Sunday, November 11, 2018


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar


**Tickets range from $35-$125** 

Enter below for your chance to WIN 4 orchestra tickets (up to $500 value) to opening night, Friday, November 16th, 2018 from ChiIL Mama. Enter through midnight Tuesday, November 13th.

Here at ChiIL Mama, we adore The Chicago Theatre and have partnered with them many times over the years, on promotions for our readers. It's our pleasure to partner up with them once again for a great Grinch giveaway! 

The Madison Square Garden Company announced that two-time Tony Award®-nominated Broadway actor Gavin Lee will steal Christmas this season in the title role of the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. This limited holiday engagement will run at The Chicago Theatre from November 16 through November 25, 2018. Tickets are on sale now.

Lee was most recently on Broadway as the tap-dancing show stopper Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants, for which he received his second Tony nomination. Previously, Lee originated the role of Bert in Mary Poppins on West End (Olivier nomination), Broadway (Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award) and on the first national tour. The British-born actor and proud dad of three is also known for his recurring role of Alan Woodford on USA Network’s “White Collar.”

“I am thrilled to step in to the furry, stinky green shoes of the world’s most beloved Christmas bad boy this holiday season,” Lee said. “As a dad myself, I know first-hand the magic of introducing kids to live theater and I look forward to hearts growing three sizes as they experience this beloved story in a whole new way…live on stage!”

More than two million audience members have already discovered the magic of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” the Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday musical that The New York Times hails as “100 times better than any bedtime story.”  Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday-loving Whos.

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical features magnificent sets designed by John Lee Beatty and costumes designed by Robert Morgan that are inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original book. Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason’s music and book breathe new life into this timeless story. The 2018 production is directed by Matt August and choreographed by Bob Richard, based on the original choreography by John DeLuca. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical was originally created by three-time Tony Award®-winning director, Jack O’Brien. The show is produced by Running Subway Productions and Big League Productions.

For more information about Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Chicago Theatre, visit Tickets are available at The Chicago Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster phone charge 1.800.745.3000. Groups of nine or more please call GroupTix at (773) 327-3778; discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets starting at $35.

Gavin Lee Credits:
Broadway: Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants - The Broadway Musical (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award), Thenadier in Les Misérables, Bert in Disney's Mary Poppins (Tony and Olivier nominations, Drama Desk and Theater World Awards). Other theater: Showboat (Carnegie Hall), Holiday Inn (World premiere, Goodspeed), Mary Poppins (1st National Tour), The Nerd (Bucks County Playhouse). London's West End: Top Hat, Mary Poppins, Crazy For You, Peggy Sue Got Married, Me And My Girl, Oklahoma! and Contact.  TV: 'Woodford' in “White Collar” (season six), “Law and Order SVU”, “The Good Wife”.

About The Madison Square Garden Company

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences.  The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston.  Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL) and the New York Liberty (WNBA); two development league teams –  the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise.  In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, The Stanton Social, Beauty & Essex and Vandal.  More information is available at

for your chance to WIN 4 orchestra tickets (up to $500 value) to opening night, Friday, November 16th, 2018 from ChiIL Mama. Enter through midnight Tuesday, November 13th. Winner will be announced here and on our social media outlets on Wednesday.


Disclosure: It's our pleasure to partner up with The Madison Square Garden Company and The Chicago Theatre on this sponsored post. They have provided us with complimentary tickets for our giveaway and for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 5, 2018

WIN 4 Tickets ($80 Value) To Bros Do Prose Peter Pan at Mercury Theater Chicago

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
Enter below for your shot at 4 Tickets to 
Bros do Prose PETER PAN at Mercury Theater

Inspired by the novel ‘Peter & Wendy’ by J.M. Barrie
Created by Bros do Prose - Directed by Christian Libonati
At Mercury Theater Chicago

November 3 to December 23, 2018

Here at ChiIL Mama, we're excited to partner up with Mercury Theater Chicago on a sweet ticket giveaway for our readers. I'll be out to catch the show November 5th, so check back soon for my full review. In the meantime, enter for your chance to win 4 Tickets ($80 Value). 

Bros do Prose puts a fresh new spin on J.M. Barrie’s beloved PETER PAN featuring a cast of two actors at Mercury Theater Chicago (3745 N. Southport Avenue) from November 3 to December 23, 2018. 

This new play created by Bros do Prose is directed by Christian Libonati and features original music by Michael Huey and Ella Raymont with lyrics by Bros do Prose. PETER PAN comes to Mercury Theater Chicago direct from its acclaimed world premiere at The Summer Theatre of New Canaan, Connecticut. Information and tickets are available at

In a whirlwind of creativity, sick beats and physical feats, a cast of two actors brings new life to the beloved story of Peter Pan. In this play, Wendy Darling dreams of a magical island where she never has to grow-up. When Peter Pan flies out of her dreams and in through her window, Wendy convinces him to lead her to Neverland. And so begins the adventure of a lifetime! Through mischievous antics with Peter Pan, cunning confrontations with Captain Hook, and Saturday night dance parties with the Lost Boys, Wendy uncovers the strength and joy that will keep her young long after she leaves Neverland. Whether this is your first or hundredth journey to Neverland, Bros do Prose PETER PAN will have you flying!

Bros do Prose PETER PAN features Breon Arzell as Peter Pan, Captain Hook, et. al. and Ella Raymont as Wendy, Smee, Tinkerbell, et. al. and is directed by Christian Libonati. The production team includes Brad Caleb Lee (scenic designer), Michael Huey (composer/sound designer), Ilana Breitman (costume designer), Corinne Curtis Broadbent (dance choreographer), and Dan Renkin (fight choreographer). Bros do Prose PETER PAN was originally produced and premiered at The Summer Theatre of New Canaan June 2018.

Music: Michael Huey & Ella Raymont
Lyrics: Bros do Prose
Cast: Breon Arzell (Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and more) and Ella Raymont (Wendy, Smee, Tinkerbell, and more)

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

Previews: Saturday, November 3 @ 11am and Sunday, November 4 @ 11am.
Performances continue November 10 to December 23, 2018.  Saturday & Sunday at 11am.

Tickets are $20.00 and are available online at, over the phone at (773) 325-1700, or in person at Mercury Theater Chicago box office (3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago). 

Second star to the right and straight on to 
Mercury Theater Chicago!
Grab three tickets, get the fourth free with a Family Fun Pack!

Join us for a limited engagement of Bros do Prose PETER PAN, presented from November 3 to December 23. The cast of Bros do Prose PETER PAN includes Ella Raymont (Wendy Darling) and Breon Arzell (Peter Pan). Bros do Prose is a theater organization which strives to create timely, impactful, and endlessly creative theater for children, in addition to theater workshops taught in Chicago, New York and Connecticut.

Ask for the Family Fun Pack offer by phone at 773-325-1700 or in-person at the box office at 3745 North Southport Avenue. Subject to availability. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts. Offer is not applicable to any previously purchased tickets. 

About Bros do Prose:
Bros do Prose adapts epic stories into two-person immersive and physically electric theater. Bros do Prose was started by Christian Libonati, Ella Raymont and Omen Sade in 2017 to create timely, impactful, and endlessly creative theater for production on any scale. With training ranging from the International Lecoq School in Paris to Mary Zimmerman and Improv Olympics in Chicago, the “Bros” bring a unique formula creating intelligent, action-packed performances that have all ages laughing, dancing and playing together.

Bros do Prose received three 2017 Broadway World Connecticut nominations including Best Children’s/Family Production for their co-production of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD by Oliver Emanuel at The Summer Theatre of New Canaan, Connecticut. Bros do Prose is currently touring their acclaimed productions of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD & PETER PAN to Connecticut schools. For additional information on Bros do Prose visit

About Mercury Theater Chicago:
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. Under the Direction of Executive Director L. Walter Stearns, Mercury Theater Chicago is currently running their hit production of AVENUE Q thru November 4, 2018 with a production of PIPPIN in Venus Cabaret Theater set to run from October 11 to December 16, 2018.

For additional information visit

WIN 4 Tickets ($80 Value) To Bros Do Prose Peter Pan at Mercury Theatre Chicago
Enter through midnight Thursday, November 8th. Tickets good for winner's choice of shows through the end of November (pending availability). Winner will be announced here and on our social media outlets Friday 11/8/18. 

Disclosure: Thanks to Mercury Theater for providing complimentary tickets for our giveaway and review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


Chi, IL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
Family Friendly Theatre On Our Radar


Chicago Children’s Theatre’s announced a three-week extension of its current smash hit musical, Leo Lionni’s Frederick.

All Photos by: Charles Osgood

Originally scheduled to close November 11, families should jump on this new block of tickets now on sale for new performances added through Saturday, December 1 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop. Performances are Saturday at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Frederick is an all-ages show. Single tickets are $39 including fees. For subscriptions, single tickets and information on group rates and weekday student matinees, visit or call Chicago Children’s Theatre Guest Services, (312) 374-8835.

Who doesn’t love Frederick the mouse, who appears to be daydreaming the summer away while his fellow field mice work hard gathering food for the winter. But when cold weather arrives, it is Frederick who has a surprise stored up – something special to help his friends survive the long, dreary winter. Based on the Caldecott Award-winning book, Leo Lionni’s Frederick is much loved for introducing children to the idea that there is a place for all of us in this world, with a special shout out to the importance of artists in our society.

The Chicago Sun-Times called Chicago Children’s Theatre’s fall production of Frederick “Hilarious…delightful…as infectious as a hootenanny…also seasonally spot-on…3-1/2 stars!”

Ideally timed for families preparing to brave the Chicago winter, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Frederick treats the city’s newest generation of young theatergoers to a fun-filled, all ages folk musical starring an A-list team of Chicago’s top professional theater artists on stage and behind the scenes. At the top is Tommy Rapley, company member with The House Theatre of Chicago and one of this city’s most in-demand choreographers, who makes his CCT directing debut with this raucous, fleet footed and playful new take on Leo Lionni’s Frederick.

Playing the titular role of Frederick is Tommy Rivera-Vega, acclaimed for his recent work in shows including Goodman’s Support Group for Men and Teatro Vista’s Parachute Men (Jeff nomination, best supporting actor). Playing Frederick’s fellow field mice are Chicago stage veterans Joe Dempsey (Lookingglass’ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Northlight’s Faceless; to be replaced in the final weeks by Shawn Pfautsch, the original Ernest in CCT’s 2014 world premiere of Frederick); Liz Chidester (Lizzie Borden in Firebrand’s rock musical Lizzie, and a Chicago Children’s Theater teaching artist) as Sunny; Nicole Laurenzi (Mamma Mia! national tour, also a CCT teaching artist) as Nellie; Leslie Ann Sheppard (CCT’s The Hundred Dresses, Northlight’s The Legend of Georgia McBride) as Baby; and multi-instrumentalist Jess McIntosh, a composer/performer for The House Theatre.

Leo Lionni’s Frederick, a 2014 CCT world premiere, was adapted for the stage by Suzanne Miller and features a spirited folk and rock blues music score by Sarah Durkee and Paul Jacobs. CCT’s Frederick production team is Matthew Muñiz (music director), John Musial (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Lee Fiskness (lighting design), Kevin O’Donnell (sound design), Eleanor Kahn (properties design) and Jamie Abelson (casting director).

Mama and papa mouse can save by including Leo Lionni’s Frederick in a 2018-19 Chicago Children’s Theatre subscription package. Soon after Frederick comes Chicago’s newest holiday family tradition, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a trunk-style puppet show starring everyone’s favorite Beatrix Potter characters, this year with two new stories, coupled with a festive tea and cocoa party. In January, CCT presents the world premiere of X-Marks The Spot, a new, inclusive sensory work conceived by Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell highlighting the experience of blind and low vision audiences. Next, New York’s Spellbound Theatre arrives to teach Chicago’s youngest theatergoers, kids one to five, about their bodies in the world premiere of The World Inside of Me. CCT’s 2018-19 season finale is an all-new, world premiere staging of The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, directed by Wardell Julius Clark, based on the groundbreaking book by Christopher Paul Curtis, adapted by Cheryl L. West, who also adapted CCT’s 2018 smash hit, Last Stop on Market Street. Book early and save on a variety of subscription packages, on sale now at, or call CCT Guest Services at (312) 374-8835. 

Chicago Children’s Theatre is centrally located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, minutes from I-90 and I-290, as well as downtown and Ashland Avenue. Chicago Children’s Theatre offers free onsite parking at The Station on the south side of the building, entering from Racine Ave. Nearby street parking is available, or look for the Impark parking lot at 1301 W. Madison St. 

Frederick Musical Theatre Workshop for kids 6 to 10
is Sunday, November 4

Based on the Caldecott Award-winning book, Frederick is much loved for introducing children to the idea that there is a place for all of us in the world, with a special shout out to the role of artists in society.

In addition to performances, Chicago Children’s Theatre is committed to training the next generation of actors and performers. On Sunday, November 4, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., CCT’s education department will offer the Frederick Musical Theatre Workshop, part of a new series of workshops based around the company’s mainstage shows.

Under the direction of Frederick cast member and CCT teaching artist Nicole Laurenzi (Mamma Mia! national tour), students will learn a song and dance scene from the show and then perform for family and friends on the Pritzker Family Studio Theatre stage. The fee is $59. Recommended for ages 6 to 10. Space is limited. Register your Frederick fan today at

More about Leo Lionni's Frederick

Leo Lionni (1910-1999) gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland, but settled soon after his marriage in Milan, where he became a graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia ad agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist began to flourish. In 1959 he launched his career as an author/illustrator of more than 40 highly acclaimed children’s books. He was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse.

About Chicago Children’s Theatre
Chicago Children’s Theatre has transformed the former 12th District Police Station, located in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood at 100 S. Racine Avenue, into its first permanent home. The new Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, celebrated its grand opening in January 2017, and now serves as a beautiful, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that welcomes all Chicago families.

Since its launch in 2005, CCT has cemented its reputation as the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. The company evolved out of Chicago’s need for high-quality, professional children’s programming to match the quality and significance of powerhouses such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre.

In 2017, Chicago Children’s Theatre became the first theater for young audiences in the nation to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.

Chicago Children’s Theatre has built its national reputation due to its focus on new work, producing 17 world premieres in the last 12 years including The Selfish Giant, The Hundred Dresses, Jackie and Me, Dot and Ziggy, The Houdini Box, The Elephant and The Whale (in association with Redmoon), Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Leo Lionni’s Frederick, Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter, Jabari Dreams of Freedom, Moonshot: A Race to Space, The Year I Didn’t Go To School: A Homemade Circus, My Wonderful Birthday Suit!, An Epic Tale of Scale and Last Stop on Market Street. These enjoyed successful inaugural runs in Chicago, many followed by productions at theaters across the U.S.

CCT has always believed children should be treated as the sophisticated audiences that they are, showcasing high profile and award-winning talent, inventive production values and compelling stories that challenge, educate and entertain. CCT also honors a strong commitment to low-income families and children with special needs. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools, the company offers free tickets to more than 5,000 Chicago-area low-income students each season.

In addition to presenting live shows in The Station’s intimate 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre continues to grow its education and community programs, which are unique in Chicago for emphasizing student authorship, youth empowerment and community leadership.

Starting this fall, CCT will start offering year-round education programming at The Station for ages 0 to 14, including the city’s most diverse roster of classes, specialized workshops, winter and spring break camps, and a full slate of summer camp experiences. experiences. Returning fall favorites are Hip Hop for Tots with Yuri “The Human Beat Box” Lane, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Acting, Intro to Musical Theatre, Circus and Aerial Arts with Actors Gymnasium, Wiggleworms with Old Town School of Folk Music, Shake the Stage, Bubble Jams and more. Visit, email, or call CCT’s Guest Services, (312) 374-8835, to register your child for one class or many.

Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Eric Neveux. The company is supported by a dynamic Board of Directors comprised of dedicated individuals from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business. Chicago Children's Theatre’s season is sponsored in part by Goldman Sachs Gives and ComEd.

For more information, visit



Short videos encourage food donation in Chicago, feature
signature song from Last Stop on Market Street

Here at ChiIL Mama, we love it when our favorites partner up together, especially when it means help for the vulnerable in our communities. Kudos to Chicago Children’s Theatre and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, with the support of The Chicago Community Trust, for their rockin' video campaign to encourage food donations and volunteer efforts!

Chicago Children’s Theatre and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, with the support of The Chicago Community Trust, have released a spirited new Hunger Awareness music video featuring the original hit song “Serving Up Love” from Chicago Children’s Theatre’s smash hit family musical Last Stop on Market Street.

In the PSA, 12 real Chicago kids selected from Chicago Children’s Theatre’s education program and fan base are shown sorting food, having fun, dancing and singing at the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s main donation and sorting facility on Chicago’s Southwest side. Additionally, The Happiness Club, a popular education programing partner at Chicago Children’s Theatre, dispatched some of its top youth performers to add exciting, eye-catching hip-hop choreography to the music video, filmed inside the Lakeview Pantry, a Greater Chicago Food Depository partner agency.

30 Second Spot:

Chicago Children's Theatre PSA for the Greater Chicago Food Depository (30 second spot) from Chicago Children's Theatre on Vimeo.

The PSA’s signature song, “Serving Up Love” by Motown legend Lamont Dozier and Paris Ray Dozier, also served as the final number in the musical Last Stop on Market Street. In fact, the final scene in Last Stop on Market Street turned out to be a community food bank, where a grandmother brought her grandson to teach him an important life lesson about supporting those experiencing hunger and food insecurity.

60 Second Spot:

Chicago Children’s Theatre PSA for the Greater Chicago Food Depository (60 second spot) from Chicago Children's Theatre on Vimeo.

When Last Stop on Market Street debuted last May, the Chicago Tribune called it “…a kid’s version of In the Heights…a celebration of a neighborhood and all of its diverse characters.” In addition to its final scene set a in a food bank, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s West Loop home, The Station, also served as a drop-off location throughout the run of the show. The set design even featured an on-stage sign for the Greater Chicago Food Depository to subtly boost visibility for Chicago’s food bank.

Development and production of videos was supported by a $5,000 Acting Up award from The Chicago Community Trust. The idea for the “Serving Up Love” PSA was sparked last May during the Chicago Community Trust’s fifth annual On the Table series, which convenes Chicago-area residents in conversations to engage in meaningful dialogue, develop new relationships and inspire action to make a real difference in communities. The PSA is one of 37 projects to receive an Acting Up Award from the Trust to benefit neighborhoods and the public good. The PSA was directed and edited by Mike Meyer, MeyerFilm Inc., Chicago.

“Chicago Children’s Theatre is deeply grateful to The Chicago Community Trust for the Acting Up award and the opportunity it gave us to celebrate the intersection of the arts with area nonprofits to enact real community change,” said Jacqueline Russell, artistic director, Chicago Children’s Theatre. “Together, we are helping address poverty, making sure fewer of our neighbors are hungry, and demonstrating how much fun it can be to volunteer and make a difference.” 

“Raising awareness is the first step towards ending hunger in our community,” said Kate Maehr, Food Depository executive director and CEO. “We’re grateful to the Chicago Children’s Theatre for getting involved by putting together a lighthearted and creative way to tell our story.”

In 2017, Chicago Children’s Theatre opened its first home, The Station, a performing arts and education center located in the city’s historic and re-emerging West Loop neighborhood. The Station is the former 12th district police station, and it is profound that a place once reserved for a very different purpose is now being used as a space for community, creativity and expression. The physical location of The Station is at the literal crossroads between the vibrant Loop and areas of poverty to the South and West, making it uniquely positioned to address critical community needs, and unite neighborhoods across the city.

Since its launch in 2005, CCT has cemented its reputation as the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. The company evolved out of Chicago’s need for high-quality, professional children’s programming to match the quality and significance of powerhouses such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre. In 2017, Chicago Children’s Theatre became the first theater for young audiences in the nation to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards. For more, visit

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository, founded in 1979, makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 700 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger. Last year, the Food Depository distributed more than 69 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 159,000 meals every day. For more information, visit or call

The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s community foundation, partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives and communities. For the past century, The Chicago Community Trust has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. Since its founding in 1915, the Trust has awarded over $2 billion in grant funding to more than 11,000 local nonprofit organizations – including more than $300 million in 2017. For more, visit

OPENING: She Kills Monsters at Lane Tech 4 Shows Only 11/7-10, 2018

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
She Kills Monsters at Lane Tech
**mature topics may be unsuitable for younger children**

My son, Dugan, who is a senior at Lane, is in this excellent production. Great show for adults and older kids. Leave the littles at home and read up if you're in doubt about the subject matter. 4 shows, this Wed-Sat. 

Agnes dives into the world of Dungeons and Dragons on a quest to save her sister's soul. After the unexpected death of her sister Tilly, Agnes explores an unknown world of leather and armor, swords, and monsters of all kinds in an attempt to finally get to know her sibling. ​​

A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly's Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly's refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

Tickets available at the door. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Full Casting Announced for Steppenwolf for Young Adults' Upcoming Production March 2 – March 16, 2019

Steppenwolf for Young Adults Announces Full Casting for:

We Are Proud to Present a Presentation
About the Herero of Namibia, 
Formerly Known as South West Africa, 
From the German Sudwestafrika,
Between the Years 1884-1915

Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) announced full casting for its upcoming production of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies Drury, co-directed by Hallie Gordon and Gabrielle Randle. It’s the second of SYA’s 2018-19 two-play season which asks, “When You Feel Lost, How Do You Find Your Way?" 

The cast features Will Alan (Actor 3/Another White Man), Taylor Blim (Actor 5/Sarah), Jeffrey Owen Freelon Jr. (Actor 2/Black Man), Michael Holding (Actor 1/White Man), Daniel Kyri (Actor 3/Another Black Man) and Jennifer Latimore (Actor 6/Black Woman). 

When a group of actors gathers together to give a presentation about a long-forgotten—or possibly never remembered—genocide, they realize that summaries based on history books aren’t nearly enough to capture the complexity of human extermination—or human interaction. We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… tells the story of what happens when, in an effort to dig deeper, the nobly intentioned ensemble crashes into their own simmering fears and unconscious prejudices, coming face to face with the potential for brutality in all of us.

Public performances for We are Proud to Present a Presentation… will take place March 2 (3 & 7:30pm); March 9 (3 & 7:30pm); March 16 (3pm & 7:30pm) in the Upstairs Theatre. Performances during the week reserved for school groups only; more than 15,000 Chicago Public School students will see the production. Single tickets to public performances ($15-20) go on sale Friday, October 19 at 11am; Member pre-sale begins Tuesday, October 16 at 11am.

Hallie Gordon (Co-Director) is an Artistic Producer at Steppenwolf and the Artistic Director for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, where she has directed many productions for the program including Monster by Walter Dean Myers; George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm; The Book Thief; To Kill a Mockingbird; and the world premiere of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye at Steppenwolf and Off-Broadway. She directed Steppenwolf’s 2017 production of Hir. She is an ensemble member for Rivendell Theatre where she directed the critically acclaimed Dry land and Eat Your Heart Out.

Gabrielle Randle (Co-Director) is a performance scholar, director, and dramaturg based in Chicago. She has a BA in Drama from Stanford University and an MA in Performance as Public Practice from The University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a dramaturg, producer, and director across the United States including Off-Broadway and internationally on three continents. In Chicago she has worked with Sideshow Theatre Company (Associate Artist), Chicago Dramatists, Victory Gardens Theater, Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, and Court Theatre. She is a third year PhD student at Northwestern in The Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama.

Will Allan (Actor 3) returns to Steppenwolf where he has performed in SYA productions of A Separate Peace and Animal Farm - as well as mainstage productions of Good People, The March, and The Flick. Other Chicago credits include: Ah, Wilderness!, The Seagull, and Dartmoor Prison (Goodman Theatre); The History Boys (TimeLine Theatre); The Whale (Victory Gardens Theater); The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia? (Remy Bumppo); Circumference of a Squirrel (Greenhouse Theater Solo Celebration); and more. Regionally, he has worked with Milwaukee Rep, Indiana Rep, Cardinal Stage, and The Human Race Theatre Company. TV credits include Chicago Justice and the current season of Chicago Fire. He is a graduate of North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and is a Company Member with TimeLine Theatre Company.

Taylor Blim (Actor 5) was recently seen at Steppenwolf in The Crucible and Mary Page Marlowe. Chicago credits include: The Wolves (The Goodman Theatre); Love’s Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Sucker Punch (Victory Gardens Theatre); Welcome to Jesus (The American Theatre Company); Grizzly Mama (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane); Assassins: The Musical, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Anna Bella Eema, and Twelve Angry Men (The Theatre School at DePaul University). TV/ Film credits include: Hala, Chicago Med (NBC), Forever, The Disposal, The Year That Changed Us.

Jeffery Owen Freelon Jr. first made an appearance at Steppenwolf as part of the LookOut Series in The New Colony’s Byhalia Mississippi. Owen also understudied the role of Kitch in Antoinette Nandi’s Passover. Other Chicago credits include Loy Webb’s The Light (The New Colony), Wonder In My Soul (Victory Gardens), and The American Revolution (Theater Unspeakable) He is proudly represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

Michael Holding (Actor 1) Chicago credits include: Koalas (16th Street Theatre), Henry in Henry VIII and The Rivals (Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre), Truth and Reconciliation (Sideshow Theatre Company), Posh (Steep Theatre, Jeff Award Winner Best Ensemble), Really Really (Interrobang Theatre), Shining City (Irish Theatre of Chicago), The Diviners (Organic Theater Company), and The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe (First Folio). Regional: 4000 Miles (Theatresquared). Film/TV: Chicago Med (NBC), Southside (Comedy Central), and the indie film Finn and the Sea of Noise. He is represented by Stewart Talent.

Daniel Kyri returns to Steppenwolf for Young Adults where he was last seen in Monster. Other Chicago credits include: Hamlet (The Gift Theatre); the world premiere of Charles Smith's Objects in the Mirror (Goodman Theatre); Tug of War pt. I & II (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); and Moby Dick (Lookingglass Theatre). TV credits: Chicago Med, the T, and Chicago Fire. Film credits: Perfect Day, Unexpected, Henry Gamble's Birthday Party and the upcoming Killing Eleanor.

Jennifer Latimore is making her Steppenwolf debut. Chicago credits include Twelfth Night, MLK: The Fight For Civil Rights, The Importance of Being Earnest (Writers Theatre); Macbeth, Love's Labor's Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Harvey (Court Theatre) and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Northlight Theatre). Regional credits include Smart People, A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Repertory Theater); The African Company Presents Richard III, An Ideal Husband, and Arcadia (American Players Theatre). TV Credits: The Chi, Empire, Chicago PD and FOX's upcoming Proven Innocent. Film Credits: An Acceptable Loss. 

We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… production team includes Arnel Sancianco (Scenic Design); Izumi Inaba (Costume Design); Heather Sparling (Lighting Design); Cooper Forsman (Sound Design); Michelle Medvin (Stage Manager); and JC Clementz (Casting Director).

Tour to Community Centers 
SYA will be touring this production of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… for a week to community centers in partnership with our City Connections partners. Tour locations and dates TBA soon.

Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly Performances
Steppenwolf is offering a Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performance for We are Proud to Present a Presentation… at a TBD date. Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performances feature a more relaxed environment and minor adjustments to sensory effects such as lighting and sound cues. This performance is open to all but designed to create a safe and welcoming experience for guests who may include, but are not limited to, individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as people with sensory processing and/or integration sensitivities. For more information, please email

Major foundation support for Steppenwolf Education is provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation and Alphawood Foundation. Steppenwolf Education is also supported in part by contributions from The Crown Family, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Sage Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Northern Trust Company, Field Foundation of Illinois, Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, ITW Foundation, Siragusa Foundation, Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc. and Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; as well as the Steppenwolf Associates, a community of dynamic young professionals.

Steppenwolf Education is a citywide partner of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) School Partner Program.

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance, and the Downstairs and 1700 Theatres are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theaters feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.

Steppenwolf Education’s unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. Every season Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) creates two full-scale professional productions specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, Steppenwolf Education annually ensures access to the theater for more than 15,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in almost 100 classrooms in public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after-school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations, as well as other teen and community based programs.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble represents a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programming includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit,, and

Sunday, October 28, 2018

WIN A Family Pass ($75 Value/2 Winners) To The 35th Annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival November 1st-9th, 2018

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List: 
35th Annual Chicago International 
Children's Film Festival 
November 1st-9th, 2018

Get your tickets to watch the best films for kids and teens! Here at ChiIL Mama, we're elated to partner up with Facets and the Chicago International 
Children's Film Festival on an excellent ticket giveaway for our readers. I volunteered at Facets from 1990 to 2016, and my teens grew up enjoying award winning family friendly films from around the world at the annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival (CICFF). We highly recommend CICFF for tots through teens, and even adults. 

Enter Below for your chance to WIN
A Family Pass ($75 Value/2 Winners) To The 35th Annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival through midnight October 30th, 2018
Pass contains 20 tickets
Each ticket admits one to any public Festival screening
Pass must be presented at the box office
No refunds on individual tickets

ChiIL Flicks On Our Radar

The Festival is a legendary Chicago cultural institution for
globally-minded, creative families, educators, and media

Their mission is to seek out and champion films that
represent the best of their kind and can adequately speak
to the experience of contemporary kids and teens.

The Festival is run by Facets, a pioneering nonprofit
that connects over 30,000 people annually to independent

ideas through transformative film experiences.

Get the ultimate Festival experience. 

With a Festival pass, you can watch the best films from around the world for kids and teens right here in Chicago.

Family Pass - $75
Get a 20 ticket pass for your family to use at any Festival screening.

Pass contains 20 tickets
Each ticket admits one to any public Festival screening
Pass must be presented at the box office
No refunds on individual tickets

Get tickets or family passes in advance and check out the full lineup right here.

Enter for your chance to WIN
A 20 Ticket Family Pass ($75 Value/2 Winners) To The 35th Annual 
Chicago International Children's Film Festival  through midnight October 30th, 2018
Pass contains 20 tickets
Each ticket admits one to any public Festival screening
Pass must be presented at the box office
No refunds on individual tickets

Disclosure: Here at ChiIL Mama, we're elated to partner up with Facets and the Chicago International Children's Film Festival on an excellent ticket giveaway for our readers. We have been compensated and/or given complimentary tickets for our giveaway and review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own. 

WIN 4 Tickets To Monster Jam® Triple Threat Opening Night Friday, Nov. 2, 2018

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Returns to Rosemont with First-Ever November Dates

The most family-friendly, action-packed motorsport in the world races into Allstate Arena, Nov. 2-4

Enter Below:
One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will win 4 FREE Tickets 
To Monster Jam® Triple Threat
7:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2, 2018
Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, Ill.

It's our great pleasure to partner up with Monster Jam once again, to offer a great ticket giveaway for our readers. My family's been enjoying Monster Jam for years, and I love photographing these flying giants in action! Whether you're a long time fan too, or your family's never checked it out before, now's your chance. Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, Monster Jam is the most approachable, fan-friendly sport in the world today, with loyal lifelong fans who crave bigger, faster and louder experiences.

Monster Jam is one of the only sports where male and female world-class drivers, some generational rivals, are equals competing for the same championship on the same track.

Featuring the eight most intense athletes of Monster Jam, Allstate Arena fans will witness a fierce battle for the championship with each competitor using customized high-powered vehicles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Jam ATVs and the famous Monster Jam trucks. 

Watch your favorite Monster Jam trucks and drivers go head-to-head in a competitive format that is sure to keep fans on the edge of their seat.

Grave Digger®: Brandon Vinson 
Max-D: Jared Eichelberger 
El Toro Loco®: Armanda Castro
Zombie: Ami Houde 
Pirate's Curse: Camden Murphy
Wonder Woman: Collete Davis
Megalodon: driver TBA 
Monster Mutt Rottweiler: Jack Brown  

Too big to contain to once a year, Monster Jam® Triple Threat will make its second annual appearance at Rosemont’s Allstate Arena, Nov. 2-4, marking the first time the wildly popular Monster Jam tour will make a Chicagoland pit-stop in November. Playing to sold-out crowds here each February/March, this new season of Monster Jam Triple Threat promises to bring motorsport fans to the edge of their seats with adrenaline-charged, high-flying, four-wheel excitement that is fun for the entire family.

Featuring the eight most intense athletes of Monster Jam, Chicago-area fans will witness a fierce battle for the championship with each competitor using customized high-powered vehicles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Jam ATVs and the famous Monster Jam trucks. Vying to be the Chicago-area champion will be:

Grave Digger® – Brandon Vinson
Max D® – Jared Eichelberger 
El Toro Loco® – Armando Castro
ZombieSM – Ami Houde
Pirate’s Curse – Camden Murphy
Wonder Woman – Collete Davis
Megalodon – driver-athlete to be announced
Monster Mutt® Rottweiler – Jack Brown

Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, Monster Jam takes center stage in the world’s most iconic venues, sporting meticulously manicured dirt tracks created with the sole purpose of pushing these perfectly engineered, larger-than-life trucks to the limit.

Following racing, new this season across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the truck winner in the donut, wheelie and freestyle competitions by real-time, in-arena fan voting on their smartphones.

Show Times & Ticket Information
Friday, Nov. 2 – 7 pm
Saturday, Nov. 3 – 1 pm & 7 pm (Pit Party, 10 am - Noon)
Sunday, Nov. 4 – 1 pm & 6:30 pm (Pit Party, 10 am - Noon)

Monster Jam events are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at $20. Tickets are available at and all Ticketmaster retail locations, the Allstate Arena box office, and by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Pit Parties give fans the opportunity to meet the Monster Jam athletes and get up close to the Monster Jam trucks. Pit passes are priced at $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday, and can only be purchased in conjunction with tickets to the same-day Saturday or Sunday 1 pm show.

For more information on a Monster Jam near you, please log onto or follow us via our social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that uplift the human spirit and bring people together. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Sesame Street Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit for more information.

Enter HERE:
One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will win 4 FREE Tickets 
To Monster Jam® Triple Threat
7:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2, 2018
Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, Ill.
Enter through midnight Tuesday, October 30th, 2018.

Disclosure: Thanks to Feld Entertainment® and Monster Jam® Triple Threat for partnering up with ChiIL Mama once again. We have been compensated and/or given complimentary tickets for our giveaway and review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

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