Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tevye set to return, February free month at Art Institute and more

Dear Readers, 

Here we are, and it' almost, can you believe, February 2010. Tunbleweed (upper left) and associate Cloudy (not pictured) will take center stage at 10:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day at Brookfield Zoo. The Spotlight Theater's production of the Woody Allen comedy, 'Play It Again, Sam' (upper right) features Nicole Fleming and Randy Trull. Illinois Theatre Center presents Kona N. Burks (lower left on the left), Makeba Pace and Vallea W. Woodbury in 'Crumbs from the Table of Joy,' and Noble Fool Theatre presents Renee Matthews and Gabriel Harder in 'Over the Tavern.' In other arts news, the Art Institute of Chicago has set February as a FREE month. And as always, the Southland and indeed Chicagoland arts and entertainment scene never stops!
Please continue to e-mail any corrections and comments to me at and keep those press releases coming. PLEASE if you are sending any photos, be sure to ID the people in them.
Have a great, short month!


THE DRAMA GROUP talent tackles an American classic, the 1941 Tennessee Williams gem, "The Glass Menagerie" Feb. 4-14 at the Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Tickets are $17-$18 at (708) 755-3444 and

DRURY LANE OAKBROOK TERRACE, 100 Drury Lane, closes out the 2009-2010 season with the Ziegfield girl musical, "Funny Girl," now through March 7,  starring Sara Shepard, directed by Gary Griffin and William Osetek. Show only tickets $29-$38 (discount for students, seniors); dinner packages available, (630) 530-0111 and

IDEA PLACE presents a repertory of four campy, gender-bending plays by drag theater legend Charles Busch ("The Tale of the Allergists Wife"), including the long-running "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom." The other plays are "Sleeping Beauty or Coma: Theodora She-Bitch of Byzantium" and "Pardon My Inquisition or Kiss the the Blood off My Castanets." All productions will be presented at Mary's Attic (above Hamburger Mary's), 5400 N. Clark St. Tickets are $12 at (800) 838-3006. Schedule and further information:

ILLINOIS THEATRE CENTER, 371 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, presents Lynn Nottage's "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" Jan. 29 - Feb. 14 in the theater's annual tribute to Black History Month. The New York Post said of this work, "Imagine a pairing between Tennessee Williams and Lorraine Hansberry, a glass menagerie in the sun, a small window into the past ..." Tickets are $19 - $21 at (708) 481-3510 and at the door.

MARRIOTT THEATRE, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire,  opens the 2010 season with "Fiddler on the Roof," Feb. 17- April 25, starring Ross Lehman, directed by David H. Bell. The season's complete lineup and ticket information are at and at (847) 634-0200. Now playing through Feb. 14, "My Fair Lady." 

NOBLE FOOL THEATRICALS (I love that name) presents one of Chicago's most versatile and talented actors, Renee Matthews, in Tom Dudzick's hilarious and touching family comedy, "Over the Tavern" from Feb. 12 - March 28. The play is set in 1959 in Buffalo, NY. Polish Catholic Chet and Ellen live above their tavern with their four teenagers. Need I say more? Well, actually I will say more when I review the show next month. The production stage is the Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage Theater, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, IL. Tickets are $29 and $39 at (630) 584-6342 and at Ticketmaster. Dinner packages available.

PALOS VILLAGE PLAYERS bring their "Leading Ladies" to the stage Feb. 19 - 27 at Little Theater of Palos South Middle School, 131st Street and 82nd Avenue, Palos Park. Tickets are $15, $12 seniors and students; (708) 787-2010 and at

SPOTLIGHT THEATRE shines the light on "Play It Again, Sam," the Woody Allen comedy that will warm up your winter nights Jan. 29 - Feb.6 at Sherman Recital Hall, Governors State University, University Park. Tickets are $14, $12 students and seniors, (708) 941-8294 and

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE COMPANY, 1650 N. Halsted St., presents "The Brother/Sister Plays: In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus, Or the Secret of Sweet." The trio of ensemble dramas by Tarell Alvin McCraney, performed in repertory in the upper theater through May 23, take the audience to the bayou for dramas of love, sexuality and coming-of-age influenced by lively Afro-Caribbean folklore." Tickets are $20-$70 at (312) 335-1650 and Meanwhile, the David Mamet classic, "American Buffalo," continues through Feb. 14 in the downstairs theater.

SHHHH! THEATRE AT THE CENTER, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN, presents "Noises Off," to kick off the theater's 20th anniversary season since the theater opened with that production in the summer of 1991. The show, which stars two Chicagoland favorites, Marilyn Bogetich and the inimitable Dale Benson. runs from Feb. 19 - March 21. Tickets are $20 - $40 at (800) 511-3255 and at

TOWLE THEATER, 5205 Hohman Ave., Hammond, IN. presents "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" Feb. 26 - March 11. We have inside info that the Southland's own Jeannie Rega-Markionni is in the cast! Tickets are $15 at (219) 937-8780.


CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS at Governors State University, University Park, opens its Cabaret at the Center series at 8 p.m. Jan. 30 with Harmonious Wail. Enjoy the intimate 1940s-style cabaret club on the Center stage, with table seating for 250. Full cash bar and snacks available for purchase. Then just in time for Valentine's Day, John Mueller's Winter Dance Party, the official tribute band for Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper rocks the Center at 8 p.m. Feb. 13. We've seen this show and it's awesome. Holly (Mueller), Valens (Ray Anthony) and the Big Bopper (Jay Richardson, son of the Big Bopper) recreate the music of the '50s, before the "day the music died." Tickets are $22 - $42 at (708) 235-2222 and at

The ILLINOIS PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA looks to the works of Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms for, "Romantic Rivals," an 8 p.m. Jan. 30 concert at Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 S. Harlem Ave., Frankfort. Tickets are at (708) 481-7774 and at

JAZZ CLUB CRAWL returns for a Valentine's Day Sweetheart Club Crawl special starting at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 in Matteson with additional pickup at 8:45 p.m. in Hyde Park. Travel by luxury tour bus to jazz clubs, sipping champagne and munching on goodies throughout the evening, $65. All the details are at and at (866) 717-8687.

MOJO AT THE MAC: The phenomenal Zydeco and magic of Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies return to the McAninch Center at College of DuPage, Fawell and Park Blvds., Glen Ellyn, at 8 p.m. Feb. 13. Tickets are $30, $28 seniors, and are close to being sold out so order yours now, (630) 942-4000 and at  

JAZZIN' ON THE PRAIRIE. OK. We made that name up but hopefully it got your attention. It's almost February and time for the annual Prairie State College "Jazzfest," the premier jazz festival in the Southland. Mark your calendars: 8 p.m. Feb. 19 at the college, 202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights. Tickets are $12, $8 students and seniors, available in advance at the PSC business office and also at the door the night of the concert, (708) 709-3500. More later but this is an event jazz lovers will not want to miss with its stellar lineup including Orbert Davis and PSC's own jazz celebrity, Valerie Nicholson.

ROSEMONT THEATRE, 5400 N. River Road, brings country legends Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson together for a killer country concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. Tickets are $35 - $65 at Ticketmaster and the Rosemont box office, (847) 559-1212.


DEPAUL UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, features "The Breathing Factory," an exhibition of photographs and videos by Mark Curran running through March 19. Gallery hours and more information are at (773) 325-7506 and at

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, 220 E. Chicago Ave., launches its spring performance schedule with the Akram Khan Company Feb. 26-28. and continues with a Filmless Festival. More dance, theater and music continue through April. All the MCA schedules and other information are at

UNION STREET GALLERY, 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights, (708) 754-2601, focuses on photography Jan. 15 - Feb. 26 with "The Positive Image," a juried exhibit of regional contemporary photography. The gallery is open from 12 - 4 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday,


ADLER PLANETARIUM AND ASTRONOMY MUSEUM, 1300 S. Michigan Ave. (at the east end of Solidarity Drive on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-7827 (STAR).  I volunteer at Adler about twice a month in the amazing Space Visualization Lab (SVL). Here you will see the universe in new and exciting visualizations, talk with astronomers involved in current research on such topics as cosmic rays, black holes and other exotic structures -- all in an intimate classroom-size setting with interactive computer stations. The SVL is open from 2-3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. All the details you need for an Adler visit are at

HERBERT TRACKMAN PLANETARIUM:  If you live in the Southland and never heard of Joliet Junior College's Trackman Planetarium, 1215 Houbolt Road (be sure to get directions to the planetarium), you are missing a real treat. It's one of the best kept secrets out here. The Sunday afternoon show series, which starts at 2 p.m., and the Thursday series that starts at 6:30 p.m. are geared to the younger set. Coming up --  Thursday March 4, "We Go to the Moon"Sunday Feb. 7, "What's in the Sky." Tuesday Sky shows for the junior high set and older are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Coming up:  Feb. 9, "The Fermi Paradox" and Feb. 23 "Sun-Earth-Moon." All shows are free so all you have to do is show up. For directions and further information, (815) 729-9020 or go to and search Trackman.

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO: The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., has one big announcement. ADMISSION IS FREE IN FEBRUARY. Yes, you read that right. This is a great time to return to, or finally visit, those exhibits you have loved for years or been waiting to see, including the all new Modern Wing. Get your calendars out now and plan. 

GROUNDHOG DAY reaches far behond Punxsutawney, PA. In fact, Brookfield Zoo (off First Avenue between Insterstates 55 and 290) features its own celebrity groundhog, Tumbleweed, who currently is ensconced in his dressing room preparing for Groundhog Day. Tumbleweed is aware of the gravity of his role, knowing full well that if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if not, spring lurks around the corner. Tumbleweed hopefully will make a brief appearance (thanks to food treats) at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 2 and continue his work as the great prognosticator. The appearance, of course, is open to the public. All the details are with the Chicago Zoological Society at

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM: Chicago History Museum (formerly Chicago Historical Society), 1601 N. Clark St., (312) 642-4600, will celebrate Presidents Day with special events from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Feb. 15. All activities are included with regular admission and reservations are not necessary:

FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-9410. Have you ever thought about what the huge Field Museum would be like at night when you could explore exhibits, including the ancient Egyptian mummies and artifacts, by flashlight? Well, on Feb. 12, from 5:45 p.m.-9 a.m., the museum sponsors "Dozin' with the Dinos (including Sue)," an overnight family program that includes snacks at night, continental breakfast in the morning and get this, visiting some exhibits with flashlights at night. All the details are at Click on Calendar of Events, then Family Programs. OK, so it's a couple of clicks but it sure sounds like fun. Too bad they don't have a something like this for the senior set.

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, 57th Street and Cornell (off Lake Shore Drive) presents Black Creativity 2010 - "Taking Charge of You" an exhibit and series of programs that look at life and ways to stay fit from an African American perspective. A variety of activities, special programs and talks through Feb. 28.

SHEDD AQUARIUM, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus),  (312) 939-2438. With such a vast array of exotic exhibits, as well as the legendary new, improved "Fantasea" Oceanarium show, preparing a visit really requires an online visit to Videos and links to interactives, another video to help plan your visit and even photos and a video of the baby beluga will help you decide what to see while you're there.


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.