Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Northwestern University Presents Something Rotten February 3-13, 2022 at Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Something Rotten

February 3-13, 2022

Book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick

Music and Lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick

Directed by Rory Pelsue 

Set in the 1590s, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as "The Bard."When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing, and acting simultaneously, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world's very first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of the opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self...and all that jazz.

GET TICKETS: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1079224

Thurs., 2/3 @ 7:30 p.m.

Fri., 2/4 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sat., 2/5 @ 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Sun., 2/6 @ 2 p.m.

Thurs., 2/10 @ 7:30 p.m.

Fri., 2/11 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sat., 2/12 @ 2 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

Sun., 2/13 @ 2 p.m.

Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

Ethel M. Barber Theater

30 Arts Circle Drive

Proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test required.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Art Beat: Greektown Chicago is Celebrating the Holiday Season with a Traditional Holiday Karavákia Display Through January 15, 2022

Art Beat:

New Greektown public art exhibit 

celebrates the season


photos by Diane Alexander White

Holiday Karavákia Display showcases vibrant little boats

from 30+ local artists now through January 15, 2022

in businesses throughout Greektown

In Greece, there is an old Christmas tradition of decorating karavákia (little boats) with paint, lights and other materials. The Greektown Arts Committee has brought this unique tradition to life in Chicago by inviting 30+ local artists to decorate little boat models and providing them to Greektown businesses to display in their windows or in a prominent place for public viewing throughout the holiday season. Visit greektownchicago.org for more information.

Greektown is also showcasing a larger karaváki, painted by distinguished artist James Mesple, near the monument at Elysian Field (southeast corner of Halsted and Van Buren Streets), where Greektown’s holiday tree is located.

Visit Greektown Chicago and enjoy the Holiday Karavákia Display that combines modern-day art with homeland traditions. This vibrant art display celebrating the holiday season is sponsored by Greektown SSA #16.

Greektown Holiday Karavákia Display artists & locations

Arkadia Tower Apartments

Artist: Chuck Walker

111 S. Halsted St. (in lobby)


Artopolis Bakery, Cafe and Agora

Artists: Vicky Tesmer, Andy Morreale, & Jennifer Cronin (3 boats)

306 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Athena Restaurant

Artists: Ken Hirte, Dustin Harris & Terry Poulos (3 boats)

212 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Athenian Candle Co.

Artists: James Mesple, Malika Jackson, Rebecca Zaragoza, & Tyrue “Slang” Jones (4 boats)

300 S. Halsted St. (in windows)


Chicago Parthenon Hostel

Artists: Connie Hinkle & Victoria Martin (2 boats)

310-312 S. Halsted St. (in windows)


CHI Smokes

Artist: Leo Talaganis

309 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Dugan’s on Halsted

Artist: Marcelo Elli

128 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Greek Islands Restaurant

Artists: Fernando Ramirez, Diane Thodos, Patricia Owsiany, Panos Fiorentios & Alexandra Damato (5 boats)

200 S. Halsted (In windows & inside)


Mythical Smokes

Artist: David Holt

235 S. Halsted St. (In window)


Nine Muses Bar & Grill

Artists: Kiki Whitehead & Kathleen King (2 boats)

315 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Rye Deli + Drink

Artist: Chris Loutris

25 S. Halsted St. (inside)


Sonder Greektown Suites

Artist: Michael Thompson & Sheri Smith (2 boats)

314 S. Halsted St. (in windows)


Spectrum Bar & Grill

Artists: Michael Thompson, Vasiliki Valkanas, Louis DeMarco & Mariana Karampelas (4 boats)

233 S. Halsted St. (inside)



Artist: Ms. Alex White

116 S. Halsted St. (inside)


The Van Buren Apartments

Artists: Dino & Mark Crisanti

808 W. Van Buren St. (inside)



Artist: Tracey Ostmann

111 S. Halsted St. (in window)


Wild Fork Foods

Artist: Eve Moran

100 S. Halsted St. (inside)


About Greektown Chicago

Greektown is a dining, nightlife and cultural district located on the Near West Side of Chicago. A popular destination for tourists and Chicago residents alike, Greektown offers the best sampling of Greek heritage outside of Athens—from authentic restaurants, cafes and shops to the National Hellenic Museum and annual Taste of Greektown festival. Greektown Special Service Area #16 is the business improvement district for the neighborhood, administered by sole service provider the West Central Association and guided by a volunteer commission of local business owners, property owners and residents. For more information, visit greektownchicago.org.

REVIEW: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG Wows at Broadway Playhouse Through JANUARY 30, 2022

 ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List



$25 Digital Lottery tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong entry link and details below


     Through JANUARY 30, 2022

Runtime: 2 hours with an intermission

Guest Review by 
Dugan Kenaz-Mara

The Play That Goes Wrong at Broadway Playhouse is a masterpiece. From the excellent writing and hilarious execution by the actors to the marvel of a set and comical program, the entire show is amazing from start to finish. 

Before taking your seat or at intermission you might notice that the program includes some comedic gems. Not only is the graphic design offset, but the actors included a fake program for the fake play they are putting on. It includes introductions and headshots in the style of their characters and even has fake advertisements to round the whole thing out. 

Before the show starts it is evident that things will go wrong. One of the characters playing a stage manager is out on stage freaking out over lost items, props start breaking before they get to be used, and the board operator character asks audience members about a misplaced DVD. As people find their seats they’ll notice the curtain isn’t drawn and there are still props strewn around the stage, not set for the top of the show. 

This play feels like watching a comedic rendition of an actor’s worst nightmare. I know I’ve certainly had a bad dream or two about forgetting my lines or having to go on as an understudy with no idea what to do, but this play takes it to the next level. What do you do when the stage door doesn’t unlock? What about when one of the leads gets knocked out and you have to get them off stage? Or when the replacement for that lead also gets knocked out? How about when both of them regain consciousness and have to fight for who actually gets to play the role? It probably feels like that’s the point where everything is going wrong, but that’s just the beginning. 

The actors do an amazing job of putting real stakes into their play and the characters play it up to another level. One of my favorite parts is how much fun they put into their performance. Because they realistically play people who are in a performance themselves it makes the little moments where they ‘break’ by interacting with the audience or whispering to each other that much more hysterical. 

My plus one had this to say, “I thought the whole cast did an excellent job at making both the actor and murder mystery’s characters shine through. The growing exasperation in some of them combined with the panic in others added to the hilarity. I could barely catch my breath from one bout of laughing before being thrust into another. With comedic timing tuned better than a German clock and physical feats that would make the best film stars jealous, I can’t imagine any theatergoers would walk away without their lungs being sore from laughing.”  Ben Jouras

I would recommend this show to anyone who has experience in theatre. There are fun references and puns on well-known musicals. There are jokes about different theater styles and elements, and there are even moments of physical comedy making fun of bad acting practices that anyone in the field will instantly recognize. Because my friend and I are both actors, many of them hit close to home, cracking us up the entire show!

Dugan Kenaz-Mara is an actor, designer, and photographer studying theatre and psychology at Northwestern University. Contrary to popular belief, he is not a time traveler.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is one of our favorites here at ChiIL Mama, so we were jazzed to hear that Broadway in Chicago is bringing it back to Broadway Playhouse with a talented Chicago cast. We caught the Broadway touring company in 2018 and laughed so hard our abs hurt for days. Check out past review here

The producers of the international hit comedy THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG are pleased to announce the cast for a Chicago production coming to the Windy City for a limited seven-week engagement. Tickets are on sale now at www.BroadwayInChicago.com for performances running December 14, 2021 through January 30, 2022 at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut St.).

All patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is recommended for ages 8 and older.

The Chicago-based company will include Colton Adams as Trevor, Joseph Anthony Byrd as Jonathan, Ernaisja Curry as Annie, Michael Kurowski as Dennis, Matt Mueller as Chris, Kelly O’Sullivan as Sandra, Jarred Webb as Max, and Jonah D. Winston as Robert. Standbys include Caroline Chu, Drew Johnson, Russell Mernagh, and Brenann Stacker.

Producer Kevin McCollum said, “More than anything right now, we need to laugh. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG brings audiences of all ages and backgrounds together through comedy. And we are thrilled to return to Chicago with an incredible cast of extraordinarily talented Chicagoans.” 

Co-written by Mischief company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces ‘The Cornley University Drama Society,’ which is attempting to put on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.

“So much goes right…it’s tough to beat ‘The Play That Goes Wrong.’” – Catey Sullivan, Chicago Sun-Times

Entertainment Weekly raves THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is “hilarious, non-stop pandemonium.” The New York Times calls it “a gut-busting hit,” and Huffington Postproclaims it “the funniest play Broadway has ever seen!” The New York Post says, “Nothing is as fall down funny. GO.”

The Broadway production of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017 and by its closing on January 6, 2019 played 27 previews and 745 performances, making it the second longest running show in the history of the Lyceum Theatre. Not yet done with New York, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG officially opened Off-Broadway on February 20, 2019 at New World Stages – Stage 4, where it resumed performances in October 2021 after being suspended due to the pandemic. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG received a Tony Award® for Best Set Design, Broadway.comAudience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.

“UPROARIOUS! A hearty laugh-a-thon for the holiday season.” – Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald

Winning the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and the 2014 WhatsOnStage Award for Best New Comedy, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is now in its eighth year in the West End, having played to over two million people in more than 30 countries on six continents. It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play that started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance and has gone on to play to an audience of over two million people around the world.

“This is a data-driven observation: People laughed all night.” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Mischief Theatre Ltd. was founded in 2008 by a group of acting graduates of LAMDA and began as an improvised comedy group. Mischief performs across the UK and internationally with original scripted and improvised work and also has a program of workshops. Their previous West End production was The Comedy About A Bank Robbery (Criterion Theatre). In September 2019, the company started a residency at the Vaudeville Theatre with Groan Ups followed by Magic Goes Wrong, which is currently running in the West End until February 2022. Other Mischief productions, including Peter Pan Goes Wrong, regularly tour in licensed productions in the UK, USA and worldwide. Mischief was first seen on television in the Royal Variety Performance of 2015 and subsequently in two BBC One Christmas specials, “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” (2016) and “A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong” (2017). Their recent six-part TV series called “The Goes Wrong Show” was aired on BBC One. The company is owned and controlled by its original members and is led by a creative group and its directors Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer. 

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is directed in Chicago by Matt DiCarlo with original Broadway direction by Mark Bell, featuring set design by Tony Award winner Nigel Hook, lighting design in Chicago by Jeremy Cunningham based on the original Broadway design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design in Chicago by Beth Lake based on the original Broadway design by Andrew Johnson, and costume design by Roberto Surace.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is produced in Chicago by Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd., Catherine Schreiber, Ken Davenport, Double Gemini Productions / deRoy- Brunish, Damian Arnold / TC Beech, Greenleaf Productions / Bard-Roth, Martian Entertainment / Jack Lane / John Yonover, and Lucas McMahon.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayGoesWrong.com or follow

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @BwayGoesWrong



COLTON ADAMS (Trevor). Theatre credits include Six Degrees of Separation (Redtwist Theatre), Scapin (Citadel Theatre), Goldfish (u/s, Route 66 Theatre Company). Received BFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and studied at Acting Studio Chicago. TV/film credits include “61st Street” (AMC), Pardoned by Grace, and Driftless. Colton is represented by Big Mouth Talent. 

JOSEPH ANTHONY BYRD (Jonathan). Chicago: And The World Goes Round at Marriott, Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera, Emmett Till in The Ballad of Emmett Till at Goodman, and Emcee in Cabaret at Paramount. Broadway/National Tour: Kinky Boots, The Lion King, and Mamma Mia! (LV). TV: “4400,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and “Proven Innocent.”

ERNAISJA CURRY (Annie). National tour debut! The Florida native received her BFA from Adelphi University and completed Cincinnati Playhouse’s Bruce E. Coyle Acting Internship. Recent credits: Skeleton Crew (Ensemble Theatre), The Ballad… (MFP Productions). Thank you so much to God, family, friends, mentors, and the TPTGW team! ernaisjacurry.com. @ernaisjacurry.

MICHAEL KUROWSKI (Dennis). Chicago performer for almost ten years. Recent credits: Crutchie (Newsies, Paramount Theatre), Jerry Lee Lewis (MDQ, Theatre at the Center), and Once (national tour). Screen: “Chicago Med,” Lovecraft Country, Gran Torino, and the upcoming series “Ripple Effects.” Musician in his free time and father all the time. Love to Mary, JoAnn, and Paonessa Talent. MichaelKurowski.net.

MATT MUELLER (Chris). Broadway: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Regional: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Lyric Repertory Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, and multiple productions of Woody Guthrie’s American Song. Television: “Chicago Justice” (NBC). Film: Popper Baxton’s Sickly Stew. 

KELLY O’SULLIVAN (Sandra) is an actor, writer, and director. Theatre: Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Writers, among many others. Film/TV: two seasons of USA’s “Sirens;” features Cha Cha Real Smooth, The Graduates, Henry Gambles’ Birthday Party, and South by Southwest Award winner Saint Frances, for which she was the screenwriter/lead actor. 

JARRED WEBB (Max). Credits include The Brothers Size (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Julius Caesar (Prague Shakespeare Company), The Death of Kings (Southwest Shakespeare Company, AZ), and the world premiere of The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 (LaunchPad, UCSB). Education: BFA, University of California, Santa Barbara. 

JONAH D. WINSTON (Robert) is overjoyed to join TPTGW family! He earned his BA in Theatre from Butler University and furthered his education at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. Jonah has performed at The Goodman, Lyric Opera, Cleveland Playhouse, and The Mercury Theatre Chicago. Commercial/TV credits: “Chicago Fire,” Skittles, McDonald's, and more! He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

CAROLINE CHU (u/s Annie, Sandra) is thrilled to be part of TPTGW! Credits: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, First Floor Theater, Jackalope Theatre, Raven Theatre. Graduate of Northwestern University and company member at First Floor Theater. Massive thanks to Stewart Talent and the most supportive family and friends in the world. @carolinechu_

DREW JOHNSON (u/s Robert, Jonathan, Trevor, Dennis, Max) Chicago: Love’s Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Flamingo & Decatur (Block St Theatre Co); Turtle (Redtwist Theatre); Crimes of the Heart (Step Up Productions). Regional: Shakespeare in Love, Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical (TheatreSquared). TV: Chicago Fire; Chicago P.D. Education: M.F.A. in Acting (University of Arkansas).

RUSSELL MERNAGH (u/s Chris, Max, Dennis, Robert, Jonathan) is thrilled to be a part of TPTGW. Favorite Chicago credits include Ride the Cyclone and The Comedy of Errors at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Rock of Ages at Drury Lane Theatre and Wonderful Town at The Goodman. Russell studied acting at Western Michigan University and is represented by Stewart Talent. 

BRENANN STACKER (u/s Sandra, Annie) Regional Theater: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, TheatreSquared, Williamstown Theatre Festival. TV/Film: “Chicago Med,” “Sirens,” “Easy,” Banana Season. Education/Training: BA Drama Tufts University, O’Neill National Theater Institute, Russian State Institute of Performing Arts and The School at Steppenwolf. Much gratitude to Stewart Talent, my family and Ezrie.


Performances are on Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 PM (with a Wednesday matinee at 2:00 PM on December 22, December 29, January 5, January 12, and January 26), Saturdays at 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM, and Sundays at 2:00 PM (with 7:30 PM evening shows on December 19, December 26, January 2 and January 23). There will be one Monday performance on December 27 at 7:30 p.m. There will be one performance on Friday, December 24 at 2:00 p.m. There will be no shows on Saturday, December 25 and Saturday, January 1.


Individual tickets for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG are on sale now and start at $30 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com. For more information, visit  www.BroadwayInChicago.com.


Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 21 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the  Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Auditorium Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway  Playhouse at Water Tower Place.

Until further notice, audience members will need to be masked and fully vaccinated with FDA authorized vaccine. For those with exemptions or unable to be vaccinated (including children) you need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter our Broadway In Chicago Theatres.  Audience members must show proof of vaccination (either through electronic copy, photocopy, or photo) along with a photo ID and valid ticket at their time of entry into the theatre. “Fully vaccinated” means the performance date must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 Vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Children 5 – 11 will be allowed admittance with one vaccine that was administered 14 days prior to performance.  Tests that are accepted are either PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time or antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time. No home tests are accepted and due to COVID 19 protocol children under 2 are not allowed into the theatre.

All Broadway In Chicago schedules, productions, and protocols for attendance will continue to be reviewed as further guidance and recommendations are provided by the CDC, Illinois State, and Chicago Departments of Health. For the latest health and safety procedures and guidelines, visit BroadwayInChicago.com/COVID19.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

$25 Digital Lottery tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong
A digital lottery for a limited number of $25 seats will be held for the performance of The Play That Goes Wrong. Seat locations and the number of tickets awarded by the lottery are always subject to availability.

What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You’d get THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Broadway & London’s award-winning smash comedy! Called “A GUT-BUSTING HIT” (The New York Times) and “THE FUNNIEST PLAY BROADWAY HAS EVER SEEN” (HuffPost), this classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania delivering “A RIOTOUS EXPLOSION OF COMEDY” (Daily Beast). Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “TONS OF FUN FOR ALL AGES” (HuffPost) and “COMIC GOLD” (Variety) – sure to bring down the house!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

EXTENDED: Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse's Foodie Farce "A Recipe For Disaster" Now Playing Through March 27, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar 

Image courtesy of Emily Madigan

James Beard Award-winning Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein announced the extension of their immersive production, “A Recipe For Disaster,” written by Bayless, Rubenstein and Windy City Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger and directed by Jeff Award Winner David H. Bell, through March 27, 2022. 

Lauded as “a truly delicious spectacle for the audience…that’s worth seeing a second time” by Eater Chicago, the fully immersive event gives audiences the opportunity to sample food designed by Bayless, with cocktails and wine pairings by Lanie Bayless as the hilarity unfolds. Based on Bayless’ real-life experiences, the story is set during influencer night at The Contumacious Pig, one of the city’s hottest restaurants, when everything that could possibly go wrong occurs. From a sick head chef and unexpected health inspector to a spy from a competing restaurant and the bus boy hiding a wild pig, the evening is nothing short of hilariously chaotic. 

The cast of a “A Recipe for Disaster” includes Emma Jo Boyden as Shelley, Kierra Bunch as Loreen, Carley Cornelius as Kiki, Ian Maryfield as Boris, Alex Morales as Iggy, Ben Page as Jude, Ryan Reilly as Clyde and Daniel Trinidad as Felix. The creative team for the show includes director David H. Bell who received a Jeff Award for his direction of Windy City Playhouse’s smash hit “Southern Gothic,” set designer William Boles, who received a Jeff Award for his design of Windy City Playhouse’s “The Boys in the Band” and costume designer Uriel Gomez who was nominated for a Jeff Award for his work on the same production. Rounding out the creative team is lighting designer Jared Gooding, sound designer Willow James and properties designer Caitlin McCarthy.  

Tickets to “A Recipe for Disaster,” which include six bite-size tastings and three cocktail and wine samplings are on sale now, with regular and VIP options available. Limited to 30 guests per performance, the VIP experience includes a pre-show charcuterie board and cocktail, premium seating and a gift bag including dessert, a party favor and a signed photo of Chef Rick Bayless and the cast. 

“A Recipe for Disaster” is now open on the Club Level at Petterino’s, located at 150 N Dearborn. For tickets and more information, please visit www.windycityplayhouse.com


About Rick Bayless  

Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” His highly rated public television series, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” is broadcast coast to coast and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades.

Located in Chicago, Rick's Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” designation from the James Beard Foundation — an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants. His wildly popular fast-casual Xoco debuted in 2009 and Tortas Frontera at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has changed the face of airport dining. In 2016, he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. In 2018, Rick expanded his Clark Street restaurants by opening Bar Sótano, a Oaxacan-inspired mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food. Tortazo, Rick's new fast-casual concept, debuted in 2020 in Chicago's iconic Willis Tower, with plans to open an outpost in New York City in fall 2021.

In 2012 and again in 2014, Rick joined forces with Lookingglass Theatre Company to create “Cascabel,” the story of food’s capacity to change lives. The audience for “Cascabel” shared a meal with the cast of actors, musicians, singers and circus performers as the tale of unrequited love resolved into magical beauty.

Always a philanthropist, Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling nearly $3 million. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship, a culinary school scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago. In 2019, Rick founded Impact Culinary Training, a restaurant job readiness program on the city’s west side. And in 2017 he established the Bayless Family Foundation to support the city’s vibrant theater scene with grants to Chicago theater companies totaling $1.5 million to date.

The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people. 

About Windy City Playhouse 

Windy City Playhouse is a professional theater and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located on Chicago's northwest side. Premiering in March of 2015 with a mission to present contemporary, relevant, and approach art, the Playhouse has quickly become a mainstay of the Chicago theater scene. In 2018, its runaway hit, the immersive “Southern Gothic” solidified the Playhouse as the first choice in Chicago theater for one-of-a-kind audience experience. "Experience driven. Audience first." 

For more information, visit WindyCityPlayhouse.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.  

Thursday, December 9, 2021

THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Comes Home for the Holidays Via PlayMakers Laboratory December 10 – 19, 2021 at the Neo-Futurist Theater

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List 

PlayMakers Laboratory Welcomes Back Live Audiences with


Comes Home for the Holidays

Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd

December 10 – 19, 2021 at the Neo-Futurist Theater


An Original Sketch Show Written by Kids, 

Performed by Grownups and Enjoyed by Humans

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, PlayMakers Laboratory and That’s Weird, Grandma have been favorites of ours for years. They're casual, crowd pleasing, wacky, and fun for all ages. 

PlayMakers Laboratory is pleased to welcome back live audiences this winter with That’s Weird, Grandma: Comes Home for the Holidays, directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd, playing December 10 – 19, 2021 at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Monday, November 1 at www.playmakerslab.org or by calling (773) 506-7140. The press opening is Saturday, December 11 at 7:30 pm. 

Please note: proof of vaccination is required or a negative COVID test for children under 12. Masking is required by all patrons.

Enjoy a line-up of holiday-themed sketches and songs performed by PlayMakers Laboratory Company Members Elijah Cox, Nick Crothers,Linsey Falls, Taylor Galloway and Bhak Yongwoo.

Now in its 20th year, That’s Weird, Grandma features adaptations of stories written during PlayMakers Laboratory’s creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. PML’s ensemble of professional actors, comedians and musicians bring the young authors’ stories to life as raucous sketches, songs and movement pieces, performing first for students in their schools and then for the public. These stories – from hilarious dialogues between unlikely characters to poignant pleas for social change – resonate with adults while celebrating the imaginations of young people. Every week brings a new line-up of stories, and PML invites audiences to vote on their favorites at each performance. 

Performance Schedule:

Friday, December 10 at 7:30 pm (preview)

Saturday, December 11 at 7:30 pm (press opening)

Sunday, December 12 at 3 pm

Friday, December 17 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 18 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 19 at 3 pm

Tickets: Adults: $22.50 in advance, $25 walk-ups; Children 12 and under $12.50; Seniors/Students/Teachers w/I.D. $15; Teen Arts Pass (TAP) members: $5 with ID. Tickets on sale now at www.playmakerslab.org or by calling (773) 506-7140.

PlayMakers Laboratory will also continue to stream That’s Weird, Grandma on Patreon with a new show available at the beginning of each month. For information and subscriptions, visit www.playmakerslab.org

That’s Weird, Grandma: Comes Home for the Holidays!




Directed By: 

Brandon Cloyd

Stage Manager: 

Cedar Larson

The Cast: 

Jen Allman, Elijah Cox, Nick Crothers, Linsey Falls, 

Taylor Galloway and Bhak Yongwoo

The Stories:



















Production Design:

Opening & Closing Song: 

Gwen Tulin

Choreography by:

Amy Carlson

Stage Design:

Kassi Bleifuss & Sarah Goeden

Music Composed by: 

Elijah Cox, Bhak Yongwoo, Jonathan Mastro & Curtis Williams

Digital Adaptations

Mara Dale, Noah Appelbaum, Maeli Goren, Gaby Hirsch, Jon Schneidman, Kaitlyn Andrews, Brenda Arellano, Jen Allman, Ashley Bland & Cedar Larson

Also, Check us out on Social Media by following our: Youtube, Patreon, Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram.

We are grateful for the support of the following foundations & entities:

Crown Family Philanthropies, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities Foundation, Maurice R. and Meta G. Gross Foundation, Mardi Gras Fund, Polk Bros. Foundation, The Saints Foundation, Siragusa Family Foundation, Paul M. Angell Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts

About the Director

Brandon Cloyd joined PlayMakers Laboratory in 2007 and has been deeply involved in many facets of the company ever since. Prior to joining PML, Brandon graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Business Institutions. Within PML, Brandon has served as an actor, teaching artist, lead teacher, a member of Teacher Corps, as well as directing shows for schools and public performances of That's Weird, Grandma. Before becoming the company’s Artistic Director in September 2017, Brandon served as PML After-School Program Coordinator at Loyola Park from 2014-2016 and Program Director from 2016-2017. Outside of PML, he worked as the Associate Director of Camp Echo, where he has spent 13 summers managing campers and staff at a co-ed sleep away camp in Upstate New York. Brandon has worked with other theatre companies including Urban Theatre Company, American Theater Company, Filament Theatre, InGen Productions, ACLE's Teatrino in Italy and Purple Crayon Players at Northwestern University. Brandon recently joined the Board of Directors for the League of Chicago Theatres.

About PlayMakers Laboratory

Since PlayMakers Laboratory’s inception in 1997 as Barrel of Monkeys, its teaching artists have served more than 60 Chicago Public Schools. Over 15,000 elementary school students have participated in the PlayMakers programs, which aim to build students' writing skills, improve self-esteem, and instill confidence in their ideas and abilities.

PlayMakers Laboratory is sponsored in part by Wintrust Financial, Allscripts, Inc., Ernst and Young and Punchkick Interactive. It receives generous support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency; the National Endowment for the Arts; a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; the Chicago Community Trust; Crown Family Philanthropies; Alphawood Foundation of Chicago; the Maurice R. and Meta G. Gross Foundation; Polk Bros Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; the Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc.; The Saints; The Topfer Family Foundation, and many other generous individuals and foundations. 

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical Via The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago Through Dec. 19 at The Greenhouse Theater Center

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




This Live Musical for Ages 3 and up is Based on The Beloved Children’s Book “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” by Mo Willems

Here at ChiIL Mama we adore Mo Willems and children's theatre, so we're excited to share there's a new troupe in town, The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago (YPT). Even better, their inaugural production is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, written by Mo Willems, with music by Michael Silversher, and directed by Randy White and music directed by David Zizic. I had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing Mo Willems for ChiIL Mama when my children were small and his hilarious books were in heavy rotation in our home. If he's a favorite of yours too, or if you're newly discovering his work, don't miss this! Theatre boosts empathy and creative thinking in children. If you're looking for family friendly fun with your littles this December, put Knuffle Bunny on your list.

Adapted by Willems from his own Caldecott Honor-winning children’s book, “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale,” the production runs Thursday, Dec. 2 - Sunday, Dec. 19 at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Regular performances are Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., Fridays at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. The press opening is Thursday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. The current running time is 50 minutes. Tickets are $19 (under 12) and $25 (12 and up) and are available now at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling 773.404.7336.

*YPT will not be seating the theater at full capacity and proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is required for ages 12 and up.*

Knuffle Bunny is the spirited account of a beleaguered Dad who inadvertently leaves his toddler’s favorite stuffed bunny at the laundromat. Adapting his best-selling illustrated book for the stage, Mr. Willems explores the loving and complex bond between parent and child while celebrating the glorious complexity of family life in the big city. Knuffle Bunny features Michael Silversher’s irresistibly hummable music, plenty of energetic dance, and some truly inspired puppets (both modest and HUUUUGE!) – and even a guest appearance by Mo Willems’ own much-loved bus-driving pigeon!

The cast for Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical includes Aissa Guerra (Trixie), Grace Bobber (Mom), Sam Shankman (Dad), and Matthew O’Neal Lolar, Haley Gustafson, and Juanita Andersen (ensemble).

The production team of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical includes Mo Willems (book & lyrics), Michael Silversher (composer), Randy White (director), Tuesdai B. Perry (choreographer), David Zizic (music director), Lauren M. Nichols (scenic design), Caitlin McLeod (costume design), Kat Pleviak (puppet design), Brandon Wardell (light design) and Dave Wisniewski (prop design).

ABOUT MO WILLEMS (adapter, author, lyricist and writer)

Mo Willems is a New York Times bestseller who began his career as a writer and animator for PBS' ”Sesame Street,”where he garnered six Emmy Awards for his writing. During his nine seasons at ”Sesame Street,” Willems also served as a weekly commentator for BBC Radio and created two animated series,

Nickelodeon's ”The Off-Beats” and Cartoon Network's ”Sheep in the Big City.” While serving as head writer for Cartoon Network's #1 rated show, “Codename: Kids Next Door,” Williems began writing and drawing books for children. His debut effort, ”Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” became a New York Times Bestseller and the following year ”Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale” was awarded a Caldecott Honor. The sequel, ”Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity” garnered him his third Caldecott Honor in 2008. In addition to picture books, Mo created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of "Easy Readers", which were awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and a Geisel Honor in 2011. For older audiences he has published an illustrated memoir of his year-long trip around the world in 1990-91 entitled ”You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons.” The animated ”Knuffle Bunny” was awarded Best Film during the New York International Children's Film Festival in 2008 and received the Andrew Carnegie Medal in 2007. The animated ”Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” garnered Willems his second Carnegie Medal in 2010. He wrote the script and lyrics for Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, commissioned by the Kennedy Center for its 2010 season. Willems lives in Massachusetts with his family.

ABOUT MICHAEL SILVERSHER (composer/co-lyricist)

Michael Silversher is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter (“Elmo in Grouchland”), with three primetime Emmy nominations, including two for Winnie-the-Pooh and one for The Muppets who collaborated with Joy Sikorski to create SingBabySing’s exclusive prenatal and infant music singing CD for moms, dads, grandparents, nurses and early childhood educators.

Silversher was the composer for the background music of the hit children’s TV show, “Dinosaur Train,” songwriter for “Pajanimals”and composer/co-lyricist for Knuffle Bunny, A Cautionary Tale, which premiered at the Kennedy Center. Silversher, in collaboration with Patty Silversher, also wrote the theme songs for Disney’s television series, “Tale Spin” and “Gummi Bears.” Together they have over one hundred songs in the Disney catalog.

He has written over forty-three musical theatre works and has worked extensively with Jim Henson Productions, MGM, Sony, Warner Bros., The Learning Channel, Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Opera, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Sundance Institute.


Randy White was founding artistic director of Cardinal Stage in Bloomington, IN. Under White’s leadership, Cardinal grew into one of Indiana’s largest arts organizations. A champion of children’s theatre, White also inaugurated Cardinal’s extraordinarily successful Cardinal for Kids series, playing to 100,000+ children throughout Southern Indiana. White was also gratified to work with 100+ extraordinarily talented Chicago actors and designers while at Cardinal.

In New York City, White developed and directed Theatreworks USA’s Max and Ruby, a children’s musical that played off-Broadway and toured nationally. He directed the 15-month off-Broadway run of Glen Berger’s Underneath the Lintel, assisted on Disney’s The Lion King, and was resident director at New Dramatists. Regionally, White has directed at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Portland Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville and many other theatres across the county.

As a theatre educator, White has directed and/or taught at Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University, University of Minnesota/Guthrie, University of Alberta, Fordham and NYU Tisch.

In Chicago, White directed The Wizard of Oz at the Children’s Theatre of Winnetka and Curious George and Knuffle Bunny at Northbrook Theatre. For the Greenhouse Theater, White directed Truman and The Birth of Israel and was nominated for an Equity Jeff Award for his critically acclaimed production of Midsummer (A Play with Songs). White holds an MFA in directing from the University of Alberta in his native Canada.

The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago

The Young People’s Theatre of Chicago is a new children’s theatre company offering high-quality Theater for Young Audience productions and performance/education opportunities for children of all ages and backgrounds. Housed in the historic Greenhouse Theater Center, YPT launched in the fall of 2021, with additional productions planned for the spring of 2022.

YPT’s Managing Artistic Director Randy White noted that, “as we prepare for our inaugural season, YPT is focused on partnering with community organizations, parents, educators, and local business leaders to provide thrilling and transformative theatre experiences for children from Lincoln Park and surrounding neighborhoods. These community partners will make it possible for local children of all ages–from toddlers to teenagers–to experience and participate in a wide range of transformative theatre experiences, including established children’s classics, commissioned new works by celebrated American playwrights, and extraordinary performance and educational opportunities.”

Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Upstairs Mainstage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Run Dates: Thursdays: December 2, 9 & 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Fridays: December 3, 10 & 17 at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays: December 4, 11 & 18 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sundays: December 5, 12 & 19 at 1 p.m.

Press Performance: Thursday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets: $25 / $19 (under 12)

Running time: 50 minutes

Tickets: currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office, or by calling 773.404.7336.

Monday, December 6, 2021

WRIGLEYVILLE WONDERLAND Returns Through the End of February


19 Wrigleyville Businesses Transform into Holiday Themed Spots for Everyone 

Offering Instagrammable Moments, Movies, Food and Drink Specials and More

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the return of one of Chicago’s favorite holiday celebrations, Wrigleyville Wonderland, running now at select venues through the end of February.

Wrigleyville Wonderland brings the Holiday spirit to Chicago with 19 Wrigleyville businesses transformed into individualized holiday-themed destinations offering map projections, Instagrammable moments and activations. From the locations’ décor to actors dressed in costumes to the holiday themed drinks, there is something for everyone at Wrigleyville’s Wonderland. More information can be found at WrigleyvilleChicago.org

“All of Chicagoland is invited to Wrigleyville for this holiday-inspired interactive and fun experience,” said Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maureen Martino. “Wrigleyville Wonderland is Chicago’s largest holiday pop-up district that is sure to inspire and amaze all those experiencing it while sharing the holiday spirit.”


Highlights of Wrigleyville Wonderland include:

- Map projections showcasing movies and custom holiday content

- Holiday themed drinks 

- Instagrammable moments including holiday themed face cutouts where you get to be part of the films, landscapes and more

- Actors dressed up as Holiday-themed characters

- Bars and lounges going above and beyond with decorations, music and layouts.

- Hot Cocoa and Treat giveaways 

- Fun, SAFE environment.


The 2021 businesses*, in alphabetical order, making the season bright are:

The Country Club - Christmas Club

3462 N. Clark Street


Through February 1, 2022

No Cover

Wrigleyville's original Christmas pop up bar is back.  Enjoy a classic Christmas party experience with themed food, drink, music and decor. 


Deuces - Santa Baby Christmas Bar

3505 N. Clark Street


Through January, 2022

You better watch out! Santa Baby Christmas Bar is back offering a multi-room, multi-level, over the top Christmas experience with brunch available on Saturday and Sundays at 

10 a.m. and 12 p.m. 


Diver at the Park - Santa’s Beach House

3475 N. Clark Street


Santa’s Beach House is here for its first Holiday season. Join Diver at the Park in their Tulum holiday inspired heated tent with their life sized palm trees decorated for a holiday on the beach. Get your Tulum holiday experience and cocktails in the heart of Wrigleyville.


Winter at Gallagher Way

3635 N. Clark Street


Through February 20, 2022

Families, visitors and neighbors can celebrate the holidays by taking part in the many seasonal programs and activities at Gallagher’s Way Winterland return This year includes the return of the famous Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, ice skating on an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, Santa’s Workshop, wreath making classes, holiday movie screenings, special programming at Hotel Zachary and much more. New to this year’s transformation includes a special celebration of Hanukkah, ice bumper cars, plus even more festive décor around Gallagher Way. 


The Graystone Tavern - 8 Crazy Nights - A Hanukkah Bar

3441 N. Sheffield Ave. 


Through January 2, 2022

Back by popular demand for its third year, Chicago’s first and only Hanukkah-themed pop-up bar with decorations created for the Jewish holiday throughout the bar and weatherproofed beer garden, including over 14,000 blue and white lights and Hanukkah ball lanterns adorning the ceiling, Star of David and dreidel ornaments, lighted menorah decor, Mensch on a Bench, a Hanukkah sweater wall, an 8-foot inflatable dreidel and more.  Throughout the pop-up, a special food menu, ranging in price from $5 to $16, will feature traditional and spins on Jewish favorites like Matzo Ball Soup and three flavors of Latkes including classic with sour cream and applesauce, cilantro jalapeno with chipotle sour cream and herb cheddar with chive sour cream. Board and card games will be available to guests nightly including Connect 4 with Hanukkah gelt, Cards Against Humanity Jew expansion pack, Mitzvah Match, Jewish Guess Who, Dreidel, Apples to Apples Jewish edition and Schmear Build-A-Bagel card game.

Houndstooth Saloon - Griswolds

3369 N. Clark Street


Through January 10, 2022

Inspired by the famous family and the hilarious movies, Houndstooth Saloon has menu selections including  "Yakkin on a bone," a two-lb turkey leg, "Cousin Eddie’s" spiked eggnog and Clark's Cocoa.


HVAC Pub - The Christmas Pop UP

3530 N. Clark Street


Through January 15, 2022

HVAC will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring Christmas drinks, food and music. 


The Irish Oak -  Leprechanunaka 

3511 N. Clark Street


Through January 31, 2022

Irish Oak's Leprechanuaka is a celebration of St Patty's day during Christmas, where everyday is St Patty's day at The Irish Oak. The bar is decorated from top to bottom in Irish and Christmas themes. So much green and Christmas cheer that you will never want to celebrate a different holiday again. 


Wrigleyville Kilwins - 25 days of Chocolate 

3519 N. Clark Street

Through December 31

Kilwins will offer caramel apples, hot chocolate and handmade chocolates perfect for gift giving for family, friends or yourself! 


Lucky Dorr - Lucky Lodge

1101 W. Waveland


Through December 31

Lucky Dorr, Chicago's favorite craft beer destination, will transform into Lucky Lodge. A festive Winterland destination with special décor, the aroma of hot apple cider and rustic comfort galore. 


Moe’s Cantina - Whooville

3518 N. Clark Street


Moe’s becomes the celebrated holiday town of Whooville while offering a menu of shareable small plates, traditional full-size entrees, signature tacos and a cocktail list featuring house-made sangria, handmade margaritas, premium tequilas, and more. 

top sporting events!

Casey Moran’s - Rudolph’s Christmas Bar

3660 N. Clark Street


Through December 30

From the creators of Santa Baby Christmas Bar with all the Christmas spirits you know and love at Santa Baby with all new interactive social experiences and an incredible decor. Rudolph’s Christmas Bar will host a DIY Wreath Making Workshop November 30, December 7 and 14.


Mordecai - Mistletoe

3632 N. Clark Street

Through January 16, 2022


Thursdays - Saturdays, excluding Holidays through Dec. 30

Reservations are Free

Mistletoe, Mordecai's annual holiday pop-up bar, boasts naughty and nice decorations and an exclusive holiday-inspired drink menu, featuring both contemporary and vintage cocktails. Groups of 1-4 can reserve two hour blocks (4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tock, Thursday-Saturday. 


NOLA Bar & Kitchen - A Very Cajun Christmas

3481 N. Clark Street


Through January 20, 2022

Inspired by the legend of Papa Noel, it’s a Cajun Christmas Story. In a deep swampy bayou of Louisiana, Papa Noel rides the river in a boat that's pulled by alligators to send out presents. A very cajun Christmas offers unique New Orleans style Christmas decoration with classic cajun eats. It's a place to gather friends and families and let the good times roll. Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Old Crow Smokehouse - Santa’s Workshop

3506 N. Clark Street


Wrigleyville’s award-winning barbecue from the kitchen of pitmaster and “MasterChef” Tony Scruggs is the home of Santa’s Workshop. 

Rizzo’s Bar and Inn - John Vincent’s Holiday Sing Along

3658 N. Clark Street


Through December 30

Every Thursday at 7 p.m. and Every Sunday at 5 p.m through Dec. 30

Local singing legend, John Vincent, will be performing some of the holiday hits from all of your old time lounge singer favorites like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong! 


Roadhouse 66 Gas N’ Grill - Jingle Junkie

3478 N. Clark Street


Through January 8, 2022

Serving up holiday inspired bites and sips in an explosion of cheer, Jingle Junkie and its heated, ski lodge inspired patio is the most festive spot to celebrate your upcoming holiday season. With an extensive seasonal cocktail /beer list and delicious festive bites that are sure to get even the grinchiest Grinch into the holiday spirit.


Stretch Bar & Grill - Elf’d Up

3845 N. Clark Street


No Cover

Through January 8, 2022

Back by popular demand for a third year, it’s a full-blown tribute to the beloved Christmas movie "Elf,” Elf'd Up is a high-energy holiday pop-up bar, perfect for patrons who share Elf'd Up's affinity for elf culture. A casual neighborhood Christmas bar, Elf'd Up never charges a cover and treats patrons to complimentary fresh elf-shaped cookies nightly at 10 p.m.


Underground Lounge - Island of Misfits Toys

952 W. Newport Ave.


Through January 31, 2022

Underground Lounge welcomes you to the “Pabst Island of Misfit Toys,“ to come hang out with Bumbles, Dolly, Hermey and others. 


*Individual operating hours for each location vary from location to location. Some details may change from release date. Please check with the outlet for most up to date information.

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, SSA #17 and the Lakeview East Community Partnership sponsor Wrigleyville Wonderland.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Joffrey Ballet Is Back With Acclaimed Nutcracker Set During Chicago’s Famous World’s Fair of 1893




The critically-acclaimed holiday classic highlighting Chicago’s famous World’s Fair of 1893 to be readapted for its debut at the Lyric Opera House in 26 performances, December 4 – 26, 2021

Plus, animated scenes from Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker return to Art on theMART – the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, November 26 – December 30, 2021

The Joffrey Ballet’s critically-acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, is certain to be a highlight of the Joffrey’s first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 26 performances, December 4 – 26, 2021. Plus, signature scenes from the production will be projected on the world’s largest canvases, Art on theMart, for the second year in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The digital art projection, designed by local production studio The Mill with music arranged by Joffrey Assistant Conductor & Company Pianist Michael Moricz, will be displayed on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-façade. It can be viewed nightly for free from the ‘Jetty’ section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street November 26 – December 30, 2021, in two airings, at 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. More information can be found at artonthemart.com/programming

“The Nutcracker is a celebration of the optimistic spirit that allowed Chicago to rise from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire and produce the World’s Columbian Exposition 128 years ago,” said Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director. “We are thrilled to be able to present one of the world's most beloved holiday traditions at the Lyric Opera House for the first time and celebrate the tenacity that enables Chicagoans to overcome even the most extraordinary challenges. 

“After a year away from the stage, The Nutcracker makes its long-awaited debut on the grand Lyric Opera stage for an enchanted homecoming celebration that is sure to inspire holiday joy throughout Chicago and beyond,” added Greg Cameron, President and CEO. “There is something special about the magic of The Nutcracker, and we look forward to bringing it to life once again for Chicago and audiences everywhere.”

Wheeldon’s American tale relocates Marie and her immigrant family to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and opens as young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the mysterious Great Impresario, creator of the Fair, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair. 

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker also features designs by an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author and illustrator Brian Selznick, six-time Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy.  The production is currently being adapted by Wheeldon to fit the larger Lyric Opera stage.

The Nutcracker features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.



The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker Saturday, December 4 through Sunday, December 26, 2021. The full schedule is as follows: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec. 5 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm; Thursday, December 9 at 7:00pm; Friday, Dec.10 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 11 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1:00pm and 6:00 pm; Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7:00pm; Thursday, Dec. 16 at  7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 17 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sunday, Dec 19 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm; Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Thursday, Dec. 23 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 24 at 2:00pm; and Sunday, Dec. 26 at 1:00pm and 6:00pm.

Single tickets start at $35 and are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street and by telephone at 312.386.8905, or online at joffrey.org.


About The Joffrey Ballet­­

The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.

Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.

About Art on theMART 

Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. This expansive permanent piece of public art continues Chicago’s legacy of providing both residents and visitors with exceptional art that is both free and accessible to all. Projections are visible to the public from Wacker Drive and along the Chicago Riverwalk, with accompanying audio available on the jetty section of the Riverwalk 

The program content rotates seasonally and is selected with the assistance and expertise of the Curatorial Advisory Board. The City of Chicago and theMART work in partnership to manage and curate the projected artwork over the course of a 30-year agreement. Privately funded by Vornado Realty Trust, owner of theMART, Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of its size and scope is completely dedicated to digital art with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging. The permanent projection system illuminates theMART with 34 state-of-the-art projectors totaling almost one million lumens. For more information, visit www.artonthemart.com.  

Special thanks to 2021-2022 The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor, the Women’s Board of The Joffrey Ballet, and Sponsors AARP Illinois, C.D. Peacock, and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald V. Waters III. The Joffrey also thanks Macy’s for its support of virtual Nutcracker programing. The Joffrey gratefully acknowledges The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa; and the many “Believers.”

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2021–2022 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit joffrey.org. Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.