Showing posts with label House Theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label House Theatre. Show all posts

Friday, December 15, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

JANUARY 19 – MARCH 11, 2018

This All-New Production of Hatfield & McCoy Now Features a Rich Score of Americana Music Spanning Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, and Pop. In an Homage to Romeo and Juliet, Political Divides Drive a Cycle of Violence Between Two Families

The House’s Company Member Matt Hawkins playing at the Chopin Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., January 19 – March 11, 2018. Inspired by the true story of famous feuding families, and by Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, the production features original songs by Pfautsch and Matt Kahler. Preview performances are Friday, Jan. 19 – Saturday, Jan. 27 following the regular schedule, barring matinees. (NOTE: The January 21 preview performance begins at 7 p.m).  Opening/press night is Sunday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.  The performance schedule is Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $20 and regular run tickets range from $30 – $50. Same-day tickets for students and industry professionals are $20 and available for all dates, seats permitting. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832. 

On the border of Kentucky and West Virginia, North and South, fact and fiction, two cabins both alike in dignity wage a whip-smart war of words and bullets. Hatfield & McCoy tells the true tale of the most infamous family feud in American history. Set at the close of the Civil War, a battle of Us versus Them catches two young lovers in a deadly cycle of violence.

Gunfire and romance escalate when young Rose Anna McCoy and Johnse Hatfield fall in love, marry in secret, and vow to reconcile their feuding families. Their tale of woe is served up with a heaping helping of original Americana tunes, connecting their past to our present.

New music created for the show represents Americana styles across generations, from bluegrass to 2017 pop. Hatfield & McCoy features a live band on stage comprised of synths, keyboards, an upright bass, fiddle, and guitar plus actors playing guitars, mandolins, banjos and vocals.

Hatfield & McCoy received its world premiere at The House in 2006. Workshops for the 2018 production were supported by University of Chicago’s UChicago Performance Lab.

The cast for Hatfield & McCoy includes: Robert D. Hardaway (Devil Anse Hatfield), Marika Mashburn* (Levicy Hatfield), Michael E. Smith* (Jim Vance), Jeff Mills (Bad Lias Hatfield), Kyle Whalen (Johnse Hatfield), Jenni M. Hadley (Hatfield Sister), Tia Pinson (Hatfield Sister, U/S Alifair), Ann Delaney (Hatfield Sister, U/S Jenni and Tia), Anish Jethmalani^ (Ol Ranl McCoy), Stacy Stoltz*^ (Sarah McCoy), Bradley Grant Smith (“Squirrel Huntin” Sam McCoy), Haley Bolithon (Rose Anna McCoy), Collin Quinn Rice (Calvin McCoy), Khloe Janel (Alifair McCoy), Cody Proctor (Asa “Harmon” McCoy), Tommy Malouf (Tolbert McCoy), Royen Kent (Pharmer McCoy), Kyle Ryan (Randolph “Bud” McCoy), Desmond Gray (Bill Staton) and Jamie Vann (Marshal Frank Phillips).

Additional understudies include Adam Benjamin (U/S Devil Anse Hatfield, Ol Ranl), Tobi Mattingly (U/S Levicy, Sarah), Jacob Fjare (U/S Jim, Bad Lias, Marshal), Andy Monson (U/S Bill Stanton, Harmon, Sam, Sibling Swing) and Ethan Peterson (U/S Sibling Swing).Musicians in Hatfield & McCoy include: Matthew Muñiz* (Music Director/Keyboard), Jake Saleh (Upright Bass), and Jess McIntosh (Fiddle).

The creative and design team for Hatfield & McCoy includes: Matt Hawkins* (director), Shawn Pfautsch* (writer, co-composer), Madison Smith (assistant director), Lee Keenan* (scenic/lighting designer), Ellie Terrell (associate scenic designer, props designer), Emily McConnell (costume designer), Grover Hollway (sound designer), Matt Kahler (co-composer), Katherine Scott (choreographer), Marika Mashburn* (casting director) and Lauren Baston* (stage manager).

*Company Member with The House  ^Actor’s Equity Association Member

ABOUT SHAWN PFAUTSCH, Playwright, Co-Composer
Pfautsch is a playwright, musician, actor and a veteran company member of The House Theatre of Chicago, enlisting from the very beginning in 2000. His full-length plays, Season on the Line, The Attempters, and Hatfield & McCoy have all received their world premieres with The House. As an actor, he has been on stage around Chicago at: The House (Death & Harry Houdini, Cyrano, Thieves Like Us) Steppenwolf (Theatrical Essays), Chicago Children’s Theatre (A Year with Frog and Toad, Frederick), and The Hypocrites (Gilbert & Sullivan Rep). As part of The Hypocrites’ Gilbert & Sullivan rep, he has performed around the country, from Boston to Berkeley, Louisville and the DC area and most recently in New York City (Skirball Center at NYU) and Pasadena Playhouse. His short plays and one-acts have been produced in Chicago as well as Texas, Florida and Iowa.  

Hawkins is a Chicago-based director, actor, fight choreographer and movement director.  He is a Founding Member of The House Theatre of Chicago and an Artistic Associate with Strawdog Theatre Company.  Over the past fifteen years he has worked with theatres such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Festival, Kennedy Center, South Coast Rep, American Players’ Theatre, Drury Lane, Marriott, Paramount, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Lookingglass, Court Theatre and Writers Theatre. He has also worked extensively with Chicago Shakespeare and their education department, by serving as the director and voice/movement director of the Chicago Public Schools program, which was the recipient of the Humanities Youth Program Award in 2014, awarded by The White House and First Lady Michelle Obama.  He holds a BFA in acting from Southern Methodist University and an MFA in directing from The University of Iowa.  He has been nominated for thirteen Jeff Awards and has received five. Later this year he will direct and choreograph Spring Awakening (Notre Dame) and choreograph violence for Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare). He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame, where he serves as head of musical theatre for the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre.  He is married to actor/director/documentarian Stacy Stoltz.

Matt Kahler’s regional credits as a performer include The Pirates of Penzance (Actors Theater of Louisville; American Repertory Theater). Chicago credits include Animal Farm (Steppenwolf), Equivocation (Victory Gardens Theater); Hank Williams: Lost Highway (American Blues), Coriolanus, HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, Frankenstein (The Hypocrites); Richard III, Macbeth, Comedy of Errors (Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre); and Watership Down (Lifeline Theater). 

The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards (22 wins), became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 

2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 16th year of original work is underway and The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

Monday, September 12, 2016

REVIEW: Puppets With Panache Kick Off House Theatre's 15th Season

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
A Puppet-Filled Portrait of a Prodigy in Peril


The House’s Anniversary Season Opener Tells the Graphic and Haunting Tale of the Creation of Legendary Puppets Punch and Judy

Sarah Cartwright (back) as Charlotte, L to R in masks: Carolyn Hoerdemann, Owais Ahmed, Will Casey, Joey Steakley; Johnny Arena as Punch (front)

All Production Photos by Michael Brosilow



**This production is recommended for ages 12 years old and older.**

The excitement was palpable at last night's opening of the world premiere of A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch. I brought the whole family and the teens and adults all loved it! This show is phenomenal kick off to The House Theatre's 15th season. 

Johnny Arena as Punch, masks by Jesse Mooney-Bullock 

We highly recommend A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch. It's not only wildly and wonderfully entertaining, but a compelling commentary on the value of street art and in fact, art's place in society. We love the character of Charlotte (Sarah Cartwright), the young orphan, and we're thrilled she's a bright and scrappy girl, when there's still such a lack of great role models who are young girls in major roles. Adrian Danzig is also brilliant as the gruff loner puppeteer, Pietro. Don't miss THIS!!

Sarah Cartwright as Charlotte

Adrian Danzig as Pietro, Sarah Cartwright as Charlotte

Sarah Cartwright as Charlotte


... and that's how it's done.

House Theatre has long been one of our top favorites on the Chicago scene, and they consistently bring stellar story telling to the table in creative ways. We're completely enamored with this script and the clever staging that brings the iconic Punch and Judy puppets to life as human sized players. This production at once explores the cathartic violence that characterizes the infamous Punch and Judy genre and shatters it, with a young girl who's ready to move the narrative beyond the wife beating, baby killing, bad boy schtick. Highly recommended!

Come one, come all. Come small, come tall. ‘Tis time, dear Punch. 
Dear Punch, ‘tis time.”

The House Theatre's attention to detail is stunning, from their programs, which are always works of art in themselves, to the set design and props. We adore the collectable postcards that turn into 3 different finger puppets. The House even thoughtfully provided baskets of scissors and tape so the audience could assemble theirs on the spot! 

Do note, this is not a children's show. Everyone has different levels of comfort with violence, so younger children could enjoy this production with parental guidance, but the storyline is truly aimed at teens and adults. 

Dangerously dark and decidedly violent, this production is best enjoyed by adults and teens. Read the Parents' Guide for content warnings. 

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:



Whenever The House Theatre announces a new show or a favorite remount I get all excited like a little kid at Christmas. Their season opener is no exception. They had me at the title. I mean really, The House Theatre prowess AND puppetry are two of our favorite things. And, extra bonus, Adrian Danzig, Chicago dad and one of our favorites for physical comedy, stars as Pietro the puppet master in this world premiere. We've known him since his son was in preschool with my 13 year old daughter and we've adored his work in 500 Clown, Go Dog Go with Chicago Children's Theatre, and so much more.

The House Theatre of Chicago is proud to announce its 2016 – 2017 season opening production, the world premiere of Kara Davidson’s A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch. Influenced by the long history of puppets, Punch and Judy, and directed by Shade Murray, the production runs September 2 – October 23 at the Chopin Theatre’s Upstairs Theater, 1543 W. Division St.

Sarah Cartwright as Charlotte, Joey Steakley as Joey the Clown, with hand puppet by Jesse Mooney-Bullock 

RUN DATES: September 2-October 23, 2016
TIMES: Thursdays - Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm (no shows 9/15 and 9/22)
PRICES: $15 - $35

Regular run tickets range from $30-35. $15 same-day tickets for students and industry professionals are available for all dates, seats permitting. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832. 

RUN TIME: 2 hours, 15 minutes with one intermission

Charlotte, a young orphan, has made a home for herself thieving on the streets of London. She soon falls into employment as the assistant to an eccentric Italian puppeteer, Pietro. A master of the violent Punch and Judy puppet show, Pietro becomes a reluctant mentor to Charlotte. She is inspired and charmed by his bold, cheeky, and witty creations. The two become an efficient pair under Pietro's gruff and focused attention. As their partnership flourishes, Charlotte's vivid imagination calls the puppets to life to conjure her own versions of the classic tales. But Pietro may not let his protégé cut the strings easily. Reality blurs as live actors, hand puppets, shadow puppetry and marionettes share the stage to illustrate a dark reality of imperfect adults, corrupt authority, class discrepancy, and violence.

Will Casey as the Officer, Echaka Agba as Polly 

Davidson’s A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch takes audiences back to the arrival of the Punch and Judy show in 18th-century England, before it became a popular seaside and country fair entertainment staple. The production features puppet creations from Jesse Mooney-Bullock, designer of the puppets for The House’s The Hammer Trinity. Today, many Punch and Judy shows are censored, removing Punch's cruel and murderous nature, opting for themes that are more palatable for youthful ears. But Mister Punch can't escape his peppered past. Why do we cheer for this scoundrel? How does Mister Punch, a character who has been depicted as a merciless hero-villain for over two hundred years, get away with abuse and murder? Perhaps something meaningful lies underneath Mister Punch's colorful yet ruthless exterior. 

The cast includes: Adrian Danzig, “Pietro;’ Johnny Arena*, “Punch;” Sarah Cartwright, “Charlotte;” Will Casey, “Officer” and others; Joey Steakley*, “Joey” and others; Carolyn Hoerdemann, “Judy” and others; Echaka Agba, “Polly” and others; Michael E Smith*, “Crocodile” and others and Owais Ahmed, “Flirt” and others. Understudies include: Ben Hertel, Joseph “Joey” Galizia, Vahishta Vafadari, Carlos Almedo and Gillian Butcher.
*House Company Member

Adrian Danzig as Pietro, Echaka Agba as Polly

The design team includes: Lee Keenan*, scenic designer; Izumi Inaba, costume designer; Mike Durst, lighting designer; Kevin O’Donnell*, sound designer; John Fournier, composer; Jesse Mooney-Bullock, puppet designer; David Woolley, choreographer; Jon Beal, assistant choreographer; Adam Goldstein, dialect coach; Brian DesGranges*, stage manager; and Eleanor Kahn, props master.

Kara Davidson has been working with the House as an actor since 2013, but is excited to be stepping into the role of playwright this season! Two of her original full-length scripts were previously produced in the Twin Cities with Dovetail Theatre Company (of which she was a co-founder), and she is thrilled that Mister Punch will be making its world premiere on a Chicago stage. Previous (and current) productions with The House include Death and Harry Houdini (2013 and current), The Hammer Trinity, and Rose and the Rime. Around Chicago, Kara has also worked with Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, and Manual Cinema, among others, and she regularly writes and performs for The Plagiarists "Salon" series. She holds degrees in Theatre Performance and French from the University of Nebraska.

Shade Murray is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theater, where he has directed the world premieres of Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Ike Holter’s Sender, as well as productions of Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky and The Butcher of Baraboo, Annie Baker’s The Aliens, Nick Jones’ Trevor, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire.  He also performed in the A Red Orchid production of The Mutilated. Other directing credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Steep Theater, Second City, Writers’ Theater, The Inconvenience, Strawdog, and elsewhere. Murray is a lecturer at University of Chicago and teaches at DePaul University and Actors’ Studio Chicago.

The first record of the puppet, that eventually grew to be the infamous Punch, was made by Samuel Pepys in the late 17th century. He wrote his observations on the Italian puppet show playing in London’s Covent Garden in his journal. At the time Punch, short for Punchinello, was a puppet on strings but eventually, along with his wife Judy, evolved after nearly a hundred years to become glove puppets dressed in a jester-like fashion.

Adrian Danzig as Pietro, Sarah Cartwright as Charlotte
Pietro instructs Charlotte to keep an eye out for the Officer during the show.

Puppeteers favored street performances at first, where the title of “Punch and Judy” was born, but eventually found their way to the seaside to perform to those on vacation. Today, various iterations of the show with roots in Commedia dell’ Arte, clown and slapstick comedy can still be found at the seaside, street festivals and carnivals around the world.

Charlotte, a young orphan, has made a life for herself thieving on the streets of London. She wiggles her way into employment for an eccentric Italian puppeteer, Pietro, collecting coins from his crowds and watching out for the law. They quickly become an efficient pair under Pietro's gruff and focused attention. As their partnership flourishes, so does Charlotte’s vivid imagination. Soon, the violent Punch and Judy puppets jump to life as she conjures up her own spins on the classic tales. But Pietro may not want his protégé pulling the strings.

Our "merry little play" reveals the dark underbelly of 18th century London as Charlotte’s reality blurs with the frantic world of Punch and Judy. Filled with live actors, hand puppets, shadow puppetry, and marionettes, the story uncovers the dangers lurking in an unjust world. 
Show Dates:
Sep 2 2016 to Oct 23 2016
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St, Chicago



The Magic Parlour is one of our top favorites of all times, and nothing short of astonishing. Dennis Watkins is out of the dunk tank and into the parlour! Death and Harry Houdini (with its nerve wracking water torture chamber trick) has finished another acclaimed run, but you can still catch the star, prolific prestidigitator, Dennis Watkins, in his snazzy solo show at the iconic Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago. I caught The Magic Parlour back when the show was playing in the shabby chic basement of the Chopin Theatre. Several years back they moved to fancier digs, and this intimate show has grown in popularity. We took the whole family last year and even the jaded teens adored it. Dennis is the real deal, and a joy to see in action. Prepare to be mystified. Oh SO highly recommended. ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List. 

Performances begin again September 2 with more performances this year than ever before!

TIMES: Friday nights at 7:30 and 9:30pm, Saturdays at 4:30, 7:30 and 9:30pm
PRICE: $79
AGES: Recommended for ages 12 and up!
RUN TIME: The show runs about 75 minutes. 

An intimate evening of classic magic with Houdini himself, in the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Award-winning, third-generation magician Dennis Watkins delivers an evening of sophisticated tom-foolery in one of the Windy City's most unique entertainment experiences. Dennis Watkins. Experience the premier magic show in Chicago, featuring mystifying feats of prestidigitation, sleight of hand, mentalism, and more. The Magic Parlour is replete with mind-blowing magic and mind reading in an intimate suite at the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel.

Guests convene at Potter's on the lobby level and will be escorted to the private performance venue. 

"A SOPHISTICATED NIGHT-CAP. You’ll be mightily impressed! " 
-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“A perfect evening of illusion and laughter… The Magic Parlour TRANSFORMED a roomful of tired adults into WIDE-EYED, WIDE AWAKE innocents. And that in itself is Watkins’ most impressive trick." 
-Chicago Theater Beat

“This late-night magic show is exactly what it should be: funny, lively, intimate, and UTTERLY BAFFLING.” 
-The Chicago Reader

Check out our Yelp reviews for more glowing recommendations from mystified patrons

Show Dates:
Sep 2 2016 to Jul 1 2017
Location: The Palmer House Hilton Hotel

17 East Monroe Street, Chicago IL 60603

The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular art form.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 60 Joseph Jefferson Awards (21 wins), became the
first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. Now in its 14th year of original work, The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

REVIEW: Shakespeare 400 Continues With I, Malvolio and Tug of War at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

Tonight, ChiIL Mama will be ChiILin' out at The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre with England's hilarious Tim Crouch. As I've mentioned many times before, Twelfth Night has been a favorite of mine since I was in the show myself in college. As many wildly varied adaptations as I've seen, I can't say I've ever seen it done as an hour long solo show from Malvolio's point of view. I'm very much looking forward to it. Get your tickets fast, as this is a short one week run.

I, Malvolio | Tim Crouch Theatre at Chicago Shakespeare Theater | Photo by Bruce Atherton and Jana Chiellino

Shakespeare 400 Chicago continues with 
Celebrated UK theater-maker, Tim Crouch’s reimagining of Twelfth Night
Hilarious and thought-provoking rant by Twelfth Night's slandered steward
5 performances only as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago, June 2–5

On the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016, Chicago Shakespeare Theater welcomes one of Britain’s most innovative and respected theater makers, Tim Crouch, in his inventive one-man show 
I, Malvolio as part of the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival line-up. Following the international success of Crouch’s I, CalibanI,Peaseblossom and I, Banquo—a collection of plays shedding light on some of Shakespeare’s more shadowy characters—I, Malvolio plucks the pompous steward out of Shakespeare’s  Twelfth Night and unravels a hilarious and thought-provoking story of cruelty, self-hatred and revenge. 

Conceived, written and performed by Crouch and designed by Olivier Award-winner Graeme Gilmour, I, Malvolio is performed in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare for five performances only, June 2–5, 2016.  

Performance Listing
Thursday, June 2 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 3 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 – 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 – 2:00 p.m.
For more information about the production, visit

Reimagining the much-maligned steward pining for his mistress in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, I, Malvolio is a charged, hysterical and sometimes unsettling rant from a man adrift in front of a cruel audience. Crouch’s Malvolio asks the audience to explore the delight we take in other people’s suffering. Part clown, part theater-hating disciplinarian, Malvolio is ultimately a man sorely wronged. Both heart-breaking and ingenious with a crass sense of humor, I, Malvolio takes the audience on a one-hour ride, humanizing the character with raw honesty.

The Guardian gives I, Malvolio five stars—saying “Tim Crouch is at the top of his game, sharing a text that plays as much with intelligence as slapstick.” 

The New York Times declares “I, Malvolio improbably finds its own delicate sweet (and sour) spot between comedy and self-subverting analysis.” 

The Times (UK) praises “this is a treasure…Immaculate, moving, funny, wise.” 

Crouch’s Malvolio is described by the Scotland Herald as “a pompous ass who falls somewhere between the buffoonery of Boris Johnson, the absurdism of Vic Reeves and the misguided self-importance of the late Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell.” 

The production has amused and affected audiences on stages around the globe in Sydney, Singapore and New York. Described as “one of the smartest artists making theatre in Britain now” by Kulturflash, Tim Crouch is a multi-talented theater maker who writes, performs and produces new work. Crouch’s work is noted for rejecting theatrical conventions and for engaging the audience in an active role during the performance. He has collaborated with some of the UK’s finest theater companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre and the British Council. 

Currently, he is adapting and directing Spymonkey’s highly anticipated premiere of The Complete Deaths, which will be presented by Chicago Shakespeare as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago, November 30–December 11, 2016.

More of ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List:
Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Tug of War is a 6 hour epic and we highly recommend it! The live band on stage, melding of anti war ballads, and tales of soldiers, kings, passion and power plays makes this production a must see. I never thought I'd hear Pink Floyd ballads and Shakespeare sharing a stage! Chicago Shakespeare makes it work and then some. Ancient history comes alive and it's stunning how little has truly changed in the world in over 400 years. The "Tug of War" is indeed mighty and nearly inescapable. 

We particularly loved the minimalist set design reminiscent of tire swings, junk yards, and children's playground games like capture the flag and king of the hill. The costume design was also fantastically ragtag and we adored the kings' capes with their names running around the bottom hem and their likenesses on their backs. This production is highly entertaining and a fabulous alternative to binge watching TV at home. Try out this historical Game of Thrones. There's something cathartic about seeing so much live theatre for hours on end that has to be experienced at least once.

Take a day for this full on Shakespeare immersion. Great for an adult day out or for families with tweens and up. My 15 year old son has now completed the Chicago theatre trifecta with me in the last couple of years. Together we enjoyed the award winning 12 hour All Our Tragic by The Hypocrites, the 9 hour Hammer Trinity by House Theatre and now Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Tug of War. This show makes ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List. Highly recommended.

Get ready for the ultimate game of thrones... Artistic Director Barbara Gaines takes us on a riveting gallop through two centuries, distilling six Shakespeare masterworks into two action-packed dramas that trace the rise and fall of kings, and the uncommon courage of common men. Power plays, ego, lust, humor and, yes, even love: no writer surpassed Shakespeare in portraying the forces that drive leaders to war—or the wisdom and valor of the common soldier. Twenty-two actors including a four-member band, form the company that will satisfy your craving for a multi-episode immersion into some of the most brilliant stories of the cyclical human condition. The adventure begins with Edward III, Henry V and Henry VI, Part 1 in Foreign Fire, where France is the prize. The action continues in Fall 2016 when turmoil seizes England in Tug of War: Civil Strife.

This fabulous, free program has been a favorite of ours since it's inception. Bring a picnic, a chair and as many friends, neighbors and family members as you can rally. Shakespeare in the Parks is a multigenerational must see and great for Chicago's communities. ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?! Highly recommended. ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List: Family Friendly Fun for all ages.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. During 2016, CST has spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

Shakespeare 400 Chicago is a yearlong international arts festival in 2016 celebrating the vibrancy, relevance and reach of Shakespeare. As the world commemorates the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Shakespeare 400 Chicago engages more than 500,000 Chicagoans and visitors to the City through 850 events. Spearheaded by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and with leading support from the Julius Frankel Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, this quadricentennial celebration is anticipated to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive celebration of Shakespeare’s enduring legacy. Current and upcoming highlights include: Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Tug of War: Foreign Fire, adapted and directed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines (ongoing to June 12); CST’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night (July 14–August 14); David Carl in NY Fringe Festival hit, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (July 12–17) and the Shakespeare’s Globe production of The Merchant of Venice starring Jonathan Pryce (August 4–14)

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