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Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

Have you heard of Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, LUZIA? If you are a long time reader of The TRUTH, you are fully aware that we are huge fans of the Cirque du Soleil. We’ve been to several live performances and if we haven’t seen it under the Big Top, chances are pretty high that we’ve seen the DVD. Last summer we took the girls to see, Kurios, in Boston.

The Big Guy and I fell in love with the Cirque du Soleil n our honeymoon, when we saw our first performance, La Nouba, at Disney Springs, which by the way is retiring so if you get the chance to see it this year before it leaves, I’d highly recommend it. We were enthralled by the feats of impossibility the performers could complete and captivated by the sounds and colors of the new world we were immersed into and that was it. Love at first sight.

You can imagine the excitement that filled my heart when I heard about the Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring production, LUZIA, especially since it is based on the culture and land of my father’s people, Mexico. I feel very connected to this show and cannot wait to see it.

Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

Cirque du Soleil is excited to bring back its magic to Chicago this July with its latest soul-touching production, LUZIA.

From July 21 – August 20, 2017, audiences will be invited to a redesigned white-and-gold Big Top next to United Center to escape to an imaginary Mexico – a beautifully intricate world suspended somewhere between dreams and reality. If you’ve never seen a Cirque du Soleil under the Big Top, you need to. It has that very otherworldly feeling of the circuses back in the 1940’s.

LUZIA is Cirque du Soleil’s 38th original production since 1984, and its 17th show presented under the Big Top. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 160 million spectators in more than 400 cities on six continents.

Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

But what is LUZIA, you ask?

LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light (“luz” in Spanish) quenches the spirit and rain (“lluvia”) soothes the soul.

Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.

The tableaux of LUZIA weave an intricate, contemporary mosaic that awakens your senses and transports you to a place suspended between dreams and reality. Featuring a cast of 44 performers from diverse artistic backgrounds, LUZIA surprises with acrobatic performances breaking down the barriers, such as integrating water into contemporary circus disciplines.

For more information, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.

This 4th of July, get 4 LUZIA tickets for the price of 3! Buy 3 and get your 4th ticket free. Offer good June 26th– July 4th 11:59 p.m. Offer on PL1,2,3 for the first 2 weeks of shows.

This show that is guaranteed to be more explosive than the fireworks.

LUZIA opens July 21st in Chicago under the big top at the United Center-lot K.  Get ready to be transported to a surreal world of wonders!

@cirquedusoleil, #LUZIA, #cirquedusoleil, Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

Also, thanks to the generosity of Cirque du Soleil, I am giving away one pair of tickets to LUZIA in Chicago to one lucky reader. Just enter below.

I’ll also report back after I see Cirque du Soleil LUZIA on the July 21st and tell you all about it.

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Disclosure: I was provided 2 passes to give away to one lucky reader but all opinions and love for all things Cirque du Soleil and LUZIA are my own.

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theater, broadway, mamma mia

Mamma Mia, last week was crazy and chaotic but absolutely fabulous. I had been at Mom 2.0 Summit, arrived home on a jet plane on Saturday, celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday and then on Monday, our wedding anniversary, we celebrated by taking the girls on a little road trip to go see the Mamma Mia farewell tour. I was exhausted almost to the newborn standard but it was totally worth it.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

See, I have been waiting to see Mamma Mia on stage for 8 years.

Since that one time Bella, then 4-years-old, told me that “slipping through my fingers” was “our” song while we were watching the movie. Yes, we watched Mamma Mia a lot in those days. It was during the horrible commuter years. The girls and I loved that movie because it was fun and about the mother/daughter relationship at a time when it was just us most of the time.

Anyways, if you have ever heard ABBA’s “Slipping through my Fingers,” you already know that this song can bring any parent to her knees. It was especially hard back then when I was looking at my 4-year-old and knowing that soon she would be leaving me, well, in 14 years or so. Still, her little face looking up at me with those eyes and her sweet face; I still can’t listen to that song without tearing up.

Childhood is fleeting. It just keeps moving on, whether we want it to or not. Believe me, I’ve tried to speed it up and slow it down many times but it never works. When it comes to time and parenting, we are all helpless suckers just trying not to blink and miss a single second. Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture and save it from the funny tricks of time.

The point is Mamma Mia has had a very special place in my heart for a really long time. Bella has been begging me to take her to see this production for years but I was just never sure they were old enough. I know my girls like musicals and theater (hello, have we forgotten the Moulin Rouge 5th birthday party?) but I also know that Gabi has fallen asleep during almost the last half an hour of every production we’ve ever been to because she’s still really young.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

But when the opportunity to see it came, I knew we had to take it. How could I not? It is the farewell tour and there was no way that I was going to miss experiencing Mamma Mia live with my girls. We had to drive almost 2 hours on a school night and missed a couple classes but OMG, it was so worth it. This is a memory that we will never ever forget. Every time we hear the music, we will be back in that theater, the four of us, singing at the top of our lungs like fools. Dancing, singing, incredibly happy fools. I will never forget this anniversary or that night!

theater, broadway, mamma mia

In case you have never seen or heard the story Mamma Mia, it’s about a mother (Donna), her daughter (Sophie) and 3 possible fathers. The entire situation comes to a head when Sophie is preparing to get married at the ripe old age of 20. Talk about a wild walk down the aisle.

Over 54 million people all around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make Mamma Mia the ultimate feel-good show. The sunny, funny tale unfolds on a Greek Island Paradise. On the eve of Sophie’s wedding, her quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island that they last visited 20 years ago with Donna.

theater, broadway, mamma miaThe story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship from a good time to the time of their lives. It truly does transport you to a magical moment and if you get the chance, I highly suggest you see Mamma Mia before it’s gone. Chances are it’s probably coming to a city near you soon.

The cast of Mamma Mia was so vibrant and perfectly cast. Betsy Padamonsky, as Donna, took the character to a new level. Her voice was pitch perfect and her big, beautiful personality shone through. Really all of the cast was stellar but I must give a shout out to Lizzie Markson, Cashelle Butler and Sarah Smith. These ladies brought the characters to life in a way that few can. We enjoyed every single second of the show and would love to see it a million times more.

I’m so happy we got to experience Mamma Mia together and before it’s gone. We will never forget it. And yes, I cried when I heard, “Slipping through my fingers.” I sat there in the theater between my two girls, holding their hands while they held my heart.

They aren’t that 1 and 4-year-old anymore. They are growing up so fast and that fact is not lost on me. I know they are slipping through my fingers. It’s like trying to catch sand or water but we will always have this moment, sitting in the theater together listening to this song on a warm night in May when nothing else mattered but being there with them.

I’ll probably never be able to listen to that song without crying and I am totally okay with that because that means I got to love in a huge, amazing way for that Mamma Mia will always have a special place in this mamma’s heart.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

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Disclosure: I was provided tickets to experience Mamma Mia on stage but all opinions and genuine love of theater are my own. 

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Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Have you watched Dirty Dancing the movie? Who hasn’t, right? But did you know that there is a Dirty Dancing Broadway tour? I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who knows me that our family is theater lovers. There is nothing quite as spectacular as a live production.

The original is one of the quintessential movies of my generation. There was something about the Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Garner dynamic that was so unbelievable but at the same time exactly what every teen girl/woman secretly hoped for; that they’d get the hot guy not just because he wanted to throw her in the back of his car and have his way with her but because he fell in love with her personality and that made her the most beautiful girl in the world. Doesn’t every woman want to be sexy but respected?

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Just in case you are not familiar with the story, here is the premise for Dirty Dancing:

The story takes place in the summer of 1963, 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is about to learn some major life lessons and a thing or two about dancing. On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, ‘Baby’ shows little interest in the resort activities and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles upon the staff quarters when an all-night dance party is in full swing.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Mesmerized by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, ‘Baby’ can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. ‘Baby’s’ life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off with breathtaking consequences.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

These two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. It will be the “time of their lives”.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Even if you never saw Dirty Dancing, you can tell that the story is everything.

Dirty Dancing is an iconic love story on steroids with the best.soundtrack.ever! Honestly, Dirty Dancing was my best friend’s favorite movie and every time you spent the night (which was basically every weekend of our adolescents) we watched this movie.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

I watch all of the movies from the 80’s with my daughters and its just as much fun now as when I watched them with my best friend back when I was a tween. So, imagine my delight when I found out that not only is there a live Broadway tour of Dirty Dancing but it is touring and coming to a theater near me (and probably you too!)

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

You heard me right! Dirty Dancing is back!

Exploding with heart-pounding music, breathtaking emotion, and sensationally sexy dancing. It’s been seen by millions worldwide and features 35 hit songs, including “Hungry Eyes, “Hey Baby”, “Do You Love Me?” and the the infamous, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

We’re taking our girls to see it and we can’t wait! I have read amazing reviews and I can’t wait to see how they bring the story to life on stage in live theater. I’ll make sure to share my review with you after we see it so you can get the skinny on whether or not you should go see it in a city near you.

If you’ve seen Dirty Dancing on stage or even if you haven’t, I’d love to hear your thoughts on a stage adaptation.


Disclosure: I was provided tickets to experience Dirty Dancing on stage but all opinions and genuine love of theater are my own. 

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theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

Feeling a little wicked this morning. Something just has my heart nostalgic for quieter times. We are caught up in the storm and chaos of everyday life. Somehow, it seems like the world just spins a little faster once school starts back. I thought things were crazy when the Big Guy and I were dating back in college. We were firing on all cylinders or so I thought. I had no idea what having children and a life together would really mean. It’s truly a beautiful mess and I love it but some days, it is a bit overwhelming so I love when we get the chance to experience something amazing and outside of ourselves together.

Hands touch, eyes meet, sudden silence, sudden heat Hearts leap in a giddy world. He could be that boy but I’m not that girl.  Don’t dream too far. Don’t lose sight of who you are. Don’t remember that rush of joy. He could be that boy. I’m not that girl. Every so often we long to steal to the land of what might have been but that doesn’t soften the ache we feel when reality sets back in. Blithe smile, lithe limb. She who’s winsome, she wins him. Gold hair with a gentle curl, that’s the girl he chose and heaven knows, I’m not that girl.  Don’t wish, don’t start. Wishing only wounds the heart. I wasn’t born for the rose and pearl. There’s a girl I know; he loves her so. I’m not that girl.

This is the lyrics from one of our favorite songs from Wicked, I’m Not That girl and now it’s a memory we will always share because we experienced it together. You know those special moments that happen when you least expect it.

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Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts, theater

Wicked Emerald City Tour

There are people, places and things in life that magically transport us to another time. Most of my fondest memories can be inextricably linked to lyrics to songs, lines in movies or the way I felt the first time I read powerful words movingly strung together on a page. And now, all of these beautiful moments intertwine with my daughters and there is new joy and perspective seeing life through their fresh eyes.


theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts


One of my fondest memories as a child was watching The Wizard of Oz with my own mother, every year on Thanksgiving. Our family tradition had nothing to do with Black Friday shopping or things at all; it was about a warm, fuzzy feeling that permeated our togetherness like the lingering scent of a beautiful woman or the reassuring voice of a mother to her child in the middle of the night. Our tradition included football on the television while the food cooked, family sitting around the table sharing what they were most thankful for and then just when we are about to fall into a tryptophan induced turkey coma we’d settle down on top of one another vying for the best seat in the living room, next to my mom, and we’d, almost in a dream, watch this amazing movie. We were entranced for that entire hour and 52 minutes. It was magical.


theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts


When I was pregnant, I knew this would be a tradition that I wanted to continue with my own children. It was going to be just as magical as when I was a child. Then while I was pregnant with my first daughter in 2004, I read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the the West by Gregory Maguire. I was hooked. It changed my entire perspective of a favorite childhood movie. I wanted my girls to know this story. I needed my girls to know the “whole story”.


theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts


By the way, 12 years later, I have 2 beautiful daughters who love the theater as much as I do. We’ve spent our years cuddled in front of the big screen watching my old favorite, The Wizard of Oz but I promised myself that one day I would take them to see this amazing musical that was inspired by the Wicked novel. We play the soundtrack on repeat on most morning drives to school; all of us singing at the tops of our lungs.


Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts


Last year, I was in New York for business and I knew I had to see Wicked on Broadway.  It was my first time actually getting to see the production. I bought whatever ticket I could find available and I went. It was more mesmerizing and magical than I could have ever imagined. It was absolutely amazing and I am not just using that term lightly. It exceeded every expectation I ever had. I left the Gershwin theater hopeful and inspired and knowing that I had to bring my family back. I didn’t even bother with souvenirs because that was almost too cruel. But when and how? We live in Indiana.


theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts


A few months ago, I saw that Wicked was touring and I was absolutely over the moon because one of the stops was near me; only a short 1.5-hour drive. I had to make it happen. It’s just one of those situations where you know that you have to do this with your family; like watching the inauguration of the first African-American president or voting for the first woman president or seeing the Grand Canyon or the Aurora Borealis in person. It’s a gift to my children; a memory that they will never forget.


theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts


So last Thursday, we took a little road trip on a school night and made our little girls’ dreams to see Wicked come true. Wicked is playing at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, Indiana until Sunday, September 18th. If you are in the area, you should definitely get tickets and go see this amazing production.

But even if you are not, it’s touring all over the country and I’m sure Wicked is coming to a city near you.

If you live near the New York City area you can catch it at the Gershwin. It will be something you will never forget. Wicked has taken up residence in our hearts and we will never forget the night we all saw it together, not for as long as we live.

Wicked… You’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart! Because we knew you, we have been changed for good.


Disclosure: I was provided media passes to the Wicked performance but the genuine love and adoration that I feel for this production are completely my own.


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travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

When my family and I traveled to Orlando, Florida recently, we had the pleasure of attending Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Disney World. We love taking our girls to the theater and letting them enjoy cultural events while they are still young enough to really enjoy the magic because of the infinite possibilities of their imaginations and let them develop a love for the arts naturally.We’ve been taking them to the ballet and the Chicago Shakespeare theater for years; next stop, Broadway. La Nouba tells the fascinating story of the boundless and festive journey of the imagination. The Big Guy and I first saw La Nouba on our honeymoon in 1999. Since then, the Cirque du Soleil and, more specifically, La Nouba have held a special place in our heart. So, imagine how excited we were to share it with our daughters?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

In case you are unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it is a version of the circus that is humane, uses no animals and captivates the audience, young and old alike, with acrobatic feats that defy the imagination and music that makes your feel like the whole thing is a wonderful, magical dream. Dazzling costumes, dramatic lighting, bizarre choreography and ethereal operatic music set the stage for clownish observations, a human puppet and a host of amazing acrobats that all bend and weave together to create one of the most exciting and engaging shows under the soleil.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

A door opens and the two worlds collide. Enter the attic of make-believe, where the mundane meets the marvelous. Dreams and nightmares intertwine. La Nouba which calls on both individual and collective memory, is an unforgettable journey into a world at once threatening and exhilarating, frightening and familiar. La Nouba beckons to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we had lost long ago; to frolic in our childhood dreams and enter a place where the extraordinary transforms and overcomes the ordinary.


travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

We took our daughters, ages 6 and 9 at the time, and they both were enthralled with the performers. My 6-year-old LOVED the Titan, especially when he performed on the trampolines and the little girls doing the Diabolos act. In fact, she made me buy her her very own set and plays with them almost daily. My 9-year-old was smitten with the Green Bird and the dancers. The Big Guy finds the power track/ trampoline act to be the big show stopper. Me, I must confess, I am mesmerized by the aerial ballet in silk. The show definitely has something for everyone and I could go on for days talking about La Nouba but as a picture is worth a 1000 words, a production like La Nouba leaves me speechless. La Nouba is something that has to be experienced to be believed and to fully enjoy it.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

Next time you are at Disney World, and I know you will be if you have kids, if you are on the fence on whether or not to take your children to see La Nouba, I am here to tell you that it will be something they will never forget.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

Have you been to a Cirque du Soleil production? What was your favorite act or character?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

If you’ve seen La Nouba, what was your favorite part of the show?

Photo Cirque du Soleil

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets for review purposes, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. I’ve been in love with La Nouba since the first time I saw it on my honeymoon in 1999.

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As many of you know, I have been very lucky to have a relationship with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. I have been to many of their shows and it is always a brilliant time.We’ve been to family friendly shows for the entire family and romantic date nights for the Big Guy and I. No matter when or why we are there, it’s always an amazing time.We like to make it a day, or night out. Our girls love a show at CST, a nice lunch and some walking around and shopping or taking in the sites downtown. Or if you are doing a date night, the pier under the stars is a great follow up to watching a production with your special guy.

I couldn’t make it to this production myself due to some scheduling issues but I wish I could have. Macbeth is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. But the good news is I have a family 4 pack to give away to one of my lucky readers! Yey, for you! It’s very easy. All I ask is that you click on the “more info” tab at the top right hand side top of my homepage and then become a GFC follower and then leave me a comment telling me how you would spend your day in the city or your favorite thing about the city! It’s that easy. I will randomly select a winner this Friday @ 10 pm EST. Good Luck!

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) provides an introduction to William Shakespeare for all audiences with Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, a 75-minute abridged production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth adapted and directed by David H. Bell. A perfect outing for busy professionals and families, Short Shakespeare! Macbeth is performed Saturdays at 11 a.m. in CST’s Courtyard Theater as part of the CST Family Series, providing an opportunity for adults and young audiences alike to be introduced to Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Tickets for Short Shakespeare! Macbeth Saturdays at 11 a.m. from January 22 through March 5, 2011, in CST’s Courtyard Theater are $16–$20 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages. Short Shakespeare! Macbeth is recommended for ages 10 and up. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Short Shakespeare! productions give busy professionals, families and young audiences the chance to watch the magic of Shakespeare’s verse come alive, performed by a cast of professional artists—all in just 75 minutes. Immediately following each Saturday performance of Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, actors remain on stage for a discussion with the audience about the Macbeths’ quest for power and their own experiences stepping into Shakespeare’s iconic roles. After the discussion, audience members are invited to join the actors for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities in Chicago Shakespeare’s lobbies, which provide stunning views of the Chicago skyline. CST patrons can make an afternoon of it on Navy Pier, with specially priced menus at the Pier’s most popular restaurants available by displaying their tickets day-of-show. Visit Chicago Shakespeare’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com for more information.

A theatrical, percussive world of swords, sound and the supernatural make Macbeth one of William Shakespeare’s most spellbinding plays—and CST’s 75-minute abridged production, Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, provides a perfect introduction to his work. When Macbeth and his wife hear of the haunting witches’ prophecy that they will soon rule the land, they move to plot the murder of the King. Greed, torment and evil pave the Macbeths’ path toward destruction, ultimately proving all of the witches’ divinations true.

Short Shakespeare! Macbeth is performed Saturdays at 11 a.m. from January 22 through March 5, 2011, in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are $16–$20 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages. Short Shakespeare! Macbeth is recommended for ages 10 and up. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to giveaway for Macbeth by The Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were NOT influenced by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

*Contest open to US readers only, 18 years old and older.Must be in or around the Chicago land area at time of performance. Contest ends 2/18/11 at 10 p.m. EST. Winner will be chosen randomly. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment unless it’s visible on your Blogger profile. (If I can’t contact you, a new winner will be drawn.) Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email. If winner does not claim their prize in the 48 hour period, a new winner will be chosen at random.

*Subject to availability. Valid by phone or in person only. Not valid in combination with other promotions or on previously purchased tickets.

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On my birthday, as a very special treat, my husband and I had the privilege of seeing  Romeo and Juliet  courtesy of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This was a particularly sweet part of my birthday because  not only am I a big fan of the theater, the works of Shakespeare are my absolute favorite. Even more importantly, I have been in love with the story of Romeo and Juliet since I first read it when I was 13. I remember fantasizing as a young girl about being immersed in a love as deep as that of Romeo and Juliet. You can imagine my delight at being given the chance to watch the production with my very own Romeo.

As you may know, from my last experience at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater , the theater itself is very impressive. We arrived and were ushered into this gloriously enchanting theater, set up very similar to what a traditional Elizabethan theater would have been set up.Basically, the stage juts out into the center of the theater and there is truly not a bad seat in the intimate theater.I particularly love the lighting, upon arrival it was very warm and gave the theater a romantic glow.

The production itself was amazing. This being one of my favorite plays of Shakespeare, I have read the book several times, seen every movie variation ever made ( My personal favorite being Franco Zefferelli’s) , and seen it on the stage via television but I have never had the pleasure of seeing it live on stage. So, to say that I was excited for this opportunity is a great understatement.
I was particularly impressed by how contemporary yet timeless the play was portrayed. It opens with the Capulet’s men and Montague’s men bickering in a fight scene in the street. The two families were easily identifiable by either blue or red stitching on their clothing. It was very gritty and because of the size and shape of the theater you felt like a bystander on the street watching the feud unfold.Actually, the entire time I was watching the play, I felt like I was part of the production; an extra, if you will.The Elizabethan theater shape really is genius. I wish all theaters were set up like this.
I found it very interesting that the costumes transcended time by including clothing from just about every era of the 20th century. It was apparent but very subtle. More of a nuance than a direct appeal to your senses. I was, however, most impressed by the use of the true dialogue. Being that I am such a fan, I always expect to be let down when a classic is produced on stage, especially if it is updated for contemporary audiences. I understand why this is done, to make the production more easily relate able and understood but it has always made me feel like they were “dumbing it down” for their audience. This was NOT the case at the CST production. The wardrobe and the set were changed somewhat to be timely but the dialogue itself was true to the original Shakespeare and thanks to the superior acting skills of the cast, even a Shakespeare novice could understand what was going on and thoroughly enjoy the production.
All of the cast were superior. Obviously, I loved the characters of Romeo (John Lillico) and Juliet ( Joy Farmer-Clary). Juliet was absolutely beautiful and played the part with a childlike innocence and limited view of the world. Romeo was very charming and lived on the stage like your average teen aged boy; feasting on romance and living inside of his own head, oblivious to the reality surrounding him. The chemistry between the two was palpable. The two actors were very well suited for their parts. Even with the combustible chemistry, they played the parts very innocently (as it was meant to be since the characters are young teenagers not adults). It really added to the romance of the show.
Other characters of note were the Nurse (Ora Jones) who gave the part a certain je ne sais quoi that really made her endearing to the audience. She was boisterous, over the top, and vivacious. I loved watching her reactions to the goings on of the other characters. Another fabulous addition to the cast was  Benvolio ( Steve Haggard) who made the character very likable and funny. He added a lightheartedness to the play that was definitely needed to balance out the tragedy. But my favorite character was, as it has always been, Mercutio (Ariel Shafir). Mr. Shafir played Mercutio perfectly. He was funny, honest, over the top, loud, sarcastic, and honorable. Mercutio was portrayed as the friend that everybody wants to have in their life. The quick wit of the dialogue coupled with the physical acting of the character provided much entertainment. All of the cast were exceptionally well suited for their parts. Gale Edwards did a fantastic job directing this production.

It is so seldom that we get a night out away from the children and this was also my birthday so I was hanging the moon on this production. I am happy to say it did not disappoint. I would recommend this production to any friend of mine and I highly suggest it for date night for any couple that wants an excuse to snuggle into your own Romeo. The story is timeless, the cast superior, the theater beautiful, and romance is definitely in the air. The Big Guy and I left the building holding hands and the production really did start my birthday celebration of with a bang!
Romeo and Juliet runs September 15, 2010 thru to November 21, 2010,with multiple performance times available. There are also many great activities and attractions going on at Navy Pier this fall so come for the show and make a day or night of it on the Pier! If you live in the Chicago land, Northwest Indiana area, I would highly recommend making this performance a date night destination while you still have the opportunity. For more information click the link below
Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to see Romeo and Juliet by  The Chicago Shakespeare Theater in order to view the performance  and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were NOT influenced by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater..

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