Showing posts with label closing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label closing. Show all posts

Saturday, September 16, 2017

LAST CALL: SPAMILTON at The Royal George is Closing 10/8/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


After a Seven-Month Run in Chicago, “Spamilton” Premieres in Los Angeles November 12

Kenaz-Mara 2017

Don't miss your chance to keep a souvenir "Playkill"!
A big favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows is leaving Chicago,
so catch it while you can.

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we highly recommend Spamilton. This show is more of an irreverent roast of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the whole Broadway musicals genre than a parody of Hamilton in particular, though it does include brilliantly funny lyric rewrites of Hamilton tunes. Both of my teens adored it as much as I did, and we all laughed early and often throughout the show. It's fabulously funny and exceeded all our expectations.

If you're looking for something to entertain the tough to please teen demographic, Spamilton is a good bet. This is also a fun find for a date night or multigenerational entertainment. If you're searching for a show as funny to the kids as it is to the grandparents, Spamilton is nearly 90 minutes of non stop fun. They keep the sets and costumes minimalist and two of the sisters are puppets, but the over the top creative writing, fabulous vocals, and heartfelt hilarity is more than worth the admission. There's not a bad seat in the place, as the Royal George cabaret space is intimate. There's also a convenient bar, right at the back of the seating. 

This wickedly witty and wonderful production is an absolute must see for anyone familiar with Hamilton and/or Broadway musicals. Don't miss this!

 Check out our full review and more show info HERE then GO already.

The producers of “Spamilton,” the critically acclaimed parody of “Hamilton,” announced an October 8 closing date for the Chicago run at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted). Created by Tony Award honoree Gerard Alessandrini, the mastermind behind “Forbidden Broadway,” “Spamilton” officially opened in Chicago on March 12 to rave reviews, with Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times calling “Spamilton” an “altogether brilliant, hilarious, cliché-demolishing send-up of ‘Hamilton,’” Chris Jones of Chicago Tribune noting “You really don’t want to miss ‘Spamilton,’” and Barbara Vitello of the Daily Herald exclaiming the show is “deliciously silly. The laughs come fast and furious!” The all-Chicago “Broadway ready” (Chicago Sun-Times) cast includes Becca Brown, Aaron Holland, Adam LaSalle, Yando Lopez, Gabriel Mudd and David Robbins. Original cast members include Donterrio Johnson, Michelle Lauto and Eric Andrew Lewis.

The final tickets for “Spamilton” are available now. The final performance takes place Sunday, October 8 at 5 p.m. Tickets ($59 – $99) can be purchased at the Royal George Theatre’s box office online, at or by calling 312.988.9000.  

“After seven great months in Chicago here at the Royal George with our talented local cast, we feel very lucky to have been so well-received for so long,” said Alessandrini. “While it’s bittersweet to be leaving the Windy City, we’re thrilled about the next steps for ‘Spamilton,’ including continuing our open run in New York and opening the Los Angeles production in November.”

“Spamilton,” which was initially scheduled in New York as an exclusive 18-performance off-Broadway engagement, has extended three times and is now playing its seventeenth smash month of an open engagement at the 47th Street Theatre in the heart of New York’s Theatre District. The New York production earned rave reviews across-the-board, with Ben Brantley of The New York Times calling it “smart, silly and convulsively funny!” and Lin-Manuel Miranda exclaiming “I laughed my brains out!” In its Chicago premiere, the local cast received additional acclaim, with critics hailing the production “endlessly entertaining” (Performink), “A Must-See!” (, and “razor sharp and filled with wit and humor” (Chicago Theatre Review). On opening night, cast members from the Chicago production of “Hamilton” were in the audience, and following the performance Wayne Brady called the production “Amazing! It’s the perfect blend of funny and parody. Go see ‘Spamilton!’ This fall, “Spamilton” makes its West Coast debut at the Kirk Douglas Theatre with Center Theatre Group November 5 – December 31, 2017.

In addition to Alessandrini, the creative team includes Gerry McIntyre (Choreography), Dustin Cross (Costume Design), Milo Blue (Scenic Design), Andy Kloubec (Lighting Design), Matt Reich (Sound Design), Jamie Karas (Prop Design), Leah Munsey-Konops (Wig Design), Fred Barton (Musical Director), and Richard Danley and Fred Barton (Musical Arrangements).

“Spamilton” is produced in Chicago by John Freedson, David Zippel, Gerard Alessandrini, Margaret Cotter and Liberty Theatricals, in association with JAM Theatricals. Brandon Kinley and Keirsten Hodgens are the understudies for the production.

The performance schedule for “Spamilton” is as follows: Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. For additional details, visit or

For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

LAST CALL: World Premiere of Still Dance The Stars at Chicago Dramatists Must Close Friday

New Light Theater Project and Chicago Dramatists
Present the World Premiere of Jayme McGhan’s


Written by Jayme McGhan
Directed by Sarah Norris
Closing Friday, September 15th 

Tonight we're finally catching Still Dance the Stars at Chicago Dramatists. Can't wait to ChiIL in Chi, IL at this world premiere that features a cast from across the country including 3 Elmhurst natives who now live and work in New York

New Light Theater Project and Chicago Dramatists present the World Premiere of Still Dance the Stars, a highly theatrical story based on the struggles of love in the face of unthinkable loss. Directed by the Founding Artistic Director of New Light Theater Project, Sarah Norris, and written by highly acclaimed American playwright, Jayme McGhan, this work takes on the struggles of marriage in a unique and fictitious manner that has never been seen before on stage. This play is the recipient of the renowned Chicago Dramatists’ Grafting Project, a project designed to partner with theatre companies to produce Resident Playwright’s world-premiere plays. An energy packed performance filled with both romance and comedy that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, Still Dance the Stars is on stage for a limited time engagement at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W Chicago Ave.

Still Dance the Stars tells the story of James and Anne, the viral Internet proposal sensation couple that has hit a rut in their sixth year of marriage. The night before another nationally televised interview on the proposal story, these two get into a drunkenly infused battle with a box of stuffed animals over the fate of their marriage. One of these stuffed animals, Hope the Hippo, comes to life to make it her quest to save the marriage of James and Anne and rekindle the flame of love they once shared. 

“This play takes the idea of heartache and infuses it with comedy and dance, creating a storyline for the whole audience to enjoy,” says McGhan. “This story brings to life a couple’s biggest struggles and triumphs in a unique yet relatable fashion. It is a performance you will most definitely not want to miss.”

The casting lineup for Still Dance the Stars stuns with actors and actresses nationwide including: Martel Manning (Chicago), Bethany Geraghty (New York City based actress and Chicago native), Ariana Sepúlveda (Philadelphia), Courtney Knysch (New York City based actress and Chicago native), Michael Aguirre (New York City based actor and Chicago native), Carl Jaynes (New York City based actor and Chicago native), Claudia Campbell (New York City), Dana Martin (Los Angeles), and Kaycee Jordan (Chicago).

In addition to the Director Sarah Norris, the creative team also includes Ashlee Wasmund (Choreographer), Ashley Poteat (Set and Costume Designer), John Kelly (Lighting Designer), Andy Evan Cohen (Sound Designer), Becs Bartle (Stage Manager) and Alan Weusthoff (Technical Director).

Jayme McGhan (Playwright) is the author of 20 full-length plays that have been produced across the country. He is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Associate Artist at Chicago’s Stage Left Theatre, and serves as the Director of the School of Stage and Screen at WCU. He lives in North Carolina with his wife & son.

Sarah Norris (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of New Light Theater Project. Her work has been seen both around the country (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Maine & Alaska) and around the world (Australia, England, & Ireland). She has worked with: Playwrights Horizons, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), LAByrinth Theater Company, Disney Theatrical Productions, BAMA Theatre Company, The Flea Theater, and The Gallery Players to name a few. She is a proud member of AEA and associate of SDC.

Performances for Still Dance the Stars are as follows: 
Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 6:00 p.m. There will not be a performance on Sunday, Sept 3rd. Performances are at Chicago Dramatists (1105 W Chicago Avenue). Tickets are $35.

To purchase tickets, visit

About New Light Theater Project (NLTP)
New Light Theater Project (NLTP) is an ensemble-driven theater company that strives to capture the Little Theater Movement (artistry over commerce; producing new and classic works) in the NYC indie theater community. To accomplish this, NLTP places the ensemble at the center of the process, where all members, regardless of artistic role, bear weight and voice to the stories selected to tell. NLTP devises and develops new work, brings classical texts and revivals to life, and creates a spirit of community for all theatrical collaborations. NLTP illuminates other artists and companies through a network of shared resources, such as The Darkroom Series, while cultivating theatrical partnerships around the world. For more information, visit

About Chicago Dramatists
Since 1979, Chicago Dramatists has been dedicated to the development and advancement of playwrights. Chicago Dramatists nurtures extraordinary playwrights with the space, resources, and collaborators needed to realize new work and thrive as artists. Workshops, readings, classes, and special programs, provide opportunities for beginning and established dramatists to develop their work, expand their professional affiliations, showcase their plays and collaborate with actors, directors, and audiences during the creative process. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 3, 2017

LAST CALL/ REVIEW: American Blues Theater's Beauty's Daughter

Chicago Premiere
by Dael Orlandersmith, Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Featuring Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine

 All photos feature Wandachistine and are to the credit of Michael Brosilow

The final days of American Blues Theater's acclaimed one woman show, Beauty's Daughter, are upon us. Wandachristine is nothing short of stunning as she embodies a host of diverse characters with ease. We adored this exploration of community, love and loss, families we choose and those we're born into. 

With the slight exception of a bit of confusion when one monologue jumps locations from New York to Ireland, her storylines and characters were clear and easy to follow. We particularly liked the overlap in narrative where the various personas introduced us to the others before we met them. This show is thought provoking, multilayered and magnificent and Wandachristine brings the words to life in a captivating collage of the senses.

Kudos also to the set designers and the brains behind the projections. The imagery was evocative and provided a fabulous canvas for the storyline to play out on. I've never seen projections concentrated directly on a character's clothing before and it was eerily effective.

If there's any drawback it's the sight lines in some of the upper seats. It's an intimate venue so audio is fine anywhere, but if you want an unobstructed view of the seated monologues, arrive early and aim for the lower rows. 

Beauty's Daughter is highly recommended. Don't miss this!

Beauty's Daughter Trailer from American Blues Theater on Vimeo.

Ending August 5, 2017

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
Beauty’s Daughter
American Blues Theater

American Blues Theater season with the Chicago Premiere of Beauty’s Daughter by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Ron OJ Parson, and Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine. Beauty’s Daughter runs July 7 – August 5, 2017 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. 

Thursday:7:30 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday:7:30 p.m.
Sunday: 2:30 p.m. 

Regular Run: through August 5, 2017

Additional performances on Wednesdays, July 12, 19 & 24 at 7:30pm; Wednesday, August 2 at 2:30pm; and Saturday, August 5 at 3:00pm.  There will be no performance on Saturday, August 5 at 7:30 pm.

Location: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago

Ticket prices: $19 - $49

Box Office: Buy online at or by calling 773.327.5252.

This Obie Award-winning play by Dael Orlandersmith depicts one woman’s journey through life’s obstacles in an East Harlem neighborhood. Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine takes on 6 different characters during the course of this solo play—some broken, some on the way down, but all memorable.

“Wandachristine’s performance is wholly engrossing as she embodies the gestures, voices, and exceptional rhythms of Ms. Orlandersmith’s world,” says Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside.

The creative team for Beauty’s Daughter includes Caitlin McLeod (scenic design), Artistic Affiliate Jared Gooding (lighting design), Michael Alan Stein (costume design), Eric Backus (sound design), Mary O’Dowd (props design), and Artistic Affiliate Paul Deziel (projection design). The assistant director is Artemis Steakley Freeman, the dramaturg is Wilson Cain and the stage manager is Cara Parrish.

About the Artists
Dael Orlandersmith is a Goodman Artistic Associate and Artist-in-Residence at the new Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement at the Goodman. Ms. Orlandersmith collaborated with the Goodman on Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men during the 2012/2013 Season and Stoop Stories during the 2009/2010 Season. Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men was developed as a co-commission between the Goodman and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it was staged in May 2012. Ms. Orlandersmith first performed Stoop Stories in 2008 at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and Apollo Theater’s Salon Series; Washington, D.C.’s Studio Theatre produced its world premiere in 2009. Her play Forever, commissioned by the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, was performed at the Mark Taper Forum in fall 2014. The show was then performed at the Long Wharf Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and Portland Center Stage in 2015. Her play Until the Fall will play the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in fall 2016. Her play Horsedreams was developed at New Dramatists and workshopped at New York Stage and Film Company in 2008, and was performed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2011. Bones was commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, where it premiered in 2010. Ms. Orlandersmith premiered The Blue Album, in collaboration with David Cale, at Long Wharf Theatre in 2007. Yellowman was commissioned by and premiered at McCarter Theatre in a co-production with the Wilma Theater and Long Wharf Theatre. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman in 2002. The Gimmick, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered in their Second Stage OnStage series in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop; Ms. Orlandersmith won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick in 1999. Her play Monster premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in November 1996. Ms. Orlandersmith has toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry) throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Yellowman and a collection of her earlier works have been published by Vintage Books and Dramatists Play Service. Ms. Orlandersmith attended Sundance Institute Theatre Lab for four summers and is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim award and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation award for a playwright in mid-career. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter.

Ron OJ Parson is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theatre program. He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of The Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago, a Resident Artist at Court Theatre and an Associate Artist with Teatro Vista and Writers Theatre. Since moving to Chicago from New York in 1994, he has worked as both an actor and director. His Chicago credits include work with Victory Gardens, Goodman, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Urban Theatre Co., ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago Theatre Company, and Writers Theatre. Regionally, Ron has directed shows at Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Virginia Stage and Portland Stage (Maine), among others. Ron also has directed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. Acting credits on television and film include ER, Early Edition, Turks, American Playhouse, Vamping, Barbershop 2, Primal Fear, Ali, Drop Squad, Boss and most recently Fox’s Empire.

Wandachristine has graced the small screen in many memorable guest starring roles; the last one playing Birdie on Chicago PD. On the large screen, she’s worked alongside talents like Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Paul Newman, Tom Selleck, Clifton Davis; and she starred as Mrs. Jones, in the hit dramedy Me and Mrs. Jones along with Kim Fields and Brian White. On stage, she has appeared in such notable productions as, Spunk, The Vagina Monologues, Oo-Bla-Dee, and the touring company of Fences. However, her role as Quilly in the Writer’s Theatre production of Old Settler, garnered both a Supporting Actress nomination and the Best Actress nomination for the noted Ruby Dee/Black Theater Alliance Award, which was also the last time she and director Ron Oj Parson worked together. Her voice work includes commercials for Mc Donald’s, political campaigns, Scarface the video game, The Justice League and work with Eddie Murphy on the PJ’s. As an alumni of Loyola University, she was commissioned to write a one-act play Welcome Home for the opening of the Newhart Family Theater.  Recent literary projects include her first novel, “I Love You…More Than Shoes!” and her most recent play One Day.

About American Blues Theater
Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s prestigious 2016 National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home.  American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago.  The 37-member Ensemble has 530+ combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2016, the theater and artists received 186 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 31 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.  

The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and William Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Darren Canady, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Austin Cook, Laura Coover, Ian Paul Custer, Lauri Dahl, Joe Foust, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Heather Meyers, John Mohrlein, Christopher J. Neville, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross, and Gwendolyn Whiteside.

American Blues Theater programs and activities are made possible, in part by funding by The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at Prince, the Shubert Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, SMART Growth Grant, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Anixter Foundation, Actors’ Equity Foundation, and the Chip Pringle Fund. ComEd is the Season Lighting Sponsor.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

LAST CALL: REVIEW: Agency Theater's World Premiere of Nautilina at The Den Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


(L to R) Armando Reyes, Manny Ortiz.
Photo by Robert Littwin

Grab a drink at one of the Den's several well stocked bars and saunter on in to Finnegans, a dark and edgy alternate reality Cheersesque bar, where nobody knows your name. Pull up a bar stool or pick a booth, or table. It's impossible to tell the actors from the audience at first, and you just may find yourself sharing space with someone with more than a few lines... pick up or otherwise. There's even a live piano man with a storied past, ready to reminisce through a medley of memorable music. The plethora of candles are illuminating, and the characters' back stories even more so. From PTSD and search for meaning in dead end jobs through crazy rants full of wisdom and loves found and lost, Nautilina will keep you captivated. Recommended.

The Agency Theater Collective is pleased to announce its summer  production the world premiere of Nautilina, written by Brian Foster and co-directed by Sommer Austin and Anna Lucero, June 16 – July 16, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Opening night is Friday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Closing is Sunday, July 16 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices for previews are $15 and for the regular run $24.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call The Den Theatre Box Office at 773-697-3830.

Nautilina is series of scenes and monologues that lock into each other like puzzle pieces to create a larger narrative of a fracturing psyche. Nautilina is an examination of what makes people tick, what makes them behave the way they do and the power that history has over us all.

Meg Elliot
Photo by Andrew Gallant

The Agency Theater Collective Nautilina acting company includes:
The artistic and production staff of includes: Sommer Austin*, co-director; Anna Lucero, co-director; Niki Dreistadt, asst. director and sound designer; Kathryn McNall; production stage manager; Shannon Lauzier, asst. stage manager; Hope Rehak, dramaturg; Kate Jacobsen*, costume designer; Ellie Humphrys*, lighting designer; Alec Long, scenic designer; Manny Ortiz, technical director; Taylor Tolleson, properties designer; Zachary Sigelko and Huck Poe, video designers; Michael Chancellor, scenic painter.  Andrew Gallant, artistic director of The Agency; Sommer Austin, managing director of the Agency and Tim Touhy, company manager of The Agency.

The acting ensemble includes: Matthew Collins, (The Couple/Rod); Meg Elliott (Ray); Zach Hebert (Owen); Logan Hulick (Eric); Alex Kliner (Piano Player/Walter); DeChantel Kosmatka (Cassandra); Manuela Rentea (Simone/Mary); Bob Norman (Bar Patron/John); Manny Ortiz (Bar Patron/Robert); Armando Reyes (Bartender/Paul/SSG Cooper); Sara Faye Richmond* (The Couple/Ashley); Kate Gilbert (Understudy); Kate Jacobsen* (Understudy); Carter Petray (Understudy); and David Trudeau (Understudy).

*indicates The Agency Theater Collective Company member

Founded in 2010, The Agency Theater Collective creates relevant, authentic work with a focus on new or rarely produced plays. Past productions include Paul Pasulka’s Skin for Skin, Mia McCullough’s Chagrin Falls, Copi’s Four Twins, Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost, Out of Tune Confessional, I Wish to Apologize to the People of Illinois, At the Center, Truth in Context (Non-Equity Jeff Award nominee for Best New Work in 2015/2016), and The Spirit of ’76. The Agency also hosts “No Shame Theatre,” a weekly theatrical open mic, every Saturday night at The Lincoln Loft. The Agency Theater Collective hold these principles sacred: revelation, paradox, humor, mischief and collaboration.

Zach Hebert, DeChantel Kosmatka
Photo by Andrew Gallant

Saturday, April 8, 2017

LAST CALL: Three Stellar Shows Closing This Weekend Include Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane, A Disappearing Number at Timeline, and The Hard Problem at Court Theatre

Don't Miss This:

Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane,  A Disappearing Number at Timeline, and 

The Hard Problem at Court Theatre

If you still haven't made it to these shows, it's your final chance. We caught the press openings of all 3, and they all made our highly recommend list. All must close this Sunday, April 9th.

Drury Lane's Saturday Night Fever has been extended 3 weeks due to high demand, but it must close this Sunday. This new rewrite is a delight on stage and a welcome respite from the current exhausting political climate. Drury Lane's high energy production leaves everyone grinning, and harkens back to the disco days of the 70's with an instantly recognizable score. I'd forgotten the still timely pro-immigrant, pro-tolerance twist, the teen angst of changing blue collar neighborhoods, underemployment, and the trauma and drama of accidental death. As always, Drury Lane does a stellar job casting the best and brightest local talent. 

We'll be back out on the 28th, for the press opening of Chicago, so check back soon for our full review.

Don’t miss out on the hottest ticket in town! This critically-acclaimed new version, rewritten for the Drury Lane stage, features music and lyrics by The Bee Gees, based on the smash-hit Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn, and adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oaks. This North American version was written by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti and is helmed by Tony-nominated director and choreographer Dan Knechtges with musical direction by Roberta Duchak. 

Tickets, priced $43 - $60 are available by calling 630.530.0111 or at 

Alex Newell (Glee) joined the cast of Saturday Night Fever in the role of disco singer Candy. He stars alongside Adrian Aguilar as Brooklyn teen Tony Manero and Erica Stephan as Stephanie Mangano. Newell is an actor and singer best known for playing the transgender student Wade “Unique” Adams on the Fox musical series Glee. He has also appeared at the North Shore Music Theater and is a recording artist with Atlantic Records.

Based on the 1977 hit film, Saturday Night Fever follows Tony Manero in his attempt to escape his troubles by spending weekends at the local disco. Watch Tony win the admiration of the crowd, as well as his heartthrob Stephanie Mangano, as he burns up the dance floor with his electric moves. This new production features favorite Bee Gees songs from the movie such as “Night Fever,” "Stayin' Alive,” and "Jive Talkin’.”

To accommodate the extension of Saturday Night Fever, Drury Lane's electrifying new production of Chicago, featuring a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, will now run April 20 – June 18, 2017. The Press Opening is Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. This fiery new take on Chicago is directed by Drury Lane Theatre’s Artistic Director William Osetek with choreography by Jane Lanier, the Tony-nominated student of Bob Fosse.

Season and Subscription Information
Drury Lane Theatre’s 2017-2018 season will open with Chicago – the first professional Chicagoland production of the hit musical in 30 years. The season continues with the Pulitzer-winning play The Gin Game featuring Chicago theatre legends John Reeger and Paula Scrofano, followed by the powerhouse musical tribute to the 1980s Rock of Ages. For the holiday season Drury Lane will stage beloved tap classic 42nd Street and then close its 17-18 season with the iconic Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The 2017/2018 season runs March 30, 2017 through March 25, 2018 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.

Subscriptions for the 2017 - 2018 Season are priced from $144.60 to $175.80. Subscribers receive special offers on dining, flexible ticket exchanges and early notification and priority seating for added events and concerts. For more information, visit

The performance schedule for all productions is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $40 for matinees. Dinner and show packages are also available. For individual ticket on-sale dates and ticket reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit

About Drury Lane Theatre
Under the leadership of President Kyle DeSantis and Artistic Director William Osetek, Drury Lane Theatre is a major force in the Chicagoland theatre scene, presenting world-class productions in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading actors, artists, writers and directors. Over the past 30 years, Drury Lane has staged more than 2,000 productions and has been nominated for more than 350 Joseph Jefferson Awards. Drury Lane is committed to breathing new life into beloved classics and introducing audiences to exciting new works.

Throughout its 30-year history, Drury Lane has employed more than 7,500 actors and 10,000 musicians, designers and crewmembers to entertain upwards of nine million audience members. Originally founded by Anthony DeSantis, Drury Lane Theatre remains a family-run organization known for producing breathtaking Broadway classics, top-rated musicals, bold new works, hilarious comedies and unforgettable concert events.

A Disappearing Number

Timeline Theatre's A Disappearing Number and Court Theatre's The Hard Problem are both Chicago premieres with a scholarly bent, strong female protagonists, and psychological real world applications for the studies of academia. Let's hear it for the brainy blondes. Both shows have striking similarities and are thought provoking, multilayered explorations in human nature that are utterly compelling. Highly recommended. 

A Disappearing Number

The Hard Problem

A Disappearing Number 
If the thought of higher math classes gives you hives, never fear, you won't be called to the white board to solve equations. A Disappearing Number deals with the cool side of mathematics, too, like coincidence and synchronicity. As always, we recommend you come early and explore Timeline's lobby. They delve into the artistic side of math with fractals, math in art and architecture, optical illusions and more! We adored this production, based on a real life occurrence from 1913, expertly interwoven with the present day.

Check out more of my original photos of Timeline's lobby at the bottom of this feature.

“A mathematician, like a painter, or a poet, is a maker of patterns 

… and beauty is the first test.”
The long-awaited Chicago premiere of this exquisite, internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. In 1913, a clerk in rural India named Srinivasa Ramanujan sends a letter to famed mathematician G.H. Hardy, filled with astonishing mathematical theorems. In the present, a math professor and a businessman fall in love. Told in a whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, A Disappearing Number is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos.
Winner of the 2007 Critics’ Circle Theatre, Evening Standard, and Laurence Olivier awards for Best New Play, TimeLine’s production is a new and rare staging of this mesmerizing play.

The Hard Problem

I don't want to give away any spoilers, because this production benefits from the mystery. Suffice it to say, there are some craftily wrought plot twists that make this drama a delight. Don't miss this. The Hard Problem is classic Tom Stoppard and a thrill to see. Kudos to Court Theatre for producing this Chicago Premiere.

ChiIL Mama's Adventures in Timeline's lobby
at A Disappearing Number:

Friday, January 27, 2017

LAST CALL: Chicago Puppet Fest End This Weekend

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


The second Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival closes this weekend, Sunday, January 29. 

Contemporary puppets acts and artists from around the world, the U.S. and Chicago have been playing to sold out houses and critical acclaim since January 19, and tickets are going fact to this weekend's final events at Chicago-area venues large and small. 

Click here to watch the 1 min 25 sec video trailer

for the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

I caught this excellent rendition of the tale made popular by Fantasia and Mickey Mouse's magic mop fiasco. This is a dark, edgier version that's not babyish at all, and appeals to older kids and adults. There's nothing objectionable for young children either. The story is primarily enacted with marionettes, with some shadow puppetry, chalk transitions, and a large mask and hands wearable "puppet". Recommended.
Adventure Stage Chicago and Blair Thomas & Co. present Open Eye Figure Theatre of Minneapolis performing  The Sorcerer's Apprentice
at Adventure Stage Chicago, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago
Friday, January 27 at 7 pm., Saturday, January 28 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets: $17; $12 ages 14 and under 
Run time: 60 minutes
Family friendly
Open Eye Figure Theatre's adaptation of The Sorcerer's Apprentice for the marionette stage is a look at youth, aging and the allure of power. Creator Michael Sommers uses Goethe's 1797 poem "Der Zauberlehrling" as inspiration, expanding on the young apprentice's mishaps and mistakes in this original work with a unique Open Eye approach. With its highly designed production, original score and masterful puppetry, this show appeals to both adults and children.

This Sunday I'll be out to check out one of the hottest tickets, Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic, with five shows Thursday through Sunday in the newly renovated Studebaker Theatre in Chicago's historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Avenue. 

Feathers of Fire is a visually breathtaking cinematic shadow play for all ages. The play unfolds on a cinema-sized screen as an action-packed magical tale of star-crossed lovers from the 10th-century Persian epic "Shahnameh" ("The Book of Kings.") Inspired by Iranian visual traditions, creator Iranian-American filmmaker and graphic artist Hamid Rahmanian uses puppets, costumes, masks, scenography and digital animation to bring the story to life. 

Show times are Thursday and Friday, January 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, January 28 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, January 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $40; $30 student/senior. Run time is 70 minutes. 

Tickets to Feathers of Fire and all remaining festival events are now on sale at or by calling 312.977.9483.

Following are listings for the remaining acts and artists performing citywide now through Sunday, January 29, the final day of the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival: 


The free Festival Neighborhood Festival Tour presenting three puppet artists - Detroit's Interstate Arts' PLAY with your food, Montreal's Magali Chouinard in The White Woman, and Baltimore's Schroeder Cherry in Underground Railroad, Not A Subway -  at a different Chicago Park District venue today through Saturday. 

Garfield Park Conservatory, Jensen Room, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago
Wednesday, January 25 at 4:30 p.m. (Schroeder Cherry), 5:30 p.m. (Interstate Arts) and 6:30 p.m. (Magali Chouinard)

Calumet Park, 9801 S. Ave. G, Chicago
Thursday, January 26 at 11:30 a.m. (Magali Chouinard), 12:30 p.m. (Interstate Arts) and 1:30 p.m. (Schroeder Cherry)

Marquette Park, 6700 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago
Friday, January 27 at 5 p.m. (Schroeder Cherry), 6 p.m. (Magali Chouinard) and 
7 p.m. (Interstate Arts)

Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St., Chicago
Saturday, January 28 at 1 p.m. (Magali Chouinard), 2 p.m. (Interstate Arts) and
3 p.m. (Schroeder Cherry)    

Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago presents Great Small Works performing Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls
at the Dance Center at Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Thursday through Saturday, January 26 - 28 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20; $10 student
Run time: 75 minutes
Family friendly

In a bilingual Yiddish-English play,  Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls meditates on power dynamics by revisiting the performances of radical 20th-century puppeteers Zuni Maud and Yosi Cutler. Using original graphics and satirical scripts, Great Small Works combines new puppets and projections with original graphics and satirical scripts, introducing some Mae West and The Dybbuk along the way.
The Neo-Futurists present Vincent de Rooij and The Neo-Futurist Ensemble in 
Future Crash: a collision of short work by Vincent de Rooij and The Neo-Futurists 
at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, January 26-28 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25; $10 student/senior with ID
Run time: 70 minutes
Ages 14 and up

Future Crash collides Vincent de Rooij, puppeteer of site-specific performances and magician of the inanimate object, with The Neo-Futurists, purveyors of the first-person play and destroyers of the fourth wall. Traveling from the Netherlands, de Rooij will lead an ensemble in interdisciplinary collaboration, guiding the audience through a solar system of short work hidden throughout the Neo-Futurarium. 

Chicago Children's Theatre presents Manual Cinema's world premiere Magic City
at the new Chicago Children's Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave., Chicago
Friday, January 27 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Saturday, January 28 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sunday, January 29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Tickets: $25
Run time: 60 minutes
Family friendly

With their newest work, the inaugural production in Chicago Children's Theatre's new West Loop home, The Station, Manual Cinema transforms Edith Nesbit's novel The Magic City into a live, cinematic shadow puppet experience. When a young girl moves into a new home, she entertains herself by building a city using household objects. Through some magic, she finds herself inside the city, surrounded by life. Using overhead projectors, paper shadow puppets, live actors in silhouette, miniature toy theater and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema's Magic City modernizes the novel, building and illuminating a miniature city onstage that the audience explores themselves after every performance.

Links Hall and Rough House present Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret
at Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28 at 11 p.m.
Run time: 1hour 20 minutes
Tickets: $10; $8 student/senior
Family friendly? No

Hit Links Hall for late night cabarets featuring short works by international festival artists, regional puppeteers and local talent. End your evening with a tasty selection of the raucous, raunchy, dark, sassy, sad and hilarious! 

The program provides a late-night hang out spot for the whole festival, an opportunity for out-of-town talent to bring shorter works, and a space for local artists. Each show features at least two mainstage festival artists bringing secondary short works, and at least two Nasty, Brutish & Short contributors.

Theater and Performance Studies and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts present Puppet Quartet: UChicago Performance Lab residencies with Liz Joyce, Jesse Mooney-Bullock, Molly Ross and Michael Summers
at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago
Saturday, January 28, 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free to the public, no reservations required

An immersive afternoon of four works in development, in various sites of performance within the Logan Center for the Arts. Audiences will move from space to space to experience the four works by noted puppet artists Liz Joyce, Jesse Mooney-Bullock, Molly Ross and Micheal Sommers. 

Lookingglass Theatre Company presents Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth
at the Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
January 25-29: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.;
Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35
Run time: 90 minutes
Family friendly - Recommended for ages 8+

Traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth captivate audiences with spellbinding tales. But one day, The Big Bad Wolf mysteriously dies before his story is complete. As fairytales disappear from their pages, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth must journey through the stories to restore order before they are lost forever. Written and directed by Doug Hara, with puppets by Blair Thomas.

The House Theatre of Chicago presents Diamond Dogs
at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago
January 26-29: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $15-$30
Run time: 2 hours

Diamond Dogs is a classic deadly-maze story set in Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space Universe. Follow a future team of humans and transhumans as they investigate a mysterious alien tower, bent on brutally punishing all intruders. Body modification is the norm in the 26th century, and award-winning puppet designer Mary Robinette Kowal articulates and re-shapes actors' human forms into powerful mechanized players battling for their lives. Blood will spill.

About The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Intent on establishing Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry, the 11-day, city-wide Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival showcases an entertaining and eclectic array of puppet styles from around the world. Marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, tiny toy puppets, and distinctive, innovative styles of contemporary puppetry are just a few. 

The festival was founded by Chicago puppeteer Blair Thomas to celebrate and cultivate the city's reputation as a leader in the art of contemporary puppetry, and because there was no major international festival of its kind offered in any U.S. city. 

In sum, the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival boasts 24 presenting partners, 22 venues, more than 25 artists from seven countries presenting 20 different shows and more than 90 total performances. 

The festival website, is your online gateway to learn about, and with its new, shared online box office, purchase your tickets to this world pageant of top puppet artists and shows. 

Sign up via the website to receive important festival updates. Track the festival hashtag, #ChiPuppetFest, like the festival on Facebook, or follow the festival on Twitter at @ChiPuppetFest or on Instagram

For information (only) during the festival, call the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival box office, (312) 554-9800.

For more information, visit

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