Thursday, February 27, 2020

HELP OUT: Share Your Parenting Stories With Lyric Opera Through February 28 and Be Part of An Interactive Arts Project

Get involved with Thoughts on Parenthood

*As a special thank you for your time, survey participants can enter to win tickets to special Lyric performances and events!* 

Thoughts on Parenthood is an interactive arts project presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago in conjunction with the upcoming Midwest premiere of Blue. With the help of activist and photographer Tonika Johnson, this project will connect with communities across the city of Chicago, gathering personal stories of parents – their greatest wishes, biggest needs, and proudest moments.

Take the survey HERE:

How does it work? 
Participating in this project is easy!
Parents are invited to take a short survey capturing stories about their experiences. The deadline for the survey process is February 28. 15–20 respondents will be selected to be profiled on Lyric's website with an interview and portrait by artist and activist Tonika Johnson.

Starting in May, the public is invited to visit Lyric's website to view selected profiles of parents from across the city.

As a special thank you for your time, survey participants can enter to win tickets to special Lyric performances and events!

Meet Tonika Johnson
Tonika Johnson is a visual artist/photographer from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. As a trained photojournalist and teaching artist, she has been engaged in building an artistic legacy that gained citywide recognition in the last two years.

Coming this June: Blue
June 19-28, 2020
Sung in English with projected text
Presented at the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Tickets start at $35

Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
United States

Lyric premiere of Blue is made possible by support from Gene and Jean Stark, Allstate Insurance Company, Baker & McKenzie, BMO Harris Bank, Conagra Brands Foundation, the Eisen Family Foundation, Virginia and Gary Gerst, Eric and Deb Hirschfield, the Lauter McDougal Charitable Fund, Magellan Corporation, Drs. Walter and Anne-Marie Bruyninckx, Debbie K. Wright. 

What does "parent" mean?

For the purposes of this survey, a “parent” is defined as anyone who has taken legal and/or social responsibility for a child. The goal of this project is to include as many unique stories of parenthood as possible. So, if you consider yourself to be a “parent,” please feel free to participate!
Examples of parents include, but are by no means limited to:

Biological parents
Adoptive parents
Foster parents
Caregivers (grandparents, aunts/uncles, family friends, etc.)
Parents who conceived through alternative means (surrogacy, IVF, IUI, etc.)
Parents whose children are adults
Estranged parents or parents separated from their children

For more information, you can also go to  

Lyric Opera of Chicago is conducting a project in conjunction with their upcoming production of a new opera by Tazewell Thompson and Jeanine Tesori, Blue. Thoughts on Parenthood is an interactive arts project examining the unique experience of parenthood. With the help of activist and photographer Tonika Johnson, Lyric will connect with communities across the city of Chicago, gathering personal stories of parents – their greatest wishes, biggest needs, and proudest moments. Share your story and personal experience as a parent by completing this short survey: 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets ($73 Value/4 winners!) to THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List:
Family Friendly Theatre Fun

A New Musical of the Classic Tale Now Playing 
at the Marriott Theatre!
at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

Enter Below for your Chance to WIN
a Family 4 Pack of Tickets ($73 Value) to 
at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences (4 winners) 
Winners' choice of dates through April 19 (pending availability). Enter through midnight March 4, 2020.
*Winners will be asked to share e-mail/phone/mailing address with The Marriott Theatre box office 

Guest Review:
by Kimberly Robb Baker

If you’re looking for a fun new take on a story your little ones are familiar with, you’ll find it in the Marriott Theatre’s production of The Princess and the Pea. Children and their grownups will appreciate the clever script, entertaining musical numbers, multimedia presentation, and gorgeous costumes. (Thanks to the Saturday morning show’s Q&A, we got some insight into how the costumes were designed and built!)

Photo Credit for all Production Photos: Amy Boyle

And did I mention the cast? No fairytale can function without a villain you love to hate, and Jenna Coker-Jones delivers with so much charisma and diva energy, it’s hard to take your eyes off her. She certainly makes a formidable adversary for her son, Prince Wellington, portrayed with appropriate royal comportment, innocence, and courage by Trevor Venderzee whose vocal performance was a standout. Ruth, the prince’s love interest, is brought skillfully to life by Marielle Nada Issa. One of my favorite parts of the play is the sweet relationship between her and her Papa, actor Mark David Kaplan who shows extraordinary range, also jumping in as the larger-than-life media presenter.

Also doing double-duty—as the bride favored by the queen and a “cloudy” meteorologist—is Allison Sill, who fits both bills perfectly and uses her powerful singing voice to much hilarity.

A live musical trio and wondrously imagined set round out this experience and make it a must-see for families.

Kimberly Robb Baker is a Chicago based writer, blogger, consultant, story teller, and mother. You can find her worky stuff here: and her artsy fartsy stuff here:

"Hear ye, hear ye...Prince Wellington is seeking a bride." The classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen comes to life in a new musical THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire, from February 8 to April 19. This new spin on the classic tale features music by Marc Robin, book and lyrics by Rick Boynton, and additional lyrics by Curt Dale Clark and Marc Robin. THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA is directed and choreographed by Artistic Director Aaron Thielen, with musical direction by Patti Garwood. 

“I'm excited to get the opportunity to direct this production of THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA, written by such talented and dear friends,” says Thielen. “It’s a wonderful story about staying true to who you are and not letting others tell you who you are supposed to be; the lesson is that you get to write your own story.”

Queen Evermean decides it’s time for her son, Prince Wellington, to get married. She creates a reality game show called the “Princess Test” to find the Prince the “perfect” bride. But the Prince doesn’t want to marry someone picked for him from a game show, he wants to marry for love. He escapes to the royal forest where he comes face to face with the girl he knows is the one. But will the Queen allow them to marry? Will she have to pass the Princess Test? Will a tiny pea and a stack of mattresses stand between her and true love? THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA runs one hour and all performances are followed by a question & answer session with the cast. 

Starring in THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA are Marielle Nada Issa as “Ruth,” Trevor Vanderzee as “Prince Wellington,” Jenna Coker-Jones as “Queen Evermean,” Mark David Kaplan as “Papa and Biff,” Allison Sill as “Buffy and Cumula,” and Ian Paul Custer as “Chester.” 

The production will feature set design by Patrick Ham, lighting design by Brian Elston, costume design by Jesus Perez, sound design by Robert Hornbostel, wig design by Megan Pirtle, and media design by Anthony Churchill and Peter Sullivan; with stage manager Tara Kelly and musical superviser by Patti Garwood.

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA runs most Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. with certain performances at 12:30 p.m. Visit or call (847) 634-0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates may vary. Single ticket prices are $18.23 per person. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling (847) 634-5909. Free parking is available at all shows. To reserve tickets, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at (847) 634-0200or visit

Enter HERE for your Chance to WIN
a Family 4 Pack of Tickets ($73 Value) to 
at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences (4 winners)
Winners' choice of dates through April 19 (pending availability). 
Enter through midnight March 4, 2020. 
*Winners will be asked to share e-mail/phone/mailing address with The Marriott Theatre box office


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

GIVEAWAY and REVIEW: WIN a Pair of Tickets to Grease at Marriott Theatre Now Playing Through March 15, 2020

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
It's the energetic and electric musical comedy tribute 
to the age of rock ‘n roll!

Terry James, Executive Producer
Andy Hite, Lead Artistic Director
Aaron Thielen, Artistic Director


WIN a Pair of Tickets to Grease 
(Up to $120 value/2 winners) 
at Marriott Theatre
Enter Below 
(Winners' choice of dates pending availability.)

Photo Credit for all: Liz Lauren
Unless Otherwise Noted

by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Rydell High may be a fond figment of the imagination of author, Jim Jacobs, but the actual inspiration is William Howard Taft High School on Chicago's north west side, where he attended. I was amused to see that Marriott gives props to Taft with a Bryn Mawr street sign, and an Eagles mascot banner, both of which are true, though their real school colors are blue and white. I'm quite familiar with this high school, as my daughter, Sage, tested in to their junior high Academic Center IB program as a 7th grader. She's now a Taft High Junior, where she's been a cheerleader, on poms squad, and in numerous plays. 

Much has changed since the 1950's, era of the fictional fav, Grease, that first opened at Chicago's Kingston Mines in 1971, yet much remains the same. There are still school dances, cliques, drama, dropouts, cheerleaders, gear heads, partiers, sleep overs and summer love. 

Hopefully, though, in 2020, girls aren't quite so quick to change their entire look and persona for a guy, like the cringeworthy climax of Grease. At least the show has fully fleshed out women characters with hopes, dreams, disasters, failures, unexpected pregnancies, and friendships/rivalries with one another, apart from the men they're dating. That's not always a given, especially in musicals. 

Marriott's period piece is sure to be a fan favorite, with big dance numbers, a talented ensemble, and plenty of eye candy. The Beauty School Dropout number is a particular standout with 
Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (“Teen Angel”). We also love that Greased Lightening, the beater/ race car wannabe, is actually drivable, and enters and exits the theatre in the round stage during scenes. 

On the down side, we're not crazy about Sandy (Leryn Turlington). Most of the women characters' dialogue and songs, with the exception of Rizzo's (excellently played by Jacquelyne Jones), tend toward a stylized, squeaky register which grates after a while. 

The only one who pulls it off exceedingly well is Landree Fleming as “Frenchy”. She's a joy to see in action. 

We were also a bit let down that Sandy is the only one doing the big transformation to "greaser gal". In other versions, Danny simultaneously alters his look and lifestyle to "square" to please  her, and that doesn't happen in Marriott's production.

On the up side, the costumes, choreography and casting are overall excellent, especially the men, headed up by charmer, Danny Zuko (Jimmy Nicholas). This retro romp makes for a fun filled evening. The set design, while not as elaborate as many of Marriott's past productions, is clever and provides a perfectly fine playground for this fifties reverie, complete with neon signs. All signs point to a great run and another hit for this stellar, suburban theatre. Recommended.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Marriott Theatre is proud to present the electrifying smash hit GREASE
now playing through Sunday, March 15th.

The Tony Award-nominated musical is directed by four-time Jeff Award winner, Scott Weinstein (Something Rotten!, Murder for Two, Shrek), with musical direction by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson and choreography by Jeff Award winner William Carlos Angulo. 

“I grew up on GREASE and getting to direct it for the first time and at the Marriott Theatre is a real thrill,” said director Scott Weinstein. “It premiered here in Chicago nearly 50 years ago and still has so much to say about growing up, teenage rebellion, pop culture and of course, rock and roll. I can't wait to explore this timeless rock musical in the city for which it was meant."

GREASE follows the story of Sandy Dumbrowski, the new girl in town, and Danny Zuko, the school’s coolest greaser, who have a secret romance over summer break away from school. However, when the pair find themselves face to face upon returning to school, everything is different. Sandy attempts to navigate the tricky social circles of Rydell High School and reignite her summer romance, but bad boy Danny is more concerned with maintaining his tough-guy reputation. 

Join in the fun of the hilarious antics of Rydell High's class of '59 and rock to songs like “Beauty School Dropout,” “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” and “You’re the One That I Want.”

GREASE stars Jimmy Nicholas in his Marriott Theatre debut as “Danny” (Broadway: The Book of Mormon) and Leryn Turlington as “Sandy” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater: The Wizard of Oz, Writers Theatre: Parade). The cast also features Curt Bouril (“Vince Fontaine”), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (“Teen Angel”), Jack Cahill-Lemme (“Sonny”), Kelly Anne Clark (“Mrs. Lynch”), Kevin Corbett (“Kenickie”), Jake Elkins (“Roger”), Landree Fleming  (“Frenchy”), Jacquelyne Jones (“Rizzo”), Michael Kurowski (“Doody”), Michelle Lauto (“Marty”), Garrett Lutz (“Eugene”), Jessica Palkovic (“Cha Cha”), Billy Rude (“Johnny Casino”), Tiffany T. Taylor  (“Jan”), and Alaina Wis (“Patty”), with ensemble members Nicholas Haas, Allison Sill and Kyra Sorce. 

GREASE will showcase set design by Jeffrey D. Kmiec, costume design by Amanda Vander Byl, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Sarah Ortiz, wig design by Miguel A. Armstrong, and properties design by Sally Zack; with intimacy director Tonia Sina, stage manager Maegan Burnell and musical supervisor Patti Garwood.

The performance is scheduled to run most Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, excluding tax and handling fees. Call for student, senior, and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of dinner-theatre packages available for purchase through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Reservations strongly recommended. Free parking is available at all performances. 

To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to Visit for more information.

WIN a Pair of Tickets to Grease 
(Up to $120 value/2 winners) 
at Marriott Theatre
(Winners' choice of dates pending availability.)
*winners will be asked to share their phone #, address, and e-mail privately with Marriott Theatre's box office in order to redeem their $120 winning ticket voucher. Enter early and often through midnight 2/23/20. Winner will be announced here, on our social media channels and by private e-mail on 2/24/20.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar 
satellites, songs and cereal
at Links Hall for 12 Shows Only!

Conceived and directed by Frank Maugeri 
Text by Seth Bockley
“Whale Tale” by Lindsey Noel Whiting

 The Farewell Fables: 
satellites, songs and cereal 
will be performed March 12th- 29th @7pm
Tickets $25 Students $15

I'll be out with the family to review on opening weekend. Can't wait to catch The Farewell Fables: satellites, songs and cereal is Cabinet of Curiosity’s latest stage celebration—an interactive world of dream and mythology. Don't miss this!

This ingenious and psychedelic production reaches across the fourth wall to embrace the audience and draw them into an uncanny and maniac celebration of the Divine. Wild objects that have been transformed from the mundane into extraordinary mechanisms; a toilet into a bicycle, a table into the garden of Eden, a suitcase into the cosmos, a pizza box into a drive-in movie theater... This event is a delightful and frightening evening hosted by four galactic gods, as they proclaim their retirement, exhausted by mankind’s wrong-headed ambitions and unnecessary sufferings. 

The gods choose to pack their bags and demand a celebratory departure party prior to leaving humankind to their own devices. Cabinet of Curiosity’s mission is to create celebrations on and off stage. In this spirit, The Farewell Fables requires human participation and a steadfast commitment to hope and humor. The audience will enjoy four puppet shows, transforming sets, virtuosic songs, and thrilling tales of the meaningful and absurd, each examining universal human experiences: Life, Death, Faith, Fear. And cereal and milk.

Performer Bios
Starring Time Brickey, Kasey Foster, Diane Mair, John MacGaffey and Lindsey Noel Whiting and Jasmine Richman 
Puppets by Jesse Mooney Bullock and Kass Copeland
Devices by Milam Smith
Music by Jefferey Thomas
Music for Laika’s Return by Kevin O’Donnell
Lighting by David Goodman-Edberg
Costumes by Gillian Gryzlak and Susan Haas
Understudy Jessica Kearney
Stage Management by Jamie Kreppein
Spring Apprentices include Rebecca Husk, Fletcher Wolfe, Connor Konz, Cy Pak

Kasey Foster is a performer, producer, choreographer, creator, and puppeteer based in Chicago. She is an Ensemble Member at Lookingglass Theatre, and was last seen on stage in The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass. Recent on camera credits include: Chicago Med and IFC’s Documentary Now!. Kasey sings with bands Babe-alon 5, Grood, Old Timey, This Must be the Band, and Nasty Buoy. She has created over fifty original works, and produces two annual series called Dance Tribute and The ACTual Show. Website -

Lindsey Noel Whiting is a Chicago-based physical theatre performer, acrobat, teaching artist, and puppeteer. She has performed with Lookingglass Theatre, The Actors Gymnasium, Redmoon, Victory Gardens, and Chicago Children's Theatre as well as at various regional theaters throughout the country. She has also performed with Mucca Pazza (a punk rock marching band) and Barrel of Monkeys (an arts education theatre ensemble working in Chicago Public Schools.) Her writing and original musical compositions have been performed by the Lookingglass Young Ensemble and on stage at The Actors Gymnasium.

Time Brickey a tap dancer, musician, and performing artist from Chicago. He is a company member of M.A.D.D. Rhythms, a collaborator with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Stone Soup Rhythms, and a frequent collaborator with Cabinet of Curiosity. Time has performed in Dance for Life Chicago, the Stomping Grounds Festival, JUBA!, and as a soloist at the Billy Strayhorn Centennial, where the Chicago Tribune described him as a "Literal Loose Cannon." He has been featured tap dancing on 91.1 Vocalo with DJ Ayana Contreras for Reclaimed Soul in The Parks, and in that one Jeff award winning production of 42nd St. at Drury Lane Oakbrook. He's enormously thankful to have shared stages and rehearsal rooms with his own heroes, and some of Chicago's greatest performers.

Diane Mair is a Chicago-based actress, circus artist and puppeteer. She is delighted to be working with the wonderful artists of Cabinet of Curiosity. Past credits include: Off Broadway: H20 with Ground Up Productions; Regional: H2O with the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Sense and Sensibility with the Repertory Theatre St. Louis, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Chicago’s Northlight Theatre, as well as work with The Long Wharf, Michigan Opera Theater and Victory Gardens Theatre; Chicago: productions with Manual Cinema, Mucca Pazza, First Folio Shakespeare, The Gift, Remy Bumppo, Dog & Pony, Redmoon, The Actors’ Gymnasium, Light Opera Works, and TASK Clown Theatre. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Jasmine Richman grew up listening to country music and composing her own on her acoustic guitar. She attended Oklahoma City University where she received her BFA in Acting and Directing in 2016. During college she worked hand in hand with the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre as an actress, director, writer, outreach coordinator and teaching artist. Jasmine’s passion is helping children find creative outlets for their vast imaginations through musical and theatrical expression, so she moved to Chicago after graduation to help jump start creative programs in the city. She continues to work closely with
the Chicago Children’s Theatre as one of their resident teaching artists; directing, devising and composing for their creative camps, classes and after school programs. To keep her inner child alive she’s a professional character performer for Chicago Party Princess Productions and you can hire her anytime you have an event! Jasmine’s favorite Chicago credits includes X-MARKS THE SPOT with the Chicago Children’s Theatre; FOOTLOOSE with the Wilmette Center For The Art; #METOO play festival with the Second Act Players and Uptown Underground’s MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL; MOMMY DEAREST; LOVE ACTUALLY and THE PRINCESS BRIDE PARODY, which she wrote and directed. Jasmine is currently represented by Gill Talent.

John MacGaffey is a performer and theatre admin serving as the Marketing and Operations Manager for The Actors Gymnasium. His trick fiddling has been featured on season 2 of ABC’s The Gong Show and in physical variety shows around Chicago. John has performed in the NY and Chicago Fringe festivals and holds a BA in Theatre from Northwestern University.

Designer Bios
Kass Copeland is an artist, designer, and illustrator who has worked in Chicago since 1995. She earned her BFA from The Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Prior to that, she studied and apprenticed with her father, a theatrical prop designer and craftsperson. In addition to her studio work, she does freelance art and design work for clients.

Jesse Mooney-Bullock is delighted to be filling the Cabinet of Curiosity with more hand-carved movable sculptures. His puppets were last featured here in Tabletop Tragedies. Other Chicago-area projects include The Little Mermaid (Paramount Theatre), The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, Mister
Punch (House Theatre), The Selfish Giant (CCT), The Feast (CST), and several Redmoon Theater productions. He has received two Jeff Awards and been nominated for several others, and a puppet design award from San Francisco Theatre Critics Circle for The Oldest Boy (Marin Theatre.) He lives in Cincinnati and works at MoonBull Studio, his puppet design company.

Jefferey Thomas is a Composer, Guitarist, and Music Director. He is a founding member of Mucca Pazza, co-creator of the multi-media art group The Fruit Stare, and is the creator and music director for The Hideout’s annual Make-Out Party: An Evening of Aural Intercourse. He currently performs with Relevant Hairstyles, Dr. Atop’s Journey to the Polygon of Suffering, and The Old FNG’s; he has worked with Greek composer Michael Karras, punk singer Excene Cervenka, recovering groupie Cynthia Plaster Caster, Chinese guzheng virtuoso Xu YuYen, St. Louis’ The Honkeys, Bobby Conn, and Marvin Tate. He has written incidental music for Redmoon Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Neo-Futurists, as
well as dozens of independent films. His first symphony, “Rumour”, premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in February 2014. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.

Milam Smith is a mechanical engineer. After his university studies, he worked as a construction engineer and a toy designer.

David Goodman-Edberg is delighted to be working with Cabinet of Curiosity again after lighting Tabletop Tragedies. Working primarily in the words of dance and theatre, David has collaborated with such companies including Adventure Stage Chicago, Akvavit Theatre, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Repertory Ballet, Chicago Tap Theatre, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Factory Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Joel Hall Dancers, Manual Cinema, Mudlark Theatre, Organic Theatre, Red Tape Theater, Rough House Theater, The Syndicate, Thodos Dance Chicago, Trap Door Theatre, Visceral Dance Chicago, Water Street Dance Milwaukee, and Wildclaw Theatre. / @festivepterodactyls

Kevin O’Donnell has sound designed and/or composed for Steppenwolf Theatre, Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Children's Theatre, The Hypocrites, The House Theatre of Chicago (where he is a company member), Raven
Theatre, TimeLine Theatre and many others; and has received 20 Jeff Nominations (10 award wins). Recent regional credits include Olney Theatre Center, Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre, The New Orleans Shakespeare Festival, The Pasadena Playhouse and The Skirball Center (NYC). He is also a drummer, and has recorded and performed with Andrew Bird, Kelly Hogan, Jimbo Mathus and Ani DeFranco, among others.

Writer and Director Bios
Seth Bockley is a playwright and theater director specializing in literary adaptation, design-driven production, and new play development. As a writer his works include Gilgamesh & Enkidu, Tabletop Tragedies, Charisma! with Minneapolis rock band Greycoats, Rip Van Winkle; or, Cut The Old Moon Into Stars, the first commission by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Cold Spring NY, 2666 (adapted with Robert Falls from the novel by Roberto Bolaño, Goodman Theater), CRISPR Kids, Laika’s Coffin, Journey For The Sun, Wilderness, February House (with Gabriel Kahane, The Public Theater, NYC), and adaptations from stories by George Saunders: Jon and CommComm, plus the “Cool Dads of America” sketch from A Prairie Home Companion. Directing credits include Gilgamesh & Enkidu; the multimedia documentary theater works Wilderness and Basetrack Live with En Garde Arts (Abrons Arts Center, NYC), 2666 (with Robert Falls, Goodman Theater), Lauren Yee’s Samsara and Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens, Chicago); Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) and 1001; the clown play Guerra, with Mexico City-based troupe La Piara (toured Mexico, Colombia, and U.S.) He teaches at the University of Chicago.

Frank Maugeri is a designer of community, art, education, and events. Maugeri’s life revolves around leading the contemporary wave of participatory arts and how the participatory arts brings people together, creates dialogue, and crosses differences. As an artist, his work is visual and interactive,
 ranging from intimate productions to mammoth spectacles. When he’s not bringing art to life, he’s bringing art to lives through his work as an expert collaborator, community builder, ritual maker, educator, and innovator of curriculum and artistic programming. Frank guides Cabinet of Curiosity’s
 event experiences, ritual apprenticeship program, theater productions and ceremony activities. In Cabinets short 2 years he has created an enterprise that has developed 4 large collaborative productions, trained apprentices from across the nation, executed 2 large scale outdoor ceremonies with Chicago’s Blu Rhythm Collective and The Park District, and designed events for The Shedd
 Aquarium, Navy Pier, The City of Chicago, The Mayors Inaugural Team, University of Chicago, The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, The Merchandise Mart, and many more. He concurrently makes his additional artistic home at Clayco, where he directs the businesses art salons, guides the community inspired civic art projects, develops the visual art’s community, and produces, designs and directs it’s grand fundraising event, Illumination. In 2016, Frank was named Community Programs Artistic Director at Chicago Children’s Theatre. There, he developed the brand of a once local police station into an arts hub, devised multiple education courses for families, created a teaching force and trained them in innovative curriculum and developed civic events, while performing as the community liaison between the neighborhood and the hub. Prior, he spent two decades as Producing Artistic Director at Redmoon
Theater, where he mentored hundreds of young designers, artists, performers and educators from across the nation, while simultaneously helping to guide the institution’s art, education, and community engagement. Maugeri proudly created art and experiences for The White House, The City of Chicago,
 Los Angeles Music Center and other cultural institutions. In his time at Redmoon Theater, Frank authored, designed, and created Redmoon's longest running production, The Cabinet, and conceived and led Redmoon’s celebrated annual events Boneshaker and New Year’s Revolution, employing objects
of his own creation, including his inventions The Momentary Opera, Nickelodeon’s, Mechanical Scrolls, The Libation Machine, The Bubble Man, Cake Hats, Redmoon’s interactive installations, and collaborative objects like The Drum Cart. Collaborative credits include directing productions which toured to Charleville-Mézières, Brazil, Japan, and Amsterdam as well as original works developed for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Maugeri is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and trained in Animation and American History. He currently makes his teaching home at The University of Chicago.

Cabinet of Curiosity is composed of diverse project-by-project collectives who authentically collaborate on original celebrations and productions. Cabinet uses sophisticated puppetry and handmade devices to develop unique interactive experiences, productions and events. We focus on creating new types of gatherings, ceremonies, and rituals which promote community and interactivity
amongst people who may not normally mix. Our intention is to support multi-cultural professionals in the field of theatre, visual arts, dance, sculpture and music, while mindfully training high school and college age apprentices to become the future creators of new meaningful rituals. All of the objects and devices created by cabinet are engineered to expose their mechanical operations so they are simultaneously educational, informative, and magical. We embrace commissions which require unique elements of ritual, ceremony, procession, and pageantry. These commissions create funding that establishes an innovative revenue stream, reduce the responsibility of sustainability from the board, audience, and foundations, trains apprentices through a unique scholarship apparatus, builds community, funds our free and greatly discounted public work. We are committed to social engagement — both grand and intimate. Our purpose is to promote curiosity, community and culture. For us, the world is a Cabinet of Curiosity.
Instagram: @cabocuriosity

About Links Hall
Links Hall encourages artistic innovation and public engagement by maintaining a facility that provides flexible programming for the research, development and presentation of new work in the performing arts. Links Hall shares a building with Constellation at 3111 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618, convenient to the Belmont/Clybourn & Western CTA Bus Stop in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. For more information call 773.281.0824 or visit Links Hall programming is made possible by artists, audiences and generous supporters including: Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, The Chicago Community Trust, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Heather Beth Henson Fund, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Joyce Foundation, Links Hall Commissioning Collective, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Martha Struthers Farley & Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation, National Performance Network, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tickets can be purchased at