Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GIVEAWAY: WIN a Family 4 Pack ($60 Value) of Tickets to Lifeline Theatre’s Arnie The Doughnut, a Family Musical Through 11/26/17

Lifeline Theatre KidSeries Presents 
Arnie The Doughnut,
Hit Musical Adaptation of the Book by Laurie Keller Opens October 22

**This production is recommended for children ages five and up (children under two not permitted), and runs approximately one hour with no intermission.**

Plus Performances with Open Captioning on October 28, 
Performance with Touch Tour and Audio Description on November 4, Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance on November 5,
and Stories Come Alive! Hour Workshops Every Saturday and Sunday During the Run

Lifeline Theatre's Arnie the Doughnut, their initial KidSeries production of the season, is having its opening this Sunday, and ChiIL Mama's pleased as pastries to be partnering up with them to offer our readers a tasty ticket giveaway. We've been lifelong fans of Lifeline. My teens grew up with their excellent KidSeries productions from early childhood on. And we highly recommend their creative, original, book based productions. 

Need more incentive? One of our lucky readers will win 4 FREE tickets ($60 value) redeemable for any date in the production, subject to availability. Enter through midnight October 25th. Winner will be e-mailed and posted publicly on our social media platforms on Thursday, October 26th.

Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries presents Arnie The Doughnut, a family musical based on the popular children’s book by Laurie Keller, with script by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Frances Limoncelli (three-time Non-Equity Jeff Award winner), music and lyrics by George Howe (two-time Non-Equity Jeff Award winner), and directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric (two-time Non-Equity Jeff nominee). 

Arnie, a lovable chocolate-frosted, rainbow-sprinkled doughnut, is the happiest pastry in the bakery when he’s chosen to be taken home by a new owner. But when mild-mannered Mr. Bing tries to eat the unsuspecting Arnie, both are in for the surprise of their lives. Man and doughnut are drawn into a sugar-fueled existential crisis as they work to redefine their relationship while trying to outwit the meddlesome President of the Cozy Confines Condo Community. Join Arnie on a zany quest to prove that he’s more than just delicious – and that friends come in all shapes and sizes – in this hit musical adaptation of the 2003 book that kicked off the beloved series by Laurie Keller. 

Arnie The Doughnut runs Saturday, Oct. 21 – Sunday, Nov. 26 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. 

Regular performance times are Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with an added autism/sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. (Previews are Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 11 a.m.) Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting  

Accessible Performances: The Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. performances will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Saturday, Nov. 4, 11 a.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 10 a.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. And there will be an added autism/sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. for patrons with social and/or cognitive disabilities. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Erica Foster at 773.761.4477 x703 or at

PLUS: Join Lifeline Theatre every Saturday and Sunday at 12 p.m. during the run of Arnie The Doughnut (following the 11 a.m. show, or before the 1 p.m. show) for our Stories Come Alive! Hour. Children will enjoy an interactive storytelling session and on-your-feet theatre games. The cost is only $5 per child. Reservations are recommended, though not required. Contact Lifeline Theatre at 773-761-4477 for more information. 

The complete cast and production team for Arnie The Doughnut includes:

CAST: Guest artists Juanita Anderson (Mrs. Plute/French Cruller), Maddie Dorsey (Powdered Doughnut/Sheila), David Gordon-Johnson (Mr. Bing), Khloe Janel (Jelly Doughnut/Ronnie), and Jared Rein (Arnie). With understudies Madison Rasmussen, Adriana Tronco, and Max Weinberg.

PRODUCTION TEAM: Lifeline Theatre ensemble members Elise Kauzlaric (Director) and  Frances Limoncelli (Adaptor); with guest artists Eric Backus (Sound Designer), George Howe (Composer/ Lyricist), Lavina Jadhwani (Casting Director), Becca Jeffords (Lighting Designer), Sarah Lewis (Scenic Designer), Jennifer McClendon (Production Manager), Jenny Pinson (Props Designer), Kate Reed (Stage Manager), Joe Schermoly (Technical Director), Rachel Sypniewski (Costume Designer), and David Zizic (Music Director).

Lifeline Theatre also offers “Name Your Price” tickets a half-hour before the show (subject to availability), group rates and other discounts available upon request. A party room is available for full-service birthday and special event parties. Lifeline Theatre is accessible by CTA (Red Line Morse stop/busses) and free parking is available at Sullivan High School (6631 N Bosworth Ave, lot located on Greenview Ave. just south of North Shore Ave.) with free shuttle service before and after the show. Street parking is also available. Lifeline is accessible to wheelchair users and visitors who need to avoid stairs.

Now in its 35th season, Lifeline Theatre is driven by a passion for story. Our ensemble process supports writers in the development of literary adaptations and new work, and our theatrical and educational programs foster a lifelong engagement with literature and the arts. A cultural anchor of Rogers Park, we are committed to deepening our connection to an ever-growing family of artists and audiences, both near and far. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close.

Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by Alphawood Foundation; A.R.T League Inc.; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Chicago CityArts, a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; The Common Cup; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Grover Hermann Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; Illinois Humanities Council; Lagunitas Brewing Co. Community Grant Program; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The PAV Grant Fund; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Poubelle Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of Renaissance Charitable Foundation; Rogers Park Social; The Saints; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There's Still Time To Join The Super League Gaming Minecraft City Champs Tournament

Minecraft is coming back to a Chicago movie theater THIS WEEKEND
October 21st

**Ideal for kids 6-14**

For the past three years, ChiIL Mama has been happy to partner up with Super League Gaming on a sponsored post for their Minecraft play in theatres. It's not too late to get in on league play for fall of 2017. Come on out and represent Chicago! 

Does your child love Minecraft? It's not too late to join up and bring Chi, IL to victory among 12 major cities competing. Meet n greets began last weekend, but players are still being accepted up to this weekend when league play begins. Presale tickets are $60 with an additional $10 discount by using the code 10offchamps.

Cinemark at Seven Bridges Woodridge - 6500 IL-53, Woodridge, IL 60517

DIVISIONAL PLAY Saturday, Oct 21 Saturday, Oct 28 & Saturday, Nov 4 10:30am - 12:00pm

GRAND FINAL 4 CITIES: Saturday, November 11 10:30am - 12:00p

On Saturday mornings, instead of just playing at home, your young gamers can enjoy Minecraft while meeting new friends, as part of a local team representing Chicago. Super League Gaming and their Minecraft City Champs tournament is run in partnership with Nickelodeon. It’s like little league for Minecraft players! Fun, positive and a special opportunity to get out and play with other kids their age. Past players clearly have had a GREAT time!

And one skilled player will win a HUGE prize for their family – 4 tickets to Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards 2018, inclusive of round trip airfare to LA, 2 nights in a hotel and a $500 spending allowance. There will be other giveaways for all players, including an official Chicago Force team jersey!

While you may find it challenging to pull your little ones away from their iPad or Xbox, the truth is that playing Minecraft (and video games in general) can be beneficial for your kids on many levels, including problem solving, building self-confidence, enhancing creativity, understanding teamwork and improving academic performance.

Super League’s Minecraft City Champs tournament is in its 3rd season, so the company knows how to provide a well-organized experience for your Minecrafter. It’s ideal for kids 6-14, who will play alongside their peers and have the chance to compete against teams in cities across the country. The tournament takes place in a movie theater, which means they also get to see their favorite game on the big screen!

The tournament begins on Sat. the 21st and continues on the following three Saturdays. Parents attend for free, although Super League provides full coverage if you need to drop off. Of course if you’re there, you can cheer on your Minecrafter to victory! 

To learn more and get tickets while spots are available, visit Super League’s Minecraft City Champs Chicago Event Details Page.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for sharing this event with my readers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

OPENING: Disney NEWSIES at Marriott Theatre 10/25-12/31/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

October 25 through December 31

"Stop the presses! Newsies is an irresistible, high energy winner... a surprise sensation!"
- Entertainment Weekly

"A musical worth singing about"
- The New York Times

"An invigorating extravaganza! A barnstorming, four-alarm delight"
- Time Out New York


Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we adore NEWSIES! It was our great pleasure to review the Broadway touring production, and now we're eager to see Marriott Theatre's take on this Tony Award-winning musical. This is a great pick for multigenerational appeal and family friendly memory making. It's also a great clutter busting gift idea just in time for the holidays. 

My teen loved it and later sang one of the show's hits in his high school's winter choir concert. We'll be out for opening night so check back soon for our full review. 

From the bustling streets of New York City at the turn of the 20th century comes the Tony Award-winning new American musical, NEWSIES, making headlines at the Marriott Theatre just in time for the holidays, running October 25 through December 31 with a press opening on Wednesday, November 1 at 8 p.m. at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. Featuring an electrifying score with music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, NEWSIES is the ultimate story of courage and overcoming one’s fears. Jeff Award nominee Alex Sanchez (Marriott Theatre: Evita, On the Town, Mary Poppins) brings his high-octane energy and brilliance to direct and choreograph the heartwarming piece, with Musical Direction by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson.

“We all get to a fork in our lives - which path do we choose? I want to inspire audiences to not be afraid to take the courageous path and strive for the unreachable,” says Director and Choreographer Alex Sanchez. “This story will be brought to life on stage with a plethora of energy bursting from our outstanding cast of dancers. Incredible set design will flow with the ensemble to provide a city landscape as vibrant as New York.”

Based on the 1992 motion picture of the same name and inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899’ that shook the ivory towers of publishing titans William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, NEWSIES follows orphan Jack Kelly and his band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dream of a better life far from the hardships of the streets. While they’ve had the talent and moxie to survive the challenges of inner city New York, the newsboys are pushed to the limit when media moguls Hearst and Pulitzer raise distribution prices at the boys’ expense. Timely and fresh, the fictionalized adaptation of NEWSIES addresses age-old themes of social injustice, exploitative labor practices and struggles as the young learn to harness their power against a corrupt establishment. Featuring soul stirring music, NEWSIES introduces eight brand-new songs by the original dynamic duo team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York” and “Santa Fe.”

NEWSIES stars Patrick Rooney as “Jack Kelly” (Marriott Theatre: World Premiere of October Sky, Spring Awakening), Eliza Palasz as “Katherine Plumber” (Marriott Theatre: World Premiere of October Sky, Evita, Spring Awakening), Kevin Gudahl as “Joseph Pulitzer” (Marriott Theatre: Spring Awakening, Elf, My Fair Lady, 1776, The King and I) and Stephanie Pope at “Medda Larkin” (Broadway: Chicago, Pippin, Fosse). NEWSIES also stars Nick Graffagna as “Davey,” Matthew Uzarraga as “Crutchie,” and Carter Graf and Zachary Uzarraga alternating as “Les,” with Bill Bannon, Eean Cochran, Shea Coffman, Nicholas Dantes, Alejandro Fonseca, Sam Griffin, Garrett Lutz, Jeff Pierpoint, Zachary Porter, Liam Quealy, James Rank, Laura Savage, Peter Sipla, Adrienne Storrs, Steven Strafford, Richard Strimer, Martin Ortiz Tapia, Tiffany Tatreau, Andy Tofa and David Wright, Jr.

The production will feature set design by Kevin Depinet, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Robert E. Gilmartin, properties design by Sally Weiss, and musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood.

The performance schedule for NEWSIES is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Holiday weeks may have adjusted schedules. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, including tax and handling fees. Call for student, senior and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of FREE dinners available with the purchase of a full-priced theatre ticket, which can only be purchased through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. 

To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to Visit for more information.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List: 
Tasty Halloween Weekend Fun


Here’s a tasty new treat for Chicago families this Halloween season – the first-ever Frightfully Fit Feast, Saturday, October 28, starting at 4:15 p.m. at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop.

Bring a big appetite to this unforgettable evening of family cooking, communal eating and Halloween-themed entertainment. Because at Frightfully Fit Feast, families not only get to play with their food, they get to learn how to make easy-to-prepare, delicious and nutritious Halloween treats.

What’s on the macabre menu? Spooky Eyeball Tacos, Chocolate Mice, Bloody Cocktails and more. By the end of the night, everyone will have made their own Halloween-themed meal including a non-alcoholic beverage, appetizer, main dish and desert. All kids will leave with a full tummy, a Halloween goodie bag and a big smile on their face.

The price, including all food, is $20 per family member or $68 for a family of four. Each additional family member is only $15. Costumes are encouraged. Space is limited. To reserve tickets and for more information, visit

Frightfully Fit Feast is presented by Chicago Children’s Theatre’s education department, led by CCT Community Programs Artistic Director Frank Maugeri, in partnership with iCOOK After School.

About iCOOK After School

iCOOK After School is a fun, hands-on, after-school cooking program for children with a mission to help teach kids to love everything about food – cooking, eating delicious and healthful dishes and learning about different cultures. iCOOK’s instructors have culinary backgrounds and many are also registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), so parents can be sure that “health” is an important ingredient in each recipe. For more information, visit

About Chicago Children’s Theatre

In addition to a full slate of shows in the new Pritzker Family Studio, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, is also home to four classrooms hosting a year-round roster of performing arts classes and camps for children ages 0 to 14.

Registration is now open for the upcoming Winter session, January 22-March 17, 2018. Visit to sign your children up for Improv with The Second City!, Old Town School of Folk Music’s Wiggleworms classes, aerial arts with Actor’s Gymnasium, Hip Hop 4 Totz, Bubble Jams, Taking the Stage and more. Early bird discounts for the Winter Session are offered through November 12.

Since its launch in 2005, Chicago Children’s Theatre has cemented its reputation as the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. After 11 years of itinerancy, Chicago Children’s Theatre opened in January 2017 its first-ever permanent home, The Station, the fully repurposed, former 12th District Chicago Police Station.

Today, The Station is a beautiful, mixed-use, centrally located performing arts, education and community engagement hub that welcomes all Chicago families. Newly opened in the Pritzker Family Studio is Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new production of A Year with Frog and Toad, hailed by Chicago Parent as “exceptionally enjoyable…a timeless tale” and recommended by the Chicago Tribune as “a lovely hour to add to your life…very well sung, and played…3 stars.”

A Year with Frog and Toad runs through October 29. For tickets and information, visit or call (872) 222-9555.

Friday, October 13, 2017

OPENING: Stephen Hanthorn Presents: THE BEST MAGIC SHOW @ iO Every Friday 10/13-11/3

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Stephen Hanthorn Presents:
@ iO Chicago in the Jason Chin Cabaret Theater 

October 13th @ 8:30
October 20th @ 8:30
October 27th @ 8:30
November 3rd @ 8:30

ChiIL Mama will be out to review on the 20th. We're looking forward to checkin' out Stephen Hanthorn's show. Catch him before he disappears. 

Magician Stephen Hanthorn presents an evening of intimate, interactive and mind-blowing magic at the World Famous iO Theatre, home of long form improvisation, 1501 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60642 (312)929-2401

So you've never seen a live magic show because you didn't go to that birthday party growing up? Ever wonder what those people in the tv magic specials are so stunned by?

When you come to THE BEST MAGIC SHOW, you can expect to have the best 'what I did this weekend' story on Monday morning. Stephen blends improv comedy and magic as each audience brings a different point of view and perspective that gets incorporated with his own meaning of magic. This spur of the moment approach and breakdown of magic appeals to new and old magic fans alike- squeezing the most out of classic magic with a fresh, relatable perspective.

Stephen has been working in the Chicago magic and theatre scene for the past four years, and has had the privilege of providing fantastically exciting and personal experience for people from all walks of life thru magic- most notably at the Chicago Magic Lounge, Collaboraction Studios, Lollapalooza, and the Reinvented Busker.

THE BEST MAGIC SHOW runs every Friday at 8:30 from October 13th thru November 3rd in the Jason Chin Howard Cabaret at iO.

Tickets are $16 dollars and are available here!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

LOVING VINCENT, First Fully Painted Feature Film Opens Friday at Music Box!

Films On Our Radar:

What We're Watching:

This Friday afternoon we'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's iconic Music Box Theatre for the opening of the first fully painted feature film! We've long anticipated  LOVING VINCENT, which goes to the heart of the famous artist. First shot as a live action film, then with each of its 65,000 frames of film meticulously oil-painted by 125 master artists from around the world, The New York Times calls the result “Hypnotic and beguiling”. We can't wait to catch it! Check back soon for our full review.

"An animated masterpiece! An absolutely stunning film that not only does justice to the art of Van Gogh, but also to the art of movies. I have never seen anything on screen like it before. You will be amazed and lifted by this extraordinary film." -Deadline

“Brings a poetic sense of tragedy to the last act of van Gogh's life, and fresh insight into the kind of man he was.” --Variety

"Never has there been a film that spoke to the heart of an artist like “Loving Vincent”. Animation and fine art painting come together in this loving tribute to the work and life of a master artist." - Tony Bancroft, SIFF Animation Jury

Opens October 13th. More showtimes and dates to be announced. Click HERE for show times, ticket purchasing, and more details.

LOVING VINCENT is the world's first fully painted feature film. Written & directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, produced by Poland's BreakThru Fims & UK's Trademark Films.

The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters who travelled from all across the world to the LOVING VINCENT studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. As remarkable as Vincent's brilliant paintings, is his passionate and ill-fated life, and mysterious death.

No other artist has attracted more legeneds than Vincent van Gogh. Variously labelled a martyr, a lustful satyr, a madman, a genius and a layabout, the real Vincent is at once revealed in his letters, and obscured by myth and time. Vincent himself said in his last letter: 'We cannot speak other than by our paintings'. We take him at his word and let the paintings tell the real story of Vincent van Gogh.

LOVING VINCENT was first shot as a live action film with actors, and then hand-painted over frame-by-frame in oils. The final effect is an interaction of the performance of the actors playing Vincent's famous portraits, and the performance of the painting animators, bringing these characters into the medium of paint.


Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: English
Run Time: 95 mins

Format: DCP

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:

OCT. 20-22 2017

The door will open to reveal mesmerizing worlds of unforgettable Disney moments and grand illusions when Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic visits the Chicago area, Oct. 20-22, for seven performances at the Rosemont Theatre and it's our pleasure here at ChiIL Mama, to partner up with them again this year, and offer a giveaway for our readers.

Win a FREE Family 4 Pack of Tickets To The Opening Night of Disney Live! presents Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic for 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20

Winner will be posted on our social media outlets Friday, October 13th, and notified via private e-mail. Enter early and often through midnight Thursday, October 12th. Good luck and thanks for reading

Feld Entertainment, the worldwide leader of live touring family entertainment, sets the stage for its most compelling Disney theatrical compilation to date with Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic. Audience members join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy as they step into mysterious portals throughout the Disney universe, entering the enchanted lands of more than 20 favorite Disney characters and encountering surprises at every turn of the doorknob.

Families will be transported to magical moments showcased in the animated features Disney’s Tangled, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia and Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story, as these beloved stories are fused together with theatrical illusions to create a dynamic, multi-layered experience, complete with high-energy choreography and an original song titled “Magic is Here.” Everything from the pop and funk infused soundtrack to the diverse choreography is essential to the vitality of the show and its differentiation from a traditional re-telling of classic tales.

“This show is about bringing to life the magical places and moments that exists with the world of Disney in a very authentic and modern way,” said Feld Entertainment Executive Vice President and Disney Live! Producer Alana Feld. “By using magic and illusions, we’ve reimagined iconic scenes and enhanced them, creating a great connection to the characters and stories for our audiences.”

Audiences will see the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful ball gown in a split second; the Toy Story gang defy the dimensions of Andy’s toy box with the help of the green army men; and the spectacular stage debut of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider as they rise into the sky amidst the floating lanterns. With special appearances by Snow White, Tinker Bell and Aladdin’s Genie, fans never know what to expect or who might join in the fun.

Rosemont Theatre performances of Disney Live! presents Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic are scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, and 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets, starting at $20, are available at the Rosemont Theatre box office, via Ticketmaster, online at, or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Join in on our adventures on social media in real time:
follow ChiIL Mama on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

CLICK HERE to learn more about Disney Live! and follow Disney Live! on Facebook, Twitter 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 on six continents and include Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Monster Jam® and Marvel Universe Live.

Disclosure: Thanks to Feld Entertainment for providing ChiIL Mama with complimentary tickets for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are our own.

Congratulations To Shá Norman, New Barrel of Monkeys Program Director

Welcome Shá Norman, New 
Barrel of Monkeys Program Director 

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've been fans of the excellent work Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) does for years now. We highly recommend their weekly Monday night showcase, That's Weird Grandma. Welcome and congrats on the promotion, to Shá Norman, who has been with BOM since 2012. 

Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Shá Norman as the company’s new Program Director. Norman is responsible for overseeing all of BOM’s educational activities, including in-school programming, after-school programming, professional development and training new teaching artists. She succeeds Brandon Cloyd, who now serves as the company’s Artistic Director. 

Comments Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd, “Shá is an incredible artist, educator and human. She has an extensive background in education and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company. She is a great collaborator and a joy to work – and I look forward to working with her to advance Barrel of Monkeys’ dedication to arts education in Chicago Public Schools.” 

About Shá Norman

Shá Norman is an artist, educator and community organizer with a passion for youth services and programming. She brings six years of experience in Community Schools, providing a variety of student and family services i.e. before and after schools programs, summer camps and vision clinics; in both CPS and District 65. She has been with Barrel of Monkeys since Fall 2012. She steadfastly believes that creativity and self expression are essential in the holistic development of young people, and is elated to move into the role of Program Director with Barrel of Monkeys. 

About Barrel of Monkeys

Barrel of Monkeys, a Chicago-based arts education theater ensemble now in its 21st season, conducts creative writing workshops with 3rd through 5th grade students in underserved Chicago Public Schools. The ensemble of actor-educators then turns their stories and words into professionally performed theater, presented both in-school and for the general public through its revues. Barrel of Monkeys annually performs more than 300 student-written stories for the students in their schools and 175 stories on the stage for the general public.

Since Barrel of Monkeys’ inception in 1997, its teaching artists have served more than 60 Chicago Public Schools. Over 15,000 elementary school students have participated in the Barrel of Monkeys programs, which aim to build students' writing skills, improve self-esteem, and instill confidence in their ideas and abilities. For additional information, visit

HBD Blue Man Group! Come Celebrate With Us Thursday October 12th


Happy Birthday to Blue...

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows we've been fans of Blue Man Group's unique blend of quirky humor, driving rhythm and surprising depth for decades. 

We've shot photos and video interviews at their auditions, covered their art unveilings, show updates, CD and book releases and had the great pleasure of shooting stills at one of their shows. We're even quoted on their door! 

Yes, we're true blue fans here. So of course we'll be out to celebrate their milestone "birthday" this Thursday, too. 

Join in on our adventures on social media in real time:
follow ChiIL Mama on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook
and follow these hashtags

Blue Man Group:
@bluemangroup (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Sprinkles Cupcakes:
Instagram: @Sprinklescupcakes #Chicago
Twitter: @Sprinkleschicag
Facebook: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Blue Man Group, the critically hailed theatrical phenomenon with an open run at the Briar Street Theatre, will celebrate 20 years in Chicago Thursday, October 12 with a special birthday performance at 8 p.m. Guests of the celebration will enjoy a few surprises during the show that will coincide with the special milestone as well as receive commemorative cupcakes from Sprinkles Cupcakes after the performance.

Since its Briar Street Theatre debut in 1997, Blue Man Group Chicago has:
  • Entertained more than 4,600,000 people with 10,493 performances
  • Held five autism-friendly performances in collaboration with Autism Speaks
  • Used 965,365 ponchos and 17,694 boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal
  • Awarded $45,000 to emerging artists though two Blue Man Group art competitions

Blue Man Group performances are a celebration of human connection. Mixing art, music, comedy and state-of-the-art technology, the show encourages audiences to reconnect with their inner (and outer) child and see the world through a new perspective.  Three bald and blue men explore our cultural norms with wonder, poking fun at our collective quirks and reminding us how much we all have in common. Backed by a live rock band, the Blue Men unify the audience for the show’s celebratory climax - an unforgettable, euphoric dance party.

Blue Man Group is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories and custom instruments. It's a joyful, multi-sensory experience that has performed in over 20 countries and has captivated more than 35 million people of all ages and cultures worldwide.

About Blue Man Group

Blue Man Productions is a global entertainment company best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show, performed in over 20 countries and seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. A dynamic combination of art, music, comedy and technology, the show’s euphoric celebration of human connection has universal appeal for a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. The show is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology. Blue Man Group has permanent theatrical productions in New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Berlin and a World Tour.

This creative collective has become part of the pop culture zeitgeist. Blue Man Group has served as the face of branding campaigns for Intel and TIM/Brasil and appeared countless times on hit shows like “The Tonight Show,” “Arrested Development,” “Ellen,” “Schlag den Raab” (Germany), “WOWOW” (Japan), and “Caldeirão do Huck” (Brasil).

Beyond the stage show, they are Grammy-nominated recording artists, known for their contributions to various film and TV scores and multiple Blue Man Group albums, including their most recent, THREE.  Their “Megastar World Tour” rock concert parody played arenas across the globe. The group’s recently published first-ever book, Blue Man World, is a visually stunning anthropological exploration of the curious bald and blue character.

Blue Man Group Ticket Information

Tickets are available from $39-$99. Tickets may be purchased at the Briar Street Theatre by calling the box office at (773) 348-4000; by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787; at all Ticketmaster ticket centers or via the Internet. For a full show schedule and ticket pricing, please click HERE.

Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more, varying from $46- $69 per person. For groups of 10 or more, call the group sales department to book at: 773.348.3300 or email to request information.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Elevate Your Chicago Halloween Fun To New Heights With 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck & TILT or Treat Celebrations

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck is ready for a spooktacular year. Admission Halloween weekend includes special Sunday Funday family entertainment, creepy cocktail specials for the adults, and the entire 94th floor dressed for the holiday (including candy stations while supplies last). 

During TILT or Treat celebrations between Saturday, Oct. 28 and Tuesday, October 31, guests dressed in costume will be also be rewarded with one complimentary ride on the thrill ride, TILT, where they hover 30 degrees over the busy streets below.

FOR ADULTS:  Throughout the Halloween weekend, Zombie Brain Shots ($6) ooze at the Architect’s Corner Bar & Café which also serves light bites and offers a full bar with specialty cocktails, wine and beer for sale. Two Zombie Brain Shots include a witches-brew combination of peach schnapps, grape pucker, Midori, grenadine with Bailey’s Irish Cream floated on top, or an eerie concoction of peach schnapps, grenadine, blue curacao topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream.

FOR FAMILIES: Sunday Funday on October 29 will be extra-special for the kid with Halloween-themed entertainment from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. activities.  Myster AJ’s magic will take youngsters on an eerie adventure as he dazzles and delights each with tricks that leave curious guests dumbfounded.  And the Super Epic Story Time team amplifies bump-in-the-night atmosphere with ghost stories and more. As an added bonus, children under 11 years of age visiting during TILT or Treat between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. can take advantage of a 50 percent savings, resulting in a cost of $6.75 per child or $3.30 per child qualifying for the 606 Resident Appreciation Rate.

Observation Deck Hours and Pricing

Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., the last ticket is sold at 10:30 p.m.  General admission: $20.50 for adults (ages 12+); $13.50 for youth (3-11); Chicago 606 Resident Appreciation Rate: $10.25 adults (ages 12+); $6.75 for youth (3-11).  Additional pricing packages can be found at

360 CHICAGO is located at 875 N. Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor in Chicago, IL.  For information, weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., call 312-751-3681.  All other times, please call 312-654-2892. Follow on social media through Twitter and Instagram: @360Chicago; Facebook: 360 Chicago. Visit for information.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

OCTOBER 7 – 21, 2017

SYA season explores when lies become the truth with a prescient American Classic   

Kicking off the 2017-2018 Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) season is Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Jonathan Berry. Steppenwolf Education presents this American classic as part of the SYA season which asks, “When does a lie become the truth?” Public performances for The Crucible are Saturday, October 7 at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, October 8 at 3pm; Friday, October 13 at 7:30pm; Saturday, October 14 at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Saturday, October 21 at 3pm and 7:30pm in the Downstairs Theatre. The press performance is Saturday, October 7 at 3pm. Weekday performances are reserved for school groups only. 

Tickets to public performances ($20; $15 with student I.D.) are currently on sale through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and

The people of Salem are whipped into a bloodthirsty frenzy by a series of escalating misinterpretations after a group of teenage girls are accused of dancing devilishly in the woods. Fearing retribution, the girls begin a chain of finger-pointing until neighbor turns against neighbor, whispers become testimony, fabrications become facts, and a once powerless teenage girl suddenly has the ability to decide the fate of all those around her. As the hearts of the townsfolk become poisoned, even John Proctor, a principled farmer and family man, must wrestle with a corrupt court and his own transgressions to protect his innocent wife and his family’s good name.

Since its premiere in 1953, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a masterful and chilling portrayal of the historic Salem Witch Trials and an allegory for the rise of McCarthyism in the late 1940s, has rightfully become an American classic serving as both a cautionary tale and provocation that compels each generation to reflect upon the harrowing world it portrays.

Director Jonathan Berry shares, “I am so incredibly excited to be bringing Miller’s The Crucible to the Steppenwolf for Young Adults program.  I can’t think of a better time to be asking the hard questions about our relationship between truth and lies, reflecting on how that relationship changes when, due to extreme societal circumstances, groups of people feel paralyzed by fear and are bereft of any kind of personal agency.  I cannot wait to have this vital, eerily prescient classic in conversation with the SYA audience.”

Jonathan Berry joined the Steppenwolf staff as Artistic Producer and Director of The School at Steppenwolf in June 2015. A prolific director, he began his work in Chicago as Steppenwolf’s Artistic Office intern in 1998, and has continued a strong relationship with the company since. His Steppenwolf directing credits include Nick Payne’s Constellations, Melinda Lopez's Gary for First Look and A Separate Peace for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, as well as assisting on The Weir, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Mother Courage and Her Children and This is Our Youth. Since 2009, Berry has taught Viewpoints for the School at Steppenwolf. A company member of both Steep and Griffin Theatres, Berry has also directed for many Chicago companies, including Goodman Theatre, Steep, Griffin, Remy Bumppo, Redtwist, Lifeline, and The Gift.

About the Cast & Creative Team
The cast features Echaka Agba (Tituba/Judge Hathorne), Larry Baldacci (Giles Corey/Sarah Good), Taylor Blim (Mary Warren), Naima Hebrail Kidjo (Abigail Williams), Erik Hellman (Reverend Hale), Millie Hurley (Francis Nurse/Rebecca Nurse), Travis Knight (John Proctor), Peter Moore (Reverend Parris), Avi Roque (Ezekiel Cheever/Mercy Lewis), Stephanie Shum (Ann Putnam/Susanna Walcott/Martha Corey), Michael Patrick Thornton (Deputy-Governor Danforth), Kristina Valada-Viars (Elizabeth Proctor/Betty Parris) and Philip Winston (Thomas Putnam/John Willard).

The Crucible production team includes Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Lee Fiskness (lighting design), Kevin O’Donnell (sound design & original music) and Christina Gorman (fight choreographer). Other credits include Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro (artistic producer), JC Clementz (casting director), Michelle Medvin (stage manager) and Kathleen Barrett (assistant stage manager).

Visitor Information & Accessibility
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. The parking facility consists of both a covered garage ($11 cash or card) and an open-air lot, located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance at 1650 N Halsted St starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12 noon before Wednesday matinees. Street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at 312.335.1774.

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance. With the expertise of Assistive Hearing Systems Ltd., Steppenwolf installed an induction loop on both the main and balcony levels of our Downstairs Theatre in 2015. There is also an induction loop installed in the 1700 Theatre.

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks
Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks offers a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open daily from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso is provided by La Colombe and has a new menu for this spring and summer with food prepared by Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service.

Major support for Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by Allstate Insurance Company, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation and United Airlines. Steppenwolf for Young Adults is also supported in part by contributions from The Crown Family, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Northern Trust Company, Field Foundation of Illinois, Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, ITW Foundation, Siragusa Foundation, Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation, Citi Private Bank and Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc; as well as Steppenwolf Associates, a community of dynamic young professionals. Steppenwolf Education is a citywide partner of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) School Partner Program.

Steppenwolf Education’s unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. Every season Steppenwolf for Young Adults creates two full-scale professional productions specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, Steppenwolf’s Education department annually ensures access to the theater for more than 15,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in almost 100 classrooms in public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after-school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations, as well as other teen and community based programs.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble has grown to 49 members who represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. 

For additional information, visit,, and

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