Saturday, July 18, 2009

Photos: Eric Walton is 'The Cat in the Hat' in Drama Group's Seussical.
Andrea Prestinario and Matt Raftery star in Theatre at the Center's 'Footloose.'
Mojo is well, Mojo, one guy in a million whose band, the Bayou Gypsies, will heat up Chicagoland Friday night  (7/24)in Palatine.
1964 brings back the Beatles at the Friday night (7/24) Starry Nights Concert in Homewood.
Dear Readers,
There is so much going on in Chicagoland and right out here in the Southland. Director/choreographer Stacey Flaster and an extraordinary cast shake it up with a phenomenal, feel-good-all-over production of the iconic "Footloose," based, of course, on the 1984 movie, at Theatre at the Center in Munster. Guaranteed you'll forget the world for a couple of magical hours. And Dr. Seuss heads to the South Subs via the Drama Group production of "Seussical ... the Musical," at the Studio Theatre in Chicago Heights.
If you're a jazz lover, be sure to check out the Jazz Pub Crawl coming up next week. And fans of Michael Jackson will want information about King of Pop Hometown Tours.
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Starry Nights brings the Beatles tribute band 1964 to town on Friday and if you're out Palatine way on Friday night and LOVE Zydeco, do not miss the legendary Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies in a rare free concert at Fred P. Hall Amphitheater. Mojo knocks 'em out and there is absolute truth to the warning that the Bayou Gypsies "may induce wild behavior."
Whatever you do, you can't escape the great times open to all in Chicagoland. And a lot of stuff is FREE. Those events are prefaced with that wonderful word, "FREE" before each listing.
Have a great couple of weeks. As always, if you see errors, please e-mail me at
FREE! Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies, undoubtedly the best Zydeco group anywhere, will heat up the summer at 8 p.m. July 24 at the Fred P. Hall Amphitheater, 262 E. Palatine Road, Palatine. Bring your chairs and picnic and get ready for a wild time. Yes, bring the video camera too as Mojo is making a party video. Get a hint of what's in store at
One of the Southland's most recognizable professional and community actors, John Boss, makes the leap to an ongoing Chicagoland adventure starting Aug. 1 as he joins the cast of "Kama Sutra the Musical," now in its 4th year at Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret, 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave. Showtime is 10:30 p.m. every Saturday, admission $20 plus two drink minimum. Just about every adult has heard of the Kama Sutra, an ancient Indian guide to sex that predates all 20th century "how-to" guides by some two millenia. The story revolves around a sexually troubled young couple, Dick and Gina. Their love life is, well, brought to life with the arrival of Swami Comonawannagetonya, the role Boss takes over for the rest of the year. Reservations are suggested, (773) 456-KAMA (5262). 
FREE! There is such a thing as a free lunch. OK, a free dance gala. In this era of often-outrageous theater and concert ticket prices, "A Celebration of American Dance," an open performance under the stars takes place starting at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. This extraordinary event will feature artists from some of the country's most acclaimed dance troupes including Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Step Africa and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and the all-male Les Ballet Grandiva. Seating begins two hours before curtain time and advance reservations are not necessary. 
The legendary Debbie Reynolds will kick up her heels and share inside Hollywood stories at Drury Lane Theatre100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace from Aug. 6 to 9 Tickets are $33 and dinner packages are available at (630) 530-0111 and at
All aboard the luxury coach bus for the next Chicago Jazz Club Crawl on July 30. The tour returns back to yesteryear when jazz pub crawls were the Chicago thing. All the details for this extraordinary jazz feast are at and at (866) 717-TOUR (8687).  
Yes, THE Michael. King of Pop Hometown Tours are are ready for launch and the all details, including route and stops, are at (Be sure to get the 'the' in the url.) The inaugural tour will board at noon, July 25, behind the Borders at 1539 E. 53rd St. behind in the public parking lot. The tour will last 3 1/2 - 4 hours depending on traffic. Advance ticket special continues and free for kids 5 years and younger. Tours scheduled every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Transportation from hotels and airports available. Reservations and details are at (866) 717-TOUR (8687). 


The Beatles' music never fades and now you can get a 'Ticket to Ride" for July 24. The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District's annual Starry Nights concert series at Irwin Park, Highland Avenue and Ridge Road, Homewood, takes the audience back to Liverpool (OK, and Shea Stadium) with Beatles Tribute Band "1964."  Bring the kids/grandkids and blankets or chairs. Fix your own picnic or buy food 'n drinks there. Park entrance opens at 6:30 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 and $7 for children 3 to 15, (708) 957-0300 and at Park District offices. Tickets on day of concert are an additional $5. Info on
For more than 30 years, Illinois Theatre Center has presented an annual Summerfest musical featuring professional actors with many local performers. This year, ITC takes a journey back in time, a lively musical revue featuring songs from all the Summerfest productions for the last 31 years. The show continues through Sunday. ITC is at 371 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest.Tickets are $15 adults, $14 students and seniors, (708) 481-3510.
The Buffalo Theatre Company presnts the John Ford Noonan comedy "A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking" through July 26 at the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.  Tickets are $25 to $33 at (630) 942-4000 and
One of my very first books was by Dr. Seuss, the now classic but rather obscure 'McElligott's Pool,' first released in 1947. Naturally it remains my favorite Dr. Seuss tale. Millions of youngsters and those who once were youngsters also have favorite Dr. Seuss titles so it's no surprise, America has fallen in love with a magical musical of Dr. Seuss favorites. In just a couple of weeks, the Drama Group presents the the charming "Seussical the Musical," Aug. 7 to 16 at the Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights. No surprise tickets are going fast and some performances are sold out already. Horton says the show will be spectacular! Tickets are $15 adults, $14 students and seniors, (708) 755-3444 and at
Coming this fall. The Drama Group will present 'Rent' starting Oct. 2. You just might want to get your tickets for this one soon too. Season tickets could be the right decision!!
LAST TWO WEEKS! Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, continues its production of"Pump Boys and Dinettes," ONLY through Aug. 2. (Tickets are $29 to $33, dinner theater packages available. Tickets are at (630) 530-0111 and
On Aug. 13, the now classic musical "Cabaret" comes to life on the Drury Lane stage. Tickets are $29 to $38 at number above and dinner theater packages are available.
FREE! The Highland (Indiana) Performing Arts Group will present "Sweet Charity" concert in the park at the Main Square Gazebo at Ridge Road and 5th Street, Highland. Showtimes are 8 p.m. July 30-Aug.1 and Aug. 6-8. Bring chairs, blankets and plan on a great time!
"Cinderella" continues at the Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive through Aug. 29. The brilliant Marc Robin, a director, choreographer as well as composer, wrote this imaginative and interactive production. Kids of all ages and kids at heart will share the experience as Cinderella learns dreams really can come true. All tickets are $12. Times and performance dates are at (837) 634-0200 and
Route 66 Theatre next brings the Nick Hornby story, "High Fidelity ... The Musical," to the stage at Pipers Alley Theater, 1608 N. Wells St., Chicago, opening Aug. 17. Although Hornby did not write the musical book, "High Fidelity" fans no doubt are going to head to Old Town to see what should be a terrific production. Tickets 'High Fidelity ..." are $29.50 to $39.50 at (312) 664-8844 and
Billy Vitucci stars as the Baker and Meghan Hoyt as the Witch when the all-new Southland Area Theatre Ensemble, or SLATE, opens its debut production, Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods," on Aug. 14 and 15 at Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University. Tickets are $18-$21 adults, $16-19 students at (708) 235-2222 and
We all day dream, giving way to our imaginations as we drift away toward some real or imaginary place. Of course, reveries frequently are just that, wisps of hope. Some people live on dreams, airs of the past or a hoped-for-future as thin as smoke.  The current Steppenwolf production, "Up," by Bridget Carpenter takes the audience into the heart of a family struggling to confront reality vs. dreams. This powerful drama does not end when the show is over as each person pastes his or her experiences onto the substance of this play in an effort to understand life a bit more than before experiencing "Up." Steppenwolf artistic director Martha Lavey is phenomenal in a pivotal feature role. The production goes through Aug. 23 in the lower theater, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago. Tickets are $20-$70 at (312) 335-1650 and at m.e.
Director-choreographer Stacey Flaster weaves her magic onstage at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, as she recreates for stage the 1984 iconic movie, "Footloose," through Aug. 16. Matt Raftery as the new kid, Renn, and Andrea Prestinario as the town preacher's rebellious daughter, Ariel, soar as the entire production brings audiences to their feet, clapping and hooting with joy. This nonstop, high energy musical -- including the 1980s classic song "Footloose" along with "Let's Hear It for the Boy" and Holding Out for a Hero" -- grabs the heart and soul and reminds us that life is good. And yes, it's OK to put the world's woes aside for a couple of wondrous hours. Bound for superstardom, Flaster does not miss a beat, and every moment of this show reveals her fresh and energizing theatrical touch. Tickets are $36 to $40 at (219) 836-3255 and Parking, of course, is always free! m.e.
ALWAYS FREE! The Tall Grass Arts Association, 367 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, continues its exhibition, "With These Hands," an extraordinary collection of sculpture and wall images by local and national artists. The show continues through Sept. 13This is the first gallery exhibit of this type for Tall Grass as well as the first time many of these artists have shown their works in the Chicago area. The media these artists employ are bounded only by the imagination. One of the Southland's most acclaimed sculptors, Grant White of Ford Heights, is one of the featured artists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. More information is at the gallery, (708) 748-3377 and at Take a look in the gift shop while you are there. I love to buy wonderfully unusual notecards there!
FREE FILMS! More Free stuff. Check out free films at sunset every Tuesday through Aug. 25 at Butler Field in Grant Park, Lake Shore Drive at Monroe. On July 21, the wacky and riotous Marx Brothers classic "Duck Soup" will fill the screen; On July 28, the Tennessee Williams classic starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof." Those are just two of the legendary silver screen gems set to roll during the festival. Schedule and details? Long url so just google Chicago Outdoor Film Festival. 
Now showing in Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum's  Definiti theater "IBEX: The Search for the Edge of the Solar System," takes viewers to the edge of solar system to explore the possibilities that the IBEX spacecraft (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) will probe once it has reached the region where the solar wind meets interstellar space. Of course, this month -- July 20 -- marks the 40th landing of the Apollo 11 and the celebration continues all month.  There's also the show, "One World, One Sky: Big Birds's Adventure." Adler's newest exhibit examines the history of stargazing, from before the era of telescopes to the modern era of telescopes beyond what early observers could have imagined in the most far out dreams. The interactive exhibit brings the stars to all ages, with the proverbial something for everyone, including looking through telescopes at simulated stars. "Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass," is included in general admission. All the details about exhibits as well as options to plan your trip and purchase tickets are at
Say "hi' to Sue. There's something exciting about dinosaurs, and kids as well as the kid within each of us, find adventure and intrigue in the giant animals that walked Earth millions of years ago. Alas, far too many people have never met Sue, the ginormous T. rex that greets visitors in the huge open area immediately past the entrance at Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Sue's relatives appear in an all-new 3D film, "Dinosaurs Alive," in the museum's new theatre. Coming on Oct. 23 -- They sparkle, dazzle and have a dark side too. An all new exhibit, "The Nature of Diamonds," opens Oct. 23. Watch for more details. Everything needed for a trip to the legendary Field Museum on the Museum Campus is at
Check out the world-famous Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Cornell (off Lake Shore Drive) this summer for never-ending wonders. LEGO my -- ohmygosh. Attention LEGO fans of ALL ages will not want to miss "Art + Science = Architecture," a mind-boggling exhibit of architectural wonders recreated in, yup, LEGOS. Structures include Sears (I just can't say the W word) Tower, St. Louis Gateway Arch and skyscrapers from around the world, all created by trained architect and LEGO professional Adam Reed Tucker. Also, Tucker will be working on his latest project on Sept. 12 in the museum's Rotunda. The entire exhibit runs through March 15 and is included in general admission.  And of course, faster than you can cast a spell, Harry Potter heaven continues "Harry Potter and the Blood Prince" in the Imax theater. "Harry Potter the Exhibition" is in its last five weeks as it closes after Sept. 27. Coming on Oct. 8, "You! The Experience," an all-new permanent exhibit that looks at mind, body and soul. More later. All the info you need for an MSI trip is at
 Shedd Aquarium is at 1200 Lake Shore Drive on the Museum Campus and there's something fishy going on there. Of course, the new, improved and enlarged Oceanarium offers delights for all ages and if you are with the young ones, you can take them to Polar Play Zone where they can pretend to be penguins or deep sea explorers and more. What fun! Details, tickets and information for planning your trip to this extraordinary aquarium, a Chicago treasure, are at


photo by sarah gross

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About Me

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.