Wednesday, July 31, 2019

REVIEW: Barrel of Monkeys Presents THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them Through August 12, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Now Playing Through August 12, 2019 
at the Neo-Futurist Theater

An Original Sketch Show that is Written by Kids,
Performed by Grownups, and Enjoyed by Humans

Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd and Nick Hart

(left to right) Aissa Guerra, Nic Park and Noah Appelbaum perform “Extreme Alien Party!” 
All Production Photos by Evan Hanover.

by bonnie kenaz-mara

Are you a fan of absurdist theatre, the surreal, strange beasts, mythical creatures, and the unbridled creativity of kids? Then this beastly bonanza is right in your wheelhouse. You might catch The Living Toilet, a magnificent made up terror, or existing legends like Krampus and Santa, unicorns or aliens. Who knows? The audience gets to vote on their top picks and nix their least favorite scenes, so it's an ever evolving show. I must confess, I've seen Barrel of Monkeys many times over the years and THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA always makes me laugh. Their current critter laden lineup is no exception.

 (left to right) Jennifer Johnson, Emily Marso, Aissa Guerra and Tom Malinowski perform 
“The Living Toilet” 

Jennifer Johnson and Aissa Guerra perform “Horror at Key Lime Cove” 

I'm a huge fan of the concept, kid written scripts presented as written, in all their wacky glory, by professional actors (AKA: big kids). Expect songs, keyboards, and loads of hilarious low tech props and costumes. This iteration, Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them, is only around another two Mondays, so round up a few friends and/or family members and go already. Last Monday they put on quite the show, and the adults were laughing and enjoying it every bit as much as the assortment of kids and teens.

Barrel of Monkeys is the BOM! Here at ChiIL Mama we've been fervent fans of THAT’S WEIRD GRANDMA for years. August is the perfect time to bring the whole family to check out their latest themed show, since the kiddos don't have to hustle off to school early Tuesday morning. Shows run Mondays only, from 8-9pm. Don't miss this.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: (adult) & (family friendly).

(left to right) Nic Park, Emily Marso and Noah Appelbaum perform “The Orphan Girl” 

(front, l to r) Aissa Guerra and Rawson Vint perform “Evil Devil Printer”

Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them

Barrel of Monkeys is pleased to conclude its 2019-20 season with THAT’S WEIRD GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them, directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd (June 24 – July 15) and company member Nick Hart (July 22 – August 12) playing Mondays at 8 pm from June 24 – August 12, 2019 at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 506-7140. 

Meet the strange and wonderful creatures created by Barrel of Monkeys students, from talking animals to intergalactic lifeforms. BOM performers bring these beings to life through song, dance and ridiculous costumes in the company’s lauded original sketch show.

The cast to date includes Noah Appelbaum, Aissa Guerra, Emily Marso and Nic Park.
 (left to right) Nic Park, Linsey Falls and Rawson Vint perform “The Car Insurance Big Accident (Fart)” in Barrel of Monkeys’ new revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them. 

Now in its eighteenth year, THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA features adaptations of stories written during Barrel of Monkeys’ creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. BOM’s ensemble of professional actors, comedians and musicians bring the young authors’ stories to life as raucous sketches, songs and movement pieces, performing first for students in their schools and then for the public. These stories – from hilarious dialogues between unlikely characters to poignant pleas for social change – resonate with adults while celebrating the imaginations of young people. Every week brings a new line-up of stories, and BOM invites audiences to vote on their favorites at each performance.

Directors: Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd (June 24 – July 15) and company member Nick Hart (July 22 – August 12)
Cast to date: Noah Appelbaum, Aissa Guerra, Emily Marso and Nic Park.

Location: Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago

Dates: Preview: Monday, June 24 at 8 pm
Press performance: Monday, July 1 at 8 pm
Regular run: Monday, July 8 – Monday, August 12, 2019
Curtain Times: Mondays at 8 pm

Tickets: Previews: $10 for adults, $5 children 12 and under, $8 groups of 10 or more. Regular run: $20 for adults; $5 for children 12 and under. Discounts: $12 for students with ID, seniors, veterans and groups of 10 or more people. Teen Arts Pass (TAP) members: $5 with ID. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 506-7140.

About the Directors
Brandon Cloyd joined Barrel of Monkeys in 2007 and has been deeply involved in many facets of the company ever since. Prior to joining BOM, Brandon graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Business Institutions. Within BOM, Brandon has served as an actor, teaching artist, lead teacher, a member of Teacher Corps, as well as directing shows for schools and public performances of That's Weird, Grandma. Before becoming the company’s Artistic Director in September 2017, Brandon served as BOM After-School Program Coordinator at Loyola Park from 2014-2016 and Program Director from 2016-2017. Outside of Barrel of Monkeys, he worked as the Associate Director of Camp Echo, where he has spent 13 summers managing campers and staff at a co-ed sleep away camp in Upstate New York. Brandon has worked with other theatre companies including Urban Theatre Company, American Theater Company, Filament Theatre, InGen Productions, ACLE's Teatrino in Italy and Purple Crayon Players at Northwestern University. Brandon recently joined the Board of Directors for the League of Chicago Theatres.

Nick Hart graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in theatre in 2010. He has been a proud member of Barrel of Monkeys, a non-profit theatre and education organization serving Chicago Public School students and regularly performs in their show That's Weird Grandma since 2011. He is also an ensemble member with The Neo-Futurists since 2014. He has written and performed over 150 short plays for The Neo-Futurists, and is now regularly writing and performing for their new show The Infinite Wrench.  He is also the creator of The Neo-Futurists Productions of Remember The Alamo and 60 Songs in 60 Minutes.

Jennifer Johnson and Tom Malinowski perform “Unicorn aka a Horse” 

About Barrel of Monkeys
Since Barrel of Monkeys’ inception in 1997, its teaching artists have served more than 60 Chicago Public Schools. Over 15,000 elementary school students have participated in the Barrel of Monkeys programs, which aim to build students' writing skills, improve self-esteem, and instill confidence in their ideas and abilities.

Barrel of Monkeys is sponsored in part by Wintrust Financial, Allscripts, Inc., Ernst and Young and Punchkick Interactive. It receives generous support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency; the National Endowment for the Arts; a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; the Chicago Community Trust; Crown Family Philanthropies; Alphawood Foundation of Chicago; the Maurice R. and Meta G. Gross Foundation; Polk Bros Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; the Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc.; The Saints; The Topfer Family Foundation, and many other generous individuals and foundations.

Leo Thorp and Aissa Guerra perform “The Orphan Girl” in Barrel of Monkeys’ new revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

GIVEAWAY AND REVIEW: WIN 4 Junie B. Jones The Musical Tickets ($72.92 Value) /3 Winners Now Playing At Marriott Theatre Through Aug 11, 2019

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List:
Now Playing At Marriott Theatre 
Through August 11, 2019

Photo Credit for all Production Photos: Amy Boyle Photography

Enter Below Through Midnight July 29th 
For Your Chance To WIN 
A Family 4 Pack of Junie B. Jones 
The Musical Tickets 
($72.92 Value) /3 Winners!!! 
valid for any performance through August 11, 2019 
(pending availability) 

Terry James, Executive Producer
Andy Hite, Lead Artistic Director
Aaron Thielen, Artistic Director

Sneak a peek into the "Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal" of the outspoken and lovable Junie B. Jones!

My kids grew up on Junie B. Jones books, and adored this quirky, creative heroine. We're jazzed to see Marriott is bringing her to life on stage in the ever popular, Junie B. Jones, The Musical. Since my littles are now not so little teens, one of my fabulous freelancers, Chicago based writer and mom of 3, Kimberly Robb Baker came out for the press opening, with her young children, to review for 

Guest Review
by kimberly robb baker

Photo Credit: K. Robb Baker

We’d never read the Junie B. Jones books, so I wasn’t sure if my 9-year-old daughter and her school pal would find the story relatable. It turned out to me a non-issue. Loving parents who just don’t understand, precarious social structures, and the desire to have a place to put your “own personal beeswax” is universal!

The book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler were fun, and the cast, directed and choreographed by Johanna Mckenzie Miller, brought enough enthusiasm and child-like energy that we were able to suspend disbelief and embrace the adult actors as first graders. The production made creative use of the space, props, lighting, and quick changes to pack in the different locals and characters. A “bus ride” was particularly creative and enjoyable to watch.

That play opens as Junie B.—played with heart, verve, and a lovely voice by Elizabeth Telford—is starting first grade. Given the cold shoulder by her old friends and facing trouble with her class work, it’s time for Junie B. to embrace new friends and new… well, you’ll have to see the play to find out.

Rashada Dawan as Junie B.’s mom and lunch lady Mrs. Gutzman, deserves special mention, especially for playing the latter character, a kind of cookie-making-angel who inspires awe in the children and rocks her spatula like a true queen.

The kids loved the show and were excited to meet the characters afterwards. I highly recommend Junie B. Jones the Musical for kids of all ages!

Photo Credit: K. Robb Baker

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

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

Photo Credit: B. Kenaz-Mara

Live a day in the life of this ever lovable and outspoken first grader with the premiere of Junie B. Jones, The Musical, at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire. Running from July 12 to August 11, 2019, this special one-hour presentation explores the wonderful works of Barbara Park’s beloved best-selling books. 

Created by the team who brought Dear Edwina to the stage—Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich—and developed into a genuinely comical (and not strictly-for-kids) musical by TheatreworksUSA, Junie B. Jones, The Musical is directed and choreographed by Johanna McKenzie Miller, with musical direction by Ellen Morris.

Audiences will follow the trials and tribulations of this zany first grader, who learns what friendship really means, that the things that make you different also make you special, and that sometimes when life gives you lemons… you just need to make lemonade!

It's Junie B.'s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie's friend, Lucille, doesn't want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a "Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal," and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your heart just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

Starring in Junie B. Jones, The Musical are Elizabeth Telford as “Junie B. Jones,” Lydia Burke as “May and Chenille,” Rashada Dawan as “Mom, Mrs. Gutzman, Grace and Camille,” Jackson Evans as “Sheldon,” Adam LaSalle as “Daddy, Mr. Scary and Mr. Woo,” Garrett Lutz as “Herb,” and Allison Sill as “Lucille.”

The production will feature set design by Rachel Rauscher, lighting design by Aaron Lorenz, costume design by Amanda Vander Byl, sound design by Robert E. Gilmartin, media design by Anthony Churchill and Nick Coso, and musical supervision by Patti Garwood.

*Single ticket prices are an affordable $18.23 per person for all ages including taxes/fees.*

Junie B. Jones, The Musical runs on most Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. with certain performances at 12:30 p.m. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling (847) 634-5909. Free parking is available at all shows. To reserve tickets, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at (847) 634-0200 or visit

Photo Credit: B. Kenaz-Mara

**Enter HERE Through Midnight July 29th** 
For Your Chance To WIN 4 Tickets 
From ChiIL Mama and Marriott Theatre
$72.92 Value Each/ 3 Winners 
valid for any performance (pending availability) 
through August 11, 2019

Thursday, July 18, 2019

OPENING: You Can’t Fake the Funk at Black Ensemble Theater July 20- September 8, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
You Can’t Fake the Funk 
at Black Ensemble Theater 

July 20- September 8, 2019 

Things are about to get funky in Uptown as Chicago's legendary Black Ensemble Theater continues its 2019 Season (Legends and Lessons) with You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music), written and directed by Producing Managing Director Daryl D. Brooks. ChiIL Mama can't wait to ChiIL on the “Mothership” in Chi, IL this weekend. I'll be out for the press opening Sunday, July 28th, so check back soon for my full review. I'm eager to catch BET's latest as funk's long been a favorite genre of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows. I've had the pleasure to shoot stills of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic several times from the photo pits at music festivals and I've caught many funk bands live over the decades. 

You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music) will be performed July 20- September 8, 2019 at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago. 

Hop on the “Mothership” as we journey back when Afro’s were big, bellbottoms were tight, and the music was out of sight. You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music) guides us through a musical genre that is sure to have you groovin’ in your seats... Ya’ Digg? You Can’t Take the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music) will pay tribute to artists such as Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players, Earth Wind and Fire, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Rick James, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins, among others.

The cast includes Dwight Neal, Jayla Williams-Craig, Stewart Romeo, Blake Hawthorne, Lemond Hayes, Thera Wright, Vincent Jordan and Brandon Lavell.

The creative team includes Denise Karczewski and Bek Lambrecht (set design), Denise Karczewski (lighting design), David Samba (sound), Rueben Echoles (costume design), Chris Carter (choreographer) and Robert Reddrick (music director).

Tickets are available at, (773) 769-4451 or at the Black Ensemble Theater Box Office, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago. Please note the scheduling change: A Thursday matinee has been added in place of Thursday evening performances. Tickets for regular season performances are priced at $55 on Thursday and Saturday matinees; and $65 on Fridays, Saturday evenings, and Sunday matinees. A 10% discount is available for students, seniors, and groups. Previews are priced at $45.

The Black Ensemble Theater will sell the Five Play Season Card which represent a $45.00 ticket price that can be used up to five times in the Season.  For more details or to purchase a Five Play Season Card contact the box office at 773-769-4451. 

July 20 – September 8, 2019

Previews: July 20, 21, 26 and 27, 2019
Press Opening: Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.

*No show on August 8
8:00 pm

3:00 pm and 8:00 pm

3:00 pm

Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street, Chicago
Valet parking is available.

Ticket prices:                  
$45 Previews

$55 on Thursdays and Saturday matinees;

$65 on Fridays, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees

A 10% discount is available for students, seniors, and groups.

Box Office:                      
Buy online at or call (773) 769-4451

The Black Ensemble Theater  

Founded in 1976, by the phenomenal producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. Through its Five Play Season of Excellence, The Black Ensemble Theater dazzles audiences locally, nationally and internationally with outstanding original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists. 

The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts.  For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, visit or call 773-769-4451. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: WIN 4 Tickets (Up To $152 Value) To Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Wizard of Oz

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List:
WIN 4 Wizard of Oz Tickets (Up To $152 Value) Now Playing At Chicago Shakespeare Theater Through August 25, 2019

**Enter Below For Your Chance To WIN
4 Wizard of Oz Tickets (Up To $152 Value) 
valid for any performance through July 28th**

The Scarecrow (Marya Grandy), The Tin Man (Joseph Anthony Byrd), Dorothy (Leryn Turlington), and The Cowardly Lion (Jose Antonio Garcia) join together in an adventure down the Yellow Brick Road in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz July 6–August 25, 2019. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents
The Wizard of Oz
July 6-August 25, 2019

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Navy Pier
for 75 minutes of Summer Fun

Guest Review
by kimberly robb baker

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz held surprise after surprise for me and my young crew. We watched the movie beforehand in hopes it would help my four-year-old to follow along with the play. As he wandered away from the screen looking for various forms of trouble around the house, I feared I might spend much of the play in the lobby with him.

I need not have worried. From the moment the house lights went down on an intimate Kansas scene to the raucous ending, he was enraptured, as was my eleven-year-old son who was there only as a result of some tough negotiations. My nine-year-old daughter, a fan of the movie and eager attendee of the play, thoroughly enjoyed herself. More on that in a minute.

Directed by Brian Hill, the cast played beautifully with the story and were supported by gorgeously minimalist set and lighting as well as heart-stirring music. Leryn Turlington was perfect as Dorothy Gale and displayed a sweet, rich singing voice that compares favorably to the iconic Judy Garland’s—no easy feat. I loved that Marya Grandy was cast as the scarecrow. Having two women in the traveling foursome balances things out nicely, and Grandy delivered a perfectly floppy, loyal, not-so-secretly brilliant portrayal. Joseph Anthony Byrd and Jose Antonio Garcia touched all the right notes, literally and figuratively, as the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.

The Scarecrow (Marya Grandy, at right) delights Dorothy (Leryn Turlington)—holding Toto (Derby)—in "If I Only Had A Brain" 
 Photo by Liz Lauren.

The Tin Man (Joseph Anthony Byrd) shares his dreams of love with Dorothy (Leryn Turlington) and The Scarecrow (Marya Grandy) in "If I Only Had A Heart" 
Photo by Liz Lauren.

Jared D.M. Grant caught our attention as a caring Uncle Henry and also as a truly delightful addition to many of the Oz scenes—from toe-in-the-sand Munchkin Coroner to Emerald City Guard with a heart of gold, and even an awesome jitterbug dancer. The entire ensemble, that had an air of a Greek chorus about them at times even though they spoke little, was on-point—as was their direction and choreography. Theresa Ham’s costumes added a great deal to the magic, and it was lovely that they brought in elements of early 20th Century.

The Guard (Jared D.M. Grant) and citizens of the Emerald City dance gleefully in "The Merry Old Land of Oz" 
Photo by Liz Lauren.

Back to my daughter: she walked away from the performance pondering new aspects of the story she’d never thought of before. For example, aside from the classic approach of the people of Kansas appearing as different characters in Oz (and there is one lovely addition in that parallel for this production), there are physical elements which make their way over the rainbow. The program curates these parallels and elements in a lovely way and is well worth reviewing with your youngsters before the show or after. Woven in with this discussion, my daughter started thinking about all of the foreshadowing and came up with really cool insights. “In the first song, troubles melt like lemon drops. The witch is a trouble and she ends up melting.”

The Wicked Witch of the West (Hollis Resnick) frightens the Munchkins 
Photo by Liz Lauren.

A major reason I expose my children to art is to ignite their own creative expression and outlook on life. This is never predictable, and there is often not an easily seen correlation. But the way this production takes things you expect to see and flips them in major and subtle ways (let’s have the ladies sing the low notes and the gents sing the high notes!), I can’t help but think that this is one of those experiences that provides especially rich soil for the becoming of a  young human, and even that of a middle-aged human like me.

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

Wednesdays at 11 a.m. & Thursdays-Sundays at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $24

This summer, Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the 75-minute musical stage adaptation of the timeless 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz, directed by Brian Hill and choreographed by Kenny Ingram. Based on the landmark novel by L. Frank Baum and featuring music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, The Wizard of Oz promises to be the perfect outing for audiences of all ages at Chicago Shakespeare's home on Navy Pier all summer long, July 6-August 25, 2019 with performances on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays-Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Dorothy (Leryn Turlington) and her trusty pup Toto (Derby) take an unforgettable journey to the magical land of Oz in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz, directed by Brian Hill and choreographed by Kenny Ingram, at the Theater’s home on Navy Pier all summer long, July 6–August 25, 2019. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto are whisked away from Kansas on an unforgettable journey to the magical land of Oz, where she makes new friends--including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion--and encounters a fiendishly wicked witch. Audiences will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score featuring such cherished classics as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Follow the Yellow Brick Road"--ultimately discovering that there's truly no place like home.

The Wizard of Oz is directed by Brian Hill, who has served as associate director for Broadway's The Little Mermaid and the National Tours of Sunset Boulevard and The Sound of Music. An accomplished book writer, Hill has notably written numerous new musicals with composter/lyricist Neil Bartram, who is adapting orchestrations for the Chicago Shakespeare production. Bartram and Hill's joint credits include The Theory of Relativity, The Story of My Life (debuting on Broadway in 2009, and garnering four Drama Desk Award nominations), and The Adventures of Pinocchio, which premiered at Chicago Shakespeare in 2011. Joining Hill is choreographer Kenny Ingram, a multiple Jeff Award-winner, who returns to Chicago after fifteen years in the company of Broadway's The Lion King.

Taking on the role of Dorothy Gale is Leryn Turlington, who adventures in Oz alongside Marya Grandy (Hunk/Scarecrow), Joseph Anthony Byrd (Hickory/Tin Man), Jose Antonio Garcia (Zeke/Cowardly Lion)--as well as her canine companion Derby (Toto), in his stage debut. Appearing as the Wicked Witch of the West is twelve-time Jeff Award-winner Hollis Resnik (Miss Gulch/The Wicked Witch of the West). Also featured in the company are Emily Rohm (Aunt Em/Glinda), William Dick (Professor Marvel/The Wizard of Oz), and Jared D.M. Grant (Uncle Henry/Emerald City Guard). Rounding out the ensemble are Kayla Boye, Timothy P. Foszcz, Haley Gustafson, Aalon Smith, Lauren Smith, Anthony Sullivan, Jr., and Kaleb Van Rijswijck.

The production's Music Director is Kory Danielson, whose credits include The Little Mermaid, Mamma Mia!, and West Side Story at Paramount Theatre. The award-winning creative team features Scenic Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Theresa Ham, Lighting Designer Lee Fiskness, Sound Designer Christopher M. LaPorte, Projections Designer Mike Tutaj, and Chicago Shakespeare's resident Wig and Makeup Designer Richard Jarvie. Rounding out the creative team are Assistant Music Director and Conductor Kevin Reeks and Assistant Director and Assistant Choreographer Aaron Umsted.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents a wide range of accessible and affordable programming for multi-generational audiences. In addition to imaginative summer musicals at the Theater's home on Navy Pier, offerings year-round include Short Shakespeare! abridged versions of Shakespeare's classics and the FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour to neighborhood parks throughout the city. These programs reach more than 100,000 patrons each season--making Chicago Shakespeare one of the largest providers of family programming in Chicago.

Leryn Turlington as Dorothy and Derby as Toto
Photo by Michael Brosilow

The Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum
With Music & Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Background Music by Herbert Stothart
Dance and Vocal Arrangements by Peter Howard
Orchestration by Larry Wilcox
Adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Based upon the Classic Motion Picture by Turner Entertainment Co. and distributed in all media by Warner Bros.
Directed by Brian Hill
Choreographed by Kenny Ingram

July 6-August 25, 2019
at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier

Tickets: $24 for children 12 and under | $38 for adults
Special discounts available for groups of 10 or more
Box Office: 312.595.5600 | Group Sales: 312.595.5678


Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m.
Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Fridays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
[No 2:00 p.m. performance on 7/6, 7/7, and 7/11.]
CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for The Wizard of Oz include:

ASL Duo-interpretation - Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.
Audio-description - Sunday, August 18, 2019 with optional touch tour at 11:00 a.m.

Audio Description is a program that enables patrons who are blind or have low vision to more fully experience live performances by providing spoken narration of a play's key visual elements. Touch Tours provide patrons who are blind or have low vision the opportunity to experience, firsthand, a production's design elements.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents The Wizard of Oz July 6–August 25, 2019 in the Courtyard Theater. Single tickets ($24 for children age 12 and under; $38 for adults) are on sale now. Special discounts will be available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be--a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater's year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances--including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city's leading presenter of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater's nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago's most versatile performing arts center.

Enter HERE For Your Chance To WIN
4 Wizard of Oz Tickets (Up To $152 Value) from ChiIL Mama & Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
valid for any performance through July 28th.
**Enter through midnight Wednesday, July 17th** 
Choose from the following dates/times (pending availability)

Friday, July 12, 2019

ART BEAT: Save the Dates: Elmhurst Art Museum PresentsWhat Came After: Figurative Painting in Chicago 1978-98 This Fall Beginning September 14, 2019

What Came After: 
Figurative Painting in Chicago 1978-98
on view September 14, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Exhibition organized in conjunction with newly installed Chicago Imagists installation at Elmhurst College




Elmhurst Art Museum (150 South Cottage Hill Avenue) proudly presents What Came After: Figurative Painting in Chicago 1978-98 on view September 14, 2019 – January 12, 2020. Organized by Chicago-based, internationally exhibited artist Phyllis Bramson, What Came After is a survey of diverse interests in the figure as a subject, the human condition, and an interest in personal iconography.

According to Bramson, “Many have struggled with understanding and processing the term ‘Chicago Imagism’ since it was first used in the early 1970s, including artists that built on the ideas of their peers or sought to break free from expectations of that legacy. What Came After better defines and celebrates this later generation of artists, which have been called third generation Imagists, Post-Imagists, and the Chicago School.”

In addition to Bramson, artists represented in What Came After include Nicholas Africano, Susanne Doremus, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, Richard Hull, Michiko Itatani, Paul Lamantia, Robert Lostutter, Jim Lutes, Tony Phillips, David Sharpe, Hollis Sigler, Ken Warneke, Margaret Wharton, and Mary Lou Zelazny. The show of 30 paintings will serve as an introduction to these artists for a broad audience, while also examining a specific time and place in Chicago’s recent history.

“We are thrilled to work with this group of artists, as well as Elmhurst College again, to dig deeper into Chicago’s rich cultural history. The exhibition builds on an ongoing conversation about Chicago Imagism, which has become broadly and internationally known, but often misunderstood,” said Elmhurst Art Museum Executive Director John McKinnon. “The painters in this exhibition have all been recognized in their own right, yet this period of history has often been overlooked.”

The exhibition’s original scholarship will include a brochure with essays by Bramson, Chicago curator Lynne Warren, and New York curator/critic Deven Golden. In these texts, the wide-ranging term of Chicago Imagism will be discussed as valuable yet limiting. Public programs will better define how the well-used term was formed, what it originally meant, and what it has come to mean through time. What Came After is dedicated to the late art critic James Yood, a champion of Midwest artists, who was involved in early conversations of this exhibition. 

What Came After is organized in conjunction with a new installation across Elmhurst’s museum campus at Elmhurst College’s A.C. Buehler Library. This new display was organized by Suellen Rocca, one of the original members of the Hairy Who collective and current Curator and Director of Exhibitions at Elmhurst College.


·         Panel Discussion: Despite Imagism

Saturday, September 14, 1:30pm

Presenters including artist Phyllis Bramson, curator Lynne Warren, curator/critic Deven Golden, and artists Richard Hull, Susanne Doremus, and Jim Lutes. Free with museum admission.

·         Family Days

Saturday, September 28, 1 - 4pm, and Monday, October 14 (Columbus Day), 1 - 4pm

Children and parents are invited to participate in hands-on activities inspired by the current exhibition. Available to all ages. Free with museum admission.

·         Tours of Elmhurst College’s Chicago Imagist collection with Suellen Rocca

Saturday, October 19, 1:30pm and Saturday, November 9, 1:30pm
See the newly reinstalled, internationally recognized Chicago Imagist collection at Elmhurst College with these exclusive tours by Suellen Rocca, one of the original members of the Hairy Who collective and current Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the College. Rocca will offer first-person accounts of Chicago’s cultural history, while also providing context and furthering the dialogue about art from Chicago during the 70s-90s. 

·         Lecture: What is Chicago Imagism?

Saturday, November 2, 1:30pm

Join us for a talk about Chicago Imagism and its legacy by art critic, curator, and essayist Deven Golden. This talk will look at the artist dialogue that led up to this period, what followed, and how things irrevocably changed as the 20th century came to an end.

·         Lecture: What Came After?

Saturday, November 23, 1:30pm

Curator Robert Cozzolino better defines how the well-used term of Chicago Imagism was formed, what it originally meant, and what it has come to mean through time.

·         Exhibition Tour with artist and exhibition organizer, Phyllis Bramson
Saturday, January 11, 1:30pm

What Came After is sponsored by the Explore Elmhurst Grant Program, with public programming sponsored by Terra Foundation for American Art.

About Elmhurst Art Museum
Elmhurst Art Museum is located at 150 South Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst (IL), 25 minutes from downtown Chicago by car or public transportation (Metra). The Museum is both an international destination for Mies van der Rohe scholars and fans and a regional center where people from Chicago and the western suburbs learn to see and think differently through the study of the art, architecture and design of our time.  The Museum is one block from the Elmhurst Metra station and open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am -5pm. Admission is $15 ($12 for seniors) and free for students and children under 18.

Simultaneous with What Came After, Elmhurst Art Museum will be mounting McCormick House – Past, Present, Future, also September 14, 2019 – January 12, 2020. For the first time ever, the Museum will exhibit a full 1950s domestic representation of its Mies van der Rohe McCormick House (1952) as well as historic images showing how residents lived in the home and explanations about the current transitional state of its preservation.  

For more information, please call 630.834.0202 or visit