Showing posts with label family friendly theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family friendly theatre. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

OPENING: The Hypocrites Present Gilbert & Sullivan Rep #FamilyFriendly #Theatre

The Hypocrites are truly a treat. Highly recommended. Consider gifting your loved ones with tickets to this triple play. Last year we had the pleasure of seeing Mikado and it was one of our top favorites of the year. The Hypocrites worked the promenade style exceedingly well, and pulled the audience right into the show. This year we plan on checking out the acclaimed H.M.S. Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance as well.

ChiIL Mama & the kids ChiILin' at The Hypocrites' Mikado 

Gilbert & Sullivan Rep
Directed by Sean Graney and Thrisa Hodits
Music Direction by Andra Velis Simon

featuring the world premiere adaptation of
H.M.S. Pinafore
Adaption by Sean Graney, Matt Kahler & Andra Velis Simon

along with the highly anticipated return of BOTH
Pirates of Penzance 
Adaption by Sean Graney & Kevin O'Donnell
Adaption by Sean Graney

Looking for something fun to do with the family
this Thanksgiving holiday week?
Join The Hypocrites for the first week of
H.M.S. Pinafore:

Wed 11/26/2014 8:00 PM
Fri 11/28/2014 8:00 PM
Sat 11/29/2014 8:00 PM
Sun 11/30/2014 3:00 PM
Mon 12/1/2014 8:00 PM

H.M.S. Pinafore: Nov 26th-Feb 7th
Mikado: Dec 11th-Feb 7th
Pirates: Dec 18th-Feb 7th

The Hypocrites are one of our top local favorites, and the Jeff Committee seems to agree with us. We're elated to see The Mikado will return December 2014-February 2015 along with the whole Gilbert & Sullivan Rep. 

Mash Note to Mikado:

Dear Hypocrites Mikado-- We were so elated to see you last December. You lit up the darkest, coldest of times with flash and panache. We told everyone we knew about you and couldn't wait to introduce them to you. Of course you charmed anyone who came within reach of your siren's song!

You didn't just break down the 4th wall, you ran rings around it! We were so impressed with your acting, costumes, and the whole interactive, participatory vibe. You were a colorful, riotous explosion of song, dance and fun and a blast to spend an evening with.

We can't wait to see you again!
ChiIL Mama & the kids

The intimate tent like setting full of tiny bulbs was a welcoming beacon of warmth and celebration of light at the darkest time of the year. The rag tag band of circus sorts doing a hybrid of the traditional Mikado score with an utterly unique and playful spin was a compelling mix. We adore the improv elements The Hypocrites employ and the way they truly engaged the crowd and played off of them and WITH them.

Promenade staging (or shows where the audience stands and mingles in the performance space and follows the action, moving as needed) was used to great effect for The Hypocrites runaway hit, The Mikado. We've honestly never seen the 3rd wall so effectively broken down. The Mikado was playful, fun, interactive and highly effective as a promenade style piece.  

This past year, The House Theatre's acclaimed Dorian production was promenade style, as was a Midsummer Night's Dream at Strange Loop Theatre among others. Red Moon Theatre's Bellboys, Bears and Baggage, was billed as a promenade style spectacle, too. Yet we've never seen the style pulled off as well as The Mikado does.

Reviews from Mikado and Pirates:

★★★★ (out of ★★★★)   

"The Hypocrites apply their winning formula of hip deconstruction and dark comedy to the cherished operetta"
Chicago Tribune

"Spirited, affectionate, and nearly irresistible"
Boston Globe

"Terrific...The Hypocrites' musicianship has never sounded better."
TimeOut Chicago

All Our Tragic Returns June-August 2015

Missed All Our Tragic this time around?
Saw it but wanted to come back or tell your friends?
Well now you have a second chance
Buy your tickets for next summer now

The Hypocrites at
Den Theatre Mainstage 
1329 N Milwaukee  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ACT OUT OPENING: The Rose and the Rime at House Theatre (ages 6+)


**Although designed for adults, The Rose and the Rime is suitable for kids six and up.** 
The run time is 85 minutes with no intermission--so make sure your kids can handle it, if you're considering bringing the littles. 

The House Theatre has long been a top favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows.   We can't wait to see their latest original play, The Rose and the Rime!   Last month we saw The phenomenal House Nutcracker for the 3rd or 4th time, and the kids still begged to see it yet again.   It's become a beloved annual tradition.   Before that, our whole family thoroughly enjoyed The Crownless King.   We'd been eagerly waiting a YEAR for The Stag King sequel.   And of course the incomparable Dennis Watkins' magic has no equal.   We've been raving about his Death and Harry Houdini, The Magnificents and Magic Parlour shows for years.   Click here for some of our past House Theatre related coverage including video interviews, reviews, and photo filled features.   Then don't take our word for it.   Buy your tickets before they sell out and GO already.   We'll be there this Sunday for the press opening and will have a full review up shortly.    

Artistic Director Nathan Allen Leads Cast of Ten in Re-imagined Production

The House Theatre of Chicago presents the all-ages original play Rose and the Rime at the Chopin Theatre Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Friday, Jan. 17 – Sunday, March 9. The play is created by Company Members Chris Matthews, Jake Minton and Artistic Director Nathan Allen, who will also serve as the production’s director, and has choreography by Company Member Tommy Rapley and music by Company Member Kevin O’ Donnell

The Rose and the Rime Schedule
Previews begin Friday, Jan. 17 through Saturday, Jan. 25 and play on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.  Regular performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. 

Preview tickets are $15, Regular Run tickets range from $20 to $40 and $10 Student and Industry Same-Day discounted tickets are available for all dates, seats permitting. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832.

Rose and the Rime
House Theatre Chicago 1/17/14 - 3/9/14. 

“…This whole intensely creative show—which deals with a plucky young girl who stares down
an evil witch, only to confront the ambivalence of power—is relentlessly optimistic. That’s one of the great pleasures of The House.” Chicago Tribune

“Wonderfully imaginative stagecraft and a unique approach to movement."Chicago Sun-Times

ROSE AND THE RIME will transfer to The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County starting April 23, 2014 for a five-week run, in a continuing partnership between Arsht and The House.

The multi-talented ensemble of The House Theatre of Chicago utilizes their signature style that blends music, swirling acrobatic dance, spectacle, and stage craft to spin the cautionary tale of their favorite myth, Rose and the Rime. Set in Radio Falls, “a little town by a big lake," young Rose (played by Company Member Paige Collins) must risk her life to rescue a magic coin from the icy clutches of the Rime Witch (played by Ericka Ratcliff), her only hope in saving her friends and family from the spell that keeps them frozen in perpetual winter. When the coin is returned, the freezing spell is lifted, and for a moment, Radio Falls appears rescued from their icy fate. But the coin's power inspires bigger dreams, and greed creeps slowly into the thawed Townsfolk. Rose must finally fight to keep the coin from falling into the wrong hands. But can she bear the power herself? Originally developed at Hope College in 2008, Rose and the Rime won the honor of playing the Kennedy Center as Best Original Work in the KCACTF festival. Re-staged by The House in 2009, Rose and the Rime tackles big themes considered central to many of the stories told at The House.

ROSE AND THE RIME is written by Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews and Jake Minton, and directed by Nathan Allen. Tommy Rapley leads the ensemble in the dance-like movement as Choreographer, and Kevin O'Donnell lends the score.

Company Members Michael E Smith and Joey Steakley return to their roles as Uncle Roger and Charlie, respectively. Company Member Paige Collins (The Nutcracker, The Crownless King) will take on the title role as Rose, and Company Member Christine Mayland Perkins also appears in the ensemble. Last seen in 2007's The Nutcracker, Equity actress Ericka Ratcliff returns to The House in the title role of the Rime Witch, complete with wire work and new original songs to make Rose's encounter with the Witch particularly spellbinding and heartbreaking.

Guest artist Brandon Holmes (recently seen in Steppenwolf's Three Sisters) appears as Rose's love interest, Jimmy. The ensemble is rounded out by returning guest artist Kara Davidson, and new faces Jeremy Sonkin, Dan Toot, and Tamara White.
Company Member Collette Pollard designs a new space for this re-imagined production, creating a darker, more isolated world for each resident of Radio Falls, where tiny homes stand in solitary snow storms day after day. With seating on three sides of the stage, the audience is a part of the snowy world. 

Company Member Melissa Torchia bundles the cast up for the icy weather, in an urban Midwestern palate. Company Member Lee Keenan designs lights that transport us from Rose's dreamy, childhood visions, to the harsh realities of life in a broken town. Jeff Award-winning composer and Company Member Kevin O’Donnell shares a score influenced by doo-wop, harkening to the show's Michigan roots. Company Member Joshua Horvath completes the team as sound designer.


Benefit - The Red Rows Spectacular
Recovery on Water

Feb 12th 7p -2nd Annual Benefit performance to raise funds for ROW (Recovery on Water) a rowing program for breast cancer survivors.  Tonight's entertainment includes live comedy, exotic burlesque performances, feats of strength and more!  Cocktails and light hor'doueves at 7p with performances at 730pm.
Tickets - $25

The House is Chicago's premier home for original works of physical and spectacle storytelling. 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 60 Joseph Jefferson Awards (19 wins) and became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007. Now in its 12th year of original work, The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stages Sights & Sounds 2013 Kick Off Party Photo Filled Feature #originalphotos

Paige in Full and Kick Off Party for The Chicago Humanities Fest's Stages, Sights & Sounds 2013 at the MCA.   

It was a true pleasure to mix and mingle... 

We were even given a thought provoking "homework" assignment to go on our name tags.   It proved to be a good ice breaker and conversation starter.   We were asked to provide the first theatre-music-art-or event that "sparked" or inspired your love of the arts.   (even if the love of my life did write Evel Knievel)...

We met the masterminds behind the fest... 

And we got to catch a sneak peek at the excellent Paige in Full show... 

We were even sent home with sweet goody bags full of tasty treats from another of our Chi-town favs, Vosge's Chocolate

Saturday, March 23, 2013

ACT OUT EXTENDED: Million Dollar Quartet extends through the end of its fifth year in Chicago #review #discount

Du-Jay (11) and Sagezilla (9) were elated to meet the Million Dollar Quartet cast back stage after the show.   The actors we're totally cool with the kids and asked them about the instruments they're starting to learn (drums & guitar respectively) and about their circus arts performing!  

New block of tickets on sale through September 1, 2013

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama and Million Dollar Quartet.   They make our ChiIL Picks List for our favorite long running shows you can take you kids and/or your parents to.    This awesome rockin' ride of a show will be a nostalgia trip for your elders and another brick in the wall of your littles' rock education.    All ages will adore this bass climbin', piano poundin',  hip grindin', riff rockin', jam session of the greats.    I challenge you to keep your butts in the seats.   It's nearly impossible.   I bet you'll find yourself dancing and at the very least clapping and head boppin' along, if not belting out the lyrics right along with the band.

Du-Jay, Sagezilla and I caught Million Dollar Quartet and a meet n greet/ sneak peek back stage.   We all completely dug the show.   We went on Family Night and the kids got some seriously sweet FREE swag bags with a show CD, calendars, tattoos, fridge magnets, guitar picks, and more!    I'm sure the content varies monthly, but we were impressed.   And, as if that's not cool enough, on family nights, one child under 17 is admitted free with each adult ticket purchase.   So what are you waiting for?   Go already.

We didn't roll video on formal interviews, but we had a chance to casually chat with the cast back stage after the show, and they were all enthusiastic about their work.   It's an exceptionally talented cast, as the script requires musicians who can handle the acting elements of a long running stage show, or actors who are excellent enough musicians to cover the infamous greats with style.    All of the actors picked up instruments when they were young.   And Elvis (Brandon Bennett) was already making a living as an Elvis impersonator before he auditioned for and found a permanent gig with Million Dollar Quartet.

None of the actors have been there for the whole 5 year run.   I believe they said the longest hold out has been there over 3 years, though, which is entirely impressive in the theatre world!   There was an influx of newbies about a year ago, when some of the Chicago cast was tapped for the touring production.    They have an excellent rapport with each other and look like they're thoroughly enjoying themselves on stage.

I asked how they keep it fresh and new night after night.   Back in the day, my theatre friends in long running professional shows used regale me with stories on how they'd mess with each others' props/food/written note props etc. in an attempt to mix it up and see how far they could push it without someone breaking character.    This cast laughed at that and said they're not that evil to each other.   However, lots of improv dialogue goes on under the music and as the songs start and finish, so they said there's plenty of opportunity to verbally mess with each other and throw in new surprises nightly.

If you haven't made it out to see Million Dollar Quartet, we highly recommend it.   Sometimes it's easy to get lazy about long running shows, and put off going to see them for other short runs.  My advice....don't.   When you live in a vital and amazing theatre town like Chicago, the sheer number of excellent productions can be overwhelming.   But there's a reason Million Dollar Quartet has been running 5 years.   Don't miss this must see.

Million Dollar Quartet will offer special family discounts on select Sundays.  Family nights have extended through the summer of 2013, and are currently scheduled for April 14, May 19, June 23, July 28 and August 19 at 6:30 p.m. 
Tickets to Million Dollar Quartet Family Nights are buy one, get one free.  (One child under 17 will be admitted free with each adult ticket purchase.)  The evenings will feature giveaways with special gifts from Million Dollar Quartet.  Check for information about upcoming Family Nights.

Million Dollar Quartet is a 90-minute, family-friendly production.  Audience members of all ages are invited to laugh, clap—and even dance—during the show. 

For more show information, visit


Million Dollar Quartet, now in its fifth year in Chicago, continues performances through September 1, 2013 with cast membersBrandon Bennett (Elvis Presley), Shaun Whitley (Carl Perkins), Lance Lipinsky (Jerry Lee Lewis), Chris Damiano (Johnny Cash), Tim Decker(Sam Phillips), Whitney Kraus Jones (Dyanne), Marc Edelstein (Jay Perkins/Bass player) and Dan Leali (Fluke/Drummer). The Tony-nominated musical inspired by the famed 1956 recording session that brought together legendary rock ‘n’ roll icons Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, celebrates its long run in Chicago, a multiple Tony-nominated New York run, a long-running London production, a newly-opened production in Las Vegas, and a national tour that kicked-off in October 2011. 

The Chicago production continues to break box office records at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.  Tickets are now on sale through September 1, 2013 at the Apollo box office, phone (773) 935-6100, and online through Ticketmaster,   For more information, visit

Million Dollar Quartet features a treasure trove of the greatest rock ’n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits from these music legends, including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Riders in the Sky,” “Whole Lotta’ Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “I Walk the Line,” and “Hound Dog.”  Million Dollar Quartet captures the infectious spirit, freewheeling excitement and thrilling sounds of a singular moment when four of the music industry’s most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, came together for one of the most memorable nights in music history. 

Directed by Eric Schaeffer and Floyd Mutrux, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd MutruxMillion Dollar Quartet is produced by Relevant TheatricalsJohn Cossette Productions and Northern Lights Inc.

Million Dollar Quartet had its world premiere at Florida’s Seaside Music Theatre, and was subsequently staged at the Village Theatre in Washington, breaking box office records.  In Chicago, the production moved to the Apollo on November 5, 2008, following its sold-out, limited engagement at the Goodman’s Owen Theatre.  The Broadway production garnered three Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Levi Kreis; three Drama League Award nominations; and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination.  Million Dollar Quartet is currently playing in New York at New World Stages, London at the Noel Coward Theatre and it recently began a national tour.

Million Dollar Quartet tickets are on sale through September 1, 2013.  Tickets to Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theater are available through the Apollo Theater box office, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave, (773) 935-6100.  Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster, 

Tickets are $25-$85. (Standard ticketing fees apply.)
Rush student tickets for select performances (Wed-Fri and Sun evenings only) are available 2 hours prior to curtain at the box office with valid Student ID. Student rush tickets are subject to availability.

The Apollo performance schedule is as follows: Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.   (Book your tickets early for the best seats.)

Producer Gigi Pritzker comments, “It’s a thrill to extend, once again, through the end of our fifth year in Chicago.  Since the beginning, Chicago has embraced Million Dollar Quartet and we are grateful for the continued and enthusiastic support of our home town audiences.  It’s been a hit in Chicago, New York, London, Japan, on the national tour, and is now open in Las Vegas, as well.  The show remains as fresh, energetic and engaging as always—partially due to the more than 20 rock ‘n’ roll hits in the show and the tremendous talent on stage.”


Brandon Bennett (Elvis Presley) a native of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, has performed with legendary stars like The Jordanaires, DJ Fontana and The Sweet Inspirations. Brandon has been honored with several international awards, including prestigious honors from Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.  He joins the cast of MDQ after performing for the past two years with the stage production The Elvis Story in Quebec, Canada.   Brandon recently appeared on Late Show with David Letterman.

Shaun Whitley (Carl Perkins) is a musician, actor, composer, and Jeff nominated music director. Some
Chicago credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Flute/Thisbe) with Chicago Shakespeare Theater; PumpBoys and Dinettes (Jim) with Drury Lane Theater; Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Tommy, u/s Buddy Holly) with Drury Lane Theater; Uncle Vanya (Telegin) with TUTA; and Cotton Patch Gospel (Bass/Mandolin) with Provision Theater. He studied acting at RADA in London.

Lance Lipinsky (Jerry Lee Lewis), a Texas native, grew up studying his dad’s record collection of Elvis, Roy Orbison, and his hero, Jerry Lee Lewis.  These influences never left him and now, at age 24, he combines these styles in his own original music similar to early Rock & Roll, classic Country and even a touch of 1960’s pop.  His energetic live shows have led him all over the world, even to making his national television debut at the original Ryman Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.  

Chris Damiano (Johnny Cash) is an Atlanta native, whose Chicago credits include Sugar at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theo Ubique’s productions of Evita(Che, Jeff Award Non-Equity) and Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night (Man 1, Jeff Award Non-Equity). Damiano played guitar for Lil’ Buds Children’s Theatre productions of Those Silly Reindeer and Still Life with Iris. He currently plays with the bluegrass band Groundspeed and with the Italian folk/jazz group I Monelli monelli.

Tim Decker (Sam Phillips), a longtime Chicago actor, has appeared at Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Next, Milwaukee Rep, Touchstone, Shattered Globe, Stage Left, Famous Door, American Theatre Company, and American Blues (where he received a Principal Actor Jeff Award for his work in Toys in the Attic), among others.

Whitney Kraus Jones (Dyanne) is making her Chicago debut in Million Dollar Quartet. Jones recently graduated from Ball State University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Past credits include Syncope (Short Film), Brighton Beach Memoirs, Beauty and the Beast, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Godspell.

Dan Leali (Fluke, Drummer) a native of the Chicago area, has performed with jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker; songwriters Jewel, Liz Phair, Peter Himmelman and Robbie Fulks; Poi Dog Pondering; Fareed Haque; bluesman John Primer; and Liquid Soul. He has performed on television and radio jingles, as well as arcade and video game soundtracks, and maintains a private teaching practice. Dan is also a founding member of the band Tributosaurus.

Marc Edelestein (Jay Perkins, Bassist) Devoted to American roots music, Marc has avidly promoted and
performed internationally in rockabilly, bluegrass, country, and folk projects. Performances include altcountry’s Robby Fulks Band; 7 years with Special Consensus Bluegrass Band; musical revue Women In My Life with singer-songwriters Bob Gibson and Michael Smith; Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s country & western auxiliary CSOakies; and numerous recordings. Marc made his theatrical debut as string bassist and vocalist in the Jeff Award winning Woody Guthrie’s American Song (Northlight, Briar Street Theater), and performed in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Goodman Theater).

On December 4, 1956, an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together. The place was Sun Records’ storefront studio in Memphis.  The man who made it happen was Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ’n’ Roll,” who discovered them all. The four legends-to-be united for the only time in their careers for an impromptu recording that has come to be known as one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time. 

* * * * * *

Director Eric Schaeffer is the acclaimed co-founder and artistic director of the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, where his work has been honored with numerous Helen Hayes Awards including Outstanding Direction.  He directed Putting it Together and Glory Days on Broadway, the first national tour of big, The Musical, and the West End debut of The Witches of Eastwick.  He also served as artistic director for the Kennedy Center’s recent Sondheim Celebration.

Floyd Mutrux is also the co-author of the book to Million Dollar Quartet, sharing writing credits with noted Grammy® Award-winning author and music historian Colin Escott.  Mutrux has written, directed or produced numerous films, including the classic biopic of early rock ’n’ roll American Hot Wax, Dick Tracy and Mulholland Falls.  Escott, the author of numerous books including Good Rockin’ Tonight – Sun Records and the Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll, was awarded a Grammy® for producing The Complete Hank Williams, and was nominated for a Grammy for producing B.B. King – King of the Blues.

Musical Director Chuck Mead, with multiple hit records, has stood at the forefront of the alternative country music explosion as founder and lead singer of BR549, the three-time Grammy® Award nominated country band.

Relevant Theatricals (Producer) is a commercial production company headed by Gigi Pritzker and Ted
Rawlins, dedicated to developing new work for the stage. Current projects include: Snapshots, a new musical with book by David Stern and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, creator of WickedPippin and Godspell; and a new musical version of Dennis The Menace, scheduled to open in Seattle later this year.  Relevant’s sister company, Odd Lot Entertainment, develops and produces outstanding new film properties. Current productionsinclude the feature Rabbit Hole, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, starring Nicole Kidman and Dianne Wiest, and directed by John Cameron Mitchell.  Relevant Theatricals is proud to be part of the producing team that developed Million Dollar Quartet.

John Cossette Productions (Producer) was founded by John Cossette whose 30 year career in the music industry as an innovative producer of large scale events was legendary.  John produced the Grammy’s, the BET awards, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and a star-studded concert in Central Park.  He was deeply involved with MusiCares and the EJ Jackson Foundation which helps to feed the homeless in Los Angeles. Under the direction of Rita Cossette the company will continue to develop and produce music related entertainment.

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