Tuesday, April 16, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Production photos by my all time favorite theatre photographer, the incomparable Joe Mazza!

Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Adaptation of Herman Melville’s American Epic to be Conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya and Directed by Kristine McIntyre 

“Moby-Dick” is sung in English (with English supertitles) and 
runs 2 hours and 40 minutes.

ChiIL Mama will be out to review on the 25th, so check back soon for our full recap. Chicago Opera Theater (COT) caps its 2018/2019 season with the Chicago premiere of “Moby-Dick,” an epic adaptation of Herman Melville’s 1851 classic “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph Street) Thursday, April 25 and Sunday, April 28. The production is co-produced by Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, San Jose Opera and Gran Teatre del Liceu.

This grand American epic, featuring music by Jake Heggie and a libretto by Gene Scheer arrives in Chicago on the heels of critically acclaimed performances in Utah, Pittsburgh and San Jose. The production is conducted by Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya and directed by Kristine McIntyre. The design team includes David Jaques (Lighting), Erhard Rom (Sets) and Jessica Jahn (Costumes.) 

“‘Moby-Dick’ is a stunning work of extraordinarily powerful music and gripping storytelling,” said Yankovskaya. “Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer have drawn from the most compelling and dramatic passages of Melville’s epic, crafting a deft adaptation that has thrilled audiences across the globe. We’re proud to be bringing this important American opera to Chicago audiences for the first time.”

The opera focuses on the perilous adventures of the whaling ship Pequod, as Captain Ahab gathers a crew on his quest for revenge on the legendary whale that cost him a leg. Featuring a cast of more than 50 singers, including acclaimed American tenor Richard Cox as Captain Ahab and Russian-American baritone Aleksey Bogdanov as Starbuck, the spectacular production was hailed as “a stunning achievement… imposing, monumental, goose bump-inducing orchestral and choral writing” by Opera Today and “a modern masterpiece” by OperaWire. Other principal singers include Vince Wallace (Queequeg), Andrew Bidlack (Greenhorn), Summer Hassan (Pip), Aaron Short (Flask), Christopher Magiera (Captain Gardiner) and David Govertsen (Stubb). The chorus features more than 30 male voices. For more information on the cast, click here.

“Moby-Dick” will be performed Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 25 at 3 p.m.  at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street. Tickets, which range in price from $45-$145, are available now on the Chicago Opera Theater website or by calling (312) 704-8420.


About Chicago Opera Theater
Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is a nationally recognized opera company based in Chicago, now in its 46th season. COT expands the tradition of opera as a living art form, with an emphasis on Chicago premieres, including new contemporary operas for a 21st century audience.

In addition to its programmed mainstage season, COT is devoted to the development and production of new opera in the United States through the Vanguard Initiative, launched in the Spring of 2018. The Vanguard Initiative mentors emerging opera composers, invests time and talent in new opera at various stages of the creative process and presents the Living Opera Series to showcase new and developing work.

Since its founding in 1973 by Alan Stone, COT has staged more than 125 operas, including over 65 Chicago premieres and more than 35 operas by American composers.

COT is led by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Ashley Magnus and Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. As of fall 2018, Maestro Yankovskaya is the only woman with the title Music Director at any of the top 50 opera companies in the United States. COT currently performs at the Studebaker Theater (Michigan & Congress) and the Harris Theater for Music & Dance (Michigan & Randolph).

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit chicagooperatheater.org.

Production photos by my all time favorite theatre photographer, the incomparable Joe Mazza!

Thursday, April 11, 2019



Love, Chaos, & Dinner Premieres in Chicago in July
In Brand New Venue in Chicago Theatre District
Performances Begin July 18

Teatro ZinZanni is delighted to announce tickets for the premiere of Love, Chaos, & Dinner, the critically acclaimed show combining the best of cirque, cabaret, spectacle, live music, comedy and fine dining, will go on sale to the public on Friday, April 12.  Presented by Randolph Entertainment, performances begin July 18 at The Spiegeltent ZaZou, a Belgian mirror tent filled with historic touches, located on the 14th floor in the newly opened Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop-Theatre District (32 W. Randolph St.). Tickets will be available for performances July 18 through September 29, 2019.  

Described as the “Kit Kat Klub on acid,” Teatro ZinZanni brings to Chicago an international cast of extraordinary entertainers for its highly anticipated premiere engagement.  Love, Chaos & Dinner features the master of madcap improv Frank Ferrante, cabaret star Lady Rizo, and acclaimed Chicago natives aerial trapeze act Duo Rose. The company will also feature entertainment from comedians Joe De Paul and Tim Tyler, hoop aerialist Elena Gatilova, Parisian acrobat Domitil Aillot, and the body juggling Anastasini Brothers. Teatro ZinZanni’s founder Norm Langill will direct the production.  The menu will be designed by Chicago’s own Debbie Sharpe – The Goddess in The Goddess and Grocer.

About Teatro ZinZanni
Teatro ZinZanni was founded in 1998 launching a wholly original new form of entertainment combining a unique fusion of cirque, comedy, cabaret, spectacle, and live music while serving up a multi-course feast.  Inspired by the great cabarets of Europe, a team of creative artists and theatre professionals who have been working together for over 40 years created Teatro ZinZanni. Led by Founder Norm Langill, Teatro ZinZanni has featured celebrated artists from the worlds of cirque, clowning, cabaret, music, aerial arts, magic, and illusion.  Performers over the years have included internationally recognized names like Joan Baez and Ann Wilson.  The Chicago engagement is presented in the Spiegeltent ZaZou on the 14th floor in the newly opened Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop located in the Theatre District.  The previously forgotten space was discovered in 2017 during the renovation of the Cambria Hotel when dropped ceilings were removed revealing the original grand space within the 1926 historic building.  For more information, visit www.ZinZanni.com.

About Randolph Entertainment
Randolph Entertainment is a partnership of some 25 people who share in the vision of bringing an extraordinary experience to Chicago. A group of mostly Chicago based individuals; the partnership is committed to being a good neighbor and contributor to Chicago’s vibrant cultural community. Stanley Feig, a veteran of the entertainment industry with a career spanning several decades, manages the partnership. 

About Debbie Sharpe
Two parts rock n’ roll, one part Chicago, and one sassy Aussie Debbie Sharpe is The Goddess in The Goddess and Grocer.  The Goddess got her background in rock n’ roll catering, traveling the globe and feeding some of the most influential musicians of our time including The Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2 and Fleetwood Mac. Instantly falling in love with Chicago, she got off the Paul McCartney tour bus and laid down roots in the Wicker Park – Bucktown neighborhood in 1990. Serving a colorful, globally inspired menu of creative sandwiches, vibrant salads, mix-and-match square meals, and gourmet pantry items, she opened The Goddess and Grocer in 2004 and it was an instant hit.  At The Goddess and Grocer, we believe in the power of community, the influence of music, and most of all, we believe great food brings people together.

Love, Chaos, and Dinner
Enter a realm where reality and dreams converge; an experience unlike any other! Teatro ZinZanni is a whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret served with a multi-course feast.  Described as the “Kit Kat Klub on acid,” the fast-paced action unfolds around, above and alongside guests as world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists fill our intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent. Teatro ZinZanni’s signature blend of Love, Chaos & Dinner has played to sold out audiences in Seattle and San Francisco. Don’t miss the show The New York Times calls, “A feast for the senses” and the “city’s hottest ticket!”

Spiegeltent ZaZou
The Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop-Theatre District
32 W. Randolph St.

Individual tickets, which include a four-course meal, go on-sale Friday, April 12, range in price from $99 - $189 and are available at https://zinzanni.com/chicago/.  Tickets will be available for performances July 18 through September 29, 2019.  For groups of 10 or more, call Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or email GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com.  For more information about the show, visit ZinZanni.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

REVIEW: THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE at Filament Theatre Through May 26, 2019

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List
Based on book by Kate DiCamillo
Adapted by Dwayne Hartford
Directed by Kathryn Walsh

All production photos by Christian Libonati

Through May 26, 2019

Sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, April 28th

Guest Review
by kimberly robb baker

The Filament Theatre’s production of Edward Tulane is as epic a journey in emotions, time, and place as one could hope to experience in 75 minutes. The play, adapted by Dwayne Harford, is based on Kate DiCamillo’s bestselling book of a self-involved porcelain bunny—from the best dollmaker in Paris, if you please. He is loved by the girl Abilene, played by Mariah Copeland, but he neither appreciates nor returns her love.

Edward is a gift from Abilene’s mysterious grandmother, Pellegrina, portrayed with a really creepy, nonchalant scariness by Juanita Andersen. She sees his nature and, perhaps, is instrumental in instigating his life-altering fall from a ship.

From the bottom of the sea, Edward begins to think on things. The adventures he has, people he meets, and love he experiences are deeply touching—and surprising given that Edward cannot move or speak.

Enter his alter-ego, voiced by Nik Kmiecik in words and a very sweet mandolin, allow us to very actively witness Edward’s transformation.

Alejandro Tey plays Abilene’s father. He, Andersen, and Copeland bring to life a diverse cast of characters, from old fisher-people to hobos to farm owners and workers and more. The cast is extraordinary, as individuals embodying several very different people and as a group. They were so present with each other and true to each character they played, that I would have felt seemingly the entire range of human emotion had the play happened in a black box with a single spotlight.

The production, however, was imaginative and beautiful. From set to lighting to props—and the interplay of all those elements with each other and the cast—a charming world was created and the audience, adult and child, was enraptured from start to finish. Expect twists and turns, tears of sorrow and joy, and a deeper understanding of love with all its risks.

Bonus: One nine-year-old in our party is now excited to read the book!

Kimberly Robb Baker is a Chicago based writer, blogger, consultant, story teller, and mother. You can find her worky stuff here: ThisLittleBrand.com and her artsy fartsy stuff here:  DisruptiveMama.com.

Bring a favorite stuffed animal or doll!
Edward Tulane tells the story of a beloved toy rabbit and his extraordinary adventures.  But we know Edward isn’t the only toy with stories to tell! We invite you to bring a favorite stuffed companion to share in our “Pop Up Museum” -- a show-and-tell environment where audience members can share their childhood treasures.  Audience members of all ages are invited to participate (Yes, grown-ups, we mean you too!).

Read the book!
Filament’s stage version of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a very faithful adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful novel.  Get an advance look at the characters and story by purchasing the book in advance, or checking it out at your local library.  If your family prefers surprises, reading the book after seeing the show is a great way to extend the experience! The book will be available at the theater for patrons who make an on-site donation of $20 or more.

About the play
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane contains moments of peril, including loss and death. If you have questions about the content and whether it is right for your child, please email us at boxoffice@filamenttheatre.org. The show runs 75 minutes without an intermission.

If you have any questions about your journey to Filament Theatre, we encourage you to view our Plan Your Visit page on our website.

I had a chance to catch this stellar story a few years back at Chicago Children's Theatre and it's truly a treat to see this family friendly favorite come to life on stage. We're so excited Filament Theatre's mounting this production this spring. 

Filament Theatre brings to the stage The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, now playing through May 26 at Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. Based on Newbery Award winner Kate DiCamillo’s best selling book, adaptor Dwayne Harford has crafted the beloved story for the stage. Director Kathryn Walsh returns to Filament Theatre to bring new life into what the Chicago Tribune calls “the most charming of narratives.” Single tickets are currently available at www.filamenttheatre.org/edward

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane will feature Nik Kmiecik as the Musician voicing the inner thoughts of Edward Tulane with Juanita Andersen, Mariah Copeland, and Filament Resident Artist Alejandro Tey filling out the rest of the characters. Kathryn Incardona and Laila Sauer will understudy.

The cast of Filament Theatre’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (top, l to r): Juanita Andersen, Mariah Copeland (bottom, l to r): Nik Kmiecik, Alejandro Tey.

The production team for Edward Tulane includes direction by Kathryn Walsh, original music by Filament Resident Artist Timothy McNulty, costume design by Filament Resident Artist Noël Huntzinger, set design by Sarah Watkins, sound design by Matthew Chapman, lighting design by Jessica Carson, stage management by Sarah Collogne and Emma Franklin, with production assistance from Danny Kapinos, Cat Perez and Auden Granger. 

In the words of one young Filament patron, the story of Edward Tulane is “happy, then sad, then all mixed up.” Edward Tulane is an expensive toy rabbit made of china. He is loved by a little girl named Abilene, but Edward has no interest in anyone other than himself. On an ocean voyage, Edward is accidentally thrown overboard and sinks to the bottom of the sea. So begins his journey—a journey over which he has no control, for he is a toy rabbit. He can neither move nor speak. As years pass by, Edward meets many different people in many different situations. Through this miraculous journey, Edward learns what it is to love, what it is to lose that love, and how to find the courage to love again.

Produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company, Inc., Woodstock, Illinois. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was originally commissioned, developed and produced at Childsplay in Tempe, Ariz. David P. Saar, artistic director; Steve Martin, managing director. 

For more information including age recommendations, visit www.filamenttheatre.org/edward

Accessible Performances: 
Filament Theatre offers a sensory-friendly performance of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane on Sunday, April 28 @1pm. This performance is reserved specifically for families who have at least one member with special needs. Tickets are now available.

Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Ave in Chicago

Previews: Saturday, March 30 @ 3:30pm; Sunday, March 31 @ 3:30pm; and Saturday April 6 @ 1pm.
Press performances: Saturday, April 6 @ 3:30pm & Sunday, April 7 @ 3:30pm
Regular run: Saturday, April 13 - May 26, 2019
Curtain Times: Saturday @ 1pm & 3:30pm; Sunday @ 3:30pm.

Tickets: Previews: $16. Regular run $16 for children, $19.50 for adults, $18 for seniors. All ticket fees included in price. Tickets are available at www.filamenttheatre.org/edward. For questions call the Filament office at (773) 270-1660.

About the Artists:
Kate DiCamillo (Author) Kate DiCamillo’s writing journey has truly been a remarkable one. She grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota in her 20s, where homesickness and bitter winter led her to write. Since then, the best-selling author has explored settings as varied as medieval castles, a magician’s theatre and the bustling streets of Memphis, while continuing to enjoy great success. No matter where her books are set, their themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances and their messages of shared humanity and connectedness have resonated with readers of all ages around the world. Born in Philadelphia and raised in the South, DiCamillo now lives in Minneapolis.

Dwayne Hartford (Playwright) Dwane Hartford is the artistic director at Childsplay in Tempe, Ariz., where all of his plays for young audiences have premiered. Hartford has had six plays published by Dramatic Publishing. He won the AATE distinguished Play award for Eric and Elliot in 2005 and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane in 2018. The Imaginators was produced and aired on KAET TV, Phoenix PBS affiliate. His adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities was part of New York University’s New Plays for Young Audiences Workshop and has been performanced at Seattle Children's Theatre; People’s Light and Theatre in Malvern, Penn.; and Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston. The Bully Pulpit is included in the anthology The Bully Plays and is being produced in schools and communities around the country. His other published plays include The Color of the Stars and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which has been professionally produced all over the country, including Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Md.; Dallas Children’s Theater; Chicago Children’s Theatre; and South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif. Harford lived in Phoenix with his dog, Henry, He is originally from Maine and received his bachelor’s in fine arts from the Boston Conservatory. 

About Filament Theatre:
Filament Theatre creates immersive and site-specific theatre that inspires, empowers, and activates young people and their communities. Filament envisions a future in which the leaders of tomorrow approach others with radical empathy, serving as ambassadors for their communities and stewards of the Earth. 

The company’s staff is comprised of Julie Ritchey (Artistic Director) and Christian Libonati (Managing Director).

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is supported in part by the Stephanie Cutter Group. Filament Theatre’s full season of programs is supported in part by the Alphawood Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Saints, and Wintrust Community Banks. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For additional information visit www.filamenttheatre.org 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: Tribeca Film Festival Winner, DIANE Opens At Music Box Theatre April 12, 2019

Winner – Best Narrative Feature
2018 Tribeca Film Festival

Writer/Director Kent Jones’s DIANE opens on April 12, 2019 (Please Note: This date is one week earlier than originally announced) at Music Box Theatre, located at 3733 North Southport Ave. Check back soon for our full review. Click HERE for tickets and further information.

“Raw, real and quietly affecting.” — The Hollywood Reporter

“Anchored by a fantastic performance by Mary Kay Place” — RogerEbert.com

About DIANE:
For Diane (Mary Kay Place), everyone else comes first. Generous but with little patience for self-pity, she spends her days checking in on sick friends, volunteering at her local soup kitchen, and trying valiantly to save her troubled, drug-addicted adult son (Jake Lacy) from himself. But beneath her relentless routine of self-sacrifice, Diane is fighting a desperate internal battle, haunted by a past she can't forget, one that threatens to tear her increasingly chaotic world apart. Built around an extraordinarily fearless performance from Mary Kay Place, this narrative debut from writer/director Kent Jones is a profound, beautifully human portrait of a woman rifling through the wreckage of her life in search of redemption.

Pricing & Scheduling:
Tickets are $11 ($7 for Music Box Members).
Become a member: https://www.musicboxtheatre.com/membership/become-a-member

About Music Box Theatre:
For the last two decades, the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films. It currently has the largest theater space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD, and television markets throughout the United States.

Follow the Music Box Theatre on Facebook, Twitter (@musicboxtheatre), and Instagram (@musicboxchicago)

Music Box Theatre | 3733 N. Southport Ave. | Chicago, IL 60613 | 773-871-6604 (showtimes)



Headliners include: Bobby Rush, Jimmy Johnson Blues Band, Charlie Musselwhite with Billy Boy Arnold, Bettye LaVette, Don Bryant, Latimore, Ruthie Foster, The CONNECTION: Mike Welch & Friends, Larkin Poe and many more

Experience Chicago’s rich blues music legacy at the 36th Annual Chicago Blues Festival happening Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9 in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.). The Chicago Blues Festival will celebrate the genre’s music legacy in Chicago with live performances on six stages by the local and national blues artists in the city’s premier outdoor music venue.

Admission to the Chicago Blues Festival is free. For complete details, visit ChicagoBluesFestival.us.

As the birthplace of house, gospel music, urban blues and other beloved genres, Chicago invites music lovers from around the world to celebrate its music legacy at three consecutive weekend festivals – the Chicago House Conference and Music Festival (May 23–May 25), the Chicago Gospel Music Festival (May 31 and June 1) and the Chicago Blues Festival (June 7–9) – on stage in Millennium Park, at the Chicago Cultural Center as well as in music venues and clubs throughout the city.

“With a diverse lineup celebrating the blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival features live music performances on multiple stages in Millennium Park,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “Each year national and local artists celebrate the city’s rich Blues tradition while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock hip-hop and more.”

Headliners on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage will perform from 5 to 9 p.m. each evening. Music and entertainment throughout the park will begin at 11 a.m. each day.

Friday, June 7 – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Blues Hall of Fame member, Bobby Rush will headline the festival on opening day. The GRAMMY® Award-winning artist was named by Rolling Stone "The King of the Chitlin' Circuit" for his vigorous touring schedule and energetic show. Before Bobby Rush takes the stage, the Jimmy Johnson Blues Band will mark the 90th birthday of Mr. Johnson, one of the genre’s legendary artists and member of the Blues Hall of Fame. The evening will lead off with Charlie Musselwhite joined by special guest Billy Boy Arnold. The famed Memphis harmonica player has won numerous awards and become an icon. Shortly before winning the GRAMMY® Award for Best Blues Album for their collaboration Get Up!, he and Ben Harper played at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady in a salute to Memphis soul.

Saturday, June 8–Jay Pritzker Pavilion
The award-winning and legendary soul artist Bettye LaVette will headline the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage. One of the very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 60s, LaVette is still creating vital recordings today. Opening the evening’s showcase are Don Bryant and Latimore. Don Bryant started his career as a gospel music artist at an early age and found soul at Hi Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Most recently, he was invited to perform with the Memphis-based soul homage outfit The Bo-Keys. R&B singer, songwriter, keyboardist and Blues Hall of Famer, Latimore will kick off the night. His electric keyboard comes complete with “string-bending” guitar sound effects.

Sunday, June 9–Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Ruthie Foster will headline the closing night of the festival. The award-winning artist’s latest album Joy Comes Back, described as “some folk, some blues, some soul, some rock, some gospel,” illustrates Ruthie’s genre-spanning talent. Also on the bill, a special tribute set for the late Mike Ledbetter by The CONNECTION with Mike Welch & Friends. Mike Ledbetter had been invited to perform at this year’s festival with the Welch–Ledbetter Connection before his untimely death in January. Larkin Poe, the American roots sister duo poised to make their mark with the 2018 release of Venom & Faith, will open the stage on the final evening.

Additional Stages
In addition to the main Jay Pritzker Pavilion, local and national blues musicians celebrating the genre’s rich tradition and heritage will perform throughout the day and evening at:

The Budweiser Crossroads Stage presents a high energy mix of electric blues, blues rock, country blues and R&B on the South Chase Promenade, daily 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Friday, June 7, the stage will feature two Chicago Blues Festival debuts, 2018 GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist Bombino at 4:15 p.m. and Thornetta Davis, Queen of the Detroit Blues, at 1:30 p.m. Two veteran blues guitarists come together when Guy King with special guest Chris Cain perform at 2:45 p.m. On Saturday, June 8, Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore with The Guilty Ones will make their festival debut at 4:15 p.m. Rico McFarland, Carl Weathersby & Kenneth “Hollywood” Scott will play a special collaboration at 1:30 p.m. On Sunday, June 9, Delmark Records artist Omar Coleman on the harp will take the stage at 11 a.m., followed by later in the day Chicago blues guitarist and Alligator Records artist Toronzo Cannon at 2:45 p.m.

The Visit Mississippi Juke Joint showcases the sounds of the Delta blues on the North Chase Promenade, daily 11:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Friday, June 7, the stage will open with the Jimmy Burns Band at 11:15 a.m. and close with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, the hardest working bluesman in Chicago, at 4:15 p.m. On Saturday, June 8, fans will get a chance to experience Blues Hall of Famer John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band performing at 1:45 p.m., followed by the festival debut of Mississippi blues singer O.B. Buchana at 3 p.m. On Sunday, June 9, Mississippi blues legend RL Boyce will bring his hill country blues to the stage at 12:30 p.m. Jackson, Mississippi for his festival debut and bluesman Zac Harmon will make a return performance 3 p.m.

The Front Porch Stage highlights homegrown, Chicago-based blues artists,  with a few surprises, in Wrigley Square, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, and 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 9. On Friday, June 7, the stage will kick off at 11 a.m. with Blues in the Schools with Katherine Davis, Tim Gant, Tino Cortes, Alan Burroughs and Stone Academy. At 3:30, son of Muddy Waters, (Joseph) Mojo Morganfield & The Mannish Boyz will perform, followed by Mzz Reese at 5 p.m. On Saturday, June 8 there will be a special tribute to Chicago blues piano master Otis Spann at 2 p.m. Dom Flemons, known as the American Songster and co-founder of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, will perform at 3:30 p.m. Bridges to the Blues with Art of Culture, Inc., will feature young, emerging musicians at 5 p.m. On Sunday, June 8, festival goers will get a double treat with master blues pianist Erwin Helfer at 12:30 p.m. and Ivy Ford, an International Blues Challenge 2019 finalist, at 5 p.m.

The Park Grill Stage features an array of acoustic and electric soloists, duos and trios in an intimate setting on The Park Grill Plaza, daily from 2 to 4:45 p.m. Performers include renowned blues artists like Eric Noden, Don Flemons, Harmonica Hinds, among others.

Just north of Cloud Gate from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Rosa’s Lounge showcases Chicago Blues legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa’s Lounge home over the last 35 years.

Bridges To The Blues 2019
Bridges to the Blues is a multi-generational program that challenges young Chicago musicians from multiple genres and diverse backgrounds to re-imagine the blues. Participants are invited to collaborate on original music and audition on Monday, June 3, 6–8 p.m., at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater, for an opportunity to perform at the Chicago Blues Festival on Saturday, June 8. Program participants will learn Blues fundamentals, via Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, one of todays’ best blues drummers as well as songwriting and performance best practices from Oscar and multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith. This program is supported by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) and facilitated by Art of Culture  nc.

Before heading to the festival on Sunday, June 9, blues fans are encouraged to stop by Chicago’s historic Maxwell Street Market located at 800 S. Desplaines for live blues from Dave Herrero, noon–2 p.m. The market, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday, offers unique finds and souvenirs along with the best Latin street food in Chicago. For complete market details, visit MaxwellStreetMarket.us.

The Chicago Blues Festival is FREE and open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily in Millennium Park.
For complete details, visit chicagobluesfestival.us, join the conversation on Facebook at Chicago Blues Festival and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @ChicagoDCASE (#ChiBluesFest).

The Chicago Blues Festival is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored in part by Budweiser, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-ChicagoLand’s Television, Rosa’s Lounge, Southwest Airlines, Visit Mississippi, WGN-Television, 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio and 93XRT.

36th Annual Chicago Blues Festival Lineup
Schedule of performances is subject to change

Friday, June 7
Jay Pritzker Pavilion

7:45–9 p.m.                             Bobby Rush

6:30–7:30 p.m.                        Jimmy Johnson Blues Band

5–6:15 p.m                              Charlie Musselwhite with special guest Billy Boy Arnold

Budweiser Crossroads Stage

4:15–5:30 p.m.                        Bombino

2:45–4 p.m.                             Guy King with special guest Chris Cain

1:30–2:30 p.m.                        Thornetta Davis

12:15–1:15 p.m.                      Benny Turner and Real Blues

11 a.m.–12 p.m.                      Joanna Connor

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint  

4:15–5:30 p.m.                        Jam Session with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

3–4 p.m.                                  Grady Champion

1:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m.                Karen Wolfe

12:30–1:30 p.m.                      Keith Johnson “Prince of the Delta Blues" & The Big Muddy                                                            Blues Band

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.            Jimmy Burns Band

Front Porch Stage

8–9 p.m.                                  Vance "Guitar" Kelly & The Backstreet Blues Band

6:30–7:30 p.m.                        Breezy Rodio

5–6 p.m.                                  Mzz Reese

3:30–4:30 p.m.                        Mojo Morganfield & The Mannish Boyz

2–3 p.m.                                  Kenny Smith & The House Bumpers

12:30–1:30 p.m.                      Bob Stroger

11 a.m.–12 p.m.                      Blues in the Schools with Katherine Davis, Tim Gant, Tino Cortes, Alan Burroughs + Stone Academy

Park Grill Stage

4–4:45 p.m.                             Jimmy Nick & Don’t Tell Mama

3–3:45 p.m.                             Eric Noden

2–2:45 p.m.                             Gerry Hundt’s Legendary One-Man Band

Rosa’s Lounge
11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Daily showcase of Chicago Blues Legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 35 years.

Saturday, June 8
Jay Pritzker Pavilion

7:45–9 p.m.                             Bettye LaVette

6:30–7:30 p.m.                        Don Bryant

5:15–6:15 p.m.                        Latimore

Budweiser Crossroads Stage

4:15–5:30 p.m.                        Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with The Guilty Ones

3–4 p.m.                                  Billy Boy Arnold

1:30–2:45 p.m.                        Rico McFarland, Carl Weathersby and Kenneth “Hollywood”                                                  Scott

12:15–1:15 p.m.                      Marquise Knox

11 a.m.–12 p.m.                      Melody Angel

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage

4:15–5:30 p.m.                        Jam Session with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

3–4 p.m.                                  O.B. Buchana

1:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m.                John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band

12:30–1:30 p.m.                      Super Chikan

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.            Jesse “Guitar” Robinson

Front Porch Stage

8–9 p.m.                                  Lurrie Bell

6:30–7:30 p.m.                        Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

5–6 p.m.                                  Bridges to the Blues

3:30–4:30 p.m.                        Dom Flemons

2–3 p.m.                                  Chicago Blues Piano Master—A Tribute To Otis Spann

12:30–1:30 p.m.                      The Joel Paterson Organ Trio featuring Chris Foreman

11 a.m.–12 p.m.                      Mary Lane

Park Grill Stage

4–4:45 p.m.                             Doktu Rhute Muuzic

3–3:45 p.m.                             Harmonica Hinds

2–2:45 p.m.                             Dom Flemons

Rosa’s Lounge
11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Daily showcase of Chicago Blues Legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 35 years.

Sunday, June 9
Jay Pritzker Pavilion

7:45–9 p.m.                             Ruthie Foster

6:30–7:30 p.m.                        The CONNECTION: Mike Welch & Friends

5:15–6:15 p.m.                        Larkin Poe

Budweiser Crossroads Stage

4:15–5:30 p.m.                        Roomful of Blues with special appearance by guest vocalist                                                           Lynne Jordan

2:45–4 p.m.                             Toronzo Cannon

1:30–2:30 p.m.                        The Kinsey Report

12:15–1:15 p.m.                      Melvin Taylor & The Slack Band

11 a.m.–12 p.m.                      Omar Coleman

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage

4:15–5:30 p.m.                        Jam Session with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

3–4 p.m.                                  Zac Harmon

1:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m.                Jarekus Singleton

12:30–1:30 p.m.                      RL Boyce

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.            King Edward

Front Porch Stage

6:30–7:30 p.m.                        Mike Wheeler Band

5–6 p.m.                                  Russ Green

3:30–4:30 p.m.                        Ivy Ford Band

2–3 p.m.                                  Cash Box Kings

12:30–1:30 p.m.                      Erwin Helfer

11 a.m.–12 p.m.                      Willie Buck

Park Grill Stage

4–4:45 p.m.                             Tom Holland & The Shuffle Kings

3–3:45 p.m.                             Rick King’s Royal Hustle

2–2:45 p.m.                             Chicago Bound Blues Band

Rosa’s Lounge
11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Daily showcase of Chicago Blues Legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 35 years.

Maxwell Street Market – 800 S. Desplaines
Noon–2 p.m.               Dave Herrero

Planning Your Visit to the Chicago Blues Festival
This summer season, Millennium Park will implement additional security measures designed to improve the visitor experience at the park. Outside alcohol will be prohibited at the six Jay Pritzker Pavilion events with the highest attendance, including the Chicago House Music Festival on May 24–25; the Chicago Blues Festival on June 7–9; the Chicago Mariachi Festival on June 30; the Grant Park Music Festival Independence Day Salute on July 4; the Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert on August 12; and the Chicago Jazz Festival on August 29–September 1.

Visitors will have additional food and beverage options at various price points available for purchase inside the venue at the events where outside alcohol is restricted. Subject to bag search at the security perimeter, guests will continue to be allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages to all events in Millennium Park.

Take The "L" or Save up to 50% on parking
Visitors are encouraged to take CTA to Millennium Park. To plan your route, visit transitchicago.com. For those parking, Millennium Park Garages are located at Millennium Park Garage and Millennium Lakeside Garage at 5 S. Columbus Drive, Grant Park North Garage at 25 N. Michigan Ave. and Grant Park South Garage at 325 S. Michigan Ave. Pre-purchase parking at millenniumgarages.com and save up to 50% off drive-up rates.

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

SAVE THE DATES: Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces its 2019/20 SEASON

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces its 2019/20 Season—featuring an expansive line-up of plays, musicals, new work, and presentations from around the globe to engage one of the broadest audiences of any theater in America today.

North American premiere of THE KING’S SPEECH brings to the stage the remarkable true story that inspired the Academy Award-winning film
Artistic Director Barbara Gaines stages the most famous love story of all time, ROMEO AND JULIET
Jane Austen’s EMMA transformed into enchanting new musical by Tony Award-nominated Paul Gordon
Vibrant, 60s-inspired AS YOU LIKE IT infuses Shakespeare’s comedy with the ageless hits of The Beatles
THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY returns to Chicago for the first time in 25 years
Isango Ensemble’s music-and-dance-filled A MAN OF GOOD HOPE follows a young refugee’s journey through Africa
Director Héctor Flores Komatsu’s devised ANDARES chronicles the lives of indigenous youth in México
Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson create a contemporary new opera BLUE, presented in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago
Summer 2019: THE WIZARD OF OZ engages multi-generational audiences on Navy Pier
FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tours THE COMEDY OF ERRORS to 18 parks across City

Artistic Director Barbara Gaines shared, “At a time in our lives when estrangement and belonging are so entwined into our public discourse, we are looking forward to a season of stories that explore our boundaries—personal, societal, geographic—and how we cross them in order to better understand ourselves, our neighbors, and the world we inhabit. A king is limited by his inability to speak to his nation; two teenagers see beyond the walls erected by their families’ hatred; a young woman can imagine the possibilities of love all around—but not in her own heart; and free spirits leave behind the constraints of society and discover love in unexpected places. Powerful narratives of a Somalian refugee in South Africa and indigenous youth in México both wrestle with defining home and identity. In the communal space that is the theater, we share these stories that bind us together.”

Bold theatricality onstage at Chicago Shakespeare

Kicking off the 2019/20 Season is David Seidler’s play The King’s Speech (September 12–October 27, 2019), the remarkable true story about an unlikely bond between a reluctant king and his charismatic subject that inspired the Academy Award-winning film—now brought to life onstage as Seidler first imagined it. Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning director Michael Wilson stages the North American premiere at Chicago Shakespeare. Following its Chicago run, the production is slated for engagements at other theaters across the country.

For the first time in her distinguished career, Artistic Director Barbara Gaines directs Shakespeare’s most famous tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet (November 1–December 22, 2019). Set against a modern backdrop of a city torn apart by hate, the star-crossed young lovers defy every boundary forged from their families’ enmity, finding love—and heartbreak.

Jane Austen’s beloved novel Emma (January 28–March 15, 2020), featuring one of literature’s most fiercely independent heroines, is transformed into an enchanting new musical by Tony Award-nominated composer Paul Gordon, whose world premiere production of Sense and Sensibility captivated Chicago Shakespeare audiences in 2015. Artistic Director Barbara Gaines directs this deliciously charming romantic comedy.

A vibrant, ‘60s-inspired take on As You Like It (May 1–June 21, 2020) infuses Shakespeare’s comedy with the hit songs of The Beatles—lifting the playwright’s timeless verse in beautiful harmony with the immortal music of the “Fab Four.” This high-spirited, music-filled staging is adapted and directed by Daryl Cloran, Artistic Director of Canada’s acclaimed Citadel Theatre.

Global conversations and collaborations
In April 2020, Chicago Shakespeare is pleased to welcome the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company back to Chicago for the first time in 25 years with a signature production of a Shakespeare play (title to be announced in the coming months). Following Chicago Shakespeare’s performances on the RSC stage in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Complete Works Festival, both theaters have sought the opportunity for Chicago audiences to experience the RSC’s work onstage at Chicago Shakespeare—promising to be a theatrical highlight of the spring.

This season’s WorldStage series features South Africa’s Isango Ensemble with their acclaimed production of A Man of Good Hope (October 4–13, 2019). Vividly told through music and dance steeped in African traditions, the story follows one young Somalian refugee’s extraordinary odyssey across a continent, and his unfailing hope in the face of adversity.

Devised from personal anecdotes, ancestral myths, and traditional art forms, Makuyeika Theatre Collective presents Andares (October 23–27, 2019), directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu, which chronicles the lives of indigenous youth in México—and the realities that they face at the crossroads of modern life and tradition. Translated as “pathways,” Andares is featured as part of the third annual Destinos – Chicago International Latino Theater Festival.

Jeanine Tesori, the Tony Award-winning composer of Fun Home and Caroline, or Change, and acclaimed director, playwright, and librettist Tazewell Thompson join forces to create the new opera Blue (June 19–28, 2020), presented in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Blue brings audiences into the emotional epicenter as an African-American couple is faced with the sudden death of their son—realizing a mother’s worst fear, and igniting a father’s rage and devastation.

Traditions continue throughout Summer 2019
Chicago Shakespeare also announces two productions for Summer 2019. At the Theater’s home on Navy Pier, celebrated director Brian Hill and choreographer Kenny Ingram join forces to bring new life to the timeless musical classic The Wizard of Oz (July 6–August 25, 2019), based on the original 1939 MGM film, for audiences of all ages.

Now in its eighth year, the FREE FOR ALL Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour will bring Shakespeare’s riotous The Comedy of Errors (July 18–August 18, 2019), adapted and directed by David H. Bell, to 18 neighborhood parks across the south, west, and north sides in our City’s most expansive arts-in-communities initiative.

Engaging students and teachers through Team Shakespeare
Chicago Shakespeare’s Team Shakespeare education initiatives serve more than 40,000 teachers and students each year—making it one of the most comprehensive and highly respected arts education programs in the country. Team Shakespeare brings Shakespeare’s work to life in the school curriculum—through live performance, professional learning for educators, comprehensive teaching resources, and opportunities for students to perform Shakespeare.

Key Team Shakespeare initiatives include Bard Core, a year-long professional learning seminar that introduces Chicago Public Schools high school English, Special Education, and ESL teachers to drama-based strategies for engaging students—including struggling and reluctant readers, and English language learners—with Shakespeare and other challenging texts. In the annual Chicago Shakespeare Slam, hundreds of high school students and their teacher coaches from public, private, and parochial schools across the region come together to celebrate the power of Shakespeare and their own voices. A series of Saturday workshops and regional preliminary bouts throughout the fall culminate in a spirited, fun-filled Final Bout onstage at Chicago Shakespeare. In addition to weekday matinee performances of the Theater’s full-length productions, Chicago Shakespeare annually presents an abridged 75-minute Short Shakespeare! production, which welcomes 30,000 students during its seven-week run of weekday matinees, followed by a tour to schools across the region.

These programs—in concert with the free citywide Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour and summer family musical series—exemplify the Theater’s steadfast commitment to young audiences—which has resulted in one in four audience members being age 18 or under.

Access Shakespeare
Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through Access Shakespeare programming, which offers services designed for individuals with mobility, hearing, or visual impairments for all productions, including the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour. In addition to offering assistive-listening devices as well as large-print and Braille programs, the Theater schedules dedicated performances featuring ASL duo-interpretation, open captioning, audio description, and touch tours. Tickets to Access Shakespeare performances are provided at pay-what-you-can rates to ensure that cost does not prohibit participation.

Chicago Shakespeare 2019/20 Season Listing

The Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane
directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram
in the Courtyard Theater | July 6–August 25, 2019

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

The Comedy of Errors
by William Shakespeare
adapted & directed by David H. Bell
on tour to neighborhood parks across Chicago | July 18–August 18, 2019

For the eighth year, Chicago Shakespeare, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing, and BMO Harris Bank partner to present the annual citywide summer tradition, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, on tour to neighborhood parks across Chicago, FREE FOR ALL. From Hamilton Park and Columbus Park to Loyola Park and Ping Tom Memorial Park, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks activates communities across the north, west, and south sides of the city. On each stop of the tour, a specially equipped truck rolls into the park, a stage unfolds, and a company of professional actors shares the delight of Shakespeare’s riotous The Comedy of Errors with families and neighbors. Tour details to be announced this spring.

North American Premiere

The King’s Speech
by David Seidler
directed by Michael Wilson
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | September 12–October 27, 2019

Paralyzed by his stammer and unable to speak to a nation in crisis, King George VI ascends the throne as England stands on the brink of war once again with Germany. Enter Lionel Logue, an Australian migrant with a career path as unexpected as the king’s. The remarkable true story of this unlikely bond between a reluctant king and a charismatic subject that inspired the Academy Award-winning film is now brought to the stage, where writer David Seidler first imagined it.

A Man of Good Hope
Isango Ensemble, in co-production with the Young Vic
and in association with the Royal Opera, Repons Foundation, X and Y
based on the book by Jonny Steinberg
directed by Mark Dornford-May
a WorldStage Production from South Africa
in the Courtyard Theater | October 4–13, 2019

A musical theater spectacle, pulsating with the glorious sounds of this Olivier Award-winning ensemble, is the story of one young refugee’s extraordinary odyssey across a continent. Asad, a Somali with a painful past, miraculous good luck, and a brilliant mind for business, sets off for South Africa—the promised land, where he believes he has found a place of safety. He is mistaken. Acclaimed in New York and London, Isango's 22-member cast tells Asad’s story through song and dance steeped in African tradition of unfailing hope in the face of adversity.

Makuyeika Theatre Collective
written and directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu
a WorldStage Production from México
as part of Destinos – Chicago International Latino Theater Festival
in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare | October 23–27, 2019

Woven from ancestral myths, traditional music and arts, and a three-person narrative, Andares reveals the extraordinary, untold stories of ordinary, humble people who inhabit Mexico’s most remote corners. Created by director Héctor Flores Komatsu from his personal search to know and understand the original cultures of his homeland, Andares is a moving, fierce denunciation against a present that seems intent upon destroying what was once held as sacred.

Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
directed by Barbara Gaines
in the Courtyard Theater | November 1–December 22, 2019

A city, two families, and a hatred so old that no one remembers its cause. Defying every boundary forged from their families’ enmity, Romeo and Juliet fall in love. In a society torn apart by hate, Shakespeare sets his immortal tale of love and senseless tragedy. For Chicago Shakespeare Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, now is the time to direct her first Romeo and Juliet, as Chicago awaits her vision for the most famous love story of all time.

based on the novel by Jane Austen
book, music & lyrics by Paul Gordon
directed by Barbara Gaines
in the Courtyard Theater | January 28–March 15, 2020

Jane Austen’s beloved novel is now a deliciously charming musical, created by Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Daddy Long Legs). Privileged, pampered, and preoccupied with romance, Emma Woodhouse indulges in her pastime of misguided matchmaking, but is clueless when it comes to her own feelings and a gentleman named Mr. Knightley. As our imperfect heroine learns that love cannot be predicted or channeled, we are swept up by Paul Gordon’s lyrical melodies.

Royal Shakespeare Company engagement
A WorldStage Production from the UK
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | April 2020

In April 2020, Chicago Shakespeare is pleased to welcome the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company back to Chicago for the first time in 25 years with a signature production of a Shakespeare play. Following Chicago Shakespeare’s performances on the RSC stage in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Complete Works Festival, both theaters have sought the opportunity for Chicago audiences to experience the RSC’s work onstage at Chicago Shakespeare—promising to be a theatrical highlight of the spring. Title to be announced in the coming months.

As You Like It
by William Shakespeare
adapted & directed by Daryl Cloran
conceived by Daryl Cloran and Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
in association with the Citadel Theatre and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in the Courtyard Theater | May 1–June 21, 2020

It’s the 1960s, when all you need is love. Free spirits escape a world gone wrong to get back to the land—a place that promises safe harbor from the corrupt ways of the city, but no one is spared here from the hazards of love. The irrepressible Rosalind takes refuge in the forest. So, too, does her love Orlando, with much to learn from the woman of his dreams, now disguised in boy’s garb. This high-spirited, music-filled adaptation infuses Shakespeare’s comedy with the hit songs of The Beatles—lifting the playwright’s timeless verse in beautiful harmony with the immortal music of the “Fab Four.” As You Like It is adapted and directed by Daryl Cloran, Artistic Director of Canada’s acclaimed Citadel Theatre, and originated at Vancouver's Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

music by Jeanine Tesori | libretto by Tazewell Thompson
directed by Tazewell Thompson
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare | June 19–28, 2020
in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago

Blue brings audiences into the emotional epicenter of an African-American family in which the father is a police officer and the son is a politically active teenager. When the son is killed by police, his death realizes the mother’s worst fear, and ignites his father’s rage and devastation. The new opera is inspired by contemporary events and Black literature, including Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and focuses on the joys and sorrows of bringing a child into a world in which African-American families are forced to question if their sons’ lives matter. Blue is a coproduction of Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

For information on purchasing tickets, visit www.chicagoshakes.com or call the CST Box Office at 312.595.5600. A variety of flexible season ticket packages will be on sale soon, offering savings over single tickets, and guaranteeing your seat at every production you choose to see. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be—a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater’s year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances—including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago’s most versatile performing arts center.

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