ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List:
Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival
Premieres April 21-24 at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre
Ten Chicago-Based Ensembles Offer Circus, Burlesque,
Dance & Comedy
Surface Tension-Company to x for
**Some are family friendly, all ages shows. Some are recommended for teens. Some are adult night out material. Welcome spring with circus arts, dance, partner acro, juggling, aerial arts, and more! **
ChiIL Mama's giving away pairs of tickets to three Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival Shows (3 winners). Enter at the bottom of this post for your chance to WIN tickets to:
Alice in CircusLand (Family Friendly)
Live and breathe circus arts? CPAF is coming for you. Wish you could run away and join the circus... or sell your active offspring to a circus? Get a bit of FOMO as folks fly through the air with the greatest of ease? Or do you want to increase your empathy and support LGBTQ+ performers as they share their stories and bare their bodies and souls. Yep. It's all there, encompassed in 10 unique performances at The Den Theatre, each with a couple show times.
Family Friendly shows are designated with an FF in the shows descriptions below. As for the others, here at ChiIL Mama we aren't fans of censorship. Everyone matures at different rates, and we encourage parents and children to explore complicated themes together, to spark discussions and increase empathy. Many of our friends have LGBTQ+ family members and friends. We're also seeing a record number of non binary tweens and teens confident enough to explore their own truths. In our current era of "Don't say gay" legislation and protections being overturned, it's never too early to counteract hate and bullying with understanding and love. Use your best judgement and bring an open mind and an open heart.
Check back with ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. Leading up to the Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, we have exclusive interviews with several talented Chicago performers coming your way, as well as a great ticket giveaway. Don't miss this!
Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, the Windy City’s newest multidisciplinary fest, will run April 21-24, 2022, at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre at 1331 N. Milwaukee. Performances from ten different Chicago-based companies include traditional circus acts, avant-garde sideshow and burlesque offerings, family-friendly juggling and clowning shows, sketch comedy, queer-themed work, plus several evening-length pieces that also include dance.
Single tickets are $10-35, including some pay-what-you-can options, and are available online or at 773-697-3830. The lobby features cashless cocktails from The Haven Lounge before and after performances, as well as vendor tables for local circus companies and schools. Metered street parking is available via the ParkChicago app, or try Spot Hero, Park Whiz, or Parq Ex to secure a discounted lot spot. The venue is also accessible to the Blue Line (north of Division, south of Damen stops) and via various bus routes. The Festival’s media sponsor is The Actors Gymnasium.
5:30-7:00 Surface Tension- to x for - Queer friendship explored through acrobatics, juggling, and dance.
7:30-8:30 Bo(ix)y(e) Division- Such Creatures - Trans-masculine identity recounted through aerials and dance.
5:30-7:00 Stop Trying to Make Sketch Happen - Darkly funny sketch comedy portraying Mother Earth and her ungrateful children. Tickets
7:30-9:00 The Princess Strikes Back - One-woman comedy show about finding love and Star Wars. Tickets
5:30-7:00 BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest - Cabaret of circus acts themed on post-pandemic life. Tickets
7:30-9:00 Surface Tension- to x for - Queer friendship explored through acrobatics, juggling, and dance. Tickets
9:30-10:30 Bo(ix)y(e) Division- Such Creatures - Trans-masculine identity recounted through aerials and dance. Tickets
5:30-7:00 The Princess Strikes Back - One-woman comedy show about finding love and Star Wars. Tickets
7:30-9:00 Freaklesque: A Yes Ma'am Circus Cabaret - Burlesque, circus, and sideshow meld for a sexy, scary, and silly cabaret. Tickets
5:30-7:00 Shoop - Whisper Theatre - Physical theater, acrobatics, and comedy create a whirlwind comedy. Tickets
7:30-9:00 Alice in CircusLand - Yes Ma'am Circus - Family friendly circus acts, clowning, and juggling. Tickets
9:30-11:00 BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest - Cabaret of circus acts themed on post-pandemic life. Tickets
3:30-5:00 Double Feature - Amazing Prizzini Brothers and Poised by Arik - Family friendly circus acts, clowning, and juggling. Tickets
5:30-7:00 Masquerade - Laughingstock Theatre - Sword fighting, acrobatics, and queer love put a twist on traditional commedia dell'arte. Tickets
7:30-9:00 Stop Trying to Make Sketch Happen - Darkly funny sketch comedy portraying Mother Earth and her ungrateful children. Tickets
9:30-11:00 Freaklesque: A Yes Ma'am Circus Cabaret - Burlesque, circus, and sideshow meld for a sexy, scary, and silly cabaret. Tickets
2:00-3:30 Shoop - Whisper Theatre - Physical theater, acrobatics, and comedy create a whirlwind comedy. Tickets
4:00-5:30 Alice in CircusLand - Yes Ma'am Circus - Family friendly circus acts, clowning, and juggling. Tickets
2:00-3:30 Double Feature - Amazing Prizzini Brothers and Poised by Arik - Family friendly circus acts, clowning, and juggling. Tickets
4:00-5:30 Masquerade - Laughingstock Theatre - Sword fighting, acrobatics, and queer love put a twist on traditional commedia dell'arte. Tickets
*Family Friendly shows are designated with an FF in the shows descriptions below.
Alice in CircusLand: (FF)
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole to meet Wonderland’s snarky residents. Meet the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, a Most Annoyed Pigeon, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter, before finally ending up in the Queen's Court for a most unfair game of croquet. Chicago’s Yes Ma'am Circus produces full- length circus shows that reinterpret classic stories for modern audiences.
The Amazing Prizzini Brothers and Poise: (FF)
This 2-in-1 show starts with the Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ classic circus cabaret featuring family-friendly circus acts and clowning. The goal is simple: to make the audience complicit in the mischief Up next is Arik Mendelevitz of Raphael Entertainment and his one-man juggling show, which uses hilarity on a destructive journey of bricolage.
BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest Showcase: (Suggested for ages 13+)
This themed circus cabaret tracks the lives of People of Color as they re-engage with the outside world two years after the pandemic began, and shares individual stories that depict human emotions and unique challenges faced by POC in contemporary America. Disciplines will include rope, straps, aerial hammock, diabolo, and silks.
contemporary movement work, recounting and re-experiencing physical and neurological evolutions related to their trans-masculine identities. Bo(ix)y(e) Division exposes the intricate practice of controlled, curated metamorphosis, which places audiences in an intimate relationship with concepts often boiled down to digestible nuggets at the expense of the trans and gender nonconforming community, or extracted without consent or context.
Dancers Ashaand Simone and Luke Greeff present “Trans Audacity”
Produced by Yes Ma'am's Maggie Karlin and Slightly Spitfire, Freaklesque features burlesque, sideshow, and variety acts from around Chicago.
Masquerade, or Love is Queer to Stay:
Laughing Stock Theatre spreads joy by creating commedia dell’arte from a modern perspective that reflects the humor in humanity. In this production, the cast explores queer themes with a timeless art form.
Employing physical comedy, partner acrobatics and multiple characters, Whisper Theatre Collective invites audiences to SHOOP, a luxury shipping and packing facility. Clients spend top dollar to receive the best treatment for themselves and their packages, complete with healing energy rituals. According to CEO and lifestyle guru Gabriel, SHOOP is not only a business of luxury, but also the business of one’s spirit. When a computer malfunction causes the company to spiral into chaos, the employees must uphold the spirit of SHOOP, even as company and client secrets threaten to be revealed.
Stop Trying to Make Sketch Happen:
Using a series of sketches, black-outs, original songs, parody songs, dramatic scenes, group game scenes, and improv shells, the story of Mother Earth is told, and how she is mistreated by her ungrateful children. This fast-paced, Pandora's Box comedy show is half-scripted, and half based on audience suggestions.
The Princess Strikes Back: (For ages 13+)
In 1997, 13-year-old Victoria Montalbano was introduced to her perfect man, Han Solo, and she’s been looking for him ever since. In this one woman show called "delightful" and "highly energetic" by Around the Town Chicago, Victoria grows from awkward theater kid to professional out-of-work actress while swiping her way through a galaxy far, far away!
A daring look at two queer men's friendship. At points ecstatic, dark, searching, and loving, this contemporary circus show encapsulates the complexities and honesty of two people who love to create together. Company to x for is a contemporary circus ensemble that creates intimate work through juggling, acrobatics, and dance.
WIN tickets to Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival Shows:
Alice in CircusLand (Family Friendly)
Enter HERE for your chance to WIN: