Friday, January 18, 2019

WIN A SLIME BASH CHICAGO Family 4 Pack of Two-Day General Admission Tickets ($140 Value) March 30-31 at Pheasant Run Resort

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:



Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL | March 30-31
 Saturday: 10-4PM | Sunday: 9-3PM

One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will WIN 4 Two-Day General Admission Tickets 
($140 Value). Enter below.

Pheasant Run Resort is a local favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama, for family friendly fun. They've hosted us in the past for a blogger weekend where we enjoyed their multiple pools, driving range and Escape Room fun. We're pleased to partner up with them on a promotion once again. The last weekend in March there will be even more family fun happening at Pheasant Run Resort, with Slime Bash Chicago! The World’s Largest Slime Convention. Check it out. 

Slime Bash Chicago!  The World’s Largest Slime Convention is Chicago Bound! Thousands of ticket holders are attending this 2-day event! Chicago is the 4th Slime Bash Team Maddie Rae has held, with the last events attracting over 12,000 attendees! In addition to celebrities and influential business entrepreneurs, the event continues to attract international ticket holders from as far away as India, Australia, Israel, Spain, Educador, and Brazil.
While the event was created as an event to celebrate “all things slime,” it has turned into a powerful display of entrepreneurial spirit among the tween, largely female demographic.

Event Features:
VIP Section: Meet, take pictures with and purchase slime & merch from 30 of the hottest slime influencers on Instagram and YouTube all in one place

Slimer Alley: Meet, purchase and trade slime with nearly 50 of the best up and coming slimers

Make Your Own Slime Pits: Purchase tokens to make professional slime on-site
Trading Arena: Ticket holders can trade slime and other goodies with other attendees and participants

Live Slime Demo’s, Q&A sessions, Trivia, and Slime Giveaways on stage from VIPs throughout the day on Saturday & Sunday

Slime Making Competition: Enter your slime to win big prizes and trophies.
Slime Acrobatics Contest: Show off your slime flipping and other tricks to win trophies and prizes.

Slime Speed Making Pits:  Continuous speed slime making speed rounds for prizes

Enjoy our three Selfie Booths with fun slime props
Free Maddie Rae Tattoo and Nail Stations
Make your mark on our Great Wall of Slime! Add your own slime to a giant wall of slime- the outcome is a beautiful “slime painting!”
Maddie Rae’s “Pop Up Shop:” purchase newly released slime products and a Limited Edition, VIP Commemorative Poster!

Mega Bash VIP After Hour Party, Saturday, 7-9pm:
Exclusive entry for Mega Bash ticket holders only
Meet Maddie Rae and  other VIPS up close & personal
DJ dance party, super fun games, giveaways and variety of lite bites & beverages

WHEN: Saturday, March 30th, 9am early entry for Mega Bash Ticket Holders, General admission 10-4; Sunday, March 31st, 9am-3pm

WHERE: Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main Street, St. Charles, IL 60174

TO PURCHASE TICKETS:  Tickets on sale now at!

Mega Bash Ticket (*Selling FAST): $85, Two-day pass, featuring 1 Hour early admission on Saturday, plus entry to an after-hours VIP party on Saturday night from 7-9pm.

Two-Day General Admission Ticket: $35

Single Day Saturday Ticket: $25

Single Day Sunday Ticket: $20

One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will WIN a Family 4 Pack of Two-Day 
General Admission Tickets 
($140 Value). 
Good March 30-31 at Pheasant Run Resort

Disclosure: We have been provided with complimentary tickets for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are our own.

WIN 4 Tickets To Opening Night of Disney On Ice presents Mickey's Search Party January 24th at Allstate Arena

Disney on Ice presents Mickey's Search Party at Allstate Arena, Jan. 24-27 and Feb. 7-10; United Center, Jan. 30 to Feb. 2

Enter Below for your chance to WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets

One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will WIN 4 Tickets To Opening Night of Disney On Ice presents Mickey's Search Party Thursday, January 24th at Allstate Arena. Enter through midnight Monday, January 21st.

One of my fabulous freelancers, Kim, will be out with her kids to review on opening night as well, so check back with ChiIL Mama shortly after. 

Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is bringing guests closer to the magic than ever before through dynamic and immersive moments that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats. 

The multi-week extravaganza opens Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Allstate Arena and moves to the United Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30, before returning to the Allstate Arena for a final week on Thursday, Feb. 7. Get your tickets and more show information HERE.

Beautifully told through artistic skating, Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party brings together sensational ice skaters and special effects that will take you on a participatory and magical adventure with your favorite Disney pals. Embark on a quest with Mickey Mouse and friends as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell, travel to wintry Arendelle and sing along with Queen Elsa as she builds her ice palace, sail away with Moana on her voyage across the ocean and bravely encounter the fiery wrath of Te Ka, and much more. Bring your family together on this special journey and create unforgettable memories to last a lifetime!

Disney On Ice Brings You Closer to the Disney Magic Than Ever Before!
Join Mickey Mouse and his friends at Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party, a brand-new adventure filled with world-class skating, high-flying acrobatics and unexpected stunts! Help them follow Captain Hook’s treasure map and look for clues in the search for Tinker Bell in immersive, fantastic worlds. Explore the colorful spirit realm of Coco in Miguel’s Disney On Ice debut, sail away with Moana as she bravely saves her island, see Belle in the sky above you as the enchanted chandelier comes to life, and sing-along with Elsa in the icy world of Frozen.

Make memories with your whole family during Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out magical celebration on the ice, in the air, and all around!


One of ChiIL Mama's lucky readers will WIN 4 Tickets To Opening Night of Disney On Ice presents Mickey's Search Party Thursday, January 24th at Allstate Arena. Enter through midnight Monday, January 21st.


Disclosure: ChiIL Mama's been partnering up with Disney on Ice for years. They have provided complimentary tickets for our giveaway and for review purposes. As always, all opinions are our own.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Writers Theatre opens the 2019 tour of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights With FREE MLK Day Chicago Performance at the Chicago History Museum

Writers Theatre opens the 2019 tour of
The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights
By Yolanda Androzzo
Directed by Tasia A. Jones
Featuring Angela Alise

Free performance at the Chicago History Museum
on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 21, 2019

Writers Theatre opens its 13th annual tour of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights, written by Yolanda Androzzo, directed by Tasia A. Jones and featuring Angela Alise. A special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day public performance will take place at 10:30am on January 21 at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark Street in Chicago. The kickoff event also includes a post-show community discussion. The event is free and open to the public, and audience members will also receive free museum admission for the remainder of the day.

Weaving together poetry, hip hop and history, The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights is a one-woman show that follows Chicago student Alaya’s personal transformation through studying the Civil Rights Movement. Alaya uses her fists as an outlet for anger. After interviewing local heroes of the Movement, she discovers she can put “anger into action” and that her power is in her voice and her hip hop, not violence.

Seen by more than 77,000 students, this dynamic, cross-cultural, multi-media performance interlaces personal interviews of Chicago-based Civil Rights activists, featuring both celebrated and unsung heroes of the Movement, such as Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles, Founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Puerto Rican poet and activist David Hernandez, among others. 

The 2019 production will tour to more than 35 venues during its 6-week run, including  Chicago Public Schools, community centers, and juvenile detention centers.  All performances on the tour include a post-show discussion and a study guide with wrap-around curriculum.

Writers Theatre will also feature two special onsite performance of The MLK Project on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 at 4:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets for this performance are $20 for adults and $10 for students and may be purchased by calling the WT Box Office at 847-242-6000 or

Dates: Monday, January 21, 10:30am – Chicago History Museum (Free)
Saturday, February 2nd, 4:00pm & 7:00pm – WT’s Gillian Theatre   (Paid: $20 adults; $10 students)

The 2019 tour of The MLK Project is made possible in part by support from Allstate, Major Corporate Sponsor.  Additional supporters of The MLK Project and Writers Theatre’s education programs in 2019 include: The Crown Family, Northern Trust Charitable Trust, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Petersen Aluminum Corporation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Dr. Scholl Foundation, and The Seabury Foundation.

Writers Theatre Education Programs are aimed at exploring text, nurturing the creativity of young people and instilling appreciation of the arts for future generations. Through comprehensive programming in schools, on-site and through community-based initiatives, WT Education’s curriculum is designed to emphasize collaboration, cultivate self-expression, encourage imaginative inquiry and promote civic responsibility and social justice.

Additional Writers Theatre’s Education Programs include:

Write On! a flexible artist-in-residence program customized for each school and group of students. Write On! pairs teaching artists with schools and community organizations in dynamic explorations of performance and text with a focus on encouraging young people to find their creative voices.  Writers Theatre has provided after-school drama programs, in-depth Shakespeare or mythology workshops, ethnographic performance and dramaturgy units, and poetry and writing classes in collaboration with CPS schools, community organizations and juvenile detention centers.

The Novel Series, a cutting-edge theatre and literary arts curriculum designed to allow students to explore literature and the art of bringing text to life. Under the guidance of a Writers Theatre Teaching Artist, students engage in a layered study of a book and enter a rigorous artistic process that merges writing, discussion, and vocabulary with arts-integrated theatre projects. Residencies culminate in a final performance of student-created work as students use voice, body, and imagination to make new and exciting connections to the text.

ACTIVATE is Writers Theatre’s wraparound residency designed to deepen students’ engagement with the art on our stages. Students and teachers involved in ACTIVATE attend an exclusive student-only matinee performance of a play in our season, prepare for and extend their experience at the theatre through in-school pre and post-performance participatory workshops designed to investigate contextual information and the major themes in the play, and participate in a post-show discussion with WT artists and educators.

Writers Theatre Youth Council, an artistic leadership advisory board for motivated, passionate high school students interested in hands-on, in-depth exposure to arts administration. Council members get behind-the-scenes access to Writers Theatre productions, artists, and programs, participate in play readings and artistic discussion groups, host youth nights at the theatre, and develop artistic leadership skills. Youth Council members attend after-school meetings, performances at the theatre, and workshops. Youth Council members represent a valued voice in theatre operations.

Writers also began offering Onsite Theatre Classes for young people in Fall 2017. Classes each session will mirror WT’s mission of the word and the artist with creative themes that highlight each of these theatrical tenants created specifically for young artists at the heart of the process. Held in our state-of-the-art theatre center, these customized classes are the perfect way to introduce children to the arts through creative and active collaboration.

All of Writers Theatre’s education programs are aligned with state and national Common Core standards. To learn more visit

For 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues. 

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WIN 4 Tickets To Suzi Shelton, Winter Fest AND Animal Farm at Beat Kitchen The Next 3 Sundays!

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
Brooklyn's Favorite kindie star, Suzi Shelton takes the stage with Chicago's own Little Miss Ann this Sunday at noon!

Here at ChiIL Mama, we've been proud press sponsors for Concerts for Kids every season since 2010. Check back with weekly, for great free ticket giveaways, entertainment news, reviews, and original photo features. We're your ticket to family fun in Chi, IL and beyond.

Bring your rock tots, little folk, and punk kin out to Chicago's best weekly kindie series. Families can order food and drinks while the littles dance to live bands. Full bar available, with some of the best bloody marys in town. Geared toward birth-6 year olds with parents. Pre-walkers are free!

Enter below for your chance to win tickets to any/all of the next 3 Sunday noon shows, including our multi band Winter Fest! 

Award-winning children's recording artist Suzi Shelton stops by the Beat Kitchen this Sunday as part of her tour! Her fourth album released last year has something for every listener, from powerful upbeat and inspiring, to whimsical and chill.

Suzi's shook up her musical style to some fresh eclectic-pop with a modern edge. Co-produced by two of her band mates, Greg Mayo (Jon Bon Jovi, Blood, Sweat & Tears) and Dan Weiner (The Cher Show, STOMP, America's Got Talent Band), Her new album is all about reminding everyone that they can express themselves joyously.

Concerts for Kids at the Beat Kitchen 
Suzi Shelton with special guest Little Miss Ann!
2100 West Belmont
Chicago, Illinois
(773) 281-4444

Get tickets

Suzi Shelton is a multi-award winning singer/songwriter and family performer based in Brooklyn, NY who has been bringing joy and musical fun to families for over a decade. She has four albums under her belt and a popular show on her YouTube Channel called "Sing with Suzi" featuring weekly videos for young children. Suzi will be returning to Concerts for Kids at The Beat Kitchen on Sunday, January 20th with special guest (and good friend) Little Miss Ann from Chicago! 

Suzi's music is heard on family-friendly radio stations across the country, and her latest album "Hand In Hand"  is filled with upbeat, inspiring and powerful songs about believing in yourself as well as more whimsical songs about ladybugs and raindrops. Her new musical style is "eclectic-pop with a modern edge" and she has already taken home both a NAPPA and a Parents' Choice Award! 

If you have never experienced Suzi's live shows before, they are a perfect match for our family performances as they are high energy, engaging, musically exceptional, and inclusive of all families with a wide variety of backgrounds. We hope to see you on January 20th!

Every Sunday:
Doors at 11:30, music at 12:00. Tickets are $6 in advance or $7 at the door.

Enter to WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets To Suzy Shelton/Little Miss Ann 1/20/19 at noon ($24 Value)! Enter through midnight this Thursday 1/17.

Scroll down and enter any or all of our 3 different ticket giveaways here. Please double check your dates and only enter the shows you're able to attend. Enter below for your shot at tickets to any/all of these upcoming shows. Winners will be announced the Friday before each concert. Enter like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. is your ticket to fun in Chi, IL and beyond!

 Enter to WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Winter Fest 1/27/19 ($40 Value)!

4 Bands, Activities and Fun
Sun Jan 27 2019
11:00 AM (Doors 10:30 AM)
Beat Kitchen
2100 West Belmont
Chicago, IL 60618

All Ages

Enter to WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets To Animal Farm 2/3/19 ($24 Value)!

Join Animal Farm as we play another hometown ho-down with Concerts for Kids at Beat Kitchen. We'll be playing many tunes off of our new album, We Are One. 

Sun Feb 3 2019
12:00 PM (Doors 11:30 AM)
Beat Kitchen
2100 West Belmont
Chicago, IL 60618
All Ages

Disclosure: We've been pleased to partner up with Beat Kitchen since 2010. They have provided complimentary tickets for our giveaways. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

JANUARY 17-27, 2019

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama, we've covered every biennial season of The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, that rocks Chi, IL every other year. I'll be back out for 2019, reviewing in person at the puppet fest kick-off at The Studebaker Theater this Thursday. 

Ajijaak on Turtle Island, co-directed by Heather Henson, daughter of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson, and Grammy Award winner
Ty Defoe, is a fabulous, family friendly First Nations spectacle.

Studebaker Theater
In Chicago's Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Avenue

This amazing new work brings together an ensemble of Native American performers to tell the tale of Ajijaak, a young whooping crane who must face her first migration cycle on Turtle Island
(North America) after being separated from her family.

Puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, indigenous songs and dances and video projections create a transformative experience that honors contemporary Native American cultures and illustrates the harmonious relationships between humans, animals and the environment.

This Saturday I'll be reviewing 3 or 4 more puppet picks including 

Chambre Noir at 2pm, 

Papercut at 9pm 

and Nasty, Brutish and Short at 11pm. 

Thursday the 24th I'll be out to review L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater's The Yard. 

Check back with us like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often, for our top puppet picks, Chicago entertainment news, reviews, interviews, and ticket giveaways! (family friendly) and (adult) are your ticket to fun. 

The 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is just two days away, boasting a wildly diverse line-up of contemporary puppet acts and artists from Chicago, the U.S. and around the world at venues large and small throughout the city, January 17-27, 2019.

Founded to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry, the citywide Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival will present more than 100 performances of 24 shows and events from 10 countries at 19 different Chicago-area venues.

Following are the latest schedule updates, including new artists and opening acts, newly added performances for several presentations that are already sold out, and the final schedule for the free Festival Neighborhood Tour.

Visit the festival website,, to purchase tickets and learn more about this world pageant of puppet artists and shows for residents and visitors to experience January 17-27: 11 days when Chicago will reign as the puppetry capital of the world:

The Pigeoning
By Robin Frohardt
Friday, January 18 - Saturday, January 19
Instituto Cervantes de Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago
January 18 and 19: Friday at 5 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students and Cervantes members
For ages 4 and up
Run time: 60 minutes

Obsessed with cleanliness and order, Frank is also plagued by pigeons. Convinced the pigeons are plotting against him, Frank sets out on an adventure to solve a problem that perhaps isn’t really there? The Pigeoning is a comedic yet heartfelt story that spins articulate puppetry, original music, and lo-fi special effects into an epic tale about the illusion of safety and control in the context of the end of the world. A show The New York Times called a “tender, fantastical symphony of the imagination” and “exquisitely rendered, very funny.”

Known for her rich aesthetic and highly detailed constructions, Robin Frohardt is an award-winning artist, puppet designer and director living in Brooklyn, NY. Frohardt has a knack for taking a simple premise to an elaborate realization. Her rich imagination, unique sense of humor and stunning technical craft come together to create work that defies the conventions of traditional storytelling.

*Note: The Pigeoning replaces JoJo by Borja Ytuquepintas. Dates, times and ticket prices remain the same.

Suspended Animation
The Huber Marionettes
Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago
January 25-27: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students
Run Time: 45 minutes
For ages 8 and up

Emmy award-winning master and the puppeteer behind Being John Malkovich, Phillip Huber, brings a stunning range of marionettes in this sophisticated performance praised as “a marvel” by the Los Angeles Times. The Huber Marionettes' incredible, complex puppets and manipulations are famed around the world. Sure to delight all audiences and to surprise even the most knowledgeable puppet fans.

An internationally recognized “artist with marionettes,” Phillip Huber is most widely known for his work in the 3-time Academy Award nominated film Being John Malkovich. His performance as “China Girl” is featured in the Disney film Oz the Great and Powerful staring James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis. In the contemporary art world Phillip created a special rock opera performance piece Don’t Trust Anyone over Thirty in collaboration with concept artists Dan Graham and video artist Tony Ousler for performances in Miami, Berlin, Vienna and Minneapolis Contemporary Art Museum venues, plus an art installation for the Whitney Biennale 2006 in New York. Phillip’s production of Suspended Animation has been seen worldwide with theatrical tours in Japan, France, Chile, Israel, Switzerland, South Korea, Norway, Spain, Brazil, Ireland and Portugal.

*Note: Suspended Animation replaces the previously announced Pinocchio from Teatro del Drago. Dates, times and ticket prices remain the same.


Shank's Mare
Just Added! Friday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m.
(Sold-out: January 17-19: Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.)
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. Stock Exchange Trading Room
Tickets: $35; $30 students and Art Institute members
Run Time: 80 minutes
For ages 8 and up

Presented on the occasion of the exhibition Painting the Floating World:
Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection, Shank’s Mare is a collaborative puppet performance by American puppet artist Tom Lee and Japanese traditional puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V. This beautifully detailed production combines traditional kuruma ningyo puppetry, live video projection of miniature sets and a haunting score on hammered dulcimer, Japanese shamisen, and flute to tell the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. This performance is supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Artstour Program.

Tabletop Tragedies
Just Added! Saturday, January 26 at 2 p.m.
(Sold-out: January 24-26: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.)
By Cabinet of Curiosity (Chicago)
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
Tickets: $20/$15 students and seniors
For ages 12 and up
Run time: 85 minutes

Tabletop Tragedies is a triptych of works by Chicago’s Frank Maugeri with longtime collaborator Seth Bockley —The Last Matador, The Death and Life of Billy The Kid, and A Simple Soul. These irreverent, imaginative and affecting works, scored by Liz Chidester, tell true stories of fate and redemption using an astonishing range of techniques including hand-carved wooden puppets, beastly masks, haunting music and an epic Wild West chase scene performed on paper scrolls.

L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1
New show added! Sunday, January 27 at 5:30 p.m.
(Already announced: January 23-27: Wednesday-Friday at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.)
By Compagnie Non Nova (France)
Created by Phia Ménard
Co-presented with Chicago Shakespeare Theater
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Tickets: $25
Run time: 30 minutes
For all ages

Prepare to be blown away! France’s Compagnie Non Nova takes an ordinary object—a flimsy plastic shopping bag—and transforms it into something magical. Anthropomorphized plastic figures take flight buffeted on invisible waves as a performer manipulates them with precise, complex choreography, creating an intoxicating visual ballet out of the everyday. The Guardian called L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1 “A brilliant metaphor of art and the imagination,” while Express U.K. raved it’s “the best use of the derided plastic bag ever seen.


Visiting artist Jeghetto has a new opening act: Chicago puppeteer Sam Lewis with A Puppet Day in America, featuring his puppet Jus Hambone: unjust stereotype from the past turned contemporary lens. This short work is a collaboration with Chicago artist Marvin Tate, tap dancer Time Brickey, and performers Jennifer Ligaya and Aquil Charlton. 

Just Another Lynching
By Jeghetto (North Carolina)
With newly added opening act A Puppet Day in America by Sam Lewis (Chicago)
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
Saturday, January 20 at 4 p.m. is sold out
Tickets remain for Saturday, January 19, 7 p.m. & Sunday, January 20, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students/seniors
Run time: 45 minutes plus post-performance conversation
For ages 12 and up

Just Another Lynching features puppets built by Jeghetto, who created this fictional story about a black man being lynched in the South in 1921. This story addresses the racial injustices that built this country. Due to its content, there is an open dialogue between the cast and audience after each performance.

Puppeteers announced 
for Immaculate, Poignant & Medium Length

Immaculate, Poignant & Medium Length (Chicago)
Presented by Rough House and Links Hall
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
January 21-23: Monday through Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20; $15 students/seniors
Run time: 90 minutes
For ages 12 and up

Chicago is a haven for grown-from-the-ground-up puppetry, thanks to the energy and dedication of local producers, audiences, and the artistic community at large. Come catch a rare look at four respected Chicago area innovators' medium-length works in a casual, conversational environment meant to get artists and audiences mingling, featuring:

Crosstalk by Myra Su and Tatsu Aoki

The Distant Flight of Birds by Forte Chicago

Suji created and performed by Rika Lin and Tom Lee

Behold Where Stands the Usurper’s Cursed Head, performed and originated by Samuel Taylor, written by Mickle Maher, and presented by Cabinet of Curiosity.

Free Festival Neighborhood Tour dates, times and locations:

This year the Chicago Puppet Festival’s Free Festival Neighborhood Tour will bring free performances of The Beginning of Nothing by Poncili Creación (Puerto Rico) and Pulcinella by Gaspare Nasuto (Italy) - to every corner of the city. Following are the six neighborhood locations, complete with show dates and times:

Sweet Water Foundation in Englewood/Washington Park, 5749 S. Perry Ave., Chicago
Friday, January 18 at 1:30 p.m. or (312) 508-3982

Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 4048 W. Armitage, Chicago
Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m. or (773) 698-6004

Garfield Park Conservatory, Horticulture Hall, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago
Wednesday, January 23 at 4:30 p.m. or (312) 746-5100

Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago
Friday, January 25 at 5 p.m. or (312) 747-6469

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago in the Crystal Garden
Saturday, January 26 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. or (312) 595-7437

Experimental Station in Woodlawn, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago
Sunday, January 27 at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10:30 a.m.) or (312) 241-6044

Tour performances are family friendly and for all ages. Tickets are free. Reserve online at or first come, first served. Each show runs 40-45 minutes. Audiences are invited to sample shows, meet the artists after each performance, or share a full day of puppetry. The Festival Neighborhood Tour is presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series and Navy Pier.

The Raffaello Hotel, 201 E. Delaware Place in downtown Chicago, is the Official Hotel of the 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. In addition to serving as home base for all visiting artists, the Raffaello is offering a discounted rate of $89/night, January 17-27, for the festival’s growing base of fans worldwide, as well as Chicago-area residents looking for a Chicago Puppet Festival “Staycation.” Visit or call (877) 874-4253 to inquire. Use promo code PUPT.

The festival website,, is your online gateway information and tickets to this world pageant of top puppet artists and shows. Sign up on the website to be the first to receive important festival updates. Track the festival hashtag, #ChiPuppetFest, like the festival on Facebook, or follow the festival on Twitter at @ChiPuppetFest or on Instagram.

Blair Thomas, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
Credit: Saverio Truglia

REVIEW: World Premiere of We Found A Hat at Lifeline Theatre Through Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
Family Friendly Theatre Favorites

Lifeline Theatre 
KidSeries Presents World Premiere of 
We Found A Hat,
Musical Adaptation of the Book by Jon Klassen

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

L to R: Gabriella Fernandez as Sun, Terry Bell as Kai, Amanda Roeder as Sizi, and Scott Sawa as Snake. All Production Photos by Suzanne Plunkett.

"It was a great show... the first time I haven't had to take my 
4 year old out of the theatre 
*and* I caught my 10 year old having a good time too!"

Guest Review
by kimberly robb baker

Lifeline Theatre’s production of We Found A Hat was the most pleasant family theatre experience I’ve had in the last year. Specifically, it’s the first production my four-year-old hasn’t had to leave early, yet my older kids had a blast as well.

The universal appeal was in the cleverness of the production and also in the fact that it’s a theme anyone can relate to: loved ones driven apart by desire and jealously. In this case two best-friend tortoises have their friendship challenged when, as they migrate through the desert, they come upon a hat that instills confidence and looks great on each of them.

L to R: Amanda Roeder as Sizi, and Terry Bell as Kai

When I say the production was clever, I mean that we bought into the story exactly because the reality of being a bunch of audience members nearly head-to-head with a small group of actors on a stage the size of my living room with little kids occasionally making their loud contributions—well, they embraced all of that and made it part of the story.

For example, the actors made a show of getting the set ready while people were settling in their seats. This was a nice pre-show to get us interested in what was to come and entertain little ones who are not known for sitting in a seat and staring at nothing—even for five minutes.

Inventive costumes (e.g. the fringe on a cowboy’s jacket and chaps standing in for cactus prickles and a sun/moon costume that enables one actor to quickly shift between embodying each of the celestial objects—oh, and such a cool snake costume/puppet!) and use of props and actor’s bodies allowed us to delve into a vivid world of friendship being tested in the dramatically changing elements and landscape of a long desert journey.

L to R: Terry Bell as Kai, and Amanda Roeder as Sizi

Some of our favorite scenes were the cactus gauntlet, a really cool dream sequence, and a dangerous storm (it was just scary enough—my 4-year-old was more afraid of the hand dryer in the bathroom).

The actors threw themselves wholeheartedly into this ecosystem of inventiveness. Through the turtles (played by Terry Bell and Amanda Roeder), kids got to see the struggle of being the big or little one, of being labeled as creative or practical when your heart wants to explore all the possibilities of who you are.

Gabriella Fernandez played Sun and Moon against Scott Sawa’s Cactus, and the two did a skilled and joyful job of embodying multiple elements and acting as a Greek chorus to give us some context on the tortoise’s friendship.

They also taught us a bit about migration, water in the desert, and the difference between turtles and tortoises.

 Gabriella Fernandez: Sun/Moon signs programs for kids in the lobby after the show
Photos by Kimberly Robb Baker

Terry Bell: Kai the Toirtoise 

Your older children might groan before and after the show that it’s for little kids, but my 10-going-on-30-year-old caught my eye several times as we shared embedded jokes meant for the older members of the audience, and he got in line to have his program signed after the show.

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:

Out of 190 entries, congrats again to Tasha J, ChiIL Mama's 4-pack ticket winner ($60 Value).

When my teens were tots, we were annual Lifeline Theatre KidSeries season subscribers. We've adored their amazing, original book based adaptations for decades. Their production values are excellent and they're one of our favorites for introducing young children to their first live theatre offerings. They truly are a lifeline for families, bringing stellar stories to life on stage, and often fostering a lifelong love of theatre arts.  

Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries presents the world premiere of We Found A Hat, based on the children’s book by Jon Klassen, with adaptation by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha, lyrics by Jessica Wright Buha and John Szymanski, music by John Szymanski, and directed by Factory Theater Co-Artistic Director Manny Tamayo. 

Deep in the desert, two tortoises work together to overcome all obstacles the harsh landscape throws their way. Sizi and Kai are the best of pals and nothing ever comes between them... until one day they find a hat. They both look great in the hat. But they can’t both have the hat. A friendship is put to the test as the tortoises must find a way through their thorniest challenge yet. Explore the question of what we give up to support the ones we love in this adaptation of the 2016 book by Jon Klassen. 

We Found A Hat runs Through Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 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, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. (Previews are Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m.) Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Performances with Touch Tour and Audio Description on January 26, 
Open Captioning on January 27, 
Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance on February 3, 
and Stories Come Alive! Hour Workshops Every Saturday and Sunday During the Run

Accessible Performances: The Saturday, Jan. 26, 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. The Sunday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. performances will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. And there will be an added autism/sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, Feb. 3 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 We Found A Hat (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.

L to R: Amanda Roeder as Sizi, Gabriella Fernandez as Sun, Scott Sawa as Cactus, and Terry Bell as Kai

The complete cast and production team for We Found A Hat includes:

Guest artists Terry Bell (Kai), Gabriella Fernandez (Sun/Moon/Ensemble), Amanda Roeder (Sizi), and Scott Sawa (Cactus/Snake/Ensemble). With understudies Anna Connelly, Sophia Foldvari, Maddie Pell, and Matthew Schnitker.

Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha (Adaptor & Co-Lyricist); with guest artists Emma Cullimore (Costume & Properties Designer), Derik Marcussen (Costume & Properties Design Assistant), Jennifer McClendon (Production Manager), Kate Reed (Stage Manager), John Szymanski (Composer & Co-Lyricist), Eric Backus (Sound Designer), Joe Schermoly (Scenic Designer & Technical Director), Manny Tamayo (Director), Eric Watkins (Lightning Designer), and Jonah White (Master Electrician/A.V. Supervisor).
We Found A Hat runs Saturday, Jan. 12 – Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 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, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. (Previews are Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m.) Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Lifeline Theatre also offers “Name Your Price” tickets one 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 the corner of Bosworth Ave. and Albion Ave., with the entrance on Albion) 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 36th 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.; Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Chicago CityArts, a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; CIG Management; CNA Foundation; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; FlexPrint Inc.; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Michael and Mona Heath Fund at The Chicago Community Trust Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; Illinois Humanities Council; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The National Endowment for the Arts; The PAV Grant Fund; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Rogers Park Social; The Saints; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; The Steele Foundation; Th Manufacturing; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

Lifeline Theatre’s “We Found A Hat,” adapted by Jessica Wright Buha, directed by Manny Tamayo, based on the book by Jon Klassen; previews begin Saturday, January 12, 2019, running through Sunday,  February 17. Lifeline Theatre is located at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Chicago, IL 60626. For tickets call the box office at 773-761-4477 or visit 

Disclosure: Thanks to Lifeline Theatre for partnering up with ChiIL Mama and providing tickets for our giveaway and for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

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