Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Northwestern University Presents Something Rotten February 3-13, 2022 at Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Something Rotten

February 3-13, 2022

Book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick

Music and Lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick

Directed by Rory Pelsue 

Set in the 1590s, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as "The Bard."When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing, and acting simultaneously, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world's very first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of the opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self...and all that jazz.

GET TICKETS: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1079224

Thurs., 2/3 @ 7:30 p.m.

Fri., 2/4 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sat., 2/5 @ 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Sun., 2/6 @ 2 p.m.

Thurs., 2/10 @ 7:30 p.m.

Fri., 2/11 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sat., 2/12 @ 2 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

Sun., 2/13 @ 2 p.m.

Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

Ethel M. Barber Theater

30 Arts Circle Drive

Proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test required.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Art Beat: Greektown Chicago is Celebrating the Holiday Season with a Traditional Holiday Karavákia Display Through January 15, 2022

Art Beat:

New Greektown public art exhibit 

celebrates the season


photos by Diane Alexander White

Holiday Karavákia Display showcases vibrant little boats

from 30+ local artists now through January 15, 2022

in businesses throughout Greektown

In Greece, there is an old Christmas tradition of decorating karavákia (little boats) with paint, lights and other materials. The Greektown Arts Committee has brought this unique tradition to life in Chicago by inviting 30+ local artists to decorate little boat models and providing them to Greektown businesses to display in their windows or in a prominent place for public viewing throughout the holiday season. Visit greektownchicago.org for more information.

Greektown is also showcasing a larger karaváki, painted by distinguished artist James Mesple, near the monument at Elysian Field (southeast corner of Halsted and Van Buren Streets), where Greektown’s holiday tree is located.

Visit Greektown Chicago and enjoy the Holiday Karavákia Display that combines modern-day art with homeland traditions. This vibrant art display celebrating the holiday season is sponsored by Greektown SSA #16.

Greektown Holiday Karavákia Display artists & locations

Arkadia Tower Apartments

Artist: Chuck Walker

111 S. Halsted St. (in lobby)


Artopolis Bakery, Cafe and Agora

Artists: Vicky Tesmer, Andy Morreale, & Jennifer Cronin (3 boats)

306 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Athena Restaurant

Artists: Ken Hirte, Dustin Harris & Terry Poulos (3 boats)

212 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Athenian Candle Co.

Artists: James Mesple, Malika Jackson, Rebecca Zaragoza, & Tyrue “Slang” Jones (4 boats)

300 S. Halsted St. (in windows)


Chicago Parthenon Hostel

Artists: Connie Hinkle & Victoria Martin (2 boats)

310-312 S. Halsted St. (in windows)


CHI Smokes

Artist: Leo Talaganis

309 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Dugan’s on Halsted

Artist: Marcelo Elli

128 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Greek Islands Restaurant

Artists: Fernando Ramirez, Diane Thodos, Patricia Owsiany, Panos Fiorentios & Alexandra Damato (5 boats)

200 S. Halsted (In windows & inside)


Mythical Smokes

Artist: David Holt

235 S. Halsted St. (In window)


Nine Muses Bar & Grill

Artists: Kiki Whitehead & Kathleen King (2 boats)

315 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Rye Deli + Drink

Artist: Chris Loutris

25 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Sonder Greektown Suites

Artist: Michael Thompson & Sheri Smith (2 boats)

314 S. Halsted St. (in windows)


Spectrum Bar & Grill

Artists: Michael Thompson, Vasiliki Valkanas, Louis DeMarco & Mariana Karampelas (4 boats)

233 S. Halsted St. (inside)



Artist: Ms. Alex White

116 S. Halsted St. (inside)


The Van Buren Apartments

Artists: Dino & Mark Crisanti

808 W. Van Buren St. (inside)



Artist: Tracey Ostmann

111 S. Halsted St. (in window)


Wild Fork Foods

Artist: Eve Moran

100 S. Halsted St. (inside)


About Greektown Chicago

Greektown is a dining, nightlife and cultural district located on the Near West Side of Chicago. A popular destination for tourists and Chicago residents alike, Greektown offers the best sampling of Greek heritage outside of Athens—from authentic restaurants, cafes and shops to the National Hellenic Museum and annual Taste of Greektown festival. Greektown Special Service Area #16 is the business improvement district for the neighborhood, administered by sole service provider the West Central Association and guided by a volunteer commission of local business owners, property owners and residents. For more information, visit greektownchicago.org.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Comes Home for the Holidays Via PlayMakers Laboratory December 10 – 19, 2021 at the Neo-Futurist Theater

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List 

PlayMakers Laboratory Welcomes Back Live Audiences with


Comes Home for the Holidays

Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd

December 10 – 19, 2021 at the Neo-Futurist Theater


An Original Sketch Show Written by Kids, 

Performed by Grownups and Enjoyed by Humans

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, PlayMakers Laboratory and That’s Weird, Grandma have been favorites of ours for years. They're casual, crowd pleasing, wacky, and fun for all ages. 

PlayMakers Laboratory is pleased to welcome back live audiences this winter with That’s Weird, Grandma: Comes Home for the Holidays, directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd, playing December 10 – 19, 2021 at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Monday, November 1 at www.playmakerslab.org or by calling (773) 506-7140. The press opening is Saturday, December 11 at 7:30 pm. 

Please note: proof of vaccination is required or a negative COVID test for children under 12. Masking is required by all patrons.

Enjoy a line-up of holiday-themed sketches and songs performed by PlayMakers Laboratory Company Members Elijah Cox, Nick Crothers,Linsey Falls, Taylor Galloway and Bhak Yongwoo.

Now in its 20th year, That’s Weird, Grandma features adaptations of stories written during PlayMakers Laboratory’s creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. PML’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 PML invites audiences to vote on their favorites at each performance. 

Performance Schedule:

Friday, December 10 at 7:30 pm (preview)

Saturday, December 11 at 7:30 pm (press opening)

Sunday, December 12 at 3 pm

Friday, December 17 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 18 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 19 at 3 pm

Tickets: Adults: $22.50 in advance, $25 walk-ups; Children 12 and under $12.50; Seniors/Students/Teachers w/I.D. $15; Teen Arts Pass (TAP) members: $5 with ID. Tickets on sale now at www.playmakerslab.org or by calling (773) 506-7140.

PlayMakers Laboratory will also continue to stream That’s Weird, Grandma on Patreon with a new show available at the beginning of each month. For information and subscriptions, visit www.playmakerslab.org

That’s Weird, Grandma: Comes Home for the Holidays!




Directed By: 

Brandon Cloyd

Stage Manager: 

Cedar Larson

The Cast: 

Jen Allman, Elijah Cox, Nick Crothers, Linsey Falls, 

Taylor Galloway and Bhak Yongwoo

The Stories:



















Production Design:

Opening & Closing Song: 

Gwen Tulin

Choreography by:

Amy Carlson

Stage Design:

Kassi Bleifuss & Sarah Goeden

Music Composed by: 

Elijah Cox, Bhak Yongwoo, Jonathan Mastro & Curtis Williams

Digital Adaptations

Mara Dale, Noah Appelbaum, Maeli Goren, Gaby Hirsch, Jon Schneidman, Kaitlyn Andrews, Brenda Arellano, Jen Allman, Ashley Bland & Cedar Larson

Also, Check us out on Social Media by following our: Youtube, Patreon, Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram.

We are grateful for the support of the following foundations & entities:

Crown Family Philanthropies, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities Foundation, Maurice R. and Meta G. Gross Foundation, Mardi Gras Fund, Polk Bros. Foundation, The Saints Foundation, Siragusa Family Foundation, Paul M. Angell Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts

About the Director

Brandon Cloyd joined PlayMakers Laboratory in 2007 and has been deeply involved in many facets of the company ever since. Prior to joining PML, Brandon graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Business Institutions. Within PML, 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 PML After-School Program Coordinator at Loyola Park from 2014-2016 and Program Director from 2016-2017. Outside of PML, 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.

About PlayMakers Laboratory

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

PlayMakers Laboratory 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. 

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical Via The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago Through Dec. 19 at The Greenhouse Theater Center

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




This Live Musical for Ages 3 and up is Based on The Beloved Children’s Book “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” by Mo Willems

Here at ChiIL Mama we adore Mo Willems and children's theatre, so we're excited to share there's a new troupe in town, The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago (YPT). Even better, their inaugural production is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, written by Mo Willems, with music by Michael Silversher, and directed by Randy White and music directed by David Zizic. I had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing Mo Willems for ChiIL Mama when my children were small and his hilarious books were in heavy rotation in our home. If he's a favorite of yours too, or if you're newly discovering his work, don't miss this! Theatre boosts empathy and creative thinking in children. If you're looking for family friendly fun with your littles this December, put Knuffle Bunny on your list.

Adapted by Willems from his own Caldecott Honor-winning children’s book, “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale,” the production runs Thursday, Dec. 2 - Sunday, Dec. 19 at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Regular performances are Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., Fridays at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. The press opening is Thursday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. The current running time is 50 minutes. Tickets are $19 (under 12) and $25 (12 and up) and are available now at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling 773.404.7336.

*YPT will not be seating the theater at full capacity and proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is required for ages 12 and up.*

Knuffle Bunny is the spirited account of a beleaguered Dad who inadvertently leaves his toddler’s favorite stuffed bunny at the laundromat. Adapting his best-selling illustrated book for the stage, Mr. Willems explores the loving and complex bond between parent and child while celebrating the glorious complexity of family life in the big city. Knuffle Bunny features Michael Silversher’s irresistibly hummable music, plenty of energetic dance, and some truly inspired puppets (both modest and HUUUUGE!) – and even a guest appearance by Mo Willems’ own much-loved bus-driving pigeon!

The cast for Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical includes Aissa Guerra (Trixie), Grace Bobber (Mom), Sam Shankman (Dad), and Matthew O’Neal Lolar, Haley Gustafson, and Juanita Andersen (ensemble).

The production team of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical includes Mo Willems (book & lyrics), Michael Silversher (composer), Randy White (director), Tuesdai B. Perry (choreographer), David Zizic (music director), Lauren M. Nichols (scenic design), Caitlin McLeod (costume design), Kat Pleviak (puppet design), Brandon Wardell (light design) and Dave Wisniewski (prop design).

ABOUT MO WILLEMS (adapter, author, lyricist and writer)

Mo Willems is a New York Times bestseller who began his career as a writer and animator for PBS' ”Sesame Street,”where he garnered six Emmy Awards for his writing. During his nine seasons at ”Sesame Street,” Willems also served as a weekly commentator for BBC Radio and created two animated series,

Nickelodeon's ”The Off-Beats” and Cartoon Network's ”Sheep in the Big City.” While serving as head writer for Cartoon Network's #1 rated show, “Codename: Kids Next Door,” Williems began writing and drawing books for children. His debut effort, ”Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” became a New York Times Bestseller and the following year ”Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale” was awarded a Caldecott Honor. The sequel, ”Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity” garnered him his third Caldecott Honor in 2008. In addition to picture books, Mo created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of "Easy Readers", which were awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and a Geisel Honor in 2011. For older audiences he has published an illustrated memoir of his year-long trip around the world in 1990-91 entitled ”You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons.” The animated ”Knuffle Bunny” was awarded Best Film during the New York International Children's Film Festival in 2008 and received the Andrew Carnegie Medal in 2007. The animated ”Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” garnered Willems his second Carnegie Medal in 2010. He wrote the script and lyrics for Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, commissioned by the Kennedy Center for its 2010 season. Willems lives in Massachusetts with his family.

ABOUT MICHAEL SILVERSHER (composer/co-lyricist)

Michael Silversher is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter (“Elmo in Grouchland”), with three primetime Emmy nominations, including two for Winnie-the-Pooh and one for The Muppets who collaborated with Joy Sikorski to create SingBabySing’s exclusive prenatal and infant music singing CD for moms, dads, grandparents, nurses and early childhood educators.

Silversher was the composer for the background music of the hit children’s TV show, “Dinosaur Train,” songwriter for “Pajanimals”and composer/co-lyricist for Knuffle Bunny, A Cautionary Tale, which premiered at the Kennedy Center. Silversher, in collaboration with Patty Silversher, also wrote the theme songs for Disney’s television series, “Tale Spin” and “Gummi Bears.” Together they have over one hundred songs in the Disney catalog.

He has written over forty-three musical theatre works and has worked extensively with Jim Henson Productions, MGM, Sony, Warner Bros., The Learning Channel, Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Opera, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Sundance Institute.


Randy White was founding artistic director of Cardinal Stage in Bloomington, IN. Under White’s leadership, Cardinal grew into one of Indiana’s largest arts organizations. A champion of children’s theatre, White also inaugurated Cardinal’s extraordinarily successful Cardinal for Kids series, playing to 100,000+ children throughout Southern Indiana. White was also gratified to work with 100+ extraordinarily talented Chicago actors and designers while at Cardinal.

In New York City, White developed and directed Theatreworks USA’s Max and Ruby, a children’s musical that played off-Broadway and toured nationally. He directed the 15-month off-Broadway run of Glen Berger’s Underneath the Lintel, assisted on Disney’s The Lion King, and was resident director at New Dramatists. Regionally, White has directed at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Portland Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville and many other theatres across the county.

As a theatre educator, White has directed and/or taught at Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University, University of Minnesota/Guthrie, University of Alberta, Fordham and NYU Tisch.

In Chicago, White directed The Wizard of Oz at the Children’s Theatre of Winnetka and Curious George and Knuffle Bunny at Northbrook Theatre. For the Greenhouse Theater, White directed Truman and The Birth of Israel and was nominated for an Equity Jeff Award for his critically acclaimed production of Midsummer (A Play with Songs). White holds an MFA in directing from the University of Alberta in his native Canada.

The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago

The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago is a new children’s theatre company offering high-quality Theater for Young Audience productions and performance/education opportunities for children of all ages and backgrounds. Housed in the historic Greenhouse Theater Center, YPT launched in the fall of 2021, with additional productions planned for the spring of 2022.

YPT’s Managing Artistic Director Randy White noted that, “as we prepare for our inaugural season, YPT is focused on partnering with community organizations, parents, educators, and local business leaders to provide thrilling and transformative theatre experiences for children from Lincoln Park and surrounding neighborhoods. These community partners will make it possible for local children of all ages–from toddlers to teenagers–to experience and participate in a wide range of transformative theatre experiences, including established children’s classics, commissioned new works by celebrated American playwrights, and extraordinary performance and educational opportunities.”

Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Upstairs Mainstage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Run Dates: Thursdays: December 2, 9 & 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Fridays: December 3, 10 & 17 at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays: December 4, 11 & 18 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sundays: December 5, 12 & 19 at 1 p.m.

Press Performance: Thursday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets: $25 / $19 (under 12)

Running time: 50 minutes

Tickets: currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office, or by calling 773.404.7336.

Monday, December 6, 2021

WRIGLEYVILLE WONDERLAND Returns Through the End of February


19 Wrigleyville Businesses Transform into Holiday Themed Spots for Everyone 

Offering Instagrammable Moments, Movies, Food and Drink Specials and More

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the return of one of Chicago’s favorite holiday celebrations, Wrigleyville Wonderland, running now at select venues through the end of February.

Wrigleyville Wonderland brings the Holiday spirit to Chicago with 19 Wrigleyville businesses transformed into individualized holiday-themed destinations offering map projections, Instagrammable moments and activations. From the locations’ décor to actors dressed in costumes to the holiday themed drinks, there is something for everyone at Wrigleyville’s Wonderland. More information can be found at WrigleyvilleChicago.org

“All of Chicagoland is invited to Wrigleyville for this holiday-inspired interactive and fun experience,” said Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maureen Martino. “Wrigleyville Wonderland is Chicago’s largest holiday pop-up district that is sure to inspire and amaze all those experiencing it while sharing the holiday spirit.”


Highlights of Wrigleyville Wonderland include:

- Map projections showcasing movies and custom holiday content

- Holiday themed drinks 

- Instagrammable moments including holiday themed face cutouts where you get to be part of the films, landscapes and more

- Actors dressed up as Holiday-themed characters

- Bars and lounges going above and beyond with decorations, music and layouts.

- Hot Cocoa and Treat giveaways 

- Fun, SAFE environment.


The 2021 businesses*, in alphabetical order, making the season bright are:

The Country Club - Christmas Club

3462 N. Clark Street


Through February 1, 2022

No Cover

Wrigleyville's original Christmas pop up bar is back.  Enjoy a classic Christmas party experience with themed food, drink, music and decor. 


Deuces - Santa Baby Christmas Bar

3505 N. Clark Street


Through January, 2022

You better watch out! Santa Baby Christmas Bar is back offering a multi-room, multi-level, over the top Christmas experience with brunch available on Saturday and Sundays at 

10 a.m. and 12 p.m. 


Diver at the Park - Santa’s Beach House

3475 N. Clark Street


Santa’s Beach House is here for its first Holiday season. Join Diver at the Park in their Tulum holiday inspired heated tent with their life sized palm trees decorated for a holiday on the beach. Get your Tulum holiday experience and cocktails in the heart of Wrigleyville.


Winter at Gallagher Way

3635 N. Clark Street


Through February 20, 2022

Families, visitors and neighbors can celebrate the holidays by taking part in the many seasonal programs and activities at Gallagher’s Way Winterland return This year includes the return of the famous Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, ice skating on an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, Santa’s Workshop, wreath making classes, holiday movie screenings, special programming at Hotel Zachary and much more. New to this year’s transformation includes a special celebration of Hanukkah, ice bumper cars, plus even more festive décor around Gallagher Way. 


The Graystone Tavern - 8 Crazy Nights - A Hanukkah Bar

3441 N. Sheffield Ave. 


Through January 2, 2022

Back by popular demand for its third year, Chicago’s first and only Hanukkah-themed pop-up bar with decorations created for the Jewish holiday throughout the bar and weatherproofed beer garden, including over 14,000 blue and white lights and Hanukkah ball lanterns adorning the ceiling, Star of David and dreidel ornaments, lighted menorah decor, Mensch on a Bench, a Hanukkah sweater wall, an 8-foot inflatable dreidel and more.  Throughout the pop-up, a special food menu, ranging in price from $5 to $16, will feature traditional and spins on Jewish favorites like Matzo Ball Soup and three flavors of Latkes including classic with sour cream and applesauce, cilantro jalapeno with chipotle sour cream and herb cheddar with chive sour cream. Board and card games will be available to guests nightly including Connect 4 with Hanukkah gelt, Cards Against Humanity Jew expansion pack, Mitzvah Match, Jewish Guess Who, Dreidel, Apples to Apples Jewish edition and Schmear Build-A-Bagel card game.

Houndstooth Saloon - Griswolds

3369 N. Clark Street


Through January 10, 2022

Inspired by the famous family and the hilarious movies, Houndstooth Saloon has menu selections including  "Yakkin on a bone," a two-lb turkey leg, "Cousin Eddie’s" spiked eggnog and Clark's Cocoa.


HVAC Pub - The Christmas Pop UP

3530 N. Clark Street


Through January 15, 2022

HVAC will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring Christmas drinks, food and music. 


The Irish Oak -  Leprechanunaka 

3511 N. Clark Street


Through January 31, 2022

Irish Oak's Leprechanuaka is a celebration of St Patty's day during Christmas, where everyday is St Patty's day at The Irish Oak. The bar is decorated from top to bottom in Irish and Christmas themes. So much green and Christmas cheer that you will never want to celebrate a different holiday again. 


Wrigleyville Kilwins - 25 days of Chocolate 

3519 N. Clark Street

Through December 31

Kilwins will offer caramel apples, hot chocolate and handmade chocolates perfect for gift giving for family, friends or yourself! 


Lucky Dorr - Lucky Lodge

1101 W. Waveland


Through December 31

Lucky Dorr, Chicago's favorite craft beer destination, will transform into Lucky Lodge. A festive Winterland destination with special décor, the aroma of hot apple cider and rustic comfort galore. 


Moe’s Cantina - Whooville

3518 N. Clark Street


Moe’s becomes the celebrated holiday town of Whooville while offering a menu of shareable small plates, traditional full-size entrees, signature tacos and a cocktail list featuring house-made sangria, handmade margaritas, premium tequilas, and more. 

top sporting events!

Casey Moran’s - Rudolph’s Christmas Bar

3660 N. Clark Street


Through December 30

From the creators of Santa Baby Christmas Bar with all the Christmas spirits you know and love at Santa Baby with all new interactive social experiences and an incredible decor. Rudolph’s Christmas Bar will host a DIY Wreath Making Workshop November 30, December 7 and 14.


Mordecai - Mistletoe

3632 N. Clark Street

Through January 16, 2022


Thursdays - Saturdays, excluding Holidays through Dec. 30

Reservations are Free

Mistletoe, Mordecai's annual holiday pop-up bar, boasts naughty and nice decorations and an exclusive holiday-inspired drink menu, featuring both contemporary and vintage cocktails. Groups of 1-4 can reserve two hour blocks (4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tock, Thursday-Saturday. 


NOLA Bar & Kitchen - A Very Cajun Christmas

3481 N. Clark Street


Through January 20, 2022

Inspired by the legend of Papa Noel, it’s a Cajun Christmas Story. In a deep swampy bayou of Louisiana, Papa Noel rides the river in a boat that's pulled by alligators to send out presents. A very cajun Christmas offers unique New Orleans style Christmas decoration with classic cajun eats. It's a place to gather friends and families and let the good times roll. Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Old Crow Smokehouse - Santa’s Workshop

3506 N. Clark Street


Wrigleyville’s award-winning barbecue from the kitchen of pitmaster and “MasterChef” Tony Scruggs is the home of Santa’s Workshop. 

Rizzo’s Bar and Inn - John Vincent’s Holiday Sing Along

3658 N. Clark Street


Through December 30

Every Thursday at 7 p.m. and Every Sunday at 5 p.m through Dec. 30

Local singing legend, John Vincent, will be performing some of the holiday hits from all of your old time lounge singer favorites like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong! 


Roadhouse 66 Gas N’ Grill - Jingle Junkie

3478 N. Clark Street


Through January 8, 2022

Serving up holiday inspired bites and sips in an explosion of cheer, Jingle Junkie and its heated, ski lodge inspired patio is the most festive spot to celebrate your upcoming holiday season. With an extensive seasonal cocktail /beer list and delicious festive bites that are sure to get even the grinchiest Grinch into the holiday spirit.


Stretch Bar & Grill - Elf’d Up

3845 N. Clark Street


No Cover

Through January 8, 2022

Back by popular demand for a third year, it’s a full-blown tribute to the beloved Christmas movie "Elf,” Elf'd Up is a high-energy holiday pop-up bar, perfect for patrons who share Elf'd Up's affinity for elf culture. A casual neighborhood Christmas bar, Elf'd Up never charges a cover and treats patrons to complimentary fresh elf-shaped cookies nightly at 10 p.m.


Underground Lounge - Island of Misfits Toys

952 W. Newport Ave.


Through January 31, 2022

Underground Lounge welcomes you to the “Pabst Island of Misfit Toys,“ to come hang out with Bumbles, Dolly, Hermey and others. 


*Individual operating hours for each location vary from location to location. Some details may change from release date. Please check with the outlet for most up to date information.

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, SSA #17 and the Lakeview East Community Partnership sponsor Wrigleyville Wonderland.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Joffrey Ballet Is Back With Acclaimed Nutcracker Set During Chicago’s Famous World’s Fair of 1893




The critically-acclaimed holiday classic highlighting Chicago’s famous World’s Fair of 1893 to be readapted for its debut at the Lyric Opera House in 26 performances, December 4 – 26, 2021

Plus, animated scenes from Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker return to Art on theMART – the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, November 26 – December 30, 2021

The Joffrey Ballet’s critically-acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, is certain to be a highlight of the Joffrey’s first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 26 performances, December 4 – 26, 2021. Plus, signature scenes from the production will be projected on the world’s largest canvases, Art on theMart, for the second year in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The digital art projection, designed by local production studio The Mill with music arranged by Joffrey Assistant Conductor & Company Pianist Michael Moricz, will be displayed on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-façade. It can be viewed nightly for free from the ‘Jetty’ section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street November 26 – December 30, 2021, in two airings, at 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. More information can be found at artonthemart.com/programming

“The Nutcracker is a celebration of the optimistic spirit that allowed Chicago to rise from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire and produce the World’s Columbian Exposition 128 years ago,” said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. “We are thrilled to be able to present one of the world's most beloved holiday traditions at the Lyric Opera House for the first time and celebrate the tenacity that enables Chicagoans to overcome even the most extraordinary challenges. 

“After a year away from the stage, The Nutcracker makes its long-awaited debut on the grand Lyric Opera stage for an enchanted homecoming celebration that is sure to inspire holiday joy throughout Chicago and beyond,” added Greg Cameron, President and CEO. “There is something special about the magic of The Nutcracker, and we look forward to bringing it to life once again for Chicago and audiences everywhere.”

Wheeldon’s American tale relocates Marie and her immigrant family to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and opens as young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the mysterious Great Impresario, creator of the Fair, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair. 

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker also features designs by an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author and illustrator Brian Selznick, six-time Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy.  The production is currently being adapted by Wheeldon to fit the larger Lyric Opera stage.

The Nutcracker features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.



The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker Saturday, December 4 through Sunday, December 26, 2021. The full schedule is as follows: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec. 5 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm; Thursday, December 9 at 7:00pm; Friday, Dec.10 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 11 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1:00pm and 6:00 pm; Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7:00pm; Thursday, Dec. 16 at  7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 17 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec 19 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm; Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Thursday, Dec. 23 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 24 at 2:00pm; and Sunday, Dec. 26 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm.

Single tickets start at $35 and are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street and by telephone at 312.386.8905, or online at joffrey.org.


About The Joffrey Ballet­­

The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.

Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.

About Art on theMART 

Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. This expansive permanent piece of public art continues Chicago’s legacy of providing both residents and visitors with exceptional art that is both free and accessible to all. Projections are visible to the public from Wacker Drive and along the Chicago Riverwalk, with accompanying audio available on the jetty section of the Riverwalk 

The program content rotates seasonally and is selected with the assistance and expertise of the Curatorial Advisory Board. The City of Chicago and theMART work in partnership to manage and curate the projected artwork over the course of a 30-year agreement. Privately funded by Vornado Realty Trust, owner of theMART, Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of its size and scope is completely dedicated to digital art with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging. The permanent projection system illuminates theMART with 34 state-of-the-art projectors totaling almost one million lumens. For more information, visit www.artonthemart.com.  

Special thanks to 2021-2022 The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor, the Women’s Board of The Joffrey Ballet, and Sponsors AARP Illinois, C.D. Peacock, and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald V. Waters III. The Joffrey also thanks Macy’s for its support of virtual Nutcracker programing. The Joffrey gratefully acknowledges The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa; and the many “Believers.”

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2021–2022 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit joffrey.org. Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

20th Anniversary Production of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Through December 31, 2021

 ChiIL Live Shows on our radar 

American Blues Theater Presents

20th Anniversary Production of

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!

From Frank Capra’s film

Directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside

Music Direction by Ensemble Member Michael Mahler

 November 26 – December 31, 2021

American Blues Theater marks its return to live, in-person theater with its 20th Annual Production of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! from Frank Capra’s film and directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside with musical direction by Ensemble Member Michael Mahler. It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! will run November 26 – December 31, 2021 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Avenue. Single tickets go on sale October 26 and are available at (773) 871-3000 and online at www.americanbluestheater.com.  

To date, American Blues has done 524 performances of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!

George Bailey, the Everyman from small town Bedford Falls whose dreams of escape and adventure were stopped by family obligation and civic duty, has fallen onto desperate times. Only a miracle can save him from despair. Filled with original music and classic holiday carols, this critically acclaimed, warm “holiday favorite makes the bell ring every time.” (Chicago Tribune) For 20 years, American Blues has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago!

Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside comments, “We have so many milestones to celebrate with this year’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! This year marks American Blues’ 20th annual production of this holiday favorite, as well as John Mohrlein’s 20th turn as “Clarence” and “Mr. Potter.” It feels so fitting that the first show we welcome audiences back to experience is one that means so much to the entire American Blues Theater family. We can’t wait to see everyone!”

The cast of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! includes Audrey Billings* (Mary Bailey), Manny Buckley* (Joseph), Dara Cameron* (Violet), Yuchi Chiu (Harry), Brandon Dalquist (George Bailey), Shawn J. Goudie* (Foley), Michael Mahler* (Announcer / Pianist), and John Mohrlein* (Clarence/Mr. Potter), Joe Dempsey* (U/S Clarence/Mr. Potter), and Gwendolyn Whiteside* (Mary Bailey, 12/29 & 12/31).

The creative team includes Grant Sabin* (Scenic Designer), Christopher J. Neville* (Costume Designer), Katy Peterson Viccellio (Lighting Designer), Rick Sims* (Sound Designer), Elyse Dolan* (Set Dressing / Props Designer), and Shandee Vaughan* (production & stage manager).

*Denotes Ensemble member or Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater

This year’s production marks 20th anniversary of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!


About the Artists

GWENDOLYN WHITESIDE she/her (Artistic Director/Director) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater and has served as Artistic Director since 2010. In her tenure, she created the nationally-recognized Blue Ink Playwriting Award and new work development program, implemented community service into the company’s mission, and adapted the arts education program The Lincoln Project for Chicago Public Schools serving nearly 4,000 students annually during a traditional school year. She led American Blues through its reorganization in 2009, building the operational budget from zero to $1 million. She secured the company’s first-ever operating reserve and endowment. Whiteside served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and sat on the Board of Directors for Network of Ensemble Theaters and League of Chicago Theatres. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University (BS), The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA), and a Kellogg Executive Scholar in Nonprofit management (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University). As a producer, she’s received 14 Joseph Jefferson nominations or awards. As an actress, she’s received 5 Joseph Jefferson Awards, Citations, and nominations; 2 After Dark Awards; and 1 Broadway World Chicago Award.

AUDREY BILLINGS she/her (Mary Bailey) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She’s thrilled to reprise her role as Mary Bailey (and others) in It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (And in person – Hooray!) Previous credits include: Christmas Eve in the long-running production of Avenue Q at the Mercury Theater, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Antonia in Man of la Mancha, and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. She has worked at the Paramount Theatre, Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theatre at the Center, Lookingglass Theatre Company and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity.

MANNY BUCKLEY he/him (Joseph) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is a Chicago-based director, actor, playwright and teaching artist. Blues credits include It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, Six Corners, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder (Jeff Award Nomination-Best Solo Performance), and Dutchman/TRANSit (Black Theatre Alliance Award Nomination). Manny toured nationally as “Satchel Paige” in the original production of The Satchel Paige Story, and appeared in The Father (Helen Hayes Award Nomination) at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. He originated the role of “Carson” in Hit the Wall, which sold out extensions in Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep. Select Chicago credits include The Brothers Size, 1984, and Of Mice and Men (Steppenwolf); Dorian (House Theater); and Love’s Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Mr. Buckley is the recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance, and Black Excellence Award. He most recently directed Kingdom, an audio drama, with Broken Nose Theatre.

DARA CAMERON she/her (Violet) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater and is grateful to be performing back onstage at her artistic home. Favorite credits include The Spitfire Grill (Jeff nomination) and Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theater); Old Jews Telling Jokes (Royal George and Off-Broadway); The Secret of My Success (Paramount Theatre); Elf, Hero (Jeff nomination), South Pacific, October Sky, Sister Act, City of Angels, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof (Marriott Theatre); Addams Family (Mercury Theater); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre at the Center), and Sunset Boulevard, Seussical, and Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (Drury Lane Theatre). She is a graduate of Northwestern University and a member of Actors' Equity. She is married to actor Michael Mahler, and when they aren't singing in Bedford Falls together, they are busy chasing after their stinker of a toddler, Ezra!

YUCHI CHIU he/him (Harry) is a Chicago-based actor, teacher, singer/songwriter, and musician. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he moved to Chicago to study at Northwestern University and subsequently taught high school special education for five years. Yuchi then transitioned into acting by enrolling in classes at Acting Studio Chicago as well as completing the ACADEMY program at Black Box Studio. Now, Yuchi proudly serves as an instructor at Black Box. Outside of acting, he can be found bartending, exercising, reading/writing, and trying to get his dog to actually return balls while playing fetch. Credits include Baked! The Musical (Underscore Theatre); How Do We Navigate Space (Strawdog Theatre); BJ's Mobile Gift Shop (Sundance Film Festival 2021); The Miscellany (The Passage Theatre). Yuchi is represented by DDO Artists Agency and is excited to join the It's a Wonderful Life family!

BRANDON DAHLQUIST he/him (George Bailey) is happy to return to Bedford Falls for his 5th season. Broadway: Bronx Bombers. Regional: As You Like It (Guthrie Theater); The Glass Menagerie (Milwaukee Repertory); A Little Night Music, 1776 (American Conservatory Theatre); Shakespeare in Love, Rhinoceros, 1776 (Asolo Repertory); 12 Angry Men (Maltz Jupiter Theater); Dogfight, City of Angels (San Francisco Playhouse); Sunday…George, Murder on the Nile, Lombardi (Peninsula Players). Chicago: Secret of My Success (Paramount Theatre), Miracle the Musical (Royal George Theater), A Little Night Music, Arcadia, Oh Coward! (Writers Theatre); Cabaret, Meet Me in St. Louis, Sugar (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Assassins, Sunday…George, Best Musical! (Porchlight Music Theater). On Camera: Difficult People (Hulu), Chicago P.D (NBC), The Chi (Showtime). A popular photographer, Dahlquist is on social @ IG: @thats_on_brandon & @BrandonDahlquistPhotography. For Mutti & Mom.

SHAWN J. GOUDIE he/him (Foley) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He is excited to be returning for his thirteenth season of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago, because where else are you told it is ok to smash plates and slam doors. Shawn is also a founding member of The Dolphins of Damnation sketch comedy group and a Stormtrooper in the 501st Legion. He would like to thank his amazing wife, their endlessly curious children, and his loving parents.

MICHAEL MAHLER he/him (Announcer/Pianist) is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues, most recently seen as the Announcer/Pianist/Music Director in Blues’ live streaming production of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Past Blues productions: Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (Jeff Award – Best Music Direction), Little Shop of Horrors, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, and Side Man. Other recent roles include The Baker in Into the Woods (Writers); Jim Hardy in Holiday Inn, and Jack Singer in Honeymoon in Vegas (Marriott Theatre). Michael co-wrote the songs for the Netflix movie My Little Pony: A New Generation and contributed additional lyrics to Cameron Mackintosh’s most recent Broadway production of Miss Saigon. Other works as a composer/lyricist include The Secret of My Success, Miracle (Jeff Award – Best New Work), Diary of a Wimpy Kid, October Sky, The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Jeff Award – Best New Work), and Hero (Jeff Award – Best New Work). Michael is married to fellow Ensemble Member Dara Cameron and proud father to their son Ezra.

JOHN MOHRLEIN he/him (Clarence/Mr. Potter) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. 20 years as “Clarence/Mr. Potter,” and he loves getting to revisit and reinvent these characters year after year. At American Blues, he’s appeared in Half of Plenty, It’s a Wonderful Life, A View from the Bridge, Strictly Dishonorable, American Dead, The Hairy Ape, A Lie of the Mind, Endgame, American Buffalo, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Threepenny Opera, A Stone Carver (Jeff nomination for Best Actor, After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance); and directed Catch-22. Other credits: The Glass House at the Art Institute of Chicago; nine productions at Goodman Theatre; and Cripple of Inishmaan, Heart of a Dog, and Murder of Cardinal Tosca at Northlight Theatre. His extensive television and film work includes Golden Boy, Good Night Sweet Wife, Dillinger, Killing Floor, Early Edition, Crime Story (recurring role), Untouchables, Devil’s Dominoes, Stranger Than Fiction, No Place to be Somebody, Hellcab, Hero, and Cold Justice. Now he’s developing Star Crossed Lovers, Pope Frank in Venice, and Glass House, while continuing to install his art works.

JOE DEMPSEY he/him (U/S Clarence/Mr. Potter) is a proud Affiliate of American Blues Theater and has appeared for in Scapin and Pledge of Allegiance. His last show was The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass before the world ended. He has worked at Goodman, Steppenwolf, Northlight, Court, Chicago Shakespeare, Drury Lane Oak Brook, and Paramount among many other Chicago theatres as well as Milwaukee Rep, St Louis Rep, Centerstage (Baltimore), and City Theatre (Pittsburgh). TV work includes Somebody Somewhere, Chicago Fire, ER, and Early Edition and film work includes several indies you've never seen.

Dates:  November 26 – December 31, 2021       


Wednesdays: 7:30pm (December 22 and 29 only)

Thursdays: 4:30pm (December 23 only); 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 4:30pm (December 4, 11 and 18 only) & 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:30pm

*No performances December 24 or 25

Additional performance on December 31 at 4:30pm

Location:  Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

Ticket prices:  $25-$65

Group Sales discounts and Blue Card Memberships available beginning October 12, 2021 by calling (773) 654-3103 or visiting www.americanbluestheater.com

Box Office:   Buy online at www.americanbluestheater.com or by calling

                                    (773) 871-3000

The cast will celebrate with special holiday events, including Hanukkah on November 28 and Kwanza on December 26.

In the long tradition of honoring heroes during the run of It’s a Wonderful Life, American Blues will honor a teacher at each performance with a “Teacher Tribute.” Nominations are accepted at www.americanbluestheater.com. Selected recipients will receive complimentary tickets to a performance of It’s a Wonderful Life and a live tribute during the show.

American Blues proudly partners with NAMI Chicago, USO, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Complimentary tickets are offered to CPS teachers, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (IL chapter), and American Indian Center.

Bedford Boxes are available for $50, and include: a 20th anniversary Wonderful Life ornament, a commemorative printed program, a cocktail recipe book Martini's Specials - inspired beverages of Bedford Falls, a pair of socks, a copy of the original short story that inspired Capra, chocolates, and an "I Earned My Wings" sticker.

About American Blues

Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s prestigious National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. As of 2021, the theater and artists received 221 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and 40 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Q Brothers Christmas Carol is Back at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Through December 23, 2021

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List 

Q BROTHERS & Chi Shakes bring all the joys to The Yard!

Chicago Shakespeare Artists and Audiences come together for the holiday season


Hip hop holiday hit returns in limited engagement. 

December 7-23, 2021

This is one of our all time top favorites in the Christmas genre. Chicago's own world renowned Q Brothers are truly a treat to see in action. We highly recommend Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL and we adore The Yard, Chi Shakes' newest space. This show has multigenerational appeal and may well be one of the funniest holiday shows out there. We've caught every year this show has been performed since they workshopped the first version of this show back around 2012 or 13 and it's become a beloved family tradition of ours. Don't miss this!

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is once again the ultimate destination for the holiday season. The 80-minute hip hop holiday hit Q Brothers Christmas Carol, created by Chicago sensations the Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, and Pos) and developed with Creative Producer Rick Boynton, is back in a limited engagement in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, December 7-23, 2021. The Theater will again host the popular virtual Holiday Artisan Market, December 2-5, 2021, in support of local theatermakers and community artists. Nearly 20 Chicago-area artisans will showcase more than 250 handcrafted wares in an online pop-up shop—perfect for holiday gift-giving. One hundred percent of proceeds will directly benefit the artisans.

The wildly entertaining Q Brothers Christmas Carol remixes the Charles Dickens classic, mashing up musical styles ranging from reggae and dancehall music, to dubstep and epic rock ballads. Fully decked out in the holiday spirit with stage-side cocktail tables and theater seating, the Theater is strewn with more than two miles of twinkling lights as the Ghosts of hip hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption.

The internationally acclaimed Q Brothers Collective fuses hip hop and theater—adapting classic stories with a wholly original style of performance that has amassed a cult following of fans in Chicago and beyond. The Q Brothers Collective pioneered the concept of "ad-rap-tation" with their Off-Broadway hit The Bomb-itty of Errors. Their award-winning collaborations with Chicago Shakespeare Theater Creative Producer Rick Boynton include Othello: The Remix—which premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe and toured to sold-out houses in London, Australia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Off Broadway—and Funk It Up About Nothin’, which garnered the Jeff Award for Outstanding Ensemble and the Dress Circle Award for Best Musical Production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Q Brothers Christmas Carol features the members of the Q Brothers Collective portraying all of the roles in the timeless story: GQ (Scrooge), JQ (Marley / Belle / Present / Lil’ Tim), Jax (Fred / Dick Wilkins / Mama Cratchit), and Pos (Bob Cratchit / Past / Martha Cratchit)—joined by DJ Clayton Stamper spinning live beats live onstage. The creative team features Scenic and Costume Designer Scott Davis, Lighting Designer Jesse Klug, Sound Designer Stephen Ptacek, Associate Sound Designer Ralph Loza, and original Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal, with Choreography by Anacron. Q Brothers Christmas Carol is written by the Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, and Pos) with music by JQ. A Chicago Shakespeare production, Q Brothers Christmas Carol is presented by CST and Richard Jordan Productions.

In its ongoing commitment to accessibility, Chicago Shakespeare offers accessible performances for Q Brothers Christmas Carol:

Audio-described performance – Sunday, December 12, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

A program that provides spoken narration of the play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

Open-captioned performance – Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.

Run time is 80 minutes (no intermission). Single tickets ($38–$56) are on sale now with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, visit chicagoshakes.com/qchristmas or engage on social at #QChristmas.


Virtual pop-up shop with 100% of proceeds benefiting local artists, December 2-5, 2021

Back by popular demand, Chicago Shakespeare’s Holiday Artisan Market will feature more than 250 one-of-a-kind goods from nearly twenty local artists. All of the participating artisans are members of the creative sector—including onstage performers, backstage technicians, designers, and community partners from the Theater’s annual Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program. From jewelry and ceramics to knitwork and more, the virtual Holiday Artisan Market is not only a one-stop-shop for bespoke and beautifully made gifts, but also celebration of the talent and resilience of our city’s creative community.

Featured artisans include:

Taí Ramírez, a youth musician with Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center who appeared in Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks DREAM in 2021, with her whimsical jewelry creations.

Actor Nick Harazin who has appeared in in six Chicago Shakespeare productions, sharing his woodworking skills with unique wooden jewelry and furniture pieces.

Brittany Taylor, member of Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Cohort, and her hand-poured Black Luxe candles.

Three-time Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Green Show performer Noelle Klyce and cozy items from her crochet line Hook Me Up, Design Co.

Chicago Lighting Designer Travis Shupe and his hand-thrown pottery creations, which are both functional and beautiful.

Theatrical costume maker Maggie Hoffman (SIX, Macbeth, Nell Gwynn) delights with holiday-themed goods in her PaisleyAndGlue shop.

Participating artisans to date include: Maggie Hoffman – PaisleyAndGlue; Emma Lyons – Emma Lyons Art; Beth Uber – Betherella; Dail Kirkpatrick – Dail Kirkpatrick Art; Nikki Way; Brittany Taylor – Black Luxe Candle Co; Taí Ramírez – Atabey; Cass Westover – Homegrown Wrappings; Elizabeth Flauto – Elizabeth Millinery; Nicholas Harazin – Kindred Woodworks; Travis Shupe – Ceramics by Travis; Jen Smith – JenSmithGlass; Karen Avery; Robin Power; Catherine Daniels – CDaniels Design.

The pop-up shop will be live December 2-5, 2021 at chicagoshakes.com/market with one hundred percent of proceeds going directly to the artisans.


A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a year-round season—featuring plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming, each year serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers, one in four audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, Chicago Shakespeare works to embrace diversity, prioritize radical inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire us. chicagoshakes.com

Monday, November 22, 2021

“‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…” BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL at The Chicago Theatre, November 26 - December 5, 2021

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List 




 Tickets for performances at The Chicago Theatre, November 26 - December 5, are now on sale!

Here at ChiIL Mama we're way beyond excited that Cirque du Soleil will be back in Chicago imminently! It's been way too long and we are so overdue for some circus inspired holiday joy. Of course tis also the season for gifting, and the family that plays together makes memories instead of clutter. So think about tickets and plan some multigenerational fun. 

Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSG Entertainment) and Cirque du Soleil are pleased to announce that the acclaimed family holiday theatrical – “‘Twas the Night Before…” by Cirque du Soleil – is returning to The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State Street) for 17 performances only from November 26 through December 5, 2021, prior to opening in New York at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden December 9.

“‘Twas the Night Before…,” Cirque du Soleil’s exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas tale, is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production marks Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show and is a flurry of Christmas cheer – rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil and help families create new holiday traditions.

The international cast features Roberto Alvarez Serrano (Spain), Lucas Gabriel Morales Bravo (Argentina), Sekou Camara (Guinea), Jean-Marc Giese (France), Quentin Greco (France) and Evan Tomlinson Weintraub (United States) performing Hoop Diving and Acrobatic Table; Alicia Beaudoin (Canada) performing Acrobatic Bicycle and as Isabella; Danila Bim (Brazil) performing Hair Suspension; Suren Bozyan (Russia) & Karyna Konchakivska (Ukraine) in Duo Straps; Ming-En Chen, Shuo-En Liao, Tsung-ying Lin, Hao Yu (Taiwan) performing Diabolo; Holler Zavatta & Kimberly Zavatta (Italy) performing Roller Skating; Miguel Gigosos Ronda (Spain) performing as Jolly Santa and clown; Masha Terentieva (Canada/Russia) performing Hotel Cart; Alexis Vigneault (Canada) as Father and performing Acrobatic Lamp; and Jenna Beltran, Carlo Darang, Shannon Kelly, Samuel Moore and Bianca Vallar (United States) along with Kalila Hermant (Belgium), as ensemble dancers.

The creative team consists of Manuel Bissonnette as Creative Director, James Hadley as Writer and Stage Director, Genevieve Lizotte as Set Designer and Artistic Director, Edesia Moreno Barata as Acrobatic Choreographer & Performance Designer, Vinh Nguyen/Kinjaz as Choreographer, Jean-Phi Goncalves as Musical Composer, James Lavoie as Costume Designer, Maryse Gosselin as Make-Up Designer, Nicolas Brion as Light Designer, and Paul Bisson as Sound Designer. The show is produced by Cirque du Soleil Executive Producer and Head of Creation Marie-Josee Adam and Chief Creative Officer Diane Quinn.

The critically acclaimed production of “‘Twas the Night Before…,” returns to The Chicago Theatre and Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden after debuting at both venues in 2019. The Chicago run sold more than 50,000 tickets, completely selling out its 17-show engagement, while the New York run sold out a whopping 25 performances.  Among the national buzz this holiday theatrical garnered:


“’Twas the Night Before… delivers terrific holiday entertainment that should delight children and adults alike.” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER


“The acrobats are all glamour and athleticism, the skaters all speed and daring.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES


“Cirque du Soleil unwraps a happy new holiday gift for family audiences with its ‘Twas the Night Before…., a cheerful high-performance show.” – NEW YORK STAGE REVIEW


Tickets for “‘Twas the Night Before…” at The Chicago Theatre start at $30 and can be purchased online at www.chicagotheatre.com/cirque or at the Ticketmaster Box Office at The Chicago Theatre. Box office hours are Monday-Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Service charges apply to internet orders. For group sales, please call 212-465-6080. Accessible and companion seats are available via the Disabled Services Department at 888-609-7599. 

The Chicago Theatre continues to operate in accordance with all government mandates, and current City of Chicago and State of Illinois guidelines require that all guests age 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in The Chicago Theatre, except while actively eating or drinking. Government mandates, venue protocols and event requirements are subject to change, so be sure to continue to check www.chicagotheatre.com/cirque for the latest information.


Connect with us on social!

The Chicago Theatre: twitter.com/ChicagoTheatre | facebook.com/ChicagoTheatre | instagram.com/ChicagoTheatre

MSG Entertainment: linkedin.com/company/msg-entertainment



‘Twas the Night Before… is the 49th original production of Cirque du Soleil. Originally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Established in Montreal, the Canadian organization has brought wonder and delight to more than 200 million spectators in more than 450 cities in over 60 countries on six continents. Cirque du Soleil is owned and operated by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. For more information, visit cirquedusoleil.com

About Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSG Entertainment) is a leader in live entertainment. The Company presents or hosts a broad array of events in its diverse collection of venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; and The Chicago Theatre. MSG Entertainment is also building a new state-of-the-art venue in Las Vegas, MSG Sphere at The Venetian. In addition, the Company features the original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces the Boston Calling Music Festival. The Company’s two regional sports and entertainment networks, MSG Network and MSG+, deliver a wide range of live sports content and other programming. Also under the MSG Entertainment umbrella is Tao Group Hospitality, with entertainment dining and nightlife brands including: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Beauty & Essex, Cathédrale, Hakkasan and Omnia. More information is available at www.msgentertainment.com.