Wednesday, April 24, 2019

HAMILTON: THE EXHIBITION World Premiere Opening April 27th


I'll be out for the press opening and ribbon cutting this Friday, so check back soon for my photo recap and review. Hamilton: The Exhibition will make its world premiere in Chicago on April 27, 2019.  Hamilton: The Exhibition takes visitors deeper into the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, while at the same time chronicling the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America.  From the post in St. Croix where teenager Alexander became an indispensable trader, to the hilltop in Weehawken, NJ where Burr fatally shot Hamilton in their infamous duel, Hamilton: The Exhibition seeks to elucidate the powerful experience of building our country and shaping our Democracy.

The exhibition features an audio tour narrated by the musical’s author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with Phillipa Soo and Christopher Jackson, who played Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and George Washington in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. Joanne B. Freeman, historical advisor and Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, also narrates. The Spanish language translations are narrated by Olga Merediz, who originated the role of Abuela Claudia in the Broadway production of In The Heights.

With a dynamic and interactive mix of lighting, sound, multimedia, music and historical artifacts, you will experience how it felt to write the way Hamilton wrote, fight the way Hamilton fought, and live the way Hamilton lived.  Discover how his work as a trader in St. Croix gave him the skills to create our country’s financial system. Gaze upon the streets of New York with detailed replicas of the city in 1776. Step into George Washington’s war tent as you learn how the Revolutionary Army planned their shocking victory in the Battle of Yorktown.

Hamilton: The Exhibition posits new questions about Hamilton’s life and the founding of America, ultimately leaving us to ask the question — how can we leave our own legacies for future Americans?

Saturday, April 27 at 10AM: The Exhibition Officially Opens to the Public. Lin-Manuel Miranda will be on-hand to greet the first visitors to walk through the Exhibition!

For exhibition hours and more information about Hamilton: The Exhibition, please visit

Monday, April 22, 2019

REVIEW AND PHOTO FEATURE: FREE Dessert at Palm Court in Arlington Heights Through June 10, 2019

Not Your Grandmas' Palm Court

**Special Offer for ChiIL Mama's Readers: Palm Court Arlington Heights is offering a FREE dessert with a screenshot of this feature, through June 10, 2019 (Dine in only)**

My husband grew up in Wheeling, IL and when I mentioned I was going to a blogger dinner at Palm Court in Arlington Heights, he told me his family went there fairly frequently with the grandmas throughout the 70's and 80's.

Foodie fun with a host of Chicago's top bloggers at Palm Court, Arlington Heights

With new ownership and the same chef at the helm for over 30 years, Palm Court is poised to be the best blend of classic and cutting edge. They're adding exciting new menu items, more philanthropic efforts, and a new sound system, while keeping the tried and true staples they've built a reputation on. Your grandmas will still adore the Palm Court they've known and loved for 39 years, but so will the next generations, looking for a date night destination or a fabulous choice for milestone celebrations. 

It was my great pleasure to partner with Palm Court Arlington Heights for this sponsored post. I have been compensated. As always, all opinions, photos, and experiences are my own. Earlier this month I sampled an impressive array of menu items, fun wine pairings, and decadent desserts and all were spectacular. I highly recommend giving them a try, for your special occasions, date nights, and multigenerational celebrations. 

The following is a recap of our evening’s delicious private tasting menu, wine, and bar treat!

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail – (4) U-12 Gulf Shrimp, poached, chilled, served over crushed ice, accompanied by cocktail sauce with a dab of prepared horseradish

Baked Goat Cheese – creamy goat cheese baked in house made marinara served with crostini for dipping. a great appetizer for sharing
Escargot en Champignon – a French classic of escargot, mushroom, garlic, and butter this dish is extremely popular and an iconic dish of fine dining
Oysters Rockefeller – (4) Malpeque oysters topped with spinach and mornay sauce. 

Walnut & Poached Pear Salad – mixed greens, poached pears, walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, raspberry vinaigrette providing a wonderful balance of sweet and savory.  this salad can also be topped with salmon, shrimp, chicken, or steak to make it into more of a meal

Chopped Salad –  crisp iceberg, turkey, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, swiss cheese, red onion, ranch dressing chopped fine make this a refreshing lunch dish 

Entrees – all entrees start with your choice of a house salad or cup of soup (either the soup of the day or our French onion soup) and are served with a vegetable medley and choice of starch (Rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked potato, or hand-cut French fries)

Butcher’s Block all of our steaks are USDA Prime grade, wet aged for 21-28 days, and hand-trimmed in house (we even have our own bone saw)  

Porterhouse –the porterhouse is a steakhouse classic consisting of the sirloin (aka NY Strip) on the long side and the tenderloin that is a minimum of 2” from the bone (the filet side).  Having the bone run through the center of this steak adds flavor as well as joining the best of both steaks in one dish

Slow Roasted Prime Rib – our signature cut is available 7 days a week.  slow roasted, savory, and juicy, this cut is offered in 3 different sizes: sm (12 oz), med (16 oz), and the dbl cut (24 oz).  endcuts are limited, but this cut is served either on or off the bone.  the choice is yours

From the Sea 
Fried Gulf Shrimp – our gulf shrimp prepared butterflied, breaded, and deep fried to a golden brown. Crunchy and sweet served with cocktail sauce on the side

Alaskan Halibut – wild caught Alaskan halibut, coated in crushed macadamia nuts, served with meuniere sauce

Dover Sole – deboned tableside and served amandine. does it get any more classic than this?

Lobster Tail – 7-8 oz African cold-water lobster tail. broiled. served with a drawn butter kept warm by candle while you enjoy.  this is offered as a main course consisting of two tails or you can add a single tail to any entree to create your own surf and turf 

Meat & Game
Berkshire Pork Chops – our lunch portion is one, dinner two. each bone-in porkchop weighs in at roughly 8 oz and is served with a balsamic glaze

New Zealand Rack of Lamb – a beautiful 8 bone rack of lamb weighing in at approximately 12 oz, cooked to temperature, and cut into four double chops.

Chicken Piccata – Amish, free range, organic chicken breast with a savory citrus caper sauce and angel hair pasta in place of a choice of starch

Don’t forget about our charity pie of the month: 
Lia’s Key Lime Pie with donations going to the 
Autism Hero Project

Apple Cinnamon Crisp - A beautifully deconstructed apple crisp with cinnamon dusted phyllo pieces, cool vanilla ice cream, and apples with golden raisins. chocolate and honey drizzled over the top is sure to excite the senses

Cheesecake – a true classic served plain, or with berries, with a berry coulis

From the Bar 
Brandy Ice - a taste of old school to end the night, we concluded your meal with  hand mixed vanilla ice cream doused in brandy and presented with a blazing sugar cube on top

Wines of the night
Sparkling wine reception of Chandon Brut Imperial
Salad course was paired with the Tinto Rey Rose by Matchbook wines

Main course had the choice of the Cuvaison Chardonnay, the Arsonist Red Blend by Matchbook wines, or Meiomi Pinot Noir

Palm Court
1912 N Arlington Heights Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Get Social:
instagram: palm_courtah
facebook: The Palm Court

George Theodossopoulos, Owner                                      
Darren J Wurtzinger, General manager

**Special Offer for ChiIL Mama's Readers: Palm Court Arlington Heights is offering a FREE dessert with a screenshot of this feature, through June 10, 2019 (Dine in only)**

Disclosure: It was my pleasure to partner with Palm Court Arlington Heights for this sponsored post. I have been compensated. As always, all opinions, photos, and experiences are my own.

Sunday, April 21, 2019


APRIL 23-28, 2019

Broadway In Chicago is delighted to announce there will be a digital lottery and rush tickets for ROCK OF AGES, which will play for a limited one-week engagement at Broadway In Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre (24 W. Randolph) from April 23-28, 2019.

The digital lottery will begin April 22 at 9AM, and 40 tickets will be sold for every performance at $25 each. 

The lottery will happen online only the day before each performance.  In addition, a limited number of day-of-show rush tickets will be offered for each performance at $39 each. These will be available at all performances of the run for purchase in-person at the James M. Nederlander Theatre box office beginning when the box office opens daily. Seat locations vary per performance for the digital lottery and day-of show tickets.

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

Limit 1 entry per person, per performance. Multiple entries will not be accepted. Patrons must be 18 years old and have a valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the names used to enter. Tickets are non-transferable. All lottery prices include a $3.50 facility fee. Ticket limits and prices displayed are at the sole discretion of the show and are subject to change without notice. Lottery prices are not valid on prior purchases. Lottery ticket offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. All sales final - no refunds or exchanges. Lottery may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. No purchase necessary to enter or win.  A purchase will not improve your chances of winning.

It’s 1987 on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip when a small-town girl meets a big city rocker.  As they fall in love in L.A.’s most famous rock club, ROCK OF AGES allows fans to rock out once again to their favorite ‘80s hits. Featuring the music of iconic bands such as Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister, and Whitesnake among many others, this Tenth Anniversary production features a dynamic new cast revisiting the larger than life characters and exhilarating story that turned ROCK OF AGES into a global phenomenon.

ROCK OF AGES opened April 7, 2009 on Broadway and played more than 2,300 performances at the Brooks Atkinson and Helen Hayes Theatres earning five Tony Award® nominations including Best Musical. The show also enjoyed successful national and international tours and, in 2012, was turned into a major motion picture by New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures. With a book by Chris D’Arienzo and arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp, the tenth anniversary tour is being directed by Martha Banta and choreographed by Janet Rothermel.

For a sneak peek of this 10th Anniversary Tour, click here. For more information on casting and dates, visit the tour website at

Tour Social:
Twitter: @RockOfAges
Instagram: @rockofagesmusical

Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30PM
Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30PM
Thursday, April 25 at 7:30PM
Friday, April 26 at 7:30PM
Saturday, April 27 at 2PM & 8PM
Sunday, April 28 at 2PM & 7:30PM

Individual tickets are currently on sale and range in price from $20-$85 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing For more information, visit

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 19 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres.  Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre.

Broadway In Chicago proudly celebrates 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre. For more information, visit

Facebook @BroadwayInChicago ● Twitter @broadwaychicago ● Instagram @broadwayinchicago ● #broadwayinchicago

Saturday, April 20, 2019


ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:

15th Annual Festival is 9 AM to 3 PM and Features Model Train Layouts, Kid Crafts, CN’s Little Obie Trackless Train, Live Music and More!

I have a soft spot for Chicago's southern burb, Homewood. My grandma, aunt, uncle, and my 4 cousins lived there throughout my childhood and I have fond memories of turtle ponds, ice cream, and running barefoot down the sidewalks there. This weekend The Village of Homewood celebrates its rich rail history at the 15th Annual Homewood Rail Fest on Saturday, May 18 in the H-F Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you've got a train fan at home, it's worth the trek. You can even take the Metra there from Chicago. The Village of Homewood is a located just 25 miles south of Chicago's Loop. 

Visitors will experience numerous model train displays, a wide assortment of train collectables, kid crafts, folk railroad songs sung by MG Bailey, trackless train rides on Canadian National’s Little Obie and more. Homewood Rail Fest is free and open to the public. For more information on Homewood Rail Fest, visit or call 708-798-3000.

“This is a great festival for the whole family to experience what makes Homewood such a wonderful community.,” said Village Mayor Rich Hofeld. “The town was built around the railroad. Homewood’s Rail Fest is the perfect time for the community to come together and to have for everyone outside the community to visit us on the Metra Electric line."

The Homewood Rail Fest features intricate multiple gauge train layouts to view and kids activities including crafts and coloring train cut-outs. Kids can also participate in the railroad scavenger hunt, finding hidden items in the train layouts to receive a prize. Collectors can also view and purchase vintage train memorabilia including antique trains, model trains and items associated with the bygone days of the railroad. Homewood’s own MG Bailey is performing rail songs from yesteryear and food is available as well.

Additional rail amenities in Homewood include the Rail Watching Platform on Harwood next to the Metra station. Viewers can watch the train traffic and listen to the conductors as they maneuver on one of the eight tracks servicing Amtrak, Metra and freight trains. Visitors can also experience the Rail Park, on Park Ave north of the Metra station, featuring the newly restored Illinois Central caboose 9426. Connecting the two rail attractions is the underground pedestrian tunnel adorned with murals depicting local railroad history and murals painted by Homewood’s Girls Scouts.

Homewood Rail Fest is Saturday, May 18 in the H-F Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Rd., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Homewood Rail Fest is free and open to the public. Homewood Rail Fest is sponsored by The Homewood Rail Committee and The Village of Homewood. For more information on Homewood Rail Fest, visit or call (708)798-3000.

The Village of Homewood is a located just 25 miles south of Chicago's Loop. Recently named the third “Best Place to Live” out of 25 U.S. communities by CNN, Homewood is also listed as one of the top most livable metro area suburbs by Nationally-Acclaimed elementary and high school districts as well as parochial schools, an award winning park district, and commuter friendly downtown with Amtrak and Metra stops and convenient exit ramps off I 80 and I­ 294 are just a few of Homewood’s amenities. Homewood takes pride in hosting over 60 outdoor festivals yearly and expanded downtown growth, including a boutique hotel and craft breweries. Homewood is acknowledge by Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV and the Chaddick Institute/DePaul University among others as a creative community with a high standard for quality of life and an abundance of amenities for young families. For more information visit

Friday, April 19, 2019


Chicago Children’s Theatre is proud to announce the company has been awarded the 2019 National TYA Artistic Innovation Award from Theatre of Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA), the national service organization supporting, connecting, and advocating for the field of theater for young audiences.

Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2019 world premiere
X Marks the Spot

The company’s Red Kite Project for children on the autism spectrum.

Chicago Children’s Theatre has long been a favorite of ours, and it's wonderful to see them receiving well deserved fame and acclaim beyond Chicago. We are beyond fortunate to have this world class resource for young audiences right here at home. Kudos to Chicago Children’s Theatre for their stellar work in Chi, IL and beyond, creating new works and growing the next generation of empathetic, enlightened, theatre loving kids. 

“TYA/USA is thrilled to honor Chicago Children’s Theatre for the company’s profound impact in Chicago and the national TYA field,” said Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, Executive Director of TYA/USA. “At a time when TYA theaters across the country are increasingly unable to support the development of new work, Chicago Children’s Theatre continues to significantly expand the TYA canon while creating new pathways of access for underrepresented audiences. Led by Founding Artistic Director, Jacqueline Russell, Chicago Children’s Theatre has demonstrated national leadership in groundbreaking artistic vision and audience inclusivity as vanguards of our field, pushing the genre forward with their work.”

The TYA Artistic Innovation Award honors an individual or company that has demonstrated innovation – experimentation in content or in form – in recent artistic work in TYA. In particular, TYA/USA credits Chicago Children’s Theatre’s long-standing commitment to access via its Red Kite Project, which presents live adventure experiences and a popular summer camp program for children on the autism spectrum.

In this January 2019 blog post, TYA/USA also showcased Chicago Children’s Theatre’s groundbreaking 2019 world premiere of X Marks the Spot, an all-new form of “X Tra Sensory Theater” created by Jacqueline Russell inspired by children who are visually impaired. X Marks the Spot incorporated sounds, voices, tastes, touchable, scented props and a contemporary story inspired by a Victorian novel by Edith Nesbit to create an unforgettably different live theater experience that helped children better appreciate all of their senses.

“Chicago Children’s Theatre is delighted to receive this recognition from one of our most important audiences, our TYA peers around the U.S.,” said Russell. “Creating theater that's inclusive of all of children is core to CCT's mission. If our efforts to expand inclusivity are inspiring other theaters to create innovative new programming, particularly for children from often marginalized communities, then we’re both proud and humbled that our work is having a positive impact not just on children in Chicago, but on children throughout the U.S.”

Russell will accept this year’s TYA Artistic Innovation Award on behalf of Chicago Children’s Theatre on May 9, 2019 as part of the 2019 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference, the largest gathering of theatre for young audiences professionals in North America. Over 300 artists, educators and administrators will convene at this year’s event, held at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, to experience 12 productions from around the globe, exchange current practice and discuss the future of the TYA industry. For more information, visit

Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA) is a national service organization whose mission is to promote the power of professional theater for young audiences through excellence, collaboration and innovation across cultural and international boundaries. The organization provides advocacy and resources in order to strengthen and diversify the field of theatre for young audiences.
For more, visit

Nelson Simmons plays Kenny in The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, Chicago Children's current world premiere production based on the Newbery Medal-winning book by Christopher Paul Curtis, now extended through May 19. 
Photo by Charles Osgood.

About Chicago Children’s Theatre
Led by Founding Artistic Director, Jacqueline Russell, Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded in 2005 with a big idea: Chicago is the greatest theater city in the world, and it deserves a great children’s theater. Nearly 15 years later, CCT is Chicago’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families, and has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theater, with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise.

Chicago Children’s Theatre has produced 20 world premieres in the last 12 years including The Selfish Giant, The Hundred Dresses, Jackie and Me, The Houdini Box, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Leo Lionni’s Frederick, Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, Jabari Dreams of Freedom, The Year I Didn’t Go To School: A Homemade Circus, Manual Cinema’s Magic City, My Wonderful Birthday Suit!, Last Stop on Market Street, X Marks the Spot, The World Inside Me (with New York’s Spellbound Theatre) and The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963. These productions enjoyed successful inaugural runs in Chicago, many followed by productions at theaters across the U.S.

Chicago Children’s Theatre has garnered six NEA Art Works grants, supporting the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence. In 2017, CCT became the first theater for young audiences in the U.S. to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.

In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of its new, permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, located at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop community. The building, formerly the Chicago Police Station for the 12th District, was repurposed into a beautiful, LEED Gold-certified, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that now welcomes all Chicago families. CCT also continues to grow its education programs, offering classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps for ages 0 to 13. CCT offers free tickets to more than 5,000 low-income students each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools.

In addition to leading Chicago Children’s Theatre’s new play development, main stage, and education programs, Jacqueline Russell is the creator of the Red Kite Project, a multi-sensory interactive theatre program tailored specifically to children with special needs. Recently, Russell created and directed an innovative production, X Marks the Spot, a multi-sensory experience inspired by her work with children with visual impairments. In 2010, she was appointed by the U.S. State Department to serve as Cultural Envoy to Canada, was awarded the 2013 “Hero of the Year Award” from the Chicago chapter of Autism Speaks, and was recently honored as one of 20 women who have shaped arts and culture in Chicago on the Kerry James Marshall mural at the Chicago Culture Center.

Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Eric Neveux. For more, visit

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