Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And now presenting .... January 2011

Dear Readers,

OMG! I did not realize how much stuff there was in the Blog folder and tons of theater focused on some aspect of sex, including prostitution. Although I have not seen any of the productions involving some aspect of sex, none sound gratuitous.

But there's also 'Zoo Year's Eve' at Brookfield Zoo. It sounds like a blast for families.

Then in January, get out your swords for some swashbuckling. No, I am not kidding. Check out the Center for Performing Arts events and look for 'The Swordsmen.'

If you love the stars but hesitant about going to the Museum Campus, there's a small planetarium in Joliet listed as well, Trackman Planetarium at Joliet Junior College. Astronomy advocate and amazingly knowledgeable Art Maurer presents the shows and always answers questions as well as asks probing ones himself. It is all free.

MEANWHILE ... If you are still looking for something to do out here for New Year's Eve, something that is not going to put you in debt just to park as in downtown Chicago, then check out my all-new Tinley Park listing in Tuesday's Tinley Park at

Happy and healthy 2011 to you, Dear Readers. Look for next update at end of January. Meanwhile please keep those press releases coming and inform me ASAP about any errors;  CHEERS!! And countless thanks to the blog's volunteer webmaster who prefers to remain anonymous.



BEVERLY ARTS CENTER, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago Southwest corner of 111th Street and Western Avenue), presents the Flying Karamazov Brothers at 8 p.m. Jan. 21. Tickets are $21-$34 at and (773) 445-3838.

Everyone called her "Jackie." THE DRAMA GROUP returns to the stage Feb. 4 to 11 at the Studio Theatre, 330 202nd St., Chicago Heights, with Grey Gardens, based on a 1975 documentary of a mother-daughter pair, Edith and Edie Beale, relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Based on the book, same title, Grey Gardens is both hilarious and heart-breaking." The show opened on Broadway in 2006 and won several awards. Tickets are $18, $17 students and seniors, at (708) 755-3444 and

"Sixty miles outside Las Vegas today, sex is for sale in state licensed bordellos where almost any fantasy can be accommodated for the right price." So begins the first sentence of a press release for the first play of the year for CHICAGO DRAMATISTS, 1105 W. Chicago Ave. What promises to be a riveting production that explores the lives of sex workers in legal operations in Nevada, Bordello, opens Jan. 27 and runs through March 6. Tickets are $32 at

CURTAIN CALL COMMUNITY THEATRE presents the beloved musical Annie, Jan. 7-9 at Lincoln-Way East High School, 201 Colorado Ave., Frankfort. Tickets are $19, $17 students, seniors. Times, tickets and more are at and at (708) 699-2228.

DRURY LANE THEATRE, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, goes for the laugh-yourself-out-of-your-seat Broadway hit, Spamalot, Jan. 6 to March 6. The riotous musical spoofs another spoof, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Directed by William Osetek, the show should be absolutely hysterical. Tickets are $35-$40 and dinner packages are available; (800) 745-3000 and at and Ticketmaster. Parking is free.

ILLINOIS THEATRE CENTER, 371 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, presents "Intimate Apparel" Jan. 28-Feb. 23 . Tickets are priced at 20-$22, $1 discount for students and seniors, (708) 481-3510.

MARRIOTT THEATRE in Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive, brings to life as only Marriott can do the Broadway' high stakes musical classic with its "fabled world of high rollers, loveable lowlifes and Salvation Army soul savers," Frank Loesser's Tony Award-winning Guys and Dolls. With musical treasures including Luck Be a Lady and If I Were a Bell, the musical opened on Broadway in 1950 and continues to delight audiences of all ages. The show opens Jan. 26 and runs through March 27. Tickets are at (847) 634-0200 and at
Meanwhile, The Music Man continues through Jan. 9 with Bernie Yvon as affable trickster Harold Hill. Tickets are $40-$48 at same locations as above.

SPOTLIGHT THEATER presents Suddenly Last Summer and Al Takes a Bride, Jan. 28-30, at Tinley Park High School, 6111 W. 175th St. Tickets are $14, $12 seniors, students at (708) 941-8294 and at

THE STAGE COMMUNITY THEATRE of the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District rocks this month with two productions in January. At 2 p.m. Jan. 16, the company presents Amazing Grace at the H-F Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut, Homewood. Tickets are $7 adults, $5 children. Then on Jan. 20 and 21, the company presents a dinner/luncheon theater program with Salute to the Tony Winners at Balagio Ristorante, 17501 Dixie Highway, Homewood. One show will be $25, including luncheon; dinner show $35. Specifics are not on the website and when available should be at (708) 798-PARK (7275) and

STEEL BEAM THEATRE, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles, kicks off the year with Don't Dress for Dinner, described as "two parts sexual hijinks, one part mistaken identity and a dash of slap-stick set in a French country house. The show runs from Jan. 14-Feb. 6. Tickets are $25, $23 seniors and students at

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago, (312) 335-1650, heads into 2011 with rave reviews for its production of the Edward Albee classic, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring ensemble actors Amy Morton and Tracy Letts (pictured). This powerful drama of marital discord and much more continues through Feb. 13. Tickets are $20-$75 at the box office number above and at

Now how does this sound for a teaser? "Ethan is a hot young writer whose online journals of 'sexcapades' are the buzz of the blogosphere. Olivia is an attractive 30-year-old whose own writing career is fizzling." Ethan and Olivia hook up and ... Got your attention? STEPPENWOLF'S UPSTAIRS THEATRE (same address) presents Sex with Strangers, directed by Jessica Thebus, Steppenwolf associate artist. The production opens Jan. 29 and runs through May 15. Tickets are $20 to $73, same phone and website above.

THEATRE AT THE CENTER, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana, veers from its traditional musical fare to present a riveting mystery thriller, Sleuth, Feb. 17-20. Award-winning actors Larry Yando (left in photo), well-known to Chicagoland theater-goers, and Lance Baker (at right) star in the TAC's first production of the 2011 season. Tickets are $36-$40 at (219) 836-3255, at (800) 511-1552 and on the theater website at Parking at TATC is always free.

THEATRE OF WESTERN SPRINGS heads into 2011 with The Quick Change Room from Jan. 13-18. Billed as a "hilarious and powerful comedy set in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1991, just as the Soviet government topples," the script sounds hilarious. The theater is at 4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs; tickets are $18 to $20 at (708)246-3380 and at


CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS, Governors State University, University Park, steps into 2011 with a veritable potpourri of performances. At 8 p.m. Jan. 8, GSU celebrates Elvis, on what would have been his 75th birthday. Blue Suede Shoes: The Ultimate Tribute rocks the town with music from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Tickets are $34-$49. Then at 8 p.m. Jan 15, Lurrie Bell's Chicago Blues Band returns for a night of great music, $37. The next show? Alas, at this point, tickets are sold out for the 4 p.m. Jan. 30.  The Other Three Tenors -- A Tribute to Mario Lanza. No surprise it's a sell-out, but those who really want to attend might want to call the box office (all tickets at this number), (708) 235-2222 to see if there is a wait-list. Tickets also at
The Center's children's special at 1 p.m. Jan 22 features Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia performing Caldecott Award-winner Leo Lionni's Swimmy and Inch By Inch. Tickets are $10.50-$11.50.

FOX VALLEY REPERTORY, formerly Noble Fool Theatricals, kicks off 2011 with its new name and a potpourri of fun at Pheasant Run Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. At 8 p.m. Jan. 7, The Pin Ups! return to the sounds and stars of the 1940s and '50s. Think Andrew Sisters, McGuire Sisters, Ella, Frank and Bing. Tickets are $39. Then sharpen your swords for the 8 p.m. Jan. 8 show, The Swordsmen whose most unusual production is billed as an "award-winning brand of interactive swordplay for the whole family." Now this sounds like fun. Really! Tickets are $29. Rounding out the first month of the new year Beatles Style, American English, pegged by many reviewers and fans as the best of the Beatles tribute acts, returns for two performances, 8 p.m. Jan. 14 and 15. Tickets are $39. FVR tickets are at (630) 584-634d2 and

The award-winning ILLINOIS PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, with guest conductor Alexander Platt, presents Beethoven and Pine with acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine. The concert will take place at 8 p.m. Jan. 15 at Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 S. Harlem Ave., Frankfort. The program will be repeated at 3 p.m. Jan. 16 at Ozinga Chapel at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Parkway, Palos Heights. Ticket prices and availability are at (708) 481-7774 and at

MORAINE VALLEY FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Dorothy Menker Theater, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, presents Fred Garbo's Inflatable Theater with inflatable inventions, artistic imagery and creative foolishness. This performance art show for the family is at 3 p.m. Jan 23. Tickets are $20, seniors $15, students $10 at (708) 974-5500.

NEVERLY BROTHERS (photo) hit the stage with a rock and roll history adventure, 8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Francesca Vicinato, 12960 S. LaGrange, Palos Park, (708) 671-1600. Top row Kegham Giragosian (from Left), Kevin Giragosian and Craig Gigstad.

PARAMOUNT THEATRE, 23 E. Galena Road, Aurora, presents the legendary B.B. King at 8 p.m. Jan 15. Tickets are at box office (630) 896-6666 and at Ticketmaster.


MORAINE VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Robert F. DeCaprio Gallery, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, features O. Gustavio Plancensia Art Exhibition, Jan. 18-Feb. 10, Collecting Instantes e Instintos. The artist utilizes inconography from Mexico as he blends "traditional native rituals with Roman Catholicism. More gallery information is at (708) 974-5500 and at

FLOATING WORD GALLERY, 1925 N. Halsted St., Chicago, has extended until Jan. 28 the exhibit Behind Paper Walls: Self-printed Masterworks by Jun'ichirosekino. More information is at (312) 587-7800 and at

UNION STREET GALLERY, 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights, (708) 754-2601, kicks off 2011 with Dialogue: Contemporary Region Sculpture and Paintings. Limited to two artists, the exhibits paintings are by Patricia Moore and sculptures by Bob Emser. The show runs from Jan. 12-Feb.12. Admission to the gallery is always free.

TALL GRASS ARTS ASSOCIATION GALLERY, 367 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, (708) 748-3377, presents an informal exhibit of works by the Tall Grass Life Drawing Class from Jan. 21-Feb. 6. And from 7-9 p.m. Jan 28, models from the class will be present, fully clothed, so guests can try their hand at sketching. More information is at phone number above.

View the skies through some of the world's Great Observatories in 3D, an all-new show now running in the Universe Theater at ADLER PLANETARIUM AND ASTRONOMY MUSEUM, 1300 S. Michigan Ave. (at the east end of Solidarity Drive on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-7827 (STAR). This show takes you behind the scenes with some of the world's most incredible telescopes so you can see how new discoveries reach the human eye. All the info you need for your virtual ride to the stars is at

Learn about the stars you can see and the ones a bit beyond naked eye viewing in Joliet at the intimate HERBERT TRACKMAN PLANETARIUM one of the Southland's far-too-well-kept secrets, located on the main campus of Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Road. The planetarium presents always-free Sky Shows every month with astronomy advocate and host, Art Maurer. Art is one of those guys who can answer just about any question his audiences might ask and his explanations are clear! General audience shows are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays: Jan 4 is Sun-Earth-Moon and Jan. 18, Comets Asteroids and Meteors. If weather permits, there will be telescope viewing after the show. At 6:30 p.m. Thursdays are shows for the younger set. Upcoming Jan. 27, We Go to the Moon. Young folks shows also run some Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Upcoming, Jan. 16, Are There Aliens? Hmmm. Good question. Use your GPS to find the place on the Joliet Junior Campus off Houbolt Road. If you need good directions, Art says you can e-mail him at NOTE: Photo is NOT Art Maurer!

I was mesmerized by photo sent with a press release from THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, 111. S. Michigan Ave. The image shows a 5,000-year-old copper statue, Striding Horned Figure, now on long-term loan to the museum and on exhibit in Gallery 153. At just under 7 inches, the statue, described as Shaman/Demon, is one of a pair found in what is now Iran. Scholars who have spent years studying it believe the bearded figure wearing a horned headdress, short boots and a raptor slung over its shoulder may depict "a supernatural intermediary between the early and (s)piritual worlds," the press release states. All the details you need to plan a day at the Art Institute are at Attached photo: Striding Horned Figure, courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago. Anonymous loan.

Holiday Magic lights up BROOKFIELD ZOO, 3300 Golf Road, (708) 485-2000,. Get ready for Zoo Year's Eve, a celebration for the entire family. You might see a zoo resident, like Hudson the 4-year-old polar bear in photo, munching on an edible decoration The fun kicks off at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 with festive music, games and even prizes. An countdown to 2011 begins somewhat early, 8 p.m., so the animals can get their beauty rest. For more information check out at or Zoological Society). Photo courtesy of Chicago Zoological Society.

DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, continues the exhibit Red, White, Blue and Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services, revealing the struggles of the 14 million African Americans who have served in the military on American shores, starting long before the American Revolution. All the details for a DuSable visit are at (773) 947-0600 and

Everyone's favorite T. rex, Sue continues her restful stay in the grand hall of FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-9410. Meanwhile, the dinomentary, Waking the T. rex 3-D: The Story of Sue continues to thrill visitors of all ages. While safe in their seats, visitors find themselves in a world filled with dinos that can devour 100 pounds of meat and bone in one chomp. This dazzling computer-generated 3-D adventure presents a fresh look at what T. rex's life might have been like. This is all ages, almost, so parents take note: There are CG depictions of animals tearing their bloody prey apart and dining on dino tartare. The scenes last only a few moments and are not used gratuitously. In any case, this is one awesome adventure and it has been extended till.... Meanwhile for all the info anyone needs for a Field visit are at and at (312) 922-9410.

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, 2203 E. Chicago Ave., presents Coming into Character, an exhibit of works by Jim Nutt, Jan. 29-May 29. All the details are at

Chicago's wondrous holiday traditions, Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights, will dazzle visitors at the MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive through Jan. 9. Meanwhile. Jim Henson's Fantastic World, which runs through Jan. 23, brings Henson's genius and his characters to life, including Miss Piggy, Bert and Ernie and many more favorite Muppets. In addition to the original characters, visitors will see Henson's art work, sketches as well as television and movie props and photos of Henson and his collaborators at work on some of the most lovable characters of all-time. Details on all the exhibits as well as museum tickets exhibit tickets are at the website above and at (773) 684-1414. Photo courtesy Museum of Science and Industry.

SHEDD AQUARIUM, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, The Polar Express 4-D Experience has situated itself at the aquarium and is the perfect winter adventure for all ages. All the details for a trip to Shedd are at and at (312) 939-2438.

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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.