Monday, November 22, 2021

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

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MADISON SQUARE GARDEN ENTERTAINMENT AND CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ANNOUNCE THE RETURN OF ACCLAIMED HOLIDAY THEATRICAL



“‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…” 

BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Connect with us on social!

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

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

 

ABOUT CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

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

About Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.

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


Thursday, November 11, 2021

WIN TICKETS TO FACETS' 38TH ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL Now Streaming Through NOVEMBER 14

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FLASH GIVEAWAY enter through noon 

Friday 11/12!

Enter HERE for your chance to WIN a 4 movie pass good for your choice of any CICFF films through Sunday 11/14.

The Festival Includes the Launch of Young Adult Program, New Dimensions, In-Person Screenings at FACETS and ChiTown Movies Drive-In with National Streaming through the Eventive Platform 

Here at ChiIL Mama, we've attended, promoted, and volunteered at Chicago International Children's Film Festival as a family for years. I started volunteering at FACETS in 1990, working their box office and concessions a handful of times monthly for decades. Even as technology has changed, FACETS and CICFF remain an invaluable resource in the indy film scene. FACETS Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is still going strong and celebrating their 38th season with a full streaming option, as well as limited in-person screenings in Chicago at FACETS as well as opening night at ChiTown Drive-In. Don't miss this amazing international, multicultural smorgasbord of films for all ages. 

FACETS 38th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), one of only two Academy Award qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world, announces this year’s tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at facets.org.

Presented from Friday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov.14, FACETS is pleased to offer limited in-person screenings as well as the entire festival available via national streaming.  The in-person screenings will take place at FACETS, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. and Opening Night will be held at ChiTown Drive-In, 2343 S. Throop St.

Also new this year will be the launch of New Dimensions, a program designed for film enthusiasts 18 years old and older. CICFF, traditionally showcasing films for ages 3-18, believes the young adult audience should continue to have the opportunity to experience the best in cinema within this festival that cater to their interests, life-experiences and curiosities. The program will contain more mature content, new innovative, edgy animation and high-quality shorts, documentaries and feature films. The full schedule for the CICFF will be available the day of the ticket on-sale, October 14.  General ticket prices are $10 for in-person and $15 for virtual screening, with festival passes and FACETS’ Members discounts available. Ticket buyers should visit facets.org to view all the ticket options and to purchase tickets. 

Karen Cardarelli, executive director of FACETS said, “Through the many phases of programming over the years, none have had as big of an impact as the current global pandemic.  Last year, we swiftly shifted the festival to an all-virtual format and we are so pleased to once again be welcoming guests for live screenings from around the world.  Our new relationship with ChiTown Movies is one we are extremely excited to offer families as it will bring the thrill of the screen to a safe and outdoor space. We are so committed to maintaining quality programming that we are even expanding and offering more films for young adult and college-aged audiences 18 and older.  We have named this program New Dimensions and with its launch we hope to bring back our much loved audience who may think they have ‘aged out’ of our festival and also those who believe in high quality programming and love experiencing the well-curated cinema in general.” 

Every year FACETS’ Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) is proud to present a diverse selection of high-quality films for children and teens from around the world. For the 2021 season, CICFF’s carefully  curated selection of shorts and features presents girls and young women who are powerful and determined and young people who struggle, triumph and are free to express joy through all the stages of growing up. CICFF38 films feature young and upcoming Black actors and directors like Camrus Johnson ("Luke Fox" aka "Batwing" in the CW/HBOMax series Batwoman), and FreeBird, a short that lovingly depicts a child with downs syndrome for the first time ever in an animated film. CICFF38 also showcases familiar family-friendly content like the animated shortRunaway Bunny based on the award-winning book and narrated by Tracie Ellis Ross with music by Mariah Carey and Rufus Wainwright, and the unfamiliar like the live-action, critically acclaimed short for teens, The Right Words that just premiered at Cannes Film Festival and was selected to screen at CICFF.

 

Festival Highlights - FEATURE FILMS 

Any Day Now (Finland) 

Directed by Hamy Ramezan  • Persian with English Subtitles • 82 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 11-14

Ramin is 13 years-old and about to start junior high school. He and his Iranian family have been living in a refugee center in Finland. The audience will see their everyday joys, morning rituals before school, parties with friends and how Ramin and his family keep a positive attitude despite the always looming danger of deportation. It is a sweet coming of age story caught in the difficult reality of immigration. As families await final news about their asylum applications, Ramin wonders how to approach a girl he likes. Any Day Now shows the human side of immigration and provides insight into the experiences, challenges and hopes of youth who await news of their status.

 

Ape Star (Sweden)

Directed by Linda Hambäck • English • 74 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 6-10

Based on Frida Nilsson’s award-winning novel “The Ape Star,”, this family film brings together Jonna, a young girl who desperately wants to be adopted with her new mom, who to everyone’s surprise is a gorilla.  As the pair overcome their physical differences, they find common ground and learn about love, acceptance and the true meaning of family. They will have to work together to defeat a town bully who not only threatens the future of the orphanage but also tries to break up their new happy home. 

 

Birta (Iceland)

Directed by Bragi Thor Hinrisskon • Icelandic with English subtitles • 85 Minutes • No Trailer Available • Recommended for ages 8 - 14 

Birta, an 11-year old, overhears her single mom talking about their precarious financial status and determines that Christmas may not happen this year. She decides to take on the responsibility for making Christmas possible for the family and goes on a quest to make enough money before the holidays to help her hard-working mom. Birta is a charming, persuasive, young entrepreneur with amazing problem-solving skills. She enlists the help of her younger sister and best friend to sell everything from cookies to frozen fish.  However, not everything goes as planned.  It's not so easy when one is  only eleven years old and trying to keep it all a secret. Birta is fun, family entertainment that will melt a frozen holiday heart but also has lessons about the true meaning of giving and importance of honesty.

 

City of Lost Things (Taiwan)

Directed by Yee Chih-Yen • Chinese with English subtitles • 91 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 14+ 

City of Lost Things has a visual style sure to appeal to lovers of sophisticated animation. It centers on Leaf, a 16-year-old struggling urban teenager. He doesn’t think much about his life. He lacks self-confidence and views himself as worthless and disposable. When Leaf skips classes and runs away from home, he ends up, mysteriously, in a place called the City of Lost Things. There he finds discarded, forgotten trash and decides he has finally found a place where he belongs. He befriends Baggy, a plastic bag who doesn’t see himself as just another piece of unwanted junk. Baggy has a purpose in his life and wants Leaf to help him lead his friends and family away from the City of Lost Things. Leaf faces several challenges along the way and must decide who he is and where his loyalties lie. He must also recognize his own value in order to find his true purpose.

 

Dear Werner (Walking on Cinema) (Spain)

Directed by Pablo Maqueda • English • 79 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 18+

In 1974 Werner Herzog walked from Munich to Paris, an act of faith to prevent the death of his mentor Lotte Eisner. In 2020, a young filmmaker follows in Herzog ́s footsteps in an act of love to one of the best filmmakers of our time. Pablo Maqueda collaborated with Herzog and the resulting film has been described as poetic, inspirational and beautiful.  This “film letter” is a meditation on filmmaking and a must see for admirers of Werner and lovers of film. 

 

Youth v Gov (United States)

Directed by Christi Cooper • English • 109 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 11+

This inspiring documentary follows the lives of a group of brave, young American citizens from across the country who decide to take on the world’s most powerful government. Twenty-one courageous youth lead a groundbreaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting that it has willfully acted over six decades to create a climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. Youth v. Gov not only informs but motivates young people to take action.

 

Festiva Highlights - SHORTS 

DỌLÁPỌ̀ IS FINE (United Kingdom)Directed by Ethosheia Hylton • English and Yoruba with English subtitles • 15 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 11+

Nigerian teenager, Dọlápọ̀ attends a British boarding school. She is bright, fun and free-spirited but when she tries to find a job in London’s financial center, she is pressured by a Nigerian female mentor to abandon her natural hairstyle, wear a wig and use a nickname that is easier to pronounce. Dọlápọ̀ is faced with questions about her identity and self-image. She must decide if she is willing to change who she is in order to meet the expectations of others.

 

Salt (United States)

Directed by Alicia Scott Nichols • Nonverbal • 6 Minutes • Recommended for ages 6-10

This beautifully animated short depicts West Africa near the Senegalese city of Dakar where for generations the people have harvested salt at Lake Retba. Young Sanura learns to find her joy one afternoon, during the salt harvest, working alongside her mother.


Stairs (Mongolia)

Directed by Zoljargal Purevdash • Mongolian with English subtitles • 12 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 11+

Stairs is an inspirational story about Sonor, a talented young man who uses a wheelchair. His goal is to get the additional training he needs to land his dream job.  While issues of access and the attitudes of others about disabilities threaten to stand in his way, it is his young sister’s love and unwavering support that inspires and helps him to overcome the obstacles and see his dream fulfilled.

Vanille (France)

Directed by Guillaume Lorin • French with English subtitles • 29 Minutes • View Trailer • Recommended for ages 8-10

Vanille is a fresh example of innovative TV that mixes animation and live action backgrounds to tell the story of Vanille, a feisty, 9-year-old girl who is bi-racial.  Vanille straightens her hair every morning because she doesn’t like the way it looks. She reluctantly leaves her home in Paris to visit her aunt in Guadeloupe. She finds herself on a journey that takes her to the heart of the lush tropical rainforest to battle a shapeshifting creature in order to lift a strange curse. The real journey, for Vanille however, is finding out who she is, where she comes from and learning to love herself just the way she is.


FACETS Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Mission Statement

Established in 1984, FACETS Chicago International Children’s Film Festival strives to support the work of talented and dedicated filmmakers by showcasing international films of the highest quality and awarding prizes in multiple categories of production formats and genres. The film experiences of young viewers are deepened through a broad range of programs which extend Festival film viewing into discussion and learning. 

To maintain its longtime standing as one of the top children's film festivals in the world, films presented in CICFF38 will be issued awards at its conclusion by the CICFF Professional Jury, Youth Jury, and Children's Jury, including in the Academy Award Qualifying Best Animated and Best Live-Action Short Film categories. CICFF juries are composed of independent filmmakers, film industry professionals, educators, parents, and kids and teens who have graduated from FACETS Film 101 summer camp. 

About FACETS  

FACETS  connects people to independent ideas through transformative film experiences. Founded by the late Milos Stehlik in 1975,  FACETS  inspires audiences to engage with film not simply as entertainment, but as an exciting tool to bridge cultural divides, promote digital literacy, and expand perspectives through empathy-driven storytelling.  

FACETS presents the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), one of only two Academy Award-qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world. The 38th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF38) will be presented November 5 - 14 at FACETS and Chi-Town Drive In. Learn more: facets.org.

FACETS’ CICFF38 is supported by the Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Comer Family Foundation, NEA Art Works, Illinois Arts Agency (partial support), Kirckland & Ellis LLP, Prince Charitable Trust, Allstate, Conant Family Foundation, Stuart & Jesse Abelson Foundation, Seabury Foundations (New Dimensions program), Sterling Bay, and WTTW.

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG NOW STREAMING AND IN THEATRES NOVEMBER 10TH

What We're Watching


I've been a fan of the CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG books since my own childhood, and my kids grew up loving the series, so I’m happy to be partnering with Paramount Studios on behalf of the upcoming film, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, which will be released in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10th.


Click HERE for the CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG TRAILER


SYNOPSIS: When middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese) who gifts her a little, red puppy, she never anticipated waking up to find a giant ten-foot hound in her small New York City apartment. While her single mom (Sienna Guillory) is away for business, Emily and her fun but impulsive uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) set out on an adventure that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat as our heroes take a bite out of the Big Apple. Based on the beloved Scholastic book character, Clifford will teach the world how to love big!

Here at ChiIL Mama we adore big dogs and currently have Finnie, a two year old, 110 pound king German Shepherd as part of our family, along with Iggy, a Husky Beagle mix. Here's our four legged kids Clifford-sized. 





Still, there's no comparison to Clifford, when it comes to BIG dogs. We can't wait to see him leap to the big screen, and excite a new generation of readers and dog lovers. Come on out to the 
34th Annual Streeterville Dog Halloween Party and/or Harry’s Halloween Dog Costume Contest at Navy Pier, tag @CliffordMovie and @ChiILMama on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, and you're automatically entered to WIN. 


Make your pet as BIG as Clifford! You can Clifford-Size your pet for free. Try it now: https://paramnt.us/CliffordSize

We have been compensated for sharing the above events and movie details with our readers. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Paramount Theatre's Cinderella Through JAN. 9, 2022

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THE SHOE MUST GO ON!

Mikayla Renfrow plays Cinderella and Markcus Blair is Prince Christopher in Cinderella, directed by Brenda Didier, running now through January 9, 2022 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. For tickets, visit  ParamountAurora.com or call (630) 896-6666. Credit: Liz Lauren


PARAMOUNT’S CINDERELLA, 

DIRECTED BY BRENDA DIDIER, 

A PERFECT FIT FOR A FAMILY HOLIDAY ADVENTURE, NOV. 10, 2021-JAN. 9, 2022


The principal cast for Paramount's Cinderella is (from left) Mikayla Renfrow as Cinderella, Markcus Blair as Christopher, Jerica Exum as Fairy Godmother, Sarah Bockel as Stepmother, Jacquelyne Jones as Grace, Tiffany T. Taylor as Joy, Rashada Dawan as Queen Constantina, Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Lionel and Michael Kingston as King Maximillian. 

You may think you know the story, but you’ve never seen it like this!

I'll be out to review December 1st, so check back soon for ChiIL Mama's take on this revamped classic featuring the "Enchanted version" of Cinderella. This modern re-writing features Cinderella as a stronger heroine. In the meantime, book your tickets before they sell out. For the holidays, we're huge fans of experiential gift giving, like theatre tickets, that create memories and reduce clutter. 

Paramount Theatre presents Cinderella, the beloved musical by the genius minds of Rodgers and Hammerstein, in a mesmerizing new production bringing a reimagined take on the classic children’s story that has enchanted families for generations.

Paramount’s Cinderella promises to come with all of the spectacle and splendor audiences have come to expect. Pumpkins will transform into horse-drawn carriages, right before your eyes. Jaws will drop as tattered rags magically become a beautiful gown. By the end of the show, young and old alike will wish fairy godmothers and glass slippers weren’t just for fairy tales. After all, you’re never too young for a little magic. And never too old to believe.

Completing the experience, Paramount’s Grand Gallery will be fit for a royal ball, with a giant two-story Christmas tree and all the trimmings, making it the ideal backdrop for annual family photos.

Previews of Cinderella start November 10. Press opening is Friday, November 19 at 8 p.m. Cinderella runs through January 9, 2022. Tickets are $36 to $79. Cinderella is suggested for ages 5 and up. For tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Performance schedule: Show times are Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. 

Exceptions: No 1:30 p.m. matinee on November 9. Added performances are Tuesday, November 23, at 7 p.m.; Friday, November 26, at 3 p.m.; Thursday, December 30, at 1:30 p.m.; and Thursday, January 6 at 1:30 p.m. Show time Friday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) is 3 p.m. No shows Thursday, November 25 (Thanksgiving), Thursday through Saturday, December 23-25 (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), and no evening show on Thursday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve). 

Access Services: Paramount’s offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, Cinderella will be presented on Friday, January 7, at 8 p.m. with two certified sign interpreters translating all dialogue and lyrics into American Sign Language. Patrons can purchase single tickets with special seating for this performance for $30 with the code ASLPARAMOUNT. If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or boxoffice@paramountarts.com in advance.

Pay What You Can: Performances Wednesday, November 10, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, November 13, at 3 p.m. are Pay What You Can events. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount box office in-person to request your tickets. Customers will be asked how much they’d like to pay and will pay what they can. Limit four tickets per person. Offer not valid toward previous purchases. Online or phone sales not permitted. Paramount’s Pay What You Can events are part of the theater’s new program, REACH - Resources Expanding the Arts and Connecting Humanity. 

COVID 19 protocols: Patrons must adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols as determined by Paramount Theatre at the time of the event. This could include but is not limited to mask wearing, and providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Paramount Theatre is adhering to all COVID-19 safety guidelines as mandated by the state of Illinois. Patrons will be contacted prior to their event with current policies. Children 2 and under will not be admitted. For current Paramount show Covid protocols, visit paramountaurora.com/covid-19-commitment-to-safety-protocol.

Behind the scenes of Paramount’s Cinderella

Making her Chicago debut as Paramount Theatre’s Cinderella is Mikayla Renfrow, a new graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, most recently seen as Alice in Seven Brides for Seven Brothersat The MUNY. 

The principal cast also features Markcus Blair as Christopher; Jerica Exumas Fairy Godmother; Sarah Bockel as Stepmother; Jacquelyne Jones as Grace; Tiffany T. Taylor as Joy; Rashada Dawan as Queen Constantina; Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Lionel and Michael Kingston as King Maximillian. 

Ensemble members Brian Bandura, Adia Bell, Matthew Bettencourt, Anna Brockman, Max J. Cervantes, Evan C. Dolan, Tim Foszcz, Kelli Harrington, Christopher John Kelley, Ron King, Ashley Lanyon, Jenna Napolitano, Jason Richards, Camille Robinson, Katherine Viviano, Shelbi Voss and Natalie Welch complete the 26-person cast.

The production team is Brenda Didier, director and co-choreographer; Tiffany Krause, co-choreographer; Kory Danielson, music supervisor, director and conductor; Angela Weber Miller, scenic designer; Theresa Ham, costume designer; Victoria Bain, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Gaby Labotka, intimacy director; Joey Stone, associate director; Terri Woodall, assistant choreographer; Celia Villacres, associate music director/associate conductor; Maegan Burnell, stage manager; and, JC Widman, assistant stage manager.

Chicago theater veteran Brenda Didier (director and choreographer) has received 31 Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, receiving seven Jeff Awards in Direction and seven Jeff Awards in Choreography, most recently for Paramount’s 2019 production of The Producers. She is the recipient of the 2018 Guy Adkins Award for the advancement of Musical Theatre in Chicago, two After Dark Awards, two Choreography Awards from the Society of Theatre Artists and Friends, the National Youth Theatre Award, Broadway World Chicago’s fan favorite 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Choreography Award, 2016 Director Award and has been listed in the Chicago Sun-Times Top 5 for Musical Theatre Choreography in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2017. Didier is also artistic director and owner of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance.

Based on the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault, Paramount’s Cinderellais actually the third version of the original Rodgers and Hammersteinmusical, which premiered on TV in 1957. Adapted from Oscar Hammerstein II’s book, the script was modernized to appeal to contemporary audiences by updating its themes, particularly re-writing its main character into a stronger heroine. Today, it’s commonly referred to as the "Enchanted version" of Cinderella, a salute to the still popular 1997 TV musical with Brandy becoming the first Black actress to portray Cinderella on screen. 

Credits for Paramount’s Cinderella are: Music by Richard Rodgers. Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Adapted for the stage by Tom Briggsfrom the teleplay by Robert L. Freedman. Original Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett. Adapted by Tom Helm. Orchestration reductions by Macy Schmidt.

Paramount’s Broadway Series sponsors are The Dunham Foundation, City of Aurora, BMO Harris Bank, ComEd and the Illinois Arts Council. Paramount’s Broadway Series production of Cinderella is sponsored by Jake’s Inc. and Rush Copley Medical Center.

What’s next in Paramount’s 10th Anniversary Broadway Series?

Groundhog Day, based on the classic Bill Murray film comedy, will be the second Midwest regional premiere produced by Paramount Theatre in the span of one year. Imagine being stuck in a time loop, waking up and realizing you’re living the same day over and over and over and over again. Set your alarm to make sure you see this uproariously funny, surprisingly touching and simply inspirational musical comedy, nominated for seven Tony Awards. Paramount Theatre Artistic Director Jim Corti will direct. Previews start January 26, 2022. Opening Night is Friday, February 4, at 8 p.m. Performances run through March 13.

Are you ready to rock? Rock of Ages will take audiences back into the iconic music era of the ‘80s, where rock ‘n’ roll dreamers turn their fantasies into reality. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Rock of Agesis a Hollywood love story told through the mind-blowing hits of top ‘80s rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Poison and more. Paramount Theatre Artistic Producer and New Works Director Amber Mak will direct. Previews start April 13. Press opening is Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m. Performances run through May 29, 2022.

Join the growing ranks of more than Broadway Series subscribers at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. New three--play subscriptions including Cinderella, Groundhog Day and Rock of Ages are on sale now, ranging from $54 to $118.50 (without fees). 

To subscribe or purchase single tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com , call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

About Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts and education in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. The beautiful, 

1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur, has been downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction since 1931.

After launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount Theatre grew to be the second largest subscription house in the U.S. Before Covid, more than 41,000 subscribers from all over Chicagoland and the Midwest were enjoying Paramount’s critically acclaimed, 2019-20 Broadway-caliber productions. In addition, Paramount also presents an array of internationally known comedians, music stars, dance events and family shows annually. 

Paramount Theatre is one of four live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also oversees downtown Aurora’s newly renovated 165-seat Copley Theatre, RiverEdge Park, the city’s 6,000-seat outdoor summer concert venue, the new Paramount School of the Arts, and the Stolp Island Theatre, an immersive space opening in summer 2023. 

Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals.

For the latest updates, visit ParamountAurora.com or follow @ParamountAurora on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Free Live Performances of HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS Via Strawdog Theatre Company

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List

 Strawdog Theatre Company Presents the Holiday Hit

HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS


Based on the Book by Eric Kimmel

Adapted by Michael Dailey

Music and Lyrics by Jacob Combs

Directed by Hannah Todd

Music Direction by Ricky Harris

November 20 – December 12, 2021 at Rivendell Theatre

 

Strawdog Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this winter with its annual holiday hit Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, playing November 20 – December 12, 2021 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. in Chicago. Returning for its fourth consecutive year, Hershel is based on the award-winning book by Eric Kimmel, adapted by ensemble member Michael Dailey*, with music and lyrics by Jacob Combs, direction by Hannah Todd and music direction by Ricky Harris. Tickets are free and are available at www.strawdog.org while supplies last. 


Please note: Audience members aged 2+ years must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. All audience members aged 12+ years must provide, before entering the venue: proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry) or proof of negative COVID-19 antigen test (taken no more than 6 hours prior to entry)

Hershel will feature Morgan Lavenstein as Hershel, Charlie Baker as Leor, Christopher Thomas Pow as Sammy, Rebecca Marowitz as Max, LaKecia Harris as Sara and Amy Gorelow as Al.

Understudies: Andrew Clancey, Teagan Earley, Katie Incardona, Elizabeth McAnulty Quilter, Gavin Mueller and Becca Rowland.

A traveling troupe of actors comes to town to find no one celebrating Hanukkah. They must put on a show to save the holiday! Will they bring back the spirit of Hanukkah to the town? Will Hershel of Ostropol outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue? In this adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, the story comes to life with music, puppets and a little bit of magic for families of all ages to enjoy.

Performance schedule: Saturdays and Sunday at 1 pm and 4 pm. Please note: there will be an added understudy performance on Friday, December 10 at 7:30 pm.

The production team includes ), Caitlin McLeod (scenic designer; co-puppet designer), Gregory Graham (costume design), K Story (lighting design), Daniel Etti-Williams (sound designer), Foiles (props designer, co-puppet designer), Amanda Crockett (choreographer), Stephanie Diaz (puppetry consultant), Karissa Murrell Myers* (casting director), Sophia Sinsheimer (assistant director), Oswald Avile (stage manager), Paul Cook* (production manager), Evan Sposato (technical director), Catherine Miller (cultural consultant) and Kelly Levander (marketing).

Comments Strawdog Artistic Director Kamille Dawkins, “This incredibly imaginative retelling of Hershel will truly captivate and entertain in ways unparalleled. Hannah Todd’s direction and our amazingly skilled designers and performers are crafting something heartfelt, fun and exciting.” *Denotes Strawdog ensemble member

 

About the Artists

Eric Kimmel (Book) is the author of over 130 books for children, including Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and the classic Hanukkah tale, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. He is a five-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Michael Dailey (Adapter) has been a Strawdog company member since 1997. He has appeared as an actor in 24 Strawdog productions. Writing credits include three radio plays presented as part of Radio Theatre 7, co-writer on the late-night series The Adventures of Picklebot and Lawfer and script editor for Strawdog’s productions of 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, Julius Caesar and Measure for Measure.

Jacob Combs (Music and Lyrics) is a writer, composer and director based in Los Angeles. Jacob wrote the music and lyrics for Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (based on the beloved children’s book by Eric Kimmel), which has been produced annually since 2018 by Chicago’s Strawdog Theatre. Previous theater projects include Selling Out (Strawdog Theatre), Legends & Lore (New York Theatre Barn, Musical Theatre Workshop) and Palin! The Musical. A lifelong film nerd, Jacob recently worked in the writers' rooms of two top-secret projects at Pixar, and wrote several episodes of the Disney+ documentary series Inside Pixar. Jacob also wrote the short film Messrs., which is beginning its festival run, and his first short film as writer/director, Without, showed at several festivals in 2019 and 2020.

Hannah Todd (Director) is a director based in Chicago by way of Washington, D.C. Directing work includes Thrones! A Musical Parody at the Apollo Theater, Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens/Merrimack Repertory Theater (Associate Director) and work at Theater Alliance, Lean & Hungry Theatre and We Happy Few (co-founder) in D.C. Assistant directing includes Northlight, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Folger Theater, Studio Theater and Shakespeare Theater Company. Hannah received her MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Ricky Harris (Music Director) is a composer, performer and music director throughout the city. He is also a seasoned teaching artist in Chicago, having taught for many years with Raven Theatre, PlayMakers Laboratory and The Beverly Arts Center Chicago, to name a few. He is currently starting in Porchlight Music Theatre's production of Pump Boys & Dinettes.

About Strawdog Theatre Company

Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers their audience the unexpected.

Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Chicago Holiday Plays On Our Radar 2021

ChiIL Live Shows on our Radar

CHICAGO THEATRES GET FESTIVE FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON 

League of Chicago Theatres’ annual Holiday Guide highlights seasonal productions


 


Yes, I know there are still pumpkins on the porch and spider webs decking the halls, but it's November and time to start thinking about those gift lists. There's a host of fabulous theatre productions this holiday season, for a variety of ages and tastes. Make a present of tickets and make your presence known in audiences all over town. It's the clutter-free way to make memories with friends and family. The smiles will last long after the final curtain call. Check out the League of Chicago Theatres' comprehensive Holiday Theatre Guide, Hot Tixs site for half price deals, and ChiILLiveShows.com (adult)/ ChiILMama.com (family friendly) for giveaways, original reviews, interviews, arts and entertainment news, and the scoop on fun in Chi, IL and beyond. 

Chicago theatres will present a wide variety of festive plays, musicals, dance, and comedy offerings this Holiday season. In support, the League of Chicago Theatres will create a comprehensive Holiday Theatre Guide that will be available for distribution beginning in mid-November.

An updated list of holiday shows with additional details about each production will be available throughout the season at ChicagoPlays.com. Additionally, many holiday shows will be available at Hot Tix (HotTix.org), Chicago’s local, half-price ticketing service.

 


The following is a selection of Holiday-themed work playing in Chicago this season:

We've marked family options with an asterisk to designate some of our favorite family friendly options as *ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List. Several theatres are producing original productions of the holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol. *Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, a holiday tradition for more than 44 years, will be presented from November 20-December 31, 2021. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the return of the wildly entertaining ad-rap-tation of the Dickens’ classic, *Q Brothers Christmas Carol, December 7-23, 2021. Theatre Above the Law has a unique spin on the classic with Eb & Belle, telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his first love, before he became curmudgeonly, November 18-December 19, 2021. Hell in a Handbag Productions’ Christmas Dearest is a holiday parody starring Joan Crawford as Scrooge, from November 27-December 31, 2021.

This season also brings unique retellings of classic Holiday stories. The House Theatre introduces a new wintertime tradition with a reimagination of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fable, *The Snow Queen, November 12, 2021 - January 2, 2022. In *'Twas the Night Before..., Cirque du Soleil puts an exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas classic, at The Chicago Theatre, November 26 - December 5, 2021.

Journey to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair with *The Joffrey Ballet’s reimagined The Nutcracker at Lyric Opera House, December 4-24, 2021. A&A Ballet will perform *The Art Deco Nutcracker at the Athenaeum Theatre on December 4, 2021, while Ballet Chicago will perform its production of *The Nutcracker at the Athenaeum Theatre, December 10-19, 2021.

Holiday radio plays are back on stage this season with American Blues Theater presenting the 20th Anniversary production of its beloved, live 1940s radio broadcast tradition It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, November 26 - December 31, 2021 at Victory Gardens Theater. Oil Lamp Theater will perform its version of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Play on stage November 26 - December 30, 2021. BrightSide Theatre will present Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play at North Central College’s Meiley-Swallow Hall, December 10-19, 2021.

Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody, the Off-Broadway hit and holiday season sendup of the iconic romantic comedy and Christmas movie Love Actually, debuts in Chicago at the Apollo Theater, November 17, 2021 - January 2, 2022.

Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original returns to The Second City’s Up Comedy Club Thursday-Sundays starting November 5, 2021. The Second City’s Best of The Holidays, performed by the cast of The Second City Touring Company, plays Monday evenings and weekend matinees starting November 22 on The Second City Mainstage. The Second City’s Holiday Revue: It’s a Wacky, Wonderful Life will be presented at Paramount Theatre, November 26 - December 23, 2021.

Who's Holiday! is a wildly funny and heartfelt adults-only comedy that tells the story of Cindy Lou Who as she recalls that Christmas Eve she first met the Grinch and the twisted turn of events her life has now taken. Presented at Theater Wit, November 26 - December 26, 2021.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night invites audience members to play bingo and win prizes, while answering questions about Christmas traditions. Presented by Vicki Quade’s Nuns4Fun at Greenhouse Theater Center, November 28, 2021 - January 2, 2022.

With story, music and magic, Strawdog Theatre brings to life the family-friendly stage adaptation of Eric Kimmel’s book *Hershel and The Hanukkah Goblins, November 20 - December 12, 2021.

Northlight Theatre is producing the world premiere of Mr. Dicken’s Hat, a warm winter’s tale with music directed by David Catlin and featuring colorful characters, constables, and carolers, November 26, 2021-January 2, 2022.

Holiday concert offerings this season include Home Alone in Concert performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, November 26-28, 2021; Holiday Baroque performed by the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, December 5, 2021; and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Brandenburg Concertos at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, December 8, 2021.

Popular Broadway performers will also perform Holiday concerts this season, including Leslie Odom, Jr.—The Christmas Tour, presented by Broadway In Chicago at the CIBC Theatre, December 4, 2021; Sarah Brightman - "A Christmas Symphony," at the Auditorium Theatre, December 10, 2021; and Merry Christmas, Darling: Heidi Kettenring Sings Karen Carpenter, at the Marriott Theatre, December 13-14, 2021. Plus, Emmy-nominee Angela Ingersoll captures the voices of a dozen divas in a yuletide spectacular The 12 Dames of Christmas, at the Marriott Theatre, December 6-7, 2021.

PlayMakers Laboratory welcomes back live audiences for its holiday play *That’s Weird Grandma: Comes Home For the Holidays from December 10-19, 2021.

Drury Lane Theatre rings in the season with Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, a joyous, family-friendly musical featuring thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy, and a parade of Irving Berlin’s hit songs, November 19, 2021 – January 9, 2022.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, www.chicagoplays.com. Available half-price tickets will be listed at HotTix.org.

Chicago theatres prioritize safely gathering. Patrons are encouraged to confirm current protocols at each theatre. Shows and protocols are subject to change.

About Chicago theatre 

Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 5 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. For more information, visit www.chicagoplays.com. #ChiTheatre

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement

Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.

BEATRIX POTTER HOLIDAY TEA PARTY RETURNING LIVE NOV 20-DEC 24 AT CHICAGO CHILDREN’S THEATRE

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List

CHICAGO CHILDREN’S THEATRE’S

BEATRIX POTTER HOLIDAY TEA PARTY

A SEASONAL RITE OF PASSAGE FOR CHICAGO TOTS, RETURNING LIVE, NOV. 20-DEC. 24

Recommended for ages 2-6 with adult 

Run time is 60 minutes with no intermission

Please note: Chicago Children’s Theatre is a “no shushing” theater

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a seasonal rite of passage for countless Chicago toddlers and their parents, returns to Chicago Children’s Theatre November 20-December 24, marking the return of live performances at Chicago’s largest professional theater devoted to children and families.

Now in its seventh year, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party has become a popular seasonal tradition for Chicago families looking to introduce their children to live theater.

Some families come dressed up in their holiday finest, while others come just as they are. Either way, young and old alike enjoy this incredibly charming, meticulously designed puppet show starring Beatrix Potter’s favorite animal friends. The Chicago Reader called CCT’s holiday experience for Chicago’s littlest generation of theatergoers “dazzling, brisk at under an hour, and sweet as can be.”


(left) Kay Kron, in the 2018 outing of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party inviting kids on stage to meet puppets, pull levers and turn cranks that produce moments of delight. (right) After photos with the cast, families head to Chicago Children's Theatre's lobby to enjoy cookies and chocolate milk in a tea party setting. All Production Photos by Charles Osgood.

Watch in awe as a cast of three multi-talented performers bring four Beatrix Potter tales to life in this adorable, mesmerizing, interactive trunk and puppet show, accompanied by a live, original classical music score. CCT’s charming storytellers interweave classic narration and guide gentle interactive moments, recruiting young watchers to join the adventure. This year’s version stars four of Beatrix Potter’s most adorable animal friends -- Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Simpkin the Cat, and for the first time this year, Tom Kitten! Families will watch in awe as the cast shares favorite Beatrix Potter family tales, manipulating ingenious mechanical “suitcase sculptures” packed with cleverly designed 3D puppetry meant to surprise and delight.

After the stories, families are invited on stage to explore the trunks, pull the levers and turn the cranks that reveal magical 3D images. After photos with the cast, families come together in a Victorian-style dining hall to enjoy a festive spread of cookies, chocolate milk, coloring activities and beautiful holiday decor.

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party is presented as a limited engagement, weekends only, November 20-December 24. Regular show times are Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Exceptions: No 9:30 a.m. show Saturday, November 20. Additional holiday week performances are Thursday and Friday, December 23 and 24 (Christmas Eve) at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Single tickets start at $42 including the show and tea party. For tickets, visit  chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call Chicago Children’s Theatre Guest Services, (312) 374-8835. Don’t delay as performances do sell out. Email groupsales@chicagochildrenstheatre.org or to learn about group rates.

Chicago Children’s Theatre is located at 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. CCT is minutes from I-90 and I-290, as well as downtown and Ashland Avenue. It offers free, onsite parking on the south side of the building. Nearby street parking is available on weekends, or try the Impark parking lot, 1301 W. Madison St.

After photos with the cast, families come together in a Victorian-style dining hall to enjoy a festive spread of cookies, chocolate milk, coloring activities and holiday decor.

Access Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12

CCT continues to grow its commitment to all Chicago children at The Station by expanding services for patrons with disabilities. Access Weekend is December 11 and 12. Services include:

ASL interpretation and Open Captioning 

Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12


Touch Tour

Sunday, December 12, before the 9:30 a.m. show


Sensory Friendly

Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12

For more information about access and inclusion at Chicago Children’s Theatre, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org/access or email access@chicagochildrenstheatre.org.


Covid safety policies

Alongside a growing coalition of more than 65 performing arts venues and producers across Chicagoland, Chicago Children’s Theatre has agreed to ensure COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for everyone 12 and over - audiences, artists, and staff. These protocols are subject to change; for more information about CCT’s current COVID-19 safety protocols, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org/covid.

Behind the Scenes of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party

Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Beatrix Potter series is devised by Will Bishop, Lara Carling, Kay Kron, Grace Needlman and Ray Rehberg. Co-directors are Will Bishop and Lara Carling. Performers are Kay Kron, Time Brickey and Charlie Malave. Puppets are by Grace Needlman. Music is by Ray Rehberg. Costumes are by Ian Liberman, based on the original designs by Jillian Gryzlak. Lighting designer is Becca Jeffords. Sound designer is Daniel Etti-Williams. Anastar Alvarez is stage manager. 

The holiday production’s sister work, Beatrix Potter & Friends, has been performed at schools, libraries, cultural institutions around the city, and toured in 2019 to the 9th Annual China Children's Theatre Festival in Beijing and Jinan.


Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was a British writer, illustrator and conservationist best remembered for her best-selling children’s books that combined her love for animals and the English countryside. During her childhood in England’s Lake District, she looked after many animals including rabbits, frogs and even bats. She drew these animals throughout her youth, gradually improving the standard of her drawings. In her 20s she sought to try and get her children’s book and drawings published. Her initial attempts proved unsuccessful, but she persevered and eventually her first book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” was published in 1902, when she was 36. Today, “Peter Rabbit” is one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. In sum, Potter wrote 24 books. Some of her best known titles include “The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle,” “The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan” and “The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher.” For more information, visit the Beatrix Potter Society, beatrixpottersociety.org.uk.

Coming soon to Chicago Children’s Theatre

With the new year comes the world premiere live production of Leonardo and Sam, based on the beloved children’s books by Mo Willems, created by Chicago’s wildly inventive Manual Cinema (January 29-February 27, 2022). Next, dreams will come true in the spring when CCT presents the world premiere of Carmela Full of Wishes, adapted from the book by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street), (April 23-May 22, 2022). Single tickets are on sale now at chicagochildrenstheatre.org.  

New virtual productions set for release in 2021-22 include The Relocation of Nokwsi, a new Native American-themed video by Robert Hicks Jr. dropping October 11, 2021, in celebration of National Indigenous People’s Day, This Ability by Daniel Carlton and Nambi E. Kelley, set for release December 3, 2021 in celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and more Walkie Talkies audio adventure podcast tours through Chicago’s many neighborhoods.

 

About Chicago Children’s Theatre

“The Chicago theater scene is legendarily vibrant, so naturally a number of companies tailor productions to younger audiences. The cream of the crop is Chicago Children’s Theatre.” – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded in 2005 with a big idea: Chicago is the greatest theater city in the world, and it deserves a great children’s theater. Today, Chicago Children’s Theatre is the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. CCT has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theater with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise.

In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of its new, permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, located at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop community. The building, formerly the Chicago Police Station for the 12th District, was repurposed into a beautiful, LEED Gold-certified, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that now welcomes all Chicago families.

CCT provides tens of thousands of free and reduced-price tickets to under-resourced schools each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. CCT also continues to grow its performing arts and STEAM education programs, offering classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps for ages 0 to 14.

In 2019, Chicago Children’s Theatre won the National TYA Artistic Innovation Award from Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. In addition, Chicago Children’s Theatre has garnered six NEA Art Works grants, and in 2017, became the first theater for young audiences in the U.S. to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.

Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2021-22 Season of Resilience is supported by Goldman Sachs, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince, Bayless Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Rea Charitable Trust, ComEd, US Bank, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Susan M. Venturi Fund in memory of James and Roslyn Marks to Support Theatre Education Accession, and Erin and Jason, Ben, Bici and David Pritzker.

Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Armando Chacon.

For more, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE November 3–27 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List 

What You Need to Know About Mozart’s

THE MAGIC FLUTE 

November 3–27 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

THE MAGIC FLUTE Cory Weaver LA Opera

I'll be out to review on November 7th, so check back early and often. In the meantime, book your tickets now. It's a short run with only 7 performances, and tickets are sure to be in demand.

A prince’s valiant quest leads to love at first sight. But to prove his worth for marriage, he must first survive daring trials of wisdom and devotion. The Magic Flute, Mozart’s final opera, is full of gods and monsters, compassion and revenge, love and death—it is both a fanciful fairy tale and a profound reflection on spiritual enlightenment. Lyric Opera of Chicago presents a sumptuously bold, new-to-Chicago production that pays homage to the 1920’s silent movies and German expressionism, while remaining faithful to the magic the opera’s title promises.

•       A truly cinematic experience unlike any opera Lyric has produced. This spectacularly inventive production, created by the team of Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky and directed in Chicago by Tobias Ribitzki, features eye-popping projections by animator Paul Barritt and innovative stage design and costumes by Esther Bialis. Taking its inspiration from silent films, the production foregoes the traditional spoken dialogue in between the operatic scenes. Instead, texts are projected onto the stage with musical accompaniment.

•       The most enduring classical earworm? The villainous Queen of the Night’s high-flying “Der Hölle Rache” (“Hell’s Vengeance”) is one of the most famous arias in all of opera. It is instantly recognizable from its myriad appearances in popular culture, from Disney’s Operation Dumbo Drop to the film Eat Pray Love to TV’s Gossip Girl, not to mention a long list of iconic commercials. In this production, the Queen of the Night fills the stage as a gigantic spider while her stratospheric high notes blow the roof off the Lyric Opera House.

•       An acclaimed Chicago native comes home. Renowned conductor Karen Kamensek, who was born in Chicago, makes her Lyric debut leading the Lyric Opera Orchestra in interpreting Mozart’s captivating and familiar score. In the 2019/20 season, she made a sensational Metropolitan Opera debut conducting its much-buzzed-about production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten.

•       Lyric favorites return to Chicago. Ying Fang stars as the heroine Pamina, a role she has performed to great acclaim at the Met and in Zurich. She made her Lyric debut as another Mozartian ingenue, Zerlina, in 2019/20’s Don Giovanni. Brenton Ryan, who appeared at Lyric as the Fool in the 2015/16 production of Berg’s Wozzeck, returns in the key role of Monostatos.

•       Exciting debuts. The Magic Flute features many artists making their much-anticipated Lyric debuts in leading roles, including Lila Dufy as the Queen of the Night, Pavel Petrov as Tamino, Huw Montague Rendall as Papageno, and Tareq Nazmi as Sarastro.

•       Meet the next generation of opera stars. Six members of Lyric’s artist development program—The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center—take on featured and supporting roles in The Magic Flute: Denis Vélez is Papagena, Mathilda Edge is First Lady, Katherine DeYoung is Second Lady, Kathleen Felty is Third Lady, Martin Luther Clark is First Armored Man, and Anthony Reed is Second Armored Man.

•       A local flute with 20 years of magic. Assistant principal flautist Dionne Jackson, a Chicago native, plays Papageno’s charming flute solos from the orchestra pit. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she has held the position of assistant principal flute with Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2001.

•       Only seven performances: November 3; matinees on November 7, 11, 14, and 17; and November 19 and 27.

•       2 hours and 40 minutes, including 1 intermission.

•       Sung in German with projected English texts.

•       For updated information about Lyric’s ongoing health and safety protocols visit lyricopera.org/safety

Lyric’s presentation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is generously made possible by The Negaunee Foundation, Nancy & Sanfred Koltun, Liz Stiffel, the Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa, Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, and Randy L. & Melvin R.* Berlin. *deceased

Lyric Opera of Chicago thanks its Official Airline, American Airlines.

Lyric Opera of Chicago is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic 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. #Lyric2122 #LongLivePassion

For more information, visit lyricopera.org.

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