Friday, August 20, 2010

Carpe weekend!


British theater troupe sets sail (OK, flies on jetliner) for Southland

More than a decade after two theater companies from two countries set out to explore a pan-Atlantic relationship, the dramatic adventure continues.
This September, Stables Theatre Company of East Sussex-Hastings, England, returns to perform in the Southland for the fourth time, guests of its sibling community troupe, the venerable Chicago Heights-based Drama Group.
In 1999, the Drama Group kicked off the community theater exchange program with a production based on Illinoisan Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.” Directed by Tina Zagone, “Spoon River …” garnered rave reviews across the pond.
The Southland actors have returned to Hastings three more times.
Meanwhile, Stables players’ first visit to the South Suburbs as guests of the Drama Group was in 2000 when the British actors performed Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” to adoring Southland audiences.
Stables players, due to arrive again next week, are traveling with a theatrical superstar.
One William Shakespeare will join the Brits who temporarily take over the Drama Group’s Studio stage for four performances of “Celebrating Shakespeare,” an original production by longtime Stables actor Peter Mould. (See performance details below.)
Well actually, Mould did collaborate with the Bard on the imaginative potpourri of material from the 16th century playwright’s huge catalogue of gems. Celebrating …” features an abridged “Macbeth,” presented as a radio play complete with sounds effects. Another script element, titled “Anecdotage and Speechification” incorporates many Shakespearean lines, both tragic and comic.
The production and performance delighted British reviewers earlier this year.
One theater critic celebrated “Celebrating …” noting, “The highlight of the evening was Mould’s tribute to Sir Henry Irving, reciting the ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’ speech from ‘Richard III.’
“Deliciously funny, laced with pregnant pauses and brilliant comic timing, the audience cheered it to the rafters.”
Meanwhile, that enthusiasm cannot match the buzz around the Drama Group.
“No one can do Shakespeare like the Brits,” said Zagone who has been involved on many levels with the exchange program since its inception.
“Everybody is so excited about this opportunity,” said Tony LaBriola, who also has been working on the unique theatrical alliance since it first began.
“I always want people to walk away from a performance proud of our community and our theater,” LaBriola said.
“I also want them to be excited about live theater.”
“Chicago area theater has a tremendous reputation and we should share in this out here in the South Suburbs.”
Zagone agreed.
“I hope people will come out to meet and greet (the Brits) and get involved in workshops, avail themselves of the chance to do this.
In addition to the four “Celebrating Shakespeare” performances, Stables players – Mould, Ian Klemen, Steve Rivington and Susannah Mayor and company members traveling as support staff -- will present workshops for high school students and as well as a Shakespeare master class for local actors.
“Not many people have these opportunities,” Zagone said.

STUDIO THEATRE: 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights
TIMES/DATES: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16-18; 2 p.m. Sept. 19
TICKETS: $18 and $17 for seniors/students
BOX OFFICE: (708) 755-3444

Dear Readers,
So the title of this blog edition is Carpe Weekend. No, not original but a clever creation of
I know. I know. This blog update should have been out days ago, but the performance season always jumps into high gear this time of year, and every time I thought the blog was finished, more press releases arrived. 
Meanwhile, if you missed the SLATE production of "The Wedding Singer" at Center for Performing Arts at GSU, you missed one of the most dynamic community theater shows I've seen. On top of a talented cast, the script and songs are just a hoot!
Coming up soon, the 55th annual Park Forest Art Fair, Sept. 18 and 19 in Downtown Park Forest. Check out the details of this summer spectacular at
On Sunday Aug. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes guests to a free open house at Lincoln-Way North High School. The afternoon will include a virtuoso solo piano performance by Kevin Cole of "Rhapsody in Blue." More details are at the orchestra's website
'Hot Mikado" at Drury Lane Oakbrook lives up to its title and indeed is one of the hottest productions of the year, a spectacle of performance, color, music, sets and sound you will not want to miss.
And in case you have not heard, the British are coming next month and bringing William Shakespeare right to the South Suburbs. More on that in a week or so in a separate update. Meanwhile, ask your friends in Drama Group what this is all about.
Want to see the gold trophy the White Sox won when they took the 2005 World Series? Check out the Field Museum listing.
Have a great time during these last few weeks of summer!
Keep the press releases coming as well as comments and certainly any corrections. My e-mail address is
Carpe weekend.

Listings are as follows: theater, music and dance, art galleries, museums and animals and more.


AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATRE in Spring Green, Wisconsin, has set a second weekend, 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

CHICAGO DRAMATISTS, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., presents the premiere production of playwright Steven Peterson's "The Invasion of Skokie," Sept. 2-Oct. 11. Almost every Chicagoan old enough to remember the episode cannot forget the neo-Nazis' successful 1978 Supreme Court fight to win the right to march in Skokie. The event touched off a firestorm of opposition across the country, especially in Skokie where an eclectic and sizable Jewish community, including many Holocaust survivors and children of survivors, had settled. "Invasion ..." is described as the story of a Jewish man, Morry Kaplan, who scrambles to locate a gun and confront the marchers. Sylvia Kaplan meanwhile struggles to keep the peace and protect her husband. Daughter Debbie, meanwhile, is about to announce her plans to marry a non-Jew. Mixing both comedy and drama, the story unfolds on a backyard patio on the infamous day of conflict. Tickets are $32; student tickets at $15 are available on Thursdays; (312) 633-0630 and

DRURY LANE THEATRE, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace lights up the town through Oct. 3 with a spectacular production of David Bell's "Hot Mikado." This award-winning, clever and riotous take-off on the Gilbert and Sullivan classic will leave you laughing, exhilarated, stunned and reluctant to leave your seat until you've seen it again. The stellar cast, includes Ted Louis Levy as the powerful Mikado (pictured), Stephen Schellhardt as the love-struck KoKo and Aurelia Williams as one heckuva Katisha. The absolutely stunning Japanese themed set, exquisite costumes for women and men, awesome band, great sound and lighting all work together to showcase an extraordinarily talented cast. This is an absolute do not miss! Tickets are $31-$45, dinner packages available; special rates for seniors and students, (630) 530-0111 and Ticketmaster or visit

ELGIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE ARTS CENTER, 1700 Spartan Drive, presents a new musical, "Under the Streetlamps," a retrospective of great hits from the 1950s and '60s woven into an intimate show by the Chicago cast of "Jersey Boys." The production will be staged Nov. 13, 14; tickets are $48 at (847) 622-0300 and at

MARRIOTT THEATRE in Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive, continues its 35th season with a summer fairy tale, a musical love story set in the Caribbean. 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

ORLAND PARK THEATRE TROUPE takes the stage at the Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 Ravinia Ave., with its next production, "You Can't Beat the House," Sept. 17-19. Tickets are $13, $11 students and seniors, $9 age 12 and younger; (708) 403-7275 and

PHEASANT RUN RESORT MAINSTAGE, home of Noble Fool Theatricals at 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles in the Fox Valley invites you to the nuptials that close the summer stage season. "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," 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. NOBLE FOOL kicks off the fall with award-winning playwright Michael Hollinger's who-dunnit, "Red Herring," Sept. 2 - Oct. 24. Tickets are $29-$39.

PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, brings the Stephen Sondheim classic musical, "Sunday in the Park with George," to life Sept. 10-Oct. 31. Tickets are $38 with discounts for seniors, students and groups; (773) 327-5252 and at Incidentally, the musical was inspired by Georges Seurat's masterpiece, "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte," a visual  treasure owned and exhibited by Chicago's own Art Institute.

If you live in a condo or apartment, you might want to seriously think about keeping your window shades down or curtains closed just in case one of your neighbors is like the character in "Obscura: A Voyeuristic Love Story" Sept. 23-Oct. 23 at RED TAPE THEATRE, 621 W. Belmont, Chicago. The tantalizing description in the press release notes, "Behind the walls of an aging apartment building, the reclusive neighbors' lives are being monitored. Amidst the Orwellian atmosphere, Ned invents a story to win his neighbor's heart. But the arrival of a stranger threatens to unveil some dark secrets." Tickets are $25, $15 student and industry; and at the box office.

STEEL BEAM THEATRE, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles, kicks off its 10th season with a return production of the musical "Fairways," featuring sounds of rock, jazz, ballads and even rap. Tickets are $25, $23 seniors and students at (630) 587-8521 and at

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago, (312) 335-1650, continues the Bruce Norris premiere, "A Parallelogram," as the final production in the 2009-2010. The show runs through Aug. 29. Like those before it this season, this new play explores the theme of belief. Imagine you have the ability to backtrack through your life with a click of what would pass for a TV remote. Now take this one step further. In "Parallelogram" Bee and her future self sit around talking about events and possibilities on her timeline of life which goes backward and forward in this dark, funny world  directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro. Tickets are $20-$70 at (312) 335-1650 and at
Opening Sept. 9, "Detroit," which I'm told in fact has nothing to do with my Michigan hometown. More in next blog update.

THEATRE AT THE CENTER, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana, presents the musical, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" Sept. 9-Oct. 10. Based on the 1988 film about two con men on the French Riviera who wager which one of them can swindle $50,000 from a young heiress and send the other guy packing, the show is billed as an "uproarious musical masterpiece." Tickets are $36-$40 at (219) 836-3255, and at

THEATRE OF WESTERN SPRINGS, 4384 Hampton Ave. opens its 82nd season Sept. 10-19 with "Sleuth," a mystery stunner with a game-within-a-game killer twist. Pictured: Craig Mahlstedt (left) and Greg Maurer rehearse their roles prior prior to the season opener. Tickets are $18-$20 at (708) 246-3380 and at


BEVERLY ARTS CENTER, 2407 W. 111th St. (at Western Avenue), Chicago, presents "Tim O'Malley's Super Fun Comedy Extravaganza II" at 8 p.m. Sept. 24. Tickets are $18, $15 for BAC members, (773) 445-3838 and through the BAC website at O'Malley is at right.

The HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR PARK DISTRICT ends the summer, kicks off the academic fall with "H-F Music Fest," a free grassroots event from noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 at Irwin Park, Highland Avenue and Ridge Road, Homewood. Full event details, including the mega band lineup, is at The Irwin Bandshell will be divided so one band can perform while another sets up.

At 8 p.m. Sept. 2 the NEVERLY BROTHERS bring their rock 'n' roll retro time trip to Frankfort Fall Festival Lion's Club Night, Beer Tent Stage at 8 p.m. Sept. 2 at Kansas and White streets. 

A jazz concert starring accomplished vocalist Ava Logan (at right) will take place from 2-3:30 p.m.  Sept. 26 at the ORLAND PARK CULTURAL ARTS CENTER, 14760 Park Lane. Tickets are $20 at the Frederick Owens Village Hall, 14700 S. Ravinia Ave. More details are at (708) 403-6140. Check out Logan's website at Incidentally, the talented artist by night is a veterinarian by day. Check out her website and listen to her amazing voice. This vocalist has tons of talent.

Blue grass music livens up Tinley Park as Special Consensus heads to the TINLEY PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 7851 Timber Drive (just east of 80th Avenue, South of the Metra station) for a free concert at 7 p.m. Sept. 10. Greg Cahill still headlines this phenomenal quartet! Concert is on library grounds and moves inside if it rains. More information is at (708) 532-0160. You don't need to be a resident of the village named as Best Place to Raise Your Kids by Money Magazine. For a full overview of library events, check out 


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

MORAINE VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Robert F. DeCaprio Gallery, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, continues the Tom Lundquist gallery show, "Poissons de Chant," or the Singing Fish, through Sept. 10  The exhibit is described as a series of "digitally modeled prints (that) illustrate the adventures of a mythical troupe of singing fish from Montreal." Gallery is free; details including hours are at

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 FairSept. 18 and 19 in Downtown Park Forest. More information is with the gallery and on the website
Tall Grass Arts Fall Film Series presents Sept. 12 "The Secret in Their Eyes"; Oct. 10, "The Last Station"; and on Nov. 14, "A Prophet." A discussion will follow each film. Tickets and information are with the gallery.

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." Also running at the same time is "The Artists' Mark," an exhibit highlighting distinctive mark-making processes by artists Richard Benoit, Akiko Matsuoka-Thorson and Gary Thomas. Opening artists reception for the two concurrent exhibits will be 6-9 p.m. Sept. 10. Those two exhibits are followed by the 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. 


Tour 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). The newest sky 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.

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, is ready to kick off its fall show season with sky guy Art Maurer of Crete. Shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays are for the general audience. Sky shows at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays are geared to the younger set. All shows are free. The planetarium season begins on Tuesday Sept. 14  with "Skies of Autumn." A version of the same show is on Thursday Sept. 23. Fall schedule has not yet been posted. Meanwhile 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

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," now through Dec. 12, 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 runs through Oct. 3, 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

There's always lots of stuff going on at BROOKFIELD ZOO, 3300 Golf Road, (708) 485-2000, and on Sept. 25, 26 features celebrate "Fiesta por Todas," a party for all featuring live music, dance, craft activities and animals from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. All the info you need for a day at Brookfied is at

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM, 1801 N. Clark, (312) 642-4600, presents "Facing Freedom," an exhibit focusing on freedom in American history, a continually evolving story told with images, artifacts, interactive displays and much more. Details are at

DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, presents "Yanga Fest" from noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 28, 29. The celebration with African American and Mexican performing artists is free and highlights the opening of a new exhibit, "The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present." Learn who Yanga was and much more at what should be a fascinating exhibit. Another exhibit, "The Black Panthers: Making Sense of History," opened earlier this year, joins the permanent galleries, all focused on the lives and stories of African Americans throughout American History. Museum details are at (773) 947-0600.          

It's solid gold. FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-9410, most certainly ranks as one of Chicago's great treasures and opening  Oct. 22, a wondrous new exhibit, "Gold," will leave visitors dazzled as well as informed. Learn about the properties of gold that continue to make it one of the world's most prized metals. And see gold objects you'll probably never see anywhere else, including a genuine Oscar statuette and an authentic Golden Globe We won't tell you whose awards these are, but you can find out when the show opens. Couples married in 1960 will be honored at a special Field Museum event on Dec. 4 that celebrates the majesty of 50th wedding anniversaries. 
Meanwhile, "RoboSue: The T. rex Experience" has been extended as has "Waking the T. Rex 3D." 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, jumps into fall with "a large-scale space adventure," Redmoon Theater's "The Astronaut's Birthday," from Sept. 9-26. Check out this youtube video for a peak at the production. Also, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) performs "Roots & Retrurn." Sculpture aficionados, remember "Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy," runs only 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. Check out the MCA at

Wonder about cars of the future? Does your ink jet printer make edible cuisine? Probably not but your children and grandchildren could see this Trekkian replicator-like device. Check it out at "Fast Forward ... Inventing the future" 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, invites the public to join the celebration of a new exhibit, "Vida breve: Day of the Dead 2010." The exhibit opening night event is from 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 10. The Mexican Day of the Dead is a celebration of the life cycle, a time to honor loved ones who have died, and the exhibit parallels the theme "Demystifying Death, Embracing the After Life." Tour reservations for the exhibit can be arranged by phoning (312) 738-1593. The tours will run from Sept. 11-Dec. 12. I did not find any information about the exhibit as of yet on the museum's website, but I will keep checking. Also, 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. 

Bon appetit! PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, wants you and school-age children to eat well so in conjunction with the start of the 2010-2011 academic year, the museum kicks off the all-new "Nature's Lunchbox" exhibit, opening Aug. 26. This multi-faceted gallery takes guests through the life cycle of foods, from farm to market and ultimately to the compost bin. There's lots more at the museum and every Thursday brings free admission. More details are at and (312) 558-1770.

Set sail for -- or with -- SHEDD AQUARIUM, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, as the world class aquarium heads into late summer and fall. There's still plenty of time to enjoy "Jazzin' at the Shedd" Wednesday evenings until Sept. 1 and Shedd always brings excitement to the world of waterlife. See the dophins, whales, every kind of water creature you can imagine, many stranger than any imagined by science fiction. Before you go, check out the website to find out what you will want to do as there is no way you can do it all in one day! You can plan your visit at a special Shedd website for just that purpose:


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.