Saturday, November 26, 2022

Top Chicago Holiday Theatre Offerings And Half Price Tickets For 2022

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League of Chicago Theatres’ annual Holiday Guide highlights seasonal productions

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we're huge fans of experiential gifts. Theatre tickets are a great, clutter busting way to make lasting memories. As always, check in with Hot Tixs for half price deals on shows all year long. Remember, too, to check in with my two sites, (adult) and (family friendly) for original reviews, interviews, entertainment news, ticket giveaways and more, for Chi, IL and beyond.  

Chicago theatres will present a wide variety of festive plays, musicals, dance, and comedy offerings this Holiday season. In support, the League of Chicago Theatres will create a comprehensive Holiday Theatre Guide that will be available for distribution in mid-November. The online Holiday Guide is available at

An updated list of holiday shows with additional details about each production will be available throughout the season at Additionally, many holiday shows will be available at Hot Tix (, Chicago’s local, half-price ticketing service.


The following is a selection of Holiday-themed work playing in Chicago this season:

Several theatres present the holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol. Goodman Theatre’s must-see annual production has enchanted audiences for more than four decades, runs through December 31. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre presents an adaptation filled with warmth, humor, music, and holiday cheer, December 1 – 24. Complete with falling snow and magical illusions, Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences brings a visually stunning one-hour experience for children of all ages, November 25 -December 30. Told through puppetry and music, the striking holiday experience of Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol comes to brilliant life on stage for the first time at Writers Theatre, November 29 – December 24. A Theater in the Dark presents A Christmas Carol in the Dark, a streaming audio drama perfect for those who love the spookier elements of Dickens’ story, through January 1.

Family-favorite holiday movies come to life in the suburbs with Elf The Musical at Drury Lane Theatre through January 8, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas from Music Theater Works at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, December 15 - January 1, and two productions of A Christmas Story, the Musical – Jedlicka Performing Arts Center, November 25 – December 10, and Marriot Theatre in Lincolnshire through January 1.

For over 20 years, American Blues Theater has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago. Running November 23 – December 23 at the Chopin Theatre. Oil Lamp Theater will perform its version of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Play on stage November 25 – December 30.

Journey to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair with The Joffrey Ballet’s reimagined The Nutcracker at Lyric Opera House, December 3 – 27, while Ballet Chicago will perform its production of The Nutcracker at the Athenaeum Theatre, December 9 – 18.

The beloved characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice return for the third and final installment of the Pemberley trilogy, Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, at Northlight Theatre, November 25 – December 24.

Holiday spectacle comes to Downtown with A Magical Cirque Christmas, featuring an evening of dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists, accompanied by live holiday music at Broadway In Chicago at the CIBC Theatre, December 6 – 11. Then Cirque Dreams Holidaze wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family, December 22 – 24 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. The Steadfast Tin Soldier, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, brings gorgeous spectacle of music and movement to Lookingglass Theatre, through January 8. 

Four Beatrix Potter favorites come to life in The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a mesmerizing, interactive trunk and puppet show at Chicago Children’s Theatre, through December 24.

In this adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, a traveling troupe of actors comes to town to find no one celebrating Hanukkah. Will they bring back the spirit of Hanukkah to the town? Will Hershel of Ostropol outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue? Presented by Strawdog Theatre Company at The Edge Off-Broadway, December 11 – January 1.

Watch as the improvisers at ComedySportz sing and dance their way through a made up Hallmark-channel style spectacle that YOU help create in Trapped in a Holiday Musical!, through December 17.

Enjoy some adult comedy this holiday season when Cindy Lou Who, now 40, retells the story of the sordid events after she met the Grinch in the adults-only romp Who's Holiday! Presented at Theater Wit, November 25 – December 30. Then it is guaranteed yule laugh a whole latke as The Second City unwraps the most wonderful time of the year in their nut-cracking-est, jingle-bell-ing-est revue ever, Best of the Holidays, November 21 – December 31, and What The Elf?, the original sketch, variety, and improv celebration of the season, through January 1. At UP Comedy Club.

Holiday concert offerings include Merry, Merry Chicago!, a program of traditional carols and festive holiday songs performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Orchestra Hall, December 16 – 23; enjoy one of Chicago’s greatest holiday traditions with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago’s thrilling rendition of Händel’s Messiah at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, December 10 – 11, while Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah brings a totally reinvented rendition to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, December 3 – 4. Plus, Black Ensemble’s Christmas Cabaret is a musical celebration with Black Ensemble Theater performers and a live band, December 10 – 18.

Popular performers will also present Holiday concerts, including Merry Christmas Darling starring Chicago’s favorite leading lady Heidi Kettenring performing the timeless treasures and holiday hits of Karen Carpenter, November 25 – 27 at the Venus Cabaret at Mercury Theater Chicago. Acclaimed singer, storyteller, and multi-instrumentalist John-Mark McGaha shares Stevie’s musical messages of joy, love, and peace on Earth with Someday at Christmas at the Marriott Theatre, December 12 – 13. Emmy-nominee Angela Ingersoll captures the voices of a dozen divas in a hilarious and heart-warming holiday romp The 12 Dames of Christmas, at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, December 13.

The holidays take an unexpected turn for everyone’s favorite Golden Girls when they find out that the infamous Shady Pines Retirement Community is on the verge of closing, leaving most of Sophia’s friends homeless for the holidays. Can the girls step in and save the day in time for Christmas? The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, The Obligatory Holiday Special is presented by Hell in a Handbag Productions at Center on Halsted Hoover-Leppen Theatre, November 26 – December 30.

Some notable non-holiday offerings this season include:

Celebrated director Henry Godinez sets Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in the turbulence of 1959 Cuba, during the pivotal moments before Fidel Castro seizes power, running at Chicago Shakespeare Theater through November 27.

Porchlight Music Theatre presents RENT, the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that has become a cultural phenomenon, through November 27 at the Ruth Page Theater.

The world premiere of Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters at Steppenwolf Theatre, December 1 – January 15.

Court Theatre’s production of The Island, a sobering glimpse into the social, physical, and psychological wounds of Apartheid, through December 4.

A Mile in the Dark is about the people we think we know but don’t and the hard truth sitting in plain sight. Presented by Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Interrobang Theatre Project through December 11.

About Face Theatre in partnership with Silk Road Rising presents Mosque4Mosque, a family comedy about a queer Arab-American Muslim man navigating his first real relationship, playing at The Den Theatre through December 17.

TimeLine Theatre Company presents Trouble in Mind, a cutting yet humorous behind-the-curtain drama that examines pervasive racial dynamics within the American theatre and the tolls of superficial representation on stage, through December 18.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, Available half-price tickets will be listed at

Chicago theatres prioritize safely gathering. Patrons are encouraged to confirm current protocols at each theatre. Shows and protocols are subject to change.

About Chicago theatre 

Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 6 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. For more information, visit

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement

Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.

REVIEW: The Sound of Music at Paramount Theatre Now Extended Through January 15, 2023

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By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

The Sound of Music is one of my favorite musicals of all time, so I was thrilled to see the new production at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. This fabulous show does not disappoint. As director Amber Mak writes in the program notes: “I ask that you allow yourself to release any preconceived notions of what you think of this musical. Please hear this show as if you have never heard it before.”  

From the opening chorale by the nuns of the Abbey to the von Trapps’ inspirational exit through the Alps with the Sisters singing them farewell, the two-and-a-half hour show flies by. (I’ve endured much shorter plays that felt far longer…) 

Alicia Kaori Is a charmer with excellent vocal chops as Maria. One can’t help but fall in love with this Maria, just as the children and Captain von Trapp do. (Curiously, there is very little chemistry between her and the Captain. The romance between them is disappointing. But I relished when she yells,”I’m not finished yet!” to her employer when he is ignoring Maria’s pleas to pay attention to his own children.) Her character building with the children is a highlight, as Maria wins over her young charges by teaching them music can chase away fears, encourage happiness, and bring them closer together as a family. 

The “Do-Re-Mi” number was darling with very clever, exhuberant choreography. Maria’s spunk and enthusiasm cajoles the children into trusting her more than any previous governess, most of whom they delighted into tormenting and chasing off. The choreography was one of the continuing highlights of the show, putting a fresh spin on familiar classics. Maria and the children didn’t have the marionette puppet show for “The Lonely Goatherd,” but playing “Pat-a-cake” on the bed was adorable, especially as the kids are dressed in pastel pajamas in various colors.  

All of the children were delightful, but a special mention needs to be made of Julia Aragon as Liesl. She has a lovely voice and a great presence as the eldest von Trapp. “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” was so darn cute between her and Rolf.  

Susan Moniz as The Mother Abbess raises the roof off the chapel to the heavens with her glorious rendition of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” That was our late mom’s favorite song, so my sister and I were choking back tears, recalling how she’d request the song twice when watching the prerecorded movie at home. 

The costumes by Theresa Ham are glorious, especially the famous curtains-altered-into-kids’-playclothes. But one of the best showstoppers is the set by Jeffrey D. Kmiec which drew actual gasps from the audience. Depicting the Abbey to the Alps to Captain von Trapp’s beautiful home with the grand staircase was impressive. 

Having Nazi guards placed in the balconies of the theater as the von Trapp Family performs their final songs in Austria was creepy but very effective. It’s shocking to see Franz the butler showing his allegiance to the Nazis when he begins wearing the armband with a swastika. And, unfortunately, timely and topical with Jewish headstones recently defaced at a cemetery in Waukegan.  

Hearing a live orchestra, under Kory Danielson’s direction, with the show is a treat. The Paramount Theatre itself (designed by the Rapp Brothers in the late 1920s) is visually stunning and worth the long trek to the ‘burbs. The theater is decked out for the holidays and just beautiful. Many children were in attendance as this is a family-friendly show or a great date show. 

If you want to continue some of the magic and learn interesting backstories, I highly recommend the fascinating book Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution by Todd S. Purdum. I read it last winter, and I loved learning the process of how the celebrated duo chose stories to transform into their legendary musicals, and how they collaborated on songs, even though they weren’t “friends.” They sure were amazing business partners.   

Catherine Hellmann is a daughter of a teacher, an educator herself, and has birthed two teachers and a librarian. She likes reading, and her kids seem to as well. She always wanted to play the role of Maria von Trapp.  


Alicia Kaori plays Maria in Paramount Theatre’s holiday season production, The Sound of Music. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical runs November 9, 2022-January 15, 2023 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

Tickets: or (630) 896-6666. 

Paramount’s The Sound of Music is directed and choreographed by Amber Mak.

The Sound of Music, one of the most beloved musicals of all time, has enchanted audiences for more than 50 years.

This holiday season, Chicago audiences can experience this unforgettable Rodgers and Hammerstein classic for the first time, or all over again, at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. 

Previews start November 9, 2022. Press opening is Friday, November 18, at 8 p.m. Due to popular demand, Paramount has extended The Sound of Music beyond its original closing date, January 8, with performances now running an additional week, through January 15, 2022. As usual, Paramount’s lobby will be fully decked out in holiday decorations for the entire run, including a two-story Christmas tree.

The Sound of Music is the classic story of Maria, a care-free nun in training, sent by her convent to be the governess of a Navy captain’s seven children. In her new role as tutor and guardian, Maria finds herself unexpectedly questioning her life path as she falls in love with the entire family, including Captain von Trapp. Music is at the heart of what unites them as they face tough decisions while Austria, their homeland, is on the brink of World War II. Do they stay or do they leave?  

The hills are alive with The Sound of Music song list, performed live by Paramount’s 16-member orchestra, and filled with Rodgers and Hammerstein standards like “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Climb E’vry Mountain,” “So, Long, Farewell,” and the title song, “The Sound of Music.” 

The director is Paramount’s own Amber Mak, who has staged so many unforgettable holiday blockbusters in years past, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, nominated for six Jeff Awards including Best Musical, and The Wizard of Oz, which earned seven Jeff nominations including Best Musical and Best Director. Just wait until you experience Mak’s staging of The Sound of Music, nominated for nine Tony Awards and winner of five, including Best Musical.

Previews start November 9. Opening Night is Friday, November 18, at 8 p.m. Performances run through January 15, 2023: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Exceptions: No 1:30 p.m. matinee on Wednesday, November 9. No show Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving). Added 3 p.m. matinee Friday, November 25. No 8 p.m. show Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve). No shows Sunday, December 25 (Christmas). Added 1:30 p.m. matinees Friday, December 23, Thursday, December 29, and Thursday, January 5. No 7 p.m. show Thursday, January 12. 

Single tickets are $28 to $79. Three-show 2022-23 subscriptions including The Sound of Music, Into the Woods and School of Rock are also on sale, starting at just $51. For group discounts to The Sound of Music, contact Melissa Striedl, or (630) 723-2461.

Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Note: The Sound of Music is suggested for ages 5 and up, due to some discriminatory language, depiction of Nazis and images of swastikas.

The Sound of Music is sponsored by Rush Copley Medical Center and Jake’s Inc. The Broadway Series is sponsored by Dunham Foundation, City of Aurora, BMO Harris Bank, ComEd and the Illinois Arts Council.

Paramount’s The Sound of Music: Behind the scenes

Paramount’s The Sound of Music features (top, from left) Alicia Kaori (Maria), Christopher Kale Jones (Captain Georg von Trapp), Susan Moniz (Mother Abbess), Sophie Grimm (Sister Margaretta), Ron E. Rains (Franz), (bottom, from left) Rengin Altay (Frau Schmidt), Emilie Lynn (Elsa Schraeder), Stephen Schellhardt (Max Detweiler), Josh Houghton (Herr Zeller), Michael Ehlers (Admiral von Schreiber) and Michael Harp (Rolf).

Principal cast members for Paramount’s new staging of The Sound of Music are Alicia Kaori (Maria), Christopher Kale Jones (Captain Georg von Trapp), Susan Moniz (Mother Abbess), Sophie Grimm (Sister Margaretta), Ron E. Rains (Franz), Rengin Altay (Frau Schmidt), Emilie Lynn (Elsa Schraeder), Stephen Schellhardt (Max Detweiler), Josh Houghton (Herr Zeller), Michael Ehlers (Admiral von Schreiber) and Michael Harp (Rolf).

Julia Aragon plays Liesl, the eldest von Trapp child, at all performances. The actors playing the younger von Trapp children are double-cast and will rotate performances in two “teams”: 

 (from left) Julia Aragon (Liesl), Ava Barabasz (Gretl), Milla Liss (Brigitta), Savannah Lumar (Marta), Maddie Morgan (Louisa), Gage Richey (Friedrich) and Ezekiel Ruiz (Kurt). 

Ava Barabasz (Gretl), Milla Liss (Brigitta), Savannah Lumar (Marta), Maddie Morgan (Louisa), Gage Richey (Friedrich), and Ezekiel Ruiz (Kurt).

(from left) Julia Aragon (Liesl), Avelyn Choi (Marta), Genevieve Jane (Brigitta),

Charlie Long (Kurt), Kara Reese (Louisa), Lena Soszynski (Gretl) and Brody Tyner (Friedrich).

Avelyn Choi (Marta) Genevieve Jane (Brigitta), Charlie Long (Kurt), Kara Reese (Louisa), Lena Soszynski (Gretl) and Brody Tyner (Friedrich).

The ensemble is Lexie Bailey, Rodrigo Ignacio Cruz, Adam Fane, Margot Frank, Carisa Gonzalez, Michael Kingston, Jake DiMaggio Lopez, Maggie Malaney, Luke Nowakowski, Liz Pazik, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, Maya Rowe, Nellie Shuford and Shelbi Voss. Covers for the child roles are Juliana Filapek (Louisa), Layla Joan (Brigitta/Marta), Kirin Pauline (Friedrich) and Elias Totleben (Kurt). 

The full production team is Amber Mak, director and choreographer; Kory Danielson, music director and conductor; Jeffrey D. Kmiec, scenic designer; Theresa Ham, costume designer; José Santiago, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; Peter Ruiz, dramaturg; Jamie Anderson, associate director; Lexie Bailey, associate choreographer; Kailey Rockwell, associate music director and associate conductor; Daniel J. Hanson, stage manager; and Erin Nicole Eggers and Matthew Silar, assistant stage managers. 

Mak’s Paramount directing and choreography credits include Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Elf, Hairspray and Rock of Ages. She was also the choreographer for Paramount’s world premiere of The Secret of My Success.

“Thank you for supporting live theater as we continue to emerge from when our doors were closed and our stages were dark. The artists, artisans and staff of the theater are very much like the edelweiss of the mountains, blooming out of the dark with new life, vibrancy, determination, resilience, love and radical appreciation to continue to create beauty together in the world,” wrote Mak in her director’s note. ”I ask that you allow yourself to release any preconceived notions of what you think of this musical. Please hear this show as if you have never heard it before. Although this piece was written 63 years ago about events that happened 84 years ago, the story feels as contemporary and poignant as ever in our current world.” 

The Sound of Music was the last musical written by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics). Hammerstein died of stomach cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere. The book, by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, is based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.” The original Broadway production, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, opened in 1959 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of nine nominations. It was adapted as a 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Special Events

Pay What You Can Performances

Thursday, November 10, 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 12, 3 p.m.

Paramount is offering two Pay What You Can performances of The Sound of Music: Thursday, November 10, at 7 p.m, and Saturday, November 12 at 3 p.m. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount Theatre box office in-person to request tickets. Limit four per person. See for details. 

Access Services

Paramount will offer open and closed captioning during the added matinee, Thursday, January 5 at 1:30 p.m.

The performance on Friday, January 6, at 8 p.m., will be interpreted in American Sign Language.

Paramount offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device.

If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or in advance.

Paramount Theatre’s Covid-19 commitment to and safety and protocol

Paramount Theatre has followed, and will continue to follow, the requirements of the State of Illinois and the Kane County Health Department. Therefore, Paramount is following the guidance of the State of Illinois and recommends, but no longer requires, masks, proof of vaccination or negative COVID test for patrons. Mask wearing is strongly encouraged, but will be optional. For complete details, please read Paramount’s full Covid Policy. 


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is now available on Digital and will be out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD on December 13th.


When the Primm family moves to New York City, their young son Josh struggles to adapt to his new school and new friends. All of that changes when he discovers Lyle - a singing crocodile who loves baths, caviar and great music - living in the attic of his new home. The two become fast friends, but when Lyle’s existence is threatened by evil neighbor Mr. Grumps, the Primm’s must band together with Lyle’s charismatic owner, Hector P. Valenti, to show the world that family can come from the most unexpected places and there’s nothing wrong with a big singing crocodile with an even bigger personality. 



Sing-Along Songs: Karaoke versions of the original songs “Top of The World,” “Rip Up the Recipe,” “Take a Look at Us Now,” and “Carried Away” from Pasek & Paul (The Greatest Showman). 

Storytime with Shawn Mendes & Javier Bardem: Shawn Mendes, Javier Bardem, alongside the cast and filmmakers alternate reading excerpts from the book that set the world of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile in motion. 

Bloopers: Behind-the-scenes blooper reel. 

Deleted Scene: Josh Learns About Lyle’s Stage Fright. 

Croc and Roll – Lyle On Set: We will find out what working with Lyle was truly like with interviews with his castmates and the filmmakers.  As they shed light on everything from Lyle’s eating habits to his occasional odor issues, we’ll come to get a better understanding of what Lyle brings to the filming experience beyond his incredible voice.

Take a Look at Us Now – The Cast: From Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy and Winslow Fegley to Shawn Mendes, meet the incredible key cast of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. 

Two Music Videos: “Top of the World” and “Carried Away” by Pasek & Paul (The Greatest Showman). 



 Croc and Roll – Lyle On Set

Take a Look at Us Now – The Cast 

Two Music Videos


Get Social

Twitter: @LyleCrocodile

Instagram: @LyleLyleCrocodileMovie


Hashtag: #LyleLyleCrocodile

Thursday, November 10, 2022


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“Rickshaw Girl” 

Wins Best of the Fest Award 



Receives the Milos Stehlik Global Impact Award

The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival has long been a family favorite of ours. I volunteered in the box office at FACETS from 1990-to shortly before the pandemic. My kids grew up watching loads of world class CICFF films and even helping with concessions and ticket taking. We highly recommend checking out some of the 304 films, representing 54 nations. CICFF is one of only two Academy Award-qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world. Screenings are happening now through November 20 at FACETS, with in-person and national online screening options. 

FACETS 39th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) announces the recipients of its Special and Jury Prizes today along with two new film programs – Award Winning Shorts Program for ages 8-10 and 11-14. CICFF, with selection by the 2022 Festival’s jury members, awarded 65 prizes from a field of 304 films, representing 54 nations, in several categories including live-action, animation, documentary films and television productions. Prizes are given by the Children’s, Youth, Professional and Special Juries and the Professional Jury Live-Action and Animated Shorts categories are Academy Award-qualifying. Tickets are currently on sale here: .

Awards presented by the Festival maintain CICFF’s longtime standing as one of the top children’s film festivals in the world. CICFF juries are composed of independent filmmakers, film industry professionals, educators, parents and kids and teens who have graduated from FACETS Film 101 summer camp.

Also presented was the Milos Stehlik Global Impact Award, now in its fourth year, awarded to director Prasun Chatterjee for the feature film “Dostojee” (India) and Amy Bench for the short film “More Than I Want to Remember”(United States). FACETS created this award in 2019 to celebrate the memory of Milos Stehlik, founder and executive director of FACETS, who passed away in July 2019.

The full list of awards are listed below and can be found here .


For Ages 8-10:

A collection of some of the best award-winning short films from CICFF39. This selection represents a range of animation, live-action and documentary and includes winners from the Children's and Professional Juries, with the winners of the Best Production for Young Children and Best of Fest Awards. 


The films may be viewed virtually from November 10 - 20 and one may view the in-person screening times here and below

Saturday, Nov. 12 at 12:30 p.m. at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. 

Sunday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. 

The program winners include:

  • “Hush Hush Little Bear” 

  • “Birth” 

  • “HEY DUGGEE – The Action Hero Badge”

  • “The Wind and The Trees” 

  • “The Most Boring Granny in the Whole World”

  • “Pete” 

  • “Charlie and the Hunt” 

  • “New Moon” 

  • “Wishes in the Wind” 


(Ages 11-14+) 

A collection of some of the best award-winning short films from CICFF39. This selection represents a range of animation, live-action and documentary and includes winners from the Youth, New Dimensions and Professional Juries, with the winner of Milos Stehlik Global Impact Award and Best of Fest Awards.  

The films may be viewed virtually from November 10-20 and one may view the in-person screening times here and below:

 Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.  

The program winners include:



  • “Call and Response” 

  • “Slipping Away” 

  • “Freedom Swimmer” 

  • “Ice Merchants” 

  • “More Than I Want to Remember” 

  • “Abby” 



“Rickshaw Girl,” Amitabh Reza Chowdhury (Bangladesh)


Feature: “Dostojee,” Prasun Chatterjee (India)

Short: “More Than I Want to Remember,” Amy Bench (United States)



“Hush Hush Little Bear,” Māra Liniņa (Latvia)


“New Moon,” Jeff Le Bars, Jérémie Balais (United States)


“Abby,” John Urbano (United States)


“The Wind and the Trees,” Todd Allan Stewart (Canada)


Feature: “The Apple Day,” Mahmoud Ghaffari (Islamic Republic of Iran)


Short: “Letter to a Pig,” Tal Kantor (France)


“White Berry,” Sia Hermanides (Netherlands)


“Adjustment,” Mehrdad Hassani (Islamic Republic of Iran)



“Me. My eleven years. WAR.,” Marusya Shuvalova (Ukraine)



“Yangtze,” Daniel Kim, Benjamin Kim (United States)



Children's Jury’s Prize – Animated Short Film

1st Prize, “Pete,” Bret Parker (United States)

2nd Prize, “Birth,” Roberto Valle (Spain)


Children’s Jury’s Prize – Animated Feature Film

1st Prize, “Perlimps,” Alê Abreu (Brazil)

 2nd Prize, “My Big Big Friend - The Movie,” Andres Lieban (Brazil)

Children's Jury’s Prize – Animated Television

1st  Prize, “HEY DUGGEE - The Action Hero Badge,” Grant Orchard, Sander Jones (United Kingdom)

 2nd  Prize, “Call and Response,” Morgane Duprat--Peter, Daphné Kutnowski, Yoann Bouabré, Sélena Aledji, Anthony Okoko, Laura Sadi Honniball (France)


Children’s Jury’s Prize – Documentary Short Film

1st Prize, “Dipsas Speaks,” Craig Daniel Leon (Ecuador)

2nd Prize, “Wishes in the Wind,” Lisa Marie DiLiberto (Canada)


Children’s Jury’s Prize – Documentary Feature Film

1st Prize, “YUNG PUNX: A Punk Parable,” Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger (United States)

2nd Prize, “Rosie’s Theater Kids,” Steven Cantor (United States)


Children's Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Short 

1st Prize, “Charlie and the Hunt,” Jenn Shaw (United States)

2nd Prize, “Eger, 1552,” Attila Szász (Hungary)


Children's Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Feature Film 

1st Prize, “Laura’s Star,” Joya Thome (Germany)

2nd Prize, “Tales of Franz,” Johannes Schmidt (Austria)


Children's Jury’s Prize – Live Action Television

1st Prize, “Theodosia,” Matthias Hoene, Matt Bloom, Alexander James Jacob (France)

2nd Prize, “Yard TV,” Pablo Uranga (Brazil)



Youth Jury’s Prize – Animated Short Film

1st Prize,   ”Ice Merchants,” João Gonzalez (Portugal)

2nd Prize,  “Slipping Away,” Gabriel Hénot Lefèvre (France)


Youth Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Short Film 

1st Prize,  “Invincible,” Vincent René-Lortie (Canada)

2nd Prize,  “Bleach,” Mattias Graham (Canada)


Youth Jury’s Prize – Documentary Short Film

1st Prize, (tie)

“Freedom Swimmer,” Olivia Martin-McGuire (United Kingdom)

“More Than I Want to Remember,” Amy Bench (United States)

2nd Prize, “BYkids: FAITH'S WORLD,” Faith Guilbault (United States)


Youth Jury’s Prize –  Animated Television

1st Prize,  “Call and Response,” Morgane Duprat--Peter, Daphné Kutnowski, Yoann Bouabré, Sélena Aledji, Anthony Okoko, Laura Sadi Honniball (France)

Youth Jury’s Prize – Documentary Feature Film

1st Prize,  “Afghan Dreamers,” David Greenwald (Afghanistan)

2nd Prize,  “This is My Black,” Stephen Adetumbi, Jarrett Roseborough (United States)


Youth Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Feature Film

1st Prize, “White Berry,” Sia Hermanides (Netherlands) 

2nd Prize, “Comedy Queen,” Ismael Ferroukhi (Morocco, France)


Youth Jury’s Prize – Live Action Television

1st Prize, “More Than This,” John Sheedy, Kate Gorman (Australia)




New Dimensions Jury’s Prize – Animated Short Film

1st Prize, Animated Short Film (tie)

“Good Night Mr. Ted,” Nicolás Sole Allignani (Argentina)

“The Seine’s Tears,” Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Philippine Singer, Alice Letailleur (France)

2nd Prize, “Ice Merchants,” João Gonzalez (Portugal)


New Dimensions Jury’s Prize – Documentary Feature Film 

1st Prize, “Dear Future Children,” Franz Böhm (Germany) 

2nd Prize, “The Last Election and other Love Stories,” Miguel Silveira (United States) 


New Dimensions Jury’s Prize – Documentary Short Film 

1st Prize, “Freedom Swimmer,” Olivia Martin-McGuire (United Kingdom) 

2nd Prize, “The Girl with the Accent,” Nadia Durry (United Arab Emirates) 


New Dimensions Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Short Film 

1st Prize, “Invincible,” Vincent René-Lortie (Canada) 

2nd Prize, “Sons of Toledo,” Monty Cole (United States)



Professional Jury’s Prize – Animated Short Film  

1st  Prize, “Slipping Away,” Gabriel Hénot Lefèvre (France) 

2nd  Prize, “The Most Boring Granny in the Whole World,” Damaris Zielke (Germany) 


Professional Jury’s Prize – Animated Feature Film  

1st Prize, “Journey to Yourland,” Peter Budinský (Slovakia) 

2nd Prize, “The Websters Movie,” Katarína Kerekesová (Slovakia)


Professional Jury’s Prize – Animated Television

1st  Prize, “Call and Response,” Morgane Duprat--Peter, Daphné Kutnowski, Yoann Bouabré, Sélena Aledji, Anthony Okoko, Laura Sadi Honniball (France)

2nd  Prize, (tie)

“Giuseppe,” Isabelle Favez (Switzerland)

“Space Nova,” Pablo De La Torre (Australia)


Professional Jury’s Prize – Documentary Short Film

1st Prize, Freedom Swimmer, Olivia Martin-McGuire (United Kingdom)

2nd Prize, (tie)

How Hannie are You?, Deborah van Dam (Netherlands)

Maxim - The Greatest, Kaja Fedulova (Germany)


Professional Jury’s Prize – Documentary Feature Film

1st  Prize, “Afghan Dreamers,” David Greenwald (Afghanistan)

2nd  Prize, “Dear Future Children,” Franz Böhm (Germany)


Professional Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Short

1st  Prize, “Invincible,” Vincent René-Lortie (Canada)

2nd  Prize, “Margot's Sister,” Christine Doyon (Canada)


Professional Jury’s Prize – Live-Action Feature Film

1st Prize, Comedy Queen, Sanna Lenken (Sweden)

2nd Prize, Rickshaw Girl, Amitabh Reza Chowdhury (Bangladesh)


Professional Jury’s Prize – Live Action Television

1st Prize,  “More Than This,” John Sheedy, Kate Gorman (Australia)

2nd  Prize,  “Kabam!,” Elisabeth Hesemans (Netherlands)


FACETS  connects people to independent ideas through transformative film experiences. Founded by the late Milos Stehlik in 1975,  FACETS inspires audiences to engage with film not simply as entertainment, but as an exciting tool to bridge cultural divides, promote digital literacy, and expand perspectives through empathy-driven storytelling.  

FACETS presents the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), one of only two Academy Award-qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world. The 39th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF39) runs November 4 - 20 at FACETS in-person and via national online screening. Buyers should visit  to view all the ticket options and to purchase tickets.

FACETS’ CICFF39 is supported by the Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Comer Family Foundation, NEA Art Works, Illinois Arts Agency (partial support), Kirckland & Ellis LLP, Prince Charitable Trust, Allstate, Conant Family Foundation, Stuart & Jesse Abelson Foundation, Seabury Foundations (New Dimensions program), Sterling Bay, and WTTW.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

ART BEAT: Sloomoo Institute Brings Slime Based Interactive Art Gallery To Chicago Starting November 19th.

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List

Here at ChiIL Mama, we're huge fans of play for all ages, so we're excited that Chicago's soon to be home to the secondSloomoo Institute. We'll be out for the press opening, November 17th so check back soon for our photo filled feature. Sloomoo Institute - an experiential destination that taps into the joy of multi-sensory play through hand-crafted, artisanal slime and #satisfying experiences - announces the opening of its second U.S. ticketed destination located in the River North neighborhood at 820 N. Orleans Street, leased by Easy Street Properties. Launched in 2019 with its New York flagship location, Sloomoo Institute offers a much-needed reprieve from the overwhelmingly digital nature of the modern world and instead, puts us in touch with the physical world and with ourselves.

The new concrete loft space features a series of fantastical, interactive experiences that delight the senses of sight, touch, smell and sound, including: a DIY bar that offers 60 scents (think dessert, fruit, floral, spa vibes and more), 40 colors and 150 charms to make over four million slime creations, dozens of vats of slime to dip your hands into, “Sloomoo Falls” where visitors can stand under a waterfall of slime,  “Lake Sloomoo” which provides 350 gallons of slime to walk on after alcohol-wiping your feet, a Yayoi Kusama Obliteration Room-inspired “Slime Wall,” Kinetic Sand® "Doons", ASMR experiences, soundscapes, scent exploration, immersive videos, AR surprises and more.  

“When we launched Sloomoo Institute in 2019, we were passionate about activating our customers’ senses with a physical product, going back to the concept of sensory play and analog experiences as a way to experience joy and let go of swipe culture,” said the Sloomoo founders Karen Robinovitz and Sara Schiller. “We began as a pop up in New York City but after seeing how our guests responded to the concept, we decided to expand across the US.”

Sloomoo Institute called on experts in diverse, creative industries to round out the sensory experiences, including composer Pei Pei Chung who wrote music for Sloomoo’s ASMR soundscapes called “Synthesoothers,” and artists Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger who developed AR and interactive video installations, including a “Slimey Mirror” that reflects a figure of your frame made out of slime. Completely innovating recreational architectural design, Architect Demetrios Comodromos of Method Design created an immersive canvas that cohesively and beautifully ties all of these elements together. Sloomoo Institute Chicago partners include Elmer’s - whose glue is used to make all of its slime formulas - as well as Kinetic Sand®, Brown Sugar Bakery, Choose CHI, Mag Mile and World Business Chicago, with more to come as the space is ever-evolving.

Sloomoo Institute Chicago will be open from Wednesday-Sunday from 9am-7pm year round. During rush seasons, including holiday, spring break, summer break, and more, Sloomoo Institute will be open 7 days a week. Sloomoo Institute Chicago will also include a retail space where visitors can shop Sloomoo’s slime collections. For more information please visit:

About Sloomoo Institute

Sloomoo Institute is an immersive experience that taps into the joy of multi-sensory play. Sloomoo Institutes feature sophisticated, interactive spaces designed by contemporary artists where where hand-crafted, artisanal slime comes to life - dozens of textures, the most delicious scents, soothing ASMR, and wondrous delights all in a glossy setting to delight not just kids, but the kid in all of us. Co-founders Karen Robinovitz and Sara Schiller launched the Sloomoo universe in October of 2019 to bring the magic of slime and sensory play to the world through both in-person experiences and dozens of satisfying Sloomoligamations, which are sold in-store and online.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The One of a Kind Show and Sale Returns to THE MART December 1 through December 4, 2022

  Chicago’s Iconic Holiday Shopping Event Will Make its Return to THE MART, Celebrating 21 Years of Tradition with Handmade Works, Gourmet Foods, Live Entertainment, and Much More

Shop Til’ You Drop! The One of a Kind Show and Sale ®, Chicago’s not-to-miss annual shopping extravaganza, will return to THE MART, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Thursday, December 1 through Sunday, December 4, 2022. Celebrating 21 years of pure magic, the One of a Kind Holiday Show will bring together 500 talented artists, artisans, and makers to offer the best in everything from fine art and handmade goods to gourmet cafes, bar areas, live entertainment and activities fun for all ages. Tickets to the holiday show ($15 for all four days) are now available online at To make things even more cheery, a portion of all ticket sales will benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to once again connect the show’s enormously gifted artists and makers with such a loyal community that values and supports hand-crafted work,” said Kathleen Hogan, Sales Director of the One of a Kind Show “Year after year, the show really defines the spirit of the holiday season.”

Unlike traditional shopping, the show provides the opportunity to shop directly from the makers of goods spanning a variety of categories including accessories, gourmet, painting, bath & body, holiday, paper, ceramics, home goods, pet products, fashion, jewelry, photography, fiber art, kids, sculpture, furniture, metal, wood, glass, mixed media, and more. An artist locator is live online so shoppers can browse the artists and sort by name, location, category, BIPOC-Owned, LGBTQ-Owned, Woman-Owned and new to One of Kind, allowing shoppers to plan their perfect experience beforehand. Exhibiting artists will be on-site throughout the run of the show to engage with attendees, sharing their inspiration behind-the-scenes insights along the way.

New this year is an expanded gourmet market section featuring over 50 vendors, including 10 from The Hatchery, the food business incubator in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. The Hatchery enables local entrepreneurs to build and grow successful food and beverage businesses by providing commercial kitchens with fridge and freezer storage, coworking and event spaces, and on the job training courses. In addition to this section, the holiday show will welcome over 200 new faces to create unmatched variety at the event.

The One of a Kind Holiday Show will be open on the 7th floor of THE MART, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza from Thursday December 1 - Sunday, December 4. Show hours will be Thursday-Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 10 am-5pm. Tickets are available online and are $15 for all 4 days.  Children under 12 are free. For more information, please visit

About The One of a Kind Holiday Show

The One of a Kind Holiday Show® Chicago takes place at THE MART, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 7th Floor, December 1 – 4, 2022. For tickets or more information,


Hours are as follows:

Thursday, December 1: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday, December 2: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 3: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 4: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For tickets or more information, visit For the latest press releases, facts, photos and videos, visit the online pressroom. For news and real-time updates, follow the One of a Kind Show on Facebook and Instagram.



THE MART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. It is one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, THE MART spans two city blocks, rises twenty-five stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design-forward showrooms, THE MART serves as the home to Chicago's most creative and technologically innovative companies.