Tuesday, February 28, 2023


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Tony Award®-winning Best Musical


Co-Directed by Tony Award® Winning Director Diane Paulus and 

MTV Music Video Award-winning choreographer Jeffrey L. Page

“Deeply meaningful. A remarkable revival.” 

– The Washington Post

“Thought-provoking and an absolute delight.”

 – The Wall Street Journal

“The great power of this 1776 will stay with you and 

will resonate on Broadway and across the country.”

– The Boston Globe

The Chicago Premiere of the Broadway Revival of 1776 is now playing a limited engagement at the CIBC Theatre (18 W. Monroe) through March 12, 2023. Tickets are on sale now at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. I'll be out for the press opening March 1st, so check back soon for my full review.

This production was developed and premiered by the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University before playing on Broadway with Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theater. The national tour of 1776 makes its premiere engagement in Chicago at the CIBC Theatre as part of a major national tour across North America. 

The 1776 company includes Shelby Acosta (she/her) as ‘Sec. Charles Thomson,’ Gisela Adisa (she/her) as ‘John Adams,’ Nancy Anderson (she/her) as ‘Thomas Jefferson,’ Tiffani Barbour (she/her) as ‘Andrew McNair,’ Dawn Cantwell (she/her) as ‘Col. Thomas McKean,’ Julie Cardia (she/her) as ‘Stephen Hopkins,’ Sara Gallo (she/her) as a Standby, Joanna Glushak (she/her) as ‘John Dickinson,’ Anissa Marie Griego (she/her) as ‘Roger Sherman,’ Kassandra Haddock (she/her) as ‘Edward Rutledge,’ Shawna Hamic (she/her) as ‘Richard Henry Lee,’ Lisa Karlin (she/her) as a Standby, Connor Lyon (she/her) as ‘Martha Jefferson/Dr. Lyman Hall,’ Liz Mikel (she/her) as ‘Benjamin Franklin,’ Oneika Phillips (she/her) as ‘John Hancock,’ Lulu Picart (she/her) as ‘Samuel Chase,’ Ariella Serur (she/they) as ‘Judge James Wilson,’ Brooke Simpson (she/her) as ‘the Courier,’ Sav Souza (they/them) as ‘Dr. Josiah Bartlett,’ Tieisha Thomas (she/her) as ‘Abigail Adams/Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon,’ Jill Vallery (she/her) as ‘Caesar Rodney,’ Zuri Washington (she/her) as ‘Robert Livingston,’ Gwynne Wood (she/they) as ‘George Read,’ and Candice Marie Woods (they/them) as ‘Joseph Hewes.’

The Tony Award-winning Best Musical 1776 has catapulted to blazing new life in a thrillingly new production, and New York Magazine/Vulture says, “it’s an absolute blast!” Suddenly, the songs, humor, and passion of this musical masterpiece soar as never before. A glorious multiracial cast of female, transgender, and nonbinary actors portrays the fiery founders of this country, putting history in the hands of the humans who were left out the first time around—and the result is an epic show of passion, debate, and roof-raising musical fireworks. Experience “a 1776 worth celebrating!” (Variety) “It pulsates with energy and snaps with attitude.”

1776 features music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone. It is based on a concept by Sherman Edwards.  Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus (Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, Pippin) and MTV Music Video Award-winning choreographer Jeffrey L. Page (Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” video, Memphis in Tokyo; Violet starring Sutton Foster at Roundabout Theatre Company) direct the production.

The 1776 design team includes Tony Award-winning Scenic Designer Scott Pask (Waitress, Finding Neverland, Pippin); Tony Award-nominated Costume Designer Emilio Sosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Lighting Designer Jennifer Schriever (In the Body of the World at A.R.T./New York City Center; Fingersmith at A.R.T.); Tony Award-nominated Sound Designer Jonathan Deans (Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, Finding Neverland at A.R.T./Broadway; Pippin on Broadway) and Drama Desk Award-nominated Projection Designer David Bengali (We Live in Cairo at A.R.T., Associate Designer of Witness Uganda at A.R.T./Invisible Thread at Second Stage). 

The 1776 music team is comprised of Music Supervisor/Music Director Ryan Cantwell (Pippin); Original Music Supervisor David Chase (Finding Neverland); Tony Award nominated Orchestrator John Clancy (Fun Home; Mean Girls); Vocal Designer AnnMarie Milazzo (Finding Neverland). Casting is by Stewart/Whitley. The Associate Director is Brisa Arelis Muñoz and the Associate Choreographer is Courtney Ross.

NETworks Presentations tour stage management team of 1776 is led by Production Stage Manager Genevieve Kersh with Assistant Stage Managers Devin Day and Sage Lumsden. National Artists Management Company’s management team is led by Company Manager Katie Cortez with Safety Assistant Company Manager Ryan Buchholz. 

For more information worldwide, visit: www.1776musical.com Facebook, Instagram & TikTok: @1776Musical  • Twitter: @Musical1776  •  Hashtag: #1776Musical


Individual tickets for the Chicago premiere of a limited Broadway revival tour of 1776 are on sale now. Ticket prices range from $30 - $98 with a select number of premium tickets available. Individual tickets are available at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com



Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Mar. 1 at 7:30 pm 

Thursday, Mar. 2 at 7:30 pm 

Friday, Mar. 3 at 7:30 pm 

Saturday, Mar. 4 at 2 pm & 8 PM

Sunday, Mar. 5 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm


Tuesday, Mar. 7 at 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Thursday, Mar. 9 at 7:30 pm 

Friday, Mar. 10 at 7:30 pm 

Saturday, Mar. 11 at 2 pm & 8 PM

Sunday, Mar. 12 at 2 pm


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 Theater District entertaining up to 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.


This production contains stylized representations of racialized violence, particularly related to enslavement. Additionally, this production contains haze, a brief strobe effect, a non-firing replica firearm, and a gunshot sound effect.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com

Follow Broadway In Chicago: ● Facebook ● Instagram ● TikTok @BroadwayInChicago

● Twitter @broadwaychicago #broadwayinchicago

Monday, February 20, 2023

REVIEW: Chicago Tap Theatre at 20: “Tempo, Rhythm, & Time” At The Den Theatre February 18 and 19, 2023

Chicago Tap Theatre Celebrates Two Decades of Performances Revisiting Classic Pieces that Shaped the Company 
Plus Two World Premieres

Chicago Tap Theatre Company Members
Photo by David Harmantas


By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

“JOY” is the word I keep circling back to in describing the 20th anniversary show and gala presentation by Chicago Tap Theatre. “Exhuberant!” is the other. 

Such a fun experience marveling at the passion and talent these folks brought to every single number. I barely took any notes because my attention was riveted to the fast-moving feet and thrilled smiles of the dancers. 

I really loved the “Under Pressure” number starring Christopher Matthews, Heather Latakas, Molly Eder, and Sara Anderson. Molly Smith and Sterling Harris each had solo numbers that were extraordinary. Artistic Director and Founder Mark Yonally also made a few appearances to share his love of the company he created. 

Act I ended with a rousing rendition of “Birdland.” A dozen tap dancers in close proximity is LOUD but glorious. (I was reminded of taking my ex to a ballet production years ago at the Auditorium Theater, and he referred to the troop of ballerinas jumping around as “a herd of swans.” He was a jerk, but he could be funny…)  Everyone was having a blast. 

Act II included a number by several women from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Spreading the excitement West of the Lake. 

The final number was “Somebody to Love” by Queen with choreography by Mark Yonally, providing every dancer their moment to shine. The costumes were bright, vivid colors. There was singing by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. The musicians also deserve special note (nice pun, eh?): fabulous bass player and music director Kurt Schweitz assembled a wonderful band with Chris Greene on sax. So much power and energy filled The Den Theater. 

My elation got the better of me, and I registered for the silent auction being held after the performance. From the passenger seat of my sister’s car, I purchased a bakery gift certificate and, even more amusing, a wine tasting for “up to twenty people.” Oops. Now I need to locate 20 of my best friends to go with me. LMK if you’re interested. ;-) Cheers!  

Cath Hellmann loves discovering gems in her fair city like Chicago Tap Theatre and, apparently, a new bakery and winery. Salut! 


Chicago Tap Theatre - Liora Lahav

Photo by David Harmantas

Chicago Tap Theatre celebrates 20 years of critically acclaimed dance with a show that is sure to impress. As always, the dancers of CTT will be joined by some of the finest musicians in Chicago playing everything from David Bowie to Queen to Charlie Parker.

All of the funds raised from this event will help CTT continue to represent tap dance and Chicago at the highest level, while providing access to world-class tap education and shows, and ensuring the viability of tap dance as an occupation by providing training and performance opportunities for their community.

Click here for more information: ChicagoTapTheatre.com.



Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) present “Chicago Tap Theatre at 20: Tempo, Rhythm and Time” at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., February 18 and 19, 2023. The weekend celebrates CTT’s two decades as one of Chicago’s premier dance companies as well as showcasing their talent worldwide. 

Chicago Tap Theatre launches its 20th anniversary with a celebratory performance featuring classics from its 20-year history, including two world premieres as well as pieces that have not been seen in Chicago since their debut. Chicago Tap Theatre is proud to revisit pieces from some of the early choreographers that shaped the Company including Mark Yonally, Rich Ashworth, Kirsten Uttich and new works from Heather Cornell, Tré Dumas, Sterling Harris, Molly Smith and Mark Yonally.


Past dances include Molly Smith's groundbreaking "Protect Trans Kids" and Mark Yonally’s “Somebody to Love,” which originally premiered in Chicago Tap Theatre’s 2016 Pride Show. As in the original production, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus will join Chicago Tap Theatre for “Somebody to Love.”


There will also be two new commissions seeing the stage at this performance. Concert tap dance pioneer Heather Cornell, founding artistic director of Manhattan Tap, has set her masterpiece “Scrapple from the Apple” for CTT and local tap dancer, Tré Dumas, is creating a world premiere for this production.

Chicago Tap Theatre at 20: Tempo, Rhythm and Time features choreography by Heather Cornell, Tré Dumas, Sterling Harris, Molly Smith and Mark Yonally. Kurt Schweitz returns as the production’s Music Director and dancers for “Chicago Tap Theatre at 20: Tempo, Rhythm and Time” include Mark Yonally, Molly Smith, Sterling Harris, Sara Anderson, Heather Latakas, Molly Eder, Chris Matthews, Amber Buchanan, Liora Lahav, Michelle Haskell, Abby Cooper, Kirsten Uttich, Isaac Stauffer, Jorie Goins and Earlyn Whitehead. 


Founded in 2002, Chicago Tap Theatre is a growing and vibrant dance company dedicated to preserving the quintessentially American dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity, innovation and quality. CTT performs exclusively with live music provided by some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing everything from Duke Ellington to David Bowie and many artists in between. Under the dynamic direction of master teacher and performer Mark Yonally, CTT has gained a loyal and sizable following in Chicago and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Having pioneered the “tap opera” format, which tells stories with compelling characters and intriguing plots, CTT has used the language of tap dance, live music and narration to move audiences for over 20 years.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

REVIEW: YURI POSSOKHOV’S ANNA KARENINA Via The Joffrey Ballet February 15-26, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

World premiere in 2019 praised for its original score and breathtaking, cinematic production by all-star creative team


By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

Posted on the Joffrey’s Website:

“Potential Protest Demonstration 

The Joffrey supports the right to freedom of expression.

Please be aware that there is a possibility of demonstrators protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the vicinity of the Lyric Opera House.”

Indeed, audience members approaching the Lyric Opera on Wednesday night February 15 were greeted by peaceful protestors bearing signs, the now-familiar yellow and blue flags of Ukraine, and even a couple effigies criticizing Russia. The Joffrey Ballet’s decision to stage Anna Karenina by Russian author Leo Tolstoy was viewed as a celebration of Russian culture while Ukraine is being decimated by the Russian invasion. 

The Joffrey Ballet is to be commended for how they handled the possibly inflammatory situation. An announcement was made before the show expressing support for the country of Ukraine. Lights projected on the Lyric stage were yellow and blue. The Lyric Opera Orchestra played a beautiful symphonic piece by a Ukrainian composer to honor the Ukrainian people. 

Despite politics, art endures. 

Victoria Jaiani Alberto Velazquez Anais Bueno ensemble 
Anna Karenina 
All Production Photos by Cheryl Mann 

The ballet, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, was stunning. The costumes by Tom Pye were beautiful. The projections by Finn Ross also added a lot of context to the production. The results are magical. 

Edson Barbosa

The tragic story of Anna and her lover, Count Vronsky, cannot end happily. Young Princess Kitty loves Vronsky, but he is obviously smitten by Anna. Family friend Constantine Levin does love Kitty, but she wants the emotionally unavailable Vronsky. (At this point, I am reminded of a love triangle that currently exists among the high school teenagers I teach, and my head hurts…)  Anna is already married to Alexey Karenin with whom she shares a son. She and Vronsky run away to Italy where Anna gets very ill.  Her husband is not allowing her to see their son anymore. Kitty accepts Levin’s latest proposal, so there is that. Anna throws herself (spoiler of a novel written in 1878!) in front of a train. What a drama queen…

Christine Rocas and Dylan Gutierrez

My favorite quote of the evening was my friend’s mother-in-law who observed, on all the movement happening in the bed at one point,”Oh, I know what was going on there.”   ;-)

The leads were spectacular. Anna Karenina was beautifully played by Victoria Jaiani. The rejected-but-gorgeous Alexey Karenin was danced by Dylan Gutierrez. Adorable and hot Alberto Velazquez was Alexey Vronsky.  Anais Bueno was a lovely Kitty.  Konstatin Levin was danced by Yoshihisa Arai, who was also the Nutcracker Prince we saw in December. I just love the diverse roster of dancers assembled by Joffrey from all over the world. It makes me so happy to see this talented assembly of artists. 

Christine Rocas and Ensemble

Politics may divide us, unfortunately. 

But art and beauty bring us together.

Catherine Hellmann is a teacher, mom, and art lover. She visited Russia in 2003 through an educator program and loved the people and culture in Vyborg, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. Russia has a very special place in her heart. The current events in Ukraine are infuriating and sorrowful.  

This winter, The Joffrey Ballet remounts Yuri Possokhov’s blockbuster Anna Karenina for the first time since its crowd-pleasing world premiere in 2019. Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, Possokhov’s immersive adaptation—winner of the 2019 “Oscars of Dance” Benois de la Danse International Prize for Best Choreography—features an original composition by award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky, costumes and sets by Emmy Award-winning designer Tom Pye, and lighting by famed designer David Finn. Anna Karenina will be presented at the historic Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, in ten performances only, from February 15-26, 2023.

Alberto Velazquez and ensemble

Love is all-consuming for the beautiful but married Anna, who in the pursuit of passion, finds herself caught in a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Vronsky. Set in the late 19th century, Tolstoy’s classic shows the triumph of romance, family, and faith against a backdrop of fraught political and social transformation. 

Alberto Velazquez and ensemble

Victoria Jaiani Alberto Velazquez 

With countless adaptations across ballet, theatre, opera, and film, Anna Karenina is often considered the earliest example of modernist literature and one of the greatest works of literature in history. Possokhov’s immersive adaptation updates the timeless story for contemporary audiences with its captivating choreography, stunning costume design, and cinematic storytelling that unravels the profound power, passion, and desire that shapes the 19th century novel.

The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet Ashley Wheater MBE says, “Anna Karenina is a powerful universal love story animated by the highs and lows of human emotion. I am especially grateful to partner again with esteemed choreographer Yuri Possokhov to remount a multi-dimensional production that touched audiences across Chicago and beyond with its immersive artistry.” 

Christine Rocas and Dylan Gutierrez

The Joffrey Ballet President and CEO Greg Cameron adds, "The 2022-23 season represents the breadth of Joffrey's artistry, from the original work presented by Chanel DaSilva in Beyond Borders, to the modern masterpiece that is Christopher Wheeldon's The Nutcracker, to the remount of Yuri Possokhov's blockbuster Anna Karenina--an all-time classic set to an original score. Following a record-breaking return to pre-pandemic attendance with The Nutcracker, we look forward to welcoming audiences back to the iconic Lyric Opera House this winter. Not only will guests experience Anna Karenina's story that has transcended the ages; they will witness the transformative power and innovation on which the Joffrey was founded."

Known for his visceral and expressive style, Possokhov has created groundbreaking new works around the globe. A frequent guest artist with The Joffrey Ballet, Possokhov is internationally recognized for transforming iconic literature into inventive, emotionally driven story ballets. Possokhov choreographed the world premiere adaptation of Anna Karenina for The Joffrey Ballet in 2019 to critical acclaim. In addition to Anna Karenina, Possokhov’s collaborations with The Joffrey Ballet include Bells (2014), The Miraculous Mandarin (2017), and Don Quixote (2011, 2022).

Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez

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

Special thanks to Presenting and Commissioning Sponsor Mr. and Mrs. Joel V. Williamson, Major and Commissioning Sponsor Mary Jo and Doug Basler, and Major Sponsor The Women’s Board of The Joffrey Ballet.

Victoria Jaiani 

Ticket information
The Joffrey Ballet performs Anna Karenina from Wednesday, February 15 to Sunday, February 26, 2023, at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive. The full schedule is as follows: Wednesday, February 15 at 7:30PM; Friday, February 17 at 7:30PM; Saturday, February 18 at 2:00PM and 7:30 PM; Sunday, February 19 at 2:00 PM; Thursday, February 23 at 7:30PM; Friday, February 24 at 7:30PM; Saturday, February 25 at 2:00PM and 7:30PM; and Sunday, February 26 at 2:00PM.

Single tickets start at $36 and are available for purchase at Lyric Opera Box Office located at 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr. by telephone at 312.386.8905, or online at  joffrey.org.

Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez

Anna Karenina Tour
Yuri Possokhov’s Anna Karenina travels to the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. from April 5 to April 9, 2023. For the full schedule, visit kennedy-center.org

Edson Barbosa and Ensemble

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.

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2022–2023 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Anne L. Kaplan, 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.

With gratitude to Anna Karenina Commissioning Sponsors: Producing Sponsors Margot and Josef Lakonishok and NIB Foundation; Major Sponsors Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, Mr. and Mrs. Joel V. Williamson, The Walter E. Heller Foundation, JHL Capital Group, Jane Ellen Murray Foundation, Diane and John Patience, Poetry Foundation, Rudolf Nureyev Fund at The Joffrey Ballet; and Sponsors Mary Jo and Doug Basler, Ethel and William Gofen, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, and the Australian Consulate-General in Chicago.

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

Nicole Ciapponi and ensemble

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Music Box Theatre will open the 2023 OSCAR-NOMINATED Shorts February 17, 2023

Chi, IL Live Shows in Theatres: 

Films On Our Radar

For the 18th consecutive year, Shorts HD and Magnolia Pictures present the 

Oscar-Nominated Short Films series


The Music Box Theatre will open the 2023 OSCAR-NOMINATED LIVE-ACTION and ANIMATED SHORT FILMS on Friday, February 17, 2023, while the DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMS will open on Friday, February 24. A perennial hit with audiences around the country and world, don’t miss this year’s selection of shorts. The Academy Awards take place Sunday, March 12, 2023.

For showtimes and information on the Live-Action Shorts, click here. 

For showtimes and information on the Animated Shorts, click here.

For showtimes and information on the Documentary Shorts, click here.

“Unsung but worth your time.” — The New York Times

“Big issues tackled in brief films.” — Variety

About the 2023 OSCAR-NOMINATED LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILMS (begins Feb. 17):

AN IRISH GOODBYE - Ireland, 23 mins - Dirs. Tom Berkely & Ross White

On a farm in rural Northern Ireland, estranged brothers Turlough and Lorcan are forced to reunite following the untimely death of their mother.

IVALU - Denmark, 16 mins - Dirs. Anders Walter & Pipaluk K. Jørgensen

Ivalu is gone. Her little sister is desperate to find her. Her father does not care. The vast Greenlandic nature holds secrets. Where is Ivalu?

LE PUPILLE - Italy/Usa, 37 mins - Dir. Alice Rohrwacher

From writer and director, Alice Rohrwacher, and Academy Award® winning producer, Alfonso Cuarón, “Le Pupille” is a tale of innocence, greed and fantasy. This live action short is about desires, pure and selfish, about freedom and devotion, and about the anarchy that is capable of flowering in the minds of girls within the confines of a strict religious boarding school at Christmas.

NIGHT RIDE (NATTRIKKEN) - Norway, 15 mins - Dir. Eirik Tveiten

It is a cold night in December. As Ebba waits for the tram, an unexpected turn of events transforms the ride home into something she was not expecting.

THE RED SUITCASE - Luxembourg, 18 mins - Dir. Cyrus Neshvad

An Iranian girl decides to remove her Headscarf/Hijab in a life changing situation.

AN OSTRICH TOLD ME THE WORLD IS FAKE AND I THINK I BELIEVE IT - Australia, 11 mins - Dir. Lachlan Pendragon

When a young telemarketer is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich, he learns that the universe is stop motion animation. He must put aside his dwindling toaster sales and focus on convincing his colleagues of his terrifying discovery.

ICE MERCHANTS - Portugal/UK/France, 14 mins - Dir. João Gonzalez

Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff, to go to the village on the ground, far away where they sell the ice they produce daily.

MY YEAR OF DICKS - USA, 25 mins - Dir. Sara Gunnarsdóttir

An imaginative 15 year old is stubbornly determined to lose her virginity despite the pathetic pickings in the outskirts of Houston in the early 90's. Created by Pamela Ribon from her critically-acclaimed memoir.

THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE - UK, 34 mins - Dirs. Peter Baynton & Charlie Mackesy

THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE is a story of kindness, courage, and hope in traditional hand-drawn animation, following the unlikely friendship of the title characters as they journey in search of the boy’s home. Based on the book of the same name.

THE FLYING SAILOR - Canada, 7 mins - Dirs. Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby

In 1917, two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, causing the largest accidental explosion in history. Among the tragic stories of the disaster is the remarkable account of a sailor who, blown skyward from the docks, flew a distance of two kilometres before landing uphill, naked and unharmed. The Flying Sailor is a contemplation of his journey.

AUDIBLE – Dirs: Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean, USA, 39 min.

HAULOUT - UK, 25 mins - Dirs. Evgenia Arbugaeva & Maxim Arbugaev

On a remote coast of the Siberian Arctic in a wind-battered hut, a lonely man waits to witness an ancient gathering. But warming seas and rising temperatures bring an unexpected change, and he soon finds himself overwhelmed.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE A YEAR? - USA, 29 mins - Dir. Jay Rosenblatt

For 17 years, filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt filmed his daughter Ella on her birthday in the same spot, asking the same questions. What results is a unique chance to watch time, to see a young woman come into focus physically, mentally and emotionally.

STRANGER AT THE GATE - USA, 30 mins - Dir. Joshua Seftel

From Executive Producer Malala Yousafzai. After 25 years of service, a US Marine filled with hatred for Muslims plots to bomb an Indiana mosque. When he comes face to face with the immigrants he seeks to kill, the story takes a shocking twist toward compassion, grace, and forgiveness.

THE ELEPHANT WHISPERS - India, 39 mins - Dir. Kartiki Gonsalves

The Elephant Whisperers follows an indigenous couple as they fall in love with Raghu, an orphaned elephant given into their care, and tirelessly work to ensure his recovery and survival.

THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT - USA, 39 mins - Dir. Anne Alvergue & Debra McClutchy

She was once as famous as Jackie O. And then she tried to take down a President. The Martha Mitchell Effect is an archival documentary portrait of the unlikeliest of whistleblowers: Martha Mitchell, a Republican cabinet wife who was gaslighted by the Nixon Administration to keep her quiet. It offers a female gaze on Watergate through the voice of the woman herself.

Pricing & Scheduling:

Ticket prices are $11 ($8 for Music Box members).

Become a member: https://www.musicboxtheatre.com/membership/become-a-member

About Music Box Theatre:

Operating since 1929, the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films for more than three decades, playing host to over 200,000 patrons annually. It currently has the largest theater space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD, and television markets throughout the United States; and through its Music Box Direct subsidiary, operates an online streaming service offering the best of foreign and independent films.

Regular events produced, presented and hosted at Music Box Theatre include the 70mm Film Festival; the annual 24-hour horror-movie marathon Music Box of Horrors; and Noir City: Chicago, co-presented by the Film Noir Foundation.

Follow the Music Box Theatre on Facebook (www.facebook.com/musicboxchicago/), Twitter (@musicboxtheatre), and Instagram (@musicboxchicago)

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences kicks off its 2023 children’s theatre season with YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN February 17 through April 1, 2023

Peter Blair, Executive Producer

Peter Marston Sullivan, Artistic Director


Loaded with Charm, Wit, and Heart!
Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences kicks off its 2023 children’s theatre season with YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN. Families are invited to enjoy this musical take on the beloved Charles Schulz comic, running February 17 through April 1, with a press opening on Saturday, February 25 at 10am at the Marriott Theatre, located at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. One of our fabulous freelancers, Kimberly Robb Baker, will be out with her kids, to guest review for ChiILMama.com, so check back soon for her take on the show.

Charlie Brown and the entire Peanuts bunch explore life's great questions as they play baseball, struggle with homework, sing songs, swoon over their crushes, and celebrate the joy of friendship. This special one-hour presentation is directed and choreographed by Linda Fortunato, with Musical Director/Conductor Rick Bertone and Musical Supervisor Ryan T. Nelson.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to revisit this classic by making the characters contemporary and relevant to today’s times while also remaining true to the spirit of the comics and characters we first fell in love with,” said director Linda Fortunato. “We can’t wait for families of all generations to reconnect over this favorite.”
YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN is a charming musical that is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages! The whole crew will be in attendance: bossy Lucy is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder who doesn’t give her the time of day, perfectionist Sally is still mocking blanket-toting Linus, Snoopy is in the doghouse, and Charlie Brown is in rare form. Brief vignettes span the months from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day, from wild optimism to utter despair. Includes additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and dialogue by Michael Mayer from the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival.
This production of YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN stars Patrick Michael Tierney as “Charlie Brown,” Matthew Bettencourt as “Schroeder,” Tafadzwa Diener as “Lucy,” Andres Enriquez as “Snoopy,” Jackson Evans as “Linus,” and Amanda Walker as “Sally,” with understudies Lexie Bailey, Dan Gold, Maya McQueen, Justin Payton Nelson, Quinn Simmons and Ethan Warren.
The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences team will be led by Associate Artistic Director Katie Johannigman, with costume design by Evelyn Danner, wig design by Megan Pirtle, lighting design by Lee Fiskness, scenic and prop design by Patrick Ham and sound design by Rick Sims. The stage manager is Michael Hendricks.
YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN plays most Wednesdays through Sundays at 10am with select 12:30 pm performances, including an enhanced spring break schedule. Visit MarriottTheatre.com or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates vary. Tickets are $15.75, excluding tax and handling fees. Call for substantial group discounts over 20 tickets. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit MarriottTheatre.com.

World Premiere of MIA "Where Have All the Young Girls Gone?" Via Her Story Theater at Greenhouse Theater Center

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

World Premiere of  


"Where Have All the Young Girls Gone?"

Written and directed by Mary Bonnett

Featuring Jamise Wright with Tristin Hall

In 2020, 268,884 women were reported missing, according to the National Crime Information Center, with nearly 100,000 of those being Black women and girls. 

Mary Bonnett’s world premiere play, MIA "WHERE HAVE ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS GONE?" is taken from interviews and research on girls and women who have vanished into the world of the missing in America. The play goes beyond the statistics to portray the crisis in personal and human terms, mirroring the plight of the missing and their loved ones trying to solve the mystery of their disappearance.

Bonnett will direct this production of her script, and Jamise Wright, who earned raves for her performance of a bereaved mother in Her Story Theater’s 2018 MONGER, will perform the lead. The cast also includes Tristin Hall. The production team includes Blake Cordell (Lights and Sound Design), CCDM (Music Design), Melinda Wilson (Choreography), Sean Smyth (Stage Manager), and Genevieve Swanson (Assistant Stage Manager). MIA "WHERE HAVE ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS GONE?" will be performed at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. 

I'll be out for the press opening, March 12, so check back shortly for my full review. Following previews from March 9-11, 2023, this production will play through April 9, 2023. 

Through a driving sound design, MIA "WHERE HAVE ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS GONE?" tries to put the puzzle pieces together and answer the questions surrounding this crisis. How can so many young girls go missing with so little response? Where are the 6000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the thousands of missing and murdered girls from the south, west and north sides of Chicago? Who took them? Why don’t we have systems in place to protect women from this form of Femicide and abuse? Why isn’t more being done to find and protect them?

The crisis is especially acute among the African American community. In 2020, 268,884 women were reported missing, according to the National Crime Information Center, with nearly 100,000 of those being Black women and girls. While Black women account for just over 13% of our U.S. female population, they made up more than one-third of all missing women reported in 2020. 

Her Story Theater was founded in 2011 and has focused primarily on raising awareness of the epidemic of sexual exploitation of minors and homelessness. The four produced plays in Her Story’s “Chicago Sex Trafficking Cycle” include SHADOW TOWN (2013), THE JOHNS (2014), MONEY MAKE'M SMILE (2016, 2017) and MONGER (2018).  As a group, the plays depict domestic sex trafficking from the perspectives of the various participants – the traffickers, youth who are trafficked, and the men who buy them. INVISIBLE (2019) is concerned with issues of bigotry, nativism and violence against minorities. Her Story Theater continues its work to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic sex trafficking and the trauma-based victim through its touring presentations and programs.

Tickets to MIA "WHERE HAVE ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS GONE?" will be on sale soon and will be available at www.greenhousetheater.com or by phone at 773-404-7336. Fir information for group tickets or questions, email: HerStoryTheatre@gmail.com More information on MIA and Her Story Theatre is available at www.herstorytheater.org.

Her Story Theater is seeking professionals in the field for our post-show discussions of MIA. For more information or to volunteer, email: Mary Bonnett at HerStoryTheatre@gmail.com

March 9 – April 9, 2023

Previews Thursday, March 9 through Saturday, March 11, 2023

Press Opening Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 pm

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm

Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

For information on group rates, visit www.herstorytheater.org or call 312-835-1410.

Tickets: www.greenhousetheater.org, 773-404-7336

PRICES: $20.00, Students $10.00

Info: www.herstorytheater.org

Mary Bonnett’s world premiere play, MIA "WHERE HAVE ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS GONE?" is taken from interviews and research on girls and women who have vanished into the world of the missing in America. The play goes beyond the statistics to portray the crisis in personal and human terms, mirroring the plight of the missing and their loved ones trying to solve the mystery of their disappearance.


MARY BONNETT (Producing Artistic Director, Playwright, Director) is the cofounder and Artistic Director of Her Story Theater. As a professional playwright, Mary’s plays include her highly acclaimed series from her Chicago Sex Trafficking Cycle: SHADOW TOWN, THE JOHNS, MONEY MAKE'M SMILE and MONGER. They are based on interviews Mary conducted with hundreds of professionals, survivors, sellers and buyers involved with sex trafficking in the Chicagoland area. These interviews are ongoing and continue to contribute to her work in the SIDE SHOW series, a national program for field professionals, educators and youth on domestic sex trafficking and the impact on the trauma based survivor.

Her main stage productions and touring shows have been quoted as “life changing.” Mary’s sex trafficking plays have reached across the country. THE JOHNS was performed in Houston, Texas for Super Bowl 2017. Her SIDE SHOWS have been presented at conferences across central Pennsylvania, Southern and Northern IL., Wisconsin, Wyoming and California.

Mary has won awards for excellence and outstanding contributions in professional theater, including writing, directing and theater education which includes the prestigious Dr. Margaret Burroughs Award. She most recently received a Civic Engagement Award for Outstanding Community Cause Leadership.  Her Story Theater is the recipient of the Illinois State Senate Hero Award in Sex Trafficking Prevention and Backstage Magazine’s “Top Ten Best Theaters That Change Lives.”

With a grant from the Chicago Teachers Union and the participation of educators, Mary led the development of a 7th-12th grade curriculum on domestic sex trafficking for youth. This curriculum with accompanying study guide complimented her play MONEY MAKE’M SMILE presented to over 5000 inner city students free of charge.

Her Story received a Commonwealth Edison Educational Grant, where Mary will develop script and curriculum, teaming with professional in the field to create in-school workshops on Child Exploitation for 3rd through 6th graders. 

She speaks regularly to organizations, high schools and universities on sex trafficking and the impact the current culture has on our youth. Mary has appeared on television and radio shows, championing the need for change in laws to protect children and women. Under Mary's leadership, Her Story Theater has raised thousands of donated dollars for their partner organizations.

Mary’s other works include GLOSS OVER, based on the lives of homeless women from Deborah’s Place as well as highly proclaimed women’s history plays such as RADICAL IDEAS! WOMEN AND THE VOTE based on the struggle of women in Illinois to ratify and win the vote, THE 9TH FLOOR: Blocked Justice of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.  INVISIBLE, an exploration and its impact in history of the 1920s Women’s KKK.

Mary is a member of SAG-AFTRA, American Dramatist Guild NYC, The Author’s Guild, SCBWI. She holds a BFA in Theater Arts, a BFA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, England.

She has worked as advisory and support for Traffick Free, The Dreamcatcher Foundation and has held workshops with Girls Forward and the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Conferences. As a side note, during the Covid pandemic she wrote a children’s novel entitled The Adventures of Cleaver and Whizjam On The Isle of Oogle.


Jamise Wright (Lead). Chicago native, Jamise “Slim”  Wright has been an Artistic Associate of Her Story Theater since 2018 where she created the original role of Ruth Edwards in the world premiere of Mary Bonnett’s MONGER along with co-lead Ira Amyx. Her performances received rave reviews from both critics and audiences noting her “riveting”, “heart breaking elegance” and “brilliant” performance.  In 2019, she oversaw the management of Her Story Theater’s acclaimed INVISIBLE at Stage 773 performing multiple duties making for a smooth run. During the Covid pandemic, Jamise revised the role of Ruth Edwards into a half-hour online monologue presentation riveting audiences with the power of her performance while raising awareness on domestic sex trafficking.

She has appeared in film, theater, and television. She was seen in the CHICAG FIRE episode, “The One Hundred”, “Windy City” an Indie film directed by Gunjan Badjatya., Dearly You Come to Me, Illumination, and the theater production of JUST RANTING THE BLUES, where she played the role of Death. Jamise has showcased her improvisational skills with Second City and is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Jamise is currently represented by The Stewart Talent Agency.

Tristin Hall (they/them, Essence) is excited to working with Her Story Theater for the first time!  Credits include: FALLING (Interrobang Theater), SPRING FLING (Stage Left), 12 FIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS (Otherworld) CARRIE AND FRANCINE (Haven Theater), DOG ACT (Columbia College), and A SEPARATE PEACE (Point Theatre Project).Recent choreography credits include: THE GARBOLOGISTS (Northlight), PARIS (Steep), ON THE GREENBELT, THE EFFECT (Strawdog), COMEDY OF ERRORS (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), STICK FLY (Writers Theater), KRUGOZOR, HUMAN RESOURCES (Theater Evolve), SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (Bard in the Burbs), FOOTHOLDS (Imposters Theatre), SOME LIKE IT RED, MUNSTERSPIEL (The Plagiarists), THIN MINTS a workshop production (Greenhouse Theater), AFFECTION AS A SPACE VACUUM (Rhinofest 2020), MAD GIRLS (Rhinofest 2020). Assisting credits include: Sam Hubbard-YEN, (Raven Theater), TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET (Timeline), Rachel Flesher -SICKLE (Red Theater), and John Mcfarland- MARISOL (Northeastern). 



Her Story Theater is a theater for social change. Through theater and the written word, our mission is to shine bright lights in dark places on women and children in need of social justice and community support. Since 2011, we have partnered with countless organizations to raise awareness on current issues that impact women and children.  Her Story Theater is supported by Driehaus Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Susan and Ted Oppenheimer Foundation, Com Ed Powering The Arts, Northern Trust, Sunlight Project, Vanguard Charitable and private donations.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

OPENING: CIRCUS QUIXOTIC Via The Actors Gymnasium at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston February 18, 2023 – March 26, 2023

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List 

The Actors Gymnasium presents


An original circus theatre production written and directed by David & Kerry Catlin With circus choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

February 18, 2023 – March 26, 2023 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston

Recommended for ages 5+ to adult

The Actors Gymnasium has long been a favorite of ours and is a true Chicago treasure. My own son and daughter were cast in their spring and fall youth circus shows for years, and had a wonderful experience there. I'll be out to review on the 19th, with my son, Dugan, who is soon to graduate from Northwestern University with a Theatre Arts degree in performance.

The Actors Gymnasium is proud to announce CIRCUS QUIXOTIC, an original circus theatre production adapted and directed by David and Kerry Catlin, with circus choreography by Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. The show features Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Danielle Gennaoui, Ryan Huemmer, Julian Hester, as well as members of the Gym’s Teen Ensemble.

CIRCUS QUIXOTIC is part of Actors Gym's annual Winter Circus tradition, which is one of Chicago's most popular circus shows.

Adapted from Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, CIRCUS QUIXOTIC is an idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical journey into the mad and noble imagination of an unlikely knight and his dim, yet steadfast squire. Dare to dream of defeating diresome dragons, overcoming evil enchanters, toppling giants disguised as windmills, and bashing the book burners on this hilarious attempt to bring chivalry back into the world!

Opening and press night: Saturday, February 18, 2023

Performances are Saturdays at 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 3:00 PM

Circus Quixotic will be participating in Chicago Theatre Week February 18 - 26th. Discounted tickets will be available with code CTW23 during checkout.

Adapter/Director: David and Kerry Catlin Assistant Director: Da Eun Yoon

Circus Choreographer: Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi Production Associate: Griffin DiStasi

Stage Manager: Amalie Vega

Production Manager: Erin Gautille

Rigging Designer: Isaac Shoepp Costume Designer: Sully Radtke Lighting Designer: Daphne Agosin Sound Designer: Grover Hollway Composer: Kevin O’Donnell

Tickets start at $35 for adults and $20 for students and can be purchased online at www.actorsgymnasium.org/shows

Not recommended for children under 5.

All performances are at Noyes Cultural Arts Center at 927 Noyes St., Evanston, IL.

About the Artists

Michel Rodriguez Cintra (Quixote): Michel Rodriguez Cintra is a Cuban born dancer, choreographer, acrobat, actor and teacher. He graduated from Escuela Nacional de Arte (National School of Arts) in Havana, Cuba. Upon graduation he was chosen to join Danza Contemporanea de Cuba where he became Principal Dancer and toured internationally. After moving to Chicago in 2008 Rodriguez danced with Hedwig Dances, where he performed in addition to choreographing his own works on the company. In 2013 Michel became an ensemble member with Lucky Plush productions, generating multiple roles in various works in their signature devised dance-theater style, and touring nationally and internationally. Michel was a founding member of The Cambrians where he performed and co-coreographed and toured nationally. He has been seen as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Concert Dance Inc, Khecari and Chicago Moving Company. Other choreographic credits include Solus for Visceral Dance Company, Dancing in the Parks, and Lit & Luz Festival Chicago- Mexico City, LatinX Chicago Arts Festival, The Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, and at the Latino Artist Festival at Northwestern University. Rodriguez performed in the physical play Atalanta for the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival in 2019. Most recently he was seen with Lookingglass Theater as the White Rabbit in Lookingglass Alice. At The Dance Center of Columbia College Rodriguez was an Adjunct Faculty member, and is currently part of the faculty at the School of Theater and Dance at Northern Illinois University. Other accolades include being a finalist of the A.W.A.R.D. Show Chicago, by the Joyce Foundation, and he was named one of The Men of 2010 in dance by Timeout Chicago. In October 2013, he was the recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award and was featured in Dance Magazine’s 25 to watch 2014. Michel joined the Actors Gymnasium family in 2015 as an instructor and he’s very very excited to play Cervantes/Quijote in Circus Quixotic

Amanda Raquel Martinez (Sancha): Amanda Raquel Martinez is thrilled to be back in her circus home for Winter Circus with this dream team! Chicago credits include: Somewhere Over the Border (Teatro Vista) American Mariachi (Goodman Theatre); American Bottom; 33 to Nothing (A Red Orchid Theatre); Ghost Quartet* (Black Button Eyes Productions); La Ruta (Steppenwolf); Big Lake, Big City (Lookingglass Theatre); Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (Hypocrites); As You Like It; Love, Loss and What I Wore (First Folio Theatre); For the Love Of (Pride Films and Plays); Even Longer and Farther Away (The New Colony); El Stories: The Holiday Train (Waltzing Mechanics.) Regional Credits include: Pirates of Penzance (Skirball Theatre Center); Resurrecting Wildflowers (HERE:Arts Center); Frankenstein (The McCarter Theatre in association with Lookingglass Theatre) Pirates of Penzance (Pasadena Playhouse; Skirball Center); Kitty Hawk (Adrienne Arsht Center); Pirates of Penzance; The Mikado (Olney Theatre Center.) *She is a recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award for her role in this production.

Danielle Gennaoui (Dutchess): Since she was a little tater tot in St. Louis, MO, she loved to direct plays in her parents’ basement, climb every tree in sight, and spin around in circles until she fell over. Fortunately, not much has changed (though the falling over is fewer and further between).

Danielle began training at The Actors Gymnasium in 2008 and immediately fell in love with Circus. Danielle graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Theatre directing and performance from the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University and is a graduate of Aloft Circus Arts Full-Time Training Program (Major: Lyra). In addition to working with Actors Gym, Danielle has been especially fortunate to perform, coach, and create with: Chicago Center for Dynamic Circus,Aloft Circus Arts, Circus Harmony, MSA & Circus Arts, Gravity Aerial Arts, Thodos Dance Chicago, Apple Tree Theatre, Sussurus Performance Group, and The Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Danielle is incredibly grateful to be a part of Circus Quixotic and honored to collaborate with such an inspiring group of artists!

Ryan Huemmer (Duke): Ryan is an Actor-Acrobat who’s elated to be sharing the mystical journey of Circus Quixotic and performing in the space he has come to call his Chicago circus home! As a performer Ryan believes in utilizing extreme physicality not only to add a healthy dose of spectacle, but also to broaden the accessibility of his storytelling through the universal language of movement. Recent credits include, Lookingglass Alice (Lookingglass), Red Summer (MPAACT), Frankenstein (Oil Lamp Theater), and The Imagination Circus (The Galaxie). Ryan is a graduate of The Actor’s Gymnasium Pro-Training Program and Boston University’s School of Theatre. Huge thanks to David, Kerry, Sylvia, Griffin and the whole cast for fostering an incredibly playful, spontaneous and supportive environment to grow this story in! IG: @fly.guy.ry

Julian Hester (Barber): Julian is an Equity Jeff Nominated and SAG Award winning* actor based in Chicago. He’s a current Pro-Trainer Conservatory clown and Acro at Actors Gymnasium. Theater credits include productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Windy City Playhouse, Writers Theatre, Theatre Wit, and The Artistic Home Ensemble- company member there since 2015- where favorite credits include Jeff nominated work in The Late Henry Moss*, and Konstantin in The Seagull. Directing work includes The Pavilion and Malapert Love at the Den Theatre with Artistic Home. On TV he can currently be seen as Dr. Kendall Murray on Power- Book IV, and in reruns on Chicago Fire/Med/PD as Sorenstein. Film: Amazon’s King Rat, and Trial of the Chicago 7*. He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

About Actors Gym

The Actors Gymnasium is one of the nation’s premiere circus and performing arts training centers, led by master teacher and Circus Ring of Fame artist Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. Founded in 1995, it provides educational programs for students of all ages and levels, and produces original and daring circus-theatre.The Actors Gym also offers award-winning entertainment for corporate and other special events.

Actors Gym is proud to partner with many performing arts organizations throughout Chicagoland and serves as the exclusive provider of circus performing arts training for Lookingglass Theatre.