Saturday, June 25, 2016

PHOTO FEATURE: Raging Waves Introduces NEW Slide, Wonambi and Behind the Scenes Tour

ChiIL Mama is so excited to be back as 1 of 5 Raging Waves Waterpark Ambassadors again for the 2nd summer. 

The big news this summer is a huge NEW snake shaped tube slide. My kids and their friends all loved it. Word is, the more (up to 4) you have in the tube, the faster and higher the ride. Highly recommended. We were also pretty jazzed to get a private "behind the scenes" tour of the pump room for Kookaburra Kreek. Look for our full photo recap below. We love to take our readers where the public doesn't get to go. We also love to geek out on the technology and logistics of running something so huge and fun. Check it out! Then go already. 

My kids have grown up with Raging Waves, from our first press event there in 2010 to our frequent visits as 1 of 5  Blog Ambassadors in 2015 and now again for the 2016 season. The park is family owned and operated, clean, safe and well run. We love to introduce friends to Raging Waves as well. This time we brought Joe for his first Raging Waves adventures. He had a pretty great time too!


Disclosure: Once again, we're happy to partner up with Raging Waves Waterpark and have been compensated for sharing this information with our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.

NEW FOR 2016 – This four-person tube adventure twists, turns, and will take your breath away.

There are just some names that put fear into the hearts of those who hear it. In ancient Greece, Cyclops put fear into all those until Odysseus conquered the beast. The minotaur guarded the exit of the Labyrinth until Theseus made his escape. Now, a new monster has made its way from aboriginal Australia to Yorkville, IL.  We need you to help conquer

The last of its kind, Wonambi has wandered the Outback longer than most of the mammals and reptiles on the Earth. It’s known to inhabit the wetlands and waterholes looking for prey, tightening its grip on those unsuspecting with lightning speed. With a quick flip, it throws its soon-to-be-meal up in the air – slamming it back down to the earth –taking its last breath away…

Will you be the one to conquer the beast at Raging Waves?

Behind the Scenes -- Kookaburra Kreek Pump House Photos

Tanks taller than teens! It's mind boggling how many tanks and how much pipe it takes to keep Kookaburra Kreek flowing. We're impressed Raging Waves recycles it's water and uses it to water their landscaping!

Kookaburra Kreek
Sit back, relax, close your eyes and let the current take you away.
Kookaburra Kreek is a quarter-mile long lazy river, right in the heart of Raging Waves.  Relax and float through the Outback, underneath three bridges.  Be careful though, as although this is a truly peaceful journey, you still will get wet.
Entrances to Kookaburra Kreek are located near the Three Sisters, Great Barrier Reef, and Cyclone.

Always a great day for funnel cakes with powdered sugar, cinnamon or even ice cream on top!
Raging Waves has several food stands with everything from salads and wraps to burgers and walking tacos. Snacks are plentiful too. 

The signature ride at Raging Waves, twist and turn and drop 40 feet in this popular heart-pumping multi-passenger ride.



These 2 slides are still the favorites 
of our teens, 
but Wonambi, the new slide in town, 
is right up there on the list! 

Raging Waves Features:
  • 20 water slides
  • Quarter mile lazy river
  • Giant kiddie areas to delight children of all ages
  • Humungous Wave Pool
  • Pedal tractor course
  • Brock's Giant Sandbox - sandy beach area

Never too Big for Big Squirts! My kids keep getting older but Big Squirt fights never get old.

Raging Waves is still buckets of fun for the littles, while they wait to grow to the magic 48" that opens up as many slides as they're brave enough to ride. Come on out and bring the whole family. 

Click HERE for details and to book your tickets in advance. Remember, ChiIL Mama's readers get $5 Off GA Tixs All Season with the code CHILL16!

We'll see you out there! Throughout the year, remember to check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We have the scoop on what's hot, great nationwide giveaways, and loads of original content including photo & video filled features on Chi, IL and beyond.

Disclosure: Once again, we're happy to partner up with Raging Waves Waterpark and have been compensated for sharing this information with our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.

More Photo Favs:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ADULT NIGHT OUT: War Paint at Goodman Theatre Final Extension Announced

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:




Due to high demand for tickets, a second and final extension week has been added for War Paint, a new musical starring two-time Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole as cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively. Eight additional performances are now on sale for the world premiere musical by librettist Doug Wright, composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie, directed by Michael Greif

Preview performances begin Tuesday, June 28th; opening night is Monday, July 18. For tickets, call 312.443.3800 or visit Group savings are available for parties of 15 or more; call 312.443.3820 or email

Special performances include Open-Captioned on July 30 at 2pm; an ASL-Interpreted on August 4 at 7:30pm and Audio-Described on August 6 at 2pm

The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its sponsors. Allstate Insurance Company and JPMorgan Chase are Major Corporate Sponsors and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor of War Paint.

Extension Week Performance Schedule

Tuesday, August 16 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, August 17 at 7:30pm
Thursday, August 18 at 7:30pm
Friday, August 19 at 8pm
Saturday, August 20 at 2pm and 8pm
Sunday, August 21 at 2pm and 7:30pm

War Paint tells the story of Helena Rubinstein (Patti LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Christine Ebersole ) who defined beauty standards for the first half of the 20th Century. Brilliant innovators with humble roots, both women were masters of self-invention who sacrificed everything to become the country’s first major female entrepreneurs. They were also fierce competitors, whose 50-year tug-of-war would give birth to an industry. From Fifth Avenue society to the halls of Congress, their remarkable rivalry was ruthless, relentless and legendary—pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men. John Dossett portrays Tommy Lewis, Miss Arden’s husband and chief marketing manager, and Douglas Sills portrays Harry Fleming, Madame Rubinstein’s clubby confidante and faithful ally. Joining the cast of the world premiere production are Mary Ernster, Leslie Donna Flesner, David Girolmo, Joanna Glushak, Chris Hoch, Mary Claire King, Steffanie Leigh, Erik Liberman, Barbara Marineau, Stephanie Jae Park and Angel Reda. Christopher Gattelli choreographs. The musical is inspired by the book, War Paint, by Lindy Woodhead, and the documentary film, The Powder & the Glory, by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman. The design team includes David Korins (set design), Catherine Zuber (costume design), Kenneth Posner (lighting design) and Brian Ronan (sound design), as well as Bruce Coughlin (orchestrations) and Lawrence Yurman (music director).

About Goodman Theatre
Called America’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has won international recognition for its artists, productions and programs, and is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. Founded in 1925 by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth (an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s), Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including “Outstanding Regional Theatre” in 1992), nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards and more. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s artistic priorities include new plays (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics (including Falls’ nationally and internationally celebrated productions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy), culturally specific work, musical theater (26 major productions in 20 years, including 10 world premieres) and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion have been primary cornerstones of the Goodman’s mission for 30 years; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman’s 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color, and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Each year, the Goodman’s education and engagement programs serve thousands of students, teachers and life-long learners. In addition, for nearly four decades A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. 

Goodman Theatre’s leadership includes the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals. 

Get Social:
Visit the Goodman virtually at—including OnStage+ for insider information—and on Twitter (@GoodmanTheatre ), Facebook and Instagram.

REVIEW: ChiIL Mama's Adventures at The World Premiere Opening Night of Spongebob The Musical

Sunday night we had a big Bikini Bottom adventure at the World Premiere Opening Night "yellow carpet" extravaganza for Spongebob The Musical. 

ChiIL Mama, Dugan, Sage, and her friend Vanessa all had rock star seats-- 2nd row center, for an epic evening of Broadway bound fun. Even the hard to please teen demographic loved this show! Highly recommended family friendly fun (ages 5+). ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List. Check out our original photos and full review below.

"The costumes were the most amazing part. Well the set was incredible too. And the guy who played Spongebob was hilarious. The casting and acting was great." Dugan (age 15)

"I don't usually like musicals, but this one was better than I thought it would be. Of all the ways they could have portrayed Spongebob, this one was great. My favorite part was Plankton's song where they did the whip & nae nae." Sage (age 13) " 


Check out ChiIL Mama's Full Set of Photos in the Slideshow here & favorites embedded below.

Pre-show Yellow Carpet featuring arrivals including:

Tom Higgenson, Chicago native and Plain White T’s lead vocals

Yolanda Adams, four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Gospel legend

The Flaming Lips, three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning band

Tom Kenny, voice of TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants & wife Jill Talley, voice of Karen the Computer

Tina Landau, Director and Co-Conceiver (Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s The Wheel; The Brother/Sister Plays; The Tempest)
Tom Kitt, Music Supervisor (2010 Pulitzer Prize Winner and Tony Award® winner for Next to Normal; If/Then)

Kyle Jarrow, Book Writer (Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Love Kills; A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant)

Christopher Gattelli, Choreographer (Newsies; War Paint; South Pacific; The King and I)

David Zinn, Scenic and Costume Designer (2016 Tony Award® winner for The Humans; Fun Home; The Last Ship) *not pictured

From the early sneak peek with the Plain White T's we were hooked!

I can't rave enough about how crazy amazing this show really is. The writing is fantastic, the casting is spot on, and the score is a mind blowing meld of some of rock's hottest hit makers.

The SpongeBob Musical is utterly unique and entirely awesome, with original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of AEROSMITH, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and a song by David Bowie. With additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.

The costumes and set were my son's favorite elements and they were indeed spectacular. I'm still dazed and amused by the two floor to ceiling "Mousetrap Game Style" boulder release chutes flanking the stage. The skate ramps along the front and sides of the stage make for a perfect arena for some quadroller and skateboard arena rock from hair brained hair band, The Electric Skates. The staging for the scaling the volcano scene was sheer brilliance. 

In the costume department, The SpongeBob Musical is what I'd envision if someone said give me Dr. Seuss at an underwater rave party, and it's absolutely fabulous! The alterna-mom in me was elated that there were boys in tutus and chorus girl getups, androgynous girls, and every reef creature inbetween. The cast is a stellar range of sizes, shapes and colors, and the actors' hilarious facial expressions, and physical comedy shine without giant character heads or bulky theme park costumes. I'm elated that scores of kids and adults who come to this show will find characters they can relate to, empathize with, and emulate.

The feminist in me was thrilled with stem girl squirrel, Sandy, who brilliantly saves the whole town with her brainy calculations, all while being hunted by an angry mom of haters who want to throw her in the volcano for being a land mammal. In one of my favorite lines in the whole show, she refers to herself as the "scapesquirrel". It's still cracking me up days later, and I could see that becoming "a thing".  

Sure, there are deeper layers here, too, about how fear can create hatred, violence and religious extremists. Natural disasters can amplify people's natural tendencies so the greedy get greedier, the needy get needier, yet the smart, strong, and kind have a chance to shine. And the unlikeliest underdog may turn into the biggest hero, like a goofy, underestimated fry cook with management skills. 

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows we highly recommend this show as great all ages, multigenerational fun. Catch it while you can. Chicago is so fortunate to get so many Pre-Broadway world premieres. We predict this is going to be a massive, award winning hit. It's already a hit in our books! Spongebob the Musical is only in town till July 7th, so don't miss this.  

A legendary roster of Grammy Award winners. A visionary director and Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved and unforgettable characters. Turn them all loose on Broadway and what do you get? The SpongeBob Musical!  The Pre-Broadway World Premiere of The SpongeBob Musical is currently playing Broadway In Chicago's Oriental Theatre (24 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL) through July 10, 2016.

Acclaimed Steppenwolf director Tina Landau and the groundbreaking designers behind Fun Home, Hedwig, and Spring Awakening have brilliantly reimagined Bikini Bottom for the Broadway stage, bringing the spirit of SpongeBob to life with humanity, heart, and pure theatricality. With an original score from some of the biggest names in pop and rock, The SpongeBob Musical explodes with energy.

Stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.

Get ready to dive to all-new depths of theatrical innovation at The SpongeBob Musical, where the power of optimism really can save the world!

The SpongeBob Musical is co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau, book by Kyle Jarrow, orchestrations, arrangements & music supervision by Tom Kitt, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli.


Tickets for The SpongeBob Musical at the Oriental Theatre are on-sale now.  A select number of premium tickets are available for many performances. Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at

ChiIL Mama's Photo Favs:

Truly a treat to meet Wayne Coyne, lead singer, lead guitar and song writer for triple Grammy winning Flaming Lips.

We love that Flaming Lips play lots of all ages music fests, so we were able to take our kids to see them a number of times when they were small, at Lollapalooza, Summer Camp Music Festival and more. My kids adored seeing Coyne get into a giant "hamster ball" and roll around the audience. They're also known for confetti cannons and setting loose beach balls and giant balloons in the audience, so he should have felt right at home at The SpongeBob Musical! All we were missing was the human hamster ball.

Big shoes to fill! Father's day fun with little Lennon and his dad, Tom Higgenson, Chicago native,  frontman & lead guitar player for the band, Plain White T's.

Look at this pair! I've shot hundreds of rock stars' feet over the years, from festivals to photo pits all over Chicago and beyond, but this is the first father/son set! I find it fascinating to see where they're grounded and connect to the earth, and how much their style and personality comes out in their shoes.

Peace, Rock, and Spongebob Musical!

THIS guy is responsible for the laugh that haunts my nightmares! 

Thanks a lot, Tom Kenny, voice of TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants. No, seriously, it was cool to meet you. My 15yo son Googled you beforehand and pulled up pages of your voice credits. Fun stuff!

His wife, Jill Talley, is also the voice of Karen the Computer. I'll bet they mortify their kids doing silly voices at home and in public, but their teens are secretly proud of them. No doubt who those kids are related to!

There was a sea yellow in the audience, but Yolanda takes the GOLD for these shoes! 

"Super Sea Star Savior" songwriter Yolanda Adams was here in Chicago on the The SpongeBob Musical yellow carpet Sunday night at Oriental Theatre


Spongebob fans for Spongebob fans!