Friday, September 23, 2022

REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof at Lyric Opera Through October 7, 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List
Fiddler on the Roof

Production photos by Todd Rosenberg


By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

I admit I had never seen Fiddler on the Roof before, and it wasn’t a musical that I felt compelled to see. But this fabulous North American premiere at Lyric Opera imported from the Komische Oper Berlin has made me a believer. Every aspect of this classic musical is incredible: the performers, the costumes, the direction, the staging, dancing, and the amazing set. I only wish it was playing longer so more people could see this because everyone should. 

The show opens startlingly with a young boy in a bright green hoodie on a modern scooter. (Drake Wunderlich, a very talented 5th grader from the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.) He rides across the vast Lyric stage and parks in front of a large door. He locates a violin case in the closet and begins to play a familiar tune. What’s this kid doing here? We hear a knock from inside, and there is Tevye. The connection from present to past is jarring. Is this Tevye’s great-great-great-great-grandson? Certainly the importance of family and yes, “tradition!” is ever-present in Jewish culture. I like to think it’s a nod to Tevye’s family’s resiliency and survival; he will have heirs into the current age despite countless obstacles. 

And then it seems the whole town of Anatevka pours onto the stage like an outpouring of clowns from a Volkswagon at the circus…if the clowns were Jewish and in much drabber clothes. The Lyric stage (the biggest in downtown Chicago) is used to full effect with the set which is composed of wood furniture like Grandma’s house has gone onto the market. Rufus Didwiszus is the set designer and Klaus Bruns is the mastermind behind the clever set. Characters are constantly appearing from behind closed armoires, making me wonder if Aslan might make a surprise visit as well. (As an English teacher, I racked my brain trying to pinpoint the symbolism of all those wardrobes and cabinets…”when God closes a door, He opens a window?” like Mother Superior says in Sound of Music? We may be against an obstacle, but another opportunity awaits---we just need the courage to step through? Or does it represent how the Jewish people cannot depend on stability? They always seem to be packing up belongings and moving because of religious persecution?? No matter the significance, it looks cool as hell.) 

Steven Skybell was born to play Tevye, the poor milkman struggling to feed his family of six women, his steadfast wife Golde (a charming Debbie Gravitte) and his five headstrong daughters. Skybell is mesmerizing as the questioning, funny, philosophic, stubborn patriarch. He doesn’t understand his three older girls’ defiance to marry men they love, rather than those chosen for them. The three girls and their loves are all outstanding. Lauren Marcus as oldest daughter, Tzeitel, begs her father to allow her to marry her poor but devoted tailor, Motel, sung by Drew Redington. They are so sweet together. Austen Danielle Bohmer as Hodel falls for the adorable Perchik, a tutor to her sisters and a devotee of the brewing Russian revolution. He is sung beautifully by Adam Kaplan. Maya Jacobson is Chava, and she melted my heart as the defiant daughter who faces her father’s wrath by loving a Christian boy. Michael Nigro sings Fyedka, the intellectual with an incredible voice. He holds forth on a sustained note over the crowd in an earlier scene that made me jot down,”Who sang that long note?”  

Alas, loving someone outside the faith is a travesty that Tevya cannot forgive. Chava is dead to him. It’s the one time in the show that I don’t feel sorry for Tevya. He’s being a stubborn dad. 

The Lyric Opera Chorus is to be commended for their commanding presence. And I love that a woman conductor, Kimberly Grigsby, led the orchestra. 

I didn’t expect the humor of the script, as when Tevya beseeches to God, ”I know we’re the chosen people, but can you sometimes pick someone else?” And Golda asks one of her girls, who doesn’t want to marry an older man with no hair,”You want hair? Marry a monkey!” 

Tevya and Golda’s song about arranged marriage “Do You Love Me?” is so endearing. They may have been chosen to be together by their parents, but their love for each other has become genuine. 

Another noteworthy song is the Day-of-the-Dead-type number where Tevya must confess to Golda that Tzeitel is no longer marrying the wealthy, older butcher. But he can’t simply admit that, so he stages an elaborate nightmarish dream to break the news to his wife. It’s a hoot with the skulls and surreal quality of the intricate lie. 

I overheard a woman in the lobby at intermission proclaiming,” The dancing is stupendous!” Indeed. The “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” number by the three girls with potential suitors is incredibly sweet. The whole production is simply wondrous. 

“Anastasia” is another Russian show currently playing downtown several blocks away. The snow in that musical is a fake projection. The “snow” keeps falling continuously in Act II at the Lyric. It’s a cool detail that reveals this was a full-out don’t-hold-back stunning production.  It’s one of those truly special shows that will be talked about and remembered for years. Please see it. You’re welcome. 

Highly recommended. 4 out of 4 stars ★★★★

Catherine Hellmann loves theater, Chicago, her kids, travel, coffee in the morning, Chardonnay at night, long walks, reading on the train, and Cincinnati Skyline chili. The order of her favorites is in no particular order and is subject to change.  

More About Fiddler on the Roof

The North American premiere of a bold new production of Fiddler on the Roof comes to Chicago’s biggest stage September 17 to October 7, 2022. Audiences are invited to experience Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s Broadway classic on a musical and theatrical scale only Lyric Opera of Chicago can offer. 

A new Fiddler arrives in Chicago. Following the success of the production at its critically acclaimed 2017 premiere at the Komische Oper Berlin, innovative director Barrie Kosky ties this version of Fiddler on the Roof to his Jewish ancestry and heritage, centering tradition in every aspect of his thrillingly theatrical production. Accomplished conductor Kimberly Grigsby (Broadway’s Spring Awakening and Flying Over Sunset) makes her Lyric debut revitalizing the celebrated music of Fiddler with the incomparable Lyric Opera Orchestra. 

The traditional Fiddler you know, but seen and heard like never before. More than 50 years after its premiere, Fiddler on the Roof remains a story that still resonates with audiences of today. While the musical has always explored themes of tradition, family, and love, Kosky’s brave direction offers an even closer look into how communities like Anatevka are still struggling in today's world. This widely acclaimed production is supported by a massive ensemble of nearly 100 musical and dramatic artists, paving the way for audiences to enjoy another boldly unique musical theater experience that has become a Lyric Opera of Chicago signature. 

A miracle of miracles! Experienced Broadway performers Steven Skybell and Debbie Gravitte make their Lyric debuts as Tevye and Golde. Skybell, who won the Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding performance by a lead actor as Tevye in the 2018 Yiddish production in New York, brings his exceptional capacity for this role to Lyric. The accomplished cast also includes Glencoe native Lauren Marcus in the role of Tzeitel in her Lyric debut. She’s joined by Broadway veteran—and Lyric newcomer—David Benoit in the role of Lazar Wolf. Joy Hermalyn rounds out this stellar lineup of Lyric debuts as Yente.

The other talented singing actors in the cast include Austen Bohmer as Hodel, Maya Jacobson as Chava, Drew Redington as Motel, Adam Kaplan as Perchik, Michael Nigro as Fyedka, Liliana Renteria as Shprintze, Omi Lichtenstein as Bielke, Jackson Evans as Mendel, Tommy Novak as Avram, Steven Strafford as Mordcha, Bill McGough as the Rabbi, William Brown as the Constable, and Melody Betts as Grandma and Fruma Sarah. 

Tradition comes alive with a world-class creative team. Lyric’s Fiddler on the Roof features Rufus Didwiszus as set designer and Klaus Bruns as costume designer, both in their Lyric debuts, along with the lighting design of Diego Leetz skillfully recreated by Marco Philipp in a Lyric debut for both designers. Otto Pichler’s original choreography is masterfully recreated for Lyric by Silvano Marraffa. The robust forces of the Lyric Opera Chorus bring the village of Anatevka to life under the steady leadership of Lyric’s chorus master Michael Black—culminating in a musical production that is as wholly reimagined as it is filled with endless talent. 

Shout l’chaim from the rooftops, with 11 chances to see Fiddler on a scale only Lyric Opera of Chicago can produce. Through Joseph Stein’s book, Jerry Bock’s music, and Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics, audiences become a part of Tevye’s family with this timeless tale of the fragility of love, community, and tradition.

There are 11 performances of Fiddler on the Roof: September 17, 18 matinee, 22, 23, 24, 28 matinee, 29 matinee, 30, and October 2 matinee, 6, and 7, 2022.

For updated information about Lyric’s ongoing health and safety protocols, visit

One of the world's leading opera directors, Barrie Kosky is celebrated from Vienna to Paris and from Bayreuth to London, where his new Ring cycle will take the stage at the Royal Opera starting next year. When his production of Fiddler on the Roof premiered at Komische Oper Berlin in 2017, international critics heralded the arrival of a completely original and unique experience created from this revered, Tony Award-winning masterpiece. "Songs many of us have heard our whole lives sentimentalized...are given weight and take on deep meaning," raved the Los Angeles Times. Experience a Fiddler like no other, with the full power of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus as well as a production that is both grand in scale and intimate in its power to bring you directly to the heart of the village of Anatevka. Join us as Tevye, his wife Golde, and their five daughters experience the real joys and sorrows that have made this meaningful work an enduring part of our culture.

Please note, Fiddler on the Roof will not have an at-home streaming option.

Language: Sung in English

Running Time: 3 hours 15 minutes with 1 intermission

Location: Lyric Opera House

Lyric’s presentation of Fiddler on the Roof is generously made possible by Lead Sponsor The Negaunee Foundation with additional support from Production Sponsors the Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa, The Zell Family Foundation, Marlys A. Beider, The Davee Foundation, Invenergy LLC, The Harris Family Foundation, Randy L. & Melvin R.* Berlin and Ethel & William Gofen.


Lyric Opera of Chicago thanks its Official Airline, American Airlines, and acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Enrique Mazzola, and Special Projects Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

Join us @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #LongLivePassion

For more information, visit


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Tonight CABARET ZAZOU’S Luminaire Makes Worldwide Debut In Chicago's Spiegeltent


Directed By Prolific Choreographer Dreya Weber and Featuring Acclaimed Chicago Favorites Frank Ferrante and LiV Warfield, Luminaire Opens Tonight at Cabaret ZaZou on Randolph

Tonight ChiIL Mama will be ChiILin' in one the most unique Chicago theatrical spaces, a vintage Spiegeltent on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel in the heart of Chicago’s Theatre District. This will be our 3rd visit to this space and we can't wait to see what's next for Randolph Entertainment LLC, producer of the fan favorite Teatro ZinZanni Chicago. We're lifelong lovers of all things circus and cabaret so we're beyond excited to be a part of the opening night festivities for CABARET ZAZOU’s premiere production, Luminaire. The new, groundbreaking, immersive variety dinner show is making its worldwide debut. Luminaire is directed by Dreya Weber, and stars critically acclaimed performers Frank Ferrante and LiV Warfield as they lead an international cast of exceptional entertainers. Sassy, sexy, and sultry, Luminaire is designed to dazzle and delight audiences with stunning cirque acts, interactive comedy, captivating vocalists, and a stellar band, complimented by a delicious multi-course meal.

Luminaire stars Frank Ferrante, an award-winning actor, comedian, and director best known for his interactive stage comedy, including The Caesar in Teatro ZinZanni, which earned him a Chicago Tribune nod as a top ten performer of the year in 2019, and his PBS national television program Frank Ferrante’s Groucho. The production also stars singer, songwriter, and producer LiV Warfield. Her achievements include a critically acclaimed hit solo album - The Unexpected, a Soul Train Music Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, and performing as part of Prince’s New Power Generation. Liv Warfield has toured with some of music’s biggest names, bringing her unique voice and style to audiences around the world. Luminaire is directed by Dreya Weber, whose aerial design and choreography credits include Magic Mike Live in addition to aerials for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Madonna, Cher, Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Kylie Minogue, and Pink’s 2010 Grammy Awards performance of “Glitter in the Air”. Dreya brings in her unique death-defying grace to dazzle CABARET ZAZOU audiences.

Luminaire also features an extraordinary cast of performers including Broadway star and Grammy nominee James Harkness from New York City, master juggler Viktor Kee from the Ukraine, thrilling contortionist Ulzii Mergen from Mongolia, and the highly acclaimed Hand to Trapeze Trio Trio Vertex from England. On the bandstand is music director Chuck Webb (bass), Jon Negus (woodwinds), Jose Martinez (drums), and new to the ensemble this fall are Theodis Rodgers (piano) and Phil Seed (guitar).


Tickets range from $125 - $210 with special VIP tickets available. “Show Only” tickets are $75. Special preview pricing of $99 available for performances through September 11. Individual tickets are available by visiting or by calling 312.488.0900. Tickets are available for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway in Chicago at 312.977.1710 or emailing


Randolph Entertainment is a partnership of 25 mostly Chicago-based individuals who share in the vision of bringing an extraordinary entertainment experience to Chicago. The partnership is committed to being a good neighbor and contributor to Chicago’s vibrant cultural community. Stanley Feig, a veteran of the entertainment industry with a career spanning several decades, manages the partnership. Randolph Entertainment introduced Chicago to Teatro ZinZanni and is proud to continue with their new spectacle CABARET ZAZOU’s Luminaire.

 For more information, visit

Facebook @CabaretZaZou ● Instagram @CabaretZaZou

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

REVIEW: ANASTASIA at Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre Through September 25, 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List


Anastasia is recommended for ages 7 and older

Run Time is approx. 2 hours and 25 minutes with an intermission.

“Captivating, beautifully staged and emotionally vital. ANASTASIA hits the sweet spot!”



By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

History, mystery, royals, revolution, and romance...

Something old... something new. As a critic for the past 14 years and a lifelong theatre lover, I can attest that it's exciting to see a new musical. As a mother and a history buff, it's even more fun to see all the young kids in the audience making memories, watching a fierce survivor of a princess as a role model, and engaging with a live production at the CIBC Theatre, a lavish, historical venue. Early exposure to theatre increases empathy in children and who knows what those experiences might spark for the future. Anastasia is only in Chicago for a few short days, so don't miss this!

Anastasia has been a long time coming. Here at ChiIL Mama, we first wrote about the Broadway touring production in May of 2018, when it was slated to open in Chicago in March of 2019. Three years later we can attest that some shows are worth the wait, and in Anastasia's own words. "It's never too late. I'm here now."

We loved the lavish costumes, poignant score, and clever use of projections to transport the audience across the ocean and back in time to the fall of the Russian Empire and onward to 1920's Paris. 

Veronica Stern was a joy to see as Anya, well complimented by Willem Butler as Dmitry. We also enjoyed the performances of Ben Edquist as Gleb and Gerri Weagraff as Dowager Empress. There was a well deserved standing ovation on opening night. Kudos to the entire cast and crew for bringing soaring vocals, delightful dance numbers, and stellar storytelling to life on stage. The touring production may be a scaled down version of the Broadway hit, in production values, but it's well worth a look. 

From the devastating violence of war to the exiled expats reliving their glory days, the musical, Anastasia gives audiences a timeless and timely tale for the ages. Whether sweeping the streets in rags or attending the ballet and bravely facing the Dowager Empress, Anya excels. Was she the last of the Romanovs or a royally talented rogue, scamming her way out of Russia and into royalty? Where did she disappear to? Was the iconic music box a con or a concrete clue to authenticity? Did Anya and Dimitry both choose love over money, forgoing both the reward and a lineage with luxury? The Anastasia story raises more questions than it answers, in this delightfully complex mystery. Regardless of the realism, we were completely captivated by this riches to rags tale.

Fast forward to 2022. One hundred years later, Russia is once again at war in the region. Refugees and the impoverished still struggle to find food, water, and basic needs. Love blooms amid the wreckage of revolutions. And tenacious, smart survivors are always in fashion. Don't miss this. Recommended. 3 out of 4 stars ★★★

Anastasia played to sold out audiences on Broadway for more than 3 years before expanding it’s global “Fanastasia” community with productions on tour across North America and in Japan, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. Globally, the show has been performed more than 2,500 times and sold 3.4 million tickets. Additionally, the show has garnered more than 15 major international awards, including Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards and Best New Musical in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce that ANASTASIA is now playing at Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre (18 W. Monroe St.) through September 25, 2022. Ticket prices range from $27.00 to $118.00 with a select number of premium tickets available. Individual tickets are available at Tickets are also available for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing

From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime and inspired by the beloved films, ANASTASIA is the new Broadway musical that’s “one of the most gorgeous shows in years!” (New York Observer). This dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family. 


A sweeping adventure, romance and historical epic that piles discovery upon discovery.

Its fine craftsmanship will satisfy musical theater fans.”



Veronica Stern leads the show as ANYA, joined by Willem Butler as DMITRY, Ben Edquist as GLEB, and Gerri Weagraff as DOWAGER EMPRESS. The tour also features Bryan Seastrom (VLAD), Madeline Raube (COUNTESS LILY), Leela Chopra (LITTLE ANASTASIA), Alexandrya Salazar (LITTLE ANASTASIA), Thalia Attalah (ENSEMBLE), Lance Timothy Barker (SWING/DANCE CAPTAIN), Zachary Bigelow (ENSEMBLE), William Aaron Bishop (ENSEMBLE), Louis Brogna, (ENSEMBLE), Amin Fuson (ENSEMBLE), Rebecca Hartman (SWING), Kaitlyn Jackson (ENSEMBLE), Brooklyn Libao (ENSEMBLE), Alec Lloyd (SWING), Victoria Madden (ENSEMBLE/ASST. DANCE CAPTAIN), Billy McGavin (ENSEMBLE), Lathan A. Roberts (ENSEMBLE), Amy Smith (SWING), Sarah Statler (ENSEMBLE), Lauren Teyke (ENSEMBLE), Aidan Ziegler-Hansen (SWING)


Fantastical, intelligent, well-crafted, and exhilarating,

ANASTASIA deserves a coronation!"



ANASTASIA features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush, new score by the Tony Award® -winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics), and tour direction by Sarah Hartman based on original direction by Tony Award®-winning director Darko Tresnjak.

The creative team also includes Peggy Hickey (Original Choreographer), Bill Burns (Choreographer), Alexander Dodge (Set Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), Donald Holder (Lighting Design), Peter Hylenski (Sound Design), Aaron Rhyne (Projection Design), Charles G. LaPointe (Hair/Wig Design), Joe Dulude II (Makeup Design), Tom Murray (Music Supervision), Jeremy Lyons (Music Direction), Doug Besterman (Orchestrations), David Chase (Dance Arranger), and casting by Jason Styres, CSA.

“An irresistible and sumptuous fairy tale!”


ANASTASIA began performances on Broadway in March 2017 at the Broadhurst Theatre with critics exclaiming “Ahrens and Flaherty have chosen the right moments to musicalize, and their score here sounds complete and full — one of the season’s strongest! (NBC)” and “Smartly adapted by Terrence McNally, Anastasia is a sweeping adventure, romance and historical epic whose fine craftsmanship will satisfy musical-theater fans (Time Out)”.

The original Broadway cast recording is available at, and iTunes. The 75-minute album includes the Academy Award-nominated favorite “Journey to the Past” alongside new numbers from the show such as “In My Dreams,” “Still” and “My Petersburg.”

Connect with ANASTASIA online at:

Twitter: @AnastasiaBway   ⬧   Facebook: AnastasiaBway  ⬧   Instagram: @AnastasiaBway




Performances are on Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m. (with a Wednesday matinee at 2:00 p.m. on September 21), Saturday, September 24 at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m., and the final performance is on Sunday, September 25 at 2:00 p.m.

COVID-19  PROTOCOL: Masks are recommended for all audience members.


Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 22 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theatre District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre.

For more information, visit

Follow Broadway In Chicago: #broadwayinchicago

Facebook @BroadwayInChicago   ⬧   Twitter @broadwaychicago

⬧  Instagram @broadwayinchicago    

Filament Theatre Announces New Artistic Leadership With Molly Bunder and Rejinal Simon as Co-Artistic Directors

Filament Theatre Artistic Director Julie Ritchey, who co-founded the innovative theater for young audiences 15 years ago, is stepping down from her leadership post as she and her family embark on a new adventure. Filament’s board of directors is pleased to announce the hiring of Filament resident artists Molly Bunder And Rejinal Simon as co-artistic directors of the Northwest Side theater.

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The board of directors has selected resident artists Molly Bunder (left) and Rejinal Simon (right) as co-artistic directors of the innovative Northwest Side theater.

Both Bunder and Simon have worked alongside Ritchey for many years, building Filament into a beloved Chicago institution for young people, their families, and a dedicated crew of collaborators.

“After eight years watching and supporting Filament's growth, I am excited to accept this new role,” said Bunder, who had served as Filament’s education director. “As families return to live performance, we will continue to reimagine theater for young audiences and to make space and time for connection and community."

Both Bunder and Simon view theater as a tool for community engagement and empowerment - a core principle of their shared vision for Filament. In her new position, Bunder will expand and oversee the role of young people as dramaturgs, curators, and essential collaborators on Filament productions - borrowing from her over 10 years of experience as a teaching artist and professional actor. As a casting director, performer, producer, and founding member of Filament’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access committee, Simon’s role will pay particular attention to the experiences of the theater’s adult professional artists.

Simon added, "As a younger performer fresh out of undergraduate school, Filament is the first professional setting in which I felt seen, fully, as an artist and an individual. It is my hope to share this feeling with every single person who walks through Filament’s doors. In joining this graciously bold team of creators, I look forward to continuing to invest in Filament’s stakeholders and expanding our community and the families we reach.”

In recent years, Filament has deepened its artistic vision through commitment to youth leadership, launching the internationally acclaimed SPARK program in which young people curate the theater’s new-work commissions and then collaborate on the projects alongside professional artists. Decentralizing artistic leadership is the next major step in Filament’s efforts to build a business model that authentically centers the perspectives of young people.

“For 15 years, Julie has been an extraordinary founding artistic director for Filament Theatre. Her talent and creativity as a storyteller have won critical praise and built a loyal audience that returns to Filament again and again, even during a global pandemic,” said Jackie Intres, president of Filament’s board of directors. “However, it has been her tireless pursuit of a company that embraces radical collaboration with young people that will truly be her lasting legacy and contribution to the Chicago theater community as well as to the international community of theaters for young audiences. The board of directors is truly grateful for her visionary leadership.


“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are thrilled to welcome Molly Bunder and Rejinal Simon as Filament's new co-artistic directors. In her role as education director for Filament, Molly conceptualized and executed several new and expanded programs to welcome young people into the artistic process. In his role as associate artistic director, Reji led and motivated production teams, ensuring that productions could be safe, supportive and fulfilling for both artists and audiences during and after the pandemic. Together, we believe the care and commitment they have demonstrated for the Filament community, their artistic vision and their wide range of leadership experiences make them the perfect combination to lead Filament into our next chapter."

Ritchey will remain actively involved with the field of Theater for Young Audiences on a national and international scope as an independent director, playwright, educator, and advocate for the artform based out of Brisbane, Australia.

ABOUT FILAMENT THEATRE: Filament Theatre, on Chicago’s Northwest Side, has been creating innovative theater for young audiences since 2007. Filament’s mission is to create a more equitable society by celebrating and amplifying the perspectives and experiences of young people through the performing arts.


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Chicago’s Beloved Holiday Tradition, Lookingglass Theatre Company's THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER Returns November 13, 2022 – January 8, 2023

 Lookingglass Theatre Company Announces Chicago’s Beloved Holiday Tradition


Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman 


Lookingglass Theatre Company announces that tickets for the beloved holiday tradition, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, go on sale at 10AM on Friday, September 9! Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, this gorgeous spectacle of music and movement is a classic the whole family will treasure! Adapted and directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman, The Steadfast Tin Soldier returns November 13, 2022 – January 8, 2023, at Lookingglass Theatre located in the Water Tower Water Works building, 821 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611. 


The Chicago Tribune calls The Steadfast Tin Soldier ★★★★ (out of four) a treat for all ages! It’s transformational, truly. Barely more than an hour-long, this is one holiday experience you don’t want to miss.”  


Get tickets 

Phone: (312) 337-0665 

In Person: 165 E Pearson, Chicago, IL 60611  

The box office is open (phone and in-person) Tuesday-Friday, 12PM-6PM. 


The Steadfast Tin Soldier  

Written and Directed by Lookingglass Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman   

From the Story by Hans Christian Andersen   

November 13, 2022 – January 8, 2023 

Lookingglass Theatre in Water Tower Water Works 


Chicago’s beloved holiday tradition returns to the stage this holiday season, a classic the whole family will treasure! Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman’s production is a gorgeous spectacle of music and movement that the Chicago Tribune calls “★★★★ A treat for all ages! It’s transformational, truly. Barely more than an hour-long, this is one holiday experience you don’t want to miss.”   

The Steadfast Tin Soldier is recommended for ages 5+. 


The Steadfast Tin Soldier Performance Schedule 

November 13 & November 15 

Regular Run 

November 17, 2022 – January 8, 2023 

Please see the performance calendar on the website for full calendar and details. 

About the Artist 

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

Many of these productions as well as her Arabian Nights, Argonautika, The Secret in the Wings, Treasure Island and Eleven Rooms of Proust have played across the country and internationally. Her adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses which originated at Northwestern and Lookingglass Theatre ran on Broadway for a year and she received the Tony Award for Best Direction of a play.  Opera directing credits include Galileo Galilei at the Goodman (with Philip Glass), Lucia de Lammermoor (Metropolitan Opera, La Scala) and Armida, la Sonnambula, Rusalka (Metropolitan Opera). Zimmerman is a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University and an Artistic Associate at Goodman Theatre, recipient of the 1998 MacArthur Fellowship and recipient of numerous Jeff Awards. 

Become A gglasspass Member 

See yourself here, Chicago. In the Lookingglass.  

A partnership with one of this city’s leading Black theatre companies. A homegrown holiday hearth warmer. Two original CHI-made works each featuring unconventional central characters. A twirl around five extraordinary homespun districts (from Englewood to Edgewater to Avalon Park and more). And a transcendent summer sunset ritual that draws us all back waterside.   

Distinct. Unique. Reflecting is our function.   

Become a member and come see yourself at Lookingglass. 

The 3-play package includes the beloved holiday tradition, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and two World Premiere productions, Villette and Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon. The 2-play package includes both World Premiere productions. Gglasspass members get special access to tickets for our collaboration with Congo Square Theatre Company, What to Send Up When It Goes Down, plus direct access to the artistry!  

Members also get the best seats at the best prices, and enjoy a bounty of benefits including priority seating, no ticket fees, unlimited ticket exchanges, savings when purchasing additional tickets for friends or family, a discount at our online store, and more!  

Visit to learn how to book your 2022-23 membership! 

Thank You to Our Season Sponsors  

Allstate Insurance Company 
HMS Media  
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab  
Waldorf Astoria Chicago  


Become A Scene Maker 

Inside our 190-seat storycastle we work tirelessly to produce unique theatre that leaves YOU changed, charged, and empowered. Theatre making takes meticulous attention to detail and years of work, often unseen. We could not take that initial spark of an idea to the wonder we finally see on stage without you. While you might not be IN the room, you too are an artist and vital to the process. Through your support you play YOUR role in shaping a flourishing, arts-driven tomorrow. Become a Scene Maker, today. 

Become a Scene Maker and support Lookingglass at 


About Health and Safety  

The health and safety of our audiences, artists, and staff are a top priority and we have invested our resources accordingly. As guidelines are constantly evolving, all policies are subject to change.  

As of September 1, 2022, Lookingglass Theatre Company will no longer require audiences to provide proof of vaccination.  

Lookingglass will follow the community masking guidelines recommended by Chicago Department of Public Health and CDC Community Risk Levels as outlined below (  

• When Community Risk Level is HIGH (Red) - high quality masks are required at all times indoors and in large groups.  

• When Community Risk Level is MEDIUM (Yellow) - masks are required indoors and in large groups. 

• When Community Risk Level is LOW (Green) - masks are optional. If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk, consider wearing a mask at indoor public settings where vaccination status is unknown. 

We encourage you to confirm our current protocols prior to your visit to the theatre. Please refer to the health and safety page for more information about our current policies and safety measures regarding COVID-19. 


About Accessibility 

Lookingglass Theatre offers ground floor seats for all patrons who use a wheelchair or a scooter, or patrons who cannot walk stairs. Assisted listening devices are available at the patron's request. Dates for shows for hearing and visually impaired audiences to be announced. 


Bring a group to Lookingglass and save up to 25% off regular ticket prices. 

A trip to Lookingglass is the perfect outing for your school group, office, in-town visit, retirement community, social group, book club, scout troop, religious group, or alumni organization! To book a group, email 

For more information, visit 

About Lookingglass Theatre Company   

Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 35th Season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 70 world premieres, received 161 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Artistic Achievement Award.    

Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, a 29-member artistic ensemble, 22 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Diane Whatton.   

For more information, visit     

Engage with us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. #LookingglassTheatre 

November 13, 2022 – January 8, 2023 

Lookingglass Theatre in Water Tower Water Works 


Chicago’s beloved holiday tradition The Steadfast Tin Soldier returns to the stage, adapted into a spellbinding spectacle of movement and music. 

November 13 & November 15 

Sunday & Tuesday 7:30PM 

Regular Run 

November 17, 2022 – January 8, 2023 

Tuesdays 1:30PM & 7PM* 

Wednesdays 1:30PM & 7PM 
Thursdays 1:30PM* & 7PM 
Fridays 1:30PM* & 7PM 
Saturdays 2PM & 7PM 
Sundays 1PM & 6PM 

Christmas Eve 10:30AM & 2PM 

*Tuesday Matinee December 20 & 27 only. Wednesday Matinee November 23 only. Friday Matinee November 25, December 23, and December 30 only. January 7 Matinee at 2PM. No evening performances Saturday November 19 or December 31.  

No shows on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day. Please see the performance calendar on the website for full calendar and details.