Wednesday, February 22, 2017

OPENING: Collaboraction's World Premiere of Gender Breakdown

 Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Ten female identified performers and an all-female identified production 
and design team 
devised Gender Breakdown, a compilation of true, absurd, uncomfortable 
and gut-punching stories 
culled from more than 200 Chicago theater artists. 

We're so excited to see this timely topic tackled by a female playwright and brought to fruition by an all female identified cast, directed by a woman. I'll be out to review March 3rd, but in the meantime get your tickets and check it out. Collaboraction has been a boon to Chicago for years, tackling the tough issues of violence in Chicago and more, giving voice to new plays, and fostering a strong community. We can't wait to catch this world premiere.

FEBRUARY 16-MARCH 19, 2017

According to a recent study, only 25% of the plays produced in Chicago's 2015-16 theater season had female authors. Only 36% were directed by women. A deeper dive into the numbers suggests larger theaters cast fewer ratios of women than smaller non-equity companies, a sobering reality for female actors thinking about job advancement.

Disappointing stats like these and how the recent presidential election put misogyny and gender equity squarely in the media spotlight spurred 10 female identified performers and an all-female identified production and design team to devise Gender Breakdown.

A compilation of true, absurd, uncomfortable and gut-punching stories culled from more than 200 Chicago theater artists, Collaboraction Theatre Company's first world premiere of 2017 is a response to the lack of gender equity on and offstage. 

Vivid tales of violence, miseducation, segregation, and the ongoing disrespect and marginalization of women - even in Chicago's acclaimed theater industry - pull back the curtain on real issues of misogyny, gender politics and racism within the theater industry and beyond. 

Ultimately, via deeply personal stories from training, auditions, and the rehearsal room, Gender Breakdown theatricalizes the question "How is this possible, that in 2017, females are still marginalized in our community?"

Gender Breakdown is created by Dani Bryant and directed by Erica Vannon - the lead artists behind Spanx You Very Much, an exploration of female body empowerment through a 45-woman dance explosion, and the break-out hit from Collaboraction's 15th and Final SKETCHBOOK Festival in 2016. 

Performances run through March 19: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. No show Thursday, February 23. 

Industry Town Halls are Monday, February 27 and March 13 at 7:30 p.m. 
On February 27, researcher Kay Kron will lead a post-show panel discussion with Deb Clapp, Executive Director, League of Chicago Theatres; Lori Myers, Not in Our House; Laura T. Fischer, Not in Our House; and Kimberly Senior, Collaboraction Founder and Director. The March 13 post-show panel features Kay Kron, Willa Taylor of the Goodman Theatre and more guests TBA.

Gender Breakdown is presented in The Vault at Collaboraction Studios in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets to performances are $20-30; $10-$15 for students, educators and industry. 

For tickets and information, visit or call (312) 226-9633.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

OPENING: The Illusionists at Oriental Theatre February 21-26 For One Week Only

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we caught The Illusionists the last time they came through Chicago a few years back, and we were amazed and well entertained. This is a great all ages show, and even mystifying and fun for the tough to please teen and tween demographic. Highly recommended! 

Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce that individual tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Dec. 14 for the world’s best-selling touring magic show, THE ILLUSIONISTS - LIVE FROM BROADWAY. On the heels of a highly successful multi-city tour and run on Broadway, THE ILLUSIONISTS will play Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) from Feb. 21 to Feb. 26 for a limited one-week engagement.

THE ILLUSIONISTS - LIVE FROM BROADWAY is produced by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and MagicSpace Entertainment. Conceived by Simon Painter, the show’s creative team also includes executive producer Tim Lawson, director Neil Dorward and creative director Jim Millan.

Full of hilarious magic tricks, death-defying stunts and acts of breathtaking wonder, THE ILLUSIONISTS has shattered box office records worldwide and thrilled audiences of all ages with a mind-blowing spectacular showcasing the jaw-dropping talents of seven of the most incredible illusionists on earth.

Creative Producer Simon Painter said, “We can’t wait to bring this electrifying show to Chicago for a truly entertaining experience for the whole family. THE ILLUSIONISTS is the most non-stop and powerful mix of outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on the live stage.”

The seven stars, each a master in their own field, are:

·         The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry. Described as Marilyn Manson meets David Copperfield, Dan combines the art of magic with the macabre and is one of the top-10 most Googled people, thanks to a legendary “America’s Got Talent” appearance.
·         The Trickster, Jeff Hobson is the epitome of glamour and showmanship. Don’t be fooled by his innocent appearance; Jeff has audiences laughing long after the curtain goes down.
·         The Inventor, Kevin James, known for innovative illusions, is an inventor, comedian and collector of the strange and unusual. Kevin is one of the most prolific inventors of magic in the world and has created some of the most celebrated illusions of the last century.
·         The Escapologist, Andrew Basso. Italy’s star escape artist, Andrew considers Houdini his hero and is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular illusionists. He is the only person in the world to perform Houdini’s famous Water Torture Cell with absolutely no covers.
·         The Deductionist, Colin Cloud, one of the greatest thought readers of all time is a psychic savant known as a real-life Sherlock Holmes. Don’t play against him in a game of poker – he’s never lost.
·         The Manipulator, An Ha Lim, 2006 Korea Busan International Magic Competition 1st Prize. 2006 Italy Club Convention Manipulation 1st Prize. 2007 World Magic Seminar in Asia 1st Prize. 2008 World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas - Golden Lion Award. 2008 IBM/SAM Joint Convention Stage Grand Prix. 2009 FISM WCM Manipulation 3rd Prix. 2009 Monte Carlo Magic Stars Special Guest Award
·         The Daredevil, Jonathan Goodwin is widely considered one of the most creative, skilled, and frankly crazy stunt performers in the world. He is an accomplished knife thrower, archer, escape artist, fakir, martial artist, free diver, and free climber. Unlike the other performers in the show, Jonathan is not a magician or illusionist but he will leave any audience breathless with his death-defying stunts.


Tuesday at 7:30 PM
Wednesday at 7:30 PM
Thursday at 7:30 PM 
Friday at 7:30 PM
Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM

Tickets for THE ILLUSIONSISTS at the Oriental Theatre range from $16-$80. A select number of premium tickets are available for many performances. Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 16 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres.  Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including The PrivateBank Theatre, Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

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

OPENING: MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE at The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

February 25 through April 15, 2017

The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

Terry James, Executive Producer
Aaron Thielen, Lead Artistic Director
Andy Hite, Artistic Director

Here at ChiIL Mama, my kids adored the Madagascar movies. Even most of the adults I know cheered on the unlikely Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra in their great escape, buddy movies. Now you can see it LIVE on stage and "move it move it" with the whole family while enjoying your favorite Madagascar tunes. The Marriott Theatre has a stellar reputation for presenting high caliber, world class shows, and their Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences series is no exception.

It’s time to escape the zoo and head to the stage! The musical twist on the blockbuster DreamWorks motion picture, MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE, comes to life for children of all ages at The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire, from February 25 through April 15, 2017, with a press opening on March 4 at 10 a.m. Audiences will join the familiar zoo escapees and embark on a truly unique and “crack-a-lackin’” adventure as each animal enjoys freedom for the very first time after spending their entire life in captivity. MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE, a theatrical interpretation of the 2005 hit film, will be directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery.

“The Marriott Theatre is proud to be producing the Chicago premiere of MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE. We are incredibly excited to be able to share this story with our audiences both young and young at heart”, said Marriott Theatre Artistic Director, Aaron Thielen. “It's exciting to be able to bring these familiar characters from the "big screen" to life on our stage.”

Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo and, of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound onto the stage in this musical adventure. MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE follows all of your favorite zoo friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar. 

This special one-hour presentation for kids (and parents) of all ages is filled with larger-than-life characters, non-stop adventure, and an upbeat score that will make audiences want to “Move It, Move It!” All performances are followed by a Question & Answer session with the cast.

Costume designer (and assistant director) Jesus Perez assures that audiences will be dazzled by the unexpected costumes and innovative puppetry. “Madagascar is already an established idea, but since this is a live production and not a movie, it has opened up a world of creativity for us. This is the perfect vehicle for me as a designer to bring this fantastical world to life,” said Perez.

MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE stars James Earl Jones II as “Marty the Zebra,” Russell Mernagh as “Alex the Lion,” Rashada Dawan as “Gloria the Hippo,” Stephen Schellhardt as “Melman the Giraffe”, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as “King Julien,” Leah Morrow as “Skipper,” Liam Quealy as “Kowalski,” Laura Savage as “Mort and Private,” Elena Romanowski as “Rico,” Samantha Pauly as “Maurice,” and Jed Feder as “Mason.”

MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE runs most Tuesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. with certain performances at 12:30 p.m. Visit or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates may vary. Single ticket prices are $17.23 per person. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling 847.634.5909. Free parking is available at all shows. To reserve tickets, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit

SHORT SHAKESPEARE! ROMEO AND JULIET at Chicago Shakespeare Theater February 25th - March 25th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces cast and creative team for
Abridgment brings Shakespeare's classic to life
beginning February 25

ChiIL Mama will be out for the press opening the first Saturday in March so check back soon after for our full review. We've long been fans of the Short Shakespeare! series. My kids have grown up on it. These productions provide an invaluable introduction to Shakespeare at a manageable length for school groups, without compromising the original language or plot. These shows are not dumbed down in any way and appeal to adults as much as school age children and teens. Show times that are open to the public are limited, so book your tickets ASAP. 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces the cast and creative team for Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet, a 75-minute abridgment of William Shakespeare’s classic tale of true love found—and tragically lost. Adapted and directed by Marti Lyons and featuring a dynamic ensemble cast, the production speaks to today’s young people about their own lives. In addition to public performances on Saturdays, this production welcomes 1,000 students each day during its five-week run in the Courtyard Theater, followed by an extensive tour to schools across the region through April 28, 2017. Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet will be performed for the public Saturdays at 11:00 a.m., February 25–March 25, 2017.

After each performance, the actors remain on stage for a question-and-answer session, before joining the audience in the Lobby for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities.

Marti Lyons makes her Chicago Shakespeare directing debut with Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet—but this is certainly not her first experience with the Theater. She credits attending a CST production of Romeo and Juliet while in high school as her first introduction to Shakespeare’s work—and a formative moment in pursuing theater and directing as a career. In addition to serving as a Maggio Directing Fellow at Goodman Theatre in 2015, Lyons has previously directed at Lookingglass Theatre Company, Haven Theatre, Jackalope Theatre Company and Northlight Theatre. She is also an ensemble member at The Gift Theatre and an artistic associate with Sideshow Theatre.

The Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet cast includes Nate Santana (Romeo), Emma Ladji (Juliet), Karen Janes Woditsch (Nurse–through April 7), Colleen Madden (Nurse–beginning April 10), Tim Decker (Lord Capulet), Brian Grey (Mercutio/Friar John), Elizabeth Laidlaw (Prince/Apothecary), Lily Mojekwu (Lady Capulet–through April 2), Patrese D. McClain (Lady Capulet–beginning April 3), Andrea San Miguel (Benvolio), Sam Pearson(Tybalt), Cage Sebastian Pierre (Balthazar), Andrew Saenz (Paris), Peter Sipla (Peter) and Demetrios Troy (Friar Laurence). With a particular interest in exploring a world where women are positioned as strong leaders and fighters, Lyons has cast the roles of the Prince and Benvolio with women actors.
Joining Lyons on the creative team is Fight Choreographer Matt Hawkins in his 20th CST production. Creating the world of Romeo and Juliet onstage at Chicago Shakespeare and in schools across the region are Scenic Designer Courtney O’Neill, Costume Designer Mieka van der Ploeg, Lighting Designer Greg Hofmann, Sound Designer Misha Fiksel, Wig and Make-up Designer Rick Jarvie and Choreographer Stephanie Paul. Hannah Todd is the production’s Assistant Director, Rinska Carrasco joins as Directing Intern and Kathryn Walsh is Verse Coach.

Chicago Shakespeare’s Short Shakespeare! series is emblematic of the Theater’s commitment to young audiences, which has resulted in one in four audience members being age 18 or under. Whether families attending a summer musical production at Navy Pier or the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour in neighborhoods across the city, or the 40,000 students and teachers each year who participate in celebrated Team Shakespeare education programs—CST strives to bring a theater-going experience to the next generation.

In addition to five weeks of public performances, the production will host student matinee performances in the Theater’s home and then embark on a five-week tour to urban, suburban and rural schools across the Midwest. With a crew of seven and a 20-foot-long box truck, the production will transform each venue, giving students the experience of a fully realized professional performance. Chicago Shakespeare partners with teachers to extend the experience into the classroom, providing show-specific materials and activities in addition to leading free professional development workshops for teachers.

Saturday, February 25, 2017 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 4, 2017 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 11, 2017 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – 11:00 a.m.

For more information, visit
CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeareprograms. An Access Shakespeare performance for Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet will take place on Saturday, March 18 at 11:00 a.m. and includes ASL Duo-interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. During 2016, CST spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

Opening: A Wrinkle in Time at Lifeline Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Lifeline Theatre Presents 
A Wrinkle in Time, 
Opens February 27, 2017
Performance with Touch Tour and Audio Description on March 4
Performance with Open Captioning on March 11

The production runs approximately two hours with one intermission. 

Here at ChiIL Mama, we're SO excited for Lifeline Theatre's latest. A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books as a child and it's been a joy sharing it with my own children. We've been lifelong fans of Lifeline Theatre's fabulous, book based adaptations and world class productions. Tickets are selling out FAST, so book yours ASAP. We'll be out for the press opening, so check back after the 26th for our full review.

Lifeline Theatre presents A Wrinkle in Time, adapted by James Sie (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work, Island of Blue Dolphins), and directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Director–Play, Mariette in Ecstasy), based on the novel by Madeleine L’Engle. Ever since her father vanished under mysterious circumstances, Meg Murray’s life has been spiraling out of control. But one dark and stormy night, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which appear with a promise to help rescue him from the monstrous darkness that threatens the universe. Join Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, their pal Calvin, and a host of extraterrestrial friends and foes as they journey into the heart of a terrible evil in the hope of reuniting a fragmented family. A heartwarming adventure across the stars, in a newly-revised adaptation of the beloved 1963 favorite by Madeleine L’Engle, not seen on the Lifeline stage since 1999. 

**The novel will be on sale in the lobby.**

A Wrinkle in Time runs February 17 – April 9, 2017 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see below). Press opening is Sunday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. Opening night is Monday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, Feb. 17 and 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Feb. 18 and 25 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.)
Regular performance times (March 2 – April 9) are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 for regular single tickets, $30 for active and retired military personnel (with ID), $30 for seniors, $20 for students (with ID), $20 for rush tickets (available half hour before show time, subject to availability), and $20 for previews. Group rate for 12 or more is available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Accessible PerformancesThe Saturday, Mar. 4, 4 p.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 2:30 p.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. The Saturday, Mar. 11, 4 p.m. performance will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Erica Foster at 773.761.4477 x703 or at

The complete cast and production team for A Wrinkle in Time includes:

Guest artists Jamie Cahill (Meg), Trent Davis (Charles Wallace), Javier Ferreira (Mrs. Who), Marsha Harman (Happy Medium), Naïma Hebrail Kidjo (Red Eyes), Michael McKeogh (Father), Carmen Molina (Mrs. Which), Glenn Obrero (Calvin), Maddie Pell (Mrs. Whatsit), James Romney (Chris Henderson), Davu Smith  (Charles Wallace), and Vahishta Vafadari (Mother). With understudies Tyler BrownAnna CivikTom DeFranciscoWhitney DotteryAkua Sarhene, and Tim Sullivan.

Lifeline Theatre ensemble members Alan Donahue (Co-Scenic Designer), Kevin D. Gawley (Lighting Designer), and Elise Kauzlaric (Director); with guest artists Jennifer Aparicio (Stage Manager), Eric Backus (Original Music/Sound Designer), Andrew Hildner (Co-Scenic Designer), Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer), Lavina Jadhwani (Casting Director), Jennifer McClendon (Production Manager), Sam Moryoussef (Master Electrician/AV Supervisor), Dan Plehal (Movement Director), Julia Santha (Assistant Director), Joe Schermoly (Technical Director), and James Sie (Adaptor). 

Lifeline Theatre is accessible by CTA (Red Line Morse stop/busses) and free parking is available at the Field School parking lot (7019 N. Ashland St., entrance on Greenleaf between Ashland and Greenview) 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 34th 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; The Chicago Community Trust: Persons with Disability Fund; The Common Cup; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Flex Print, Inc.; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Grover Hermann Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Poubelle Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of Renaissance Charitable Foundation; Rogers Park Social; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

REVIEW: Luvsome Dog Treats, Toys and Food Exclusively at Kroger

I love my four legged family members, and enjoy bringing my big dogs new treats. So I was thrilled to be able to partner up with Luvsome, and review some of their treats, toys and food. I was sent complimentary samples for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

These heart shaped treats are great for Valentine's Day and beyond. 

I have two big dogs, a Husky-Malamute and a Husky-Beagle and they both loved Luvsome dog food. We eased them in, mixing the new samples with their old standby. It was a huge hit. With calcium for their teeth and meat based protein, it's food I can feel good about serving my 4 legged "kids". They were also big fans of the adorable, heart shaped Luvsome Pumpkin Cranberry Baked Biscuits & the durable ball. All are available exclusively at Kroger. 

My dogs have been energetic, playful, and excited about meal time since we tried Luvsome. They're hit or miss on dry treats and have been known to even spit some out, but they both went nuts for the heart shaped Luvsome Pumpkin Cranberry Baked Biscuits available exclusively at Kroger. 

My dogs are happiest spending time playing with their pack, my family! Kroger's Luvsome balls are durable for strong chewers like my Husky-Malamute.

Disclosure: Once again, it was a treat to partner up with Kroger's Luvsome. I was sent complimentary samples for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Adventures With The Genesis G90 Luxury Sedan at The Chicago Auto Show

There's a newcomer in town for The Chicago Auto Show, with beauty and brains. Hyundai's luxury brand, Genesis, combines sleek lines, and brilliant innovations, and their G90 sedan marks a new beginning for comfort and style. It was our great pleasure to partner up with She Buys Cars and Genesis for this sponsored post and a most enjoyable day at The Chicago Auto Show's media preview. I have been compensated for sharing this information with my readers.

Luxury Alley sounds like an oxymoron, yet this area of The Chicago Auto Show features an astonishing array of eye candy and the latest new and upcoming designs in the luxury automotive world including the Genesis G90. This sedan merges power and posh with cutting edge technology and unmatched customer service. 

Since time is money, Genesis concierge brings door to door service for everything from new car purchases to servicing. This means you never have to step foot in a dealership if you don't want to.

These sedans offer a quiet ride, back seat controls, heated front and back seats, and an attention to detail down to dots of copper inlaid in the leather seats. Navigation, pairing, and driver assist safety features all make driving a breeze whether your attending opening night of a Broadway touring play, entertaining clients, or bringing the family along for the ride. 

I was impressed with the design features which seamlessly merge a classic and classy look with something creative, edgy and utterly new. I still hope to take a test drive so I can experience the quiet power, handling, and comforts in action. Check out Genesis for all the specs and to schedule your test drive.


Visit Genesis at The Chicago Auto Show for your chance to win a Four Seasons Maui Vacation or a 3 Piece Luxury Travel Set.

Disclosure: Once again, it was my great pleasure to partner up with She Buys Cars and Hyundai Genesis on this sponsored post. I have been compensated for sharing this information with my readers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

ChiIL Out With ChiIL Mama This Monday at Lucky Strike for An Epic Chef Fight With Culinary Fight Club Savory Chocolate Edition

Foodie Fun

Culinary Fight Club Savory Chocolate at Lucky Strike FTW

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar 

Come ChiIL out at Culinary Fight Club with ChiIL Mama this Monday night in Chi, IL! We'll part of the live audience and we'll be sharing the fun on social media in real time so you can follow along vicariously. We'll also be shooting a photo recap, and indulging our undying love for chocolate, philanthropy, booze, chefs and pop culture all in one decadent night. ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?! We can't wait to check out this epic chocolate Chef Fight.
The Mayans used it to create a ritual beverage that was shared during marriage ceremonies, providing one of the first known links between chocolate and romance. 

The Latin name for cocoa—Theobroma—literally means, “food of the gods.”

Now we say there is NO better way to start out the 2017 Culinary Fight Club season than with the Food of the Gods and Sharing the Love Ingredient Chocolate to Kick of this year off right!

That’s right Fight Clubbers Chocolate is the name of the game and we're not talking about no Sweet Cupcakes kind of nibbles, we’re talking Food of the Gods kind of a Bite!

Can you handle it? Can you elevate your taste buds and get in our Taster’s Ring for some Chocolate? On Monday February 13th come taste some Killer Chocolate Dishes by ChiTown culinary talented. We seek the elevated savory Food of the Gods kind of dish and we are ready to BITE!

Contestants compete for the chance to win their Golden Ticket
to the 2017 World Food Championships to compete in the
Ultimate FoodThrowdown for a shot at $100,000!

Monthly Live Cooking Competitions around Chicago produced by CULINARY Fight Club. Each month fires up with a new theme, ingredients, contestants, judges, prizes, and location! What's all the hypes about? Watch this video clip and see for yourself!

Contestants or Teams have (60) minutes to impress (3) judges, using (1) 10k BTU Burner and (15) supplied raw ingredients & (3) surprise ingredients, all to be judged on that one perfect bite! Hungry, don’t worry there is also a Taster's Choice Award too! So attendees are encouraged to grab a tasting spoon, dig in and vote for their favorite bite!

Help Out:
With each Culinary Fight Club, we build a bigger and stronger community of people who share a passion for food and giving back. 20% of all Culinary Fight Club Chicago Event proceeds benefit feeding the hungry non-profit - Fight2Feed, a Charitable Organization on a mission to "KO" hunger One Block at a Time starting with Chicago.


Get your tickets here via eventbrite or Facebook for $50.

Mon, February 13, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST

Lucky Strike Chicago
322 East Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Thursday, February 9, 2017

OPENING: World Premiere of Quest, An Original Circus-Theater Production at The Actors Gymnasium

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List: 
Family Friendly Circus Fun

(ages 5+/ run time 80 minutes - no intermission - no late seating)

This weekend ChiIL Mama and the whole family will be ChiILin' in Evanston at The Actors Gymnasium. This stellar little performance venue is a training ground with strong ties to Lookingglass Theatre and alums in theaters and circus arts productions across the city and around the world. Both of my teens have been cast in their youth circus shows and Actors Gymnasium productions have long been favorites of ours. We're particularly excited to see this production since it was written and directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig and Amanda Crockett's in it, two more exceedingly talented, long time favorites of ours. Check back soon for our full review. We highly recommend buying tickets in advance ASAP, as Actors Gymnasium shows do sell out. 

Written and Directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, Quest is Loosely Based on Leo Tolstoy’s Parable “The Three Questions” and Takes the Audience on a Wild Ride to Answer Three Simple, but Very Important Questions 

The Actors Gymnasium is proud to announce the world premiere of Quest, an original circus-theater production adapted and directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, featuring original music by Kevin O’Donnell and loosely based on Leo Tolstoy’s short story “The Three Questions.” Quest, part of Actors Gymnasium’s Annual Winter Circus, runs Saturday, Feb. 11 – Sunday, March 19 at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St. 

Press opening is Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m.  with an opening night party Saturday Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Performance times are Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Running time is approximately 80 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids, students and seniors and are available online at  or 847.328.2795. 

Once online sales are closed, 1 hour and 30 minutes prior to the show start time, the on-location box office will be open. For group reservations and general questions call 847-328-2795. If online sales are sold out, a limited number of tickets will be available at the door the night of the performance.

Quest, loosely based on the Leo Tolstoy story “The Three Questions,” has the protagonist ask three simple, but huge, questions, setting in motion a whirlwind journey to find the answers. The hero with her sidekicks venture through obstacles, misinformation, slapstick fun, unexpected detours, music and songs, near crises and amazing feats of partnership in seek of answers.

"One of my favorite books to read to my kids is “The Three Questions.” It's one of those children's books that gives as much, if not more, to me as to my kids,” said Buxbaum Danzig. “I always thought this would make a great theatrical experience. And, when, Sylvia [Hernandez-DiStasi, Actors Gymnasium artistic director] reached out, I jumped at the chance. I'm a regular winter circus-attendee and I always love the spirit of the show - its mix of professionals, teens, and kids, its generosity with audiences of all ages, its joy, its rigor and its ambition.  Within seconds I thought aha, this might be the time and place for “The Three Questions.””

The cast of Quest includes Flora BareKate BralandDavid CorlewAmanda CrockettEdgar Ortiz and members of Actors Gymnasium’s Teen Ensemble and Young Artists. 

The production team includes Kevin O’Donnell, original music; Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, circus choreographer; Tommy Tomlins, circus co-choreographer and Erin Kilmurray, dance choreographer. Other team members include Jerica Hucke, costume designer; Justine Brock, lighting designer; Isaac Schoepp, rigging designer and Grover Holloway, sound designer.

ABOUT LESLIE BUXBAUM DANZIG, adapter and director
Leslie Buxbaum Danzig is a director primarily of devised theater productions, working with ensembles over the course of a year or more (or less) to create original performances. Her productions often bring together different performance languages (dance-theater, clown-theater, circus-theater). As both theater-maker and audience member she enjoys the unexpected ways in which narrative (of some kind) emerges from shifting performance forms and logics.  

Check out ChiIL Mama's Interview With Leslie Buxbaum Danzig and other top Chicago theatre parents, David Catlin and Frank Maugeri on 
"How Creatives Parent and How Parents Create" during Redmoon's The Elephant and the Whale, with Chicago Children's Theater 

Buxbaum Danzig has worked extensively with Lucky Plush Productions and is currently co-creating/co-directing Roominghouse, slated to premiere in Fall 2017. She is also a co-founder of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown. Other directing credits include Damon Kiely's The Revel with the House Theatre of Chicago; Redmoon's The Elephant and the Whale, with Chicago Children's Theater (with Frank Maugeri); Redmoon's Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC) and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago; and Float with About Face Theater. Prior to turning to directing, she toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC's Elevator Repair Service.  Buxbaum Danzig is an assistant professor of Practice in the Arts, Theater and Performance Studies, University of Chicago. She received her BA from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and trained in physical theater at Écoles Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. 

Since 1995, The Actors Gymnasium has been guided by the vision of a revitalized American theatre: one with performances as thrilling as a rock concert and as mesmerizing as the circus. To that end, they have dedicated themselves to the education and development of multi-skilled, physical-theatre artists.

Actors Gymnasium classes are taught in a 3,000 sq/ft gymnasium space that features a 1,600 sq/ft sprung floor and a fully rigged 24 foot ceiling. All aerial equipment such as the Aerial Hoop, Spanish Web, aerial silks, static trapeze and more are provided, as well as the equipment for ground skills such as unicycling, juggling, tight wire and gymnastics. Additional classes are taught in Studio 108, a 900 sq/ft classroom space that features a floating sprung White Oak dance floor, a fully rigged 14 foot ceiling, a handstand wall, conditioning ladders and room length 12 foot mirrors for aerial work. 

The highly skilled instructors create a non-competitive imaginative environment where students can learn as much from each other as their teachers. Students explore their creativity, build courage, and develop community as they tackle circus and aerial arts, physical theatre and so much more.

The faculty includes Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, a second-generation circus performer, a Master teacher and an award-winning choreographer. American Theatre Magazine has called Physical Theatre Director Molly Brennan “Chicago’s Queen of Mischief and Make-Believe.” The Actors Gymnasium has faculty with circus credentials that stem from training at The Actors Gymnasium, New England Center for Circus Arts, Circus Juventas and National École de Cirque. Instructors have performed with esteemed circus and theatre companies worldwide. For complete bios, 

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