Saturday, October 18, 2014

Behind the Scenes at Redmoon Theatre's Skelebration 2014 #ChiILPicksList


Fire-Shooting Carnival Game, UFO Ride, Mini Movie Set, Diabolic Comedy Club, Devilish Cooking Class and Haunted Attic Maze “The Nest”
among the many interactive experiences

At Redmoon’s Pilsen home, October 18-19 & 25-26

Here at ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows we've been watching Redmoon Theatre grow and evolve since their beginnings in the early 1990's. So we were super stoked to be invited down for an exclusive behind the scenes build tour with Frank Maugeri (Producing Artistic Director) for the 2nd year.

Frank is a large-scale public art spectacle maker and we were thrilled he took time out from his busy day at T-minus 2 days with "20 weird interactive oddities to finish" to personally show us the ropes. His excitement is contagious and we can't wait to see this year's Skelebration come to fruition.

Wack a fly room!

As much as we dig actually enjoying their spectacles, there's something magical in the process too. We love to see the process and the progress. Check out our full behind the scenes slide show right here and our favorites embedded below.

Click here for ChiIL Mama's Photo Filled Feature on the Inaugural Skelebration last year.

One of our favorite elements of Redmoon shows is the reappearance of past props, costumes and sets, morphed into new configurations. Frank laughed when I brought that up as a plus and confessed that it's more a matter of budget and necessity than nostalgia, and that he'd love to make every show entirely new. Yet, it's recycling at it's best, and fun for Redmoon regulars to reminisce on past productions and enjoy the creative new twists on old favs. You'll recognize some sets and costumes from last season's Bellboys, Bears and Baggage and Skelebration, but this interactive extravaganza has plenty of all new features, too, and it's different for every unique individual who comes through.

We're excited to see their second year of their family friendly Halloween/Day of the Dead/fall Skelebration growing and expanding as well. This time around they're slated for this weekend AND next. 

I love to geek out on the plans, the gazillion man & woman hours that go into "engineering wonder" as Redmoon's mission states. It's mind blowing what goes on under the radar and behind the curtain.

So here is our take on the compelling little secret bits, to get you stoked for the real deal.

**ChiIL Fact: The walls of the upstairs haunted maze were dug up from the new downtown site of the Maggie Daley Park, now under construction.**

Skelebration's fun for all ages with a little bit scary maze for ages 7+ in the upstairs for a donation and plenty of scare free zones to explore at your leisure in their gargantuan Pilsen space.


"Are my cables on the floor there making an artistic shot for you?" 

Yes... yes they are. Like I said, I do dig the composition of things in progress. But it's also incredible to me that all the individual pieces are creating a whole much greater than the sum of it's parts. These cables aren't just going to end as an artsy photo. They'll go on to power the magic, run the bells and whistles, inspire creativity and joy, and blow people's minds.

When I see a line of welders' masks, they not only look cool as is, but they make me think spark, energy, pieces coming together, inspiration, and a creative collective of talented people... 

Get your tickets and bring the whole family out to experience the wonder that is Redmoon's Skelebration. 

  • We're getting "Fired Up" about it! 
  • Who wouldn't want to watch movies in a crypt all night?! (vintage cartoons along with some stunning artist made originals by one of Redmoon's first interns from waaaaaaay back in the day. 
  • You can even get a tattoo (that won't freak your mom out or last far past Halloween)!

Check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We'll have a full set of Skelebration show shots up after next weekend and more.


Fire-Shooting Carnival Game, UFO Ride, Mini Movie Set, Diabolic Comedy Club, Devilish Cooking Class and Haunted Attic Maze “The Nest”
among the many interactive experiences

At Redmoon’s Pilsen home, October 18-19 & 25-26

This fall, Redmoon’s family event Skelebration, which debuted with great success last year, returns for its second annual installment of experiential exploration.  Redmoon invites families into its otherworldly playground inside its Pilsen home (2120 S. Jefferson Street) for a re-invention of the seasonal rituals of Halloween.  Creativity, imagination and a sense of adventure are celebrated with interactive experiences, immersive encounters, creative snacks and imaginative music, this year directed by Kasey Foster under conceptual direction by Redmoon Producing Artistic Director Frank Maugeri.  Redmoon extends the event over two weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, October 18-19 and 25-26.

Redmoon’s Skelebration 2014 promises an all-new array of multisensory delights, including:
·        Redmoon’s Celestial Swing, an eerie mausoleum on the outside with a peaceful, ethereal swing inside.
·        The UFO Carousel where children can climb inside one of three gigantic flying saucers and spin off into space.
·        Redmoon’s Spectacle Hall features a massive series of interactive possibilities including, among many other things, a live-animation cinematic experience with a pair of 200-foot-long scrolls unfolding to tell a dynamic adventure story.
·        Redmoon’s “Cartoon Adventure,” a mini movie theater where children and adults don headphones and enjoy five original short animated films by Laura Heit, Joseph Hodgson and Franck Aubrey, Hannes Vartianien and Pekka Veikkolainen, Selina Wagner and PES.
·        Families can “picnic” in The Man-Made Lagoon, an intimate space where music fills the air in designer/composer Jake Ruttenberg’s sonic adaptation of Orson Welles’ radio drama War of the Worlds.
·        Redmoon premieres its newest food service device The Pastry Wheel, which whimsically pairs the iconic image of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Ferris Wheel with urban pedal power, serving cupcakes, brownies and other enticing sweets. 
·        Performers roam the space serving delightful treats, including signature Redmoon mechanical marvels such as The Floating Trays, The Libation Machine, The Monkey Butlers and The Fish Bubble Man.

Families can enter Redmoon’s haunted sideshow-like series of rooms known as “The Devil’s in the Details,” which hold experiences both eerie and humorous, including:
·        “The Chocolate Bar,” a delectable room of dip-able treats.
·        “Heck’s Kitchen,” a cooking class with the Devil where families participate in making Deviled Eggs.
·        “The Bedroom Swat-a-Fly,” a larger-than-life human fly swatting game.
·        “The Cinematic Cemetery” film studio, where families can be the star of their own scary movie.
·        “Satan’s Cackle Shack,” where Matt Demon, voted “Hell’s Most Humorous Devil” 1998, entertains the audience with his killer stand-up routine. 

By spinning a wheel to determine a nominal additional fee, which could range from $5 to $10 to a silly physical act, children and adults gain access to two more experiences:
·        A chance to play “Fired Up,” Redmoon’s newest carnival game where children shoot a target and are rewarded with a spectacular surprise.
·        Visitors brave enough to enter “The Nest” will ascend into Redmoon’s frightening attic maze.  An adventure into a vampire nest inspired by Bram Stoker’s gothic tale of Dracula, “The Nest” creates an eerie, mystical and enigmatic world that’s chilling without resorting to horror or gore, instead playing on the sounds, shadows and corporeal experience of encountering the supernatural in everyday life.

Additional food and beverages throughout Skelebration provided by Food Should Taste Good, Chicago Root Beer, Cool Mountain Beverages and Eli’s Cheesecake.

Skelebration Entrance Times & Tickets
Audiences can enter Skelebration at staggered entrance times as follows:  Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm & 4 pm

Adult tickets are $20 (age 18+), youth tickets are $12 (age 4-17) and children are free (age 3 and under).  Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.  Tickets are available in advance online at or by calling 312-850-8440 ext. 123.  Tickets will also be available at the door, subject to availability. 

Upcoming Party for the Adults: Boneshaker
Following the two weekends of family fun, mom and dad – and the rest of the 21+ party crowd – can escape into Redmoon’s fifth annual Halloween event Boneshaker, taking place at 2120 S. Jefferson St. Friday, October 31 (Halloween night) beginning at 9 pm. 

Many of the creative installations from Skelebration get the grown-up treatment for Boneshaker.  The UFO Carousel, Celestial Swing, “Fired Up” game, devilish cooking class, “Bedroom Swat-a-Fly” game, “Satan’s Cackle Shack,” “The Cinematic Cemetary” and attic maze “The Nest” all remain.  Joining them will be an outdoor Fire Garden, Redmoon’s signature fire-spouting and music-pumping Fire Organ, a cigar-rolling room and specialty Mezcal tasting salon, in addition to multiple bars and gourmet dessert stations.

Early Bird tickets for Boneshaker are $75, available until October 24, and $100 as of October 25, which include food and open bar. Group tickets for 10 or more receive a 10% discount.  Boneshaker is for patrons age 21 and up.

About Redmoon
Redmoon's mission is to transform the experience of Chicago through free large-scale theatrical events that promote community, creativity and an empowered democracy.  Redmoon burst into Chicago’s cultural consciousness with its award-winning production of Moby Dick in 1995.  While the indoor productions continued to receive critical acclaim and popular support, Jim Lasko chose to focus the theater’s energy outdoors, where Redmoon sought to deploy spectacle to bridge difference and transform the ways that people see and understand public spaces.  Over the past 24 years, Redmoon has become a highly valued Chicago institution with its high-profile collaborations, vibrant outdoor performances and authentic community partnerships.  In 2009, Lasko joined forces with long-time collaborator Frank Maugeri to co-lead Redmoon as it garnered international attention for its unique productions, site-specific performances and participatory events.  Since 1991, Redmoon has performed for more than 350,000 people in 49 different neighborhoods in 186 public spaces.

Generous funding for Redmoon’s 2014-15 programming has been provided by The 1111 Foundation; Alphawood Foundation; The Amgis Foundation: The Cookie Jar Fund; The Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund; The John R. Halligan Charitable Fund; The Marshall Frankel Foundation; The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Irving Harris Foundation; Lagunitas Brewing Company; Mardi Gras Fund; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; Sahara Enterprises, Inc. and The Thanksgiving Fund.

For more information on Redmoon and its programs, visit

Here's our gallery of build favs:

Get creative. You're allowed to write on the walls here!

Make a vintage movie melding modern tech with a classic look... staring YOU!

ChiIL out in the Chill room.

Write your confession and get a task to do!

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