Thursday, October 21, 2010

'Footloose,' 'Manhattan Maestros,' much more fill the fall!

Dear Readers.
We're baaacckk. Hopefully we can stay on a two-three week schedule from this point on. Loads of  stuff going on, great exhibits including a look behind the world of Jim Henson and the Muppets and much more in "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" at Museum of Science and Industry. (Henson at right with Kermit the Frog).
Also the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its 33rd season and Maestro Carmon DeLeone's final year as IPO conductor on the weekend of Nov. 13-14 with "Manhattan Maestros." 
And don't forget, the Drama Group gets loose, "Footloose" next month on the Bloom Township High School stage for one weekend only. 
Tale a look. All the details are below and if you want to get out and sample more of the region's arts and entertainment, all you need to know (well almost all) is below.
Keep the press releases and comments flowing to Also, please advise me of any corrections.


THE BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATER, 4520 N. Beacon, Chicago, reprises its hugely successful "The Other Cinderella" now through Jan. 9. Reviews over the years have been stellar. Time Out Chicago said, "It's a thorough charmer, a fairy tale with bite and irreverent wit" and the SunTimes called it "hilarious." Tickets are $45 at (773) 769-4451, and Ticketmaster.

THE DRAMA GROUP will rock the Bloom High School Theater stage with what promises to be a blockbuster production of "Footloose" for one weekend only Nov. 6-8. Charlie Misovye directs and Niki Lakuza-McGeady choreographs. Tickets are $18, $17 seniors and students at (708) 755-3444 and These tix sell out fast so this is the time to buy. The high school is on 10th Street between Dixie Highway and Chicago Road, Chicago Heights. Parking is free. Adam Polomchek and Lauren Salagaj (photo) have lead roles.
DRAMA GROUP DAYTIME CHILDREN'S THEATRE presents the beloved classic, "The Velveteen Rabbit," Nov. 16-21 at the Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Tickets are $6 in advance, $7 at the door. See above. Parking is free.

DRURY LANE THEATRE, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace presents a remounted version of the wacky story, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" through Dec. 19. What happens when seven, uh, horny brothers up in the mountains of Oregon 1850 find seven young women in town? The young women find the newcomers quite attractive, more so than the local guys. 
Well, the show definitely is family fare so don't worry about bringing the kids. The energetic and highly entertaining production stars Steve Blanchard and Abby Mueller ((left) as well as many favorite Chicago-based actors, including multi-Jeff Award winning Renee Matthews as Mrs. Bixby, an absolute hoot, and Don Forston as Mr. Bixby. (Remind me to tell you a riotous Matthews/Forston story next time you see me.) Tickets are $31-$45 and lunch and dinner packages available. Students tickets for show only start at (630) 530-0111, and Ticketmaster. Parking is free.
DRURY LANE CHILDREN'S THEATRE presents the Christmas classic, "A Christmas Carol," opening Nov. 18 and running through Dec. 18. Dinner with Santa on Dec. 15 followed by show and and breakfast buffet package on Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11 and 18 are available. Show only tickets $12 at (630) 530-0111, Ticketmaster and Parking is free.

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 sparkling and innovative production of "Chorus Line," through Oct. 31Tickets are $35-$48 at (847) 634-0200 and Parking is always free!
River City meets Lincolnshire next month when Meredith Wilson's timeless musical, "The Music Man," opens Nov. 14 and runs through Jan. 9. Bernie Yvon stars as Harold Hill. "Music Man" opened on Broadway in 1957 and still sparkles more than 50 years later. Directed by Mark Lococo, the Marriott brings the this gem up close and personal as only Marriott's theater-in-the-round can." Tickets are $40-$48, discounts some days for seniors, students. Dinner packages available.

MARRIOTT THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES presents "The Wizard of Oz" from Nov. 18-Dec. 30. Tickets are $15, same locations as above.

MORAINE VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE ACADEMIC THEATER, presents the timeless comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace," Oct. 28-31 at the Dorothy Menker Theater, Fine and Performing Arts Center, 9000 College Parkway, Palos Hills. First staged in 1939, "Arsenic ..." evolved into a classic 1944 film starring Cary Grant. This play is a hoot. Tickets are $12, $10 seniors and students, (708) 974-5500. Parking is free.

OAK LAWN PARK DISTRICT THEATRE presents the award-winning "Cabaret" from Nov. 12-21 at Oak View Center, 4624 W. 110th St. Tickets are $21, $20 seniors and children, (708) 857-2200. Parking is free.

ORLAND PARK COMEDY IMPROV brings down the house, well actually the Old Village Hall, 14413 Beacon, on Oct. 22 and Nov. 19 and into 2011. Showtime -- 8 p.m. and material geared to audiences 16 and older. Tickets are $6 at (708) 403-7275 and at

PALOS VILLAGE PLAYERS present "She Loves Me" from Nov. 5-13 at Palos Park Recreation Center, 8910 W. 123rd St. The story focuses on two lonely hearts club members who exchange letters and, well, you'll have to see the show to find out what happens. Tickets are $15, $12 seniors and students at (877) 787-8197 and Parking is free. Brandon Scala (from left), Ken Evans and Sarah Callis are in the pink.

PHEASANT RUN RESORT MAINSTAGE, home of Noble Fool Theatricals at 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles kicks off the fall with award-winning playwright Michael Hollinger's who-dunnit, "Red Herring,"through Oct. 24. Tickets are $29-$39 at and at (630) 584-6342. Look for an all-new theater company name next year! 
An all-time favorite holiday classic, "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," will fill the stage from Nov. 5-Dec. 26. Rachel Rockwell directs. Tickets are $29.50-$39.50 and dinner packages are available. See above. Parking is free.

PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRESTAGE 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, continues  the Stephen Sondheim classic musical, "Sunday in the Park with George," through 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 treasure owned and exhibited by Chicago's own Art Institute.
Opening Nov. 19 and running through Jan. 2, the company reprises its holiday hit from last year,"Miracle on 34th Street." Tickets are $38 during November, $40 after that; discounts for students, seniors, groups. See information above.

SPOTLIGHT THEATER presents "No Exit," runs Oct. 23-30 at Sherman Recital Hall, Governors State University, 1 University Parkway in University Park. Tickets are $14 adults, $12 seniors and students at (708) 941-8294 and GSU parking is always free.

Laurie Metcalf, back on her home stage at STEPPENWOLF THEATRE, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago, (312) 335-1650, once again reveals her extraordinary talent with the stellar ensemble in playwright Lisa D'Amour's phenomenal and absolutely riotously brilliant play, "Detroit," tied only symbolically to my hometown. After dealing with Roseanne on and off TV, a much more slender Metcalf and co-stars (see blog intro) in this star-studded cast romp through the unexpected. The show runs through Nov. 7. Tickets are $20-$70 at and (312) 335-1650. MINI REVIEW AT END OF BLOG.
EXTENDED AGAIN, now to Nov. 18 in the Upstairs Theatre, STEPPENWOLF FOR YOUNG ADULTS presents the blockbuster classic, Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." "And now presenting" was unable to attend the press preview but critics gave the production soaring reviews. The very scarce tickets are $20; $15 for students by phone and box office only. 
STEPPENWOLF presents its 6th annual First Look Repertory of New Work, Oct. 27-Nov. 14. Three developmental productions and three free readings by emerging playwrights will take the Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St., Chicago. All the details and video interviews with playwrights can be accessed via

STRAY DOG THEATRE's production of the Mary Shelley classic"Frankenstein," runs Oct. 22-30 at Veterans Memorial Middle School, 12320 S. Greenwood Ave., Blue Island. Tickets are $10 at (708) 841-7396.

We hear "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" at THEATRE AT THE CENTER, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana, where the musical based on the classic "Miracle on 34th Street" opens Nov. 11, running through Dec. 19. Tickets are $36-$40 at (219) 836-3255, at (800) 511-1552 and on the theater website at Parking at TATC is always free.
THEATRE AT THE CENTER'S THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES presents the always magical tale, "The Story of the Nutcracker," Nov. 29-Dec. 13, with, of course, the glorious Tchaikovsky score. Lunch packages are available. Show only tickets are $7 for children, $8.50 adults. See above for contact information.

THEATRE OF WESTERN SPRINGS, 4384 Hampton Ave., presents Noel Coward's "Waiting in the Wings," Oct. 21-31. The Wings happens to be a retirement home for retired actresses, long ago stars. Well, jealousies still rage as teacups rattle with the arrival of Lotta Bainbridge who has had a 30-year running feud with rival May Davenport. Trouble, no doubt, will ensue. "I'm so pleased to be working on this hidden gem from the canon of Noel Coward," director Kurt Naebig said. The script "combines the humor of TV's 'The Golden Girls' with the intrigue of 'Desperate Housewives,'" he said. Sounds like fun! Tickets are $18-$20 at (708) 246-3380 and Free parking is available. Terry Harrold (from left), Marilyn Darnell and Jan Mahlstedt get into their roles in this Coward fare.

TINLEY PARK PARK DISTRICT COMMUNITY THEATRE brings Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical "Brighton Beach Memoirs" to the stage Nov. 19-21 at McCarthy Theater, 16801 S. 80th Ave. Tickets are $12, $10 seniors and students, (708) 342-4212.


CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS, Governors State University, University Park, packs a huge lineup of first-class entertainment into the next several weeks. At 8 p.m. Nov. 6, Ailey II Dance Company, tickets $38-$53, students, $29; 7 p.m. Nov. 12, DRUMLine Live, tickets $39-$46; 3 p.m. Nov. 13, "Ralph's World -- A Special Concert Event" starring Ralph Covert, tickets under $15. At 5 p.m. Dec. 11 Salt Creek Ballet returns with "The Nutcracker." Salt Creek Ballet is one of Chicagoland's hidden treasures, an extraordinary company of brilliant young dancers. Tickets $25-$40 adults, $20-$35 16 and younger. All tickets for all events, as well as show details, are at and at (708) 235-2222. Parking is always free.

Maestro Carmon DeLeone opens his 25th anniversary year and final season with the award-winning Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra the weekend of Nov. 13-14 with "Manhattan Maestros." Each of the four composers featured -- Anton Dvorak, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky -- conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and "left an indelible mark on this country's symphonic tradition...," the IPO release explains. Both concerts, 8 p.m. Nov. 13 and 3 p.m. Nov. 14 at Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 S. Harlem Ave., Frankfort (where Vollmer Road meets Harlem Avenue, turn west onto the high school's campus. Evening tickets are $30-$50, $15 students 18 and younger; Sunday matinee tickets, $25-$40, $15 students at (708) 481-7774 and

SPERTUS INSTITUTE OF JEWISH STUDIES, 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, presents a rare musical event, "Music by Jewish Musicians at the Court of Henry VIII," 6 p.m. Oct. 28. Admission is $18, $10 for members, $8 students. Details at and at (312) 322-1773.


DEPAUL UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, continues the interactive exhibit "The Nomadic Studio" through Nov. 21. This exhibit event is a "collaborative workplace for DePaul and the surrounding community."Details 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.

FLOATING WORLD GALLERY, 1925 N. Halsted St., Chicago, presents its newest gallery show, "Creating What Has Never Been," an exhibition of Japanese post-war paintings and contemporary ceramics on display through Nov. 19; gallery hours 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment, (312) 587-7800 and at

MORAINE VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Robert F. DeCaprio Gallery, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, currently features Paul Andrew Wandless' "Aesthetic Inquiry" exhibit, through Nov. 11. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

TALL GRASS ARTS FALL FILM SERIES presents the final film of the season on Nov. 14, "A Prophet." A discussion will follow each film. Tickets and information are with the gallery. Film will be screened at 6:30 p.m. at Marcus Theatre in Chicago Heights. More information with with the gallery at (708) 748-3377.

UNION STREET GALLERY, 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights gears up for another juried event, "Either/OR" through Nov. 26. All the details for artists and visitors, including gallery hours, are at and at (708) 754-2601. Artwork details and artists will be in this spot as soon as they arrive.


View the skies through some of 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). This 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.

Learn about the stars you can see and the ones a bit beyond naked eye viewing 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. The fall show season is in full swing with sky guy Art Maurer of Crete at the helm. Note that all shows are free. Sky shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays are for the general audience: Nov. 9, "Skies of Winter" and Nov 23, "How to Buy a Telescope." .Meanwhile, shows at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays are for the younger setNov. 4, "We Go to the Moon" and Dec. 2, "Christmas Star." Shows at 2:30 p.m. Sundays also are geared to the younger set: Dec. 19, "The Christmas Star." 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

Chagall returns to THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, 111. S. MIchigan Ave. After five years of intensive research and conservation treatment, Marc Chagall's "America Windows" return to public view as the centerpiece of a new presentation of public art in Chicago. Chagall (1887-1985) created the iconic stained works to commemorate the American Bicentennial and as a memorial to Mayor Richard J. Daley (1901-1976). Another Art Institute tradition returns at 10 a.m. Nov. 26, the 19th annual "Wreathing of the Lions" on the museum's front steps. Aided by solar power, the wreaths will glow at night, adding to Chicago festive appearance during November and December. All the details you will need for a trip to the iconic Art Institute are at

There's always lots of stuff going on at BROOKFIELD ZOO, 3300 Golf Road, (708) 485-2000. zoo's Creatures of the Night events continue through Halloween, Oct. 31. The brave and daring can take a walk along the "Trail of Terror" or ride the Tram of Terror (one creepy scene at right) to see monsters and all sorts of gruesome creatures. All the info you need for a day or scary evening at Brookfied is at

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM, 1801 N. Clark, (312) 642-4600, presents a new ongoing look at "Facing Freedom," an exhibit focusing on the power of and ongoing struggles for 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, brings to life "Red, White, Blue and Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services," reveals the struggles of the 14 million African Americans who have served in the military on American shores, starting long before the American Revolution. All the details for a DuSable visit are at  (773) 947-0600 and        

Where will you find a room completely covered in gold?? FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus), (312) 922-9410, newest exhibit, "GOLD," continues through March 6. Learn about gold's impact on the world as one of the rarest and most prized minerals. This extraordinary exhibit will leave visitors dazzled as they travel through galleries exploring gold around the world and precious gold objects including authentic Byzantine coins from the 11th century, the genuine Chicago White Sox World Series trophy at right -- and so much more. Couples married for 50 years -- with proof -- have a special day coming up at the museum on Dec. 4. All the golden anniversary day details are at . All other museum details,  include planning your visit, are at the details at and at (312) 922-9410. 

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, 220 E. Chicago Ave., continues its fall performance season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 12-13 with Stew and the Negro Problem. Stew, the Tony Award-winning creator and star of the rock musical "Stange," performs with his collaborator Heidi Rodewalk (photo of both at left) and their Afro-Baroque band, the Negro Problem. Their eclectic concerts swing between rock show and cabaret theater with musical influences from funk to lounge to Tin Pan Alley and more. Tickets are $28 at (312) 397-4010 and; $10 student tickets subject to availability. Also an exhibit of works by Belgian contemporary artist Luc Tuymans remains open through Jan. 9.

The Muppets are in Chicago. Yes, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" runs through Jan. 23 at one of the world's most popular sites, Chicago's own MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, 57th and Lake Shore Drive, Yes, you'll visit with Kermit the Frog, gaze at the glamorous Miss Piggy, see Bert and Ernie and many more favorite Muppets. In addition to the original characters, visitors will see Henson's art work, sketches as well as television and movie props and photos of Henson and his collaborators at work on some of the most lovable characters of all-time. Details on exhibit tickets are at the website above and at (773) 684-1414.

Go for Four at SHEDD AQUARIUM, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Join in for "Dora and Diego in their 3-D Adventure: Catch the Robot Butterfly" in 4-D and follow the high-speed adventure -- a mission to protect animals of the rainforest. Sounds exciting! There's always so much going on at Shedd you'll want to check out the website before planning your day. Or your night. Yes, you can see what goes bump in the night at Shedd during a night of frightful fun at on Oct. 29. Spooky Seas. You can spend the night or the evening only but this special night will be extraordinarily fun and fishy, either way. More details about this Halloween in the Shedd can be obtained by e-mailing or calling (312) 692-3206. Everything you need is at the aquarium website above and at (312) 939-2438.

    Steppenwolf: Backyard barbecues head out of control ... and raunchy

Now playing at what has been billed as the nation's finest ensemble theater, Chicago's own Steppenwolf, is the riotous "Detroit," by brilliant playwright/perfornance artist Lisa D'Amour. Directed by company member Austin Pendleton, the all-star Steppenwolf cast including (see photo) Laurie Metcalf (on the ground, going clockwise), Kate Arrington, Ian Barford, Kevin Anderson and unseen, Robert Breuler, takes "Detroit" into and out of wild swings of mixed-up marriage action.

     Imagine an absolutely hysterical, and much shorter "Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" set in the much trendier and tech-linked 21st century. 
     Not the leather-elbow-patch-on-tweed 1960s university types and their wives of "...Wolf," "Detroit" features a blue collar, middle-aged couple whi invite their no-collar, no ambition young neighbors who also have no furniture to the first of several wacky backyard barbecues.
     "Detroit" will have you laughing from the outset and ultimately realizing, 'Hey, these could be our neighbors and in some ways, they could be us, me."
   The last line of the play, which I won't reveal, stands as one of the catchiest I've heard. It's one you'll remember and think about, possibly every time you welcome new folks into you life.
     The play symbolically represents Detroit's first post-war suburbs but could be anywhere, particularly in the Midwest. In short, the entire production dazzles. Show details below under Steppenwolf listing. Incidentally, parking in the Steppenwolf lot/structure just south of the theater is only $10, mega cheap for Old Town and for that matter, almost anywhere in the city.


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.