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Showing posts with label Mercury Theater Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mercury Theater Chicago. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2019

CELEBRATE PRIDE WITH GET HAPPY: ANGELA INGERSOLL SINGS JUDY GARLAND at Mercury Theater Chicago's Venus Cabaret Theater June 20-30, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Artists Lounge Live presents 
GET HAPPY: 
ANGELA INGERSOLL SINGS JUDY GARLAND 
AT MERCURY THEATER'S 
VENUS CABARET


Emmy Nominee and Jeff Award Winner Angela Ingersoll Channels Judy Garland in Concert June 20-30

I've had the great pleasure to catch Angela Ingersoll live, embodying the soul of Judy Garland, and her vocal and physical resemblance is uncanny! She's a consummate performer and a joy to see. Combine her delightful rendition of Garland's legacy with one of our favorite intimate spaces, Mercury Theater Chicago's Venus Cabaret Theater, and it's sure to be an epic experience.

Artists Lounge Live presents GET HAPPY: ANGELA INGERSOLL SINGS JUDY GARLAND, June 20-30, at Mercury Theater Chicago's Venus Cabaret Theater, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. Angela Ingersoll's Emmy-nominated performance, as seen on PBS, celebrates Judy Garland live in concert with virtuosic vocals, compassionate storytelling, and naturally winning humor. Her intimate engagement at Venus Cabaret commemorates the 50th anniversary of Garland's passing and invites audiences to raise a glass to the birth of the Pride movement.

In addition to headlining concert stages nationwide, Ingersoll won acclaim for her superb portrayal of Garland in the play End of the Rainbow, including Chicago's Jeff Award and LA Times Woman of the Year in Theatre. Chicago Sun-Times exclaims, “Phenomenal. Judy Garland has been reborn.” Songs include "Over the Rainbow," "Get Happy," and "The Man That Got Away.” Presented by Artists Lounge Live and Mercury Theater Chicago.

GET HAPPY: ANGELA INGERSOLL SINGS JUDY GARLAND runs June 20 through 30, 2019. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 3:30pm. Tickets are priced at $65 and are available online at MercuryTheaterChicago.com, by phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at the Mercury Theater Box Office, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. More information is available online HERE.

LA Times cheers, “Ingersoll has incandescent star power.” Angela Ingersoll headlines concert stages nationwide with her Emmy Award-nominated performance, Get Happy: Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland, as seen on PBS. Ingersoll is also known for her stunning portrayal of Garland in the play End of the Rainbow (Chicago: Porchlight Music Theatre; Los Angeles: La Mirada Theatre, Laguna Playhouse; St Louis: Max & Louie Productions). Her star turn earned acclaim including Chicago's Jeff Award, a Broadway World Award, and LA Times Woman of the Year in Theatre. Attracting the attention of Garland’s family, Ingersoll partnered with Garland’s son onstage for Joey Luft and Angela Ingersoll Celebrate Judy Garland. Other credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Hedy LaRue, Jeff Award nomination) at Marriott Theatre; and work with Paramount Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight, Drury Lane, Writers, Steppenwolf, The Second City, and Goodman Theatre. Other TV: Chicago PD. Other concerts: The 12 Dames of Christmas. Angela and husband Michael Ingersoll produce the Artists Lounge Live concert series. angelaingersoll.com

About Artists Lounge Live
Artists Lounge Live is a dynamic concert series featuring popular music of yesterday performed live by tremendous talent of today. Rising stars of stage and screen pay homage to the icons that influenced them in emotional evenings of storytelling and song. In addition to showcasing superb musicianship, powerful storytelling sets Artists Lounge Live apart. Shows explore the lives of icons with empathy and delve into the landscape of America when the music was being made. Headliners are not impersonators; rather, they are the artistic descendants of the icon they cover. By sharing their gratitude, the artists offer audiences a piece of their heart. Artists Lounge Live hopes that as you fall in love with the music all over again, you’ll also fall in love with the featured artist and their dedication to keeping your music alive for the next generation. Producer/performer Michael Ingersoll states, “Popular music is our shared heritage and we honor it the best way we know how: by gathering together to enjoy live entertainment. We believe in the restorative power of live entertainment, for both the individual and the community.” artistsloungelive.com

About Mercury Theater Chicago
The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is located in the heart of the Southport Corridor at 3745 North Southport Avenue, within a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful destination, Mercury Theater Chicago is a live-theater seating 290 people, adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (seating 80). Guests are taken care of from the moment they arrive with valet service and luxe farm-to-table dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Shows On Our Radar: AVENUE Q FUZZING UP THE MERCURY Through September 9th, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

AVENUE Q RETURNS TO THE MERCURY
Our homegrown production of 
AVENUE Q 
lovingly revived on the Mercury stage! 
After entertaining nearly 30,000 people over 169 shows and breaking all box office records for Mercury Theater Chicago, these sassy and lovable puppets are back for more fun and mischief.


**NOT FOR CHILDREN BUT HILARIOUS FOR THE REST OF US**
AVENUE Q may not be appropriate for young children because it addresses issues like sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn. Parents should use their discretion based on the maturity level of their children.


Come see what all the fuzz is about!  

I caught the press opening the last time Avenue Q played The Mercury years ago, and can't wait to return and experience it again. This time my son's 17 and old enough to be my +1, so I'm even more excited to vicariously enjoy his first time catching Avenue Q. It's an absolute favorite of mine, and The Mercury's intimate space and stellar staging is the best! Avenue Q makes for an excellent adult night out, or a fabulously fun way to mortify your older teens. Don't miss this. 

 
Winner of the Tony "Triple Crown" for Best Musical, Best Score
and Best Book in 2004, AVENUE Q is part flesh,
part felt, and packed with heart.

NOW PLAYING THROUGH SEPTEMBER 9TH





Audience members are falling in love with our newly revived production of AVENUE Q.

AVENUE Q will reunite several beloved cast members from 2014 including Jackson Evans as Princeton and Leah Morrow who will reprise her Jeff Award nominated role as Kate Monster. The production is led by Jeff Award Winners L. Walter Stearns (director), Eugene Dizon (musical direction), and Kevin Bellie (choreography) and features custom made puppets by Russ Walko. Winner of the Tony "Triple Crown" for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book in 2004, AVENUE Q is part flesh, part felt, and packed with heart.

We’re honored to have master puppeteer, actor, puppet designer and builder Rick Lyon to lead puppetry training. Rick was a puppeteer on Sesame Street for 15 seasons as one of the operators of Big Bird; the first puppet he built as a child was Kermit the frog. He appeared on Broadway originating the roles of Trekkie Monster, Nicky, the blue Bad Idea Bear, and other characters in AVENUE Q, for which he designed and created all of the puppets. In the fall of 2005 he reprised his roles in the production of the show in Las Vegas for eight months before returning to the Broadway cast. Since 2006, he has built puppets and coached productions in a number of countries including Sweden, Finland, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, France, Australia and China.




A racy cross between South Park and Sesame Street, AVENUE Q is a modern musical focusing on a group of unique 20-somethings making their way in the big city, seeking their purpose in life. Director L. Walter Stearns explains that the real magic of the show is when the audience “forgets that the puppets are nothing more than fur and felt and start to believe they have a mind, heart and soul.” It tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that although the residents seem nice, it's clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates and their ever-elusive purpose in life. Although AVENUE Q addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children's show: a place where puppets are friends, monsters are good and life lessons are learned.






Whether it's your first time or 100th time seeing the show, it never fails to touch your heart and make you smile.



Director L. Walter Stearns explains that the real magic of the show is when the audience “forgets that the puppets are nothing more than fur and felt and start to believe they have a mind, heart and soul.”



AVENUE Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on AVENUE Q. He soon discovers that although the residents seem nice, it's clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life.



Filled with gut-busting humor and a delightfully catchy score, Avenue Q has become a favorite for audiences everywhere. 

The production opened Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in March 2003, where it won the 2003 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Musical, as well as a nomination for the 2003 Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical award. It played on Broadway at the Golden Theatre from 2003 through 2009 and is currently playing Off-Broadway once again at New World Stages. Mercury Theater Chicago's 2014 production of AVENUE Q won a total of five Broadway World Awards including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Direction and was nominated for four Joseph Jefferson Awards including “Production – Musical – Midsize”. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune described the show as “delightfully sweet and vulnerable…could not be more fun or charming to watch!” and the Chicago Sun-Times Highly Recommended the show saying it was “better than the Broadway original!”



AVENUE Q features Music and Lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (co-creator of THE BOOK OF MORMON and recent Academy Award winner for FROZEN) and a Book by Jeff Whitty. We’re thrilled to reunite several cast members from 2014 including Jackson Evans as Princeton, Leah Morrow as Kate Monster, Daniel Smeriglio as Nicky and Stephanie Herman as Lucy the Slut. We’ll also welcome talented new faces to the AVENUE Q family including Jonah D. Winston as Trekkie Monster, Christian Siebert as Rod, Audrey J. Billings as Christmas Eve, Matthew Miles as Brian and David S. Robbins as Gary Coleman. John Gurdian, Andrew Lund, Maxton Smith, Janelle Villas and Stephanie Wohar will round out the AVENUE Q family. The design team includes Alan Donahue (scenic design), Rachel Boylan (costume design), Dustin L. Derry (lighting design) and Max Maxin IV (video design). Stage management is by Kristi Martens with assistant stage manager Kaitlin Moser.

Individual tickets range from $35-$65, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. Audience members are invited to upgrade their experience with an exclusive Post-Show Backstage Experience including a brief backstage tour, puppetry demonstration and Avenue Q souvenir for an additional $25 per person.




Get a behind-the-scenes look at Avenue Q Puppet Camp with original B'way cast member Rick Lyon:

BACKSTAGE EXPERIENCE:
Upgrade your experience at AVENUE Q with a backstage pass and get exclusive behind-the-scenes access after the show including a brief backstage tour, puppetry demonstration and Avenue Q souvenir.






Check out Mercury Theatre's site for dates, times and info and order your tickets today.


The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots. Under the Direction of L. Walter Stearns, Mercury Theater Chicago will follow AVENUE Q with a production of PIPPIN in Venus Cabaret Theater (August 16 to October 14, 2018).

AVENUE Q runs through September 9th. The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8:30pm and Sundays at 3pm. Sunday evening performances at 7:30pm will be added on July 22nd.







Saturday, March 24, 2018

OPENING: STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S COMPANY To Kick Off Grand Opening of Mercury Theater Chicago's Venus Cabaret Theater

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Mercury Theater Chicago Announces Grand Opening of
Venus Cabaret Theater and cast of
STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S COMPANY
April 5 – June 3, 2018



Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're beyond excited for the grand opening of Mercury Theater Chicago's Venus Cabaret Theater. I'll be ChiILin' at this stellar space, next door to Mercury Theater's main stage, for the press opening on April 15th, so check back soon for my full review. I've attended quite a few afterparties in this sweet space and can't wait to see the launch of their lineup of shows. Mercury and Venus are out of this world, with a fun lineup of annual favorites.

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – is pleased to announce the opening of VENUS CABARET THEATER with a uniquely intimate production of Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY, running from April 5th through June 3rd. Press opening is the weekend of April 13th-15th. Named for the planet next to Mercury, Venus Cabaret is a versatile new performance space offering food and drinks to complement each production. Audiences at COMPANY will be welcomed to Bobby’s 35th Birthday Party and will be treated to party appetizers, a cash bar and even birthday cake. Making his Mercury Theater Chicago debut, David Sajewich will be featured in the role of Bobby. The production will be led by Jeff Award winners L. Walter Stearns (Director) and Eugene Dizon (Musical Director).


Set in a swinging New York City, Stephen Sondheim’s game-changing musical is a sophisticated and honest look at modern adult relationships. On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor, Robert, contemplates his unmarried state. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks and even a wedding, his friends – “those good and crazy people, his married friends” – explain the pros and cons of taking on a spouse. Robert is forced to question his life choices and what it means to be alive.

From musical theater’s most renowned composer, COMPANY is regarded as a trailblazer of the dark-comedy, modern-musical genre and the winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Music and Lyrics (Stephen Sondheim) and Best Book (George Furth). With popular and familiar songs such as “Another Hundred People,” “Marry Me a Little,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” and “Being Alive,” COMPANY is just as entertaining, relevant, and relatable as it was when it debuted in 1970.

Audiences will be immersed into the action as they are welcomed at the door and immediately whisked into the world of Bobby’s Birthday Party. The characters will joke around and socialize with attendees as they wait for the big birthday surprise. All of the senses will be dazzled with food and drink offerings tailored to the show. Venus Cabaret Theater was designed to put the audience right in the middle of it all – everyone is a part of the story.



COMPANY will feature David Sajewich as “Bobby” and his cast of married friends will include Nicole Armold, Jenna Coker-Jones, Nicole Cready, Hannah Dawe, Greg Foster, Frederick Harris, Derek Self, Steve Silver, Ryan Stajmiger and Heather Townsend. The girlfriends in Bobby’s life include Kyrie Courter, Kiersten Frumkin and Allison Sill. The costume design is by Robert Kuhn, lighting design is by Dustin L. Derry and projection design is by Liviu Pasare. The stage manager is Richard Lundy.


After two years in the making and a $1M renovation, VENUS CABARET THEATER at Mercury Theater Chicago is finally ready for its grand opening. This versatile, state-of-the-art performance space seats 80 people in a flexible theater/dining space. The renovation was designed and built by Trent Zilmer (Z Design Build Group) with interior décor by Dianne Green Moen and theatrical technology by Mike Ross and Matt Gajowniczek (Sound Production and Lighting). The Mercury/Venus theater and restaurant complex is located in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.

The performance schedule for COMPANY is Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm. Wednesday evening performances at 7:30pm will be offered beginning on May 16th.

Individual tickets are $65 each, include appetizers and dessert, and are available online at MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.


Last Call: 
Extended and highly recommended tribute to Gilda Radner ending April 15th. We adored Bunny Bunny and can't recommend it highly enough. This poignant and powerful show is unconventionally and absolutely a love story. Don't miss this!



Save the Dates:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

OPENING: BUNNY BUNNY: Gilda Radner, A Sort of Love Story at Mercury Theater Chicago Through April 1,2018

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Mercury Theater Chicago Announces Cast of 
BUNNY BUNNY: 
Gilda Radner, A Sort of Love Story 
February 9 – April 1, 2018


**running time approximately 2:20, including one 15 minute intermission**

ChiIL Live Shows will be ChiILin' at Mercury Theatre for the press opening Sunday, February 11th, so check back soon for my full review. I'm eager to catch this tribute to a fabulously funny, endearing and enduring friendship, written by and about Alan Zweibel and comedian extraordinaire, Gilda Radner. I'm also looking forward to another after party/reception in the fabulously fun and aptly named, Venus Cabaret space, next door to Mercury. They're ready to start hosting smaller cabaret shows there this spring. 

The performance schedule for BUNNY BUNNY is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

Individual tickets range from $30-$55, and are available online at MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.


The perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day. 
Valentine's Day is on its way, and BUNNY BUNNY: GILDA RADNER, A SORT OF LOVE STORY is the perfect way to celebrate. Join us for this intimate, touching play about the special relationship between Gilda Radner and Alan Zweibel. 

Valentine's Date Special
2 Tickets for the Valentines' Night Show plus a Champagne Toast for $80.
February 14th at 8pm

Join us for a champagne toast before the show and enjoy premium seats for BUNNY BUNNY: GILDA RADNER, A SORT OF LOVE STORY.

Enter code:
"VALENTINE" 

Limited availability - offer valid 2/14 only. Valid on "regular" full-priced tickets only. Not applicable on previous purchases.



Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – is pleased to announce the cast and creative team of BUNNY BUNNY: GILDA RADNER, A SORT OF LOVE STORY, running from February 9th through April 1st. 

Led by Director Warner Crocker, Dana Tretta makes her Mercury Theater Chicago debut in the role of beloved comedian Gilda Radner, alongside Jackson Peter Evans as “Saturday Night Live” writer Alan Zweibel.

A funny, tender, and touching play, based on the book of the same name, former Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel recalls his eccentric kinship spanning 14 years with beloved SNL actress Gilda Radner.



Gilda Radner was one of the great comic geniuses of the 20th century. Her life-long friend and comedy writer Alan Zweibel has written this loving tribute to Gilda. BUNNY BUNNY is based on their curious bond, a relationship that was always emotional but never physical. Comic and heartbreaking, this play follows these two overgrown kids as they ride bumper-car lives right up to Radner’s death from ovarian cancer. Their loyalty and love glows through every scene.

Gilda showed the nation that we should all live life to its fullest, that a sense of humor is key to survival and really does make the world brighter. She left a legacy of courage and comedy. In her honor, Gene Wilder established the first Gilda's Club in New York, a free counseling center for cancer patients and their families. A portion of the proceeds of this production of BUNNY BUNNY will be donated to Gilda's Club to help continue her important legacy.

Alan Zweibel is an original “Saturday Night Live” writer who the New York Times says has “earned a place in the pantheon of American pop culture,” Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America, and TV Critics awards for his work in television, which also includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Monk, PBS’s Great Performances, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Written by Alan Zweibel, BUNNY BUNNY will feature Dana Tretta as Gilda Radner and Jackson Peter Evans as Alan Zweibel. Jason Grimm will play the role of “everybody else” with Jake Bradley and Anna Segatti rounding out the cast. Scenic design is by Jacqueline and Richard Penrod, costume design is by Robert Kuhn, lighting design is by Kristof Janezic, sound design is by Mike Pryzgoda and wig design is by Kevin Barthel.



UPGRADE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Upgrade your experience at BUNNY BUNNY with a VIP Dinner Package. Packages include a premium ticket to the show, dinner at Grassroots Eatery, complimentary parking, intermission treats and a meet & greet with cast member(s) after the show. More information HERE.




The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.





Friday, December 15, 2017

REVIEW: The Christmas Schooner Returns For Its Annual Holiday Voyage at Mercury Theater Through 12/31/17

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:

Mercury Theater Chicago
THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER SETS SAIL 
Through December 31, 2017



Review: 
by Catherine Hellmann, guest writer 

Inspired by true events, The Christmas Schooner is a delightful musical currently playing at the Mercury Theater through the month of December. If you haven't seen it, the show is a wonderful addition to the other holiday-themed theatrical offerings now running in the Windy City. In its seventh year, The Christmas Schooner relates an inspiring story of a Michigan family who braved the icy waters of Lake Michigan to bring Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula to Clark Street Docks in Chicago in the early 1900s. Selling the trees for fifty cents to a dollar apiece, Captain Herman Schuenemann would also give trees away to the needy. A letter from his cousin in Chicago woefully explains there are no evergreen trees to be had in the bustling city for her beloved Tannenbaum. Against his wife's wishes, she realizes a winter storm on the lake can be deadly, the captain is determined to bring Christmas cheer to the German immigrants of Chicago.
  
The first outing seems foolhardy, and wife Alma's dismay of her husband, Captain Peter Stossel, daring such a journey in the dead of winter is shown amusingly by Brianna Borger's silent treatment and angry knitting. Ms. Borger has a lovely voice and her stage presence is warm and perfect as the supportive wife, mother, and daughter-in-law. Her husband is played dutifully by a returning Stef Tovar, who was so convincing, and unrecognizable, as the lead character in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City. Also of particular note is Don Forston as the German grandfather Gustav Stossel. He lapses into his native German frequently at the beginning, but his daughter-in-law admonishes him to "speak in American." He also utters a "Gott im Himmel!" disguising his swearing in German. Coincidentally, my own father recalled his German grandmother using the exact same phrase when she wanted to curse in front of her grandchildren!  

The costumes and songs are delightful, and my companion and I enjoyed learning a little bit more about Chicago's immigrant past. One of the most memorable songs was the haunting "What Is It about the Water?" We forget what these ship workers and sailors went through, and how anxious life on land was for their patiently waiting wives.  



(There is also a funny scene about how the city could also be a dangerous place not to be trusted as a swindler takes advantage of the Michigan visitors and their gullibility.) On the first voyage, uncertain whether the crew would sell a single tree, they are shockingly greeted with a crowd of 500 people, mostly European immigrants who want to experience the familiar Christmas ritual of decorating a tree in their homes. The "Christmas Schooner," as it becomes dubbed, makes several subsequent journeys for years until tragedy strikes. The danger on the Great Lakes is very real. Interestingly, the last year of the original Christmas Schooner was also the year the Mercury theater opened in 1912.  

Plan to make The Christmas Schooner a part of your family tradition. It will sail into your hearts.

Individual tickets range from $30-$69, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. 



Meet the creative team of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER! from Mercury Theater Chicago on Vimeo.

Hear from Director L. Walter Stearns, Music Director Eugene Dizon and Choreographer Brenda Didier and learn why THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is so special to them.



Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER will be sailing for its seventh year at Mercury Theater Chicago, from November 24 through December 31, 2017. We are pleased to welcome new cast members to the Schooner family including Nicole Armold, Harter Clingman, Jared Rein, Ron Keaton, Ryan Stajmiger and Holly Stauder with Don Forston returning at the helm as “Gustav Stossel.” The cast will be led by the Jeff-award winning team of L. Walter Stearns (Director), Eugene Dizon (Musical Director) and Brenda Didier (Choreographer). Whether it is your first or tenth time seeing THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER, this heartwarming Chicago-centric story never fails to remind us what the holidays are all about: sharing love.


The whole family will enjoy this heartwarming musical story of the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit. Hailed as "A sacred part of a Chicago Christmas!" by the Chicago Tribune, this production has become one of Chicago’s great holiday traditions. The production features a powerful, moving story, an exquisite score of original music and traditional holiday favorites.
 
Director L. Walter Stearns: “There are a great many holiday shows to choose from, but the importance of continuing THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is too great, not only to us personally, but to the families who have made us part of their holiday tradition each year. This show is a holiday slice of Chicago history...a story of immigrants sharing their family traditions. It seems we need that reminder this year more than ever”

 
The shipwreck of the Rouse Simmons, known as 'The Christmas Tree Ship,' served as inspiration for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. Her captain and crew risked the notoriously violent winter lake to bring Christmas trees from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Chicago's German immigrants. Each year, Captain Herman Schuenemann would sell trees right off of the ship at the Clark Street Docks, and was known to give free trees to the needy. On November 23, 1912, the ship was swept up in a terrible storm. It was not until 59 years later that she was discovered, lying in 170 feet of water. Today the Rouse Simmons and her cargo of 5,500 well stacked trees remain preserved in the cold, fresh waters of Lake Michigan and her legend has grown to mythical proportions. The Blaine Nickelodeon - the silent film theater that now houses the Mercury - opened that very same year.
 
THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER has entertained audiences in hundreds of productions including a twelve-year run at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. A timely and uplifting tale of love, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is a poignant ode to the rich legacy of Chicago and a reminder of our responsibility to celebrate the living while honoring our heritage. In 2011, Mercury Theater Chicago revived THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER with a full orchestra and an all-star cast, garnering a "Best Production" nomination for the 2012 Jeff Awards. 

The production has been called "A grand family tradition!" by the Chicago Tribune and "An inheritance to be treasured...Highly recommended!" by the Chicago Sun-Times. Time Out Chicago Kids says that “An emotion-packed, Christmas-themed tale of redemption give the Mercury Theater’s production of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER all the trappings of a family holiday tradition in the making!"



THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is written by Chicagoans John Reeger (book) and Julie Shannon (music and lyrics).  Don Forston will return to the helm as ‘Gustav Stossel’ with Brianna Borger as Alma and Stef Tovar as Peter Stossel.  Rounding out the crew on this year's schooner voyage are Kelly Anne Clark, Dan Gold and Christian Libonati.  New shipmates include Nicole Armold, Harter Clingman, Leo Gonzalez, Stella Hoyt, Ben Miller, Jared Rein, Ryan Stajmiger, Holly Stauder and Elise Wolf. The scenic design is by Jacqueline and Richard Penrod, with costume design by Carol Blanchard and sound design by Mike Ross.

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.
 
The performance schedule for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 3pm and 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.  There are additional holiday performances on Tuesday, December 19th at 8pm and Tuesday, December 26th at 8:00pm.

 
Connect with us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/MercuryChicago
 


Upgrade your evening. Click image for details:


Thursday, September 28, 2017

OPENING: The Hypocrites' Dracula at Mercury Theater Chicago 10/7-11/5/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Mercury Theater Chicago Presents
THE HYPOCRITES’ DRACULA
A world-premiere play adapted and directed by Sean Graney.
October 7 – November 5, 2017



Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we love it when our friends play well together. We're excited to see The Hypocrites emerge from The Den, their usual haunt, and present their world premiere take on Dracula at one of our favorite venues, Mercury Theatre. We'll be out for the press opening on Friday the 13th, so check back soon for our full review. We can't wait!

I would love to be a fly on the wall of the home of adapter/directors Sean Graney (Dracula) and Vanessa Stalling (United Flight 232), who are both currently working on intense Chicago productions. I sat in front of them for the United Flight 232 press opening, and can't rave enough about this award winning must see. Stalling's heartfelt and harrowing United Flight 232 is currently on stage as a critically acclaimed remount at The House Theatre. 

Award-winning director, Sean Graney's current project is directing The Hypocrites' Dracula, a script he adapted from an original script by Timothy F. Griffin for this world-premiere production. 

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – is thrilled to present The Hypocrites’ production of DRACULA, from October 7th through November 5th, 2017. Led by Jeff Award Winner Breon Arzell as Dracula, a multi-talented cast of accomplished Hypocrites company members will take audiences on a thrilling adventure of passion, yearning, cruelty and sacrifice.

The performance schedule for DRACULA is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

Individual tickets range from $30-$55, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

Director Sean Graney promises “exciting horror, at least a gallon of stage blood every night, moments of humor and a depth of character not often explored in this fantastical story.” Dracula just might stake its claim as this Halloween's most thrilling adventure.

“The characters in Dracula occupy a world on a threshold between repression and liberty,” commented director Sean Graney. “Women are beginning to live autonomous lives separate from the typical yolks of oppressive tradition. The men, though they will never admit it, fear the women and want them to return to their domestic posts. Dracula, to me, asks the question, ‘How do you deal with a society that claims to promote equality, yet everyday actions and attitudes prove that the gatekeepers are afraid of losing their advantage?’ To me, that is the world we occupy now.”



DRACULA features a strong ensemble of Hypocrites company members. 



Jeff Award Winning actor/director/choreographer Breon Arzell (The Wiz, Harry Ape) will be featured in this bloody mystery as Dracula. 



Janelle Villas (Chimerica, The King and I) will portray Lucy Seward, under the care of Rob McLean (Pirates of Penzance, Love’s Labor Lost, The Shakespeare Project of Chicago) as Dr. Van Helsing. 

Insane asylum administrator Jack Seward will be played by John Taflan (All Our Tragic, Adding Machine). Aurora Real de Asusa (You on the Moors Now) will be in the role of coveted young school mistress Mina. Erin Barlow (All Our Tragic, Men on Boats) will portray insane asylum inmate Renfield. Maurice Demus (You on the Moors Now, Sucker Punch) will be Jonathan. The scenic design is by John Musial with costume design by Samantha Jones, lighting design by Mike Durst, sound design by Joe Griffin with Jon Beal as the violence and gore designer. The production stage manager is Richard Lundy.



Sean Graney is a Chicago-based theater artist who has concentrated on adapting and directing stories to create relevant theatrical pieces for our contemporary society for the last 20 years. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, a company he founded in 1997.  In 2013, he was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University where he completed writing All Our Tragic, a twelve-hour adaptation combining all thirty-two surviving Greek Tragedies. It garnered six Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Director and Best Adaptation. As a director, Sean has helmed over 75 productions. He was a participant in the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors in 2004. He has received four other Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing and adaptation. He is also the director and co-adaptor three Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, which have been playing at many great theaters across the country.

The Hypocrites is one of Chicago's premier off-Loop theater companies specializing in mounting bold productions that challenge preconceptions and redefining the role of the audience. Under the direction of Sean Graney, the company has a reputation in Chicago for creating exciting, surprising and deeply engaging theater as it reinterprets classics and tackles ambitious new works.

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

REVIEW: "HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" at Mercury Theater Through 9/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

**As I'm recovering from major knee surgery, Cath Hellmann will be guest reviewing for me throughout August. Cath is a lifelong theatre lover, on stage, directing, and in the audience. She's an English teacher, mom of three, and elated to be living in Chicago again, after a 10 year stint in the wilds of rural Michigan near Kalamazoo. **


Photo Credit for all: Brett A. Beiner



Guest Review by Cath Hellmann

On the way into the charming and intimate Mercury Theater, I spot a couple of anti-Trump buttons. It is an instant reminder that a hippie musical which premiered fifty years ago with its message of love, anti-war sentiment, and feeling disenfranchised from one's government is still sadly relevant today. In fact, a couple of the actors in their bios encourage the audience to support the ACLU or other causes in these troubling times.  



Even with its political intent, "HAIR" is a hell of a great experience at the theater with impressive singing, familiar songs you didn't think you knew, and exuberant performances, particularly by Matthew Keefer as Berger and Evan Tyrone Martin as Hud.

The transport back to the era of the late sixties begins immediately when an usher walks down the aisle bearing a sign with the requisite "turn your cell phone off" direction instead of a house manager announcing the rules. A lone woman with a large afro appears in the balcony singing about "When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets..." Suddenly the rest of the cast bursts in from the backstage door to join her in "The Age of Aquarius." ("They look like they just got back from Bonnaroo," my Mexican-Hippie-Music Lover-Companion [permission was suggested and granted for this nickname] whispers.  



When "HAIR" opened on Broadway in April 1968, it ran for an astonishing 1,750 performances. A Broadway revival in 2009 earned a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for 2009 Best Revival of a Musical. TIME magazine stated in 2008 that "HAIR seems, if anything, more daring than ever." Indeed, one of the songs, "Sodomy," has the lyrics:  "Sodomy, Fellatio, Cunnilingus, Pederasty—Father, why do these words sound so nasty? Masturbation can be fun."  Hmmm...I had season tickets to Lyric Opera for a decade and never read anything close to that in the super titles.  

The plot of "HAIR" is rather thin, with the exception of Claude, played by Liam Quealy, torn over the peer pressure to burn his draft card or please his parents by being shipped off. One of the most affecting lines in the entire show is: "We're all Vietnam Bait." (Another modern tie-in: my teenage son's friend just joined the Marines. As his mother said, "I wouldn't be so worried if Obama was still in office." Parents are still scared for the safety of their children over our leader's political mistakes and hubris.)  

The music, performances, and message drive the show. Matthew Keefer's sexy portrayal of Berger is such fun to watch, as he kisses both genders, strips down to his loincloth, and sings about peace and love. Lucy Godinez, who was so poignant in Porchlight Music Theatre's "In the Heights," delivers as another effective character, the naïve and pregnant Jeanie. In an additional eerie display of timeliness, Hud, played by Evan Tyrone Martin, warns in "Colored Spade," confronting racial stereotypes, "And if you don't watch out, the boogie man will get you. Boo!" 

 

"HAIR" is known for its groovy costumes, drug references, nudity, rebelliousness, preaching love, and community. The ensemble at Mercury does not disappoint; when the entire group first raised their voices in unison, I got goosebumps. Such power from a small but mighty group of performers was inspiring.  At the end of Act I, when the cast strips down, the display of colored lights keeps the display of skin fairly hidden. Or as my surprised companion hissed, "I've never seen so many tits and dicks onstage!"   





Great singing, fabulous energy, a positive message of love and acceptance, "tits and dicks onstage." "HAIR," running at the Mercury Theater at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, through September 17, has it all. Read more here. Bring your friends for an exciting outing of theater. Maybe leave the kids and Grandma at home to watch Lawrence Welk. Peace out.  


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

OPENING: HAIR: THE AMERICAN TRIBAL LOVE-ROCK MUSICAL at Mercury Theater Chicago 7/27-9/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Mercury Theater Chicago Casting Announcement 
HAIR: THE AMERICAN 
TRIBAL LOVE-ROCK MUSICAL
July 27 – September 17, 2017


**Note: The production contains scenes that briefly depict 
profanity, nudity and simulated drug use.** 

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – is pleased to announce the cast of HAIR: THE AMERICAN TRIBAL LOVE-ROCK MUSICAL, playing from July 27 through September 17. Press opening is Thursday, August 3rd at 8:00pm. 

A celebration of 50 years since the 1967 “Summer of Love”, HAIR will inspire audiences to “let the sun shine in” and stand up for what they believe in. This rousing rock musical will be led by Jeff Award Winners Brenda Didier (Director) and Eugene Dizon (Musical Director) with choreography by Christopher Carter.  A talented cast of Chicago artists featuring Matt Keffer and Liam Quealy will take the stage in this celebration of love, life, and freedom. 



In the year 1967, a group of young hippies in Greenwich Village explore sex, love, and rock ‘n’ roll while fighting for civil rights and the end of the Vietnam War. A passionate cry for hope and change, HAIR defined one generation and continues to inspire today. To an infectiously energetic rock beat, the show wows audiences with songs like "Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine," "Hair," "I Got Life," and "Let The Sun Shine In." Exploring ideas of identity, community, global responsibility and peace, HAIR remains relevant as ever as it examines what it means to be a young person in a changing world.

HAIR brought the passion and revolution of the late 1960s to audiences around the world. After an off-Broadway debut in October 1967, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. Since then, numerous productions have been staged around the world. Some of the songs from its score became Top 10 hits, and a feature film adaptation was released in 1979. A Broadway revival opened in 2009, earning rave reviews and winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for 2009 Best Revival of a Musical. In 2008, Time magazine wrote, "Today HAIR seems, if anything, more daring than ever."

HAIR was written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, with music by Galt MacDermot. The scenic design is by Jeffry Kmiec with costume design by Robert Kuhn, lighting design by Nick Belley, sound design by Carl Wahlstrom and properties design by Mealah Heidenreich. The production stage manager is Kristi J. Martens with assistance by Hannah Wichmann.

HAIR will feature video projections designed by Peter Guither, Artistic Director of The Living Canvas, which will tell compelling stories with performers’ bodies clothed with the textures of projected images. The Living Canvas celebrates the beauty and expressive power of the human form through performance art and photography, nurturing a sense of body acceptance for performer and audience. It is spectacle and storytelling, utilizing creative lighting, sound, and multi-media imagery that interact with the human canvas. 

After an extensive casting process, Mercury Theater Chicago is pleased to introduce a talented cast of Chicago artists featuring 
Matt Keffer as “Berger” 



and Liam Quealy as “Claude.” 



The tribe will also include Caleb Baze, Chuckie Benson, Aaron Davidson, Candace C. Edwards, Lucy Godinez, Michelle Lauto, Miciah Long, Andrew Lund, Mallory Maedke, Evan Tyrone Martin, Cherise Thomas, Leryn Turlington, Marco Tzunux and Craig Underwood.


Michelle Lauto

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots. 

The performance schedule for HAIR is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. 

HAIR runs approximately 2 hours, 10 minutes. We recommend this production for theatergoers over the age of 12. The production contains scenes that briefly depict profanity, nudity and simulated drug use. 

Individual tickets range from $30-$65, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. 

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