Friday, June 11, 2010

Dash around the dinosaurs!

A Dino Named Sue
Step into the past and journey to Earth's prehistoric lands of the dinosaurs. In 2010, there's only one place on the planet where visitors can experience life-like close encounters with the giant creatures that roamed the planet more 65 million ago years. Of course, that one location is the world famous Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive on the Chicago Museum Campus. 
SUE, the magnificent and largest complete T. rex ever discovered, greets all visitors in the grand hall. And yes, most of Sue is authentic. There are areas where the skeleton has been filled in but the only major feature that is not genuine is Sue's skull, but it's an exact replica of the original one. Sue's real skull is on display in the museum but it's too heavy for display on the skeleton.
 This year, Sue and the museum celebrate 10 years of togetherness. Just steps from Sue's real skeleton, "RoboSUE: The T. rex Experience" breathes life into fearsome prehistoric creatures with fantastic 21st century technology. A robotic T. rex is only one aspect of this ancient jungle. Triceratops (at left) with its horned fan spread across its skull and the terrifying, lightning fast velociraptors will react to visitors in their field of vision. 
"Waking T. rex: The Story of SUE,"(photo below) feels like a time machine from which you can chronicle what Sue's life and death may have been like as well as see how the fossilized skeleton was discovered in South Dakota.
This 3D film leaps far beyond the technology employed in the 1993 movie blockbuster, "Jurassic Park" and brings the Mesozoic era, 250 million years ago to 65 million years ago, right into the 21st century. 
The museum has many programs scheduled to coincide with the Field/Sue 10th anniversary celebration. All the details about Sue's celebration, "RoboSUE" and "Waking T. rex," as well as everything you need for a visit to Field Museum, are at

American history takes a turn for wacky thanks to the Drama Group's production of .... well look below under the DG listing. The play (my alternate title: Moe, Larry and Curly discover fun in American history) really does have a long title, a lot of water and three wild and crazy guys.

Have you ever wanted to head out onto the lake in one of the majestic Tall Ships that visit Chicago every few years? Now you have a chance to ride on the Tall Ship Windy (at right). Check out the Shedd Aquarium listing, last item in the blog. 
The blog below begins with theater, followed by music, dance and art and finally museums. 
If you know of any theater group or venue not listed, please e-mail me that information along with a contact person for the group or venue.
And do pulleze keep those terrific press releases zipping into my e-mail box at Don't hesitate to send me any corrections or silly typos you catch. And be sure, I always love your comments and suggestions.
Summer is here so take advantage of the myriad treasures out there.



The BEVERLY ARTS CENTER, 111th Street and Western Avenue (Southeast corner) presents -- are you ready -- "Tim O'Malley's Super Fun Comedy Extravaganza" at 8 p.m. July 22. Second City alum O'Malley ("Godshow") plans a laugh-till-you-hurt program. Tickets are $18, $15 for BAC members,

It's wacky, nutty, totally irreverent and extraordinarily wet! The DRAMA GROUP presents "The Complete History of America, Abridged," indeed a "hysterical historical" look at 600 years life on this continent in 6000 seconds (100 minutes) and the significance of the phrase "Grow a penis." If the world is getting you down and you need a new outlook on Western Civ, this show will set your head on right. Or wrong. Kelly Padden directs Matt Morales (top right), Tyler McMahon (center) and Brian Giblin in "Complete History ..." The show runs through June 20 at the Drama Group Studio, 330W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Tickets are $18, $17 seniors and students; (708) 755-3444 and at

DRURY LANE THEATRE OAKBROOK TERRACE, 100 Drury Lane, sweetens the summer season through Aug. 1 with "Sugar," billed as a sexy and exhilarating musical comedy. Set in the Prohibition era and based on the Oscar-winning 1959 film, "Some Like It Hot," "Sugar" opened on Broadway in 1972, ran for 505 performances and garnered four Tony nominations. If you have not heard of the show, that's because it's rarely seen. But if Drury Lane is staging it, my bet is that it's as much a winner in 2010 as it was nearly 40 years ago. Tickets are $31-$45, as low as $27 for seniors at matinee performances. Lunch and dinner theater packages available in advance for all theater-goers. Reservations are at (630) 530-0111 and Ticketmaster. More information at

ILLINOIS THEATRE CENTER presents its annual free, outdoor Shakespeare in the Park production June 25-27 on the Village Green in Downtown Park Forest. This year's production, the tragedy of "Romeo and Juliet," will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Come early, bring a picnic supper and enjoy a great night of free classic theater. If case of inclement weather, the production will move into Illinois Theatre Center, just steps away from the Village Green. More information at (708) 481-3510.

MARRIOTT THEATRE, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, keeps the audience awake and involved with the 2006 blockbuster Broadway show, "The Drowsy Chaperone," through June 27. Imagine this: You slide your favorite stage musical CD into the player and the era and actors magically burst into life. The brilliant Marc Robin creates his own magic as director and choreographer of "... Chaperone," a musical within a musical comedy featuring an all-star cast including Chicago favorites Paula Scrofano, John Reeger and James Harms. Tickets are $35 to $48 at (847) 634-0200 and all Ticketmaster outlets. The 411 on the show is at

NEW LINCOLN THEATRE presents the wacky Charles Grippo political sex comedy, "Sex Marks the Spot" at the Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago. Show runs through July 25. Tickets are $26 (773) 327-5252 and Ticketmaster.

99TH STREET SUMMER THEATER returns with two musical classics, "Kiss Me Kate" on July 8-10 followed by "Anything Goes," July 22-24. All shows start at 8 p.m. are at Mother McAuley High School Auditorium, 3737 W. 99th St (of course), Chicago. Tickets are $16 adults, $14 seniors, $12 children at (773) 881-6512 and at

This is the closing weeked for the OAK LAWN PARK DISTRICT THEATRE production of the musical story of Gypsy Rose Lee with Kim Brines as Mama Rose and Connie Johnson as Gypsy. "Gypsy," runs through June 13 at Oak View Center, 110th Street and Kilpatrick, Oak Lawn. Tickets are $21, $20 seniors, (708) 857-2200. 

Aye, Matey. OPENING NIGHT ARTS GROUP, which presents theatrical productions throughout the year to raise funds for various causes, heads into Gilbert and Sullivan territory with the riotous "Pirates of Penzance" July 10, 11 and 16-18 at Alan B. Shepard High School Fine Arts Center, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights. The wacky story finds a nursemaid, a wannabe pirate and of course, a beautiful young lass all caught up in a totally crazy plot with a fantastic G&S musical score. Tickets are $20, $18 seniors and kids 12 and under. More information on the theater website and via e-mail at or at (708) 579-1630, extension 0 and leave a message.

OK. You've been watching all the CSI shows and probably NCIS too. Now it's your turn to help solve a mystery (or maybe be the bad guy) as ORLAND PARK THEATRE TROUPE presents the interactive, audience participation and no doubt bloody entertaintaining "Til Death Do US Part Murder Mystery Comedy" July 30, 31 at Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 Ravinia Drive. Tickets are $25 for the cocktail and hors d'oeuvres at 7 p.m. and showtime at 8 p.m. Reservations and information are at (708) 403-7275 and at

SPOTLIGHT THEATRE kicks off the summer with the 1961 Tennessee Williams classic, "The Night of the Iguana," June 11, 12 and 18, 19 at Sherman Recital Hall, Governors State University, University Park. Enter a defrocked minister-turned-tour director who is on the verge of emotional collapse at a tour stop in Mexico. The plot ratchets up to sizzling under the Mexican sun in the words of the legendary playwright in what many critics view as the last title in his stellar bibliography. Tickets are $14, $12 seniors and students at (708) 941-8294 and The cast features Susan O'Byrne (from left), Jeff Gamlin and Lisa Marcanio.

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago, (312) 335-1650, "An Evening with David Sedaris," best-selling author and NPR humorist, in the upstairs theater through June 13. All tickets are $35.

THEATER-ON-THE-HILL, Bolingbrook Performing Arts Stage, 375 W. Briarcliff, brings the legendary Pete Townshend and the Who 1960s rock opera "Tommy" to life June 25-July 18. You've always wanted to see this production performed live on stage and now you'll have your chance. "Tommy" feaures one of my former Star Newspaper colleagues, Erika Enigk Grotto. Tickets are on sale now, $14, $11 seniors and students, at (630) 908-2563 or by e-mail to Check out the show's blog at and read what's going on behind the curtain and in the minds and lives of actors as they gear up for opening night!

TOWLE THEATER, 2505 Hohman Ave., Hammond, IN, brings the Broadway blockbuster "Rent" to the Southland stage (OK, Northwest Indiana stage) July 9-25. All tickets are $15 at (219) 937-8780 and at


ARMENIAN DANCE COMPANY OF CHICAGO performs at 7:30 p.m. June 26 at Auditorium TheatreNortheastern Illinois University, 5500 N. Saint Louis Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $30 at (847) 830-3881 or at (773) 844-0138.

FERMILAB ART SERIES takes the physics of sound to the max with Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues at 8 p.m. June 26. The Chamber Blues music experience takes lucky audiences into a phenomenal fusion of gritty Chicago blues and classical sounds. Siegel's extraordinary musical talent spans across the performance and composing spectrum and Chamber blues brings it all together with a chamber music size combo. Tickets are $20, $10 18 and under. Info on the art series and other events, as well as tickets, are www.FNAL.GOV/CULTURE and (630) 840-2787. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Ramsey Auditorium in Wilson Hall is at the back of the iconic structure in Batavia. A map sketch is at The iconic Wilson Hall is visible from Kirk Road, an extension of Farnsworth, as you travel north off I-88. FYI -- Corky closes out the Chicago Blues Fest June 15 at Petrillo Music Shell.

Get ready to rock as "Starry Nights," the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District's annual summer concert series at IRWIN PARK, Highland Avenue and Ridge Road, Homewood, continues oJune 25 as Elevation performs U2 and Pink Houses plays John Cougar Mellencamp on July 23. Check out preview videos of the bands at Advance tickets on sale now -- $7 adult, $5 child at Park District offices and (708) 957-0300. Bad weather location -- Marian High School Auditorium. Info will be on park district website before afternoon, day of concert.

NEVERLY BROTHERS take you on a rock and roll ride of a lifetime at a series of concerts coming up soon. So listen up (OK, read up). at 6:30 p.m. June 14 the trio will shake up Lockport at Central Square at the Cruisin Lockport Car Show. That show is followed by the Nevs California Tour but they are back for a 7 p.m. June 24 show at Main Square, Route 6 (Ridge Road) and Fifth Street in Highland, IN. More concerts: 8:30 p.m. June 26 at Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, tickets are (815) 356-9212 and at and at 5 p.m. June 27 at Geneva Commons Summer Concerts, 602 Commons Drive, Geneva, IL. If you've never heard the Nevs, or if you want the complete schedule, check the website: Photo, top row, Kegham Giragosian on drums, Kevin Giragosian on guitar and Craig Gigstad on bass.)

POTPOURRI OF GALLERIES - Well, just one this time but it has two shows.

UNION STREET GALLERY, 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights, presents a Nina Weiss exhibit, "Not Far Off," Landscapes inspired by forests and fields, through July 31. At the same time, the gallery features the black and white photography of John Spomar III, "The Past and the Promise." Both artists will be honored at a reception from 6-9 p.m. July 9. There is never a charge at Union Street. More information including gallery hours are at


How are you and the stars, yes the ones in the sky, connected? Find out 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). The newest sky show in the Definiti Theatre will answer the question about you and stars as Whoopi Goldberg narrates the  spectacular "Journey to the Stars." See how stars are born and how they die and where our sun fits into the big universeShow schedules and everything else you need for a day at Adler can be found at

Elephant lovers, listen up. A huge elephant celebration is on schedule June 19 at Brookfield Zoo in support of Joyce, a 27-year-old African elephant (pictured at right). At 1 p.m. a parade starts at the Hamill Family Play Zoo entrance and goes all the way to the outdoor pachyderm habitat where a short program and all sorts of fun stuff take place. The Play Zoo is open and free to all until 1 p.m. and those already there will be able to enjoy the zoo free for the rest of the day. Zoo volunteers will hand out free plastic elephant trunks as long as the supply lasts so guests can wear the trunks in the parade! More details are at (Chicago Zoological Society). The site is a treat for kids and all animal lovers. 

Stars twinkle 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 (be sure to get directions to the planetarium). If you have not made the trip, you're missing a real treat. Further information is at (815) 729-9020 or go to and search Trackman. Ask for Art the sky guy.

Matisse has gone to video right here for the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, 111. S. MIchigan Ave. Alas, "Matisse: Radical Invention 1913-1917" is in its final days and closes June 20. This is an extraordinary show and best of all, covered by general admission. Everything you need to know for a day at the Art Institute is at Opening  June 19, "Looking after Louis Sullivan: Photographs, Drawings and Fragment" promises aa extraordinary photographic examination of Sullivan's architectural legacy to Chicago. All the details for a day at the Art Institute are at

DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, presents what should be a fascinating look at one movement in that battle against racism: "The Black Panthers: Making Sense of History." The exhibit joins permanent galleries focused on different eras of blacks throughout American History. Museum details are at (773) 947-0600.          

FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-9410. Guess who is having a birthday? The world's largest and most complete T. rex, Sue, has been with the museum for 10 year and a two-fer birthday bash is going on. Actually, it's a three-fer. For the next three weeks, Sue will be wandering around the main hall greeting guests and showing off her amazing fossilized skeleton which happens to be one of my favorite Field treasures.
There's more: RoboSUE: The T. rex Experience takes visitors back to prehistoric times with robotic dinosaurs that can actually track human guests and follow them with their eyes. Watch yourself on the video screen and see just how these robotic wonders -- T. Rex and Triceratops see you.
An all-new 3-D movie, "Waking the T. rex: The Story of SUE," takes visitors into another prehistoric adventure. You'll watch dinosaurs hunt their prey and fight to the death for food as you stand by looking at a day in the life of Sue, nearly 70 million years ago. Check it all out at

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, 220 E. Chicago Ave., hits the summer running with what promises to be a blockbuster exhibit,  "Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy," June 26-Oct. 17. Calder (1898-1976), an American sculptor, remains an icon of the art world. Sixty of Calder's works, along 20 sculptures by contemporary artists, reveal the power of the master's influence. The 411 for a visit to the MCA is at Pictured at left, "Sky Boat (floatiing)."

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, 57th Street and Lakeshore Drive, features an extraordinary and legendary exhibit of the only German submarine captured in World War II. The U-505 Submarine, in its entirety, brings to life many of the stories of World War II including the incredible capture of the killer German U-boat. A hall filled with multi-media exhibits about the war and the full story behind the sub's capture lead into the giant hall built to hold the ship. Everything you will need for a visit to MSI is at MSI photo by Scott Brownell.

PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, in conjunction with the Consulate of Mexico, presents "Sanctuary: Flight of the Majestic Monarchs" as seen through the eyes of award-winning Mexican artists. "Weighing no more than a gram, the Monarch recognizes no borders or human divides on its 2,500-flight from Canada, through the midwest United States before it finally finds sanctuary in the warm fir forests and beautiful mountains of Michoacan, Mexico," museum press notes indicate. A full list of activities, in addition to the exhibit details, can be found at

Set sail for -- or with -- SHEDD AQUARIUM, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, as the world class aquarium blows into summer.  Tall Ship Windy, a four-mast  schooner, will sail on Aug. 14 with young people and on Aug. 21 with families for two-hour voyages on Lake Michigan. Shedd members and other visitors can sign up now at (312) 692-3206. Slots will fill quickly so those who want to join this rare opportunity might want to get on board now! Meanwhile,  Penguin Encounters -- yes, close encounters -- continue along with all the other spectacular opportunities at Shedd. 


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.