Tuesday, April 30, 2019

GIVEAWAY: WIN 4 Tickets ($120) To Yes Ma’am Circus' 12th Night: If Circus be the Food of Love, Play On! at Theater Wit June 20 – June 30, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Yes Ma’am Circus presents 
12th Night: 
If Circus be the Food of Love, Play On! 


**The production is family friendly (no swearing, nudity, or gore) and runs approximately 2 hours including a 15-minute intermission.**

ChiIL Mama's thrilled to partner with Yes Ma’am Circus on an excellent ticket giveaway for our readers. How can you beat the bard's classic with a circus arts twist?! We'll be out for the press opening and we're excited to give you the chance to WIN tickets too.


Enter Below for your chance to 
WIN 4 tickets ($120 value) 
To Yes Ma’am Circus' 12th Night: 
If Circus be the Food of Love, Play On! 
at Theater Wit June 20 – June 30, 2019. 


Winner's choice of dates/times throughout the run (pending availability) June 20-23, and 27-30 at Theater Wit. Sunday shows are matinees at 2:30, all others are at 7:30. Enter through midnight May 31st. 


Tickets are currently available to purchase through Theater Wit.




Yes Ma’am Circus presents 12th Night: If Circus be the Food of Love, Play On! This new look at Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy features dazzling circus acts, gender-bending cast and characters, and a hefty dose of comedy. The play has been adapted from the original for time and circus needs by the Yes Ma’am cast and is directed by Yes Ma’am Executive Director Amancay Kugler.


  Photos by Peter Serocki 

When twins Viola and Sebastian are separated at sea, each assumes the other is dead. They both make their way to Illyria, where Viola disguises herself as a man and finds employment with the local Duke. Hilarity ensues as Viola (now Cesario) is sent off to woo the Duke’s love interest, Countess Olivia, who soon falls in love with Cesario, who is fast falling in love with the Duke. Meanwhile the clowns of Olivia’s household create their own romantic plots and pranks, and Sebastian wanders through town, creating a chaotic series of mistaken identities and misunderstandings, all wrapped up in a drama-filled final confrontation.

This hilarious adaptation of Shakespeare’s 12th Night incorporates much of the original text, and adds in shadow puppetry, clowning, and aerial acrobatics. 


  Photos by Peter Serocki 


The complete cast includes:
Founding Members:
Amancay Kugler (Director), Maggie Karlin (Sebastian & Feste, Puppet Master), Athena Giles (Antonio), Matthew Kugler (Duke Orsino), Myriam Bloom (Graphic Designer)
New Company Members:
Foxy Grandpa (Maria), Scott M. Priz (Malvolio), Kathleen Hoil (Viola), Kristi Taff (Countess Olivia)

  Photos by Peter Serocki 

Now in our 2nd season, Yes Ma’am Circus strives to meld traditional circus acts with contemporary theater practices. Our creative drive is for plot-based, character-focused works that use circus to further the narrative. We are excited to grow as a company with 12th Night and look forward to seeing what the future brings as we further our reach in Chicago.


Cast for Paradise Lost Show.  Photo by Johanna Vargas


12th Night: If Circus be the Food of Love, Play On! Runs Thursday, June 20 – Sunday, June 30 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Press opening is Thursday June 20 at 7:30 PM. Regular performance times are Thursday- Saturday 7:30 PM and Sunday 2:30 PM. Tickets are $30 (discounts available for seniors, students, and industry members) and may be purchased through the Theater Wit Box Office

Special VIP tickets are available for a limited time only through Kickstarter






ENTER HERE for your chance to 
WIN 4 tickets ($120 value) 
To Yes Ma’am Circus' 12th Night: 
If Circus be the Food of Love, Play On! 

at Theater Wit June 20 – June 30, 2019

Giveaway for 4 tickets, valued at $120 total. Show runs June 20-23, and 27-30 at Theater Wit. Sunday shows are matinees at 2:30, all others are at 7:30. Enter through midnight May 31st. 





Disclosure: ChiIL Mama's thrilled to partner with Yes Ma’am Circus on an excellent ticket giveaway for our readers. Thanks to Yes Ma’am Circus for providing complimentary tickets for our giveaway and review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

WIN The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part On BLU-RAY™ DVD COMBO PACK ($35.99 Value)

ChiIL Mama's Got a Great Giveaway for you!

EVERYTHING IS STILL AWESOME WHEN
The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part
ARRIVES ONTO 4K UHD COMBO PACK,
BLU-RAY™ COMBO PACK,
DVD SPECIAL EDITION AND DIGITAL FROM
WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT



4K UHD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include Everything Is Awesome Sing-Along

Own it Early on Digital on April 16
4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD debut on May 7

Disclosure: It's our pleasure here at ChiILMama.com to partner up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc. once again for a great giveaway for our readers. I have been compensated and they have provided complimentary prizes for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own.

Enter Below for your chance to WIN 
The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part On BLU-RAY™ DVD COMBO PACK ($35.99 Value). Enter through midnight May 8th. Open nationwide/USA. 

Yes, I'll admit I geeked out hard for The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part and I'm more excited than my kids about my Blu-ray Combo Pack that just arrived in the mail, so I can watch it at will. I caught a press sneak peek at The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part, reviewing for ChiILMama.com and enjoyed it immensely. The movie had a great message for the littles and enough pop culture references and double entendres to make it fun for the big kids (AKA: adults). My personal fav... the supremest of Supreme Court Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a LEGO RBG guest appearance! 






It’s time to go where no brick has gone before when “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” arrives on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD Special Edition and Digital. The much-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, global box office phenomenon that started it all, “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in an all new action-packed adventure to save their beloved city.

“100% fun for everyone!”
Dave Morales, FOX-TV



ChiIL Mama ChiILin' at The Chicago Auto Show 
 Here I am, embracing my inner child and LEGO geek, enjoying the life sized LEGO Silverado (like the mini model from the movie!) at the largest auto show in the nation!





Reprising their starring roles from the first film are Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Jurassic World”) as Emmet; Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games” movies, “Love & Mercy”) as Lucy, aka Wyldstyle; Will Arnett (“The LEGO® Batman Movies,” TV’s “Arrested Development”) as LEGO Batman; Alison Brie (TV’s “GLOW,” TV’s “Community”) as Unikitty; Nick Offerman (“Fargo,” TV’s “Parks and Recreation”) as MetalBeard; and Charlie Day (the “Horrible Bosses” movies, TV’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia”) as Benny. They are joined by Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip,” “Keanu”) and Stephanie Beatriz (“Short Term 12,” TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) as new characters Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi and General Mayhem, respectively, and Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids,” TV’s “Big Mouth”), as Mom.

“The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” was directed by Mike Mitchell (“Shrek Ever After,” “Trolls,” “Sky High”) and produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Roy Lee, the team behind the LEGO film franchise since “The LEGO Movie,” and Jinko Gotoh. The screenplay was written by Lord and Miller, the Oscar-winning producers of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” from a story by Lord, Miller and Matthew Fogel, based on LEGO Construction Toys. Trisha Gum was the animation director.

Serving as executive producers were Jill Wilfert, Keith Malone, Matthew Ashton, Chris McKay, Zareh Nalbandian, Ryan Halprin, Will Allegra and Chris Leahy. The production designer was Patrick Marc Hanenberger, the editor was Clare Knight and the music was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group present, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Rideback/Lord Miller/Vertigo Entertainment Production, “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” will feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

“The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

Fans can also own “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” via purchase from digital retailers beginning April 16.

SYNOPSIS

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are now facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than it can be rebuilt. The battle to defeat the invaders and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds, including a galaxy filled with fantastic planets, strange characters and catchy new songs. It will test their courage, creativity and Master Building skills, and reveal just how special they really are.

4K, BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

“The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” 4K UHD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack contain the following special features:
· Everything is Awesome Sing-along – Sing-along, trivia, games and more!
· Commentary – Fun behind the scenes commentary by filmmakers​
· They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2​ – Featurette highlighting A-list voice talent including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish
· Emmet’s Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short – Holiday themed animated short
· LEGO Sets in Action – Animations of the LEGO product tied to The LEGO Movie 2
· LEGO Designers – LEGO toy designers highlight key play sets in TLM2 product line
· Outtakes & Deleted Scenes – Never before seen scenes
· Super Cool Music Video – Music video by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island
·Promotion Spots – Fun custom spots featured during the theatrical campaign

“The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” DVD Special Edition contains the following special features:
·Commentary – Fun behind the scenes commentary by filmmakers​
· They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2​ – Featurette highlighting A-list voice talent including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish
·Emmet’s Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short – Holiday themed animated short
· LEGO Sets in Action – Animations of the LEGO product tied to The LEGO Movie 2
· LEGO Designers – LEGO toy designers highlight key play sets in TLM2 product line
· Outtakes & Deleted Scenes – Never before seen scenes
· Super Cool Music Video – Music video by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island
· Promotion Spots – Fun custom spots featured during the theatrical campaign

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS

On April 16, “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On May 7, “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

ABOUT MOVIES ANYWHERE

Movies Anywhere is a digital movie platform that enables movie fans to discover, access, and watch their favorite digital movies in one place. Movies Anywhere brings together a library of nearly 7,500 digital movies from Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment) and Warner Bros., and will continue to expand the consumer experience as more content providers, digital retailers and platforms are added. By connecting participating digital retailers that include Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu, movie fans can now bring together their digital movie collections (whether purchased or redeemed) in one place and enjoy them from the comfort of their living rooms, and across multiple devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire devices; Android devices and Android TV; Apple TV; Chromecast; iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; Roku® devices and popular browsers. Movie fans can also redeem digital codes found in eligible Blu-ray and DVD disc packages from participating studios and enjoy them through Movies Anywhere. Movies Anywhere – your movies, together at last.

ABOUT DIGITAL

*Digital movies or TV episodes allow fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital movies or TV episodes are included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. With digital, consumers are able to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through retail services. For more information on compatible devices and services go to wb.com/digitalmoviefaq. Consult a digital retailer for details and requirements and for a list of digital-compatible devices.

BASICS

PRODUCT                                                                            SRP
4K UHD Combo Pack                                                            $44.95
Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                             $35.99
DVD Special Edition                                                              $28.98


4K, Blu-ray and DVD Street Date: May 7
EST Street Date: April 16
DVD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French
BD Languages: English, English-ADS, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French
BD Subtitles: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Running Time: 107 minutes
Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor
DVD: DLBY/SURR   DLBY/DGTL [ENG-SDH]
4K and Blu-ray: DTS HD-MA [ENG-Atmos, ENG-ADS]

THE CREDITS
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

Get Social With The Following Hash Tag
#TheLEGOMovie2
https://www.facebook.com/TheLEGOMovie/



Enter Here for your chance to WIN 
The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part On BLU-RAY™ DVD COMBO PACK ($35.99 Value). Enter through midnight May 8th. Open nationwide/USA. 

ENTER HERE

Disclosure: It's our pleasure here at ChiILMama.com to partner up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc. once again for a great giveaway for our readers. I have been compensated and they have provided complimentary prizes for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

REVIEW: Adventure Stage Chicago’s World Premiere of Andrew Marikis’ Fast Food Chain

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

Adventure Stage Chicago’s
World Premiere of Andrew Marikis’
Fast Food Chain


directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Daryl Brooks


Guest Review
By Catherine Hellmann


“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
---Attributed to Mark Twain

Rudy (or Hare) learns this lesson in Fast Food Chain as the lies to his mother add up and begin to spiral out of control. In his defense, he is trying to provide for his family, as his single mom struggles to pay the rent to their evil landlord, Mr. Lyons, and put food on the table. (Rian Jairell is convincingly mean; when he asks to try the desperate family’s food, moments after harassing them for money, a woman behind us blurted,”No!”) When Mom catches Rudy in a lie, she looks at him suspiciously. “She knows he’s full of shit,” my companion whispers. “”My mom gave us that look before she gave us an ass whupping.”



Combining African folk tales with a realistic setting of hungry families in 2019 Chicago, each character has their animal counterpart. Yahdina U-deen as the narrator is Tortoise as well. Her costume, commanding Nigerian voice and stage presence really anchor the show and draw us in. “Ancient stories tell us who we are,” she informs us.



Rudy’s sister, Akari or Rat, (La Shone Kelly) is involved in her brother’s schemes of running a (literal) food cart out of a shopping cart in an alley. Rudy, played with charming enthusiasm by Davon Roberts, has dreams of being a chef and creates fanciful recipes with limited ingredients. One recipe is a mole created from Doritos and chocolate! As he tells his mom,”I’m not picky. I just deserve the best!”

The kids are constantly hungry, and their mom regularly visits the food pantry, unbeknownst to her children. When it is time for dinner, the mom feigns being tired to skip the meal, leaving more for her children. Even in tough times, the family members are there for each other.



Before the show, we are asked to look for examples of literal and figurative hunger. Besides their growling stomachs, Rudy also has a hunger to improve his life by becoming a chef. His aspirations are a hunger needing to be satisfied.

The staging and set really add to the story. Clusters of milk and water plastic bottles are placed around the stage. When they light up, it is a fun magical moment. There is also a screen at the back of the stage where  acrobatic dancers are in silhouette acting out the roles of the animals in the folk tales. Another neat feature is a Spanish translation of the dialogue above the stage.

School groups and families will love this world premiere. The playwright, Andrew Marikis, was in the audience, and suggestions from Chicago Public School students were incorporated into the show. We liked the themes of modern social issues, gentrification, family, and being true to oneself. 


In Fast Food Chain, Adventure Stage Chicago’s artistic associate and playwright Andrew Marikis wrote the piece with help from Chicago students, diving into the magical realism of African folktale while showcasing the power of community and storytelling in combatting social issues. Because the show was written with the help of youth, it is largely targeting to a youthful audience. The show reimagines Igbo folk heroes Hare and Tortoise against the backdrop of Chicago in 2019. Rudy is a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a famous chef. The problem is, his schemes usually involve getting him and his younger sister Akari into trouble. Their family struggles with the pressure of food insecurity in Chicago until one day, Rudy and Akari discover a garden in the unlikeliest of places.

Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC), a program of the Northwestern Settlement, presents the world premiere of ASC Artistic Associate Andrew Marikis’Fast Food Chain from April 26 to May 18, 2019 at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble Street. This production continues ASC’s 15th season, which explores the many challenges of hunger, both literal and metaphorical. Fast Food Chain is directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Daryl Brooks, who helmed ASC’s Akeelah and the Bee last season.

Casting for the new production includes Davon Roberts (Rudy), La Shone T. Kelly (Akari), Sonya Cha’Rae (Ursula), Yahdina U-Deen (Mbeku), Kelvin Davis (Eddie), Rian Jairell(Mr. Lyons) and Lisa Revis (Shadow 1).

Fast Food Chain reimagines Igbo folk heroes Hare and Tortoise against the backdrop of Chicago in 2019. The story follows a brother and sister as they wrestle with the pressures of food insecurity in Chicago. Rudy is a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a famous chef. The problem is, his schemes usually involve getting him and his younger sister, Akari, into big trouble. Their family struggles with the pressure of food insecurity in Chicago until one day Rudy and Akari discover a garden in the unlikeliest of places. Fast Food Chain is written with help from Chicago students, diving into the magical realism of African folktale while showcasing the power of community and storytelling in combatting social issues.

Tickets for the world premiere of Fast Food Chain at Adventure Stage Chicago are on sale now for $12 to $17. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit adventurestage.org or call 773-342-4141.

Adult - $17.00

Youth (14 and Under) - $12.00

Fast Food Chain is the second world premiere play at ASC to benefit from a new play development process formalized by ASC Playwright-in-Residence Carlos Murillo. Marikis worked with school, youth and community groups at Northwestern Settlement over 18 months, using their input and participation to integrate community stories into the world of the play. The resulting story about heroic youth amplifies the mission of the Settlement, educating and inspiring its community to help disrupt generational poverty in Chicago.

Artist bios

Davon Roberts (Rudy) makes his Adventure Stage Chicago debut in Fast Food Chain. He is an actor, writer, director and comedian born and raised in Chicago IL. Davon's first performance was in a school production of The Wiz. As time progressed, he discovered a love for acting on film. Davon has been on shows such as Chicago Fire and Shameless, two indie films and several student films.

La Shone T. Kelly (Akari) returns to Adventure Stage Chicago after last appearing in Akeelah and the Bee and in Reprise, which got the opportunity to participate in Scotland National Theater’s “Home Away” showcase. She is new to the theater scene but comes from a musical background; having been in a family band called “The Chicago Kellys,” who have featured on NBC Nightly News, WGN and other local news outlets.

Sonya Cha’Rae (Ursula) makes her Adventure Stage Chicago debut in Fast Food Chain. Having graduated with a B.A in Acting from Western Illinois University in 2014, she went on to perform in a variety of plays and TV shows in Memphis, Tennessee and Chicago. Her latest performance was in the play Passin’ Where the River Bend (Iris). She has also played main roles in Fences (Rose)​​, The Wizard of Oz (The Wicked Witch), She Kills Monsters (Vera), and numerous extra roles in TV shows such as The Chi, Proven Innocent and Red Line.

Yahdina U-Deen (Mbeku) returns to Adventure Stage Chicago after her performance in Akeelah and the Bee. She is a mother, grandmother, professional singer and actor in the Chicagoland area and abroad. Recent performances include Black Ensemble's The Marvin Gaye Story, Nina Simone: The High Priestess Speaks, and At Last: A Tribute to Etta James. She’s also performed at ETA Creative Arts Agency, Victory Gardens and The South Shore Drill Team.

Kelvin Davis (Eddie) returns to Adventure Stage Chicago after his appearance in Akeelah and the Bee. He discovered his love for theatre as an ensemble cast member with Theatre IV, now called Virginia Repertory Theatre, with which he toured for over a decade, performing in shows such as Hugs and Kisses and Buffalo Soldiers. In Chicago, Kelvin has worked with The Black Ensemble Theatre during the Black Playwrights’ Festival. Kelvin has also understudied for The Gospel According to James at Victory Gardens.

Rian Jairell (Mr. Lyons) makes his Adventure Stage Chicago debut in Fast Food Chain. He was last seen as Major Metcalf in Metropolis Performing Arts Center’s production of The Mousetrap. Other Chicago credits include: Gas for Less, Dartmoor Prison (The Goodman Theatre), Cymbeline, Troilus and Cressida, A Flea in her Ear (Chicago Shakespeare Theater),Boeing Boeing (MPAC). His regional credits include: It’s Only A Play (Theatre Workshop of Nantucket), Macbeth, You Never Can Tell (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks), Pericles, The Fair Maid of the West, Line of Descent (Riverside Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew, The Rainmaker (Idaho Repertory Theatre). His film and television credits include: The Sighting, Using, Dimension, Chicago Fire and The Laramie Project.

Lisa Revis (Shadow 1) makes her Adventure Stage Chicago debut in Fast Food Chain. She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from Rockford University. She has performed at theatres throughout the country including Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, Cumberland County Playhouse, Show Palace Dinner Theatre and Artist’s Ensemble Theatre. Some of her favorite credits include 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Marcy), Trojan Women (Helen), Mamma Mia! (Dance Captain), A Chorus Line (Connie), The Little Mermaid (Arista), Time of War (Combatant) and dancing with Bad Wolf Dance Theatre (Soloist). Since settling in Chicago, Lisa has performed with Filament Theatre (The Adventures of Robin Hood), Innervation Dance Cooperative (20th Season) and Chicago Honey Bears Dancers (company member).

Andrew Marikis (playwright) is a theater devisor, storyteller, actor, teaching artist and educator. This is his first full-length play at Adventure Stage Chicago. As a devisor, Marikis was lead teaching artist with the Adventure Stage Chicago Trailblazer—a mixed-age devising ensemble—for two years and is a resident artist with Filament Theatre, where he most recently helped develop and remount FORTS, an interactive play installation. As a storyteller, Marikis has told true tales all over Chicago and is the host and producer of Story Club South Side, a monthly live lit show he founded in 2012. As an actor he’s worked with Adventure Stage Chicago, Filament Theatre, Erasing the Distance, Irish Theatre of Chicago, Boho, City Lit, Lifeline and The Artistic Home among others. As a teaching artist, Marikis has taught all over the city and suburbs with Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre, ASC, Dream Big and Emerald City.

Daryl Brooks (director) returns to Adventure Stage Chicago to tell the story of Fast Food Chain after directing ASC’s Akeelah and the Bee last season. Brooks has been a visible part of the Chicago theatre scene since 1999, having performed and directed all over the city. Recent projects include: Memphis (Porchlight Music Theatre; Jeff Nominated); writing and directing Women of Soul (Black Ensemble Theater; Jeff Recommended); The Black Pearl: The Story of Josephine Baker (Black Ensemble Theater; Jeff Nominated). Other directing credits include Men of Soul and Curtis Mayfield; he received the African American Arts Alliance award for Best Director for both productions. Brooks is the Producing Managing Director of the Black Ensemble Theater.




About Northwestern Settlement and Adventure Stage Chicago

Northwestern Settlement nurtures, educates and inspires children and families across Chicago. The Settlement’s success results from a commitment to treating every person who enters its doors with dignity and respect, while supporting them with transformational programming designed to disrupt generational poverty. The Settlement has led the way in innovative programming by offering residential science and environmental education for inner-city youth, launching successful charter schools, and adding a theater so children and teens have a forum for expressing their life experiences. For more information, visit www.northwesternsettlement.org.

The Settlement’s Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC) is one of the only theaters in Chicago to develop and present works specifically for the pre-teen and teenage audience. Adventure
Stage Chicago creates and tells heroic stories about young people in order to engage the community and inspire everyone to be a hero in their own lives. ASC also offers: Neighborhood Bridges, the in-classroom arts residency program; Trailblazers, a youth mentoring arts program; summer drama camps; and drama instruction in the Settlement’s Rowe Elementary School.
Adventure Stage Chicago is a member of IPAY (International Performing Arts for Youth), League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), and TYA/USA. For more information, visit www.adventurestage.org.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Free Concert! HIGHLAND PARK STRINGS Presents THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY

Free Concert!
HIGHLAND PARK STRINGS Presents
THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY

Photo credit Kirsten Kuhlman

Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Highland Park High School
Featuring Cello Soloist Ben Fried


Highland Park Strings, under the direction of Principal Conductor Dr. Robert G. Hasty, is pleased to conclude its 40th anniversary season with THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY, a free concert on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 3 pm at Highland Park High School, 433 Vine Ave. in Highland Park. The concert will feature Highland Park High School graduate cellist Ben Fried, who will perform the extraordinarily difficult Concerto No. 1 by Shostakovich. The Strings will close the season with the New World Symphony by Dvorak. Admission is FREE. For additional information, visit hpstrings.org.

The full concert line up for includes:

SHOSTAKOVICH
Concerto for Cello No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op.107

DVORAK
Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (“From the New World”)
Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Highland Park/Highwood

For its 2018-19 season, the Strings proudly joins HP150, Highland Park’s year-long sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) celebration. In honor of the City’s milestone, all of the soloists featured in the Strings’ 40th anniversary concerts are Highland Park residents.

About the Artists
Dr. Robert G. Hasty (Principal Conductor) begins his second full year as Principal
Conductor of the Strings, having quickly become
beloved by the orchestra and the audience. Dr. Hasty is
the conductor of the Chamber Orchestra and the
Philharmonia of the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of
Music at Northwestern University where he also serves
as the Associate Director of Orchestras. He is also the
Music Director of the Kenosha and the Skokie Valley
Symphony Orchestras and Artistic Director of the
International Schools Choral Music Society. Dr. Hasty
began his career teaching music in the public schools in Southern California. A noted researcher in music cognition, Dr. Hasty is the author of two publications delivered at the 7th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition in Sydney, Australia. As a conductor, Dr. Hasty has appeared with the All-American College Orchestra at Walt Disney World, Beijing Youth Orchestra and the Elmhurst and Grant Park Symphonies, among many others. He also continues to perform as a freelance violinist and violist. These days, you will find him fiddling in several Chicagoland clubs and venues with various local bands, most notably performing and recording with his wife, singer-songwriter Christina Trullio.

 
Photo credit Todd Tyler

Ben Fried (Soloist, Cello) Born in Highland Park, Fried is carving out a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician and composer. He has performed several times on WFMT, and twice on National Public Radio. While a student at Eastman School of Music, he was chosen to receive the prestigious Performer’s Certificate, and went on to win the school’s concerto competition. He is a prize winner of the Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, the Eastman Honor’s Music Competition and the St. Paul String Quartet Competition. He performs regularly on tour for the Heifetz International Music Institute and is a 2018 “artist in residence” at the Festival. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in cello performance at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Andrew Shulman. Previous cello teachers include Timothy Eddy, Steven Doane and Hans Jensen. Also a dedicated composer, he studies composition under
Morten Lauridsen at USC and frequently performs his
 own works internationally.

About Highland Park Strings
Founded by co-principal cellist Lawrence Block in 1979, the Highland Park Strings is an ensemble composed primarily of accomplished amateur chamber musicians (now supplemented by young professionals) who relish the joy of making music together. From its inception, the mission of the Strings was and remains to provide concerts FREE of charge for the community, a unique arrangement made possible through the sponsorship of the Park District of Highland Park, YEA! Highland Park, the Negaunee Foundation and the generous philanthropy of individual donors and businesses. This "little miracle" in Highland Park, so aptly described by the Chicago Tribune, has become core to the cultural fabric of the community, playing to capacity audiences for each performance.

REVIEW: THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED “MOBY-DICK” VIA CHICAGO OPERA THEATER

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER PRESENTS THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED 
“MOBY-DICK” 
APRIL 25 AND 28 AT THE 
HARRIS THEATER FOR MUSIC AND DANCE


Photo Credit for all: Michael Brosilow


Guest Review:
by catherine hellmann

“Call me Ishmael.” As a grad student, those familiar words once filled me with dread, but now I am amused.



As Mark Twain noted, a “classic” is “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Sums up my relationship with the 585-page tome. I can brag that I did actually read the entire novel, since it was required, while at Miami University. My father is the only person I know who read Moby Dick for fun. He was kind of an intellectual lunatic…

A common understanding when lovers of literature see a movie-based-on-a-book is,”The book was so much better.” For Moby Dick, the opera is sooooo much better!



Chicago audiences have one more opportunity to catch the Great White Whale (catchy, huh?) on Sunday April 28 at 3:00 at the Harris Theater on the edge of Millennium Park. It is a shame that COT does not offer more showings to give Chicagoans a longer opportunity to land this giant fish tale (and yes, I acknowledge that a whale is a mammal, not a fish...)



Chicago Opera Theater continues to impress with their season of non-standard performances. If you have had season tickets at Lyric and wonder why you must endure yet another damn Wagner marathon, please give Chicago Opera Theater a chance. They are doing exciting, unusual musical productions that you haven’t seen before. Moby Dick continues COT’s style of presenting a Chicago premiere. From their press release, “Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s grand American epic arrives in Chicago on the heels of critically acclaimed performances in Utah, Pittsburgh, and San Jose. Based on Herman Melville’s magnum opus, the opera brings the perilous adventures of the Pequod to the stage. Captain Ahab gathers a crew on his quest for revenge on the legendary whale that cost him a leg.”


Captain Ahab’s peg leg costume is ingenious; we both did double takes, wondering how that clever visual trickery was maneuvered. At Richard Cox’s curtain call, the fake leg had been removed, and he bemusedly tapped his normal leg. It was a lovely moment of levity after an intense performance.  





The set seemed promising, especially the map projected on the walls. The back walls open up like a giant window for us to see sailors on the deck and the stars. But my daughter pointed out that we could not see the singers on the mast from our angle in the balcony, “just singing legs,” which was frustrating. I had also hoped for an impressive sighting of the great white whale through those windows to convey the massive size of the beast, but was kind of disappointed by the lackluster reveal when M.D. is finally sighted. The costumes, by Jessica Jahn, are terrific, and the men’s chorus is truly one of the highlights of the show. Their offstage singing is simply gorgeous.


Also of special note is Baritone Andrew Bidlack as Greenhorn. He and Starbuck, played by Aleksey Bogdanov, possess beautiful voices and stage presences. First Mate Starbuck sings longingly for his wife and son back home, which is a tender moment against the lonely backdrop of the sea. Starbuck has a very revealing scene with the maniacal Ahab; he is the only crew member with the courage to contradict their obsessed boss and encourage him to turn the Pequod back to port. For his level-headedness, Ahab threatens to kill Starbuck, showing the single-mindedness of Ahab “going after that stupid whale.” (teen girl comment)  Starbuck, fearfully, sings,”Now all of us are Ahabs.”

This voyage will not end well.


If you’d like to know more about the industry of whaling and the real-life inspiration for Moby Dick, I highly recommend In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. It reads like a novel and offers a fascinating history lesson about Nantucket, the tenacity of sailors, and the importance of whaling in the 1800’s. The book is classic, but not a classic, for it is one you will enjoy reading.

Catherine Hellmann grew up in Cincinnati when Jerry Springer was the mayor, which probably skewed her view of life. Chicago theaters and Wrigley Field are her happy places.



Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Adaptation of Herman Melville’s American Epic to be Conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya and Directed by Kristine McIntyre 

“Moby-Dick” is sung in English (with English supertitles) and 
runs 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Chicago Opera Theater (COT) caps its 2018/2019 season with the Chicago premiere of “Moby-Dick,” an epic adaptation of Herman Melville’s 1851 classic “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph Street) Thursday, April 25 and Sunday, April 28. The production is co-produced by Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, San Jose Opera and Gran Teatre del Liceu.

This grand American epic, featuring music by Jake Heggie and a libretto by Gene Scheer arrives in Chicago on the heels of critically acclaimed performances in Utah, Pittsburgh and San Jose. The production is conducted by Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya and directed by Kristine McIntyre. The design team includes David Jaques (Lighting), Erhard Rom (Sets) and Jessica Jahn (Costumes.) 





“‘Moby-Dick’ is a stunning work of extraordinarily powerful music and gripping storytelling,” said Yankovskaya. “Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer have drawn from the most compelling and dramatic passages of Melville’s epic, crafting a deft adaptation that has thrilled audiences across the globe. We’re proud to be bringing this important American opera to Chicago audiences for the first time.”

The opera focuses on the perilous adventures of the whaling ship Pequod, as Captain Ahab gathers a crew on his quest for revenge on the legendary whale that cost him a leg. Featuring a cast of more than 50 singers, including acclaimed American tenor Richard Cox as Captain Ahab and Russian-American baritone Aleksey Bogdanov as Starbuck, the spectacular production was hailed as “a stunning achievement… imposing, monumental, goose bump-inducing orchestral and choral writing” by Opera Today and “a modern masterpiece” by OperaWire. Other principal singers include Vince Wallace (Queequeg), Andrew Bidlack (Greenhorn), Summer Hassan (Pip), Aaron Short (Flask), Christopher Magiera (Captain Gardiner) and David Govertsen (Stubb). The chorus features more than 30 male voices. For more information on the cast, click here.

“Moby-Dick” will be performed Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 25 at 3 p.m.  at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street. Tickets, which range in price from $45-$145, are available now on the Chicago Opera Theater website or by calling (312) 704-8420.



About Chicago Opera Theater
Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is a nationally recognized opera company based in Chicago, now in its 46th season. COT expands the tradition of opera as a living art form, with an emphasis on Chicago premieres, including new contemporary operas for a 21st century audience.

In addition to its programmed mainstage season, COT is devoted to the development and production of new opera in the United States through the Vanguard Initiative, launched in the Spring of 2018. The Vanguard Initiative mentors emerging opera composers, invests time and talent in new opera at various stages of the creative process and presents the Living Opera Series to showcase new and developing work.

Since its founding in 1973 by Alan Stone, COT has staged more than 125 operas, including over 65 Chicago premieres and more than 35 operas by American composers.

COT is led by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Ashley Magnus and Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. As of fall 2018, Maestro Yankovskaya is the only woman with the title Music Director at any of the top 50 opera companies in the United States. COT currently performs at the Studebaker Theater (Michigan & Congress) and the Harris Theater for Music & Dance (Michigan & Randolph).

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit chicagooperatheater.org.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

FREE PAJAMA PARTY at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens For Youth Ages 6 to 12 May 17, 2019

PAJAMA PARTY!!!
Navy Pier to Host Free Overnight Slumber Party in Crystal Gardens on May 17


Chicago’s popular lakefront destination invites youth and their chaperones for fun overnight festivities, including rides, arts and crafts, music, dancing, movies, yoga and breakfast in the Crystal Gardens

Pajama party at Navy Pier! Throw on your finest PJs, grab your sleeping bag and head over to Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination on Friday, May 17 for the first-ever Palm Tree Pajama Party, an overnight family-friendly event featuring a full evening of activities culminating in a unique sleepover experience under the twinkling lights and palm trees in the botanical setting of the Pier’s glass-enclosed Crystal Gardens. The party kicks off with check-in at 5:30 p.m. and extends through the next morning with activities concluding at 8:30 a.m.

While tickets to the Palm Tree Pajama Party are free, guests must register online in advance via Eventbrite. A limited number of tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All tickets include one discounted parking pass per party, complimentary access to Pier Park rides and attractions, free participation in all activities within the Crystal Gardens, discounted meals at participating Pier-wide restaurants and a complimentary continental breakfast the next morning.

As part of the festivities, guests are welcome to ride the Pier’s popular attractions in Pier Park – including the iconic Centennial Wheel – create fun artwork to take home, jam to popular dance tunes, catch the 2018 animated film, Ralph Breaks the Internet, enjoy light snacks and beverages, and kick off the next day with a family yoga class, followed by breakfast. PJs are welcome and encouraged for all activities.

The Palm Tree Pajama Party is open to youth ages 6 to 12, accompanied by chaperones over the age of 21. There must be at least one chaperone per up to three children, and chaperones must be with the children in their respective parties at all times. Event participants must also sign a waiver form and present it at check-in upon arrival, or scan and e-mail it to pjsandpalmtrees@navypier.org in advance. Click here to download the waiver form.

EVENT SCHEDULE

Friday, May 17
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Check in
6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Orientation
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Activities
8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Movie
10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Set up for sleep / Quiet time
11 p.m.
Lights out

Saturday, May 18
7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Family yoga
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Continental breakfast | Departure

For more details regarding the event and what to bring, click here to view Frequently Asked Questions. Feel free to contact Navy Pier with any unaddressed questions at pjsandpalmtrees@navypier.org.

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for Navy Pier’s upcoming free summer programs. Click here to view the full listing of events. Please note that all events and programs are subject to change.

Navy Pier’s Palm Tree Pajama Party is a part of the non-profit destination’s ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a kind arts and cultural programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.



About Navy Pier
Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar, a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. 

Navy Pier Mission Statement
Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.


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