Hams4Hams Fundraiser, Twelfth Night, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater — Playtime Chicago Theater Report

WANT TO HEAR THE SHOW?: An archive of the December 8th, 2019 episode of Playtime is available at the WCGO website. Scroll down to find the archive. The Chicago Theater Report is in the second hour, starting at the 5:00 mark.

Lots of news this week, including some show openings as well as a report on Midsommer Flight’s Twelfth Night, currently running at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. But first, I want folks to know about Hams4Hams, a fundraiser sponsored by Hell in a Handbag Productions:

Since Hams4Hams launch, over $40,000 has been launched for Groceryland/Vital Bridges, which provides food and nutritional counseling for those impacted by HIV and AIDS in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood and on the North Side.  

Hell in a Handbag will be collecting for Groceryland during both of its holiday shows: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Holiday Edition, Vol. 2, running through December 28th and BETTE: XMAS AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS running through December 31st at Mary’s Attic in  Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. For tickets and information, visit handbagproductions.org. All donations collected will go directly to Groceryland.

Monica Saucedo

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater will present its  Holiday Concert at the Northeastern Illinois University Fine Arts Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.  A fundraiser for the company will be held before the show on the 14th: Fundraiser tickets include a Pre-Performance Reception 6-7:15 p.m. plus VIP Seating for the 7:30 p.m performance. Fundraiser tickets are $75. For tickets or more information call Josephine DiCesare, Director of Operations at 773.442.5916 or via email at Josephine@ensembleespanol.org

If the December 14th performance doesn’t work for you, don’t fret: The show on the 15th includes a free pre-show fireside chat from 1:30-2:30 pm on the Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium stage with the company’s artistic director and other participants.

Opera fans are sure to be delighted by The Light in the Piazza, a Tony-Award winning musical that premiers at Lyric Opera on December 14. Starring Renee Fleming, the production sounds like a perfect show to enjoy during the holiday season. The production runs through the 29th and tickets are available via LyricOpera.org.

Blue Man Group has announced its 2020 winter season schedule, which includes added holiday performances on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day, as well as a special Art Institute ticket package. For $79 you get a main floor seat to Blue Man Group at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre and a FastPass admission ticket to the Art Institute including a pass to Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again, on view through January 26, 2020.

To get this package deal, use the code WARHOL when purchasing full price Blue Man Group Chicago tickets to receive an equal number of FastPass admission and Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again exhibition passes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Art Institute tickets must be picked up at the Briar Street Theatre box office and do not need to be used on the same day as the Blue Man Group performance. Tickets can be purchased at www.briarstreetbroadway.com.

A quick update on Firebrand Theater’s Always. . .Patsy Cline, which I reported on a few weeks ago: The show has extended its run at The Den Theater in Wicker Park through Saturday, January 4th. Tickets are available via firebrandtheatre.org.

Finally, I got to attend Midsommer’s Flight’s production of Twelfth Night at The Lincoln Park Conservatory. This is the fifth year of this production in this space, and it was a wonderful, and dare I say it, joyful experience.

The show is staged alley style in the conservatory’s exhibit of winter plants. Each evening starts with a live music performance by the actors, which continues throughout the production.

In fact, the musical talent is far better than I might have expected, given that the musicians are also the actors in this lively, 90-minute adaptation of Shakespeare’s tale. I never thought I’d be giving props to a fight scene, but Jason Goff and Jackie Seijo did a magnificent job.

Midsommer flight strives to make its productions accessible for everyone: Tickets are pay-what-you-can between $5 and $50 and you’ll need to reserve your seats in advance at midsommerflight.com.

I’d like to conclude this show by reminding everyone that all of these productions would make fabulous Christmas gifts: Quality shared experiences create lasting memories and never end up in a landfill.

Tune into Playtime next Sunday from 1-3 pm Central here on WCGO, 1590 AM, 95.9 FM. Take care.