Sunday, January 31, 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW: Dove Dry Spray for Men and Women

I was genuinely surprised and pleased with Dove's new spray antiperspirant. I'm a solid kind of girl and the last time I used a spray was back in the sticky, wet days and I hated it. This one truly goes on instantly dry and keeps on working for two days! It's super easy to apply, too, just shake twice and spray on. 

Disclosure: Thanks to Influenster for choosing me to review Dove's new men's and women's dry spray on deodorant. I was given a complimentary sample for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way. As always, all opinions are my own.

I tried the cucumber scent and love it! I avoid heavy, perfume scents and generally like unscented or a light, natural scent and this one's great. I tend to give antiperspirants a work out and need something strong. This one passed the smell and wetness test with ease.

My 14 year old son and husband both tried the Men Care version. My son is like me and needs something strong. My husband can get away with deodorant and freakishly he barely sweats, even when he's working hard or it's hot out. It worked well for both of them. We like that this is long lasting and doesn't leave white marks or stains on clothes. 

Choose from six unique fragrances: Nourished Beauty, Plus Cool Essentials, Revive, Beauty Finish, Skin Renew or Sensitive.

Disclosure: Thanks to Influenster for choosing me to review Dove's new men's and women's dry spray on deodorant. I was given a complimentary sample for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way. As always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


It's Snow Season Ya Know, So ChiIL out With ChiIL Mama and Chicago Children's Theatre for Chi, IL's best Snow Shows!

Good for opening night, Friday, January 29
The Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

5:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.   Pre-show activities 
Take a break from the cold weather and enjoy free 
hot chocolate, snacks, face painting, crafts and more! 

7 - 8 p.m.    Snowflake

Disclosure: Chicago Children's Theatre has long been a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows. We're thrilled to partner up with them once again, on a giveaway for our readers. They have provided us with review and giveaway tickets. As always, all opinions are our own.

Opening Night Is THIS Friday 1/29. ENTER HERE for your chance to 
4 PACK of TICKETS ($124 Value)! 

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Snowflake, recently seen in Minneapolis, actor Gale LaJoye brings his unique and inspiring story to Chicago Children's Theatre.

As Snowflake, Lajoye stages a tale of a kindhearted soul who, with little more than imagination and hope, breathes life into what others regard as useless, transforming the simplest of objects into comedic treasures. 

Without uttering a single word, this incredibly versatile actor amazes an all-ages audience while speaking volumes about humanity, innocence and our need for compassion, understanding and joy. called Snowflake "heartwarming and hilarious."


Snowflake (January 27-February 14) and Snow Angel (February 16-21). 

Snowflake is an All Ages show. Performances are January 27-February 14 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. 

Show times are Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m., Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  (Exception: show times Saturday, January 30 (only) are 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) Tickets are $10 to $39.

Note: Autism-friendly performances are Friday, February 5 at 12 p.m. ($10 tickets). The performance Saturday, February 13 at 2 p.m. is also autism-friendly. Tickets are $20.

For tickets and information, visit or call 
(877) 222-9555.

Snow Angel
Chicago Children's Theatre will present a limited, one-week-only engagement of Snow Angel, devised by Quest Theatre in Calgary. 

This original, wordless piece cleverly uses movement, masks and music to tell the story of a brother and sister who discover a magical winter wonderland in a new snowfall. Their only obstacle is the bird-loving old man who lives next door and wants to keep them off his property. 

Full of fun, creative staging, physical antics and audience interaction, Snow Angel also gently teaches lessons about caring and friendship. Toronto Fun Places raved, "Your kids will be thrilled."

Snow Angel is a Younger Stages show, ideal for ages 3 to 8. Performances are February 16-21 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. 

Show times are Tuesday at 10 a.m.; Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. and noon; Friday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. Purchase tickets at or call (877) 222-9555.

Chicago Children's Theater offers deeply discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting groups. For group sales, email or call (773) 227-0180 x 13.  

When spring breaks, Chicago Children's Theatre's 20155-16 season continues with Spring shows include Jabari Dreams of Freedom, a world premiere play by celebrated Chicago playwright and actress Nambi E. Kelley (April 5-May 1), and Seedfolks, a Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis production (May 3-22).

Note: Chicago Children's Theatre is committed to barrier-free theater for persons with disabilities, and regularly schedules performances with sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired, set touch tours for the visually impaired, and autism-friendly performances. Visit for access dates and more information. 

About Chicago Children's Theatre
Chicago Children's Theatre focuses on the professional 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), Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, Leo Lionni's Frederick and Wonderland, Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure.

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 dynamic Board of Directors comprised of dedicated individuals from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business. Officers include David Saltiel, President; Lynn Lockwood Murphy, Vice Chair and Secretary; and David Chung, Treasurer. 

Chicago Children's Theatre is sponsored in part by ComEd, Goldman Sachs Gives and Target.

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

Disclosure: Chicago Children's Theatre has long been a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows. We're thrilled to partner up with them once again, on a giveaway for our readers. They have provided us with review and giveaway tickets. As always, all opinions are our own.

NEW RELEASES: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 On Digital HD on March 8 and on Blu-rayTM March 22

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Arrives on Digital HD on March 8 and on Blu-rayTM Combo Pack on March 22 with over 5 Hours of 
Special Features from Lionsgate 

Experience Katniss’s Journey from the Very Beginning 
The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection 
Also Arrives on Digital HD on March 8 
and on Blu-ray and DVD on March 22

Here at ChiIL Mama we've been ardent fans of The Hunger Games books and films since the first movie hit the big screen. We're thrilled to announce that the latest installment is now available to add to your collection. We can't wait to check out the 5 hours of bonus features on the Blu-rayTM Combo Pack. The complete 4-film set is now available as well.

Four years after Jennifer Lawrence first appeared on the big screen as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Lionsgate’s (NYSE: LGF) critically acclaimed series based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling book trilogy comes to a thrilling resolution in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, arriving on Digital HD March 8 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack + Digital HD,  DVD + Digital, and On Demand March 22, the company announced today. In addition, for the first time ever, The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on March 22.

With $647 million worldwide box office and counting, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 set the world on fire and enthralled millions of devoted fans across the globe. With a critically acclaimed cast including Academy Award® winner Jennifer Lawrence (Best Actress, Silver Linings Playbook, 2012), Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables), Academy Award® nominee Woody Harrelson (Best Actor, The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996), Emmy® nominee Elizabeth Banks (TV’s “Modern Family”), Academy Award® winner Julianne Moore (Best Actress, Still Alice, 2014), Academy Award® winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Best Actor, Capote, 2005), Golden Globe® winner Jeffrey Wright (HBO’s “Angels in America”), with Academy Award® nominee Stanley Tucci (Best Supporting Actor, The Lovely Bones, 2009), and Golden Globe® winner Donald Sutherland (Citizen X), The Hunger Games franchise is a worldwide phenomenon earning over $2.9 billion at the box office worldwide.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who began her journey fighting to survive the brutal Hunger Games, and rose to lead the rebellion against Panem’s tyrannical president (Donald Sutherland). Now, Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the epic battle that will decide Panem’s future.

Based on the third novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, the must-own limited edition Blu-ray release is packed with over five hours of special features, including the “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2” 8-part documentary – an in-depth look at the making of the film from production design, costumes, hair, make-up, stunts, special effects and post production. The documentary also includes a touching piece – from the last day of shooting – in which the cast reflects on their experience shooting the four films. Also included is a detailed look at Cinna’s sketchbook and a walk through the on-set photography along with audio commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. The Blu-ray is encoded in Dolby TrueHD and features a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack, which delivers captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead, to bring entertainment alive all around the audience. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

Also available for the first time as a set on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection includes The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 with all of the special features from each film’s initial release plus hours of all-new exclusive content including 13 never-before-seen deleted scenes from The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and two all-new featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine.” The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection will be available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price of $64.97 and $54.98, respectively.

  • Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
  • “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2” 8-Part Documentary**
    • Walking Through Fire (Concluding the Saga)
    • Real or Not Real (Visual Design)
    • High-Value Targets (The Acting Ensemble)
    • From Head to Toe (Costume, Make-up & Hair)
    • Navigating the Minefield (Production in Atlanta, Paris & Berlin)
    • Collateral Damage (Stunts, Special Effects & Weapons)
    • Tightening the Noose (The Post-Production Process
    • A Different World (Reflections)
  • The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey
  • Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor
  • Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition
  • Jet to the Set**
*Subject to Change
**Exclusive to Blu-ray/ Digital HD

  • Over 14 Hours of Bonus Content Including:
    • 12 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games
    • 6 Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Including 1 Never Before Seen
    • 9 Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
    • 2 All-New Featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine”
    • 70 Additional Featurettes (Blu-ray); 69 Additional Special Featurettes (DVD)
    • Audio Commentaries, Music Videos and More 
*Subject to change

Year of Production: 2015
Title Copyright: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 © 2015, Artwork & Supplementary Materials TM & © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material.
Genre: Action/Adventure
Blu-ray Closed Captioned:  NA
DVD Closed Caption: English
Blu-ray Subtitles: English and Spanish, English SDH
DVD Subtitles: English and Spanish
Feature Run Time: 137 minutes
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16x9 Widescreen (2.40:1)
DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen (2.40:1)
Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD Compatible), English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio

Year of Production: 2012-2015
Title Copyright: The Hunger Games © 2012, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire © 2013, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 © 2014, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 © 2015, Artwork & Supplementary Materials ™ & © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: The Hunger Games: PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material.

Genre: Action/Adventure, Compilation
Blu-ray Closed Captioned:  NA
DVD Closed Captioned: English
Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish and English SDH
DVD Subtitles: English and Spanish
Feature Run Time: The Hunger Games: 142 minutes. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 146 minutes. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: 123 minutes. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2: 137 minutes.
Blu-ray Format: 1080P High Definition 16x9 Widescreen (2.40:1); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 16x9 Variable (2.40:1) and (1.78:1) (IMAX® Sequences)
DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen (2.40:1)
Blu-ray Audio: The Hunger Games & The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 & 2: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD Compatible); The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: DTS Headphone:XTM Audio Track; All Films: English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English Descriptive Audio (except The Hunger Games)
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening (except The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English Descriptive Audio (except The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1)

***Website: ***

Dolby Atmos delivers moving audio—sound that can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in three-dimensional space, including overhead. It brings entertainment alive all around the audience in a powerfully immersive and emotive experience. Since its introduction in the cinema in 2012, Dolby Atmos has been embraced by all the major Hollywood studios, 14 Academy Award® winning directors, and 27 Academy Award winning sound mixers, among others. Now people can enjoy Dolby Atmos in the cinema, in their home theaters, and on mobile devices. To learn more about Dolby Atmos, visit

Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms, video games and international distribution and sales. The Company has nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses.  These include the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black, the multiple Emmy Award-winning drama Mad Men, the hit broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication successes The Wendy Williams Show and Celebrity Name Game (with FremantleMedia), the breakout series The Royals and the Golden Globe-nominated dramedy Casual.

Its feature film business has been fueled by such successes as the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, the first two installments of the Divergent franchise, Sicario, The Age of Adaline, CBS/Lionsgate's The DUFF, John Wick, Now You See Me, Roadside Attractions' Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes, Lionsgate/Codeblack Films' Addicted and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

OPENING: The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” at Mercury Theater

Mercury Theater Chicago Announces a World Premiere Musical “
The Man Who Murdered 
Sherlock Holmes”

Book by John Reeger, Music and Lyrics by Julie Shannon and Michael Mahler, Directed by Warner Crocker 

Pictured, Michael Lindner as Arthur Conan Doyle and Nick Sandys as Sherlock Holmes from “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” at Mercury Theater Chicago. 
© Mercury Theater Chicago, Photo By Brett Beiner

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, announces the world premiere of “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes”, running January 20 through March 20, 2016.  

ChiIL Mama will be there for the press opening tonight. Check back soon for our full review here and on our sister site, ChiIL Live Shows. There's been a whole lot of Sherlock in the microcosm of Chicago's theatre scene lately. We can't wait to catch Mercury Theater's stab at the iconic figure and his mysterious potential. 

Sherlock Holmes confronts his creator and his killer in this new musical by John Reeger, Julie Shannon and Michael Mahler.  The production is directed by Warner Crocker who will lead a cast of award-winning actors including Nick Sandys and Michael Lindner to bring this tale to life. 

Inspired by actual events, with a little fantasy thrown in, “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” begins with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writing "The Final Problem," in which his famous detective is killed off.  When it is revealed that the beloved character of Sherlock Holmes has been done in, everyone from Churchill to Doyle's own family is up-in-arms. Besieged by telephone calls and angry mobs outside his home, Doyle flees London to escape the harassment. Surprisingly, he finds a much more challenging problem awaiting him when out of the evening mist steps Sherlock Holmes. And so begins a battle of wits between the author -- who wants his character dead -- and character -- who demands to be revived to preserve his legacy. Next thing you know, the writer and his creation are off together solving the real-life crime of “The Wyrley Ripper”.

The performance schedule for “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” is 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Individual tickets range from $25-$65, and are available online at, over the phone at 773-325-1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. 

The development of “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” began twenty years ago, when actor/writer John Reeger came across a book by Peter Costello in the local library called “The Real World of Sherlock Holmes” which chronicled the investigation of actual criminal cases by Holmes’ creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Reeger realized the dramatic possibilities of this concept and shared his partially completed script with composer and lyricist Julie Shannon.  By spring of 2005, John had completed the first draft and in June 2006, Julie felt ready to record the score. With the generous help of many talented actors and singers Julie and her husband/sound engineer Bill Geller held recording sessions before hosting the first reading of the show at Julie and Bill’s home. Unfortunately, Julie became too ill to continue working after that. After a long and brave struggle, she passed away in 2012. The musical “sat in the drawer” until spring of 2014 when Walter Stearns at the Mercury Theater Chicago organized a third reading of the show. Realizing the musical’s potential, he offered to produce the show at the Mercury. Michael Mahler, composer and lyricist of Hero and October Sky was enlisted as the show’s new collaborator. Much of Julie’s original score remains with exciting new music and lyrics from Michael.

“The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” is written by John Reeger with music and lyrics by Julie Shannon and Michael Mahler and will be brought to life by an award-winning cast including Nick Sandys as “Sherlock Holmes” and Michael Lindner as “Arthur Conan Doyle”. Rounding out the cast for this adventurous tale will be McKinley Carter, Mary Ernster, Johann George, David Girolmo, Jason Grimm, Christina Hall, Ron Keaton, Matthew Keffer, Russell Mernaugh, James Sparling, and Colette Todd. The scenic design is by Scott Davis, with costume design by Bob Kuhn, lighting design Yael Lubetsky and sound design by Mike Ross and Joe Court.

Director Warner Crocker has been working on the development of new musicals, as well as authoring new works, for over 20 years and returns to Chicago after leading a regional theater for the past 15 years. The team of John Reeger (book) and Julie Shannon (music and lyrics) worked together on numerous projects including Mercury Theater Chicago’s annual holiday musical The Christmas Schooner, Stones (starring Felicia P. Fields), and Let the Eagle Fly: The Story of Cesar Chavez. Michael Mahler, composer and lyricist, is praised for his work on Marriott Theatre’s October Sky, and Hero (Jeff Award – Best New Work: Musical), Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, The 9/11 Report, How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?, Knute Rockne: All-American, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and others. He contributed additional lyrics to Cameron Mackintosh’s West End revival of Miss Saigon which has set its sights on a Broadway return in spring 2017. His songs have been featured in various songwriter showcases around the world, including the National Alliance for Musical Theatre New Works Summit, the MAC/ASCAP Songwriter Showcase, and an evening at the Kennedy Center. 

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Deleece. Under the leadership of Executive Director L. Walter Stearns, Mercury Theater Chicago will follow “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” with a revival of the madcap musical by Mel Brooks, “The Producers.”

Monday, January 25, 2016

Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps at Theatre at the Center Fun For Tweens, Teens and Adults

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: 
Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps
Delightfully Dizzy, Indomitably Funny!  Ben Brantley, NY Times

The 39 Steps is recommended for adults 
and children 11 years old and up.

A hit on Broadway and in London’s West End, the thrilling comedy, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” kick starts Theatre at the Center’s 26th season beginning February 18 and continuing through March 20, 2016.  This comedic spoof offers non-stop action and features four actors playing more than 150 different characters.  The show is filled with an incredible series of lightning fast costume changes that make for a great deal of laughter and excitement. 

© Theatre at the Center, photo by Guy Rhodes
Pictured are Matt Mueller portraying Richard Hannay,  Linda Gillum as Annabella, Norm Boucher and Kevin McKillip as the mysterious men in Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" which opens at Theatre at the Center in Munster on February 18.

Adapted from the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film and the 1915 novel by John Buchan, the story follows Englishman Richard Hannay, who inadvertently embarks on a chaotic adventure full of narrow escapes and mishaps after trying to help a female spy. When he wakes up to find her dead in his apartment, he flees from the police and an espionage organization, desperately trying to find the truth. 

This whirlwind story is directed by David Perkovich with Matt Mueller (“Shining Lives: A Musical” at Northlight Theatre) as Richard Hannay.  Linda Gillum (“A Christmas Story” and “The Fox on the Fairway” at Theatre at the Center) plays several roles including Hannay’s romantic interests.  And Norm Boucher (“Big Fish” and “On Golden Pond” at Theatre at the Center) and Kevin McKillip (“Making God Laugh” at Theatre at the Center) each play more than 30 characters ranging from men, women, children, heroes, villains and even the occasional object. 

“The 39 Steps” production team includes Ann Davis, scenic designer, Brenda Winstead, costume designer, Michael McNamara, lighting designer, Barry G. Funderburg, sound designer, and Brittney O’Keefe, props designer. Matt McMullen is the stage manager. Richard Friedman is general manager and Linda Fortunato is Theatre at the Center’s new artistic director. 

Linda Fortunato has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director. She received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Choreography in the 2013-2014 season, garnering Theatre at the Center their first award for her Choreography of 42nd Street.  In addition to her award-winning work on 42nd Street, Fortunato has been involved with over a dozen shows at Theatre at the Center, including choreographing Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof; performing in Lend Me a Tenor, The Diary of Anne Frank, and directing A Christmas Story. Fortunato settled in Chicago directly after college and now lives in Evanston with her husband, actor Sean Fortunato, and their seven year old son.

Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year-round professional theater at its home, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana.  Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking. Theatre at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings and Saturday matinees. Individual ticket prices range from $40 - $44. To purchase individual tickets call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or at 800-511-1552. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit

Sunday, January 24, 2016



Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama we can't wait to check this one out!

Nell Benjamin, Tony Award™-nominated co-composer and lyricist of Broadway’s Legally Blonde, penned this madcap physical comedy, animated by lightning-quick dialogue, daredevil stunts, precision acrobatics and onstage snakes and guinea pigs. The prolific David H. Bell, currently developing the English-language version of La Révolution Française in Chicago, directs with stunts and precision choreography staged by Max Fabian.

The antics, uproarious barbs and rejoinders of The Explorers Club are propelled by Phyllida Spotte-Hume (Cristina Panfilio) who believes Luigi, the blue NaKong tribesman she’s brought to London from a newly discovered race of Spoon worshipers, is her entree into the society as its first woman member. Goofy admirer Lucius (Alex Goodrich), a botanist and the Club’s acting president, sponsors Phyllida, while intrepid explorer Percy (Ryan Imhoff), returning from his expedition to the East Pole, vies for Phyllida’s affections even though he can’t take seriously the notion of a woman scientist. Neither can the Club’s resident zoologist (Matt Browning), herpetologist (Zach Shornick) and “archeo-theologist” (Dan Rodden). Chaos ensues in The Explorers Club after Luigi inadvertently insults the Queen, possibly setting the British Empire at war with the world.

Windy City Playhouse, Chicago’s newest professional theater, launches 2016 with the Chicago premiere of Nell Benjamin’s slapstick farce The Explorers Club, set in a Victorian-era scientific gentleman's club. David H. Bell directs Cristina Panfilio (Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Pericles) as a female anthropologist vying for membership. 

Alex Goodrich (Elf: The Musical), Ryan Imhoff (Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Matt Browning (Redtwist’s Incident at Vichy), Graham Emmons (Prologue’s Porcelain), Dan Rodden (Theater at the Center’s On Golden Pond) and Zack Shornick (MPAACT’s Ghosts of Atwood) make up the Club members, while Colin Morgan (Oracle’s No Beast So Fierce) is Queen Victoria’s private secretary and Wesley Daniel (Chicago Shakes’ Pericles) is a blue-skinned primitive. Previews for The Explorers Club begin Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 West Irving Park Road. Press performances are Thursday, February 4 at 7:30 pm. and Friday, February 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets, $15-$55, are available by calling the box office at 773-891-8985 or visiting

By Nell Benjamin
Directed by David H. Bell
Previews begin: January 27, 2016

The Explorer’s Club has enough to deal with. One member has lost nearly all his guinea pigs, another can’t seem to locate the East Pole, the bartender is missing and, on top of all that, a woman wants to join. Before the British Empire crumbles under the weight, these good old boys must grapple with the approach of modernity, save the world from an international war and, for God’s sake, find a new bartender — but not until after brandy and cigars.

The Windy City Playhouse performance schedule is: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; and Sundays (consult website for Sunday times).

Single tickets range from $15-$55 and are available by calling 773-891-8985 or visiting Flexible subscription packages are available for 2016.

The Explorers Club is part of Chicago Theatre Week 2016. Select performances, between February 11 and 21, are available for $15 and $30 via

About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse is a new theater at 3014 West Irving Park Road. Opened in March 2015, the Playhouse is a professional theater meant to entertain through exceptional contemporary, relevant and approachable art. Combining relatable material with high quality artistry, Windy City Playhouse seeks to create work accessible by audiences of all kinds. With a full service bar and light snacks, the Playhouse is not a traditional theater, rather a fun, relaxing and entertaining environment. With amenities such as swivel club chair seating, the Playhouse is designed as a space for audiences to linger before and after the performance—a place to decompress with art.

Friday, January 22, 2016



This weekend, come chiIL out with ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Travel Kids as we check out more than 350 exhibitors from across the globe! Chi, IL will be once again playing host to an exciting programming line up including an array of expert speakers, the Taste of Travel Stage and the Global Beats Stage. The show hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 23 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 24. 

Check out ChiIL Mama's Full Photo Recap Slideshow HERE:

**PBS’s Rick Steves, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg and Frommer’s Guide Editor Pauline Frommer Are Among the Experts Offering Tips and First-Hand Expertise** 

The 2016 Chicago Travel & Adventure Show returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (5555 N. River Rd, Rosemont, IL) January 23 – 24, making it the perfect first stop for anyone seeking an exciting year of travel. During the 12th annual show, guests will obtain expert information from some of the world’s foremost travel authorities and browse hundreds of booths offering fascinating information and special discounts on exciting American and international destinations. 

The Chicago Travel & Adventure Show takes place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (5555 N. River Rd, Rosemont, IL) January 23-24. On Saturday, the show opens at 9:30 a.m. for travel professionals, with general public hours set from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. On Sunday, the show floor opens at 11 a.m, and closes at 4 p.m. Single day tickets ($16) and two-day tickets ($25) can be purchased at Children 16 and under are free. 

The Savvy Traveler Theater affords an intimate venue where attendees can learn “how-to” tips on traveling smarter, preview the latest gadgets and innovations for their upcoming adventures, and attend educational sessions on travel photography and packing. 

The prestigious line-up of featured speakers on the 1,000 seat Travel & Adventure Theater stage includes America’s leading authority on European Travel, Rick Steves, host of PBS’ “Rick Steves’ Europe”; CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg; “Frommer’s Guide” editor Pauline Frommer; family travel expert and TV host Colleen Kelly; travel deals expert Johnny Jet; and acclaimed travel author Allan Karl. 

“Our 2016 Chicago show will be our biggest and most wide-ranging ever,” says Travel and Adventure Show CEO John Golicz, who also serves as executive editor of the popular travel website “Rick Steves is always one of our most popular speakers, and we are delighted that this year we have one of the most educational rosters of presenters ever!” 

Returning to the show is the popular Taste of Travel Stage, where noted chefs including Table Fifty-Two’s Art Smith, Big Hatt Gourmet’s Craig Bell and many others 

With an ever expanding array of inspirational seminars, demonstrations and workshops on five educational stages, travelers can immerse themselves in the aroma of exotic international cuisines, hear the beats of authentic cultural performances, learn how to travel more efficiently and gain inspiration to consider new destination options

Additional stages include: the Destination Theater, where attendees can attend workshops to gain insight and in-depth information about specific destinations and the Global Beats Stagewhere performers invite visitors to enjoy authentic world music and folkloric dance presentations during more than 20 performances throughout the weekend. 

Attendees can explore the expansive show floor with more than 350 exhibitors representing the world’s top destinations and tour operators who will assist attendees to find, plan and book their dream vacation. The show will also feature family entertainment, including a rock-climbing wall, camel and Segway rides and live performances by folkloric groups. 

The event’s Official Travel Agency Partner, AAA Travel has expanded its participation in the show with more travel partner booths, destination workshops, show specials and prize giveaways. Other key sponsors of the show include Arizona Office of Tourism, Mexico Tourism Board and “Rick Steves’ Europe.” Exhibitors include Tourism Malaysia, Celebrity Cruises, Maui Vacation & Convention Bureau, Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism, Jamaica, Michigan and many others. 

“The Travel & Adventure Show provides Chicagoans with the chance to be inspired by the sights and sounds, as well as the cultural allure of travel destinations both near and afar including Arizona, Panama, Mexico, India and other exotic locales worldwide,” noted Golicz. “With all of the fun things happening on the show floor, attending the show is almost like taking a mini-vacation in-and-of itself.” 

About Unicomm and the Travel & Adventure Show
Unicomm, LLC
is an independent media and events company specializing in originating and managing world-class trade shows, conferences and digital properties. Unicomm’s properties include the Nation’s largest and longest running series of travel events, the Travel & Adventure Show®, in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco/Bay Area, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Philadelphia, and 

More of ChiIL Mama's Favorite Travel & Adventure Show Pixs Are Below: