Saturday, March 30, 2019

SAVE THE DATES: The Lookingglass 2019–2020 Season Is Full of Past Favorites and a World Premiere

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Lookingglass Theatre Company Announces 
2019–2020 Season  
The company’s 32nd season features
the World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne by J. Nicole Brooks
and celebrates the return of two favorites 
Mary Zimmerman’s new holiday classic The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the signature production Lookingglass Alice by David Catlin

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we're elated to see Lookingglass Theatre Company's upcoming season. We can't get enough of their namesake remounts. Each one of their Lookingglass Alice productions is a visual feast packed with circus feats and stellar story telling. Each time they change it up a bit and we just can't wait to see what's in store this time around. It's a timeless top favorite of our whole family. We also fell in love with The Steadfast Tin Soldier this past holiday season and are so jazzed it's returning. Both are great for all ages and multigenerational theatre going. Make some family memories! We're also eager to catch the World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne, on the cusp of Chicago's mayoral elections for the first black female mayor. It's timely to revisit Chicago's first and only other female mayor. Save the dates. 

Lookingglass Theatre Company announces its complete 2019–2020 season lineup, with three shows created by Lookingglass Ensemble Members. From high-flying spectacle, to gorgeous storytelling, and provocative reflections on our city, the season begins with the new holiday tradition The Steadfast Tin Soldier, written and directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman from the story by Hans Christian Andersen. The World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks, takes a look back at Chicago’s first woman Mayor and how times are different—and exactly the same. Concluding the 2019-2020 season is the return of the signature Lookingglass production Lookingglass Alice, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin, from the works of Lewis Carroll, and produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium.

“As an Ensemble, we’ve talked a lot about why humans tell the same stories again and again. I think it’s because as we get older and the world changes, and our viewing point changes, these stories inherently change. They are so deeply human that they continue to resonate with us in different ways,” comments Artistic Director Heidi Stillman. “As we move into our next season, we feel encouraged to tell stories that made us who we are, and stories that will help pave our path into the future.”

Next season will be quintessentially Lookingglass—-shows you couldn’t see anywhere else. Subscriptions to Lookingglass’ 2019-2020 season are on sale now and may be purchased through the box office at (312) 337-0665 or

The Lookingglass 2019–2020 Season up close:

The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman
From the Story by Hans Christian Andersen
November 1, 2019–January 26, 2020
Recommended for Ages 5+

True to his loyal and resolute nature, The Steadfast Tin Soldier returns! Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up comes back to Lookingglass for a winter-time curtain call. Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses, Treasure Island) fashions an extravagant and exhilarating spectacle, infused with music and movement. Don’t miss the triumphant return of Chicago’s newest Holiday tradition, The Steadfast Tin Soldier. 

“I’m very glad that our little Tin Soldier managed to march his way into the hearts of so many, and that he’ll be coming back again in the Holiday season steadfast as ever. We wanted to make something that was visually and emotionally overpowering—as well as very funny—and do that with no spoken language at all,” says Mary Zimmerman. “People of all ages and from around the world are able to watch the show and feel it all the same, no English required. I think the silence of the characters—and the beautiful music that accompanies their adventures—allows older members of the audience to fall into a private, younger part of themselves; and for children, they are watching something in the manner they are used to: gathering up the story through the intensity of their earnest attention, through their intelligence which has no words.”

World Premiere
Her Honor Jane Byrne
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks
February 26–April 12, 2020
Recommended for Ages 13+

Chicago is “The City That Works”—but does it work for everybody? It’s 1981, the city’s simmering pot of neglected problems boils over, and Chicago’s first woman mayor is moving into Cabrini-Green. Is this just a PR stunt, or will it bring the City together? For the next three weeks, residents, activists, media, the “Machine,” and the Mayor herself will collide as the City’s raw truths are exposed. Who will come out on top? Lookingglass Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks creates this smoldering new take on Her Honor Jane Byrne. 

J. Nicole Brooks comments, “When you grow up in a city that’s hyper segregated, run amuck with corruption, and political stunts and discord, you have to work hard to love it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the history. I’m fascinated by ethnic clans. I’m curious about patronage, councils, aldermen, and committeemen. Who gets elected and how? Who gets to lead us, and will they actually listen to us? Though I was very little, I can remember when it was announced that Mayor Jane Byrne was moving into Cabrini-Green. Can she stop the violence? Well, no one person can. Here we are decades later, asking the same questions. I hope our audiences walk away with a bit of the past, so they may know how to shape our future.”

Lookingglass is excited to partner with a number of cultural institutions including Chicago History Museum, National Public Housing Museum, Rebuild Foundation, and others as part of the Community Engagement work around the production.

Lookingglass Alice
Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin
From the Works of Lewis Carroll
Produced in Association with The Actors Gymnasium
May 13–August 16, 2020
Recommended for Ages 5+

Lookingglass Alice returns for a fantastical trip down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, and deep into your heart. The New York Times calls this circus-infused adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories “eye-catching entertainment.” This signature Lookingglass production, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin (The Little Prince, Moby Dick), has toured the country, enchanting audiences of all ages. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the awe-inspiring production comes back home for a new generation to discover.

David Catlin notes, “If you put Lookingglass DNA under a high-powered microscope, you’d find zinging molecules composed of nonsense, curiosity, and invention. You’d find a pair of black-and-white stripe-y tights, a tardy rabbit in a waistcoat and bowler, a stuttering old soul who believes as many as six impossible things before breakfast, and a fearsome girl named Alice soaring high above our heads and into the heart of wonder. So back we go, to the other side of the Lookingglass, to the utterly essential and glorious nonsense of Wonderland—bring a friend, it’s a little cuckoo in there!”

About the Artists
J. Nicole Brooks (Her Honor Jane Byrne playwright and director/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is an author, actor, director and educator. As a playwright her works for the stage include HeLa, Fedra: Queen of Haiti, Shotgun Harriet, and Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten. As a director she has staged productions of Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting, Black Diamond, Thaddeus & Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure, Clash, and Becky Shaw. As an actor she has created original work throughout the US, China and Hungary. As a screenwriter, J. Nicole has a crime drama in development with partner Milauna Jackson. Selected stage credits include: Ike Holter’s Lottery Day, Lookingglass Theatre’s Beyond Caring in association with David Schwimmer and Alexander Zeldin (National Theatre UK), and Immediate Family directed by Phylicia Rashad. In tv-land, J. Nicole has recurring roles as Sgt. Clemmons on Showtime’s The Chi, and as Olivia on Comedy Central’s South Side. Awards and honors include: Black Ensemble Theatre Playwright of the Year, LA Ovation, League of Chicago Theatres, Jeff Award, TCG Fox Foundation Fellowship, 3Arts Make a Wave Grant, NEA Grant, and Black Theatre Alliance.
David Catlin (Lookingglass Alice adaptor and director/Founding Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is an, actor, writer, director, and former Artistic Director of Lookingglass. David adapted and directed Moby Dick, which debuted at Lookingglass in summer 2015 (winner of four Jeff Awards including Production—Large), toured nationally, and returned to Lookingglass for the summer of 2017. In 2018, he directed his new adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Alliance Theatre at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. David’s next project, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, will have its world premiere at Lookingglass this summer.

Additional Lookingglass directing credits include: Lookingglass Alice, The Little Prince, Icarus, Black Diamond (co-director), Metamorphosis, Her Name was Danger, the idiot (Jeff Citation for New Adaptation), and West (Jeff Citation for Directing). Regionally, David has directed work at McCarter Theatre, The New Victory on 42nd Street, Arden Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage, Syracuse Stage, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and the Getty Villa. Recent Lookingglass acting credits include: Hard Times, The Arabian Nights, Our Town, Argonautika, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, La Luna Muda, Third Voyage, The Scarlet Letter, The Odyssey, and The Jungle. David has appeared on stage with Actors Gymnasium, Chicago Children’s Theatre/Redmoon, and The House Theatre of Chicago. David’s film work includes Since You’ve Been Gone for Lookingglass/Miramax and Humanoid with Dark Harbor Stories. David is an Artistic Associate with Actors Gymnasium and serves on the acting faculty at Northwestern University.

Mary Zimmerman (The Steadfast Tin Soldier playwright and director/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is a writer and director and has worked with Lookingglass for more than 25 years. For Lookingglass, she adapted and directed The Odyssey, The Secret in the Wings, The Arabian Nights, S/M, Metamorphoses, Eleven Rooms of Proust (Co-production with About Face Theatre), Argonautika and Treasure Island. Mary is also part of the Goodman Theatre artistic team where she adapted and directed The White Snake, The Jungle Book, Candide, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Silk, Journey to the West, Mirror of the Invisible World and a re-creation of The Odyssey, as well as directing Wonderful Town, Pericles, The Baltimore Waltz, and All’s Well That Ends Well. She has twice directed for the New York Shakespeare Festival in the Park. Regionally, her work has appeared at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, Arena Stage, and Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. In New York, her work has appeared at Lincoln Center, Second Stage Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre.

In the world of opera, she directed and co-wrote the libretto Galileo Galilei (composed by Philip Glass) that was produced at Goodman Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Barbican Theatre in London. Additionally, she has directed four operas at Metropolitan Opera in New York City: Rusalka, Lucia Di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula, and Rossini’s Armida, each of which has been broadcast live into movie theatres worldwide. In 1998, Mary received a MacArthur Fellowship and in 2002, the Tony Award for Best Director of a Play for Metamorphoses on Broadway.

Subscriptions are on sale for the 2019-2020 Season. Current subscribers who renew before May 1, 2019 will receive a 5% discount on their 2019-2020 subscription. Performances will be held at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. 

Subscribers can choose between a 3-play subscription, 2-play subscription, or two flex pass options: the Gglasspass, or for those under 35, the Madhatter’s Club. For the 2019-2020 season, 3-play subscriptions range from $116–$170, and 2-play subscriptions range from $77–$113. 2-play subscriptions include Her Honor Jane Byrne and Lookingglass Alice.

The Gglasspass is a flex pass available to all ages. For $150, Gglasspass holders receive 3 tickets that can be used in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2019-2020 season.

The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is available to those 35 or younger. The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is $75 and includes 3 tickets that members can use in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2019-2020 season, including Theatre Night Out events.

Lookingglass also offers a 3-play subscription for Accessible performances for $75, and a 2-play subscription for $50 during the 2019-2020 season. Patrons can choose between the Touch Tour/Audio Described performances or the Open Captioned performances.

Subscription benefits include access to the best seats in the house, pre-sale opportunities and savings before single tickets go on sale to the general public, special perks at restaurant partners, unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking at 875 N Michigan, Water Tower Place, and Olympia Centre Garage, reduced tuition for Lookingglass’ renowned classes and summer camps, and access to exclusive subscriber-only events. For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit

About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 31st Season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 68 world premieres, received 151 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Artistic Achievement Award.

Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Director of Community Engagement Andrew White, General Manager Michele Anderson, a 24-member artistic ensemble, 23 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Nancy Timmers and President Richard Chapman. For more information, visit

Year of Chicago Theatre
Lookingglass is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Learn more at


We have some WONDER-ful news! Now there is even more reason to see WONDER PARK this week with $5 TICKETS at Atom Tickets!

Get ready for a wild ride! Families can scoop up this splendiferous offer while supplies last through Sunday, April 7th by visiting 

Movie Info & Cast
Producer: Josh Appelbaum, Ashley Chaney, Aaron Dem
Writer: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Robert Gordon
Release Date: Mar 15, 2019
Runtime: 1hr 25m

Young June once spent her days designing thrilling and unique theme park rides, but when she experienced a family tragedy it was like her imagination just switched off. Then one day she finds the remnant of a roller coaster in the woods, and it leads her to, literally, the park of her dreams.

June finds that her imagined adventureland actually exists, and that it is populated by all the colorful animal characters she once sketched in crayon. Now the park is threatened by neglect and the invasion of a horde of Chimpanzombies and only June’s leadership can save the day.

Sofia Mali
Jennifer Garner
Ken Hudson Campbell
Kenan Thompson
Mila Kunis
John Oliver
Ken Jeong
Norbert Leo Butz
Matthew Broderick
Brianna Denski

Instagram: @wonderparkmovie
Facebook: @WonderParkMovie
Twitter: @wonderparkmovie


Friday, March 29, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar




Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama, we're beyond excited for Goodman's upcoming season! Some of our favorite directors are back to helm world premieres, Chicago premiers, an off-Broadway hit and more. Don't miss this!

Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer announce Goodman Theatre’s new 2019/2020 Season of “Theater That Moves”— three world premiere productions (including a new musical), four Chicago premieres and a major revival of a beloved contemporary classic—on the theater’s two stages (the 856-seat Albert Theatre and 350-seat flexible Owen Theatre). In addition to these eight offerings, which comprise the Goodman Membership, the Goodman will produce its 16th annual New Stages Festival and the 42nd annual production of A Christmas Carol. The 2019/2020 Season begins September 2019 and continues through August 2020. Memberships, including flexible packages, are now available for purchase. Five-play Albert Theatre packages start at just $100. Call 312.443.3800 or Single tickets will be available for select productions beginning in August.

“I am thrilled to share our 2019/2020 Season—a dynamic line-up of plays, each written by and/or featuring a woman protagonist at its heart. These fresh, powerful works of art entertain and delight, challenge and shock, and fearlessly reflect the world around us,” said Robert Falls of the 33rd season he has curated as Artistic Director.

Continued Falls, “We open our Albert Theatre season with Bernhardt/Hamlet by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Donna Feore—a wonderful comedy about the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt taking on Hamlet, the most challenging role of her career—in its first production since debuting on Broadway last year. Next, we’ll produce Roe by Lisa Loomer, directed by Vanessa Stalling—a remarkably complex, balanced look at the young women behind the landmark court case. Then, I am excited to direct Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel—a work I’ve long considered one of the most beautiful plays of modern times. An astonishing journey from blindness to sight, it’s a masterwork from the playwright oft described as ‘the Irish Chekhov.’ In Spring 2020, we’ll produce American Mariachi by José Cruz González, directed by Henry Godinez—the funny, heart-warming story of an all-female mariachi band in an era when this was not considered possible. It’s a co-production with Dallas Theater Center, and we are proud to once again collaborate with Teatro Vista and the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance. Finally, we conclude the Albert Theatre line-up on a high note with the world premiere of a thrilling new musical, The Outsiders, adapted from S.E. Hinton’s seminal book and Francis Ford Coppola’s film, with a book by Adam Rapp, music and lyrics by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance of Jamestown Revival and Justin Levine, with choreography by Lorin Latarro, directed by Liesl Tommy. This story of “haves” and “have-nots” that defined a generation is boldly told anew, for the next generation.

Continued Falls, “Our Owen Theatre line-up begins with the world premiere of an innovative, highly personal new play, Dana H. by Lucas Hnath, adapted from interviews with Dana Higginbotham conducted by Steve Cosson, directed by Les Waters. A co-production with Center Theatre Group, this true story is told in Dana’s own words as she recounts the harrowing five months she spent imprisoned by an unstable captor. Next, we’re thrilled to produce a moving new work first seen our New Stages Festival last year, where it played to full houses each night—Graveyard Shift by Korde Arrington Tuttle, directed by Danya Taymor. We conclude the Owen season with the Chicago premiere of School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh, directed by Lili-Anne Brown—a work that enjoyed enormous critical and popular acclaim in its extended run Off-Broadway.

Falls continued, “The season also includes our 42nd annual production of A Christmas Carol, directed by Henry Wishcamper and starring Larry Yando in his 12th turn as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Albert Theatre. And we are proud to present the 16th annual New Stages Festival of new plays, a free first look at projects in development.”  

About the Productions + Events in Goodman Theatre’s 2019/2020 Season

The Goodman is grateful to its 2019/2020 Season sponsors, including American Airlines and Northern Trust Bank, Major Contributors; Mayer Brown LLP, Corporate Sponsor Partner; Time Warner Foundation, Lead Support of New Play Development; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Major Support of New Work Development, and the Shubert Foundation, Lead Support of General Operations.

Dana H. 
By Lucas Hnath
Adapted from Interviews with Dana Higginbotham,
Conducted by Steve Cosson 
Directed by Les Waters
September 6 – October 6, 2019 in the Owen Theatre 
A Co-Production with Center Theatre Group

“I want to be a part of the world again.” –Dana H.

Dana was a chaplain of a psych ward where she met a charismatic patient, an ex-convict searching for redemption. A harrowing true story, Dana was held captive with her life in this man’s hands—trapped in a series of Florida motels, disoriented and terrified—for five months. Told in Dana's own words and reconstructed for the stage by her son Lucas Hnath (A Doll’s House, Part 2, The Christians), “one of the freshest playwriting voices to emerge in the past five years” (The New York Times), this innovative work shatters the boundaries of the art form and our understanding of good and evil.

By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Donna Feore 
September 14 – October 20, 2019 in the Albert Theatre

“It is delightful to undress a man, and find a woman inside.” –Edmond; Act I, Scene II

High humor and human drama collide in a rollicking comedy “so clever it uplifts, so timely it hurts” (The New York Times). In 1899, legendary leading lady Sarah Bernhardt’s decision to assume the title role of Shakespeare’s Hamlet left critics and patriarchs aghast and indignant. Laced with forbidden romance and backstage gossip, this behind-the-scenes look at Bernhardt’s most ambitious role is a “dynamic character study” (Variety) of one of the most famous actresses—and infamous divas—in the world.

By Lisa Loomer
Directed by Vanessa Stalling
January 18 – February 23, 2020 in the Albert Theatre

“You didn’t give a damn about Roe the person—all you cared about was Roe the case!” –Norma; Act II, Scene II

Conceived in a pizza parlor and argued in the highest court in the land, 1973’s Roe v. Wade legalized abortion—and is hotly debated still today. The complex young women behind the trial—attorney Sarah Weddington and plaintiff Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”)—embark upon separate journeys that mirror the current polarization over the landmark decision. Shocking, humorous and “full of nuance and complexity" (NPR), Roe illuminates the heart and passion that each side has for their cause.

Graveyard Shift
By Korde Arrington Tuttle
Directed by Danya Taymor
February 7 – March 8, 2020 in the Owen Theatre

“Our new life starts tomorrow.” –Kane; Scene VI

When she receives the opportunity of a lifetime, Janelle relocates to Texas and moves in with her partner, Kane. Meanwhile, a small-town police officer’s life is thrown into flux when the coworker he's romantically involved with decides to leave town. When their worlds collide, Janelle experiences firsthand how dangerous power can be. Loosely inspired by the legacy of Sandra Bland, Graveyard Shift is an unflinching but open-hearted look at how we navigate a world full of fear.

Molly Sweeney
By Brian Friel 
Directed by Robert Falls
March 7– April 12, 2020 in the Albert Theatre

“And what sort of world did you expect, Mrs. Sweeney?” —Dr. Rice; Act II

In this riveting exploration of triumph and loss, master storyteller Brian Friel—“a towering figure of the stage, from Dublin to Broadway” (The Guardian)—reveals the unexpected consequences of a modern medical miracle. Visually impaired since infancy, Molly agrees to a procedure that will restore her sight. But is it she who benefits most—or her ambitious spouse, or her doctor’s career? Robert Falls directs a major revival of this “astonishing, highly entertaining, deeply moving meditation on hope, change and despair” (The New York Times). 

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play 
By Jocelyn Bioh 
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown  
March 27 – April 26, 2020 in the Owen Theatre

“Look confident. Be confident. This. Is. Yours.” –Paulina, Part III

This biting and buoyant comedy, “ferociously entertaining, as heartwarming as it is hilarious” (The Hollywood Reporter), arrives in Chicago on the heels of a critically acclaimed, extended run Off-Broadway. As the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school sets her sights on the Miss Universe pageant, a new student unexpectedly changes the game. This “gleeful African makeover of an American genre” (The New York Times) spotlights the universal similarities—and glaring differences—of teenage girls around the globe.

American Mariachi
By José Cruz González  
Directed by Henry Godinez  
April 25 – May 31, 2020 in the Albert Theatre  
A Co-Production with Dallas Theater Center

“Women mariachis? It’s about time!” –Soyla; Act I, Scene V

Familia, amor and tradiciόn are at the heart of this hilarious and heartwarming new comedy about the freedom to dream big. Lucha spends her days caring for her ailing mother, but longs to shake up her 1970s home life. When a forgotten record album sparks her mother’s memory, Lucha and her cousin strike upon a radical idea: to create an all-female mariachi band. Infused with live mariachi music, this “big-hearted, musical tug at the heartstrings” (Denver Post) reveals how music and love can make just about anything possible.

The Outsiders 
Based on the Novel by S.E. Hinton and Francis Ford Coppola’s Motion Picture
Book by Adam Rapp 
Music and Lyrics by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine
Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by Justin Levine
Choreography by Lorin Latarro
Directed by Liesl Tommy
June 20 – August 2, 2020 in the Albert Theatre 

“Stay gold.” –Johnny, Act II, Scene XII

The story that defined a generation is reimagined in a groundbreaking musical for a new generation. In 1967 Tulsa, Oklahoma, the hardened hearts, aching souls and romantic dreams of Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their band of greasers take center stage in a fight for purpose and a quest for survival. Adapted from S.E. Hinton’s seminal book and Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film, and directed by Tony nominee Liesl Tommy with a book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp, The Outsiders features a score by acclaimed Austin-based rock duo Jamestown Revival and Justin Levine.

New Stages Festival 
October 23 – November 10, 2019 in the Owen Theatre

The 16th annual New Stages Festival of new plays includes developmental productions and staged readings. This season’s world-premiere production of Graveyard Shift by Korde Arrington Tuttle emerged from New Stages. Founded in 2004, the New Stages Festival is a celebration of innovative new plays designed to give playwrights an opportunity to take risks and experiment. New Stages offers Chicago theatergoers a first look at dozens of plays, many of which have gone on to become successful full productions—including Noah Haidle’s Smokefall, Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined and more.

A Christmas Carol 
By Charles Dickens 
Adapted by Tom Creamer 
Directed by Henry Wishcamper 
November 16 – December 29, 2019 in the Albert Theatre

Acclaimed Chicago actor Larry Yando returns for his 12th season at Goodman Theatre as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, directed for the seventh year by Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper. More than 1.5 million theatergoers have attended “the crown jewel of the holiday season” (Daily Herald) since the Goodman established it as an annual offering in 1978—a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production. Dickens’ holiday classic is the iconic tale of greedy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his disdain for the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future, helping him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship.


AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle;” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which marks its 42nd production next season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.

Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.


Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading not-for-profit theater company, which, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.


One of the leading regional theaters in the country and the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award® Recipient, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 100,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas and at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. DTC is one of only two theaters in Texas that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres, the largest and most prestigious non-profit professional theater association in the country. Under the leadership of Enloe/Rose Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Jeffrey Woodward, DTC produces a six-play season of classics, musicals and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs, including the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award-winning Project Discovery, SummerStage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and many community collaborations.

FREE Chicago Theatre: An Extraordinary Rendition Tribute To Chicago-based Goat Island at Chicago Cultural Center Through June 23, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Exhibition Opening
World Premiere Performance - 
An Extraordinary Rendition

hancock & kelly (Richard Hancock and Traci Kelly, United Kingdom, now based in Germany)

An Extraordinary Rendition is conceived as a response to Goat Island’s first performance, Soldier, Child, Tortured Man (1986), and explores notions of systemic violence through varied references to militarization, spectacle, fraternity hazing rituals, and abstracted cheerleader routines.
Strobe lighting effects will be used during this performance
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.
Admission is free and open to the public

Opening this Saturday and running 
March 30th-June 23, 2019

About Goat Island

Throughout the 23 years of its existence (1986–2009), the Chicago-based Goat Island contributed to the conception of nine major performance works, accompanied by publications, film and video projects, workshops, summer schools, lectures and symposia, inventing a complex institution bigger than the individual works. Freed from prescribed narrative and dialog, the work of Goat Island was built slowly in a creative process informed by repetition, chance and individual perception. The company was known for its sustained collaborative production approaches with work developed over multiple years by Goat Island Members Karen Christopher, Joan Dickinson, Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson, Greg McCain, Tim McCain, Mark Jeffery, Bryan Saner and Litó Walkey. Their shared activations continue to influence generations of artists, theatre makers, cultural theorists, social philosophers and teachers.

In conjunction with the city's Year of Chicago Theatre, nine national and international performance groups and artists have been commissioned to develop and present new work, each inspired by one of Goat Island's original performances. A tenth performance created from fragments of the nine new responses will be presented in June during a week of concluding events.

All exhibitions and performances, including goat island archive–we have discovered the performance by making it, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., are presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). 

Building hours are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; closed holidays. Admission is FREE. For information, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ChiCulturCenter.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

REVIEW: Idle Muse Theatre Company's Best for Winter, Now Playing Through April 20, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Best for Winter, 
being a short Shakespeare adapted from The Winter’s Tale and other works 
MARCH 21 – APRIL 20, 


 William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is Adapted and Directed by Evan Jackson in this Tale of Laughter, Survival, Transformation and What it Means to be Alive Right Now

Guest Review
By Catherine Hellmann

One of my favorite aspects of Chicago is how a little storefront can be modestly hiding a theatrical treasure. Such is the case with this little gem in The Edge Theater Off-Broadway, a new space at 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. in Edgebrook. Idle Muse Theatre Company proudly performs its first play of 2019, Best for Winter, being a short Shakespeare adapted from The Winter’s Tale and other works, adapted and directed by Evan Jackson. Described as a: “Tale of Laughter, Survival, Transformation and What it Means to be Alive Right Now.”

One of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” (Is it a comedy? Is it a tragedy?) receives a fresh overview by the Idle Muse Theater Company in this abridged version. The play begins on a rather simple raised set with an overarching tree. King of Bohemia, Polixenes, played by Erik Schnitger, has been visiting his childhood friend, the King of Sicilia, Leontes, ably played by Brian Bengtson. Queen Hermione is radiantly pregnant with her husband Leontes’ child...or is she?? 

(L to R) Mara Kovacevic* as Hermione and Paula Hlava as Mamillias in BEST FOR WINTER, BEING A SHORT SHAKESPEARE ADAPTED FROM THE WINTERS TALE AND OTHER WORKS from Idle Muse Theatre Company
All Photos by Steven Townshend 

Mara Kovacevic is lovely as the expectant queen. She looks sweetly at her husband and all seems well...until she seems too friendly with their houseguest, causing a jealous outburst from Leontes, who convinces himself that the anticipated child belongs to his best friend, not his own offspring.  

(L to R) Elizabeth MacDougald* as Paulina and Brian Bengtson* as Leontes

Because of Leontes’ overactive imagination, all hell breaks loose. The enraged king tries to persuade his most trusted servant, Camillo, to kill Polixenes. Convinced the queen is innocent, Camillo warns Polixenes, and they depart for Bohemia together. Meanwhile, Leontes has his pregnant queen thrown into jail, where she gives birth to their daughter.

The child is abandoned on the coast of Bohemia, where she is found as raised by a shepherd; he names her Perdita. After intermission, we jump 16 years ahead. Perdita is now as lovely as her dear mother. She is being courted by the son of Polixenes, Prince Florizel, in disguise (of course!), as a shepherd. And to reveal any more would not be fair...let’s just say All’s Well That Ends Well.

Brian Healy as Florizel 

Kristen Alesia as Perdita

The young lovers are played by Kristen Alesia and Brian Healy, who are charming. Also deserving special recognition is Laura Jones Macknin as Camilla.

Laura Jones Macknin* as Camilla 

This energetic, earnest cast obviously has great joy for what they are performing. I hope their audience finds them in this little theater.    

And on that note, I will end with the famous and curious stage directions from A Winter’s Tale: “Exeunt, pursued by a bear…”

Catherine Hellmann really loves theater and her kids...her son's Quiz Bowl team once had "Exeunt, pursued by a bear" made into pins because they loved the obscurity of the only stage directions given by the Bard. 

(L to R) Morgan Manasa as Time, Toma Lynn Smith as Emilia and Elizabeth MacDougald* as Paulina


Idle Muse Theatre Company proudly announces its first play of 2019, Best for Winter, being a short Shakespeare adapted from The Winter’s Tale and other works, adapted and directed by Evan Jackson, March 21 – April 20, at The Edge Theater Off-Broadway, a new space at 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. Previews are Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m. Opening night is Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. with an added performance Wednesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. Industry nights are every Thursday performance with tickets for industry professionals at $10. 

Tickets are $10 for previews and $20 for regular performances and are on sale now at or by calling 773.340.9438.

Watson Swift as Cleomenes

The ensemble of Idle Muse Theatre Company explores this classical fantasy with an impossible ending. Shakespeare’s story of human beings living in a world broken by the unforgivable acts of a man in power is the basis for this new adaptation focused on feelings and actions and as recognizable in 2019 as they were in the Bard’s time.  “The Idle Muse Ensemble felt it was deeply necessary that we tell a story about being alive right now, both for our audiences and for ourselves,” said Artistic Director Evan Jackson.  “By definition, a play is a set of circumstances and story that have no choice but to find an ending – and you could say this is a play with no roadmap to get there.  At the same time, Idle Muse was formed in the belief that we can uncover truths about the human experience through the work of theatre.  That if we do everything we can to approach the work in good faith and live truthfully under those imaginary circumstances, then we can use the vehicle of a play to approach impossible questions.  So, we’re not looking to find forgiveness at the end of this story.  Maybe forgiveness isn’t possible for some things.  But maybe the act of finding the human part of what it is to be alive right now can be something like forgiveness.  Maybe something more important – something like hope,” continued Jackson.
The cast of Best for Winter, being a short Shakespeare adapted from The Winter’s Tale and other works features: Brian Bengtson*, “Leontes;” Mara Kovacevic*, “Hermione;” Erik Schnitger, “Polixenes;” Laura Jones Macknin*, “Camilla;” Elizabeth MacDougald*, “Paulina;” Brian Healy, “Florizel;” Kristen Alesia, “Perdita;” Michael Dalberg*, “Autolycus;” Sara Robinson*, “Antigonis;” Paula Hlava, “Mamillias;” Eric Duhon, “Shepherd;” Joel Thompson*, “Clown;” Watson Swift, “Cleomenes;” Morgan Manasa, “Time;” and Lauren Grace Thompson, “U/S Perdita/Cleomenes.”

(L to R) Joel Thompson* as Clown and Michael Dalberg* as Autolycus 

(L to R) Eric Duhon as Shepherd and Joel Thompson* as Clown

The production team for Best for Winter, being a short Shakespeare adapted from The Winter’s Tale and other works features: Evan Jackson*, director; Heather Zink, calling stage manager; Shellie DiSalvo*, production manager and rehearsal stage manager; Laura Wiley*, echnical director, lighting design and projection design; Milo Bue, scenic design; Joshua Allard, costume design; Tristan Brandon*, dramaturgy and prop design; L. J. Luthringer, sound and music design; William Sidney Parker*, consultant; Kati Lechner, vocal coach and Sarah Scanlon, intimacy design.   *connotes an Idle Muse Theatre Company Ensemble Member ABOUT EVAN JACKSON, adapter and director Evan Jackson is the artistic director and co-founder of Idle Muse Theatre Company.  He is an 18-year veteran of Chicago Storefront theatre as an actor, director, playwright and producer.  Jackson is a graduate of The Theatre School, DePaul University in Chicago, where he received his MFA in Directing Theatre. At Idle Muse, he has directed 11 productions, including the company’s Jeff-recommended productions of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure and The Lion in Winter.

(L to R) Morgan Manasa as Time and Sara Robinson* as Antigonis 

Idle Muse Theatre Company is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.
Idle Muse Theatre Company is a 501 (c3) non-profit charity organization that produces theatre that transports. Established in 2006 by theatre artists who were interested in exploring the relationship between individuals and worlds they inhabit and seeking to create production opportunities for themselves and other artists. In order to do this, Idle Muse created a “modern guild” of players, an environment where theatre artists of different experience levels and backgrounds could develop their craft and learn from each other. 

Visit Idle Muse virtually at and on Twitter (@IdleMuseTheatre), Facebook (/IdleMuseTheatre) and Instagram (@IdleMuseTheatre). 

Idle Muse Theatre Company is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The MacArthur Funds for the Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.   The Edge Theater Off-Broadway has paid street parking and is wheelchair accessible with complimentary assisted listening devices available. It is located near both the Red Line Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stops and is on the 36 Broadway bus route.


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar



An immersive and innovative tour across America will combine the power of storytelling and theater, inspiring communities to reimagine high schools.

Host committee includes Ava DuVernay, Sophia Bush, Jimmy Iovine, Yo-Yo Ma, Hebru Brantley, Geoff Canada, and over 100 community organizations including Chicago CRED, Generation All, Chicago Unity for Equity and Urban League of Chicago.   

XQ and Pop-Up Magazine Productions announce XQ Super School Live — a new, one-of-a-kind, immersive storytelling tour to inspire people to reimagine high schools in their own community. This innovative tour is coming to Chicago’s Harris Theater at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr.,  Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. for a night of high school drama — full of stories, selfie confessionals, viral gratitude, and multimedia adventures that celebrate the everyday heroes transforming America’s high schools. 

General admission tickets are available for $19 at or by phone at 312.334.7777.

“From Homer to hip-hop, storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to connect people to possibilities” says Russlynn Ali, executive producer, XQ Super School Live and CEO, XQ. “XQ Super School Live will take people on a multi-media journey, using true stories to show how high schools can foster curious, creative and collaborative students. Today all too many don’t. It’s up to us to change that - for every student, no matter their race, gender or zip code. Our students deserve nothing less.”

“Pop-Up Magazine is one of the most vibrant and exciting storytelling platforms of our day,” says Marc Ecko, producer, XQ Super School Live and Chief Creative and Strategy Officer, XQ. “Bringing this blend of live performance journalism and theater to the public is powerful —especially in these times. We’re building a new platform for community engagement and civic empowerment.”

Contributors on the tour include Chris Duffy (Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas), Clio Chang (Splinter, New Republic), Dana Bialek (Panoply, Slate), Christina Esquivel (education activist, Communities in Schools), and Andrew Boryga (New York Times, New Yorker). Stories will be accompanied by illustration, animation, photography, an original score performed onstage by Magik*Magik Orchestra, and 17-year-old DJ Prince.

“We’re thrilled to partner with XQ on this innovative, one-of-a-kind tour that brings Pop-Up Magazine Productions’ signature storytelling to life — live, multimedia, reported — to help shape the way we think about our high schools,” says Derek Fagerstrom, producer, XQ Super School Live and Director of Special Projects at Pop-Up Magazine Productions.

Stories such as Mike Floyd, a Texas teenager who in his senior year of high school decided to run for school board. And won. Or Gary Chery, a student whose hilarious cafeteria reviews amazed his teacher — a future professional comedy writer who celebrated Gary’s creativity — but who struggled in a traditional high school environment.

“XQ Super School Live brings the power of storytelling and theater together to ignite a spirit of social change,” says filmmaker Ava DuVernay. “Stories unlock our imagination and this innovative theatre tour celebrates all those working tirelessly to transform our education system — community leaders, business leaders, parents, teachers, and students.”

From the minute the audience walks into the theater, they will be immersed in XQ Super School Live — greeted with art installations by world-renowned artist and XQ Super School Live Creative Chair Hebru Brantley. Brantley is creating special-edition versions of his iconic, youthful Flyboy and Lil Mama. Brantley’s work challenges the traditional view of the hero with his iconic characters and XQ Super School Live saw parallels with the work needed by everyday heroes to reimagine high schools. This innovative and immersive night continues, from the audience receiving an “Orientation Pack” when they enter to being integrated into the actual show (with phones off!), to a reception after the show that fosters network and community-building to help people connect and take on the work of changing our high schools.

All proceeds from ticket sales benefit local non-profit organizations.

XQ is a growing and passionate network of educators, students, families, and civic-minded citizens reimagining high school education in the United States. Our mission is to fuel America’s collective creativity to transform high school, so every student succeeds, no matter their race, gender, or zip code. We want to see that change underway in every high school and in every community — in all 14,000+ school districts.

XQ launched in September 2015 as an open call to the nation to reimagine the American high school. More than 10,000 people from all 50 states took part. More than 700 teams created unique ideas for innovative, student-centered high schools. From these, 18 Super Schools are now turning their visions into reality. 

Super Schools are just one element to XQ’s work. We offer free, open source tools and materials so that every community can rethink their high schools. And because we believe that great high schools for all are a hallmark of a great nation, we are carrying that message into homes, schools, and neighborhoods across the country to tell stories that show how innovative and creative high schools can and should be.

XQ is led by Co-Founder and CEO Russlynn Ali, former Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights under President Barack Obama, and Co-Founder and Board Chair Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective. Board members include Geoffrey Canada, Marc Ecko, Jimmy Iovine, Michael Klein and Yo-Yo Ma.
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Pop-Up Magazine Productions brings unforgettable multimedia storytelling to major theaters across the nation with the acclaimed live event, Pop-Up Magazine, called “a sensation” by The New York Times and “beautiful” by the Los Angeles Times. Renowned writers, photographers, radio and podcast producers, and filmmakers perform new, true stories onstage, accompanied by a live band and original score. Pop-Up Magazine Productions also publishes The California Sunday Magazine, the national magazine featuring ambitious reported features and photography from across California, the West, Asia, and Latin America. The California Sunday Magazine, founded at the end of 2014, has been named a finalist for 10 National Magazine Awards, including Magazine of the Year and General Excellence, and won three, including the National Magazine Award for Design and the National Magazine Award for Photography two years in a row. 

For more information visit, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.