Friday, January 14, 2022

REVIEW: THE TONY AWARD-WINNING REVIVAL OF RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA NOW PLAYING THROUGH JANUARY 23, 2022

THE CURTAIN RISES AGAIN!

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA!

NOW PLAYING AT BROADWAY IN CHICAGO’S 

CIBC THEATRE

THROUGH JANUARY 23, 2022

 Running time: just under 90 minutes, no intermission.

COVID protocol: all patrons must show proof of vaccination and remain masked at all times.

REVIEW:
By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara


What's the matter with Oklahoma? It's full of small town idiots, loose women, and insular locals. It's also a great place to get away with murder in front of the entire town's population, as long as the victim's an outsider and the killer's kin. Daniel Fish's creative and confounding new take on Oklahoma is well worth a look, but don't expect big square dance numbers, 1906 frocks, and the happy go lucky western most think of when they hear that Oklahoma's on stage. This is not your parents' musical. After the show I overheard a woman say "I didn't hate it... I didn't love it." and that seems to be the consensus. 


If you adore traditional takes on the smash hit musical “Oklahoma!” and are resistant to dark, edgy adaptations, you definitely want to give this one a pass. For those familiar with and tired of the hokeyness of the frontier fav that's been a high school musical staple for generations, go already. This new adaptation ingeniously adds a unsettling undercurrent, and a whole new take, without changing a tune or word of dialogue. I loved the multicultural diversity of this production, the unique casting choices of small men and big women, and the creative reimagining that doesn't just think outside the box, but invents a whole new way of packaging this show.

“Oklahoma!” opened on Broadway for the first time on my birthday, March 31st, but in 1943, a couple decades before my birth. It was the first major Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II collaboration, and ran for an astonishing 2,000+ performances. Of course the world has changed immensely since 1943 and even more so since 1906 when the play is set. Oklahoma was still a territory awaiting imminent statehood, women's rights were unheard of, cars were a new marvel, and guns were mandatory. This revival fixes some of the dated feel of the piece with modern costume choices, amplified instruments on stage, a modern dance dream scene, dramatically slow line reads, full blackouts where the audience just hears dialogue, and surreal video closeups shot in real time on stage. 

The perspective shift makes this firmly Laurey's story, and it's a joy to see Sasha Hutchings shine in the role. Barbara Walsh is also a standout as Aunt Eller. On the positive side, I liked the low key opening scene, where everyone is hanging out, shucking corn, drinking beer, and prepping for the party later that night. This establishes the small town vibe, personalities and relationships of the townsfolk without the usual big Broadway musical hoopla and over choreographed scenes. It's the perfect setup for what's to come, and makes the second act violence and complicity all the more jarring, because it feels more authentic to small town life both then and now. We loved the center stage placement of the musicians, as opposed to hiding them in the orchestra pit. Including the musicians as colorful, local characters seems more organic and engaging. 


The dissonance of harsh chords, yelled lyrics, and plenty of pauses makes this revival the antithesis of the original in many ways, yet it unearths the creepy underbelly of the plot that was there all along. I have seen Oklahoma many times over the years, by professional companies and high school teens, and I always thought of it as a lighthearted comedy, period piece, with the romance of the wild frontier. This time around I was left with the sneaking suspicion that our infatuation with the innocent charm of small town America, rugged individualism, and our glorification of guns is now and always has been a thin veneer over a rotten, festering core. 

I took my 18 year old daughter, who had never seen Oklahoma, to the show and she enjoyed the first act, but balked as the second act took a deep dive into a disturbing nightmare scape. She outrightly hated the dream scene, which was a solo interpretive dance more reminiscent of The Exorcist than of Rodgers & Hammerstein. The lone dancer wore a shiny nightshirt with Dream Baby Dream emblazoned across the whole front and my daughter quipped that "It looks like something from the Target deep discount rack that no-one would buy because the shirt's ugly and the saying's huge and stupid." But, hey. Maybe that's the point. 

 

On a more positive note, I've rarely seen so much post show conversation happening, and isn't that really a core part of the social element of theatre arts? In addition to entertainment, theatre has the unique power to make people think, expose our hypocrisy as a society, and create empathy and even change. Love it or hate it, Daniel Fish's Oklahoma sparks dialogue exceedingly well.

In some ways this new Daniel Fish take is the perfect Broadway musical for our times. Our post-covid world, and particularly the rural southwest, is sick, bitter, broken, and more misinformed, impoverished, and mistrusting of outsiders than ever. Maybe the big takeaway is that basic human nature hasn't changed all that much in the past century. Then and now, beneath the patriotic Americana of line dancing locals in cowboy hats, lies a roiling, ugly underbelly that shouldn't be romanticized or even worse, ignored. 

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



Broadway In Chicago is delighted to announce the opening of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! The critically acclaimed, Tony Award-winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! will play Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre (18 W. Monroe St.) for a limited engagement. Tickets are on sale now for performances through January 23 at  www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Directed by Daniel Fish, this is OKLAHOMA! as you’ve never seen or heard it before—reimagined for the 21st Century, and now the Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical.

Direct from an acclaimed run on Broadway comes an OKLAHOMA! that looks and sounds like America today. The Daily Beast raves “Forget your traditional idea of OKLAHOMA!. Daniel Fish’s daring, utterly absorbing re-interpretation is different—brilliantly so.”

OKLAHOMA! tells a story of a community banding together against an outsider, and the frontier life that shaped America. Upending the sunny romance of a farmer and a cowpoke, this production “lets us experience Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatness anew.” (The New Yorker). Without changing a word of text, this visionary production allows the classic musical – and our country – to be seen in a whole new light.

Funny and sexy, provocative and probing, “A smashing OKLAHOMA! is reborn. Daniel Fish’s wide-awake, altogether wonderful production is thrilling!” (The New York Times).

“This is the OKLAHOMA! that was there all along.” (New York Magazine).

The cast includes Sasha Hutchings (Oklahoma! Broadway, original Broadway cast of Hamilton) as Laurey Williams and Sean Grandillo (Deaf West's Spring Awakening) as Curly McLain, joined by Christopher Bannow (Oklahoma! Broadway) as Jud Fry, Sis ("Pose”) as Ado Annie Carnes, Hennessy Winkler as Will Parker, Benj Mirman (Oklahoma! Bard SummerScape) as Ali Hakim, Barbara Walsh (Falsettos, Company, Oklahoma! National Tour in 1981) as Aunt Eller, Hannah Solow (The New One) as Gertie Cummings, Patrick Clanton (School of Rock, Sister Act tours) as Mike and Ugo Chukwu (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) as Cord Elam. Mitch Tebo (Andrew Carnes) and Gabrielle Hamilton (Lead Dancer) also reprise their roles from the Broadway production. Gillian Hassert, Cameron Anika Hill, Hunter Hoffman, Scott Redmond, Gwynne Wood and Jordan Wynn join the cast as understudies.

OKLAHOMA! features music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, with original dances by Agnes de Mille.    

The revival’s creative team includes John Heginbotham (New Choreography), Daniel Kluger (Orchestrations/Arrangements) Nathan Koci (Music Supervision) and Andy Collopy (Music Direction), with casting by Taylor Williams and Borna Barzin. Laura Jellinek (Scenic Design), Terese Wadden (Costume Design), Scott Zielinski (Lighting Design), Drew Levy (Sound Design), and Joshua Thorson (Projection Design) round out the creative team. The production stage management team includes Andrew Bacigalupo, Rachael Wilkin and Jordan Wynn.

OKLAHOMA! is produced by Eva Price, Level Forward, Abigail Disney, Barbara Manocherian & Carl Moellenberg, James L. Nederlander, David Mirvish, Mickey Liddell & Robert Ahrens, BSL Enterprises & MagicSpace Entertainment, Berlind Productions, John Gore Organization, Cornice Productions, Bard Fisher/R. Gold, LAMF/J. Geller, T Narang/ZKM Media, R/F/B/V Group, Araca/IPN, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and Tamar Climan.  


PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

Wednesday, January 12 at 7:30PM

Thursday, January 13 at 7:30PM

Friday, January 14 at 7:30PM

Saturday, January 15 2:00PM & 8:00PM

Sunday, January 16 at 2:00PM & 7:30PM

Tuesday, January 18 at 7:30PM

Wednesday, January 19 at 2:00PM & 7:30PM

Thursday, January 20 at 7:30PM

Friday, January 21 at 7:30PM

Saturday, January 22 at 2:00PM & 8:00PM

Sunday, January 23 at 2:00PM

 

TICKET INFORMATION

Individual tickets for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! are on sale now and range from $27 to $98 with a select number of premium tickets available. 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. For more  information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

 

ABOUT BROADWAY IN CHICAGO

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 21 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 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, Auditorium Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.





COVID-19 Protocol: 

Audience members are required to be masked and show proof that they are fully vaccinated. Those with exemptions, including children, must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Vaccine cards and negative COVID-19 test must be shown along with a photo I.D. and valid ticket. No home tests are accepted and due to COVID-19 protocol, children under 2 are not allowed into the theatre. No food or beverages will be served or allowed in the theatre. For further information including types of vaccines or testing details visit BroadwayInChicago.com/COVID19. 



For more information, visit  www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

 


Thursday, January 13, 2022

KUDOS TO PEGASUS THEATRE CHICAGO FOR WINNING A $20,000 GRANT FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List:
Streaming Shows On Our Radar

Pegasus Theatre Chicago, currently hosting the 35th Annual Young Playwrights Festival, streaming through February 6, has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support the Young Playwrights Festival 2023. This project will continue this Festival into its 36th year, allowing the voices of the next generation to be seen and heard in Chicago. The Annual Young Playwrights Festival project is among 1,248 projects across America totaling $28,840,000 that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. 

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Pegasus Theatre Chicago is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”

“We thank the National Endowment for the Arts for this grant,” said Pegasus Theatre Chicago’s Executive and Producing Director ILesa Duncan. “The timing of this grant is perfect as we are currently streaming the 35th Festival to audiences. The NEA’s grant also greatly supports our mission of hearing from Chicago’s young playwrights and sharing their stories.”

The Young Playwrights Festival, the oldest such festival in the United States, has for 35 years engaged and inspired high school students across Chicago by teaching them to craft one-act plays. Under the auspices of Pegasus Theatre Chicago, the winning teen playwrights’ productions are work-shopped and staged by industry professionals. The in-school programming that leads to the annual competition enhances language arts, encourages independent, high-level thinking, strong personal values and influences career development for Chicago’s teens. Tickets and more information on the Festival is available at PegasusTheatreChicago.org.

 For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

 ABOUT PEGASUS THEATRE CHICAGO

Pegasus Theatre Chicago has been a mainstay in the Chicago theater community for more than four decades. Its mission is to champion new, authentic voices and produce boldly imaginative theatre primarily by and about black, indigenous or other people of color (BIPOC). The company promotes cultural equity while celebrating diversity, inclusion and first voice and is committed to initiating important conversations through the arts with strong community engagement and socially relevant programming, including the Young Playwrights Festival for high school-age scribes, which celebrates its 35th year this season. Pegasus Theatre Chicago has received 77 Joseph Jefferson Awards since its inception.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Blog Hop and Book Review: Barking at the Moon by Tracy Beckerman

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List:
Great Reads On Our Radar

Kindle Version Currently On Sale for less than a latte.

Download for $2.99 throughout January!  


BOOK REVIEW:

By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Tracy Beckerman is one funny mother and I've had the pleasure of hanging out with her in person several times. I've also thoroughly enjoyed the vicarious trips through her life and mind, every time she publishes a new book or syndicated column. Her latest release, Barking at the Moon is no exception.  

The Beckerman Boys - photo from the author

Tracy is entirely relatable and moved me to laugh out loud many times throughout this book, and tear up by the end. Barking at the Moon is essentially a love letter, not only to it's tall, dark and hairy protagonist prankster, Riley, the retriever, but also to the hands-on parenting years. Like Tracy, I also have a son and a daughter two years younger, and adored the decades of adventures with young children and their accompanying menagerie. 

I'm finally at that parenting stage where I have two kids in college for the first time this year, and a shrinking home zoo, and I'd be lying if I said I don't miss it all. At our family pet peak we had two dogs, four guinea pigs, a 30 gallon tank full of tropical fish, and various betta fish bowls, also won by the kids with ping pong ball prowess, all in our urban Chicago home on Central Park Ave. I'm also a former cricket buying mama who not only fed/watered/housed a gecko at home, but somehow got suckered into insect buying for my daughter's two classroom lizards as well! We're down to two dogs and the big fish tank, but our WiFi is still lovingly dubbed The Central Park Wildlife Center (as in the NY zoo). 

ChiIL Mama's Iggy Pup and Dugan, home from Northwestern University for a visit and missed greatly by dogs and parents alike.

Although the mess and chaos of caregiving for littles and their pets can be exhausting and gross in the moment, the years do fly by. And everyone who has deeply loved pets with shorter lifespans and/or children who are grown and flown knows the bittersweet ache of being past those days. 

The Beckerman Kids - photos from the author

As the covid pandemic rages on, there are three things that have helped me weather the extra challenges of the past few years, humor, books, and dogs. Barking at the Moon expertly and hilariously combines all three. I was thrilled to be chosen for this blog hop and even happier when my assigned date aligned with my Husky Beagle (husgle... Beasky...?!) Iggy's golden birthday. Yes, Igrain the Brave (AKA: Iggy Pup) is 12 today on January 12th. 

As I read Tracy's poignant, pup loving adventures and wrote this review, my sweet, old girl kept me company, curled up by the fire, along with my giant lap dog, Finsternis, my three year old, 110lb King German Shepherd, who loves nothing more than to sit on me while I write. Yes, the littles may be big now and off to live their own lives, but the memories remain. And there's always room in the empty nest for a dog or two!


ChiIL Mama's pups, Fin (as a puppy) and Iggy


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


Blog Hop:
I'm in great company with 18 other witty writers. Want to read more about Barking at the Moon and/or discover some new online favorites? Check out these links: 


**Check out an excerpt from Barking at the Moon below**

(This bit had me laughing so hard I sprayed my latte all over Fin who happily lapped it up. Thanks Tracy. The world needs more caffeinated 110lb lap dogs. Reader beware. Put the coffee down before you read any further.)


From the Chapter: My dog Wears Boxer Shorts






Tracy Beckerman and her latest pup - photo from the author


PRAISE FOR
BARKING AT THE MOON

“I love this woman!”
—JENNY LAWSON, aka The Bloggess, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and the recently released Broken (in the best possible way)

“Tracy Beckerman’s adventures with Riley in Barking at the Moon give John Grogan’s Marley a run for his chew toys. If you’ve ever been blessed with the best dog ever, wrapped in the slobbering fur bomb body of the most accident-prone pooch ever, you’ll fall in love with this book. Barking at the Moon reminds us how lucky we are to be a dog’s best friend.”
—REBECCA REGNIER, columnist, speaker, and author of the Widow’s Bay series and The Snow Wife

“Several years ago, while working at a major publishing house, I turned down a book that I told colleagues was about ‘a very bad dog who dies,’ adding, ‘who wants to read that?’ So, Marley and Me went to another publisher and had some success. I tell you this to warn you I am not a good judge of what will interest others. But Tracy Beckerman’s Barking at the Moon had me chuckling from the 􏰀􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰂􏰅􏰆􏰃􏰅􏰆􏰇􏰅 􏰈􏰆􏰉 􏰊􏰅􏰁 􏰋􏰁􏰌􏰈 􏰍􏰎􏰌􏰏􏰅􏰇􏰐􏰅􏰂􏰑􏰒􏰅 􏰂􏰃􏰓􏰔􏰅 􏰎􏰕 􏰖􏰁􏰗􏰃􏰗􏰆􏰘 􏰊􏰈􏰉 􏰌􏰅 shaking my head in solidarity as only a mother who has had her own menagerie of misbehaving animals can do.”
—CINDY RATZLAFF, author of Queen of Your Own Life
        
        “As a dog lover, I laughed and cried and related throughout. With the assembled menagerie at the Beckerman house, there is rarely a dull moment, and we get to enjoy it all . . . from a safe distance.”
—JOEL MADISON, Peabody award-winning TV writer and screenwriter of Roseanne, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Crashing

“You’re either a dog person or you’re not, and if you’re not, please go away. Tracy Beckerman is clearly a dog person and has the brilliance and bravery to admit that puppies are superior to children, and not just because they don’t need a college fund. This warm and witty ‘dog-oir’ (yes, I just made that up) is for everyone who ever had a family or loved a dog. You will love it!”
—CATHRYN MICHON, screenwriter of A Dog’s Purpose

Devilishly handsome Riley

“Barking at the Moon is a funny, heartwarming book for everyone who believes that pets have a special place in the family and enrich our lives. Tracy Beckerman shares her big-hearted family’s journey with wit and insight.”
—MATT BOMBECK, award-winning TV writer

        “Hilarious and moving, Beckerman shows us just how dogs hijack our lives . . . and our hearts. All animal lovers will recognize the com- pletely true-to-life depiction Beckerman captures of the way animals destroy our homes, complicate our days, and cost us a fortune, and, yet, how we wouldn’t have it any other way. You’ll fall for sweet, goofy Riley, and laugh (and cry) at how he completes this funny family.”
—KATRINA KITTLE, author of The Blessings of the Animals

􏰞􏰙􏰁􏰈􏰇􏰓 􏰍􏰅􏰇􏰐􏰅􏰁􏰌􏰈􏰆 􏰗􏰂 􏰈􏰃 􏰊􏰅􏰁 􏰈􏰏􏰂􏰎􏰔􏰒􏰃􏰅 􏰀􏰆􏰅􏰂􏰃 􏰗􏰆 Barking at the Moon, a witty, side-splitting, and heartwarming look at the ultimate role a beloved pooch plays in family dynamics. A great read for anyone who’s loved a dog, wanted a dog, or even admired one from a distance.”
—SUSAN REINHARDT, author of Chimes from a Cracked Southern Belle, and Not Tonight, Honey: Wait ‘Til I’m a Size 6

        “Tracy Beckerman makes you feel like you’re right there in her kitchen as the mayhem unfolds. And at the center of the madness is her dog, Riley, who warms your heart as he steals the show. It’s impossible to resist Beckerman’s hilarious tale of life lived out loud.”
—V. C. CHICKERING, author of the novels, Twisted Family Values and Nookietown

“Undeterred by their inability to keep a houseplant alive, the Beckermans decide their family just isn’t complete without a dog. But when Riley comes into their lives, insanity ensues. He slobbers his way into this family’s heart and becomes its anchor in a riotous tale that is so funny, you’ll have to pee!”
—SUSAN KONIG, author of Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and Other Lies I Tell My Children)

“Tracy Beckerman will have you alternately howling with laughter and dabbing your eyes with a tissue at the escapades and travails of her brood’s beloved Type A four-legged family member.”
—JENNY GARDINER, author of Bite Me: A Parrot, a Family, and a Whole Lot of Flesh Wounds
“Sometimes, you just want to curl up in your crate with your favorite chew toy and a funny, warmhearted, relatable book. This is that book.”
—ANNA LEFLER, author of PRESCHOOLED and The Chicktionary
    

Riley rockin' his retriever roots 

Fetch this great deal!


Friday, January 7, 2022

REVIEW: ONE-MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY at Chicago's Apollo Theater Through January 8, 2022

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List 

FROM A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY…

ONE-MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY 

LANDS IN CHICAGO THIS JANUARY!

limited engagement, January 5-8, 2022



One-Man Star Wars Trilogy is recommended for all ages.


REVIEW:

By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

I still remember when the first Star Wars movie hit theaters in 1977. I invited a group of friends to see it for my epic 10th birthday party. Since then I've seen all the sequels, prequels and most of the spinoffs, and enjoyed introducing my own son and daughter to the franchise. I even brought them with me to see Charles Ross doing his now legendary One-Man Star Wars Trilogy back in 2016 when they were 13 and 15, and we all thought the show was a hoot. When I heard he was coming back around again for a 4 day run at The Apollo, I grabbed my friend, D'Arcy, and we braved the subzero weather and omicron surge to get our geek on. It was SO worth it. 

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

The audience was tiny but mighty, like a scrappy band of rebels, with a smattering of legendary locals in full comic con regalia. We take our LARPing seriously here in Chicago! 

ChiILin' With The Villains. Bonnie Kenaz-Mara (AKA: ChiIL Mama) & D'Arcy Mies


Seeing Charles Ross in action is like spending an hour with your funniest friend. He's a one man band of foley-worthy sound effects, physical theatre action, funny faces, and rapid-fire monologuing complete with accents, seamlessly interspersed with improv banter. After twenty years and over 4,000 performances of the original Star Wars Trilogy on stage in a hilariously condensed Cliff Notes style, Ross still manages to make the material freshly funny. 

Photo Credit: Dean Kalyan

We laughed hard and immensely enjoyed this highly entertaining break from reality. This show is family friendly and recommended for anyone who's seen Star Wars, from diehard fans to those vaguely familiar. 

Charles Ross is a force to reckon with. His high energy performance is nothing short of incredulous and too much fun. I'm hopeful he'll be back in the Windy City some time soon with his One Man Lord of the Rings, which I have not seen. 

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

One final note. I'm a sucker for show themed drinks and Apollo's got some boozy doozies. Come early so you have time to enjoy them in the lobby before the show, since you can't presently bring them to your seat. 

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

When it comes to reenacting the Star Wars saga, with the speed of a light saber battle, and the joy of childhood, Charles Ross nails it, with his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy.  Don't miss this! 

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


Start the new year off with a journey through space and time with One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, created by Charles Ross, presented by Right Angle Entertainment! Join Charles for a fast and furious live solo performance of the original trilogy of Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), directed by TJ Dawe. This limited engagement runs January 5-8, 2022 at Apollo Theater Chicago, located at 2550 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.   

Canadian actor and uber geek, Charles Ross, brings his solo madcap creation One-Man Star Wars Trilogy to the stage in this mind-bending whirlwind of a show. Ross retells the classic bad hair trilogy in 60 minutes- no costumes, no props, no sets- all the characters, the music, the ships, and the battles. 

If your kid’s name is Chewbacca, this show is a no-brainer. If not, get your nerd on and experience the global sensation loved by audiences from London’s West End, Off-Broadway, Dubai, the Sydney Opera House, Lucasfilm, and Charlie’s mom. The Force is strong with this one.

Tickets for are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, by calling (773) 935-6100, or by visiting the box office at Apollo Theater Chicago.  

One-Man Star Wars Trilogy performed with permission of Lucasfilm Ltd. All ‘Star Wars’ elements property of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.


About the Artist

Charles Ross may have the best job in the world: professional Geek.

Born in the town of Prince George, in British Columbia, Canada. Charlie’s family moved to the wee town of Nelson, BC, a gorgeous little place featured in movie Roxanne. He first discovered the theatre.  Drama teachers gave him a way to focus his energy—igniting a lifelong passion for performing.

Charlie studied theatre at the University Victoria’s Theatre program. Since graduation he’s been happily writing, performing and touring solo shows. He sometimes misses being in big shows with a big casts.  

His community tends to be spread pretty far and wide. 

Since 2002,  legions of Tolkien and Star Wars have attended One Man Star Wars and One Man Lord of the Rings, enriching Charlie’s life with their own sense of community. Charlie has toured the globe for the last 20 years, delighting audiences with his unique and frenetic solo stage shows. 

Fandom is a community, theatre is community, and when I make a new show about something I love, I feel like it is what keeps my community together.

Licensed by DISNEY and MIDDLE EARTH MEDIA, Charlie has lent his voice and stage talent, carrying the official banner of STAR WARS and LORD OF THE RINGS. HBO even had Charlie create and star in One Man Star Wars commercials to promote on SHOWCASE.

You may have seen Charlie on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Last Call With Carson Daley, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 

Check out: charlesstuartross.com and onemanstarwars.com

Photo Credit: Dean Kalyan


Check with Apollo Theater's website for the latest on covid protocols. Vaccine records upon entry and masks are required for the duration of the show. 



Upcoming Production from Right Angle Entertainment

WORLD PREMIERE!

Bachelor: The Unauthorized Musical Parody

Book and Lyrics by Richelle Meiss

Music by Sam Johnides and Tony Gonzalez aka The Sam & Tony Show

January 13 – February 13, 2022


Bachelor: The Unauthorized Musical Parody is the most dramatic unauthorized musical parody of The Bachelor yet! With songs like "Sob Story," "Two-On-One Tango," and "The Date Card is a Riddle," this uproarious parody is packed with romance, competition, and contestants who may or may not be here for The Right Reasons.  Whether you love The Bachelor, only watch The Bachelor with your girlfriend, or have never seen The Bachelor, get ready to fall in love with this musical. Who will get the final rose? Who will go home heartbroken? And how many Bachelor jokes can they cram into a 90-minute musical?  You’ll just have to come pick up your rose and find out!


Bachelor: The Unauthorized Musical Parody is recommended for ages 13+.

www.bachelorthemusical.com/


BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!

Friends! The Musical Parody

Book & Lyrics by Bob & Tobly McSmith

Music by Assaf Gleizner

March 3 – April 3, 2022


Friends! The Musical Parody is the comedic musical that lovingly pokes fun at TV’s Friends, celebrating the adventures of your favorite group of 20-something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan.  It’s a typical day at New York’s only coffee shop, Central Perk, until an unexpected runaway bride enters the picture and kicks the whole gang out of second gear! The musical recreates our favorite moments from all 10 years of Friends through an uncensored, fast-paced, music-filled romp.


FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY is recommended for ages 13+.

www.friendsparodyontour.com 

RIGHT ANGLE ENTERTAINMENT (Producer) specializes in the production, marketing, management and distribution of live theatrical, digital and concert events. RAE’s proud roster includes: America's Got Talent Live!, The Price is Right LIVE!, The Masked Singer National Tour, The Simon and Garfunkel Story, The Office! An Unauthorized Musical Parody (Off Broadway and National Tour), FRIENDS! A Musical Parody (Off-Broadway and National Tour), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (National Tour and Grand Old Opry), Together Live with Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle, Sasha Velour’s Smoke & Mirrors Tour, among many others.


Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

GIVEAWAY: WIN An Advance Home Screening of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania And Grand Prize Watch Party Kit

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List

Be One Of The First To Catch This Monstrously Fun Movie 

For The Whole Family. 

Enter Below For Your Chance To WIN.

Here at ChiIL Mama, we're pleased to partner up with Prime Video to offer 50 links to streaHotel Transylvania: Transformania on Wednesday, January 12th at 7:00PM CT. 25 lucky winners will each receive TWO screening codes, one to keep and one to gift to a friend. Open nationwide, continental US. Enter through midnight this Sunday, January 9th. We'll also be sending ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNERAdvance Home Screening links of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania AND A Grand Prize Watch Party Kit including:




The 4th installment of the franchise, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania dives into the relationship between Dracula and his goofy, human son-in-law Johnny (Samberg). As Dracula plans to retire and gift his beloved Hotel Transylvania to his daughter Mavis (Gomez), he changes his mind at the last minute -worried that Johnny will ruin what he has built. 

Disappointed that Dracula still doesn’t embrace Johnny as a member of his family, Johnny seeks help from Van Helsing (from third film) and successfully turns himself into a monster. In the wake of transforming himself, however, Johnny changes Dracula and his band of monster side-kicks –Blobby, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wayne, and the Invisible Man – into humans. 

Dracula and Johnny set out together to find a secret crystal that will help turn them back accordingly, while learning to rely on and appreciate each other along the way. Written and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, this film brings all of the beloved Hotel Transylvania characters together for a funny, heartfelt journey with a positive message for the whole family.





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Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska
Written by Amos Vernon & Nunzio Randazzo and Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Brian Hull, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell, Asher Blinkoff

Drac and the Pack are back, like you’ve never seen them before in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Reunite with your favorite monsters for an all-new adventure that presents Drac (Brian Hull) with his most terrifying task yet. 

When Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) mysterious invention, the 'Monsterification Ray,’ goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster! In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it’s too late, and before they drive each other crazy. 

With help from Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent. The film also features the voices of Kathryn Hahn (Ericka), Steve Buscemi (Wayne), Molly Shannon (Wanda), David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man), Keegan-Michael Key (Murray), Fran Drescher (Eunice), Brad Abrell (Frank), and Asher Blinkoff (Dennis). 

For the final chapter of the Hotel Transylvania film series, franchise creator Genndy Tartakovsky returns as one of the screenwriters and executive producers. Selena Gomez will also serve as an executive producer, while reprising her role as Drac's daughter, Mavis, alongside Andy Samberg, returning as Johnny. Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska, the film is produced by Alice Dewey Goldstone and executive produced by Tartakovsky, Michelle Murdocca, and Gomez. The story is by Genndy Tartakovsky with a screenplay by Amos Vernon & Nunzio Randazzo and Genndy Tartakovsky.

Rated PG





Enter HERE for your chance to WIN 

through midnight this Sunday, January 9th, 2022. 

Open nationwide, continental US.

25 winners chosen for 2 Advance Home Screening Links (one for you/one to share with a friend) for Hotel Transylvania: Transformania on 

Wednesday, January 12th at 7:00PM CT.

ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER will also be sent A Watch Party Kit including monster slippers, a full color Transformania poster, s'more kit, glow in the dark stickers and more.

Winners will be e-mailed, announced at ChiILMama.com, and listed on our social media outlets on Monday, January 10th. At that time I'll also be reviewing the movie. Good luck and as always, thanks for reading ChiILMama.com.

Follow along on social media: #HotelTransylvaniaTransformania #PrimeVideo

Thanks again to Prime Video for providing the links and watch party pack for our giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own. 



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Something Rotten

February 3-13, 2022



Book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick

Music and Lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick

Directed by Rory Pelsue 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

Ethel M. Barber Theater

30 Arts Circle Drive




Proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test required.




https://wirtz.northwestern.edu


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