Wednesday, June 23, 2010

'Sugar,' poison, Pink Houses, 'Tommy,' right here!

Dear Readers,
Drury Lane Oakbrook sweetens the summer with "Sugar," a musical version of the 1959 comedy film "Some Like It Hot." Then the Drama Group adds some poison to close out the summer with the dark comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace." Meanwhile, art galleries continue to showcase professional artists from Illinois and across the country. 
Irwin Park, Homewood, and Zabrocki Plaza in Tinley Park are just two of the venues ready to rock through the summer, and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra will present three chamber music concerts in coordination with Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood (yes, the concerts are open to all with tickets).
Theatre-in-the-Hill presents a rarely seen anymore rock classic, The Who's "Tommy."
Your world class museums and the wondrous Brookfield Zoo launch new exhibits and feature a never-ending list of activities for aficionados of all ages.
So when company shows up at your doorstep, invited or otherwise, there's no reason to sit home and entertain when all the fun and fascination you could possibly imagine are right at your fingertips here in "And now presenting ..." 
Keep the information and comments flowing in to me at And definitely let me know if you see any info errors.
See you again soon. And don't forget, you can find our link, and much more about the Southland and Southwest Subs at and


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,

The DRAMA GROUP gets itself into poison with a summer production of the what has been described as a "farcical black comedy," the 1939 old-lady-offs-male-visitors play, "Arsenic and Old Lace," Aug. 6-15 at the Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Tickets are $18 adults, $15 seniors and students.

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 (Rod Thomas and Jennifer Knox at left). 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.  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. In 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 in Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive, continues its 35th season with a summer fairy tale, a musical love story set in the Caribbean Islands. Aptly titled, "Once on this Island," the onetime Broadway production follows the story of a poor peasant girl who falls in love with an upper class gentleman. Their romance is treated with a calypso-flavored score and influence of the gods of love, earth, water and death. "Once ... Island" opens July 7 and runs through Aug. 29. Tickets are $35-$48 and dinner packages are available; box office (847) 634-0200 and ticketmaster. More show details are at
Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences gives new life to the beloved wooden puppet "Pinocchio" with composer/director/choreographer Marc Robin's musical production for all ages, opening July 15 and running through Aug. 29. Performances will be at 10 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. All tickets are $15 at the box office, (847) 634-0200 and 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

OAK LAWN PARK DISTRICT THEATRE asks "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" from Aug. 6-15 at Oak View Center, 110th Street and Kilpatrick. Tickets are $21 at (708) 857-2200. You don't have to be Catholic to find the humor in the musical based on the 1970s book by Chicago Southside native John R. Powers. Oak Lawn tickets sell out fast and now would be a great time to reserve yours!

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

PHEASANT RUN RESORT MAINSTAGE, home of Noble Fool Theatricals, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles in the Fox Valley presents a summer filled with national and local touring acts starting with "The Wonder Bread Years," July 9-11, a show that reportedly has tickled Jerry Seinfeld's funny bone. Denny Diamond: Neil Diamond Tribute (photo at left) on July 17 is followed by Noble Fool Youth Ensemble production of "Wizard of Oz," July 23-Aug. 8. There's more in store so watch this spot in "And now presenting ..." For more details and the full summer lineup go to  Lock in your tickets now for  Aug. 7 and the Neverly Brothers, the Southland's own nationally acclaimed trio that musically bridges the gap between 1950s rock and '60s British Invasion. The Neverly Brothers take the audience on a "retro-sonic joyride from Memphis to Liverpool and back!" the Pheasant Run press release states. Ticket prices vary by show and are available at the box office, (630) 584-6342 and ticketmaster outlets.

SKOKIE THEATRE, 7924 N. Lincoln Ave., presents the final performance of "The Stops," at 8 p.m. June 26.  The musical brings different views on religion and sexual preferences, including cross dressing, together in harmony in story form. Southland actor John B. Boss (at right) will perform the role of Ginny in the closing performance, a role he has been understudying the entire run. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, (847) 677-7761. More information is at

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago, (312) 335-1650, debuts a new play by Bruce Norris, "A Parallelogram," as the final production in the 2009-2010 season. Like those before it this season, this new play explores the theme of belief. Bee is a young woman who believes she has the uncanny ability to see the future and perhaps even more. "With a click of the television remote, we loop through time in this dark, funny world premiere,,," directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro. "Parallelograms" opens July 1 and runs through Aug. 29. Tickets are are $20-$70 at (312) 335-1650 and at

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, $15, $12 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


"Starry Nights," the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District's annual summer concert series at IRWIN PARK, Highland Avenue and Ridge Road, Homewood, are rocking the town. OJune 25 Elevation performs U2 and Pink Houses (at right) 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.

FERMILAB ARTS SERIES at Fermilab (Fermi National Accelerator Lab) in Batavia continues its summer lineup in Ramsey Auditorium with Chicago folk trio Sons of the Never Wrong at 8 p.m. July 24. Tickets are $15, $8 for ages 18 and younger. Singer/songwriter Claudia Schmidt performs at 8 p.m. Aug. 14. Tickets are $14/$7. Tickets can be ordered at the box office (630) 840-ARTS (2787). The auditorium is in the back of Wilson Hall, the iconic curved main building at Fermilab and we have always found the acoustics to be terrific. The seats are raked and stage is easily visible everywhere. BTW: all seats general admission. Both Pine Street and Batavia Road entrances are open for the arts series. Check out sketch map/directions to Fermilab here

ILLINOIS PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA and Ravisloe Country Club, 18231 S. Park Ave. Homewood, link up to present a summer chamber music series to the Southland. The first chamber event begins at 7:30 p.m. July 10 and will take place inside the club. Tickets are $25 and capacity for this inaugural event is 120. The following two chamber concerts are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 29 and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13. Tickets for the second and third music evenings, which will take place in the Ravisloe courtyard, are $20 each. Tickets can be ordered at the IPO (708) 481-7774 and at

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) 5 p.m. June 27 at Geneva Commons Summer Concerts, 602 Commons Drive, Geneva, IL; 7 p.m. June 29 Bloomingdale Summer Concerts 111 Third Street; 7 p.m. July 1, Highland 4th of July Festival, mainstage at Ridge Road and 5th Street, Main Square; 2:45 p.m. July 3, Brookfield 4th of July Fest, Brookfield and Arden Avenue, Kiwanis Park. Also, see above at Pheasant Run Theatre. Check the website: Photo, top row, Kegham Giragosian on drums, Kevin Giragosian on guitar and Craig Gigstad on bass)

There's music in the plaza, as in ZABROCKI PLAZA on Oak Park Avenue just north of the Metra station, Tinley Park. A series of free summer concerts from 7-10 p.m. -- bring your chairs and blankets -- is now underway. The rest of the summer lineup includes Bernie Glim and Country Roads (right) on July 10; 4-Cast (1980s music) on July 24; Heartless (rock) on July 31; The Walk-ins (rock) on Aug. 7; King Snakes (blues) on Aug. 14. Check it out at

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

CHRISTOPHER ART GALLERY at Prairie State College, 202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights, presents "Synergy, Works by Union Street Artists," continues through July 29. This potpourri of works in various media includes pieces by a number of acclaimed artists including Renee Klyczek Nordstrom and Marikay Peter Witlock. Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5-7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and by appointment, (708) 709-3636.

TALL GRASS ARTS ASSOCIATION GALLERY, 367 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, (708) 748-3377, presents "Fabulously Focused," an exhibit of works by juried artists from throughout Illinois, including many longtime Tall Grass artists. The exhibit opens with an artists reception, 5-7 p.m. July 9 and continues through the summer. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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 (Spomar image at right.)


How are each of you linked to the stars? Yes the ones in the sky! 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

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.

Chicago history, architecture and photography fans will want to put this on their calendars! ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, 111. S. MIchigan Ave., presents  "Looking after Louis Sullivan: Photographs, Drawings and Fragment," an extraordinary photographic examination of Sullivan's architectural legacy to Chicago as seen through the lenses of legendary photographers John Szarkowski, Aaron Siskind and Richard Nickel. In addition to more than 60 photographic classics, the exhibit features 20 Sullivan drawings and sketches as well as terracotta and metal architectural fragments. The exhibit is included in general admission. All the details for a day at the Art Institute are at (Walker Warehouse, photo by Aaron Siskind, 1953; courtesy Art Institute.)

Corky Turtle is gearing up for Social Security and Medicare. Purchased in a dime store in 1945 and donated to Brookfield Zoo 35 years ago, Corky celebrates its 65th birthday on July 10 and you're invited to the party at the zoo, located off First Avenue between Interstates 55 and 290. The fun begins at 11 a.m. with a slow-paced Turtle Parade that ends in the Hamill Family Play Zoo where all sorts of turtle games, crafts and more will keep the small fry busy. And of course, there will be lots of information about turtles and other hard-shelled reptiles. Find out more at (Chicago Zoological Society) and click on Brookfield Zoo. 

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. 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. SEE SUE REVIEW, IMAGES AT END OF BLOG.
Of course, Field Museum packs in the treasures. Other world-class exhibits include The Ancient Americas, the Evolving Planet, Grainger Hall of Gems and Inside Ancient Egypt, rooms that explore the exotic mysteries of the pharaohs, mummies, royal tombs and extraordinary ancient artifacts of Kingdom of the Nile. The little ones (and their parents and grandparents) will love the Crown Family Playlab! All the details for your visit are 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 with 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)"; courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art.
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-mile 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. 

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 than 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


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.