Thursday, April 30, 2015

Join Netflix For A Fun Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Theme #StreamTeam #ad

My favorite personal lie story involves my now nearly 12 year old daughter. When she was a toddler she went through a phase of leaving the water running in the sink often. One day I found the water flowing yet again. When I confronted her, she looked up at me wide eyed and innocent and blamed the DOG!

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a proud member of the Netflix Stream Team. We've been compensated for sharing monthly posts with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own.

"A-Yah did it!"

This rescue dog sweetie is Alia Serendipity, who did NOT, by the way, turn both handles & leave the water running in the bathroom sink.

As much as we may discourage it in our kids, and attempt to avoid it, lying is a part of our collective human behavior and nobody I've ever met has made it a lifetime without indulging in at least a few lies. This month, our Stream Team Theme is Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! Check out some fun movies and TV show ideas via Netflix, that maximize lying as a plot device or teaching tool.

Let’s face it, we all lie sometimes, even if they're just little white lies to make life easier for parents (the park is closed today) or make our kids happy (Santa Claus is coming!). Young kids make up stories as they learn the difference between fact and fiction, while older kids sometimes lie to cover for each other or to keep themselves out of trouble.

How do you cope when you catch your kid lying? What's one of the funniest lies you've ever busted them in? Check out Bloodline along with some additional kid-friendly titles related to lying and honesty for inspiration.

For your big kids:

4. Jessie: S1E14, World Wide Web of Lies

And for teens and parents:

The Rayburns, from the new Netflix original series, Bloodline, have some dark family secrets they’re willing to do anything to keep from coming out -- lying included. While you may not know the Rayburn clan just yet, The Philadelphia Inquirer calls Bloodline “an intricately drawn and superbly cast portrait of a family in crisis.” Starring Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and set in the Florida keys, the series follows a family caught between the ugly truth and the terrible lie that covers it up - a storyline that conjured our friends at Variety to predict that, “.. those who give Bloodline a chance will, pretty quickly, find themselves hooked.”

Also check out these NEW ON NETFLIX fun picks for kids and families... 
They're some of our favs, no lyin'.

3. Inspector Gadget (3/27)
4. SUPER 4 (4/10)

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a proud member of the Netflix Stream Team. We've been compensated for sharing monthly posts with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own. ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama next month, for more Netflix fun in Chi, IL and beyond!


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

This Dark Comedy About Family, Fame and Rock-n-Roll is Directed by Mitch Golob with Music Direction by Mucca Pazza’s Jefferey Thomas 
and Original Music by Tony-Nominated and Obie-Winner Heidi Rodewald

InFusion Theatre Company is proud to announce Crystal Skillman’s Another Kind of Love, directed by InFusion Artistic Director Mitch Golob with music direction by Jefferey Thomas and original music by Tony-nominated and Obie-winner Heidi Rodewald, lyrics by Caroline Dorsen and Crystal Skillman, May 10 – June 14, at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division Ave. 

Preview performances are Sunday, May 10, Monday, May 11 and Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. with the opening/press night Friday, May 15 or Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $14. Tickets are $28 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and industry professionals (Thursdays and Sundays only). Tickets are on sale now at

After being apart for 15 years, sisters (and band mates) reunite for a one-night concert commemorating the anniversary of their rock legend mother’s suicide. Featuring live performances of an original score by Rodewald, past regrets, present emotions and future doubts converge with punk and family in Skillman’s new play developed around the country this year at IAMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles, LiveWire in Chicago, Live Girls! in Seattle, Women’s Project Theater in New York City and, most recently, at New York Stage and Film as part of the Lark Play Development Center’s retreat this summer.

Another Kind of Love cast includes Alison Hixson, “Max/guitar;” Brady Johnson, “Roger/guitar;” Courtney Jones, “Tanya/bass;” Amber Kelly, “Collin/drums;” Annie Prichard, “Kit/guitar” and Tyler Young, “Nate."

The production staff includes Sarah Watkins, scenic designer; Charles Cooper, lighting designer; Claire Chrzan, co-lighting designer; Rachel Sypniewski, costume designer; Eric Backus, sound designer; Angela Campos, props designer and Rose Sengenberger, dramaturg.

ABOUT CRYSTAL SKILLMAN, playwright and co-lyricist
Crystal Skillman is an award winning Brooklyn based playwright. Her three recent plays, King Kirby, co-written with Fred Van Lente, Geek! and Cut, have all earned Critics Picks from The New York Times. Wild earned three 2014 New York Innovation Theater Award nominations for its sold out production at IRT Theater this spring, (following a critically successful run in Chicago with Kid Brooklyn Productions and Off Broadway in MCC Theater’s Playlabs at the Lucille Lortel.) Skillman’s other plays include: The Vigil or The Guided Cradle, winner of the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full-Length Script and Drunk Art Love, now a web series directed by Sanjit De Silva. She is currently at work on a new play, Rain and Zoe Save the World, about two teenage activists on a cross-country mission. She is writing the books for two musicals with award-winning composer Bobby Cronin: The Concrete Jungle and the musical theater adaption of the film Mary and Max, to be directed by Outer Critics Circle Award-winning Stafford Arima with mask work by Joseph Osheroff. In Chicago her work has also been seen with The New Colony, Collaboraction, DePaul University and LiveWire Chicago Theatre. 

Mitch Golob has directed many InFusion productions: the world premieres of The Improv PlayPluto is Listening, Ghostbox and Créole (nominated for five Black Theatre Alliance Awards), the United States premiere of The Last Supper and the Midwest premieres of Intrigue With FayeRhymes With Evil, Soul Samurai, and Fight Girl Battle World and Ithaka. Other directing projects include 8 By Tenn at Hartford Stage Company, working with Tony Award Winners Elizabeth Ashley and Amanda Plummer, the U.S. premiere of Jump to Cow Heaven at Profiles Theatre, And Then They Came For Me at Apple Tree Theatre, and was associate director of the award winning world premiere of Hannah & Martin at TimeLine Theatre.  Golob was also a member of Naked Eye Theatre Company, where he assistant directed the Jeff Award winning production of Waving Goodbye, in a co-production with Steppenwolf.  He has also directed at Pegasus Players, Stage Left Theatre and Chicago Dramatists.  Mitch holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre & Drama from the University of Wisconsin. 

Jefferey Allen Thomas is a composer and guitarist.  He is a founding member of Mucca Pazza, and has worked with Greek composer Michael Karras, Punk legend Excene Cervenka, Cynthia Plaster Caster and Bobby Conn. He has written incidental music for Redmoon Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Neo-Futurists, as well as dozens of independent films.  His current project is a group of symphonies called “The Work of Jack Daedalus Edwards”.  The first of these symphonies, “Rumour, “premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in February 2014. 

Heidi Rodewald is the Tony Award nominated, Obie Award winning co- composer of the musical Passing Strange, which transferred from The Public Theater to Broadway in 2008. She is a Sundance Institute Alum and the co-writer with Stew of the screenplay "We Can See Today". Rodewald composed music for Karen Kandel's Portraits: Night and Day (2004); Brides of the Moon by The Five Lesbian Brothers (2010) and co-composed music with Stew for Shakespeare’s Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet (2010-12). Rodewald joined the band The Negro Problem in 1997 and has collaborated with Stew in a range of capacities: as a co-composer, producer/arranger and performer. She is the co-composer with Stew of the new musical Family Album, which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last summer. She is also the co-composer of their new musical, The Total Bent, which will open in 2015 at the Public Theater. She has two new projects which have been in development at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA: The Good Swimmer, a pop-opera, co-written with librettist, Donna DiNovelli and The Stacks, a two-person musical co-written by singer- songwriter Mary McBride. She just finished scoring her first film "I Dream Too Much", written and directed by Katie Cokinos. 

Caroline Dorsen is an award winning writer, poet and educator who lives in Brooklyn, NY. A ghost writer for numerous late 1980s/early 1990s bands in the Bay Area, Another Kind of Love marks the first time Dorsen has allowed her name to be linked to her lyrics. She brings to the project an extensive knowledge of the psychology of trauma, loss and addiction. Her experience working in this area is reflected in the authenticity and emotional resonance of her lyrics.

InFusion Theatre Company seeks out new plays and “infuses” them with other elements of entertainment such as music, dance and film. “We strive to create dynamic performances by combining different forms of entertainment that will result
InFusion Theatre Company’s Crystal Skillman’s Another Kind of Love, May 10 – June 14, at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division Ave. Preview performances are Sunday, May 10, Monday, May 11 and Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. with the opening/press night Friday, May 15 or Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $14. Tickets are $28 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and industry professionals (Thursdays and Sundays only). Tickets are on sale now at

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

True Blue! Blue Man Group and Limbitless Solutions Make 12 Year Old Wyatt's Day #3DHope, #CollectiveProject, #UCF

With so much bad news in the world today, we're thrilled to feature a super cool story about a recent partnership between Blue Man Group and Limbitless Solutions.

When a 12-year-old boy named Wyatt, whose right arm had been amputated a week after birth, asked for a 3D printed robotic arm from Limbitless Solutions, he requested a Blue Man Group design. Hearing of his request, the Blue Man Group team jumped into action and invited Wyatt and his family to the show for a true Blue Man experience. Wyatt had no idea his heroes would deliver his new arm to him.

Wyatt’s visit was captured on video here! 

3DHope: Blue Man Group Delivers a Robotic Arm


#3DHope, #CollectiveProject, #UCF

HELP OUT: 10th annual “Touch a Truck” event Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. #ChiILPicksList

MAY 3, 2015

Women’s Board of The Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago Revs Up
For a Day of Family-Friendly Fun

ChiIL Mama's #ChiILPicksList For Family Friendly Fun 
this weekend.

The Women’s Board of Kohl Children’s Museum presents the 10th annual “Touch a Truck” event on Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. This family-favorite allows car-crazed kids to leave their toy trucks at home and jump safely into the front seat of the real thing. “Touch a Truck” is an exciting opportunity for children to climb aboard full-sized versions of their favorite toys in a completely safe environment. The event will take place at Fields Land Rover BMW (700 W. Frontage Road, Northfield, IL).

Tickets are $35 per family for up to six people. Day-of tickets will be available for purchase at the event for $40 per family up to six people. Complimentary parking is available onsite. For tickets and more information, visit:

At this year’s “Touch a Truck,” kids are invited to explore more than 30 full-sized vehicles such as fire engines, dump trucks, semis and tractors. The festivities will also include food, sweet treats, music, face painting and rides on the Great Chicago Kiddie Express, a child-sized train with all proceeds benefiting Kohl Children’s Museum.

The annual “Touch a Truck” event is presented by the Women’s Board of Kohl Children’s Museum and chaired by Carrie Hughes of Northbrook and Holly Patience of Winnetka. This year’s “Touch a Truck” is brought to you by Northwestern Mutual with additional support from Fat Cow, Discover Financial, Foss Swim School, Duxler Complete Auto Care, Bertog Landscapes and United Scrap Metal.

“We look forward to hosting ‘Touch a Truck’ every year,” said Museum President and CEO Sheridan Turner. “It is always a joy to watch children explore and enjoy these vehicles up close. ‘Touch a Truck’ is a wonderful, hands-on opportunity for experiential learning that leaves kids smiling and helps the Museum fund future programming.”

Hundreds of families attended the wildly successful 2014 “Touch a Truck” event, which raised more than $118,000 for the “Learning to Grow Fund” supporting all areas of museum operations including exhibits, programming and outreach opportunities serving low-income families and children with special needs.

About Kohl Children’s Museum
In recognition for its outstanding exhibits and impact on Chicagoland families, Kohl Children’s Museum was recently named one of the country’s Ten Best Children’s Museums by Parents Magazine. The Museum was ranked sixth out of more than 300 children’s museums nationwide and was the only Chicago area museum recognized.

Offering 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children ages birth to 8, the Museum’s mission is to encourage young children to become effective learners through self-directed complex play. Kohl Children’s Museum is located at 2100 Patriot Blvd., in Glenview, Ill. at the corner of Patriot Blvd. and W. Lake Ave. in the newly redeveloped area known as The Glen. The Museum can be easily reached by public transportation, including Pace bus and Metra trains.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website at or call (847) 832-6600. The Museum is open on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special members-only hours are from Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Admission prices are $11 for children and adults and $10 for senior citizens. Children under 12 months old and members are admitted free of charge. 


Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar 
ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List:

Going through C2E2 withdrawl? This Friday’s release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, will help ease the pain. Want more live action, super hero fun?! Chicago-area fans will be able to see all their favorite Marvel Super Heroes and villains, in-person, when the first-ever, live-action Marvel arena show hits town this September!

With amazing pyrotechnics, incredible motorcycle stunts, fast-fire aerial dramatics, and the largest rigging of any touring show to-date, it truly is a mind-blowing  experience.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, producers of Ringling Bros. and Disney On Ice, Marvel Universe Live! is being hailed as the most technologically advanced family entertainment spectacular of all time

Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with a mind-blowing show unlike anything Chicagoans have seen before. The action-packed arena extravaganza slated to play Chicago’s United Center, Sep. 10-13, then move to the Allstate Arena, Sep. 18-20, will feature a full complement of favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and The Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk and more) and threatening villains come to life.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel icons together on one epic quest. The Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.

Fans will definitely feel the energy with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more. It’s being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever; a once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance.

United Center Show Times: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sep. 10; 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sep. 11; 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sep. 12, and Sunday, Sep. 13.
Allstate Arena Show Times: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sep. 18; 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sep. 19, and Sunday, Sep. 20.  
Ticket prices start at $25.
To discover more, go to, or visit Marvel Universe LIVE! on Facebook and YouTube.

About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Nuclear Cowboyz®, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information on Feld Entertainment is available online at

OPENING: Shining Lives: A Musical at Northlight Theatre

Northlight Theatre presents 
The World Premiere of 
Shining Lives: A Musical
book & lyrics by Jessica Thebus
music by Andre Pluess & Amanda Dehnert
directed by Jessica Thebus
Based on the play These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich

Cast includes Jess Godwin, Alex Goodrich, Erik Hellman,
Johanna McKenzie Miller, Matt Mueller, Bri Sudia and Tiffany Topol
May 8 – June 14, 2015

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, were elated that this Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the world premiere of Shining Lives: A Musical. Directed by Jessica Thebus and developed through Northlight’s Interplay Series, the musical is adapted from the Northlight-commissioned play These Shining Lives. The production will run at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, from May 8 – June 14, 2015.  

It’s 1922 and the young women of Chicago’s Radium Dial Company are living a dream— earning good wages and beaming with new-found independence.  After years of hand painting watch dials, the so-called "harmless" radium that provided for so much joy leads to tragic results.  Four courageous women upend their lives with a determination to change the future in this compelling new musical, the transcendent tale of heroic lives that glowed with promise.

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production.  All events are free. 

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal.  Backstage with BJ for Shining Lives: A Musical will be held on Friday, May 1 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour.  Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3605 or

Previews: May 8 – May 14, 2015
Gala opening: May 15, 2015
Press opening: May 16, 2015
Regular run: through June 14, 2015

Schedule: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (May 12 and June 9 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except May 27) 
and 7:30pm (except June 3)
Thursdays: 7:30pm 
Fridays: 8:00pm (except Opening on May 15 at 7:30pm)
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except May 9) and 8:00pm 
Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (except May 17, 24, June 14)

Location: Northlight Theatre is located at the North Shore
Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd,

Tickets: Previews: $25-$54
Regular run: $25-$78
Student tickets are $15, any performance 
(subject to availability)

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.

  • Shining Lives: A Musical is based on the Northlight-commissioned play These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich. Shining Lives: A Musical was developed through Northlight’s Interplay program.
  • Catch the documentary version too: Shining Lives: A Musical is based on the women of the Radium Dial Company in nearby Ottawa, Illinois.  It remains an important part the history of the Chicago area.  A documentary “Radium City” tells the first-hand account of the survivors and the aftermath of the contamination.
Community Panel Discussions 
We're thrilled that many theatres are now running community discussions and events around productions and the social problems, incidents and accidents they recount. Take advantage of these fabulous talk backs and events for some rousing dialogue!

With topics ranging from women in the workplace, to labor law reform, to the ongoing radium cleanup still taking place in Ottawa, civic leaders and area experts will join Northlight artists to address the local impact of issues raised in the play.

Highland Park Public Library - Monday, May 18, 1:00pm, 494 Laurel Ave, Highland Park. Panelists TBD.

Evanston History Center - Monday, May 18, 6:30pm, 225 Greenwood, Evanston. Panelists include representatives from Northwestern University, Frances Willard House and Evanston History Center.

Skokie Public Library - Tuesday, June 2, 2:00pm, 5215 Oakton Ave, Skokie. Featured panelist: Leonard Grossman, Jr., son of the lawyer Leonard Grossman who represented the women in the case against Radium Dial Factory.

Northlight Theatre – Thursday, June 4, following the 7:30 performance.  Panelists include a state representative, a labor lawyer, and a doctor from NorthShore University Health System.

Chicago History Museum – Saturday, June 6, 10:00am, 1601 N Clark, Chicago. Panelists are director/co-creator Jessica Thebus and Russell Lewis, Executive Vice President and Chief Historian for the Chicago History Museum. (This event requires tickets, purchase at

  • In the current season, Northlight is producing two world premiere works (White Guy on the Bus and Shining Lives: A Musical), the second-ever productions of two plays (The Commons of Pensacola and Outside Mullingar) and a classic rarely produced in the US (The Mousetrap).  In addition, Northlight has a number of new works in development through Interplay, a program that has sent 25 out of 29 scripts on to full professional productions throughout the country and developed Northlight’s three best-selling plays: Better Late by Larry Gelbart and Craig Wright, The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham and Chapatti by Christian O’Reilly.
Here at ChiIL Live Shows, it was our great pleasure to catch the opening nights of The Mousetrap, Outside Mullingar and White Guy on the Bus. Northlight is one of our favorites for world class productions and compelling seasons. The Mousetrap was marvelous mystery fun for all ages and it was a joy to introduce my 14 year old son to this classic. White Guy on the Bus was impressively edgy and unpredictable. Outside Mullingar was a stellar staging of multigenerational misgivings and quirky characters that was a joy to see. We can't wait to see what comes next for Northlight Theatre, with the World Premiere of Shining Lives: A Musical.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

The cast features Jess Godwin (Frances), Alex Goodrich (Tom/Ensemble), Erik Hellman (Ensemble), Johanna McKenzie Miller (Catherine), Matt Mueller (Ensemble), Bri Sudia (Charlotte) and Tiffany Topol (Pearl).

The artistic team is Jessica Thebus (Director/Book & Lyrics), Andre Pluess (Composer), Amanda Dehnert (Composer), Chuck Larkin (Music Director), Vanessa Stalling (Choreographer), Scott Davis (Set Design), Linda Roethke (Costume Design), JR Lederle (Lighting Design), Stephan Mazurek (Projection Design), and Ray Nardelli (Sound Design).  The stage manager is Rita Vreeland.

BJ Jones comments, “We finish our smash 40th Anniversary season with a play by women and about women, as we present Shining Lives: A Musical. I first commissioned Melanie Marnich (of Showtime’s The Affair) to write the story of the pioneering women of the Ottawa Watch factory, some dozen years ago. Now Jessica Thebus, Andre Pluess and Amanda Dehnert transform this play into a musical theatre piece celebrating these extraordinary women, their lives and their courage.”

Jessica Thebus (Book & Lyrics/Director) is a director of theater and an educator based in Chicago. Past Northlight credits include Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Inherit the Wind and Red Herring. At Steppenwolf, she has directed Sex with StrangersIntimate ApparelDead Man’s Cell PhoneNo Place Like HomeWhen the Messenger is Hot (also at 59 E 59th in NYC) and Sonia Flew. Recent credits: In the Garden by Sarah Gmitter at Lookingglass, Buzzer by Tracy Scott Wilson at Goodman, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next), As You Like It (Oregon Shakespeare); The Feast: an intimate Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare with Redmoon). She is Director of the Graduate Directing Program at Northwestern University.

Andre Pluess (Co-Composer) previously sound designed at Northlight for Season’s Greetings, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Po Boy Tango, Inherit the Wind, The Retreat from Moscow and Red Herring. Design and composition credits include projects for Lookingglass (artistic associate), Court (1999-02 resident artist), Victory Gardens (resident designer), About Face (associate artist), Goodman, Steppenwolf and many other Chicago and regional theaters. Broadway credits: I Am My Own Wife and Metamorphoses. Awards: nine Jeff Awards and Citations, an L.A. Ovation Award, a Drama Critics Circle Award and a Lortel nomination for composition and sound design.

Amanda Dehnert (Co-Composer) Recent productions include: Into the Woods, My Fair Lady (Oregon Shakespeare), Eastland: A New Musical (Lookingglass, world premiere, direction and orchestration), Richard III (Public Theatre Mobile Shakespeare Unit, director/composer), Julius Caesar (Oregon Shakespeare, director and adaptor), The Verona Project (California Shakespeare, world premiere, words and music), Peter Pan (A Play) (Lookingglass, author), Death of a Salesman (Dallas Theatre Center, director and composer), Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare, director, adaptor, and composer). She is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University.

Melanie Marnich (playwright/These Shining Lives) Plays include Quake, Blur, Tallgrass Gothic, These Shining Lives, Calling All, Beautiful Again, The Sparrow Project and A Sleeping Country. These Shining Lives premiered at Baltimore Center Stage in April 2008 and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the Weissberger Award in 2005. Blur received its world premiere Off Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club and also won the Francesca Primus Prize from Denver Center Theatre. Her plays have been produced or developed at New York’s Public Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, London’s Royal Court Theatre, the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Portland Center Stage and Denver Center for the Arts. She has written for HBO’s Big Love and Showtime’s The Big C and The Affair.

  • Melanie Marnich’s latest project is The Affair on Showtime.

Jess Godwin (Frances) was previously seen on stage at Northlight as Susan in Snapshots. In addition to Shining Lives, she is working on the development of Exposure this summer. To find out more about her 12-part music video dedication series, check out
Alex Goodrich (Tom/Ensemble) Previous Northlight credits include A Civil War Christmas and She Stoops to Conquer. Other Chicago credits: Hero: The Musical (Jeff Award, Best Supporting Actor – Musical), On The Town, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, For The Boys, How Can You Run … (Marriott); Old Jews Telling Jokes (Royal George); Everything Is Illuminated (Next); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Indiana Repertory); The Emperor’s New Clothes, Taming of the Shrew, Aladdin (Chicago Shakespeare); Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon (Chicago Children’s Theater); The Comedy of Errors (Court); The Front Page (TimeLine); and several productions with Provision

Erik Hellman (Ensemble) is returning to Northlight after The Commons of Pensacola and Lost in Yonkers. Chicago: Luna Gale (Goodman and Center Theatre Group, LA); The Good BookTartuffe, The Misanthrope,  Proof (Jeff Nomination - Supporting Actor), The Comedy of Errors, The Mystery of Irma Vep (Jeff Nomination - Lead Actor), Titus Andronicus and Arcadia (Court); Eastland (Lookingglass); Hesperia (Writers); The Madness of King George III, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth and Edward II (Chicago Shakespeare); Honest, The Elephant Man and Huck Finn (Steppenwolf); All My Sons (TimeLine); as well as shows at Next, Chicago Dramatists, Remy Bumppo, House Theatre of Chicago and as a company member of Strawdog. Outside of Chicago: Kirk Douglas Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, Geva, Syracuse Stage, Indianapolis Repertory, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Houston’s Stages Repertory and Off-Broadway at Mirror Repertory. Film/TV: The Dark KnightThe Chicago Code, Boss, Betrayal, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

Johanna McKenzie Miller (Catherine) is making her Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include Claire in On The Town, Mary Poppins, Cats, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Marian Paroo in The Music Man (The Marriott); Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein (Drury Lane); Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet; and work at Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Ravinia and Court.  Johanna is the co-founder of Lombard Children's Theater Workshop and a member of Actors Equity Association.

Matt Mueller (Ensemble) makes his Northlight debut. He recently released a new cast recording of Woody Guthrie's American Song at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California. Regional credits include productions at Chicago Shakespeare, Capital Repertory, Asolo Repertory, Utah Shakespeare, Theatreworks (Colorado Springs), Marin Theatre Company, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Colorado Shakespeare, Arvada Center, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Bri Sudia (Charlotte) makes her Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include Pericles and Road Show at Chicago Shakespeare and understudying Tribes at Steppenwolf. Regional credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Music Man, Into the Woods, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Camelot, The Winter’s Tale (Texas Shakespeare); Richard III, Big River (Arkansas Shakespeare); and roles at Notre Dame Shakespeare and Milwaukee Repertory. Bri received her MFA in Acting from The University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign and holds a degree in Sign Language Interpreting. 

Tiffany Topol (Pearl) makes her Northlight debut. Select credits: Once the Musical (1st National Tour), Xanadu (1st National Tour), Sweet Charity (Writers Theatre), Eastland (World Premiere, Lookingglass Theatre), Cabaret (Milwaukee Repertory). When in Chicago, Tiffany often performs with The Back Room Shakespeare Project. She is a singer/songwriter/ukulele player in several projects, including her band, Glad Fanny (, and gypsy-folk outfit Youth in a Roman Field ( 

Now in its 40th season, the organization has mounted nearly 200 productions, including over 40 world premieres.  Northlight has earned 188 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 31 Awards.  As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.
The 40th Anniversary is supported by season sponsor BMO Harris Bank and lighting sponsor ComEd.

Shining Lives: A Musical is made possible in part by Individual Production Sponsors Bob and Lisa Silverman and Jill and Leif Soderberg, and by Corporate and Foundation Production Sponsors NorthShore University Health System, Kellogg Cancer Center, and The Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation.

About Northlight

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from the Paul M. Angell Fund; BMO Harris Bank; Cramer-Krasselt; The  Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; First Bank &  Trust; Full Circle Foundation; The Homestead Hotel; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; KinderMorgan Foundation; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Foundation; NorthShore University HealthSystem; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Plante Moran; The Pritzger Pucker Family Foundation; Quince at the Homestead; The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Room & Board; Sage Products; Sanborn Family Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; Skokie Fine Arts Council; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; Tom Stringer Design Partners; the Venturous Theater Fund; and The Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chicago Celebrates Shakespeare's 451st Birthday & Mayor Rahm Emanuel Proclaims April 23rd Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) and the City of Chicago honor William Shakespeare’s 451st Birthday with an official proclamation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel declaring April 23rd Talk Like Shakespeare Day.

We've broken out the trusty Shakespearian insult mug in honor of the day. You can get your own mug, Shakespearian insult playing cards and more fun Bard swag at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Bottoms up!

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows we ADORE Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and our sweet home Chicago. My grandparents, Dad and my children were all born here in Chi, IL. 

Talk Like Shakespeare Day is an occasion for citizens from Chicago and across the globe to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday by bringing the spoken words of the playwright into their daily lives. Penning 154 sonnets and 38 plays, Shakespeare is credited with contributing over 1,700 words and countless phrases to the English language—including “bedazzled,” “swagger” and “new-fangled.” Everyone is dared on April 23rd to bring out their “thee-s” and “thou-s” in observation of the annual holiday.

“He was not of an age, but for all time,” eulogized Shakespeare’s friend, fellow poet and playwright, Ben Jonson. Nearly four centuries after Shakespeare’s death in 1616, he is, indeed, recognized as one of the most famous and prolific writers in the history of the English language; his plays and poetry have traveled the globe—to every continent, spoken in hundreds of languages; his work has inspired artists across disciplines from playwrights and poets to composers and choreographers. is the virtual home base for revelers. The site features activities for celebrating Talk Like Shakespeare Day by speaking, reading and teaching Shakespeare’s words, as well as helpful tips on how to talk like the Bard—including:
  1. Instead of you, say thou or thee (and instead of y’all, say ye). 
  2. Rhymed couplets are all the rage. 
  3. Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin
  4. Instead of cursing, try calling your tormentors jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads
  5. Don’t waste time saying it, just use the letter t (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t). 
  6. Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns. 
  7. When in doubt, add the letters eth to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth). 
  8. To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore

Chicago Shakespeare originated the holiday in 2009 and it became an immediate worldwide sensation, garnering extensive national and international attention and more than one million hits to

For more information, visit

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) believes that Shakespeare speaks to everyone. A global theatrical force, CST is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. We have evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at our home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. We serve as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 25,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome our free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city we call home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured our own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The Theater’s tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards including the Regional Theater Tony Award®, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and seventy-eight total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national Shakespeare Steward Award for our innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. Among our many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad. 

EXTENDED: Redmoon's Devil's Cabaret Adds 3 May Dates (21+) #ChiILPicksList

             Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Buy your tickets today!

             * Complimentary Lagunitas bar until midnight *    
* A 30' tall Crane Tower * A suspended piano *  
* Aerialists * Fire * Drumming * Punk Rock *  
* A DJ * A Caged Opera Singer * 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WIN a Contigo Kids Autoseal Gizmo Sip $9.99 value (4 winners) #SpillProofGizmo #giveaway #DiscountCode

Make every day Earth Day, with little steps, like reusable Contigo water bottles, that add up to make a BIG difference for our planet and our children's futures!

Happy Earth Day! We're celebrating with a great giveaway through midnight May 28th, from Contigo, one of our favorite Eco-friendly companies to partner up with! They're Chi, IL locals who can already claim the best stainless travel mugs and a host of top reusable bottles for all ages. Yet, they're still creating and innovating new lines that are even better than the best. We got to see all of their new releases at The Chicago Home and Housewares Show in March and we're so excited to share them with our readers. 

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is elated to partner up with Contigo again for a great giveaway. They have compensated us for sharing their new products with you and provided product for review purposes and for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are our own.

FOUR of our lucky readers will each WIN one of THE best new products for active kids who have outgrown sippy cups, but haven’t outgrown spilling: The AUTOSEAL Gizmo Sip Kids Water Bottle.

ENTER HERE for your chance to WIN through midnight May 28th. Open nationwide US and Canada. Then come back and enter again... like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.

All our readers are winners:
ChiIL Mama's got an exclusive coupon code for ALL our readers. Redeem it at by entering Coupon Code: “GIZMO25” for a 25% off discount on any Contigo Kids product order through May 31.

Why do we adore Contigo's Gizmo Sip Kids Spill-Proof Water Bottle?






With spring approaching, kids will soon be on-the-go again, and keeping children hydrated and spill-free without putting a damper on fun will be a concern for moms everywhere. The Gizmo Sip provides the perfect solution to this dilemma – its AUTOSEAL technology ensures that the water bottle is 100% spill-proof, and a see-through lid and colored parts allow kids to watch the internal parts move when they press the drink button.

Contigo's design team knows that kids tend to grab a water bottle or a cup with both hands, so they designed this water bottle to include an extra-large AUTOSEAL button that has room for two fingers to press! And it seals between sips. How cool is that?!

We also totally dig their 4 rockin' designs that aren't babyish at all but more funky and fun than the plain adult water bottles. 14oz is a great big kid size, Gizmo Sip is easy to open, and they actually mean it when they say spill-proof!

Love the stylin' gear flowers on the Cherry Blossom design!

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama all spring and summer long, in Chi, IL and beyond, for hot events, cool giveaway, and rockin' reviews! It's rewarding. 

Disclosure: Once again, ChiIL Mama is elated to partner up with Contigo for a great giveaway. They have compensated us for sharing their new products with you and provided product for review purposes and for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are our own.