Thursday, November 4, 2010

Romp through November -- IPO season opens, theater galore and more!

Dear Readers,

Sorry about ongoing and increasingly worse spacing issues. I think next time I will need to start from scratch again but in the meantime, a glance at the listings below will make it clear -- the holidays are here, at least on stages across the Southland and throughout Chicagoland.

This weekend, the Drama Group rocks the region with an energetic "Footloose," with tons of talent in key roles (see listing below), at Bloom Township High School Auditorium. Be prepared for loads of fun and remember, the show runs Nov. 5-7 only! 

Love those Art Institute Lions, icons of our metropolis? Well, then head down to Michigan Avenue at 10 a.m. Nov. 26 to see the official Wreathing of the Lions. Should be fun and no doubt, lots of holiday cheer will fill the air. Much more is happening at the Art Institute during the holiday season and don't forget, the Marc Chagall windows are back!

And heading back out here, this weekend Theatre at the Center opens its holiday spectacular, "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas," a Meredith Wilson musical based on "Miracle on 34th Street." Bob Hildreth and Grace Goble star. BTW: For the Northwest Suburbs, this same show (obviously different cast) will run at Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles.

And don't forget, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra opens its 2010-2011 season Nov. 13, 14. The orchestra's charismatic and much loved Mastro Carmon DeLeone begins his 25th anniversary and final season as lead conductor of the region's own award-winning orchestra.

And for the forever young set, the Muppets are at Museum of Science and Industry in a wondrous exhibit, "Jim Henson's world. Yes, even Bert and Ernie are there and along with the quite arrogant Miss Piggy.


Happy November. Enjoy Chicagoland and keep the releases and comments coming to me at

OH!!!  I will have a special announcement next week -- good news!
Watch for the e-mail .... Myra

AMERICAN BLUES THEATER reprises its holiday favorite, "It's A Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph," Nov. 26-31. Don't let the title confuse you, though. The production takes place at the Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show returns to the days of yesteryear with a 1940s radio broadcast of the Frank Capra classic, complete with commerical breaks and live Foley sound effects. Tickets range from $20 for previews, $50 for press night and $32-$40 all other performances, (773) 871-3000 and

BEVERLY ARTS CENTER, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago, presents the Broadway hit, "Hairspray" from Dec. 2-5. Tickets are $15, $12 seniors, students, BAC members, (773) 445-3838 and 

CHICAGO DRAMATISTS, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., presents the musical "Local Wonders," Nov. 27-Jan. 9. Tickets are $25-$30, discounts seniors, students, groups, (630) 457-1074 and

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 Polomchak and Lauren Salagaj (photo) have lead roles. Tyler McMahon also soars as country bumpkin turned savvy teen Willard.
Opening Dec. 3 at the Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights, the DRAMA GROUP presents the Noel Coward comedy, "Blithe Spirit", about life with a late wife's spirit; tickets $18, $17 students and seniors at (708) 755-3444 and

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

GAELIC PARK PLAYERS perform "The Last Rose" by Ann Dunphy from Nov. 5-21 at Chicago Gaelic Park, 6119 W. 147th St., Oak Forest. Tickets are $12; $25 dinner theater tickets available for Sunday shows only, (708) 687-9323 and

ILLINOIS THEATRE CENTER, 371 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest, presents Tom Stoppard's play-within-a-play, "The Real Thing," directed by David Perkovich, through Nov. 14. Tickets are $20-$22, $1 discount for seniors, students, (708) 481-3510. 

MARRIOTT THEATRE in Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive, meets River City this month for Meredith Wilson's timeless musical, "The Music Man," Nov. 14 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 at (847) 634-0200 and, discounts some days for seniors, students. Dinner packages available.

MARRIOTT THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES takes audiences from Illinois to Kansas and then to the magical, sometimes evil, world of Oz in its holiday production of "The Wizard of Oz" from Nov. 18-Dec. 30. Dara Cameron stars as Dorothy, Heidi Kettenring as the Wicked Witch and Mark Kaplan as Uncle Henry/Oz as part of an all-star cast in a show for all ages. Tickets are $15. 

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, 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

OPENING NIGHT ARTS GROUP presents "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley," Dec. 2-4 at Trinity Christian College, Marge Kallemyen Theatre, 6601 W. College Drive, Palos Heights. Tickets are $17 members, $20 non-members, (708) 570-1630 and

ORLAND PARK THEATRE TROUPE presents "A Candle in the Window," Dec. 10-12 at Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 Ravinia Ave.; tickets $13, $11 seniors, students, children 12 and under free, (708) 403-7275 and

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. 

PHEASANT RUN RESORT MAINSTAGE, home of Noble Fool Theatricals at 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles presents an all-time favorite holiday classic, "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," from Nov. 5-Dec. 26. Cast includes Tom Clear (from left), Ann Hammonds and George Keating. 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, (773) 327-5252 and at gears up for the holidays. On 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. 

STEEL BEAM THEATRE, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles, presents "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas," the "Miracle on 34th Street" musical version by Meredith Wilson, Nov. 20-Dec. 19, tickets $25, $23 seniors, students, and (630) 587-8521.
STEEL BEAM also presents "Sing Along with Santa" for the young set from Nov. 20-Dec. 19. Tickets are $12, $10 children under 16.

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. The show runs through Nov. 7. Tickets are $20-$70 at and (312) 335-1650.
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. Photo below features Gary Simmers, Caroline Heffernan and Phillip R. Smith.
STEPPENWOLF presents its 6th annual First Look Repertory of New Workthrough 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

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-ON-THE-HILL, Town Center Building, 375 W. Briarcliff, Bolingbrook, presents "Amadeus," Nov. 5-21. General admission tickets, $15, $12 students, seniors, (630) 908-2538 and

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

TOWLE THEATER, 5205 Hohman Ave., Hammond, brings its eighth installment of its holiday tradition, "A Fabulous 50s Christmas" back to the stage, paying tribute to Perry Como, Andy Williams and many more, including mid-20th century commercials that will bring back memories or for the younger set, no doubt trigger lots of chuckles at the "olden days." The show runs from Nov. 26-Dec.19. Tickets are $15, paid in advance and non refundable, (219) 937-8780 and Free well-lit, secured parking is just off Fayette Street and leads to back entrance of theater. Since you'll never guess who's in the photo, here goes -- Kristyn Estes (from left), Gina Vitucci, Michelle Gessert and Morgan Papesh.


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.

CIVIC BALLET OF CHICAGO brings its production of "The Nutcracker" to Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Dec. 11, 12. Tickets are $25, $12 children 12 and under. See or call (847) 622-0300 for tickets and info on Clara Christmas Parties.

Singer composer Harry Brown performs at Beatniks on Conkey, 418 Conkey St., Hammond, (219( 852-0848, at 8 p.m Nov. 20. Admission $10,

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

The IPO also presents "Scrooge the Musical," Dec. 18, 19 at Lincoln-Way East Fine Arts Center, 201 E. Colorado Ave., Frankfort; tickets $20-$40 at (708) 481-7774.

MORAINE VALLEY FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, presents a potpourri of entertainment during the next two months in the Dorothy Menker Theater. "Second City: Fair and Unbalanced," 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13, tickets $20, $15 seniors, $10 students; Moraine Valley Jazz Ensemble Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, tickets $12, $10; Moraine Chorale and Chamber Singers "Merry Christmas Music" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, tickets same as concert; Moraine Valley Concert Band, "Christmas Music and More!", 3 p.m. Dec. 5, tickets same ; Moraine Valley Percussion Ensemble Holiday Concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, tickets free; Theater for Young Audiences, "The One Man Christmas Carol," 2 p.m. Dec. 12, tickets $8, $6 children; all tickets at (708) 974-5500 and

SOUTHWEST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA presents its fall concert, "Landscapes & Seascapes," at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at Trinity Christian College, Ozinga Auditorium, 6601 W. College Drive, Palos Heights. Tickets are $15-$24, $20 seniors, $5 students, 12 and under free, (708) 802-0686 and


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. Opening at the gallery on Nov. 15, Marc-Anthony Polizzi exhibit, "In Over My Head," runs through Dec. 19. 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. 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
(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 (see article:, 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" has returned, now 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, and that includes a Thanksgiving Day Feast for the Animals at noon Nov. 25 in the Children's Zoo. Kids will be able to assist zookeepers in feeding nutritious snacks to some of the creatures including goats, cows, horses and llamas. Guests get to watch the keepers feed some of the not-so-tame animals including hawks, bald eagle, woodchucks and raccoons. Check out information at or (Chicago Zoological Society).

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.


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.