Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 5, Arts and Entertainment romp continues

Dear Readers
Response to this blog has been gratifying. And I am excited about focusing on the arts and entertainment world.
At this point, I am not going to include music at clubs, high school productions or any audition details. Actors know how to find the latter and high schools have their own internal publicity avenues. However, I do hope you will send event info/press releases and photos -- by e-mail. My e-mail is If this continues to catch on, I will include a few mini-previews and ditto reviews.
Again, releases, jpgs, etc. should be sent to
Please help me and forward the link to anyone who is involved in any area theater group or other arts organization. I especially would like to see all the regional community theater groups listed. Now about this layout -- I am not a techie and cyber blog design is based only on the easy-to-use options. That is, this blog is BASIC! Anyway, please e-mail me at and let me know whether the blog is helpful. Also, if you would like to be on my e-mail list for blog updates, please send me your e-mail address.
Timewise, I hope to publish every other week, probably on Sundays. Hope you like this and PLEASE PASS THE BLOG SITE ALONG!
The photos above show Emil Chudnovsky who will perform later this month at the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the legendary Oscar Wilde, whose hysterical "The Importance of Being Earnest," will be staged by Spotlight Theatre later this month.
  Listings will remain in the blog until the event/performance is over.
OK, Myra, why are Oscar and Emil up there twice? Well, I could not figure out how to delete photos but will keep trying.
Thanks for reading this.
The Drama Group presents the Elton John and Tim Rice contemporary opera "Aida"May 8-10 at Bloom Hichool, Chicago Road and 10th Street, Chicago Heights. The story of the Egyptian princess and her lover, locked together in life and death, takes a contemporary and dramatic turn under the legendary collaboration of lyricist Rice and rock icon John. Those involved say the show is going to be ultra mega spectacular. Tickets are $18, $17 seniors, students. Box office phone number is (708) 755-3444;
The Drama Group also will present the powerful drama, "The Laramie Project" at the Studio Theatre, 330 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Mark the dates, June 11-21. "Curtains," a Broadway musical now running at Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, continues through May 17. Tickets are $29 to $35; dinner theater packages $43.75 to $56. This play within a play stars Chicagoland's extraordinary first couple of theater, Paula Scrofano and John Reeger, and a full cast of primo performers. This multiple murder mystery musical comedy (whew) showcases Reeger as a wacky director of the play within a play. Scrofano's stellar, though brief, appearance on stage will have you laughing from the outset. This show is simply tons of fun. Tickets and info are at (630) 530-0111, Ticketmaster and at m.e. Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre for Young Audiences brings "Seussical," the Broadway musical based on the wonderful works by Dr. Seuss, to the stage now running through May 16. Show tickets are $10
Illinois Theatre Center, 371 Artists Walk in Downtown Park Forest, presents "The Immigrant," a musical by Mark Harelik, the grandson of Haskell Harelik, A Russian Jewish Immigrant. Why is this important. Well here it is 100 years later and the unusual and true story of Harelik arrives in Chicago's South Suburbs. When Haskell Harelik arrived in the states, he was taken in by a Baptist, the banker in the town where Harelik settles. This saga of friendship takes the audience from 1909 to 1942. Etel Billig, creative director at ITC, shared her excitement about the production with me. The show runs from April 17 to May 3. Tickets are $21 on Fridays and Saturdays, $19 other performances. Tickets are at (708) 481-3510.
A smashing production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," continues at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire, through May 10. Tickets are $45, discounts for students and seniors on certain days: (847) 634-0200 and Yes, it's quite a distance from Southland but more than worth the drive and ticket price. Marc Robin choreographs and directs, and his brilliant touches along with bravado performances by every cast member, create a "Joseph" with a grand flair of color, tremendous amount of levity as well as brilliant dance numbers and award-worthy directing. You'll want to see this more than once. "The Screwtape Letters," Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, Chicago. (What kind of address is that, North Southport? Only in Chicago. And yeah, it's nowhere near the Southland.) Now running for six months, this open-ended production is described as a "provocative and funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis brilliant novel that explores the theme of spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view." Tickets are $29 to $48 at (773) 325-1700 at all Ticketmaster outlets. William Shakespeare's "The Tempest," at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.,continues in the downstairs theater through May 31. The production features a cast of Steppenwolf ensemble members and is directed by Tina Landau, also a member of the award-winning company. Landau "re-imagines this magical tale of art, freedom and the transformative power of forgiveness," the company press release states. Tickets are $20 to $70 at (312) 335-1650 or (OK. Steppenwolf is nowhere near the Southland either but how could anyone even think about eliminating Steppenwolf from a Chicagoland arts list?)
Coming to Steppenwolf for Young Adults, John Steinbeck's powerful drama of friendship and survival-- "Of Mice and Men" -- takes place during the Depression. The two main characters, itinerant farmhands, seek their own little world where life will be sweet. Although the Young Adults series features works young adults will find compelling, the plays are not edited, says David Rosenberg, Steppenwolf communications director. All performances will be at 11 a.m. Show dates are April 25, May 2, 3, 9, 10. Tickets are $20. Spotlight Theatre presents one of my all-time favorite comedies, "The Importance of Being Earnest," by the legendary Oscar Wilde, at 7:30 p.m. April 24, 25 and 3 p.m. April 26 at Governors State University; production currently scheduled for F1622 lecture hall . Tickets are $14, $12 for seniors and students with ID; (708) 798-1188 and "Earnest" is a Brit classic that has to be seen. You probably read it in high school or college, and as witty as Wilde reads, a successful production takes the comedy to levels often reaching sheer wackiness. Tons of fun, amazing writing and an all-around upbeat treasure. TOUR PRODUCTIONS Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University continues its production season with several acts, including the Kingston Trio at 5 p.m. May 3. GSU's full schedule info and all tickets are available at and at (708) 235-2222. VISUAL ARTS Tall Grass Arts Association Gallery, 367 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, presents "A Life in the Light," a photography retrospective of works by Richard Burd now through May 2. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, (708) 748-3377; MUSEUMS Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. I am ecstatic to be back among the stars, volunteering at Adler again after a 10-year hiatus. So many Chicagolands tell me they haven't been to Adler since they were kids. Trust me, this is not your old planetarium. While Adler, the western world's first planetarium, still retains the treasures and sky shows of years gone by, there is so much more. Digital 3-D shows, exhibits of space artifacts and ancient astronomy instruments as well as tons of hands-on stuff for all ages are just a few of the treasures. There is an entire exhibit area devoted to the Apollo program with loads of memorabilia from astronaut Jim Lovell of Gemini 12. Lovell perhaps is most famous as commander of the almost-doomed Apollo 13. The Gemini 12 capsule is considered the centerpiece of the huge two part exhibit but there is so much more ... videos, artifacts from spaceflights, huge murals and just about everything you will want to know or see about the American space program leading up to Apollo moon flights. Check out all the Adler details at Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Now premiering at the museum, "Harry Potter: the Exhibition. Visitors of all ages can enter the magical world of Harry Potter in an exciting exhibit running through Sept. 27. Props and costumes and more than 200 authentic artifacts used in the making of the film series are on view, inspired by locations from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hagrid's Hut and more. Special timed tickets, in addition to admission charge, required for this exhibit and it will have extended hours. All the details and ticket prices and purchase options are at Museum hours, other exhibits and upcoming events also are at the wonderful MSI website. Upcoming free days (do not include special exhibits) are April 22, June 1-5, June 19. More free dates in the fall. All the details, prices and exhibition details are at Also at MSI, "Smart Home, Green + Wired," has reopened with an updated look at the ultimate green home, an eco-friendly dwelling with technology for the 21st century. This exhibit also requires a timed ticket; MUSIC Two biggies are on schedule under the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra banner. By popular demand, the IPO once again presents the brilliant talent of violinist Emil Chudnovsky, for two performances, 8 p.m. April 18 and 3 p.m. April 19 at Lincoln-Way North High School Performing Arts Center in Frankfort. Chudnovsky's passion for the music and his violin took me out of the present, into another realm when we saw him a few years ago. Alas we were out of town during his more recent IPO appearances so we are thrilled at the chance to see him perform again. The orchestra of course will be under the direction of Maestro Carmon DeLeone. Program details, tickets and more are at (708) 481-7774 and
Friends of the IPO, meanwhile, present a "Rising Star Showcase" featuring young local talent: Ben Amenta on piano, Matt Lippman on viola, Tim Michuda on violin, Anna Cho Walker on cello, Aaron Washington on trumpet. This should be an extraordinary concert starring young performers who are making waves in the world of music. Valerie Nicholson, acclaimed pianist and a name familiar to most music fans in Chicagoland, will emcee and perhaps accompany one of the young artists. Tickets to the 4:30 p.m. April 26 concert at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights are only $10. Same phone number and website above for information.


photo by sarah gross

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Tinley Park, Illinois
As a longtime newspaperwoman who left the business to freelance, I want to keep in touch with the world. This is my place to reach out with words.