Monday, April 21, 2014





HELP OUT:  Families encouraged to bring food for 
"Feed the Caterpillar. Feed a Child." Food Drive (details below)

Here at ChiIL Mama we've seen this production twice over the years (in 2010 & back when my kids were toddlers about 5 years before that) and we LOVE IT. Highly recommended. Check out our past coverage here.  

We're huge fans of Eric Carle's fabulous books and inimitable illustrating style. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia does his works justice, bringing the works to life on stage in brilliant blacklight color and world class puppetry.

We've been wowed and impressed by Chicago Children's Theatre's production choices for years. So it's no surprise when they team up with another of our favorites, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, to present "The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites" every few years (2010/12/14 so far). The magic of black light and florescent puppet creations make this a must see production. 

Mermaid Theatre's performance of all three Eric Carle stories is wonderful, but my kids' hands down favorite was the mixed up chameleon.

Although that was my favorite, too, I have a soft spot for the butterfly the hungry caterpillar turns into. It's close to my heart... or should I say kidneys. I've always loved Eric Carle's style of art work and have a giant tattoo based on his butterfly on my lower back that I got back in the mid 90's (before I even had kids).

We saw this particular show years ago at Chicago's Bookamania at Harold Washington Library.  My kids were both toddlers then and I was so looking forward to seeing my tattoo butterfly in black light puppet glory.  Then right before the big climax, my daughter said "Mommy I need to go potty NOW." Sigh! I gathered both kids & our stuff together and we climbed over everyone in our row and ran for the bathroom. She made it, but we missed the butterfly! 

It was years before they came back to Chicago, and my kids were 7 & 9 by then, but I was elated to have the chance to see it again, and determined to catch the illusive butterfly this time around. I made SURE everyone hit the bathroom BEFORE the show and finally caught my butterfly at last. 2nd time's a charm.  

The butterfly was just stunning and iridescent in this production, but you don't have to wait 5 years to catch it!!  They're coming back NOW.

Even though this 50 minute play is recommended for 3-6 year olds, back in the day, my 9 year old son was enchanted, and the parents in the audience loved it as much as their preschoolers. 


Photo credit: Courtesy Mermaid Theatre of Novia Scotia

I was delighted to hear the troupe open with the words "This is a no shushing production." It's so refreshing when the natural rustle, chatter and exuberant participation of toddlers is embraced.  Parents can relax and not worry about their offspring maintaining proper theatre decorum and quiet voices.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing "Little Cloud", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Mixed Up Chameleon" depicted in such a colorful fashion. My kids find it fun to read all the books right before seeing a story based play or movie and Eric Carl has been a huge hit in our family since before the kids' births. Du Jay and Sagezilla have most of his works memorized and love to try their hand at emulating his unique art style.

All of the stories were professionally and impressively executed and even the youngest children were mesmerized. Of course that's no surprise, as Mermaid Theatre has been on tour continually since 1999! We were especially impressed with the post show Q & A where the puppeteers let us in on some of the magic and mystery. 

Photo credit: Courtesy Mermaid Theatre of Novia Scotia

Chicago Children's Theatre is excited to welcome spring and introduce a new generation of young theater goers to live theatre with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites.

Innovative puppetry, evocative music and stunning black light visual effects absolutely mesmerize children as Mermaid Theatre brings to life three Eric Carle family favorites - The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Cloud and The Mixed-Up Chameleon - in this internationally acclaimed production for children 2 and up.

Chicago Children's Theatre presents Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia's The Very Hungry Caterpillar... April 29-June 1 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts,
1016 N. Dearborn Ave., Chicago. 

Public performances are Friday at 5:30 p.m.; Saturday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. School/weekday matinees are Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.; Thursday and Friday at 10 a.m. 

Tickets start at $25. Run time is 50 minutes with no intermission. For tickets and information, visit or call the CCT box office, 
(872) 222-9555.

**Here at ChiIL Mama, we're all about giving back to the community and we volunteer and/or donate as a family whenever possible.  Our kids are quite excited when they can be a part of something that helps others.  We're also happy to spread the word to our readers, when there are great opportunities to "help out".**  

HELP OUT:  "Feed the Caterpillar.  
Feed a Child." Food Drive

Chicago Children's Theatre has partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help feed hungry families by launching a food drive, "Feed the Caterpillar. Feed a Child." Collection bins will be stationed in the Ruth Page lobby ready to accept non-perishable foods in cans, cartons or bags. 

Chicago Children's Theatre and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia encourage families to bring food that requires no refrigeration before the show to assist Chicago-area families struggling with hunger.

More about The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle is the acclaimed and beloved creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of millions of children all over the world and has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold over 33 million copies. The story follows the adventures of a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar that eats his way through an amazing variety of foods towards his eventual metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

Since Caterpillar was published in 1969, Carle has illustrated more than 70 books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 110 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.

In addition to Caterpillar, the other stories featured in this Mermaid production include Little Cloud, a mischievous cloud that slips away from the rest and transforms itself into various shapes of things it sees - a sheep, and airplane, a shark and more.In The Mixed-Up Chameleon, a little chameleon is bored sitting about predictably changing color all day. So it decides to embark on an adventurous trip to the zoo, where it tries changing to look like each one of them.
Special Offers to The Very Hungry Caterpillar

To help make live theater accessible to more families, Chicago Children's Theatre is offering the following discount offers to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites:   

Fun Fridays
Tickets are only $25 to all Friday night, 5:30 p.m. performances.    

Grandparents' Weekends, May 2-4 & May 9-11
Grandparents, use promo code GRANDPARENT online, via phone or in person and bring your grandkids to the theater for only $20 per ticket (offer available the first two weekends only.)    

Senior discount  
Seniors 65 and older can always take advantage of a $7 ticket discount. Use promo code SENIOR. (Avoid online ticketing fees by purchasing in-person at the box office.)

Social media
Chicago Children's Theatre encourages families to "like" the company's
Facebook page and follow its Twitter feed - @ChiChildTheatre - where special offers, supplemental education activities, behind-the-scenes content, and invitations to value-added events are regularly posted throughout the run of every CCT production.

For information on discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, and birthday parties, visit or call (773) 327-3778.

About Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia    

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia ( is internationally known for unique stage adaptations of children's beloved literary classics. The company's innovative puppetry, striking scenic effects, evocative original music and gentle storytelling has been applauded by five million spectators in 15 countries.

"Mermaid Theatre's emphasis on imaginative design elements, original music and challenging texts syncs right up with Chicago Children's Theatre's aesthetic," said Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director, Chicago Children's Theatre.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites is adapted, directed and designed by Jim Morrow, with music by Steven Naylor and narration by Gordon Pinsent.               

**Here at ChiIL Mama we'll always continue to tell our readers about stellar shows for the littles, because so many of you are at that life stage. But now that my kids are 10 & 13, we're also aging things up a bit and covering more tween, teen and adult offerings as well. So, we're beyond jazzed to share that CCT is aging things up, too, with an exciting new Later Stages series for kids 8 and up.  Sure, it's a bit bittersweet when kids age out of early childhood theatre, but what comes next is exciting too!**

CCT launches new Later Stages series for older kids during The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Concurrent with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Chicago Children's Theater is launching a new series Friday nights in May called Later Stages, presenting cool shows from cutting-edge companies for older kids 8 and up.

On Friday, May 9 and May 23, Theatre Unspeakable presents SuperMan 2050, an epic, original Superman tale with seven actors that unfolds on one tiny platform, just 3-by-7 feet of space.

On Friday, May 16 and May 30, Manual Cinema presents Lula del Rey, the story of a young adolescent girl in the mid-century Southwest, performed with overhead projectors, shadow puppets, actors in silhouette and live music inspired by Hank Williams, Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline.
Later Stages shows are Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $15. For tickets and information, call the Chicago Children's Theatre box office, (872) 222-9555 or visit

About The Ruth Page Center for the Arts    

The 2013-14 season is CCT's second year in residence at Chicago's Ruth Page Center for the Arts, where in addition to performances it also offers children's theatre classes for kids ages 3 to 13.    

The Ruth Page is located at 1016 N. Dearborn St., in the heart of Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, just steps from the Magnificent Mile. Via public transit, the Ruth Page is a short walk from the CTA Red Line Clark/Division and Chicago stops, and the Clark, Broadway, Division and Chicago Avenue bus lines. Neighborhood street parking is available, and the Ruth Page offers discounted garage parking with ticket validation at 1250 N. Dearborn ($12) and 1030 N. State ($12). 

Nearby family-friendly restaurants include Chicago Q (1160 N. Dearborn), Epic Burger (40 E. Pearson), Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (1120 N. State), The 3rd Coast Café (1260 N. Dearborn) and Dave and Busters (1030 N. Clark).

About Chicago Children's Theatre   

Chicago Children's Theatre focuses on the production of first-rate children's theatre in Chicago, with top writing, performing and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise. Since the company was launched in 2005, Chicago Children's Theatre has presented the world premieres of The Selfish Giant, The Hundred Dresses, Jackie and Me, Dot and Ziggy, The Houdini Box, The Elephant and The Whale (in association with Redmoon) and Mr. Chickee's Funny Money.

Chicago Children's Theatre aspires to enrich our community through diverse and significant theatrical and educational programming that engages and inspires the child in all of us. The company strives to provide affordable and accessible theatre for families and area school children. To enhance the impact of any given production's themes, Chicago Children's Theatre offers educational materials and programs for families and educators.    

Led by Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, the company is supported by a committed Artistic Council of Chicago-based actors, directors, musicians and designers and a dynamic Board of Directors comprised of dedicated individuals from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business. Officers include David Saltiel, President; Jacqueline Tilton, Vice Chair; Lynn Lockwood Murphy, Vice Chair and Secretary; and David Chung, Treasurer.  
Chicago Children's Theatre is sponsored in part by ComEd, Goldman Sachs Gives, JPMorgan Chase and Target.     

For more information visit, call CCT's dedicated box office line, (872) 222-9555, or the administrative office, (773) 227-0180.     

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