wider audience. At The Actors Gymnasium, people Learn To Fly - physically, emotionally, and creatively. For more information, please visit

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