Friday, November 30, 2018

FREE Family Friendly Fun at WRIGLEYVILLE WINTER WONDERLAND December 15 & 16

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:

Wrigley's Ready to Rock The Holidays Like Buckminster Fuller and The Eskimos, 
With Four Heated 40-Foot Geodesic Domes!



A FREE 10,000 Square Foot Holiday Spectacular Featuring Four Heated 40-foot Geodesic Domes Filled With Seasonal Surprises, 3D Hologram Christmas Tree, Light Displays and Santa Claus for Two Days Only 

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce a new immersive pop-up experience coming to Chicago this season: Wrigleyville Winter Wonderland, 947 W. Roscoe, at the corner of Roscoe and Clark Streets, Saturday, Dec. 15 and Sunday, Dec. 16 from 2 – 8 p.m The new Wrigleyville Winter Wonderland is four heated geodesic domes, from the acclaimed company Synergeo (as seen at Mamby on the Beach, Electric Forest and Northcoast Music Festival), that welcome visitors with unique, fun and interactive seasonal experiences. Admission is free and food and non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. 

Wrigleyville Winter Wonderland’s four snow domes include:

·  Santa’s Workshop – guests will be transported to Santa’s workshop in full holiday splendor and opportunities for kids of all ages to be photographed with Santa Claus

·  Santa’s Surf Shack – it may be winter in Chicago, but it’s a trip to the tropics when entering Santa’s Surf Shack with bright colors, brighter lights and a picturesque escape to the beach

·  Ice Cave – the Ice Cave offers its visitors a unique experience like none other in Chicago, making North Clark into the North Pole 

· Christmas Wonderland – camera flashes will only add to the fun of the Christmas Wonderland where the dome is decked out in garland, tinsel and trees of all shapes and sizes.

In addition to the fun inside the domes, there will also be activities and events throughout the weekend including snowboard demonstrations from W82, artwork projected on buildings around Wonderland, crafts for the kids and an ever-changing 3D hologram Christmas Tree. 

All of Chicagoland is invited to Wrigleyville for this new holiday-inspired interactive experience,” said Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maureen Martino. “This Winter Wonderland will be excellent for families, friends, dates – anyone who wants to enjoy and capture the spirit of the season from Holiday selfies to photos for your holiday greetings to just making merry.  Think of it as Wrigleyville’s gift to Chicago – it’s free and filled with fun for everyone.”

In addition to the Wrigleyville Winter Wonderland, three local businesses on Clark Street will be transformed for the holidays!

Making the spirits bright this season are:

Christmas Club – “Wrigleyville’s Original Christmas Pop-Up”
Formerly The Country Club
3462 N. Clark Street
November 28 - January 1, 2019 

With no cover, The Country Club Chicago has become Christmas Club for the holidays, catering to individuals and groups celebrating the holidays with specialty drinks, food and more. Its two floors and three party rooms individually decorated from the floor to ceiling will welcome guests and visits by Santa Claus and other holiday characters through the new year.

Monday – Friday: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. – 3 a.m. 
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. 

Elf’d Up
Formerly The Stretch Bar and Grill
3484 N. Clark Street 
November 23 –  February 1, 2019

The Stretch Bar and Grill for the holidays is Elf’d Up! Join this North Clark Street destination for a full-blown tribute to the movie “Elf!” Guests may enjoy themed cocktails and menu items, ornament decorating nights, a complimentary Santa Cookie Service daily at 10 p.m., a “Get Elf’d Up” happy hour that will benefit Compassion, DJs playing holiday mash-ups and more. The complete schedule of events and daily specials are available on the website, 

Wednesday – Friday: 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Saturday: 3 p.m. - 3 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. (until Bears season ends, then 3 p.m. - 2 a.m.) 

Santa Baby
Formerly Deuces + the Diamond Club
3501 – 05 N. Clark Street
November 21 – January 7, 2019

From the creators of EDM festival Electric Forest comes this immersive Christmas pop-up bar. With wall-to-wall holiday decor, Deuces + the Diamond Club transforms to Santa Baby with several bars and experiences like Brat Haus Beer Hall, Santa’s Workshop and Rudolph's Elf Dive Bar. This bar is ticketed with free admission days: November 21, November 26 – 28 and December 3 – 5.

Monday – Thursday: 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.”
Friday: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 3 a.m. 
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Price: $20

* Dec 17 – 21 Santa Baby will open at 10 a.m.

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, SSA #17 and the Lakeview East Community Partnership sponsor Wrigleyville Winter Wonderland.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar


DEC. 4-17, 2018

ChiIL Mama will be out for the press opening, so check back soon for our full review.

Broadway In Chicago is delighted to announce that a digital lottery will begin Monday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m. for the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. The show will play at Broadway In Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) for a limited two-week engagement December 4—16, 2018.

Twenty tickets will be sold for every performance at $25 each. The lottery will happen online only the day before each performance.  Seat locations vary per performance.

·Follow the link “Click here for details and to enter the lottery”
·Click the “Enter Now” button for the performance you want to attend.
·Fill out the entry form including the number of tickets you would like (1 or 2). Patrons will receive a confirmation email once they have validated their email (one time only) and successfully entered the lottery.
·After the lottery closes, patrons will be notified via email within minutes as to whether they have won or not.
·Winners have 60 minutes from the time the lottery closes to pay online with a credit card.
·After payment has been received, patrons can pick up tickets at the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) no sooner than 30 minutes before show time with a valid photo ID.

Limit 1 entry per person, per performance. Multiple entries will not be accepted. Patrons must be 18 years old and have a valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the names used to enter. Tickets are non-transferable. All lottery prices include a $3.00 facility fee. Ticket limits and prices displayed are at the sole discretion of the show and are subject to change without notice. Lottery prices are not valid on prior purchases. Lottery ticket offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. All sales final - no refunds or exchanges.  Lottery may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. No purchase necessary to enter or win.  A purchase will not improve your chances of winning.

What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby?  You’d get THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Broadway & London’s award-winning smash comedy!  Called “A GUT-BUSTING HIT” (The New York Times) and “THE FUNNIEST PLAY BROADWAY HAS EVER SEEN” (HuffPost), this classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania delivering “A RIOTOUS EXPLOSION OF COMEDY” (Daily Beast).  Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “TONS OF FUN FOR ALL AGES” (HuffPost) and “COMIC GOLD” (Variety) – sure to bring down the house!

Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces The ‘Cornley University Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.

The Broadway production of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017. The show, which was slated to close on Broadway in August of this year, will extend its run due to popular demand through January 6, 2019. By then, the Broadway production will have played 27 previews and 745 performances, making it the 2nd longest running show in the history of the Lyceum Theatre. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG received a Tony Award for Best Set Design,’s Audience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.

Awarded the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2014 WhatsOnStage Best New Comedy and 2015 UK BroadwayWorld Best New Play Awards, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is now in its fourth year in the West End, is currently on a 30 week UK tour and playing on six continents. The producers have avoided Antarctica for fear of a frosty reception. 

It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance, and has gone on to play to an audience of over 2 million people around the world.

Mischief Theatre, the Olivier Award-winning theatre company led by Artistic Director Henry Lewis and Company Director Jonathan Sayer, was founded in 2008 by a group of graduates of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and began as an improvised comedy group. Mischief Theatre performs across the UK and internationally with improvised and original scripted work.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG tour is directed by Matt DiCarlo with original Broadway direction by Mark Bell, featuring set design by Nigel Hook, lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson and costume design by Roberto Surace.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd., Catherine Schreiber, Ken Davenport, Double Gemini Productions / deRoy-Brunish, Damian Arnold / TC Beech, Greenleaf Productions / Bard-Roth, Martian Entertainment / Jack Lane / John Yonover, and Lucas McMahon.

For more information, visit or follow
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @BwayGoesWrong

Tuesdays at 7:30PM
Wednesdays at 2PM and 7:30PM (no matinee performance on Wednesday, December 5)
Thursdays at 7:30PM
Fridays at 7:30PM
Saturdays at 2:00PM and 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM (no evening performance on Sunday, December 16)

Individual tickets are on sale now and range in price from $25-$98 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing  For more information, visit

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 18 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 more than 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 Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Oriental 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


Storefront holiday favorite
returns this holiday season at The Den Theatre

New, expanded version of the storefront hit produced by
Yippee Productions LLC, comprised of
MCL Chicago,
Drew DeSantis, Jim Jensen and Mark Michelson

DECEMBER 1, 2018 – JANUARY 12, 2019

ChiIL Mama will be out for the press opening Wednesday, December 5th, so check back soon for our full review.

Yippee Productions LLC, a new partnership between lead producer Drew DeSantis (Producer at Drury Lane Productions), Jim Jensen (Drury Lane, Royal George, Commercial Theater Producer and General Manager), Mark Michelson (MJA Ventures Chicagoland Theatre Fund, Founder) and the Board of Directors of the former storefront comedy theater MCL Chicago (2014-2018), announces an expanded version of the hit holiday musical Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody. The book and score is conceived by Michael Shepherd Jordan, Alex Garday and Stephanie McCullough with direction by Tiffani Moore Swalley,

Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody runs December 1, 2018 – January 12, 2019 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee in Wicker Park. 

Gary Fields (Hans Olo)

 Nate Curlott (FBl Johnson)

Bruce McClane, a grizzled blue-collar NYPD cop, tries to reconcile with his estranged white collar wife Holly Generic at her job at the Nakatomi Plaza in sunny Los Angeles on Christmas Eve in 1987. German terrorist Hans Olo and his henchmen take the cast and audience hostage and it is up to Bruce—with some help from the LAPD, FBI and Arnold Schwartzen-Schnitzel—to save everyone before time runs out. Audience favorite characters like FBI Johnson, Hans Olo, and of course Bruce McClane return with new toe-tapping musical numbers and hilariously nostalgic ‘80s references in this expanded two-act musical.

“Yippee was our marquee holiday production while running MCL,” notes Michael Shepherd Jordan. “Over the four years we produced the show, it grew into a Chicago holiday tradition for us and our loyal audience. We’re thrilled to partner with esteemed Chicago producers to elevate this show and take it from storefront to an established venue.”

Garday adds, “As the former Artistic Director of MCL Chicago, I wanted the space to function exactly like a storefront theater should - as a space to workshop and refine this show so that it’s now ready for a broader mainstream theatrical audience. "The producers have provided the financial and operational support to allow the creative team to make this production the biggest, funniest, most wonderful run to date.”

“The juxtaposition of turning an action movie into a musical, no less a beloved holiday action movie like Die Hard, is ripe for parody,” comments producer Drew DeSantis. “As the lead producer for this musical, it has been a true pleasure working with Michael, Alex, and Stephanie to elevate this show to the next level. Jim, Mark, and I are thrilled to support a home-grown Chicago production as we fully develop this storefront favorite for a wider audience. It’s what Chicago theater should be doing.”

Erin Long (Klause)

 Ashley Geron

The cast features Jonathan Allsop (Fabrique/Theo), Caitlyn Cerza (Holly Generic), Nate Curlott (FBl Johnson), Gary Fields (Hans Olo), Ashley Geron (Officer Johnson), Bill Gordon (Bruce McClane), Jin Kim (Nakatomi), Terrance Lamonte Rogers Jr. (Carl Winslow), Erin Long (Klause), and Jenna Steege (Willis).

The creative team includes Eric Lucien (scenic design), Stephanie McCullough (sound design and music direction) and Sheena Laird (fight direction). The complete creative team will be announced at a later date.

Performances of Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are on sale now at For updates and information follow Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas on Facebook and Instagram @yippeethemusical, as well as

Previews: December 1 - 2, 2018
Regular run: December 6, 2018 – January 12, 2019

Thursdays:      8:00 p.m.                                                         
Fridays:            8:00 p.m.                                                            
Saturdays:        8:00 p.m.                                                           
Sundays:          3:00 p.m.

The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.


Box Office:                                           
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave
773-697-3830, or visit

About The Den Theatre
Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den in 2010 with a single theatre space. Seven years later, The Den boasts five intimate and unique theaters on two floors ranging from 50 – 200 seats, as well as two additional spaces primarily used for classes and rehearsals. The Den is also equipped with two bars enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. The Den is home to seven resident theatre companies including First Floor Theater, Haven Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, The New Colony, Broken Nose Theatre, WildClaw Theatre and Firebrand Theatre. Hundreds of other companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theaters, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Silk Road Rising and First United Methodist Church Co-Present Christmas Mubarak

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Get your tickets for Christmas Mubarak Now!
Silk Road Rising and First United Methodist Church Co-Present
Christmas Mubarak
Adapted & Directed by Corey Pond
Choir Direction by Erik Nussbaum

I've personally known Choir Director, Erik Nussbaum, and his wife, Karen, for years. I'm elated to see that they're both involved in this collaboration with Silk Road Rising. I've also caught many of Silk Road Rising's fabulously enlightening and engaging multicultural productions over the years. Kudo to all involved for advancing tolerance and the true spirit of the season with this unique melding of Muslim and Christian storytelling, celebrating the birth of Jesus. 

November 30th thru December 11th
Fridays - 8pm
Saturdays - 2pm
Sundays - 2pm
Mondays - 7:30pm
Tuesdays - 7:30pm

Christmas Mubarak is a first-of-its-kind musical / theatre interplay of the Quranic and New Testament stories that celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus as told by Muslims and Christians.

This festive holiday performance features actors from our Silk Road communities and choir members from the First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple.

$35 General Seating
$25 Members of any spiritual tradition using discount code FAITH

This production of Christmas Mubarak is supported by the Landau Family Foundation and The Interfaith Fund.

Earlier this year, The American Theatre Wing, best known as the creator of the Tony Awards,  awarded Silk Road Rising with its 2018 National Theatre Company grant.

In the words of American Theater Wing, “companies chosen to receive the grants have articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre.”

The National Theatre Company Grant is an annual investment in ten innovative theatre companies making local impact across the nation by connecting their community to excellence in the performing arts. Silk Road Rising stands out for its efforts to integrate Asian and Middle Eastern American stories into American theatre.

“The most valued recognition is the recognition of one’s peers. Being recognized now twice by the American Theatre Wing communicates to us that the mission of Silk Road Rising matters to the American theatre and deepens the American story,” said Jamil Khoury, Founding Artistic Director.

Monday, November 26, 2018

GIVEAWAY: WIN 4 FREE Meal Passes To Any Ovation Restaurant and Two Dork Diaries Series Books

Enter below for your chance to WIN through midnight January 1st, 2019!

One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will WIN Four (4) free meal passes for you and your family to enjoy a meal at any of Ovation Brands’ locations as well as 
one (1) Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life book and one (1) Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO-Happy Birthday book. Open nationwide. 

Thursdays are Dork Diaries Family Nights at All Ovation Restaurants Like Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, Hometown Buffet, Country Buffet – and Furr’s Fresh Buffet through November 15th

Here at ChiIL Mama we're all about encouraging an early love of reading, and creating low tech family memories. That's why we're excited to partner up once again with Ovation Restaurants, to promote their Dork Diaries Series Family Nights. Check out their exciting lineup for the next 6 Thursdays, and enter below for your chance to win free food passes and books.

Ovation Brands’ portfolio of restaurants – Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, Hometown Buffet, Country Buffet – and Furr’s Fresh Buffet are rolling out a new Family Night promotion featuring the popular children's books, Dork Diaries. Dork Diaries is a humorous children's book series written and illustrated by Rachel Renée Russell. The series, written in a diary format, uses drawings, doodles, and comic strips to chronicle the daily life of its 14-year-old protagonist, Nikki Maxwell, in and outside of middle school.

The featured activities are as follows:
November 29 - Happy Birthday To You
December 6 - Rock On!
December 13 - Dear, Diary
December 20 - Celebrate Good Times
December 27 - Happy Almost New Year
January 3 - Pet Sitting 101

Enter HERE for your chance to WIN through midnight January 1st, 2019! 
Open nationwide. Extra entries for social media shares, so enter early and often. One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will WIN Four (4) free meal passes for you and your family to enjoy a meal at any of Ovation Brands’ locations as well as 
one (1) Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life book and one (1) Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO-Happy Birthday book.

Entries accepted through midnight, January 1st, 2019. Enter like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.

Disclosure: It's our pleasure to partner up with Ovation Brands' once again, on a great giveaway for ChiIL Mama's readers. They have provided complimentary meal passes and books. As always, all opinions are my own.

REVIEW: The House Theatre’s Nutcracker playing through December 30th, 2018

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List: Top Family Friendly Holiday Theatre Productions
The House Theatre's "Ballet Free" Nutcracker 

Photo Credit: Kimberly Robb Baker

Guest Review:
by Kimberly Robb Baker

The House Theatre’s Nutcracker is a loving, poignant and joyful experience for family members of all ages.  

I attended with my 10-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter and ageless mother. The production was a hit with all three generations and one we’re sure to return to in coming years. Though we love Tchaikovsky, it didn’t bother us a bit that this was a ballet-free version. In fact, the absence of toe shoes—along with an innovative book/adaptation by Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell, and Tommy Rapley—made the story accessible for audiences looking for less formal entertainment.

All production photos by Michael Brosilow

There was dancing and singing of a musical theatre variety, including an opening number which made the small cast seem like one several times its size. There were cookies and laughter and gasps—also moments so still I could hear many others quietly weeping and know I wasn’t the only one who was touched by the performance.

Hailey Bolithon as Clara and Desmond Gray as her brother (and nutcracker) Fritz were the emotional anchors of the story. Clara’s love for Fritz and desire to rescue Christmas from the ratty little teeth of grief are compelling, as are Clara and Fritz’s connected sibling relationship and powerful singing voices.

Ben Hertel (Hugo, the Robot), Johnny Arena (Sock Monkey) and Rachel Shapiro (Phoebe, the doll--the favorite of both the kids) round out Clara’s posse with humor and warmth that balance the sadness, anger, and tension of her parents, deftly played by Nicholas Bailey and Amanda de la Guardia. Rom Barkhordar was enchanting as Clara’s eccentric uncle, and all “adult” actors played double-duty as convincing rats that were scary enough to startle, but portrayed within a cartoonish reality in which death is but a temporary inconvenience.

The snow play at intermission was tremendous fun and gave the kids a chance to get their wiggles out before the second half.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Robb Baker

This was our first time seeing the show, but I’m told there are new musical pieces added this year that further enhance the production many have come to love.

The House Theatre is appropriately named. A homey hospitality defined our time there from the self-accompanied singer on the lower level to the warm welcome from the ushers and even a parting gift of stationary kids could use to write to the characters with a guarantee of hearing back from them.

The sense of intimacy and family was cemented in its theatre-in-the-round setup as well as actors and ushers who interacted with the audience before and during the show.

Nutcracker will be playing through December 30th.

Kimberly Robb Baker is a Chicago based writer, blogger, consultant, story teller, and mother. 
You can find her worky stuff here: and her artsy fartsy stuff here:

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: 
The House Theatre's Nutcracker 

The House Theatre of Chicago's all-original, ballet-free and family-friendly production of The Nutcracker has been a family favorite of ours for years. The kids love to play in the fake snow at intermission, making snow angels on stage, and having snow fights. Toys come to life to sing and dance, and even the scary parts are fun, with a giant, multi headed rat puppet to be battled inside of cracking walls. We love that the nutcracker is a hero Marine in real life, who makes the ultimate sacrifice and returns to come to life each night and battle beside his sister. We also love that the main character is a brave girl and a rockin' role model who fights not only giant rats, but grief and loss as well. You may think you've seen The Nutcracker story many times before, but you've never seen it like THIS. Highly recommended. 



*NOTE: special family events on Nov. 25th and Dec. 2nd!

Sunday, Nov 25, 1pm - 4:30pm 
Family Day offers "extras" for our younger guests ages 5+. Come early for kids' crafts including cookie decorating from our partners at Whole Foods Lakeview. Watch the 2pm matinee, and then join in a talkback for kids after the show lead by teen reviewer Ada Grey!

Sunday, Dec 2, 2pm - 5pm 
Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performances welcome everyone to attend the production in a safe, non-judgmental space. Stage lights and sounds are dimmed, and house lights are dimmed but remain on. Guests can come and go from the audience as needed - we’ll provide quiet spaces in the lobby. We aim to ease the experience for those with sensory sensitivities, very young children, and anyone who would benefit from more leeway as an audience member. Before the show, the stage, lobby, puppets, and actors will be available to help everyone get acclimated.

Use code ACCESS for $20 tickets for this show.

Tommy Rapley Returns to Direct The House Theatre of Chicago’s 
Annual Performance of The Nutcracker

The House Theatre of Chicago brings back the hit holiday production with its annual engagement of The Nutcracker, an all-original, ballet-free and family-friendly production playing at The Chopin Theatre upstairs theatre, 1543 W. Division, November 8 – December 30. Company Members Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell and Tommy Rapley created the adaptation based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story with original direction and choreography by Tommy Rapley. 

The regular performance schedule is Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. with an added Sunday 6 p.m. performance on December 9, 16 and 23. Note: There are no performances on Nov. 9 or 17 and there are additional added performances on Friday, Nov. 23 at 3 p.m., and Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Regular run tickets $30 – $50. Student and industry same-day discounted tickets are available for $20 for all dates, based on availability. Tickets may be purchased by calling 773.769.3832 or by visiting

The House’s unique take on this classic story has become an annual tradition for many offering something for everyone during the holiday season. The show is fast-paced, beautifully choreographed, family-friendly and moving for even those who might be on the Grinch’s side from time to time.

This fantastical expansion of the holiday classic centers on Clara’s journey to save Christmas in the face of grief. With the help of a magical nutcracker, the brave girl risks the darkness, fights the Rat King and saves her family. A modern holiday tradition weaving together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original songs and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope — a meaningful outing fit for the whole family.

The House’s production of The Nutcracker is adapted from “The Nutcracker and the Mouse,” a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann by Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell, and Tommy Rapley. The production premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2007 under the Visiting Company Initiative and has enjoyed highly acclaimed runs with The House since 2010, as well as productions in Miami. In 2016, The House revamped the show during a workshop at the Chicago Performance Lab. Repeat fans will notice the addition of new musical pieces and new audience members continued to delight in the production’s creativity and heart 

The 2018 ensemble features many returning faces including Company Members Ben Hertel as Hugo, the Robot, and Johnny Arena as Monkey. Also returning are Desmond Gray as Fritz, the Nutcracker, Rachel Shapiro as Phoebe, the doll, Nicholas Bailey as David and Quite Scary Rat, and Amanda de la Guardia as Martha and Really Scary Rat. New to the cast are Rom Barkhordar as Uncle Drosslemeyer and Really Quite Scary Rat, and in the leading role, actress Hailey Bolithon (recently starring in Hatfield & McCoy) plays Clara. 

All production photos by Michael Brosilow


The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has won 22 Joseph Jefferson Awards, became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 17th season of original work is underway and The House will continue its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.  

Friday, November 23, 2018

REVIEW: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Drury Lane Theatre Through January 27, 2019

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List:

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 
at Drury Lane Theatre 
Music by Alan Menken 
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice 
Book by Linda Woolverton 
Originally Directed by Robert Jess Roth
Originally Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions

Through January 27, 2019
**Beauty and the Beast is suitable for all audiences but most enjoyable for ages 5 and up** 

Guest Review by
Lori Morrison-Contreras

“A Tale as Old as Time”, Beauty and the Beast is a story of longing, determination, strength, courage and standing up for yourself and others even when it is the unpopular thing to do.

This new version at Drury Lane is a fresh new take on an old classic. We had the pleasure of sitting next to someone who had never seen any version of Beauty and The Beast so was seeing it for the first time here live. Her laughter and sheer delight were a joy to experience! 

The main set piece, a revolving, curved, grand staircase (a scenic design from Kevin Depinet) was fantastic! 

Although at times it was a stretch to see what was happening below the stairs, “Belle’s room in the castle for example, it did much to transform the stage from castle, to woods to town. It added a majestic quality to the castle and an eariness to the battles with wolves in the woods. 

The music (by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice) and dancing (choreographed by Ron De Jesus) was beautifully done! 

I brought my 11 Belle loving daughter with me! This was her first live version of Beauty and The Beast. Be Our Guest was so incredibly done and was easily both of our favorite part of the entire night! Along with the singing and dancing, the costuming (Ryan Park) and lighting (Ryan O’Gara) really made this scene come alive. It really was a magical moment!

My daughter takes Costume Design classes herself was in love with all the costume, especially Belle’s dress at the end. 

Finally, not to give too much away, but we were both fascinated with the unique way they created the Beast’s rose. 

I would definitely recommend it for all ages!

Lori is an unschooling Chicago mom who lives in Little Village with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. She is a 2nd degree black belt in TKD and a burlesque dancer, who teaches self defense and works for Edge Theatre, NFP.

The cast of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast includes Brandon Contreras (Beast), Erica Stephan (Belle), Mark Banik (Gaston), Sophie Ackerman (Chip), Graham Carlson (Chip, at certain performances), Tony Carter (Lumiere), Nick Cosgrove (Cogsworth), Mark David Kaplan (Maurice), Catherine Smitko (Madame de la Grande Bouche), Bri Sudia (Mrs. Potts), Allison Sill (Babette), and Paul Michael Thomson (Lefou). The ensemble includes Jeremiah Alsop, Anthony Avino, Greg Blackmon, Isaiah Silvia-Chandley, Liz Conway, Shantel Cribbs, Timothy P. Foszcz, Samuel Gardner, Maya Kitayama, Ivory Leonard IV, Omar Madden, Courtney Martin, Conner Wayne Milam, Zach Porter, Emma Rosenthal, Billy Rude, Monica Thomas, and Shanna VanDerwerker.

The creative team includes Kevin Depinet (Scenic Design), Ryan Park (Costume Design), Ryan O’Gara (Lighting Design), Ray Nardelli (Sound Design), Cassy Schillo (Properties Design), Claire Moores (Wig & Hair Design), Amber Wuttke (Makeup Design) and Kate DeVore (Dialect Consultant).

Based on the beloved Academy Award-winning Disney film, this nine-time Tony nominated musical continues to win the hearts of people all over the globe. Trapped in her provincial town life, an intelligent, young beauty risks everything to become the heroine of her own story and break a wicked spell imprisoning a castle full of enchanting misfits and a terrifying beast.

Brandon Contreras (Beast), Erica Stephan (Belle), Mark Banik (Gaston), Sophie Ackerman (Chip), Graham Carlson (Chip, at certain performances), Tony Carter (Lumiere), Nick Cosgrove (Cogsworth), Mark David Kaplan (Maurice), Catherine Smitko (Madame de la Grande Bouche), Bri Sudia (Mrs. Potts), Allison Sill (Babette), and Paul Michael Thomson (Lefou). The ensemble includes Jeremiah Alsop, Anthony Avino, Greg Blackmon, Isaiah Silvia-Chandley, Liz Conway, Shantel Cribbs, Timothy P. Foszcz, Samuel Gardner, Maya Kitayama, Ivory Leonard IV, Omar Madden, Courtney Martin, Conner Wayne Milam, Zach Porter, Emma Rosenthal, Billy Rude, Monica Thomas, and Shanna VanDerwerker.

Creative Team: 
Kevin Depinet (Scenic Design), Ryan Park (Costume Design), Ryan O’Gara (Lighting Design), Ray Nardelli (Sound Design), Cassy Schillo (Properties Design), Claire Moores (Wig & Hair Design), Amber Wuttke (Makeup Design) and Kate DeVore (Dialect Consultant)

Regular run: Through January 27, 2019 

Thursdays: 1:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Fridays: 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 5:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. 
Sundays: 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Location: Drury Lane Theatre at 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace

Single Tickets: $60 – $75
Wednesday and Thursday matinees: $60
Thursday and Sunday evenings: $70
Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees: $75
Senior Citizens start at $55 for matinees
Student group tickets available
Dinner and show packages available 

Box Office: 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace
630.530.0111, Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000
or visit

2019/2020 Season and Subscription Information
Drury Lane's 2018/2019 season will conclude with the global smash-hit Mamma Mia! featuring the music of ABBA (February 7 – April 14, 2019). The 2019/2020 season will include two award-winning Regional Theatre premieres – the imaginative Matilda (April 26 – June 23, 2019), based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, and the beautifully captivating Gershwin musical An American in Paris (January 31 – March 29, 2020). The thrilling season also includes the revival of the exhilarating The Color Purple (September 13 – November 3, 2019), based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel; the magical musical for all ages Mary Poppins (November 15 – January 19, 2020); and Agatha Christie’s edge-of-your-seat murder mystery And Then There Were None (July 12 – September 1, 2019).

Subscriptions for the 2019/2020 Season are priced from $157 to $187 and are currently on sale. Subscribers receive special offers on dining, flexible ticket exchanges, and early notification and priority seating for added events and concerts. For more information, visit

The performance schedule for all productions during the 2018/2019 season is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $40 for matinees. Dinner and show packages are also available. For individual ticket on-sale dates and ticket reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111 or TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit

About Drury Lane Theatre 
Under the leadership of President Kyle DeSantis and Artistic Director William Osetek, Drury Lane Theatre is a major force in the Chicagoland theatre scene, presenting world-class productions in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading actors, artists, writers, and directors. Over the past 30 years, Drury Lane has staged more than 2,000 productions and has been nominated for more than 360 Joseph Jefferson Awards. Drury Lane is committed to breathing new life into beloved classics and introducing audiences to exciting new works. 

Throughout its 30-year history, Drury Lane has employed more than 7,500 actors and 10,000 musicians, designers, and crew members to entertain upwards of nine million audience members. Originally founded by Anthony DeSantis, Drury Lane Theatre remains a family-run organization known for producing breathtaking Broadway classics, top-rated musicals, bold new works, hilarious comedies, and unforgettable concert events.