Sunday, July 17, 2016

FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is Back Now Through August 14th


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Free Shakespeare in the Parks is back for one month 
as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago!



Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we've been enjoying Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks for years. Pack a picnic, bring the family, and come on out for a free show. 

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List: 
FREE Fam Friendly Fun


Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks launched its citywide tour at Steelworkers Park this past Sunday, following two preview performances at Navy Pier. Nearly 6,000 audience members enjoyed Shakespeare’s enchanting comedy Twelfth Night in its first weekend. A cornerstone of Shakespeare 400 Chicago—the celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy—the FREE FOR ALL Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour continues to neighborhood parks across Chicago, now through August 14

With support from Chicago Park District and Boeing, along with production sponsor BMO Harris Bank, Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings this citywide tradition to 19 neighborhood parks throughout the south, west and north sides of the city. Championed by Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is the inspiration for the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks—presenting 1,300 free cultural events in Chicago neighborhood parks this summer.



REVIEW: “SQUEEZE MY CANS” at Greenhouse Theater's Solo Celebration

ADULT NIGHT OUT:

GREENHOUSE THEATER CENTER'S SOLO CELEBRATION PRESENTS  LIMITED ENGAGEMENT RUN OF 
“SQUEEZE MY CANS,” 
JULY 14 – JULY 24


Cathy Schenkelberg Takes Audiences Through the No-Holds-Barred Tale of Surviving Scientology

It was my great pleasure to catch opening night of Cathy Schenkelberg's Squeeze My Cans” last Thursday. She's a mom, actress, singer, writer, recovering Scientologist, and all around funny gal. This marks the 3rd show in Greenhouse Theater's excellent Solo Celebration series. 

One woman shows are challenging and intense to write and perform and Schenkelberg pulls it off with humor, grace and style. This piece is particularly compelling, because it's even harder for someone to admit she's been conned, and speak of the vulnerability of losing her religion, a small fortune, and a support network of folks she thought were trustworthy, long term friends. 

Cathy's brave and crazy enough to share her journey with us in this excellent production. Her downward spiral into the financial, and mental toll of an obsession with Scientology reminded me of a gambling addiction or a high stakes, real world claw game. The more time, money and energy she invested, the more she had to stay in the Scientology game, hoping for rewards and spiritual pay outs. We highly recommend Squeeze My Cans,” as a must see, cautionary tale, and a highly entertaining and enlightening adult night out.

Tickets are affordable and the talent is terrific. Squeeze My Cans,” is a short 10 show run, so don't miss this. Check back early and often for the scoop on the coolest theatre, arts and entertainment and more in Chi, IL and beyond. 

The Greenhouse Theater’s “Solo Celebration!” continues with “Squeeze My Cans,” a limited engagement autobiographical solo-play written and performed by Cathy Schenkelberg and directed by Shirley Anderson. Making its Chicago premiere, Schenkelberg shares a glimpse behind the velvet curtain of Scientology in this strangely hilarious and unbelievable story of resilience, loss, and extraterrestrials. “Squeeze My Cans” runs July 14 – July 24 at The Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N Lincoln Avenue); the press performance is July 14 at 7:30 p.m.

“Cathy’s brave journey through Scientology is at once humorous and shocking, detailing her nearly 20-year experience with America’s foremost intergalactic faith. Through Cathy’s lens, audiences are offered a rare glimpse into this secretive religion, re-living her account of coming into and getting out of the Church of Scientology,” said Artistic Director of the Greenhouse Theater Center, Jacob Harvey. “Together with Shirley and their entire team, Cathy has crafted an intimate story of survival and the power of perseverance, refusing to stay silent.”

“Squeeze My Cans” asks audiences: What do you do if the “carrot of spiritual freedom” was dangled in front of you, waiting to be seized? In this cautionary tale, we learn what chasing the “carrot” got Cathy Shenkelberg, and how after studying and searching to become “more herself,” she could be found blowing alien life forms off her body farther than ever from the person who she had hoped to be.

”Squeeze My Cans” received its first developmental workshop production at Lifeline’s Filet of Solo Festival.

Performance Schedule: 
Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m.; Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. For tickets and additional information, click here.

Flex passes to the Solo Celebration! series, which offers admissions to three plays for $99 or five plays for $164, are now on sale.  Single tickets, which range in price from $34 – 48 are also on sale.  Flex passes and tickets can be purchased by contacting the box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting greenhousetheater.org.




Cathy Schenkelberg (Performer/Playwright) is a Nebraska native and Chicago/LA-based actress, singer, and voiceover talent. Early on in Chicago, she has been seen in productions such as "Jacque Brel," "Working," "Little Shop of Horrors,” "Noises Off" and "Moms the Word." Schenkelberg also played Chrissy in the National tour of “Hair” and Pepper the Clown on WGN’s “Bozo Show.” She has worked as a dancer/singer at clubs and cruise ships - even impersonating Dolly Parton, Madonna and Marilyn Monroe (all at the same time). In her recent return to the stage, she had the good fortune to play Madame Thenardier in “Les Misérables,” Violet, Zuzu and Ma Hatch in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and Sue Ellen in “Honky Tonk Angels” at Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora CA, as well as Veronica in “God of Carnage” at American Stage in St. Petersberg, Fl. But it has been her work in spoken-word at such venues as Write Club LA, Spark off Rose, and Louder than a Mom where “Squeeze My Cans” was conceived.

Shirley Anderson (Director) is a Northwestern alum who spent the 90s in Chicago, adapting, producing and performing a solo adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s short story “Big Blonde,” at the Red Lion Pub, then in jazz clubs, colleges and theaters in Chicago, Edinburgh and Los Angeles.  Anderson has written and performed as a solo performer ever since in Chicago and Los Angeles.  In 1993, Anderson collaborated with Molly McNett on “Sculpture in Vitro: Growing Up Female in the Age of Liposuction” at Live Bait Theater after premiering the work in cooperation with Lookingglass Theatre and before touring the show to high schools and colleges. She has collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre Company, Plasticene and Studio 108 in Chicago and Sacred Fools, Theater Movement Bazaar, Zoo District, Son of Semele and Theater of NOTE in Los Angeles, where she currently lives and directs business operations for Blum & Poe art gallery. 


About Solo Celebration!
“Squeeze My Cans” is one of 12 plays featured in Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!,” which will include ten full productions and two limited engagements running June 2016 through February 2017. Among the other directors connected to solo series are Goodman Theatre Producer and Artistic Collective Member Steve Scott, Writer’s Theatre Resident Director Kimberly Senior, Directors Lab Chicago Artistic Director Elizabeth Margolius and Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Linda Gillum. Some of the performers confirmed to star in solo works include Jeff Award-winner Kate Buddeke, acclaimed British actor Simon Slater, Karen Rodriguez and Carin Silkaitis.  Most productions will be produced in their entirety by Greenhouse, while other plays will be stated with co-producers including Sideshow Theatre Company and The Other Theatre Company.  Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!” is co-produced by Forum Productions and underwritten by the Wendy and William Spatz Charitable Foundation.

About the Greenhouse Theater Center
The Greenhouse Theater Center is a nonprofit performance venue located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, an in-house rehearsal room, and Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre book store.

Our mission at the Greenhouse is first and foremost to grow local theatre. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, to develop and produce their work. In 2014 alone, The Greenhouse Theater Center provided space for almost 1,000 ticketed performances, serving more than 54,000 patrons. Among these events, were at least 30 productions by our resident companies, including the celebrated American Blues Theater and Remy Bumpo Theatre Company. Through our Trellis Program, we offer the community affordable access to our work by housing Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex, as well as offering a free reading series each Tuesday night where local artists workshop their latest scripts. Additionally, we also continue to play an active role in cultivating and nurturing our community through continued partnerships with the League of Chicago Theaters and local Chambers of Commerce.

As of 2016, the Greenhouse Theater Center embraced the true spirit of growth and launched its producing entity. With the announcement of our 8 month long Solo Celebration Series, helmed by Artistic Director Jacob Harvey, we will produce 10 solo plays from June 2016 to February 2017. Through this inaugural effort, we hope to expand the solo play cannon while also cultivating a larger conversation about the possibilities of the one-person play.

With new ideas always incubating, the Greenhouse Theater Center is flourishing. Come grow with us!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

ADULT NIGHT OUT: Artist Gustav Klimt's Story Comes to Greenhouse Theater's Solo Celebration

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

THE WORLD PREMIERE OF 
“THE PORTRAIT” 
DEBUTS AT THE GREENHOUSE THEATER CENTER JULY 15 – AUGUST 14



The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Series “Solo Celebration!” Presents a Biographical Play Chronicling the Life of Viennese Artist Gustav Klimt

Klimt has long been a favorite artist of mine, so I'm particularly eager to catch the world premiere of “The Portrait”. The Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave.) will present The Portrait” as part of the theater’s “Solo Celebration!” series, an eight-month series of provocative and powerful solo plays. Previews begin July 15th and we'll be there for the press opening July 20, so check back soon for our full review. 

Written and directed by Susan Padveen, starring Cameron Pfiffner and co-produced with The Neopolitans, “The Portrait” tells the story of Gustav Klimt, the renowned painter of The Kiss, as he wrestles with a life-altering decision while also attempting to secure a sizable commission from a woman of Viennese society. 

“Klimt’s work, like his story, is startling, distinct and enigmatic. This play thoughtfully delves into the often conflicted state of an artist, all at once torn between his devotion to his work, searching for the funds to continue it, and fulfilling the responsibilities that come with fatherhood and family,” said The Greenhouse Theater Center Artistic Director Jacob Harvey. “Susan Padveen and the collaborators she has assembled tell a story of Klimt that is both historical and topical, forcing us to question the place of the artist in our culture.”

“The Portrait” takes place at a time in Klimt’s life when he is navigating a tumultuous personal life, ever punctuated by his work.  This artist who broke boundaries with his iconic sketches, paintings and murals must make difficult choices and even tougher compromises if he and his family are to survive in an unkind world. In this one man tour de force, we meet Klimt as he sketches a potential client in his studio, and although his thoughts quickly wander to matters of the heart, he knows that he must win a commission for her portrait. As Klimt tries to capture the attractive young woman’s interest, he wrestles with a decision that could alter the trajectory of his life. Klimt will be portrayed by Cameron Pfiffner. At select performances, Matt Maxwell will portray the artist.

“The Portrait” features scenic design by Jacqueline Penrod; lighting design by Ben White; costume design by Alaina Moore; sound design by Christopher Kriz; projection design by Ben Lenz; and props design by Devon Green.

The performance schedule for “The Portrait” is as follows: Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Previews begin July 15, and the opening night is Wednesday, July 20 at 7 p.m. Performances continue through Aug. 14.

Flex passes to the Solo Celebration! series, which offers admissions to three plays for $99 or five plays for $164, are now on sale.  Single tickets, which range in price from $34 – 48 are also on sale.  Flex passes and tickets can be purchased by contacting the box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting greenhousetheater.org.

Susan Padveen (Playwright/Director) is a freelance director, writer, educator and producer. Last season she returned to Polarity Ensemble Theatre, where she had previously directed Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night” and “The White Airplane” by Darren Callahan, to direct the world premiere of Richard Engling’s “Anna in the Afterlife.” Last summer, she participated in an artist residency at the Ko Festival in Amherst, Massachusetts, continuing development of a devised play, “The In­Between,” to be produced this coming winter; and she co­curated and produced a Festival of devised work called “Dancing on the Ceiling” as a Box Partner at Stage 773. She has directed at Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, The National Jewish Theatre (where she was co­Artistic Director), Pegasus Players and the Neapolitans. Padveen is an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago in the Theatre Department, where she coordinates the directing program. Padveen is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, where this year she is honored to have been selected to be a member of the 2016-17 Observership Class.

Cameron Pfiffner (Performer) graduated from Loyola University with a BA in Theater 1982, and subsequently spent the next eight years in Chicago working as an actor, director, designer and composer. Pfiffner served as Artistic Director for The Free Shakespeare Company, The Commons Theater (which is where he first met and worked with Susan Padveen, the playwright and director of “The Portrait”), and his own masked ensemble, Vizards. In 1986, Pfiffner participated in The British National Theatre’s first summer acting program for American performers, studying with Anthony Hopkins, Giles Block, Di Trevis, John Russell Brown, Ken Campbell, Roddy Maude-Roxby and other British stage luminaries. In 1992, he changed artistic focus and concentrated on making music as saxophonist and composer. His band, Sabertooth, began playing at Chicago’s world famous jazz nightclub, The Green Mill, where they still perform. Pfiffner was also the musical director and resident composer of The 58 Group, an interdisciplinary ensemble of dancers and musicians led by Chicago choreographer Ginger Farley. Pfiffner currently leads and writes music for three other bands, the 11-piece Marco Polo, his own quartet, and the saxophone ensemble Adolphe’S AX (which will be performing at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival). His most recent appearance onstage as an actor was in his wife Christina Sedlmaier’s dance theater piece, “The Tendency to Exist,” at The Theater Building in 2005. Throughout his career, Pfiffner has been engaged in the visual arts, painting freelance for Chicago muralist Thomas Melvin, working at various scenic studios, illustrating a monograph on South American Marsupials for Philip Hershkovitz, Curator Emeritus of Zoology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, and executing various portraits and imaginative works for private collectors.

Matt Maxwell (Alternate Performer) recently returned to Chicago after a lengthy sojourn in Denver. His Colorado credits include “Fawlty Towers” with Equinox Theatre, “Greetings!” at Miners Alley Playhouse, “Apple” and “The Baby Dance” with Silhouette Theatre, “The Government Inspector” at Vintage Theatre, “Oliver!” at Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, “The Crucible” at Red Rocks Theatre, “Once Upon A Mattress,” “Footloose,” and “1776” with Performance Now and the Colorado premiere of “August: Osage County” with Abster Productions.  Matt is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

Gustav Klimt, born in 1862, is an Austrian symbolist painter recognized for his distinctive paintings, murals and sketches. His painting The Kiss is his best-known piece. He was a leader and prominent figure in the Austrian Secession, which was a movement by Austrian artists to move away from the prevailing conservative artistic styles. As a leader in the secession, Klimt was greatly influenced by Japanese art and design.    

About Solo Celebration!
“The Portrait” is one of 12 plays featured in Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!,” which will include ten full productions and two limited engagements running June 2016 through February 2017. Among the other directors connected to solo series are Goodman Theatre Producer and Artistic Collective Member Steve Scott, Writer’s Theatre Resident Director Kimberly Senior, Directors Lab Chicago Artistic Director Elizabeth Margolius and Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Linda Gillum. Some of the performers confirmed to star in solo works include Jeff Award-winner Kate Buddeke, acclaimed British actor Simon Slater, Karen Rodriguez and Carin Silkaitis.  Most productions will be produced in their entirety by Greenhouse, while other plays will be stated with co-producers including Sideshow Theatre Company and The Other Theatre Company. Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!” is co-produced by Forum Productions and underwritten by the Wendy and William Spatz Charitable Foundation.

About the Greenhouse Theater Center
The Greenhouse Theater Center is a nonprofit performance venue located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, an in-house rehearsal room, and Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre book store.

Our mission at the Greenhouse is first and foremost to grow local theatre. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, to develop and produce their work. In 2014 alone, The Greenhouse Theater Center provided space for almost 1,000 ticketed performances, serving more than 54,000 patrons. Among these events, were at least 30 productions by our resident companies, including the celebrated American Blues Theater and Remy Bumpo Theatre Company. Through our Trellis Program, we offer the community affordable access to our work by housing Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex, as well as offering a free reading series each Tuesday night where local artists workshop their latest scripts. Additionally, we also continue to play an active role in cultivating and nurturing our community through continued partnerships with the League of Chicago Theaters and local Chambers of Commerce.

As of 2016, the Greenhouse Theater Center embraced the true spirit of growth and launched its producing entity. With the announcement of our 8 month long Solo Celebration Series, helmed by Artistic Director Jacob Harvey, we will produce 10 solo plays from June 2016 to February 2017. Through this inaugural effort, we hope to expand the solo play cannon while also cultivating a larger conversation about the possibilities of the one-person play. With new ideas always incubating, the Greenhouse Theater Center is flourishing.

EXTENDED: Learning Curve, The Ground-breaking Immersive Performance Now Extended Through October 15th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT AND THIRD RAIL PROJECTS, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH GOODMAN THEATRE,  ANNOUNCE EXTENSION FOR THE WORLD-PREMIERE PRODUCTION 
“LEARNING CURVE” 

The Ground-breaking Immersive Performance Continues Through October 15 at Ellen Gates Starr High School in Chicago


Learning Curve- - photo credit Liz Lauren.jpg

The first large-scale immersive theater production in the country created and performed by a youth ensemble, 
“Learning Curve” places audiences within the walls of 
Ellen Gates Starr High School and in the shoes of its students. 

After selling out the entire month-long run of “Learning Curve” the day tickets went on sale, Albany Park Theater Project (APTP) and Third Rail Projects, in partnership with Goodman Theatre, are extending the world-premiere immersive theater production through October 15.  Performances begin as previously announced on July 27 and continue through August 28. After a short end-of-summer break for the show’s 31 teen cast members, “Learning Curve” returns for another month-long run from September 16 through October 15

Tickets for the new dates are on sale NOW. Tickets for July 27 through August 28 are sold out; visit aptp.org to inquire about joining the waitlist for specific performances. Press performances take place July 31 and August 1.

Performed and devised by a cast of 31 youth artists, in collaboration with an expansive team composed of career artists from APTP and Third Rail Projects, “Learning Curve” has a maximum capacity of 40 audience members, which fosters an intimate experience in which performers interact directly with audience.

“We are humbled and invigorated to know that people feel the theater Albany Park Theater Project makes is vital to their lives and to Chicago,” said APTP Artistic Director David Feiner. “A long run like this poses unique challenges when almost every cast member is a full-time high school student. But ‘Learning Curve’ is a deeply personal show for our youth artists, and it is especially timely with Chicago’s school budget crisis, the impasse in Springfield, and the real possibility that our schools may not open in the fall. So our cast and staff collaborated to devise a performance calendar that balances ‘Learning Curve’ with school and the company’s other life commitments. It even gives them a little summer break after they rehearse 40-plus hours a week all of July and do 7 shows a week most of August. They are committed to giving as many audiences as possible the opportunity to experience ‘Learning Curve’ and the stories of Chicago’s students and teachers.”

Two years in development, “Learning Curve” utilizes the distinctive strengths of APTP and Third Rail Projects to create a stylized theatrical experience unlike any other. “Learning Curve” is performed at Ellen Gates Starr High School (3640 West Wolfram Street, Chicago).


Maria Velazquez in Learning Curve- - photo credit Liz Lauren.jpg

About “Learning Curve”
“Learning Curve” is performed by 31 youth ensemble members of Albany Park Theater Project, all of whom are also co-creators of the devised work. Ensemble members range in age from 13 to 19, and have spent from one to five years as members of the APTP company. All cast members have a connection to Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, one of the most ethnically diverse immigrant communities in the United States. The primarily first- and second-generation immigrant youth who compose the ensemble trace their roots to countries throughout Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Middle East. The cast members are: Lizbeth Acevedo, Maidenwena Alba, Jennifer Calderon, Randy Dang, Andrea Delgado, Carlos Desantiago, Gustavo Duran, Maria Duran, Luis Escamilla, Nichole Espinelli, Abraham Espino, Johnny Hamzo, Ashlie Hawkins, Atreyu Kaunert, Brandon Lorbes, Kiara Lyn Manriquez, Justin Martinez, Chelsee Nava, Alyanna Parajado, Paola Rico, Dayana Rios, Jesi Rojo, Samantha Romero, Mariana Rosas, Christina Saliba, Brisa Saucedo, Jeremy Sebastian, Alex Suarez, Yailin Tejada, Hector Velazquez, Maria Velazquez and Melony Vizcarra.

“Learning Curve” is directed by David Feiner and Jennine Willett in collaboration with Stephanie Paul, Maggie Popadiak, and Rosanna Rodríguez-Sanchéz of Albany Park Theater Project and Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Edward Rice, and Carlton Cyrus Ward of Third Rail Projects. The production features Original Music & Sound Design by Mikhail Fiksel, Lighting Design by Lee Keenan, Costume Design by Izumi Inaba, Scenic Design by Scott C. Neale, Objects & Installation Design by Ellie Terrell. The Production Stage Manager is Monica M. Brown.

About Albany Park Theater Project
Albany Park Theater Project is a multiethnic youth ensemble creating transformational experiences that inspire people to envision and work toward a more just and beautiful world. The company is a 2016 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, which recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations who have demonstrated creativity and impact.  APTP's youth ensemble tells the real-life stories of those whose lives are not normally represented on stage, amplifying the voices both of the youth telling the stories and the individuals whose stories are being shared. Since its founding, APTP teens have created 19 original plays, performed for more than 50,000 people, and opened Albany Park’s first performing arts space. In 2016, the company’s stage play “Feast” was broadcast on WTTW, Chicago’s PBS affiliate, and viewed by more than 25,000 households. APTP has received numerous local and national awards, most notably the Midwest Light of Human Rights Award from the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  Chicago Tribune and CBS 2 Chicago critic Chris Jones called their 2015 production of “Feast” “beautiful and honest” and proclaimed APTP “a world-class theater company.”  Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times called APTP “a creative universe that simply has no equal,” and said the company’s youth ensemble “can compete with any Equity cast, and…displays a virtuosity, ease, charm, polish, humor, political bite and, above all, an emotional depth and cohesive spirit.”

About Third Rail Theater Projects
Hailed as one of the foremost companies creating site-specific, immersive and experiential dance-theater in the United States, Third Rail Projects, led by Artistic Directors Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willett, is dedicated to re-envisioning ways in which audiences can engage with contemporary performance. They have made work in New York, internationally, and abroad for over 15 years, and their long-running, award-winning work, “Then She Fell,” was named as one of the Top Ten Shows of 2012 by Ben Brantley of The New York Times and acclaimed as one of the best theater experiences of 2013 by Vogue Magazine. Third Rail Projects has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including three New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards. Their productions of “Then She Fell” and “The Grand Paradise” in Brooklyn and “Sweet and Lucky” in Denver have all recently announced extensions.

About Goodman Theatre
Called America’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time, Goodman Theatre is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. Founded in 1925, Goodman Theatre has garnered two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including “Outstanding Regional Theatre”), nearly 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. Under Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer’s leadership, the Goodman’s artistic priorities include new plays (150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics, culturally specific work and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion are primary cornerstones of the Goodman’s mission; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman’s 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color. The Goodman’s numerous education and community engagement programs serve thousands of students, teachers, and special constituencies.



ADULT NIGHT OUT: APOLLO THEATER IN CHICAGO PRESENTS “THRONES! THE MUSICAL PARODY”



“THRONES! THE MUSICAL PARODY” ASCENDS THE WALL THIS SUMMER 
AT APOLLO THEATER IN CHICAGO


Created By the Team Behind “Baby Wants Candy” and “50 Shades! The Musical Parody,” “Thrones!” Makes its United States Debut July 21 – August 21

Suffering from GOT withdrawal? I didn't watch for the first few seasons, but once I started I was hooked. I binge watched everything up until the past two seasons, which we watched in real time. We've even had weekly Game of Thrones watching parties complete with drinks and appetizers. I felt a hollow emptiness when the season ended yet again and the long waiting game began. Now there's something to fill the void, Thrones! The Musical Parody”. 



This Summer, Winter is coming. “Thrones! The Musical Parody” arrives at the Apollo Theater (2540 N. Lincoln Ave) in July with its United States and Chicago preview, running July 21 through August 21. Scripted by members of the “Baby Wants Candy” and “50 Shades! The Musical Parody” creative team, “Thrones! The Musical Parody” debuted to completely sold-out performances in August 2015 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed by a sold-out, limited run at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. Hailed as “darkly humorous and beautifully vulgar” (Edinburgh Festival Magazine) and “A resounding success!” (Sunday Times Scotland), the production features a Chicago-based cast and creative team in its run at the Apollo Theater.


“Chicago is the perfect place for the US premiere of ‘Thrones! The Musical Parody,’ where audiences are smart, funny and receptive,” said Executive Producer Emily Dorezas. “This parody combines everything you want in a great musical—with a hilarious story line and incredible music—and includes something for both the avid 'Game of Thrones' fan and musical theater fan alike.”

A send-up of HBO’s phenomenally successful “Game of Thrones,” “Thrones! The Musical Parody” asks audiences: Will Tyrion’s accent ever improve? Can Jon Snow possibly know more than nothing? Just how red can the Red Wedding get? With Game of Thrones plot twists through Season 6 (read: spoilers), audiences can expect dashing men battling White Walkers, ravishing women riding fire-breathing dragons, and the infamous Walk of Shame—all set to a catchy, original score. 

The performance schedule is as follows: Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (excluding August 13; performance at 10 p.m. that day) and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets ($29 - $44) are on sale now, and can be purchased at the Apollo Theater Box Office by calling 773.935.6100 or visiting ApolloChicago.com. For ticket inquiries for groups of 10 or more, call Group Theater Tix at 312.423.6612.
Get Social
To learn more about “Thrones!” visit the website, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter
 “Thrones! The Musical Parody” is written by Chris GraceZach ReinoAl Samuels and Dan Wessels. The production is directed by Hannah Todd, choreographed by Tyler Sawyer Smith and produced by Emily DorezasRob Kolson, and Al Samuels. The cast and creative team will be announced at a later date. 

About Baby Wants Candy
“Baby Wants Candy” has performed over 2,000 completely improvised musicals to thousands of fans from Chicago to New York to Singapore to Scotland. Currently, “Baby Wants Candy” runs in Chicago at the Apollo Theater, in Los Angeles at UCB Sunset and tours internationally.  A cutting edge theatrical experience, the performance features a revolving cast of A-list comedic performers and a full band.
 “Baby Wants Candy” begins with the cast asking the audience for a suggestion of a musical that has never been performed before. Accompanied by a full band, the first title that the group hears becomes the title and theme for that evening’s 60-minute show, featuring a roller coaster ride of spontaneously choreographed dance numbers, rhyming verses, and witty jaw-dropping comedy.  Each performance is its own opening and closing night, and by design every show is completely unique and a once–in a lifetime premiere.
 “Baby Wants Candy” has received rave reviews in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Onion, the Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut New York and more and has received numerous awards and was the Winner of FringeNYC’s Outstanding Unique Theatrical Experience, Best Improv Ensemble by Chicago Magazine, the Best Visiting Comedy Ensemble by TimeOut New York, the recipient of the Ensemble of the Year Award at the Chicago Improv Festival, a rare Sixth Star Award Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
 “Baby Wants Candy” has included several notable performers including Peter Gwinn of Colbert Report, Rachel Dratch and Aidy Bryant of Saturday Night Live; Stephnie Weir of MadTV; Nicole Parker of MadTV and Elphaba in WICKED on Broadway; Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock; Al Samuels and Kevin Fleming of Sports Action Team; Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley; Garry W. Tallent of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; Mark Pender of The Max Weinberg 7 and Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band; and Johnny Pisano of the Jesse Malin Band and The Marky Ramone Band. Members of Baby Wants Candy have recently written the hit Off Broadway show “50 Shades! The Musical Parody”
 

About Apollo Theater
The Apollo Theater, located in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park since 1978, has been home to many of the city’s biggest hits including the recent Million Dollar Quartet, which holds the record for the longest-running Broadway musical in Chicago history. Resident companies of the Apollo Theater include Emerald City Theatre Company and Baby Wants Candy, and many up-and-coming companies can be seen nightly in the theater’s 50-seat downstairs studio. Recently renovated and fully accessible, the Apollo Theater’s intimate 435-seat mainstage continues to deliver world-class theater as one of the city’s premiere off-Loop houses.

First Hyper-Twister Virtual Reality Ride Experience in the World Coming to Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America Announces an All-New Way to Ride the Bull 
Virtual Reality Coming to the Raging Bull Roller Coaster 


Here at ChiIL Mama, we adore Six Flags Great America, and we're beyond excited to share their new plans for later this summer. I have a couple young coaster testers (because nobody out screams 13 year old girls!) who are super stoked to try the first hyper-twister Virtual Reality ride experience in the world. Check back early and often and we'll keep you posted on the launch date. In the meantime, get your season pass, to be the some of the first in the world to ride this. (Do note: the VR headsets can not be used by children 12 and under.)

*Season pass holders will get a sneak-peak, first ride experience – date to be announced

Virtual Reality experience is coming later this summer to the one and only, Raging Bull roller coaster. This addition makes it the 

*Guests will wear Samsung Gear VR headsets powered by Oculus

Six Flags Great America is bringing Virtual Reality to its number one roller coaster, the Raging Bull. This addition makes it the first hyper-twister Virtual Reality ride experience in the world. Using Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, riders will be transported into a virtual world, seamlessly blending the motion of the ride with intense, immersive visuals. 


*Riders will be transported into a 360-degree virtual world, blending motion of the ride with intense immersive visuals

“Raging Bull combines a 20 story drop, speed and intense twisting track configurations to make it the most popular roller coaster in our park,” said Hank Salemi, park president. “By adding this Virtual Reality experience, guests will be thrilled by this coaster in an entirely different world. 

*Opens later this summer

It will be the most amazing and creative ride event we’ve ever debuted – we just keep innovating to give our guests the best theme park experience in the world.” 
Riders of the Raging Bull ride will experience: 
  •  A dramatic 202-foot lift hill with a 65-degree first drop;
  •  Speeds over 70 miles per hour;
  •  Tight and intense twists and turns;
  •  Six “inclined loops” – steep, high-speed turns banked as much as 50 degrees (or, loops
    lying horizontally);
  •  Towering hills and airtime drops through nearly one mile of track.
    The world’s first Virtual Reality hyper-twister roller coaster will debut later this summer with 2016 season pass holders as the first riders. Now is the best time to get a Six Flags season pass for $75.99 each when buying four or more and that includes one free parking pass.

This changes everything!




About Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor 
Six Flags Great America, America’s greatest thrill park, is located between Chicago and Milwaukee and offers endless adventures for the entire family with 14 heart-pounding roller coasters, a 20-acre water park, spectacular shows and four children’s themed areas with over 30 rides. 

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation 
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with $1.3 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 55 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

OPENING: Disney’s NEWSIES Broadway’s Tony® Award-Winning Smash Musical Returns to Chicago 7/28- 8/7


Chi, IL LIVE Shows on Our Radar:

Casting Announced for
Disney’s NEWSIES
Broadway’s Tony® Award-Winning Smash Musical

Chicago’s Limited Return Engagement Plays
July 28 through August 7 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre



The last time Disney’s NEWSIES came through Chicago, my family was out of town on a travel feature and missed it. If you missed out too, or just can't get enough and want to see them again, you're in luck! Disney’s NEWSIES will be back and rocking the Cadillac Palace Theatre before the end of the month. 

Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce casting for the Chicago engagement of Disney’s NEWSIES. The Tony® Award-winning production will begin performances at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W Randolph) on Thursday, July 28 for a limited engagement through Sunday, August 7.

The production features Chicago natives Aisha de Haas as “Medda Larkin” and Anthony Norman as “Oscar Delancey,” as well as Joey Barreiro as “Jack Kelly,” Steve Blanchard as “Joseph Pulitzer,” Morgan Keene as “Katherine,” Stephen Michael Langton as “Davey,” Andy Richardson as “Crutchie” and Turner Birthisel and Ethan Steiner alternating the role of “Les.”

Rounding out the cast are Bill Bateman, Josh Burrage, Kevin Carolan, Michael Dameski, Julian DeGuzman, Nico DeJesus, JP Ferreri, Sky Flaherty, Kaitlyn Frank, Michael Gorman, Stephen Hernandez, Meredith Inglesby, James Judy, Eric Scott Kincaid, Beth Stafford Laird, Devin Lewis, Eric Jon Mahlum, Nicholas Masson, Michael J. Rios, Jordan Samuels, Daniel Switzer, Andrew Wilson, Chaz Wolcott, Iain Young and Anthony Zas.      

Ticket buyers are reminded that Broadway In Chicago Box Offices and Ticketmaster are the only official retail ticket outlets for all performances of NEWSIES at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that Broadway In Chicago is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.


ABOUT NEWSIES
NEWSIES, the new American musical, features a Tony® Award-winning score with music by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, a book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein and is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, NEWSIES is directed by Tony® nominee Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, who won a 2012 Tony Award® for his work.  The entire creative team has reunited to bring the break-out smash musical to audiences across North America. 

When it opened on March 29, 2012, NEWSIES was intended for a Broadway run of just 101 performances.  The show’s fiercely devoted fans had other ideas, however; they propelled the show to a run of 1005 performances, attendance of more than 1 million and a gross of over $100M. 

While on Broadway, NEWSIES set and broke seven Nederlander Theatre house records and became the highest-grossing show from the 2011-12 Broadway season. The show received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award® nods – and won Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography.           

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right. 

NEWSIES is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. 

The stage version introduces seven brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman, including a song written specifically for the tour called ‘Letter from the Refuge,’ while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including ‘Carrying the Banner, ‘Seize the Day,’ ‘King of New York’ and ‘Santa Fe.’ 

Since the film’s 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD release, NEWSIES has grown into a cult phenomenon, and for years had been the single most requested title of all the Disney musical films not yet adapted for the stage.  (The film featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).)


TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets for Disney’s NEWSIES at the Cadillac Palace Theatre are on sale now.  A select number of premium tickets are available for many performances. Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

For a complete performance schedule, please visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

ABOUT BROADWAY IN CHICAGO
Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 16 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 well up to 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 its newly named The PrivateBank Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com
Facebook @BroadwayInChicago Twitter @broadwaychicago Instagram @broadwayinchicago #broadwayinchicago


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Monkey Mat Discount Code

Have you heard of Monkey Mat yet? Here at ChiIL Mama we'll be reviewing one shortly. Thanks to Monkey Mat and US Family Bloggers for the complimentary review sample. 

Monkey Mat, AS SEEN ON SHARK TANK, allows you to make your space, any place! Originally inspired by an unexpected six-hour layover at the airport (constant cringing while two babies crawled all over dirty floors!), and also by overall active lifestyles, this go-everywhere large mat in attached ultra-compact pouch gives you a clean space on the go - no more bulky blankets! Perfect for all ages, all places - park, beach, concerts, dirty airport/hotel floors, camping, hiking, sports events & more! www.monkeymat.com


Here at ChiIL Mama, our family loves to camp, enjoy the lakefront, and hit up loads of outdoor concerts, movies and events where Monkey Mat will come in handy. Can't wait to try it.


My readers get to CLICK HERE and save! Use coupon code "USFAM" for $5 off + Free Shipping! 

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