Friday, January 24, 2020

Teen Take On Blue Man Group Chicago and Winter Show Dates Through February 29, 2020

Blue Man Group Chicago
**Added performances on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day**


"That show had everything I like in it. I had a sore jaw from laughing so consecutively. 
Really appreciated it. They had excellent humor, outstanding drummers, 
and the creativity went through the roof."
Andrew Collazo 



Review:
by Sage Kenaz-Mara (16)



I've seen Blue Man Group many times over the years, in 2011, when they first updated the show, and again in 2012 with my circus team mates from CircEsteem. I also saw them with 3 generations of my family in 2014. 



The last time I went was 2016, when I was 13, so I couldn't wait to catch them again, now that I'm older. Thanks to Blue Man Group for comping us a couple tickets, so I could recap our experience for my "Teen Take" series at ChiILMama.com.



I'm dating a guy now who was a coworker of mine at Bristol Renaissance Faire for the past two summers. Andrew's a drummer and juggler, so I surprised him with tickets to the Blue Man Group show. He'd never seen them. 

We got to be part of the show from the start. They featured us as the "You're Late Couple". It was super funny. They put us up on the big screen, and gave us closer seats than we had originally. The drumming was amazing and they've changed up the instruments some since I saw it last. 



I also loved that they moved the human painting in front of the audience now instead of back stage. 



The only thing I truly missed was the big dance party they used to close with, which wasn't in the show anymore. 

Andrew said he was so happy at the show with me that by the time they got to the Jello part, he had to restrain himself from standing up and yelling out that he loved me. He said it later for the first time after the show. 



Blue Man Group's great for all ages, though bring earplugs for anyone little. In the past we've given tickets as gifts to relatives from two sets of grandparents down to kids and they've all enjoyed it. Sometimes it's easy to take long running shows for granted, but Blue Man Group is unforgettable. There's a reason they're still in a wildly popular open run in Chicago and have expanded to be a global phenomenon. If you've never been, check it out. If you've gone before, take someone new, and experience it again. This show's a great way to beat the winter blues.   

Sage Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based high school Junior, writer-actor-choreographer-artist and frequent audience member at theatre productions all over town. She is writing a regular "Teen Take" series now for ChiIL Mama, featuring a closer look at Chicago theatre, circus, museums, attractions and events with a teen perspective.


Blue Man Group, continues its open run at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted) including added performances on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

Blue Man Group’s complete winter performance schedule is outlined below.



Blue Man Group Ticket Information

Tickets are available from $49-$104. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-BLUE-MAN (1-800-258-3626) or visiting www.blueman.com. A full show schedule and ticket pricing, can also be found at www.blueman.com.

VIP Experience ticket packages are also available starting at $150 per person and include a three-course dinner at Drew’s on Halsted, premium seat and one pre-show beverage at the Briar Street Theatre, souvenir lanyard and a post-show meet-and-greet with a Blue Man. 

Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more, varying from $46.50- $79.50 per person. For groups of 10 or more, call the group sales department to book at: 773-348-3300 or email chicagogroups@blueman.com to request information.



2020 Remaining Winter Performance Schedule:

January
Friday, January 24 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 25 – 2, 5 and 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 26 – 1 and 4 p.m.
Thursday, January 30 – 8 p.m.
Friday, January 31 – 8 p.m.

February
Saturday, February 1 – 2, 5 and 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 2 – 1 p.m.
Thursday, February 6 – 8 p.m.
Friday, February 7 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 – 2, 5 and 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 9 – 1 and 4 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 – 8 p.m.
Friday, February 14 – 6 and 9 p.m. (Valentine’s Day)
Saturday, February 15 – 1, 4, 7 and 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 16 – 1, 4 and 7 p.m.
Monday, February 17 – 1 p.m. (President’s Day)
Thursday, February 20 – 8 p.m.
Friday, February 21 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 22 – 2, 5 and 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 23 – 1 and 4 p.m.
Thursday, February 27 – 8 p.m.
Friday, February 28 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 29 – 2, 5 and 8 p.m.



About Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group is an award-winning show and entertainment phenomenon seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. A dynamic combination of art, music, comedy and technology, the show’s euphoric celebration of human connection has universal appeal for a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. The show is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology. Blue Man Group has permanent theatrical productions in New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Berlin and a World Tour. Blue Man Group is owned and operated by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

This creative collective has become part of the pop culture zeitgeist. Blue Man Group has served as the face of branding campaigns for Intel and TIM/Brasil and appeared countless times on hit shows like “The Tonight Show,” “Arrested Development,” “Ellen,” “Schlag den Raab” (Germany), “WOWOW” (Japan), and “Caldeirão do Huck” (Brasil).

Beyond the stage show, they are Grammy-nominated recording artists, known for their contributions to various film and TV scores and multiple Blue Man Group albums, including their most recent, THREE. Their “Megastar World Tour” rock concert parody played arenas across the globe. The group’s recently published first-ever book, Blue Man World, is a visually stunning anthropological exploration of the curious bald and blue character.



Saturday, January 18, 2020

HELP OUT: CLLAW XXXV Lady Arms Wrestlers Benefiting Sideshow Theatre Company & Girls Rock! Chicago

The Chicago League of Lady Arms Wrestlers Presents
CLLAW XXXV: Pageant of Champions
Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Logan Square Auditorium

(left to right) CLLAW 34 Co-Champs Shaydes and Cursula at The Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers’ 34th match CLLAW XXXIV: Good vs. Evil at Logan Square Auditorium. 
All Photos by Trainman Photography.

Benefiting Sideshow Theatre Company & Girls Rock! Chicago

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we love it when our friends play well together, especially when it's for a great cause. Sideshow Theatre Company & Girls Rock! Chicago are both long time favorites of ours. My daughter attended Girls Rock! Chicago summer camps for years, from age 9-12, and it was an incredible experience. She got to write music and learn to play bass and drums. She even got to perform on stage at legendary Chicago venues: The Metro, Thalia Hall, and Bottom Lounge twice.

As a theatre critic since 2010, I've seen numerous Sideshow Theatre Company productions as well, and they're a great asset to Chicago's vital storefront scene. Come on out February 8th and support both excellent organizations and have a lot of laughs and a great night out at the same time.  




CLLAW34-5 (left to right) Hot Babe-tato vs. The PRIDEator 


The Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW) puts the “win” in winter with its 35th match CLLAW XXXV: Pageant of Champions on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Ave. in Chicago. CLLAW’s benefit match will feature Chicago’s biggest, baddest lady arm wrestlers, live musical entertainment from funk band OD Jo and a cash bar. Doors open at 9 pm with the first match beginning at 9:30 pm. Tickets, priced at $25, are available in advance at www.cllaw.org or $30 at the door (the ladies will gladly take cash or credit at the door). The event is 21+.


(left to right) Cursula wins the final bout at The Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers’ 34th match CLLAW XXXIV: Good vs. Evil at Logan Square Auditorium. Photo by Trainman Photography.

All proceeds from CLLAW XXXV will benefit Sideshow Theatre Company and Girls Rock! Chicago.

The Main Event 

Their names echo through the ages. They come from all corners of Chicago, united only by one dream: to elbow their way through the competition and wrestle their way to the top. Who will unseat reigning co-champions Shaydes and Cursula? Joined by CLLAW’s Mistress of Ceremonialisms Harry Scaray, referees Beau K and Dick Douchee and commentators Vallery Dolls and Shirley Blazen, the line-up of not-so-lady-like ladies in outrageous costumes volunteer their time to vie for that most cherished prize – the bedazzled CLLAW gloves. Who will leverage their way up the bracket? Or bribe their way to the top? All these questions and more will be answered, and all of Chicago is invited to bear witness.


(left to right) Sister Frida Rage vs. Taylor Fist 

CLLAWdience Participation and Prizes 

Not content to leave the fun in the arms of its competitors, CLLAW XXXV gets everyone in on the action. Audience members have the opportunity to purchase CLLAWBUX, the official currency of CLLAW, throughout the night. With their CLLAWBUX, onlookers can bet on their favorite wrestlers to prevail, and maybe slip a few to the referees to even the score. All CLLAWBUX purchased also go towards fantastic raffle prizes. Half-priced CLLAWBUX are available in advance.


CLLAW34-3 (left to right) Cousin Becky vs. Violent Beauregarde

All for a good CLLAWse

A portion of CLLAW XXXV proceeds will benefit Girls Rock! Chicago, committed to building socially just community with girls, transgender youth, and gender non-conforming youth by developing leadership, fostering self-esteem, and encouraging creative expression through music. For additional information, visit girlsrockchicago.org.

Proceeds also benefit CLLAW’s creator and producer, Sideshow Theatre Company. Since its first match in 2009, Sideshow’s CLLAW events have helped fundraise for numerous Chicago based non-profits including the GirlForward, Chicago Women's Health Center, {she crew}, The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), Barrel of Monkeys, C4 - Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Girls Rock! Chicago, Marwen, Rock for Kids, About Face Youth Theatre, 826CHI, CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education), Ayodele Drum and Dance, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project and others.


(left to right) Jigglybuff vs. Cursula 


EVENT DETAILS:

Title: CLLAW XXXV: Pageant of Champions 
Date: Saturday, February 8, 2020
Time: Doors open at 9 pm, first match begins at 9:30 pm   
Location: Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago                     

Tickets: $25 in advance at www.cllaw.org or $30 at the door (cash or credit). Half-priced CLLAWBUX are available with advance ticket purchase: $30 includes 10 CLLAWBUX, $35 includes 20 CLLAWBUX. Cash and credit cards are accepted for tickets, CLLAWBUX and CLLAW merchandise. A cash-only bar is available.

Benefiting: Sideshow Theatre Company and Girls Rock! Chicago.




 (left to right) Sister Frida Rage vs. Aunt Nance

About Chicago CLLAW and CLAW USA
CLLAW is a member of CLAW USA, the national Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers. It is the mission of CLAW USA to empower women and strengthen local communities through theatre, arm wrestling, and philanthropy. CLLAW includes a compendium of female-identified participants and seeks to create a safe space for all participants and audience. We seek to mirror the diversity of our greater society and welcome participation from people of diverse identities by age, race, class, ability and gender definition.

About Sideshow Theatre Company:
Sideshow Theatre Company: Theatre for the Curious. It is the mission of Sideshow Theatre Company to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.

Over its 10+ year history, Sideshow is proud to have distinguished itself as a vital member of the Chicago theatre community. Sideshow was awarded the 2016 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theatre Award by the League of Chicago Theatres. Sideshow is a multiple Jeff Award-winning theatre and has been listed on the “Best of” lists in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times. Sideshow continues its multi-year residency at Victory Gardens in the historic Biograph Theater in the 2019/20 season.

Sideshow is also the producer of Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW), a wildly popular fundraiser held in benefit of Sideshow Theatre Company and other local community organizations. CLLAW has been featured in local and national press, including The Washington Post, Reuters and the Chicago Sun-Times and on WGN Morning News, ABC 7’s Windy City Live and CBS 2. For more information about CLLAW, visit cllaw.org.

For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit sideshowtheatre.org.


(left to right) Cousin Becky vs. Sister Vagina Dentata 



Friday, January 17, 2020

FREE Public Performances of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights 1/20/20 and 2/28/20

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
Writers Theatre opens the 2020 tour of
The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights
By Yolanda Androzzo
Directed by Sophiyaa Nayar
Featuring Adhana Reid


with free public performances at the Chicago History Museum
on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 20, 2020 at 10:30am) and 
DuSable Museum of African American History 
on February 28, 2020 at 7pm

Writers Theatre opens its 14th annual tour of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights, written by Yolanda Androzzo, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar and featuring Adhana Reid. A special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day public performance will take place at 10:30am on January 20, 2020 at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark Street in Chicago. The kickoff event also includes a post-show community discussion. The event is free and open to the public, and audience members will also receive free museum admission for the remainder of the day. The closing performance will also be free and open to the public, at 7pm on February 28, 2020 at DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 East 56th Place in Chicago. Tickets are free and can be reserved in advance by calling 773-947-0600. Visit dusablemuseum.org/events for more information.

Weaving together poetry, hip hop and history, The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights is a one-woman show that follows Chicago student Alaya’s personal transformation through studying the Civil Rights Movement. Alaya uses her fists as an outlet for anger. After interviewing local heroes of the Movement, she discovers she can put “anger into action” and that her power is in her voice and her hip hop, not violence.

Seen by more than 83,000 students, this dynamic, cross-cultural, multi-media performance interlaces personal interviews of Chicago-based Civil Rights activists, featuring both celebrated and unsung heroes of the Movement, such as Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles, spoken word artist and activist Sista Yo, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Puerto Rican poet and activist David Hernandez, among others. 

The 2020 production will tour to more than 35 venues during its 6-week run, including Chicago Public Schools, community centers, and juvenile detention centers.  All performances on the tour include a post-show discussion and a study guide with wrap-around curriculum.



Title: The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights
By: Yolanda Androzzo
Directed by: Sophiyaa Nayar
Featuring: Adhana Reid
Dates: Monday, January 20, 10:30am – Chicago History Museum (Free) 
Friday, February 28, 7pm – DuSable Museum of African American History (Free) 

The 2020 tour of The MLK Project is made possible in part by support from Allstate, Major Corporate Sponsor.  Additional supporters of The MLK Project and Writers Theatre’s education programs in 2020 include: The Crown Family, Polk Bros. Foundation, Dr. Scholl Foundation, and The Seabury Foundation.



Writers Theatre Education Programs are aimed at exploring text, nurturing the creativity of young people and instilling appreciation of the arts for future generations. Through comprehensive programming in schools, on-site and through community-based initiatives, WT Education’s curriculum is designed to emphasize collaboration, cultivate self-expression, encourage imaginative inquiry and promote civic responsibility.

Additional Writers Theatre’s Education Programs include: 
Write On! a flexible artist-in-residence program customized for each school and group of students. Write On! pairs teaching artists with schools and community organizations in dynamic explorations of performance and text with a focus on encouraging young people to find their creative voices.  Writers Theatre has provided after-school drama programs, in-depth Shakespeare or mythology workshops, ethnographic performance and dramaturgy units, and poetry and writing classes in collaboration with CPS schools, community organizations and juvenile detention centers.

The Novel Series, a cutting-edge theatre and literary arts curriculum designed to allow students to explore literature and the art of bringing text to life. Under the guidance of a Writers Theatre Teaching Artist, students engage in a layered study of a book and enter a rigorous artistic process that merges writing, discussion, and vocabulary with arts-integrated theatre projects. Residencies culminate in a final performance of student-created work as students use voice, body, and imagination to make new and exciting connections to the text.

ACTIVATE is Writers Theatre’s wraparound residency designed to deepen students’ engagement with the art on our stages. Students and teachers involved in ACTIVATE attend an exclusive student-only matinee performance of a play in our season, prepare for and extend their experience at the theatre through in-school pre and post-performance participatory workshops designed to investigate contextual information and the major themes in the play, and participate in a post-show discussion with WT artists and educators.

Writers Theatre Youth Council, an artistic leadership advisory board for motivated, passionate high school students interested in hands-on, in-depth exposure to arts administration. Council members get behind-the-scenes access to Writers Theatre productions, artists, and programs, participate in play readings and artistic discussion groups, host youth nights at the theatre, and develop artistic leadership skills. Youth Council members attend after-school meetings, performances at the theatre, and workshops. Youth Council members represent a valued voice in theatre operations.

Writers also began offering Onsite Theatre Classes for young people in Fall 2017. Classes each session will mirror WT’s mission of the word and the artist with creative themes that highlight each of these theatrical tenants created specifically for young artists at the heart of the process. Held in our state-of-the-art theatre center, these customized classes are the perfect way to introduce children to the arts through creative and active collaboration.

All of Writers Theatre’s education programs are aligned with state and national Common Core standards. To learn more visit www.writerstheatre.org/education.



ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE
For over 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues. 

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.



PICTURED: CAREN BLACKMORE AS ALAYA THE MLK PROJECT. PHOTOS: TOM MCGRATH

Monday, January 13, 2020

REVIEW: 33rd YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL VIA PEGASUS THEATRE CHICAGO THROUGH JANUARY 25, 2020

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
YPF
Chicago High School Students’ Scripts are Given 
Professional Productions 
in the Nation’s Second Longest Running Festival 
Celebrating Young Playwrights 


The Winning Playwrights for 2020: Angelina Davila, Reba Brennan and Henry Williams

GUEST REVIEW:
Catherine Hellmann


Photo by Catherine Hellmann

The process of selecting the winners for this annual theater festival is daunting: 500 submissions, narrowed down to only three finalists. (How can I get on this committee? That sounds really fun going through plays written by teens and being inundated by their creativity.) 

Pegasus Theatre has professional artists work with students throughout Chicago to help them produce their scripts. There are three rounds to the competition. First, 22 students are selected from the original 500 for an intensive “weekend immersion process” under more guidance to help them refine and rewrite their plays. Those new-and-improved scripts are submitted again for the contest, and from there, ten finalists are chosen. From those remaining ten, three one-act plays will be produced, to be directed and performed by professionals. 

The festival has been around for 33 years. (My oldest daughter was a finalist in 2004! I think the process is a lot more involving than it used to be. It’s weird yet cool to hear your kid’s words recited on stage in front of an audience. Even I felt vulnerable, and it wasn’t my play!)  This was the first time the festival was presented in a new venue: the beautiful Courtyard Theatre in The Getz Theater Center at Columbia College. 

One of the cool additions since 2004 is a video interview with each of the three young playwrights before each act to describe the background information on their plays. I really liked hearing their insights on where they got their ideas and what certain aspects of their scripts meant to them. (Frankly, I have seen some shake-my-head performances in my lifetime where I wish this was a prerequisite at every theater!) Each young writer also relayed what they were doing/where they were when they found out that they had won the contest. Those stories were very sweet, honest, and funny.  


Photo by Catherine Hellmann

The first play, Public in Private by Angelina Davila, was actually my personal favorite. Davila is a graduate of Taft High School on the Northwest side. She had just started college (her second day in class!) when she received her notice about the competition. 

(L to R) Peter Gertas and Tina El Gamal in PUBLIC IN PRIVATE

Davila’s play centers on harried, much put-upon Lucie Ochoa, a teenage girl with family issues and high hopes of going to art school. (as I have seen repeatedly in my career as a middle school teacher). Her mother discourages her, her younger brother is making bad choices, and her dad is out of the picture. Lucie’s mother tries to stifle her daughter’s dreams while also giving her a lot of responsibility. I loved the line Lucie delivers to her mom: “Why am I only an adult when it’s convenient for you?” It’s a question and struggle very common in households where exasperated parents try to exert control yet need all the support they can get. I was cheering for Lucie when she presents her portfolio in her big college interview. The young woman deserves a break! Tina El Gamal gives a heartfelt performance as Lucie, torn between her loyalty to family and her own needs. 


(L to R) Izis Mollinedo and Peter Gertas in CLAUSE 42

The second play was a very different change of pace. Clause 42 by Lane Tech student Henry Williams was the most fanciful of the three one-acts. Inspired by his Arkansas grandfather, a Baptist preacher, Williams’ play scrutinizes the hypocrisy and absurdities in a fictitious religion. (although some of it seemed eerily spot-on). Set in an imaginary afterlife, the main character, George, discovers he is dead from a car crash and is horrified. “I never finished the laundry!” “I was supposed to go to Yellowstone!” he declares. 

Our hero has landed in a bizarre bureaucracy that has crazy rules (like an afternoon at the DMV). George’s most egregious sin? He is married to his husband. (Uh...is this fiction?) One wonders how George is going to escape this underworld or be stuck there for eternity. 


(L to R)  Destiny Strothers, Austyn Williamson and Sebastian Summers in COBALT

The third play, Cobalt, by Senn High School student Reba Brennan, focuses on a group of misfit young people who band together to protect one another. Each has his or her own issues, domestic problems, family drama, and heartbreak to bear. Part of the message from Brennan seemed to be to warn us to never judge; if you think you have it bad, there is somebody out there who has it worse. (Am I a weirdo because I get along with my own children, even if their favorite hobby is making fun of Mom??) 

YPF by Pegasus Theatre is the nation’s second-longest-running festival featuring young playwrights. We are lucky to have this event in Chicago encouraging young writers and actors. Please add it to your list as a must-see celebration of the next generation’s best talent.      

Catherine Hellmann is a student at DePaul, an avid theater-goer, and a proud mom of a librarian and two future teachers. 


Pegasus Theatre Chicago is proud to announce the authors and plays presented at the 33rd Young Playwrights Festival, January 8 - 25, 2020 at The Courtyard Theatre in The Getz Theater Center at Columbia College, 72 E. 11th St. The productions are performed in tandem Wednesdays - Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. Additional matinee performances will be added for groups, call the box office for best schedule of group matinee and school performances. Opening night is Friday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 for students, $25 for seniors and $30 for general admission and are available at PegasusTheatreChicago.org or by phone at 773.878.8864. 

The Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) celebrates the 33rd year of the program that inspires Chicago students to explore their histories, research their communities and mine their personal journeys to write dynamic one-act plays for the stage. The competition enhances language arts, encourages independent, high-level thinking, strong personal values and influences career development for Chicago’s teens.

The 2020 Festival includes full productions of winning plays from the annual playwriting competition for high-school-age scribes in Chicago. Three one-act plays are professionally produced by  Pegasus Theatre Chicago. The second oldest such festival in the country, this annual tradition regularly receives more than 500 submissions from Chicago area teens. From those, the winning playwrights are chosen to connect, workshop and produce their production with professional artists.

The Winning Playwrights for 2020



Reba Brennan

Henry Williams

Angelina Davila

The 33rd YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL includes:

(L to R) Sarah Rachel Schol and Tina El Gamal in PUBLIC IN PRIVATE, one of three new plays in the 33rd ANNUAL YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL from Pegasus Theatre Chicago. Production Photos by Michael Courier unless otherwise noted.

Public In Private by Angelina Davila - Taft High School 
directed by Juan Ramirez
Lucie is struggling to get into an art college, but is sidetracked by her brother’s problems and her mother’s lack of support.



Lisean ‘Ling Ling’ McElrath in CLAUSE 42, one of three new plays in the 33rd ANNUAL YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL from Pegasus Theatre Chicago. 

Clause 42 by Henry Williams - Lane Tech Academy
directed by Jason Fleece
George dies and is wrongly sent to the afterlife of a weird cult-like religion and is faced with the prospect of being judged by their ridiculous rules.



(L to R) Izis Mollinedo and Destiny Struthers in COBALT, one of three new plays in the 33rd ANNUAL YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL from Pegasus Theatre Chicago

Cobalt by Reba Brennan - Senn High School
directed by Ilesa Duncan
Vee, a shy 18-year old, seeks solace and adventure on a friend’s couch as an escape from family dysfunction.

The cast for the productions includes Tina El Gamal, Peter Gertas, Lisean Mcelrath, Izis Mollinedo, Sarah Schol, Destiny Strothers and Austyn Williamson.

The production team includes Alyssa Mohn, scenic design;  Josh Wroblewski, lighting design; Rebecca Holcomb, costume design; Steve Labedz, sound design; Dominique Zaragoza, props design; Manny Ortiz, technical director;  Kevin Rolfs, scenic charge; Liz Gomez, master electrician and Kelly Butler, production manager.

ABOUT JUAN RAMIREZ, director Public in Private
Juan Ramírez has been active in film, theater and television for more than 35 years. As an actor, he has been featured in over 60 productions and was a series regular on ABC's detective drama "Missing Persons." As a director, Ramirez has written, directed and/or produced over 30 stage productions and two full length films. His first film, “Israel in Exile,” was a 2002 Slamdance Film Festival Competition Selection that has been screened in France, England, Spain, Cuba, Mexico and across the U.S. After a brief stretch in Los Angeles, he resettled in his native Chicago and became executive director of PanAmerica Performance Works, formerly Latino Chicago Theater Company at The Firehouse (a company which he co-founded). He also works with high school students at The Boys and Girls Club in South Lawndale through After School Matters; and the rest of his time developing potential film projects, and helping create community theater spaces.

ABOUT JASON A. FLEECE, director, Clause 42
Jason A. Fleece is a theatre artist and educator, Fleece returns to the Young Playwrights Festival, having directed The Adventures of FeRb for YPF 29. Some other favorite directing credits include The Body of an American (Stage Left Theatre), Ordinary Days (BoHo Theatre), and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Oakton Performing Arts Center). Fleece was formerly co-artistic director at Stage Left Theatre, one of the oldest ensemble storefront theatres in Chicago.  He’s currently an Oakton Community College professor and holds an MFA in directing from the Theatre School at DePaul University.

ABOUT ILESA DUNCAN, director Cobalt
Ilesa Duncan is the executive/producing director at Pegasus Theatre Chicago and the artistic director at Lifeline Theater. She recently directed for Pegasus the Jeff-Recommended, Eclipsed, including its remount at Theatre on the Lake in the summer 2019, and the Jeff-Nominated, sold-out Shakin the Mess Outta Misery (BTAA-award, Ensemble), the world premiere of Jeff-Recommended Rutherford’s Travels and For Her as a Piano.  Other recent credits include Neverwhere at Lifeline Theatre (Jeff-Recommended), Broken Fences at 16th Street Theater, Jeff Award-nominated The Nativity with Congo Square and the Jeff Award-winning Jar the Floor at ETA Creative Arts. Duncan has also worked with The Goodman, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Lifeline Theater, Stage Left and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio). The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC) and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). Duncan’s creative nonfiction short stories have been published (Columbia College Chicago) and she’s written poems and screenplays.  For the stage, she co-adapted Rutherford’s Travels from the National Book Award-winning novel Middle Passage, co-wrote and directed Blakk Love: Stoeez of A Darker Hue and facilitated the devised project Do You See What I’m Saying for Chameleon. 



ABOUT PEGASUS THEATRE CHICAGO
Pegasus Theatre Chicago has been a mainstay in the Chicago theater community for more than four decades. Its mission is to produce boldly imaginative theatre, champion new and authentic voices and illuminate the human journey. The theatre adheres to the core values of community engagement, social relevance, boldness, adventure and excellence.

Pegasus is also committed to initiating important conversations through the arts with strong community engagement and socially relevant programming, including the Young Playwrights Festival for high school-age scribes, which celebrates its 33rd year this season. Pegasus Theatre Chicago has received 77 Joseph Jefferson Awards since its inception.

The 33rd Young Playwrights Festival is made possible with the generous support of The MacArthur Fund at the Richard Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The David & Reva Logan Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

Destiny Strothers in COBALT, one of three new plays in the 33rd ANNUAL YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL from Pegasus Theatre Chicago


WIN 4 Tickets to Disney on Ice Opening Night At Allstate Arena 1/23/20

Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures Takes Families on a Fun-Fueled Excursion to Iconic Disney Destinations


Enter below for your chance to WIN 4 tickets from ChiIL Mama and Disney on Ice
Winner will receive a family 4 pack of tickets to Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures at Allstate Arena Opening Night, Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 7pm

Enter through midnight Monday 1/20/20


Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures is bringing its magical getaway to the Chicago area this winter, with performances Jan. 23 to 26 at the Allstate Arena, then moving to Chicago’s United Center Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 Center, before returning to Allstate Arena Feb. 6 to 9.

Disney on Ice presents Road Trip Adventures takes families on an immersive, magical road trip to some of Disney’s most beloved, iconic destinations. Audience members can join Mickey Mouse and his pals for the jam-packed escape that promises to be filled with excitement, surprise and adventure!  



Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa. Discover a whole new world and be swept up in Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine that will render the audience “Speechless.”  Mosey on over to a larger-than-life comedic carnival and team up with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky.  Fans will hit a high note with Mickey and pals during the Disney edition of Road Trip Karaoke as they introduce Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana. Families should be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up-close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in their 

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures start at $15. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at the Allstate Arena and United Center box offices, through Ticketmaster, and by phone at (800) 745-3000. Parking is FREE with ticket purchase in all official Allstate Arena and United Center parking lots. Service charges, facility and handling fees may apply.

Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this multi-generational experience is scheduled to visit the Chicago area in early 2020, with performances Jan. 23 to 26 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., then move to Chicago’s United Center, Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, before returning to the Allstate Arena for a final week, Feb. 6 to 9.




Stay current on the latest developments through social media:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce
YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

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




Enter HERE for your chance to WIN 4 tickets from ChiIL Mama and Disney on Ice
Winner will receive a family 4 pack of tickets to Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures at Allstate Arena Opening Night, Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 7pm

Enter through midnight Monday 1/20/20


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