Thursday, December 13, 2018

Magic Waters and Six Flags Great America Combo Season Passes and Memberships Are On Sale Now

Six Flags Set to Dive In to 
Magic Waters Waterpark
All Taxing Authorities Approve Abatements for Rockford Waterpark

Six Flags Great America, the Thrill Capital of the Midwest, has received the last vote from the Rock Valley College approving the final of 11 real estate tax abatements on the Magic Waters property. Six Flags Great America now has the necessary approvals to begin managing Magic Waters Waterpark near Rockford, Illinois. The leasing agreement will officially begin on April 1, 2019 and will allow the largest regional theme park company in the world and the largest waterpark operator in North America to bring its unique and innovative brand to Rockford.
Magic Waters Waterpark, a 43-acre facility, has been owned and operated by the Rockford Park District since 1988. The park features a wide array of tube slides and body slides, an expansive children’s play area, a 1200 ft. lazy river and Tsunami Bay, Illinois’ largest wave pool.

“We are excited to add Magic Waters Waterpark to the Six Flags family of parks and continue to foster a great partnership with the Rockford Park District,” said Six Flags Great America Park President Hank Salemi. “We look forward to the many opportunities we will have with Magic Waters and the community. We can now offer tremendous added value to guests of Magic Waters by including Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor in their Magic Waters Combo Season Passes.”

Six Flags Great America plans to begin the hiring process for the newly acquired waterpark in the New Year. “Privatizing Magic Waters Waterpark was something our community told us should be a priority to achieve. I cannot think of a better organization to partner with than Six Flags Great America as they have been outstanding to work with and our mission, vision, and service expectations align. They are the industry experts and will have more resources to invest in the waterpark. The District will now be able to invest its limited resources into our communities’ priorities for 2019 and beyond such as parks, paths, free family events, and youth,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine. 

Magic Waters and Six Flags Great America Combo Season Passes and Memberships are on sale now. Guests will enjoy the benefits of a Season Pass or Membership at Magic Waters Waterpark and receive free admission to Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor located in Gurnee, Illinois.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with $1.4 billion in revenue and 25 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 57 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. 

For more information, visit
Follow us on Twitter @SFGreat_America
Like us on Facebook at
Follow us on Instagram @SFGreat_America

About Rockford Park District
The Rockford Park District was proudly citizen-created in 1909 and is the third largest park and recreation system in Illinois with 179 parks and facilities. The Rockford Park District improves the quality of life for citizens by providing a vibrant and relevant park system which increases property values, stimulates economic development, decreases juvenile crime, and improves our community’s health. A vibrant and relevant park system also protects the environment, employs hundreds of area teens, and brings our diverse community together in unity, through the common love of play. For more information, visit

Make This Holiday A ChiIL One With Chicago Themed Gifts From Transit Tees

Hundreds of unique Chicago-inspired holiday gifts under $10, $20 and $30 at Transit Tees 

Original, locally produced winter hats, tees, socks, jewelry, mugs, 
puzzles, games, ‘L’ stop merch & more  

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we love our home town, Chi, IL. We're also huge advocates of shopping locally and supporting small businesses and artist made goods. The holidays are a great time to help out the local economy and stock up on some sweet, unique gifts for family and friends. These are on our wish list:

Transit Tees of Wicker Park and Andersonville has hundreds of original, local gifts all designed and produced in-house for under $10, $20 and $30 just in time for the holidays.  

Looking for that perfect gift for the person that has everything? Transit Tees in Wicker Park and Andersonville has a huge selection of unique, Chicago-inspired gifts for under $10, $20 and $30 just in time for the holidays.  

Designed in-house and locally produced, Transit Tees offers a wide range of exclusive, iconic merchandise including: Chicago Flag and Neighborhood-themed Winter Hats ($28), Tees ($20) and Whisky Glasses ($10); Chicago Hot Dog or Deep Dish Pizza Socks ($16), Pins ($12) and Ornaments ($9); and Chicago Beer Can Candles ($28). 

As official manufacturer of Chicago Transit Authority products, Transit Tees also designs and produces Chicago ‘L’ Pint Glasses ($10), Mugs ($14) and ‘L’ stop Transit Magnets ($5) for each of the 145 stops in the entire train system. 

Transit Tees also recently launched Chicago’s first transit-themed card game, LOOP: The Elevated Card Game ($20) which takes players on a hilarious urban adventure as they encounter Buskers, Train Car Preachers and Manspreading commuters, as well as some challenging aspects of Chicago commutes such as Sat in Puddle, Fell Asleep on the Train and Went to Wrong Airport. 

This holiday season, Transit Tees’ Wicker Park location (1371 N. Milwaukee Avenue) celebrates its sixth anniversary. The new storefront in Andersonville (5226 N. Clark Street) is also ready for the holidays, stocked with all the latest merchandise. 

Visit for additional holiday gift ideas available in-store or online. 

About Transit Tees 
Transit Tees, founded in 2001 by Tim Gillengerten, takes visuals from Chicago's metropolitan landscapes and transforms them into fashionable artwork, accessories, home goods and more. An official manufacturer of Chicago Transit Authority products, Transit Tees locally designs, fabricates and retails their signature brand online and at two storefronts in Wicker Park and Andersonville. Most store items are created in their design studio and produced on-site by local artists and craftsmen. For more information, visit 

Lyric Opera of Chicago's La bohème and Cendrillon Return in January With Discounts For Children and College Students

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Two favorites return to Lyric Opera of Chicago in the New Year:
La bohème (January 10-31) and 
Cendrillon (January 11-20)

 Photos: Todd Rosenberg

Lyric Opera of Chicago kicks off 2019 with two acclaimed productions: the return of the new production of Puccini’s captivating and tragic love story La bohème, and the Midwest premiere of a beloved production of Cendrillon, based on the Cinderella story. La bohème is a quintessentially Italian opera and the plot is forever youthful and eternally fresh. Cendrillon features an intelligent blend of wit, sensitivity, and elegance against the backdrop of a familiar storybook kingdom.

La bohème opened on October 6, 2018 to critical and audience acclaim and reopens on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 7 p.m. for eight performances at the Lyric Opera House (20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago) through January 31. Single tickets start at $39 and are available now at or by calling 312-827-5600.

Cendrillon premiered at Lyric on December 1, 2018 to the delight of audiences and critics alike, and retakes the stage on Friday, January 11 at 7 p.m. with three performances through January 20. Single tickets start at $49 and are available now at or by calling 312-827-5600.

Special pricing is available for children’s tickets for all opera performances at Lyric when purchased with adult tickets. Children’s tickets ($20-$50) are available by calling Audience Services at 312-827-5600. Full-time college students may register for Lyric’s NEXT student discount tickets ($20) for select performances at

One of the most popular – and most performed – operas in the world, La bohème inspired the hit musical Rent and follows six relatable young-adult Bohemians experiencing the highs and lows of 1830s Paris. The cast stars Italian soprano Maria Agresta as Mimì, American tenor Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo this past October 2018, Australian soprano and Emmy Award winner Danielle de Niese as Musetta, American baritone Zachary Nelson as Marcello, and Romanian bass Adrian Sâmpetrean as Colline. Rounding out the principal roles are Puerto Rican baritone Ricardo José Rivera as Schaunard and American bass-baritone Jake Gardner as Benoît & Alcindoro.

The cast for the January performances of La bohème is the same as for the October performances. Venezuelan-Swiss conductor Domingo Hindoyan will lead all but the Jan. 31 performance, which will be conducted by Stefano Sarzani in his Lyric debut. British director Richard Jones created the new production, with set and costume designs by Stewart Laing and lighting designed by Mimi Jordan Sherin. Michael Black is chorus master.

Lyric’s Cendrillon (Cinderella) cast includes several artists who made triumphant company debuts in December. Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg portrays Cendrillon, and Prince Charming is played by British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, who returns to Lyric in the title role of Handel's Ariodante in March. Canadian coloratura soprano Marie-Eve Munger is the Fairy Godmother, American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop is Cendrillon’s stepmother Madame de la Haltière, and Australian bass-baritone Derek Welton is Cendrillon’s father Pandolfe. Ryan Opera Center ensemble members soprano Emily Pogorelc and mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker are Cendrillon’s stepsisters.

Lyric’s music director Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Cendrillon performances January 17 and 20. Canadian-Italian conductor Francesco Milioto makes his company debut leading the January 11 performance. French director Laurent Pelly created the production and designed the whimsical costumes, with scenery by Belgian designer Barbara de Limburg and lighting designed by Duane Schuler. Choreography is by Laura Scozzi, revived for Lyric by Karine Girard. Michael Black is chorus master.

New Lyric Opera coproduction of Puccini’s La bohème generously made possible by the Julius Frankel Foundation, Abbott Fund, Liz Stiffel, The Michael and Susan Avramovich Charitable Trust, Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara G. Greis, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow. 

Lyric’s premiere presentation of Massenet’s Cendrillon generously made possible by the NIB Foundation and Invesco QQQ.

About Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.

To learn more about Lyric’s season, go to You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric1819 #LongLivePassion 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Storefront holiday favorite
returns this holiday season at The Den Theatre

New, expanded version of the storefront hit produced by
Yippee Productions LLC, comprised of
MCL Chicago,
Drew DeSantis, Jim Jensen and Mark Michelson

Through January 12, 2019

Guest Review 
by D'Arcy Mies

Upon entering the theatre, the stage was set. The year was 1987, and we were guests at the company Christmas party, at Nakatomi Plaza. Nothing says 1980’s corporate fun more than Wham! on the stereo and wine coolers under the tree. 

Photo credit for all: Michael Shepherd 

The fun continued throughout the show, with high energy musical numbers, embarrassingly familiar costumes, and lots and lots of cursing! The plot stays carefully close to the 1988 Bruce Willis release, so creative corner cutting was amusing to watch. Special effects include broken remote control toy vehicles and the Tandy brand walkie-talkies I had as a kid.

YKYMC manages to be both a close parody of the action movie, and rich with its own inner logic and metahumor. Twinkies are thrown, sexily. Terrorists tap-dance. Nakatomi, rendered almost immortal, reaches enlightenment and dies like a Shakespearean philosopher.  

The actors are hardworking and knee-slappingly funny. Erin Long in dual roles as terrorists Klaus and Tony, is a standout, completely inhabiting both roles. Bill Gordon as Bruce McClane, should be given an award for his fight scene with a My Buddy Doll. The humor was witty at times, slapstick at others, and kept both me and my teenager laughing throughout.

YKYMC is definitely what you’d hope from a musical parody of the best Christmas movie of 1988.  So come out to the show and have a few laughs!

D'Arcy Mies is a Montessori teacher, mom, and long time theater lover who lives in Chicago burb, Franklin Park. She drives a "Tardis Blue" car decked out like Dr. Who's time machine and can often be found at pop culture events.

Yippee Productions LLC, a new partnership between lead producer Drew DeSantis (Producer at Drury Lane Productions), Jim Jensen (Drury Lane, Royal George, Commercial Theater Producer and General Manager), Mark Michelson (MJA Ventures Chicagoland Theatre Fund, Founder) and the Board of Directors of the former storefront comedy theater MCL Chicago (2014-2018), announces an expanded version of the hit holiday musical Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody. The book and score is conceived by Michael Shepherd Jordan, Alex Garday and Stephanie McCullough with direction by Tiffani Moore Swalley.

Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody runs December 1, 2018 – January 12, 2019 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee in Wicker Park. 

Gary Fields (Hans Olo)

 Nate Curlott (FBl Johnson)

Bruce McClane, a grizzled blue-collar NYPD cop, tries to reconcile with his estranged white collar wife Holly Generic at her job at the Nakatomi Plaza in sunny Los Angeles on Christmas Eve in 1987. German terrorist Hans Olo and his henchmen take the cast and audience hostage and it is up to Bruce—with some help from the LAPD, FBI and Arnold Schwartzen-Schnitzel—to save everyone before time runs out. Audience favorite characters like FBI Johnson, Hans Olo, and of course Bruce McClane return with new toe-tapping musical numbers and hilariously nostalgic ‘80s references in this expanded two-act musical.

“Yippee was our marquee holiday production while running MCL,” notes Michael Shepherd Jordan. “Over the four years we produced the show, it grew into a Chicago holiday tradition for us and our loyal audience. We’re thrilled to partner with esteemed Chicago producers to elevate this show and take it from storefront to an established venue.”

Garday adds, “As the former Artistic Director of MCL Chicago, I wanted the space to function exactly like a storefront theater should - as a space to workshop and refine this show so that it’s now ready for a broader mainstream theatrical audience. "The producers have provided the financial and operational support to allow the creative team to make this production the biggest, funniest, most wonderful run to date.”

“The juxtaposition of turning an action movie into a musical, no less a beloved holiday action movie like Die Hard, is ripe for parody,” comments producer Drew DeSantis. “As the lead producer for this musical, it has been a true pleasure working with Michael, Alex, and Stephanie to elevate this show to the next level. Jim, Mark, and I are thrilled to support a home-grown Chicago production as we fully develop this storefront favorite for a wider audience. It’s what Chicago theater should be doing.”

Erin Long (Klause)

 Ashley Geron

The cast features Jonathan Allsop (Fabrique/Theo), Caitlyn Cerza (Holly Generic), Nate Curlott (FBl Johnson), Gary Fields (Hans Olo), Ashley Geron (Officer Johnson), Bill Gordon (Bruce McClane), Jin Kim (Nakatomi), Terrance Lamonte Rogers Jr. (Carl Winslow), Erin Long (Klause), and Jenna Steege (Willis).

The creative team includes Eric Lucien (scenic design), Stephanie McCullough (sound design and music direction) and Sheena Laird (fight direction). The complete creative team will be announced at a later date.

Performances of Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are on sale now at For updates and information follow Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas on Facebook and Instagram @yippeethemusical, as well as

Previews: December 1 - 2, 2018
Regular run: December 6, 2018 – January 12, 2019

Thursdays:      8:00 p.m.                                                         
Fridays:            8:00 p.m.                                                            
Saturdays:        8:00 p.m.                                                           
Sundays:          3:00 p.m.

The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.


Box Office:                                           
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave
773-697-3830, or visit

About The Den Theatre
Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den in 2010 with a single theatre space. Seven years later, The Den boasts five intimate and unique theaters on two floors ranging from 50 – 200 seats, as well as two additional spaces primarily used for classes and rehearsals. The Den is also equipped with two bars enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. The Den is home to seven resident theatre companies including First Floor Theater, Haven Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, The New Colony, Broken Nose Theatre, WildClaw Theatre and Firebrand Theatre. Hundreds of other companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theaters, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit

Saturday, December 8, 2018

HELP OUT: Bright Endeavors Handmade Candles Empower Chicago Young Single Mothers

Check out these fabulous Holiday Edition Candles and more, from Bright Endeavors, a social enterprise in Chicago that empowers young single mothers through its job training program. 

100 percent of the proceeds from the candle sales support the women!

Each of the premium soy wax candles are handmade by young mothers (ages 16-24) in the paid job training program, and 100 percent of the proceeds from the candle sales support the women as they gain important job skills needed to secure quality employment and being to lift her family out of poverty. 

Bright Endeavors is part of New Moms, a Chicago-based nonprofit with 35 years’ experience working with mothers and children to break the cycle of poverty. The nonprofit offers support to young moms in the most important areas of the life of a family: stable housing, allowing youth to build the life skills needed to maintain safe housing; job training, providing hands-on experience, links youth to permanent jobs, and guides towards economic independence; and family support, equipping young moms with skills they need to be great moms. Since Bright Endeavors began in 2007, more than 300 mothers have gone through the program.

The candles are available in four sizes ($7.99 to $24.99), and this year’s holiday collection feature scents full of nostalgia, including: 

·Whitebark Pine – Earthy, cool pine bough blended with a touch of sea salt and evergreen.

·Almond Berry Galette – Blend of roasted nutmeg and almond with notes of wild berry and sweet cream.

·Holiday Citrus – Warm, spicy aromas of cinnamon and clove harmonized with gentle blood orange.

·Winter Lodge – Woody, smoky scent with notes of anise, nutmeg, tangerine, and cinnamon.

There are wonderful gift sets, Chicago themed candles, and a wide range of scents and sizes, to please everyone on your nice list this holiday season!

Friday, December 7, 2018

REVIEW: Massenet’s Cendrillon at Lyric Opera of Chicago Through January 20, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
 Dynamic French Cinderella Story Dazzles at 
Lyric Opera

Image by Bill Cooper/Royal Opera House

Running Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes with 1 intermission

Guest Review
By Milan Pejnovich
Jules Massenet’s "Cendrillon" (Cinderella) returns to Chicago for the first time in over 100 years in a dazzling must-see production now playing at the Lyric Opera through January 20. A critical and popular success during the composer’s lifetime, the opera was the culmination of over 35 years of experience trotting out hits for the opera houses of Paris and the rest of Europe, so it has all of the trademarks of an audience-pleasing favorite – romance, heart, solos, duets, choruses, dance numbers, and (spoiler alert?) a happy ending. For some reason or other, however, the opera soon fell out of favor along with most of the rest of the composer’s oeuvre after his death, not returning to the standard repertoire until a Massenet resurgence in the 1970s. Thankfully for all us, it’s been back to stay ever since, because it truly is a textbook example of a lush French Romantic opera.

One should be familiar enough with the story, a creation of French writer Charles Perrault from the turn of the 17th century. Cinderella lives with her father, stepmother, and stepsisters but is made to do all the housework with none of the fun, including attending a lavish ball at the king’s castle designed to find the young Prince Charming a wife. Her Fairy Godmother intervenes, dressing up Cinderella in a beautiful gown and sending her off to the ball in an elegant carriage with the express command of needing to return home at the stroke of midnight. She and the prince fall in love, but in her rush to get home in time, she leaves with no contact information, but for her one forgotten glass slipper. In his search for her, the prince calls for all of the single ladies in the land to try on the slipper and reveal themselves, which Cinderella does and (spoiler alert?) all lived happily ever.

For the purpose of investing the plot with a little more drama and artistic merit, Massenet departed from the fairy tale in some significant ways. Cinderella’s father is a loving but henpecked man who understands that both his and his daughter’s lots in life would be better if they fled. Her stepmother and stepsisters aren’t so much sadistic or brutish as they are self-centered and vapid. And there’s a scene after the ball where Cinderella and Prince Charming both individually plead with the Fairy Godmother among the dark and mysterious rooftops of Paris to help them find one another. All of this helps create some alternately beautiful and amusing moments for the whole family to enjoy.

And speaking of families, all ages will be dazzled with this production by director Laurent Pelly, which has been seen all over the world, including Covent Garden and the Met, but is new to Lyric, as is the opera itself. The costumes are lavish, the set is both dynamic and ingenious, and the backdrop is designed with text from the original French tale written all over it in homage. Four of the five principal singers are all experienced in the roles but making their Lyric debuts, while most of the rest of the cast is comprised of current Ryan Opera Center members having their moments in the big house. It all truly is a feast for the eyes and ears, and is certainly one of the most charming and beautiful productions to grace Lyric’s stage in recent memory. It’s an unforgettable night at the opera.

We have a special treat and a first here at ChiIL Mama, dual reviews!

Guest Review 
by Flo Mano
I was eagerly anticipating Lyric's sold out opening night premiere of "Massenet's Cendrillon". The curtain rolled up to the set design (Barbara De Limburg) of a wall text in French, homage to Perrault. We see a meek, remorseful father (Pandolfe-Derek Welton). Then, emerged the commanding, controlling, contoured Mme. de la Haltiere (Elizabeth Bishop), stepmother, followed by her two giggly, clumsy, naïve daughters, Noemie (Emily Pogorelc) and Dorothee (Kayleigh Decker). An amazing upwelling of laughter greeted their entrance, reminiscent of commedia del'arte, sans masks. Credit to the direction and costume designer, Laurent Pelly! The whole imagery "had me at hello".

There's a chair with the letter "C" and as they're planning for the ball, Lucette (Siobhan Stagg) Cendrillon, peeks her head through a porthole and sheepishly appears after they left for the ball. Lamenting in a soulful aria, wishing, the fairy godmother (Marie-Eve Munger) magically appears and grants her a few hours that'll change the course of her axis. A carriage appears with the most regal of white horses galloping in synchronized choreography!

Prince Charming (Alice Coote)is struck, mesmerized by her elegant beauty, as she enters the ball, in her white, sparkling gown, stark contrast to everyone dressed in ovate shaped crimson red! They dance, stricken by cupids arrow, enchanted, till the stroke of midnight chimes.

Back home she worries for her lost glass slipper. The sycophants return, retelling a distorted perspective, that hurts Lucette, whose sympathetic, loving father offers they go away. She goes to the rooftops of Paris and in a dream, lives a loving moment with the prince! She falls ill at the news that the prince is searching for the "unknown beauty" and is elated when the shoe fits! This familiar storyline is magically reawakened in the melodic composition of Massenet and libretto by Henri Cain, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis! 

I'm a visual person, so my favorite elements of this opera are many, including the fonts and set design, costumes, choreography, puppetry/horses, orchestration, singing, and the comedic humor! 

Chicago is fortunate to have the world class Lyric Opera, a leader of firsts in 
one of North America's most beautiful opera houses, the Civic Opera House — now known as the Lyric Opera House. The opera house was envisioned by billionaire utility magnate and president of the Chicago Civic Opera Association, Samuel Insull (1859-1938).

The building is shaped like a huge chair, and is sometimes referred by its shape as "Insulls chair"! From this vantage, we immensely enjoyed the Lyric's visually stunning production of "Massenet's  Cendrillon. Absolutely Exquisite! Timeless! Memorable on every level! I'd see it again and again!!...and Again!!

Flo Mano is a CPS elementary teacher/librarian, hairdresser, and theater/film fanatic who catches hundreds of Chicago shows annually. She's been known to pull over while driving, spring from her car, and excitedly hug favorite actors if she sees them on the street! Flo has an uncanny knack for remembering faces and roles for decades. She volunteers at numerous film venues and theaters, and she has otherworldly ticket karma, frequently showing up at sold out shows and getting standby tickets.

"A magical, mystical view of Cendrillon."
"Vocal flourishes and glistening orchestration."
"Light as air, fanciful to the core and — yes — very, very funny."
"Wickedly amusing costume design." 
"★ ★ ★ ★"
–Chicago Tribune

"The charming Cendrillon delights at Lyric."
"Full of pageant, mischief, wish fulfillment and beguiling tenderness."
"★ ★ ★ ★"
–Chicago Sun-Times

"Stunning costumes."
"A talented ensemble and striking design approach bring magical life to this familiar story."
–Picture this Post

What You Need to Know About 
CENDRILLON at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Six performances December 1 – January 20

A whimsical retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella, in which a mistreated girl overcomes the odds to find her Prince Charming -- with a little help from her fairy godmother.

· Delectably inviting music: French composer Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon is equal parts witty and romantic. From the stepsisters’ funny outbursts, to the soaring melodic lines of Cinderella and Prince Charming’s duet, Massenet has crafted the perfect music to match a delightful fairytale.

· Family-friendly fun: Children and adults alike will love this familiar story and will marvel at the beautiful singing and charming visuals.

· A whimsical and inventive production: "I am thrilled to introduce this enchanting and magical piece to Lyric audiences for the first time," says Lyric general director Anthony Freud. "Laurent Pelly's production is endlessly witty and alluring, and Sir Andrew Davis, a distinguished interpreter of Massenet, will bring this beautifully romantic score to irresistible life."

· Enchanting performances are in store: Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg makes her American debut as the titular Cinderella, English mezzo-soprano Alice Coote plays the energetic and passionate prince, and Quebecoise soprano Marie-Eve Munger (Lyric debut) sings stratospherically high notes as the fairy godmother. Cinderella’s tenderhearted father Pandolfe is sung by Australian bass-baritone Derek Welton (Lyric debut). American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop (Lyric debut) plays the imperious stepmother, while Ryan Opera Center singers Emily Pogorelc and Kayleigh Decker play the absurdly funny stepsisters.

· Lyric Opera’s own musical director Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra, while Francesco Milioto makes his Lyric Opera debut conducting the January 11th performance of Cendrillon.

·A feast for the senses! The hyper-theatrical costume designs by Laurent Pelly and Barbara de Limburg's clever set designs, which make scenery out of the storybook pages and words, are guaranteed to astonish and amuse. (The renowned director-costume designer and set designer are both French and both making Lyric debuts.) Duane Schuler's lighting designs enhance the magical atmosphere.

·A vibrant collection of courtiers has their turn in the spotlight through some of the most visually stunning and energetic scenes in the show, portrayed by the Lyric Opera Chorus, prepared by chorus master Michael Black. The original choreography for the ball scene by Laura Scozzi, with revival choreography by Karine Girard (both Lyric debuts), is a dance the audience won’t soon forget. 

·A Cendrillon Chicago has not seen yet: This beloved production of Cendrillon is making its premiere at Lyric, and the opera itself has not graced Chicago since 1911—long, long ago!

· See it if you like: Family-friendly entertainment, a perfect date-night show, gorgeous music, enchanting visuals, and a blissfully happy ending!

·Running Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes with 1 intermission: Enjoy an exceptional live experience in the beautiful surroundings of the Art-Deco theater and foyer.

· Sung in French with projected English translations.

· Six performances Dec. 1, 5, 8, and Jan. 11, 17, and 20 at Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Weekend evening performances start at 7:30 pm and please note the earlier start time for weeknight performances at 7:00 pm.

· For more information and to order tickets, visit or call 312-827-5600. Tickets start at $69 and special children's ticket prices ($20-$50) are available to order by phone.

· For information about pre-performance dining options at Lyric, visit to learn about on-site restaurants, pop-up sushi bar, beverage service, and more.

About Lyric 
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.

To learn more about Lyric’s current season, go to You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric1819 #LongLivePassion

Thursday, December 6, 2018

ART BEAT: Serge Maheu's Free Interactive Art Installation Passage to Open at Navy Pier Through Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Navy Pier’s Interactive and Multi-Sensory Free Public Art Installation
Passage Opens Friday, December 7

ChiIL Mama will be ChiILin' at Navy Pier tomorrow for the press preview of Winter Wonderfest. While we're there, we plan to check out Passage as well. 

Presented in partnership with Illuminart and creator Serge Maheu, Passage is interactive artwork that stimulates the emotional connection between sound and light.  The installation consists of 20 circles that form a tunnel of light, animations and sound as you pass through it to create a playful, multi-sensory experience.

Opens Friday, December 7 and will be on display at Navy Pier through Sunday, January 6. Navy Pier’s South Dock | 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60611

BACKGROUND: Created by Canadian computer engineer and artist Serge Maheu and produced by Montréal-based Illuminart, Passage is an immersive, interactive and minimalist work of art that explores the connections between light and sound. With each step, guests will experience a new configuration of the installation with its own dynamic ambience.

Throughout the creative process for Passage, Maheu utilized his multi-disciplinary background to visually and audibly portray the interpretation of the word, “passage,” which is defined as the act of moving though or past something, or transitioning from one place to another. Through intricate design and a unique blend of colors, light and sound, Maheu has created a personal, playful and multisensory experience for guest interaction and engagement.

REVIEW: The Play That Goes Wrong at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre Through December 16th, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Fantastically Fun Farce, 
The Play That Goes Wrong Will Leave You 
In Stitches

My 17 year old son, Dugan, and I caught the press opening of The Play That Goes Wrong at Chicago's iconic Oriental Theatre last night, and I can attest, my abs are still aching from laughing throughout the whole show. This cast is adept at physical comedy as well as witty wordplay, slapstick, and negotiating a deathtrap set with humor and finesse. Like classic farce, numerous unusual entry and exit ways are used and physical obstacles abound. 

The cleverly constructed set... or should I say deconstructed, is a joy to see in action, and this intrepid cast works the space well. The Play That Goes Wrong is a fast paced, bumbling buffet of buffoonery that turns every actor's nightmare into energetic entertainment. What begins as minor set malfunctions, missed lighting and sound cues, late entrances, misplaced props, and bungled lines, soon escalate to major mishaps. Multiple characters are knocked out or left bleeding, poisoned, or beset by falling set pieces. 

There are fires, duals, electrical problems, combative leading ladies, runaway dogs, Duran Duran, and that cure all for everything... duct tape. The escalating gags are a hoot, even when you see them coming. 

We love the premise of building a whole show where everything goes wrong, and this one lives up to its name, before the lights even dim. The action begins during pre-show, when the house lights are still up, so put down your cell phone and watch hilarity ensue. Errors abound, on stage and off! When we first saw the upside down marquee show listing and the Playbill type setting screw up, we were hooked! 

There's never been a Broadway touring show so wrong that's done so right. The Play That Goes Wrong is nothing short of brilliant. Highly recommended. 

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled that the national tour of the Tony Award-winning hit Broadway comedy THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG opens December 5th for a limited two- week engagement at Broadway In Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W Randolph St) through Sunday, December 16, 2018.

What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You’d get THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Broadway & London’s award-winning smash comedy! Called “A GUT-BUSTING HIT” (The New York Times) and “THE FUNNIEST PLAY BROADWAY HAS EVER SEEN” (HuffPost), this classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania delivering “A RIOTOUS EXPLOSION OF COMEDY” (Daily Beast). Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “TONS OF FUN FOR ALL AGES” (HuffPost) and “COMIC GOLD” (Variety) – sure to bring down the house!

Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces The ‘Cornley University Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong...does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.

The Broadway production of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017. The show, which was slated to close on Broadway in August of this year, will extend its run due to popular demand through January 6, 2019. By then, the Broadway production will have played 27 previews and 745 performances, making it the 2nd longest running show in the history of the Lyceum Theatre. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG received a Tony Award for Best Set Design,’s Audience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.

Awarded the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2014 WhatsOnStage Best New Comedy and 2015 UK BroadwayWorld Best New Play Awards, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is now in its fourth year in the West End, is currently on a 30 week UK tour and playing on six continents. The producers have avoided Antarctica for fear of a frosty reception.

It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance, and has gone on to play to an audience of over 2 million people around the world.

Mischief Theatre, the Olivier Award-winning theatre company led by Artistic Director Henry Lewis and Company Director Jonathan Sayer, was founded in 2008 by a group of graduates of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and began as an improvised comedy group. Mischief Theatre performs across the UK and internationally with improvised and original scripted work.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG tour is directed by Matt DiCarlo with original Broadway direction by Mark Bell, featuring set design by Nigel Hook, lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson and costume design by Roberto Surace.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd., Catherine Schreiber, Ken Davenport, Double Gemini Productions / deRoy-Brunish, Damian Arnold / TC Beech, Greenleaf Productions / Bard-Roth, Martian Entertainment / Jack Lane / John Yonover, and Lucas McMahon.

For more information, visit or follow THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @BwayGoesWrong

Tuesdays at 7:30PM
Wednesdays at 2PM and 7:30PM
Thursdays at 7:30PM
Fridays at 7:30PM
Saturdays at 2:00PM and 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM (no evening performance on Sunday, December 16)

Individual tickets are on sale now and range in price from $25-$98 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing For more information, visit

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 18 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Oriental Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. For more information, visit

Facebook @BroadwayInChicago ● Twitter @broadwaychicago ● Instagram @broadwayinchicago ● #broadwayinchicago

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