Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Big Behemoth BlogHer Recap From WC Soiree On #BlogHer13 #WCSoiree

Look out Chi-town!   It was an invasion of the blogger brigades last week.   Thousands of bloggers from across the nation descended on McCormick Place last weekend for the largest annual blog conference in existence.  The keynotes,  workshops, VIP networking parties, swag bags, and fun will be talked about in cyberspace for months to come.

I've been blogging professionally at since 2009, but BlogHer has always conflicted with Lollapalooza/Kidzapalooza which I always have prescredentials for and cover heavily.   So, I was a BlogHer newbie.   I was crazy busy through the weekend, and this weekend will be our all consuming Lollapalooza & Kidzapalooza coverage.  But after that, check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often!  The photo & video filled recaps are coming.   For now, check out our FB and Twitter feed. I was happily hash tagging away in real time at BlogHer so you can get a little taste of things to come.

MC MJ and Beth Rosen of Chicagonista fame

ChiIL Out With ChiIL Mama Vicariously:

Tuesday things got off to a rockin' start with Chicagonista's fabulous Soiree in Water Tower Place and a CBS Moms party at The Ritz.   I've been pleased to be part of the Chicagonista and Chicago Moms Blog Network for years.  Our full photo and video feature on the #WCSoiree is coming.   For now, suffice it to say, the food, drinks and networking opportunities were stellar, the scavenger hunt was fun and all too short, and we got a hilarious Mom sitcom sneak peek.

Anupy looked lovely, though she secretly confided that she really dug the black leather look below more.   Me too!   I'd just run into Anupy the night before, at the press opening for Victory Gardens latest, the intense and excellent Mojada, a remake of the Medea myth based in Pilsen with a family of illegal immigrants from Mexico. 

Here's just a little sneak peek at some of the opening fashion show, featuring press personalities and bloggers from Chicago and beyond.   See any familiar faces?   A number of ChiIL Mama's friends and colleagues were tapped for the show including Anupy Singla (Vegan Indian Cookbooks), Meredith Sinclair, Andrea Metcalf (fitness celeb), 

and MCs Nancy Loo (WGN), MJ Tam and Beth Rosen.

The Australian Bee Gees even serenaded us with a mini excerpt from their current Broadway in Chicago Show, now running at The Broadway Playhouse.

We made loads of sweet connections, so we can bring you even more awesome giveaways, product reviews, entertainment and parenting news and more. 

Here's a little sampling of where ChiIL Mama was ChiILin':

*Staples Back to School Luncheon

*Flatout Flatbread Trolley/Improv Tour

*Press dinner at Pinstripes Restaurant through US Family Bloggers

*Eli's Cheesecake Blogger Breakfast

*The Big Toy Book Sweet Suite Event 2013 (with MANY of our favorite brands like Skylanders, HexBugs, D3 and more!)

*Bump Club/PsychoBaby Party

*Petco/CBN/Reviver Pets Party

*Party on the Mag Mile with Womensforum & Escalate Network

*(E)  BlogHer Expo Opens


*(E) BlogHer (Expo/Workshops/Afterparties)

*Yo-Getter Brunch

*Walgreens Trolley/Beach Party

*Lifetime TV Party

*Hasbro Cocktail Party

*American Girl Party


*(E) BlogHer (Expo/Workshops/Afterparties)

Our Family Flips For Quaker Oatmeal Breakfasts #Quakerfuel #review #Spon #foodie fun

As the mother of a competitive gymnast daughter and an active soccer son, I'm in charge of fueling our family.  Oatmeal is one thing we all enjoy eating and Quaker makes it easier than ever to get everyone out the door fast, with a healthy, hot breakfast.  So, we were jazzed to be asked to review some of Quaker Oats' breakfast foods and to partner up for a sponsored post. 

No matter how crazy busy our active schedule gets, we always STOP and fuel up with a great breakfast first.   My 10 year old daughter qualified for state in gymnastics the past 3 years by practicing hard & eating food that gives her strength and endurance.

Quaker Oatmeal is a delicious way to keep us all healthy and strong.   They've raised the bar on quick and tasty breakfasts with their line of Perfect Portions and Soft Baked Bars.   A delicious start to the day helps my kids soar.

As an eco friendly, health conscious mama, I'm happy to see Quaker's left the sugar out of their Perfect Portions Oatmeals.  Their Maple and Cinnamon Oatmeal flavors were yummy without adding a thing but milk.   We also enjoyed their Soft Baked Bars, though they were on the sweet side for our taste.   We did the heat and eat option, but they're also good right out of the package, for on the go snacking fun.   Yum!

Perfect Portions eliminates extra packaging with one easy, resealable packet, so everyone can customize their serving size.  That means less food waste and less paper to recycle.   Quaker Oats breakfasts are nutritious plus delicious, which equals a healthy breakfast I don't have to beg the kids to finish.


Early mornings, tough conditioning routines, and sore muscles can be stressful for athletes.   So I make sure they leave the house with the best start possible, a good night's sleep and bellies full of nutritious, tasty breakfast food.

Quaker offers amazing oat-based breakfast products that give families energy for an active day

My kids flip for tasty Quaker Oats.

Did you know that Quaker partners with Major League Soccer (MLS) club The Chicago Fire and Chicago Fire Junior?

The Quaker Invitational is coming up soon, August 9-11.  It will bring together hundreds of Chicago Fire Juniors teams from around the country for a weekend of soccer, community and fun.

Quaker fuels families with innovative and delicious oat-based breakfast products that inspire physical activity.

Disclosure:   I have been compensated by Quaker for my review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Puberty American Girl Style: Author Dr. Cara Natterson Coming To Chicago Tuesday 7/30


Chicago-area Appearance Set for Tuesday, July 30—

WHAT: Dr. Cara Natterson, author of American Girl’s newly-released advice guide, The Care & Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls, visits American Girl Place Chicago on Tuesday, July 23, at 1:00 p.m. to sign copies of her new book, which reached #2 on the New York Times Children’s Best Sellers list (Middle Grade). Dr. Natterson and The Care & Keeping of You 2 have also been seen on Good Morning America, as well as in USA Today, New York Times’ MotherLode Blog, and People magazine.

TIME/LOCATION: Tuesday, July 23, 1:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – American Girl Place Chicago Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 877-247-5223

Bring your questions and your kiddos.

Sure, it's fun having a tween daughter when you're shopping at The American Girl Doll Store, but it's a bit less of a joy when it comes to discussing the facts of life, growth and change. Sometimes physical maturity comes before emotional maturity and kids do NOT want to talk about this stuff. With puberty hitting lots of girls younger than ever, though, even 7 & 8 year olds need to know what's up, so they won't fear the unknown or worry something is wrong with them. 

ABOUT: As a follow-up to the phenomenally successful Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls, which has sold over 3 million copies, The Care & Keeping of You 2 speaks directly to girls ages 10 and up, providing them with helpful, age-appropriate information and advice about their changing bodies during puberty. The book empowers girls to take control of their health, while also encouraging open conversation with their parents and other trusted adults about questions and worries they may have.

Dr. Cara Natterson is a board-certified pediatrician, mother of two, and author of several award-winning books on children’s health and safety, including Worry Proof: A Pediatrician (and Mom) Explains Which Foods, Medicines, and Chemicals to Avoid to Have Safe and Healthy Children. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and two children.

AMERICAN GIRL: American Girl Brands, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT,, the world’s leading toy company. Since American Girl’s inception in 1986, the company has devoted its entire business to celebrating the potential of girls ages 3 to 12. American Girl encourages girls to dream, to grow, to aspire, to create, and to imagine through a wide range of engaging and insightful books, age-appropriate and educational products and unforgettable experiences. 

To learn more about American Girl, visit Follow American Girl on Facebook: or Twitter: @American_Girl.

Brain Arts Camp Photo Recap: Sail Away Buttercup #summercamp

Brain Arts Camp is an excellent summer theatre camp in Chicago.   Du-Jay just finished a week and the kids came up with an incredible musical from scratch.   It was written by a high school camper and memorized, produced, directed, and acted out by the campers.   They even did their own costumes & props. 

Check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.   We'll have a full video of the kids' hilarious camp finale show:  Sail Away Buttercup up here and on ChiIL Mama's YouTube Channel in the very near future!

Some of their camp weeks are full, but there's still space available in others.   Each week has a theme and the kids take it from there.   Click here for our full past coverage.   We highly recommend Brain Surgeon Theatre and Brain Arts Camp.

Don't despair if you're not one of those uber organized parents who had summer all mapped out back in January.   There are still some major gems in the Chi-town summer camp crown that have space available.  We are thrilled to partner up with Brain Arts Camp for this sponsored post.

Got a budding 6-18 year old thespian (or actor for you less erudite types)?   Check out Brain Arts Camp at Gorilla Tango.

Brain Surgeon Theater's unique Experiential Theater Arts camp invites kids and teens ages 6-18 to bring their energy, imagination, and ideas to help us create an unusual and spectacular play for a very special performance on the last day of camp! 

New this year -- movie making camp & an acting intensive! Kids will spend mornings working alongside professional Chicago theater artists as they write, rehearse, and perform an original play from scratch; afternoons will focus on fun skill-building workshops including scenic and costume design, voice, movement, and dance.  No experience is necessary to participate.  Space is limited to 15 campers - contact us today to reserve your spot for the next session!

Summer 2013

New location! Gorilla Tango Theater at 
1919 N Milwaukee. 

”Sail Away, Buttercup!” a Rock Musical
July 8 - 12, 2013
9 am - 3 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee)
Instructors: Gwen Tulin, Nic Ruley
Cost: $300 per camper or $500 for sibling pairs
Final Performances Friday, July 12 at 4 pm and 6 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee). Reception follows 6 pm performance.

“Focus In, Pan Out!” a Movie Making Camp
July 22 - 26, 2013
9 am - 3 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee)
Instructors: Gwen Tulin, Nic Ruley
Cost: $300 per camper or $500 for sibling pairs
Rough cut screening on Friday, July 26 at 4 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee). 

”Robots, Aliens, and My Summer Vacation” a Rock Musical  SOLD OUT!
August 12 - 16, 2013
9 am - 3 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee)
Instructors: Gwen Tulin, Nic Ruley
Cost: $300 per camper or $500 for sibling pairs
Final Performances Friday, August 16 at 4 pm and 6 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee). Reception follows 6 pm performance.

*NEW!* Acting Intensive - ages 10 & up
Scene study, monologue work, and audition prep for the serious young performer. 
August 19 - 24, 2013
9 am - 3 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee)
Instructors: Gwen Tulin, Nic Ruley
Cost: $300 per camper or $500 for sibling pairs
Final Showcase Friday, August 24 at 4 pm at Gorilla Tango (1919 N Milwaukee). Reception follows 6 pm performance.

Camp & Performance Location: 
Gorilla Tango Theater
1919 N Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

For more information:
Email or call 773-798-9915

Limit 15 campers per session. 

Disclosure:  Thanks again to Brain Surgeon Theater for cutting us a discount on tuition for publicity.  

Blackhawks Training Camp Festival Tickets on Sale THIS Friday #Blackhawks #hockey

2013 Chicago Blackhawks Training Camp Festival

ChiIL out with the champions!   We've gone to the training camp festival every year since it's inception and it rocks!   

Tickets are crazy reasonable and you can see a practice up close--a huge treat if you generally have the nose bleed seats like us.  

Tickets for the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival will go on sale this Friday, July 26 at 10 a.m. CT. Fans can purchase tickets for $5 by clicking here, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or by visiting any Ticketmaster location. You can also purchase tickets in person at the Blackhawks Convention.

Training Camp Festival Details:
  • Date: Monday, Sept. 16
  • Time: 5 p.m.
  • Live practice and scrimmages
  • 5K Mad Dash to Madison Run and 10K Skate (registration information coming soon)
  • First 10,000 fans to enter the building will receive a Jonathan Toews bobblehead
Act fast, tickets have sold out the last three years!

For more information, visit

Monday, July 22, 2013

Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores Make Cell Phone Trade Ins Easy and Profitable #tech #BestBuy #WOLF

Buh bye Galaxy S... hello S4 and an $80 Best Buy Gift Card

ChiIL out with a new cell phone this summer and gift cards for your trade ins at Best Buy!   We just hit our upgrade eligibility on our 3 family cell phones and eagerly began our search for our next new phones.  Best Buy is carrying cell phones now, and since they're just blocks away and have a great reputation, they were high on our list.  So, we were elated to be contacted by Best Buy through their WOLF (Women's Leadership Forum) Blog program for a sponsored post about Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores.   

Thanks to Best Buy, we have been compensated for sharing this information with you in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card.

I bought my Macbook Pro at Best Buy, camera lenses, a 3DS, numerous tech gadgets and last minute computer and printer supplies.   They're also our neighborhood go to place for great deals on Wii and DS games, and tech toys. So, it makes sense to trust them with our cell search.

I've actually been back 4 times and hit the Mobile Specialty Store sections at 2 different Best Buys during these past few weeks.    Wait times were minimal, the staff was knowledgable and helpful, and the whole experience was pretty painless.   The few times I stumped the staff with a question they were happy to look the info up or check with the boss.   Since they're not on commission, there's no high pressure up selling, just good old fashioned, high tech customer service.

My husband and I both ultimately decided on the brand new release Galaxy S4 for me and a Galaxy S3 for him.  My 12 year old son is still deciding.   He has an older iPhone he loves and doesn't want to part with it.

Best Buy is a bit more complicated when upgrading a T-Mobile plan which we have.   You can do it, but the phones have to be ordered on line, not in store.   However the store staff are still happy to change over all your contacts and get your phone up and ready to go if you bring it in.   If you happen to be with any of the other major providers (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint) you can purchase right there in the store!

Trade In/Cash In:

If you're family is anything like ours, you have a drawer full of old cell phones.   We checked out Best Buy on line and in person to see what our stash of phones is worth.   Unfortunately our 2 Blackberry Pearls are worth zero, but our Son's older iPhone is worth $40 and our two Galaxy S phones are $80 each.   Kaching!    Value will vary based on condition of the phones, and whether you bring all the accessories in with the phone.

Pros:  Best Buy will give you credit toward a new phone or a gift card outrightly, in exchange for your old cell phones!   It's easy, there's no purchase necessary, and you can trade in multiple phones.

Cons:  If you're a Chicago dweller like us, there's a city ordinance aimed at pawn shops that prohibits cash/gift cards for electronics trade ins.   Soooooo, if you want to get in on the trade in action you have to trek outside the city limits. The good news is, there are plenty of Best Buys in the near suburbs ringing the city.

 “I had no idea they did this EVERYDAY”

The last time we bought new smart phones two years ago, we counted down the days till the Galaxy S release then went to our neighborhood T-Mobile Store.   When we had a technical problem with one of them a few months later we went back to the store only to find it was out of business!   If you purchase at Best Buy you can count on them being there for you.   And you don't have to wait for a trade in special.   Best Buy takes old cell phones and turns them into gift cards every day.

  • Need to get a new mobile phone but dreading the experience of shopping for one? Explore Best Buy Mobile specialty stores – these shops are found locally in malls or in your neighborhood shopping centers, and are focused on mobile devices and accessories. Shop for the latest smartphones and tablets from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, from all the top brands, along with stylish accessories to suit your lifestyle. 
  • The staff is highly trained, yet non-commissioned, so they can help determine the right phone for you, as well as compare plans across the carriers. They can set up and activate your new phone, transfer your contacts and data and set you up with the complimentary Walk Out Working™ program.   Click here to find a Best Buy Mobile specialty store near you.
Click here for a sweet USA today write up on Best Buy's Trade-in Program

Disclaimer:  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.   All opinions are our own.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk Interview With ChiIL Live Shows #originalvideointerview #band #funk

New Orleans princes of funk, Ivan and his cousin Ian Neville (sons of Aaron and Art), continue the family tradition as touring musicians with a talented lineup in Dumpstaphunk. It was our great pleasure to score an interview with them at Summer Camp Music Festival 2013, over Memorial Day weekend.

Check out our interview for their account of a harrowing, near death experience the night before, when another driver fell asleep with the cruise control on, careened across the median and came within feet of a head on collision with their van!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

ACT OUT EXTENDED: Congrats on the Big 2,000 Million Dollar Quartet! #ChiILPicksList

ChiIL Live Shows congratulates Million Dollar Quartet on their recent exciting landmark.  The Chicago production just celebrated 2000 performances July 11th!  

The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed Million Dollar Quartet when we had a chance to catch the show and meet with the cast last winter!   Click here to check out our review and past coverage.   Million Dollar Quartet makes our ChiIL Picks List for multigenerational musical fun.   This is one show that will be as much fun for the grandparents as the kids.

To mark the 2,000th show, original MDQ cast member (now on the National Tour) Kelly Lamont joined the company for a “Sitting in with the Band” appearance during the encore.  The company also celebrated with a specially-designed cake, courtesy of The French Pastry School.  

Million Dollar Quartet, now Chicago’s longest-running Broadway musical, is stronger than ever.  Tickets are on sale into January 2014.

Million Dollar Quartet celebrates record-breaking run in Chicago with
new block of tickets on sale now through January 5, 2014!

Million Dollar Quartet, now the longest-running Broadway musical production in Chicago’s history, has extended through January 5, 2014.  With 2,000 performances and 5 smash years in Chicago, the Tony Award-winning rock ‘n’ roll musical has set a new record for the longest-running Broadway musical in Chicago. 

The Chicago production continues to break box office records at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.  Tickets are now on sale through January 5, 2014 at the Apollo box office, phone (773) 935-6100, and online through Ticketmaster,   For more information, visit

Producer Gigi Pritzker comments, “After five incredible years, 500,000 tickets sold, 2,000 performances, 6,000 guitar picks, and 500 cans of hairspray it’s an absolute thrill for MDQ to take its place as the longest-running musical in Chicago history.  Since the very beginning, Chicago has embraced Million Dollar Quartet and we are grateful for the continued and enthusiastic support of our home town audiences.  It’s been a hit in Chicago, New York, London, Japan, Las Vegas and on the national tour.  The show remains as exciting and engaging as always—partially due to the more than 20 rock ‘n’ roll hits in the show and the tremendous talent on stage.”

Million Dollar Quartet has extended performances through January 5, 2014, with cast members Brandon Bennett (Elvis Presley), Shaun Whitley (Carl Perkins), Lance Lipinsky (Jerry Lee Lewis), Chris Damiano(Johnny Cash), Tim Decker (Sam Phillips), Whitney Kraus Jones (Dyanne), Marc Edelstein (Jay Perkins/Bass player) and Dan Leali (Fluke/Drummer). 

The Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the famed 1956 recording session that brought together legendary rock ‘n’ roll icons Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, celebrates its long run in Chicago, a Tony Award-winning New York run, a long-running London production, a newly-opened production in Las Vegas, and a national tour that kicked-off in October 2011. 

Credit: Paul Natkin

Brandon Bennett (Elvis Presley) a native of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, has performed with legendary stars like The Jordanaires, DJ Fontana and The Sweet Inspirations. Brandon has been honored with several international awards, including prestigious honors from Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.  He joins the cast of MDQ after performing for the past two years with the stage production The Elvis Story in Quebec, Canada.   Brandon recently appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Shaun Whitley (Carl Perkins) is a musician, actor, composer, and Jeff nominated music director. Some
Chicago credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Flute/Thisbe) with Chicago Shakespeare Theater; PumpBoys and Dinettes (Jim) with Drury Lane Theater; Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Tommy, u/s Buddy Holly) with Drury Lane Theater; Uncle Vanya (Telegin) with TUTA; and Cotton Patch Gospel (Bass/Mandolin) with Provision Theater. He studied acting at RADA in London.
Lance Lipinsky (Jerry Lee Lewis), a Texas native, grew up studying his dad’s record collection of Elvis, Roy Orbison, and his hero, Jerry Lee Lewis.  These influences never left him and now, at age 24, he combines these styles in his own original music similar to early Rock & Roll, classic Country and even a touch of 1960’s pop.  His energetic live shows have led him all over the world, even to making his national television debut at the original Ryman Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.  
Chris Damiano (Johnny Cash) is an Atlanta native, whose Chicago credits include Sugar at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theo Ubique’s productions of Evita (Che, Jeff Award Non-Equity) and Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night (Man 1, Jeff Award Non-Equity). Damiano played guitar for Lil’ Buds Children’s Theatre productions of Those Silly Reindeer and Still Life with Iris. He currently plays with the bluegrass band Groundspeed and with the Italian folk/jazz group I Monelli monelli.
Tim Decker (Sam Phillips), a longtime Chicago actor, has appeared at Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Next, Milwaukee Rep, Touchstone, Shattered Globe, Stage Left, Famous Door, American Theatre Company, and American Blues (where he received a Principal Actor Jeff Award for his work in Toys in the Attic), among others.
Whitney Kraus Jones (Dyanne) is making her Chicago debut in Million Dollar Quartet. Jones recently graduated from Ball State University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Past credits include Syncope (Short Film), Brighton Beach Memoirs, Beauty and the Beast, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Godspell.
Dan Leali (Fluke, Drummer) a native of the Chicago area, has performed with jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker; songwriters Jewel, Liz Phair, Peter Himmelman and Robbie Fulks; Poi Dog Pondering; Fareed Haque; bluesman John Primer; and Liquid Soul. He has performed on television and radio jingles, as well as arcade and video game soundtracks, and maintains a private teaching practice. Dan is also a founding member of the band Tributosaurus.
Marc Edelestein (Jay Perkins, Bassist) Devoted to American roots music, Marc has performed internationally in rockabilly, bluegrass, country, and folk projects. Performances include altcountry’s Robby Fulks Band; 7 years with Special Consensus Bluegrass Band; musical revue Women In My Life with singer-songwriters Bob Gibson and Michael Smith; Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s country & western auxiliary CSOakies; and numerous recordings. Marc made his theatrical debut as string bassist and vocalist in the Jeff Award winning Woody Guthrie’s American Song (Northlight, Briar Street Theater), and performed in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Goodman Theater).


On December 4, 1956, an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together. The place was Sun Records’ storefront studio in Memphis.  The man who made it happen was Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ’n’ Roll,” who discovered them all. The four legends-to-be united for the only time in their careers for an impromptu recording that has come to be known as one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time. 
Million Dollar Quartet features a treasure trove of the greatest rock ’n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits from these music legends, including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Ring of Fire,” “Whole Lotta’ Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “I Walk the Line,” and “Hound Dog.”  Million Dollar Quartet captures the infectious spirit, freewheeling excitement and thrilling sounds of a singular moment when four of the music industry’s most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, came together for one of the most memorable nights in music history. 

Directed by Eric Schaeffer and Floyd Mutrux, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. Million Dollar Quartet is produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions and Northern Lights Inc.
Million Dollar Quartet had its world premiere at Florida’s Seaside Music Theatre, and was subsequently staged at the Village Theatre in Washington, breaking box office records.  In Chicago, the production moved to the Apollo on November 5, 2008, following its sold-out, limited engagement at the Goodman’s Owen Theatre.  The Broadway production garnered three Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Levi Kreis; three Drama League Award nominations; and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination.  Million Dollar Quartet is the longest-running production in Chicago’s history and is also currently playing in Las Vegas and on tour.

Million Dollar Quartet tickets are on sale through January 5, 2014.  Tickets to Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theater are available through the Apollo Theater box office, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave, (773) 935-6100.  Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster, 
Tickets are $25-$85. (Standard ticketing fees apply.)
Rush student tickets for select performances (Wed-Fri and Sun evenings only) are available 2 hours prior to curtain at the box office with valid Student ID. Student rush tickets are subject to availability.
The Apollo performance schedule is as follows: Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.  Sunday performances will be at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. starting June 2, 2013 for the duration of the summer.

Million Dollar Quartet will offer special family discounts on select Sundays.  Family nights have extended through the summer of 2013, and are currently scheduled for July 28 and August 18 at 5:00 p.m. 
Tickets to Million Dollar Quartet Family Nights are buy one, get one free.  (One child under 17 will be admitted free with each adult ticket purchase.)  The evenings will feature giveaways with special gifts fromMillion Dollar Quartet.  Check for information about upcoming Family Nights.

Million Dollar Quartet is a 90-minute, family-friendly production.  Audience members of all ages are invited to laugh, clap—and even dance—during the show. 

For more show information, visit

Credit: Paul Natkin

* * * * * *


Director Eric Schaeffer is the acclaimed co-founder and artistic director of the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, where his work has been honored with numerous Helen Hayes Awards including Outstanding Direction.  He directed Putting it Together and Glory Days on Broadway, the first national tour of big, The Musical, and the West End debut of The Witches of Eastwick.  He also served as artistic director for the Kennedy Center’s recent Sondheim Celebration.
Floyd Mutrux is also the co-author of the book to Million Dollar Quartet, sharing writing credits with noted Grammy® Award-winning author and music historian Colin Escott.  Mutrux has written, directed or produced numerous films, including the classic biopic of early rock ’n’ roll American Hot Wax, Dick Tracy and Mulholland Falls.  Escott, the author of numerous books including Good Rockin’ Tonight – Sun Records and the Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll, was awarded a Grammy® for producing The Complete Hank Williams, and was nominated for a Grammy for producing B.B. King – King of the Blues.

Musical Director Chuck Mead, with multiple hit records, has stood at the forefront of the alternative country music explosion as founder and lead singer of BR549, the three-time Grammy® Award nominated country band.

Relevant Theatricals (Producer) is a commercial production company headed by Gigi Pritzker and Ted Rawlins, dedicated to developing new work for the stage. Current projects include: Snapshots, a new musical with book by David Stern and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, creator of Wicked, Pippin andGodspell; and a new musical version of Dennis The Menace, scheduled to open in Seattle later this year.  Relevant’s sister company, Odd Lot Entertainment, develops and produces outstanding new film properties. Current productions include the feature Rabbit Hole, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, starring Nicole Kidman and Dianne Wiest, and directed by John Cameron Mitchell.  Relevant Theatricals is proud to be part of the producing team that developed Million Dollar Quartet.

John Cossette Productions (Producer) was founded by John Cossette whose 30 year career in the music industry as an innovative producer of large scale events was legendary.  John produced the Grammy’s, the BET awards, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and a star-studded concert in Central Park.  He was deeply involved with MusiCares and the EJ Jackson Foundation which helps to feed the homeless in Los Angeles. Under the direction of Rita Cossette the company will continue to develop and produce music related entertainment.

Monday, July 15, 2013

KINDIE LAND: New Poochamungas CD Block Party Out September 17th #giveaway #tourdates

Block Party! 
Train Rolls On Productions 
17 September 2013

**We're giving away 20 Kindie CDs, 10 books, 2 Blu-Ray/DVD Combos nationwide, and lots of Chicago theatre & music tickets. So check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.**


"Poochamungas, an Americana rock-n-roll outfit from the second city, rocks a clean electric guitar and a jumpy piano on their canine-centric self-titled track from their brilliantly named kindie debut, Mud, Mommies, and Mayhem."  -- Jeff Bogle, Out With The Kids

"A great blend of blues, folk and Americana.  With lyrics that talk straight to the kids and music sophisticated enough for the whole family to enjoy, Poochamungas will get toes tapping and bodies moving," -- Dave Loftin, The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl
Led into action by a real-life, full-time Chicago firefighter, kindie rock band Poochamungas is all set to blaze a trail on the national scene with the September 17 release of their second kids'/family CD, Block Party! 

Block Party! follows hot on the heels of Poochamungas' NAPPA award winning debut album, Mud, Mommies and Mayhem, continuing the band's tradition of "musically diverse, rockin', angst-free music."  There's nothing pretentious about this group.  Block Party! cooks up a down-home, musical celebration with friends and family.  This CD is about fun and sharing good times, pure and simple.

The straightforward, uncomplicated musical charm of Block Party! harkens back to Poochamungas' firehouse origins, when John Joyce, a 17-year veteran of the Chicago Fire department, teamed up with fellow firefighter Pete Cunningham to see how far they could go with their musical talents.  The pair had always enjoyed each other's company since their days together in the Chicago Fire Academy, and their mutual love of music soon began to consume a big part of their lives.  In 2008, Poochamungas was born! 

Block Party! revs up the fun-o-meter with "Around the World," a bit of rocking '50s style topped off by a driving honky tonk piano reminiscent of early Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Haley, followed by a great action song about bike riding, "Till the Sun Goes Down."  In contrast to the driving intensity of the first two numbers, "My Favorite Summer Day (Block Party)" is a kind of hometown, Americana nostalgic reverie of neighborhood good times from the perspective of a young parent -- something of a rock 'n' roll Rockwell.  Another highlight, reflecting the band's firehouse connection, is a spiffy rhythmic ode to the fire truck, "Big Red Fire Engine/Truck." 

Highlights - Summer/Fall 2013

July 28                 Jefferson Park Arts & Music Festival, Chicago IL
August 10            Peanut Butter & Jams for Kids, Kenosha, WI
August 25            St. Helen's Carnival, Chicago, IL
September 21      Voce, St. Louis, MO
October 31           Trunk or Treat, Chicago, IL
November 16        World Cafe Live, Philadelphia PA

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