Sunday, November 4, 2018


Chi, IL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
Family Friendly Theatre On Our Radar


Chicago Children’s Theatre’s announced a three-week extension of its current smash hit musical, Leo Lionni’s Frederick.

All Photos by: Charles Osgood

Originally scheduled to close November 11, families should jump on this new block of tickets now on sale for new performances added through Saturday, December 1 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop. Performances are Saturday at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Frederick is an all-ages show. Single tickets are $39 including fees. For subscriptions, single tickets and information on group rates and weekday student matinees, visit or call Chicago Children’s Theatre Guest Services, (312) 374-8835.

Who doesn’t love Frederick the mouse, who appears to be daydreaming the summer away while his fellow field mice work hard gathering food for the winter. But when cold weather arrives, it is Frederick who has a surprise stored up – something special to help his friends survive the long, dreary winter. Based on the Caldecott Award-winning book, Leo Lionni’s Frederick is much loved for introducing children to the idea that there is a place for all of us in this world, with a special shout out to the importance of artists in our society.

The Chicago Sun-Times called Chicago Children’s Theatre’s fall production of Frederick “Hilarious…delightful…as infectious as a hootenanny…also seasonally spot-on…3-1/2 stars!”

Ideally timed for families preparing to brave the Chicago winter, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Frederick treats the city’s newest generation of young theatergoers to a fun-filled, all ages folk musical starring an A-list team of Chicago’s top professional theater artists on stage and behind the scenes. At the top is Tommy Rapley, company member with The House Theatre of Chicago and one of this city’s most in-demand choreographers, who makes his CCT directing debut with this raucous, fleet footed and playful new take on Leo Lionni’s Frederick.

Playing the titular role of Frederick is Tommy Rivera-Vega, acclaimed for his recent work in shows including Goodman’s Support Group for Men and Teatro Vista’s Parachute Men (Jeff nomination, best supporting actor). Playing Frederick’s fellow field mice are Chicago stage veterans Joe Dempsey (Lookingglass’ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Northlight’s Faceless; to be replaced in the final weeks by Shawn Pfautsch, the original Ernest in CCT’s 2014 world premiere of Frederick); Liz Chidester (Lizzie Borden in Firebrand’s rock musical Lizzie, and a Chicago Children’s Theater teaching artist) as Sunny; Nicole Laurenzi (Mamma Mia! national tour, also a CCT teaching artist) as Nellie; Leslie Ann Sheppard (CCT’s The Hundred Dresses, Northlight’s The Legend of Georgia McBride) as Baby; and multi-instrumentalist Jess McIntosh, a composer/performer for The House Theatre.

Leo Lionni’s Frederick, a 2014 CCT world premiere, was adapted for the stage by Suzanne Miller and features a spirited folk and rock blues music score by Sarah Durkee and Paul Jacobs. CCT’s Frederick production team is Matthew Muñiz (music director), John Musial (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Lee Fiskness (lighting design), Kevin O’Donnell (sound design), Eleanor Kahn (properties design) and Jamie Abelson (casting director).

Mama and papa mouse can save by including Leo Lionni’s Frederick in a 2018-19 Chicago Children’s Theatre subscription package. Soon after Frederick comes Chicago’s newest holiday family tradition, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a trunk-style puppet show starring everyone’s favorite Beatrix Potter characters, this year with two new stories, coupled with a festive tea and cocoa party. In January, CCT presents the world premiere of X-Marks The Spot, a new, inclusive sensory work conceived by Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell highlighting the experience of blind and low vision audiences. Next, New York’s Spellbound Theatre arrives to teach Chicago’s youngest theatergoers, kids one to five, about their bodies in the world premiere of The World Inside of Me. CCT’s 2018-19 season finale is an all-new, world premiere staging of The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, directed by Wardell Julius Clark, based on the groundbreaking book by Christopher Paul Curtis, adapted by Cheryl L. West, who also adapted CCT’s 2018 smash hit, Last Stop on Market Street. Book early and save on a variety of subscription packages, on sale now at, or call CCT Guest Services at (312) 374-8835. 

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

Frederick Musical Theatre Workshop for kids 6 to 10
is Sunday, November 4

Based on the Caldecott Award-winning book, Frederick is much loved for introducing children to the idea that there is a place for all of us in the world, with a special shout out to the role of artists in society.

In addition to performances, Chicago Children’s Theatre is committed to training the next generation of actors and performers. On Sunday, November 4, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., CCT’s education department will offer the Frederick Musical Theatre Workshop, part of a new series of workshops based around the company’s mainstage shows.

Under the direction of Frederick cast member and CCT teaching artist Nicole Laurenzi (Mamma Mia! national tour), students will learn a song and dance scene from the show and then perform for family and friends on the Pritzker Family Studio Theatre stage. The fee is $59. Recommended for ages 6 to 10. Space is limited. Register your Frederick fan today at

More about Leo Lionni's Frederick

Leo Lionni (1910-1999) gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland, but settled soon after his marriage in Milan, where he became a graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia ad agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist began to flourish. In 1959 he launched his career as an author/illustrator of more than 40 highly acclaimed children’s books. He was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse.

About Chicago Children’s Theatre
Chicago Children’s Theatre has transformed the former 12th District Police Station, located in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood at 100 S. Racine Avenue, into its first permanent home. The new Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, celebrated its grand opening in January 2017, and now serves as a beautiful, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that welcomes all Chicago families.

Since its launch in 2005, CCT has cemented its reputation as the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. The company evolved out of Chicago’s need for high-quality, professional children’s programming to match the quality and significance of powerhouses such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre.

In 2017, Chicago Children’s Theatre became the first theater for young audiences in the nation to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.

Chicago Children’s Theatre has built its national reputation due to its focus on new work, producing 17 world premieres in the last 12 years including 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, Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter, Jabari Dreams of Freedom, Moonshot: A Race to Space, The Year I Didn’t Go To School: A Homemade Circus, My Wonderful Birthday Suit!, An Epic Tale of Scale and Last Stop on Market Street. These enjoyed successful inaugural runs in Chicago, many followed by productions at theaters across the U.S.

CCT has always believed children should be treated as the sophisticated audiences that they are, showcasing high profile and award-winning talent, inventive production values and compelling stories that challenge, educate and entertain. CCT also honors a strong commitment to low-income families and children with special needs. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools, the company offers free tickets to more than 5,000 Chicago-area low-income students each season.

In addition to presenting live shows in The Station’s intimate 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre continues to grow its education and community programs, which are unique in Chicago for emphasizing student authorship, youth empowerment and community leadership.

Starting this fall, CCT will start offering year-round education programming at The Station for ages 0 to 14, including the city’s most diverse roster of classes, specialized workshops, winter and spring break camps, and a full slate of summer camp experiences. experiences. Returning fall favorites are Hip Hop for Tots with Yuri “The Human Beat Box” Lane, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Acting, Intro to Musical Theatre, Circus and Aerial Arts with Actors Gymnasium, Wiggleworms with Old Town School of Folk Music, Shake the Stage, Bubble Jams and more. Visit, email, or call CCT’s Guest Services, (312) 374-8835, to register your child for one class or many.

Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Eric Neveux. The company is supported by a dynamic Board of Directors comprised of dedicated individuals from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business. Chicago Children's Theatre’s season is sponsored in part by Goldman Sachs Gives and ComEd.

For more information, visit

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