Friday, July 30, 2010

Past, present, future on your block!

Dear Readers,
Get your calendars and/or must-see lists for the coming weeks. The Drama Group in Chicago Heights presents the dark comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace" at its Studio Theater (full listing below). Cast members include Karen Cassin (left) and Mary Ellen Fawk as Arsenic aunts. (Beware the glass of wine.)
Meanwhile Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana, continues its blockbuster production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" starring Max Quinlan as Jesus and Joe Tokarz as Judas. 
If you are heading into the city, the Museum Campus venues, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, offer a virtually unlimited choice of amazing exhibits.  
In the Loop, the Art Institute, another of Chicago's world class destinations, has just opened what promises to be an amazing exhibit of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). 
The image pictured here is San Fermines, Pamplona, Spain, 1952 (courtesy Art Institute of Chicago).
Much much more below. Listings in order: theater, music and dance, art galleries and museums including animal venues.
As always, please keep those releases coming into my e-mail at Please don't hesitate to send any errors that need correction and as always, I love your comments. 
Enjoy yourself,


AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATRE in Spring Green, Wisconsin, has set aside two weekends, Aug. 20-22 and Sept. 10-12 for theater lovers in Illinois. Special theater packages can be purchased for two or more plays at a significant discount. Productions in repertory include Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "All's Well that Ends Well" and Somerset Maugham's "The Circle" -- a few of several titles. The theater complex is at 5950 Golf Course Road. Those heading into southern and western parts of the state may want to take a side trip to APT. All the details are at

Men, watch what you drink! 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 classic, "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. 

ILLINOIS THEATRE CENTER 371 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, presents the award-winning musical "Light in the Piazza," its annual Summerfest Musical through Aug. 1. David Boettcher directs with musical direction by Jonathan Billig. Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for students, seniors 65 and older, (808) 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" 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 Opening Sept. 1, "A Chorus Line."
Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences gives new life to the beloved wooden puppet "Pinocchio," composer/director/choreographer Marc Robin's musical production for all ages 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

OAK LAWN PARK DISTRICT THEATRE asks "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" 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 love the humor in the musical based on the 1970s book by Chicago Southside native John R. Powers. 

PHEASANT RUN RESORT MAINSTAGE, home of Noble Fool Theatricals and one of the region's most well-known venues, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles in the Fox Valley presents a summer filled with a mix of theater and musical performances by national and local touring acts: "Wizard of Oz," matinee performances,  July 23-Aug. 8. There's more in store. At 8 p.m. Aug. 7, the stage will rock with the Neverly Brothers retro R 'n' R extravaganza (see Neverlys in music listings below). From Aug. 13-15"Defending the Caveman" comes to the stage followed at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 with the Hot Rocks tribute to the Rolling Stones.
You're all invited to the nuptials that close the summer stage season. "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" returns at 7 p.m. Aug. 27, and if you've never seen Tony and Tina get hitched before, you're missing one heckuva madcap interactive wedding that includes an Italian buffet style dinner and an evening of dancing and some very convincing characters who will never tell you whether they are cast members or guests like you. Here's to Tina and Tony ... again! Pheasant Run ticket prices vary depending on the act, but all tickets are at the box office, (630) 584-6342 and Ticketmaster. Overnight theater packages at the resort are available.

RED TAPE THEATRE, 621 W. Belmont, Chicago, presents Les Enfants Terrible in "Prom Night," through Aug. 14.  Tickets are $20, $15 student and industry, Red Tape is an experimental theater and my guess is this production certainly is not going to reflect any prom night in your life or mine. The website is tantalizing but alas, I will not be able to attend this production. If you're interested in the unusual, check out the website to find out more. And if you do go, please e-mail me your comments! No idea what the photo is all about but the characters are Les Enfant Terrible.

SLATE THEATRE presents the musical comedy, "The Wedding Singer," based on the movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The show runs through Aug. 7 at Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University. Tickets are $18 and $21 at (708) 234-2222. SLATE hotline is (708) 235-2824. Pictured" Bill Kilderis (from left), Anne Litchfield, Fidel Calderon, Jonathan Schaffer and Andrew Calderon.

STAR PRODUCTIONS, a regional theater production, presents "Annie," July 31 - Aug. 8. at Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrilville, Indiana. John Boss plays Daddy Warbucks in this all-time favorite musical. Tickets are $20-$25 at Star Plaza box office and Ticketmaster outlets.

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 Photo: Steppenwolf ensemble member Kate Arrington (left) and Marylouise Burke chat away and play cards in "Parallelogram.

If you've never seen "Jesus Christ Superstar," you're missing out. And if you have seen it before, chances are you'll want to do so again. THEATRE AT THE CENTER, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana, brings this musical to life through Aug. 8. You don't have to be Christian to get into the spirit of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice groundbreaking collaboration, first produced on Broadway in 1971. This musical was the Webber/Rice team's first production and it's become a classic blockbuster. 
The dynamic Stacey Flaster directs and choreographs and Bill Underwood always shines as musical director. The always dynamic Larry Adams portrays Pontius Pilate, and Max Quinlan, an outstanding performer who has appeared on numerous regional stages, stars as Jesus Christ. Joe Tokarz is brilliant Judas and Jackie Gessert has a featured role in the ensemble. Tickets are $36 to $40 at (219) 836-3255, at or and at (800) 511-1552.


COUNTRY CLUB HILLS THEATER, 4116 W. 183rd St., (708) 799-8183, continues its lineup of R&B: July 31 Roy Ayers with Maysa opening; Aug. 7 Manhattans with Ray Goodman & Brown & Blue Magic; Aug. 14 David Sanborn with George Duke opening. Alas, the Aug. 28 Smoky Robinson concert already has sold out. All the details and tickets are at

FERMILAB ARTS SERIES at Fermilab (Fermi National Accelerator Lab) in Batavia continues its summer lineup in Ramsey Auditorium with singer/songwriter Claudia Schmidt (at right) 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 auditorium's acoustics to be terrific. The seats are raked and the 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 final event in the summer chamber concert series will take place in the Ravisloe courtyard at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13.  "By George," features the Chicago Classic Brass performing an eclectic program of music by, of course, Georges: Handel, Bizet, Harrison, Cohan and Lucas. Tickets are $20 each and can be ordered at the IPO (708) 481-7774 and at

Hits of Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Bing Crosby and other legends are brought back to the stage by Laura Freeman and Rob Dorn in "The Judy Garland Duets," 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at WILMETTE THEATRE, 1122 Central Ave. and 3 p.m. Aug. 22 the METROPOLIS THEATER, 111 Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Details and ticket information are at

The South Suburbs' NEVERLY BROTHERS take you on a rock and roll ride of a lifetime at a series of concerts coming up soon. The trio "packs a punch with a unique amalgamation of Rockabilly and British Invasion rock," a Chicago Tribune reviewer wrote. Upcoming concerts:  6 p.m. Aug. 6, Crestwood Fest, Caesar Park (141st Street and S. Kenton Avenue); 8 p.m. Aug. 7, Pheasant Run Mainstage Theater, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, tickets at (630) 584-6352; 3 p.m.-6p.m. Aug. 15, Prairie Days Summer Fest, Outdoor Concert, Anunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, 14610 S. Will-Cook Road, Homer Glen. Check out the band at 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 for the final three concerts of the summer; Heartless (rock) on July 31; The Walk-ins (rock) on Aug. 7; King Snakes (blues) on Aug. 14. Check out the details and more village activities at


ATLAS GALLERIES, 535 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, (312) 329-9330, presents Mario Jung, One Man, One Masterful Collection, opening noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 1;

DEPAUL UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, brings art to life with the interactive "The Nomadic Studio" exhibit through Nov. 21. This exhibit event is a "collaborative workplace for DePaul and the surrounding community." Photo: Ian Bennett spray paints "Musical Chairs" at the Nomadic Studio. All the details are at and at (773) 325-7506. Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, to 7 p.m. Friday, noon- 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., features "Roger Brown: Calif: USA" an exhibit showcasing what is described as "rare artwork and collections of the famed Chicago imagist." The exhibit of works by the acclaimed graduate of the School of the Art Institute runs through Oct. 3 and gallery admission is always free. For hours and other details: (773) 324-5520 and

TALL GRASS ARTS ASSOCIATION GALLERY, 367 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, (708) 748-3377, presents "Fabulously Focused," an exhibit of works in many media by juried artists from throughout Illinois, including many longtime Tall Grass artists and several new artists, including Marvin Wiltgen, Joe Pankowski and Michael Weiss of Park Forest, Patricia Wiseman of Burbank, Colin Thomas of Homewood, Ann Goldsmith of Olympia Fields and Debra Parker-Sawyer of Mokena. Other new artists hail from Chicago, Maywood and Algonquin. The exhibit continues through the summer and admission is always free. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tall Grass artists and others from across the midwest are gearing up for the 55th Annual Park Forest Art Fair, Sept. 18 and 19 in Downtown Park Forest. More information is with the gallery and on the website

Who, what is the "object of your affection?" UNION STREET GALLERY, 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights, looks at affection in a juried show, "Objects of Affection," Aug. 27-Sept. 24. The exhibit is dedicated to the "study, portrayal and artistic interpretation of arranged objects." That show is followed by another national juried event, "Either/OR" from Oct. 8 - Nov. 26. All the details for artists and visitors, including gallery hours, are at and at (708) 754-2601. 


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.  Shows resume in late summer.

Chicago history, architecture and photography fans will want to put this on their calendars! ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, 111. S. MIchigan Ave., Chicago, 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.) Another blockbuster opens on July 25, a huge --300 prints -- retrospective of photos by legendary photography giant, "Henri Cartier Bresson: The Modern Century." All the information you need for an Art Institute day is at

ATTENTION SOX FANS! There's always lots of stuff going on at BROOKFIELD ZOO , 3300 Golf Road, (708) 485-2000, and on Aug. 12, Chicago White Sox players will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to sign autographs for visitors. Find out who will be there on the Chicago Zoological Society website,, before the event. Also, if you're at the zoo, look up in the trees and you might see one of the Golden Lion Tamarins, small monkeys that were set free on zoo grounds so they could learn to hunt insects and get around on their own. The tiny primates have radio collars so the animal program staffers can keep tabs on them and take them back home if they get lost. All the info you need for a day at Brookfied is at

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM, 1801 N. Clark, (312) 642-4600, comes to Millennium Park Aug. 16-22 in the city's Family Fun Tent. Each day features new activities for kids of all ages. At the museum itself, "Facing Freedom" has joined the roster of main exhibits. Details 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, all focused on the lives and stories of African Americans throughout American History. Museum details are at (773) 947-0600.          

FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-9410. Wonder about the weather? Explore the science, history and impact of climate change on people around the world, living in many different environments, from atolls to massive continents and everything in between the museum's temporary exhibit, "Climate Change," now through Nov. 28.  Of course, Field Museum packs in the treasures. You can 'shrink' to the size of a bug and explore the world beneath your feet in Underground Adventure. Visitors get a bug's-eye view of life below ground and come face-to-face with anamatronic creatures. Special for the little ones (and their parents and grandparents) -- the Crown Family Playlab is geared to the toddler and pre-school set. All the details for your visit are at

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, continues its blockbuster exhibit,  "Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy," through 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. Also, from Aug. 7-29, Carrie Gundersdorf explores images from outer space in her abstract color pencil drawings. For a special Boul Mich type evening, check out the MCA's First Fridays. The 411 for a visit to the MCA is at

Wonder about cars of the future? Does your ink jet printer make edible cuisine? Probably not but your children and grandchilren could see this Trekkian replicator-like device. Check it out at "Fast Forward ... Inventing the future" (museum photo at right) MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, 57th Street and Lakeshore Drive. Everything you will need for a visit to MSI is at

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago, (312) 738-1503, just opened "Millas y Kilometros," an exhibit of works focused on themes and issues of significance to artists of Mexican descent working in the city of Chicago and state of Chiapas; through Nov. 28. The museum is always free and has an awesome gift shop. 

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. There's still plenty of time to enjoy "Jazzin' at the Shedd" Wednesday evenings until Sept. 1.


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.