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Things to do in Chicago

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

This past weekend, we took a road trip to Chicago. I still can’t believe that there is so much that I haven’t taken the girls to do in my hometown. Over spring break, I took the girls to see some of the more nationally known sites in Chicago. Usually, we just go to grandma’s house.

But last week, I took the girls home to some of my old stomping grounds i.e. the beach. My girls hear me talk about “the beach” all the time. They know I spent all my summers swimming and playing in the waves at “the beach” but as they’ve gotten older, they are all, “Hey, ma! There’s no beach in Chicago. It’s a lake!” And I‘m all, nope, Mommy doesn’t do “lakes” in the traditional sense because..ewwww, fresh water ( more like doesn’t move water) barely moves and unless there are rapids or waves, I’m not getting in. You’ve heard about those parasites that go up your nose and your urethra. No thank you!

Anyways, I totally digress, my point is I had to show them that my beach was a beach like the coastal beaches they’re used to, not like a rock covered pool of stagnant water buried in tick country. Yeah, don’t invite me to your lake house. I won’t come. I took the girls to the beach twice in 3 days. They get it now. They know what I mean. They loved it. They want to move to “the beach”. This makes me happy.

Aladdin, beach, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

We also consumed lots of food that is indigenous to “the region”. The region is where I hail from, it’s the Chicagoland area but not the city. We are 20 minutes from downtown, on “this side” of the border. Meaning everything we grew up doing was in Chicago but since you could walk to the state line in 5 minutes from my house, technically, I lived in Indiana but I knew nothing about Indiana. I never even saw corn until I went to college. Boiler up!

We hit our usual local eatery favorites; Barton’s Pizzeria and White Castles. You can take the girl out of the region but you can’t take the region out of the girl. Then we hit Portillos. I had a hot Italian beef with all the Giardiniera they could put on it. The spicier the better. It was delicious. My youngest ordered a Chicago dog with nothing on it but ketchup. WHAT? She nearly lost her ish when they brought her a poppy seed bun. Fortunately, she was too hungry to go into a full on refusal.

But this trip was even more special than usual because aside from hanging out with cousins and barbecues and beaches, we took the girls to the city for an extra special date night that included a stop at the Joffrey with my two ballerinas to surprise their besties visiting from North Carolina.

A side trip to Marshall Fields (oops Macy’s! Who am I kidding it’ll always be Marshall Fields to me the way the Sears tower will never be the Willis Tower) because mama made an unwise shoe choice and then we had dinner at the Randolph Tavern about a 1 minute walk from the Cadillac Palace Theater. It was delicious and even on a Friday night, it was perfect for the kids. Even had an awesome kids menu and did I mention the Sangria because I should have. It was delicioso!

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

But the piece de resistance was that we took the girls to see Disney’s Aladdin at the Cadillac Palace Theater thanks to the generosity of Broadway in Chicago. You know how we love our theater. If you have the chance to take your kiddos to go see it…go see it! It was amazing. In fact, you don’t need kids to go see it. If you watched it back in the day when you were a kid, it’s even better on stage. Bet you didn’t think it could be possible did you? Well, it is. I like live productions and 3-dimensional characters. I was in theater heaven.

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

The Cadillac Palace is a gorgeous old building located in the heart of Chicago’s theater district.

Aladdin the musical, adapted from the Disney film and centuries-old folktales including, “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

That was the press release version of Aladdin the musical.

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

This is my version of Disney’s Aladdin on stage.

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

The colors are vibrant. The atmosphere is vibrant. It’s electricity and you can feel yourself drawing from the energy of those on stage. It started with a bang. I honestly was not sure that they could pull it off, bringing an animated story to the stage. I thought it would fall flat of my expectations but I was pleasantly surprised by how animated and magical it all felt.

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

The music was pitch perfect and so animated that you almost forget that you’re watching it on stage as you are transformed into an animated world of Agrabah.

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater, Anthony Murphy

Genie, played by Anthony Murphy, was a show stopper. He was absolutely hilarious and played the part as larger than life. The only thing more grandiose than his stage presence was his powerful voice.

Aladdin, Jacob Dickey, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

Aladdin, played by Jacob Dickey direct from the Broadway production, looked a bit like a young Rob Lowe. He was the embodiment of the animated Aladdin. I didn’t think it could be done but he really brought the character to life, literally.

Aladdin, Isabelle McCalla, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

Jasmine, one of my girls’ personal favorite princesses, played by Isabella McCalla, was the tiny, spit fire that I always hoped Jasmine could be. She was feisty and sassy and perfection.

 

Aladdin, Jacob Dickey, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

 

Another favorite character of mine was Jafar’s sidekick, Iago, played by Reggie De Leon . Firstly, I loved that they changed the character from a bird to a human on stage. It just played better. He was a sidekick no more. He was hilarious, perfectly timed and his dry humor was appreciated more than I can convey.

 

I loved that the Abu character was replaced by 3 friends of Aladdin (Babkak, Omar and Kassim) not only did it play better in a live production, it gave the story a new dimension that made more sense in the real world. They were sort of an attractive, endearing version of the three stooges but they had pipes.

I know that everyone loves the “Whole New World” scene in Aladdin the animated movie but I have to say the magic carpet ride in the live production was nothing short of magical. I swear I saw no strings and I still don’t know how they did it. It must be that Disney+Broadway+Chicago=Magic.

Now, I will warn you, if you are a die hard Disney Aladdin animated purist, like my husband, there have been some changes.  I will list them here so that you know they are coming. There are more songs ( because it is a musical), Abu has been replaced by 3 male friends of Aladdin ( so there is no monkey on stage), Rajah has been replaced by 3 female attendants (so again, no tiger on stage. I think that’s safer for all involved), Iago is not a bird but instead a human and Genie is not a cartoon but he is larger than life and very animated.

My personal opinion, I’ll take the live action production on stage.The animated movie is still near and dear to my heart because of the hundreds of times that I’ve watched it with my girls but you can’t beat the magical feeling of being part of a live production. I think my daughters and my nephew totally agree with me.

Aladdin, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago, Broadway, Disney, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Cadilllac Palace Theater

 

Aladdin is now playing in Chicago as part of the North American tour launch at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph Street) for a limited premiere engagement through September 10, 2017.

Tickets for Aladdin at the Cadillac Palace Theatre start at $44.  In Chicago, tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.  A select number of Premium Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available for many performances. Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. For a complete performance schedule for Aladdin, please visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to see Disney’s Aladdin at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago by Broadway in Chicago but all opinions and love of Broadway stage productions are my own.

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Seussical, Chicago, Shakespeare Theater, Dr.Suess, Review, arts, culture, kids

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents Seussical A whimsical adventure through the world of Dr. Seuss July 5–August 17, 2014.

Do your kids love Dr. Seuss? Do you? I grew up reading Dr. Seuss and now, I read Dr. Seuss to my girls. They love the Lorax, the Whos in Whoville and especially the Cat in the Hat! Well, guess what? The awesomeness that is Dr. Seuss has been made into a musical, perfect for kids of all ages to enjoy this summer.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is bringing the humor and magic of Dr. Seuss to life onstage this summer for young audiences and their families in the Broadway musical comedy Seussical. I hear that it’s playful, energetic and full of whimsy and Seussical engages the imagination with clever lyrics and melodies, unforgettable characters and the colorful world of Dr. Seuss. I don’t know how they will top last year’s production of Shrek the Musical but I can’t wait to see them try.

Seussical will be performed July 5 through August 17 in CST’s Courtyard Theater with a run time of 75 minutes.

Every performance features special opportunities for audiences to interact with the actors for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, CST partners with the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) to offer hands-on craft activities in CST’s Lobby. Tickets start at $18.

My girls can’t wait. They look forward to our annual family trip to The Shakespeare Theater. It’s become quite a tradition. We walk along Navy Pier, have lunch in the city, ride the merry-go-round, munch on some Garrett’s popcorn and just go where ever the day takes us. The best part of the entire weekend is that we make memories; just the four of us and that makes me look forward to it too.

Aside from getting to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago with your family taking in the arts I get to giveaway a family 4-pack to the 2 pm shows this Saturday, July 12th, to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment naming your favorite Dr. Seuss book and/or quote below and 1 winner will be chosen randomly. But hurry. The contest ends on Wednesday July 9th at midnight. Good luck.

I can’t wait to tell you all about Seussical and our weekend in Chicago this weekend!

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The Winner of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Macbeth family 4 pack Giveaway

The winner of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater family 4 pack to Macbeth is ….
comment # 2, Bertha “OMG, I LOVE Shakespeare! I have always wanted to see one of his plays and have never had the opportunity! I also am within 20 min of Chicago, so to be able to enjoy a Full day of festivities in Downtown Chicago is also something I don’t get to do very often, But would love the chance to! English was one of My Strong points in school, and Macbeth was one of My favorite plays, so please consider me when giving these tickets away! Thank You so Much!”

Congratulations and I hope that you have a wonderful time at the play. You will have a blast.Please email me at truthfulmommy@gmail.com so I can get your information to get you your tickets!For the rest of you, I hope you will still go see the production. It is always a fabulous time and stay tuned, there is usually a production every couple of months.

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Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Macbeth Tickets Giveaway

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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The holidays are off and running with Halloween right around the corner, which means before we know it…Thanksgiving will be here and then in a blink of an eye Christmas and New Year. I love the holidays but I try not to get so swept up trying to get to each next holiday that I forget to enjoy the season and all the great things the season has to offer with my family.

As most of you know, my family is a big fan of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Not only do they have great children’s productions they also offer fabulous productions for date night, like Romeo and Juliet. They are located right on Navy Pier, so my family normally makes a day of it.It’s a great way to spend a day together exploring the city.That is why we are so excited about the upcoming family series production The Carnival of the Animals and the Story of Babar,the little elephant.

Image courtesy of The Chicago Chamber Musicians.

Camille Saint-Saens’ the  Carnival of the Animals turns a parade of marching animals into a lively musical romp, where the tales of donkeys, turtles and swans are told through charming melodies.In Francis Poulencs’ The Story of Babar,the Little Elephant, a curious elephant leaves the jungle for the big city.Whimsical tunes tell the story of Babar’s travels, where he learns to wear a suit, drive a car and read books before returning to the jungle to become king of the elephants.Between concerts each day, interactive exhibits staged in the CST lobby will give children a chance to explore the instruments representing the animals- musicians will be available for autographs and young performers will demonstrate the craft and answer questions about the featured instruments.

The latest CST production in the family series is another fabulous musical event for the entire family.From the Courtyard Theater stage, audiences embark on an adventure through the animal kingdom with the Chicago Chamber musicians (CCM).The Carnival of the Animals and The Story of Babar the Little Elephant will have a limited run November 6 and 7, 2010. The concerts are held at 10 am and 11:30 am on each day. Tickets are $15 and $18 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages, which as you know in Chicago is worth its weight in gold.

I’ve not seen it yet but we are very excited. CST is very family friendly and my girls love going to the theater. I love it because for the price it is a great way to introduce the little ones to some culture, chamber music and the theater plus it f can easily be followed by a great lunch on the Pier or a day walking around downtown with the family getting to know the fabulous city. If you are anywhere in the Chicago land or Northwest Indiana area, hope to see you there.

And don’t forget for a Romantic Date Night, Romeo and Juliet is still running until November 21,2010. There is still time to see it.I would highly recommend it.You can read my review here.

Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to see the Carnival of Animals and The Story of Babar, the little elephant 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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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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The Emperor’s New Clothes~ As readers of this blog, you all know that I am not really a “reviews” blog. I do, however, love to bring wonderful, exciting opportunities to my readers if they are beneficial 1) to maintain Mommy’s sanity 2)  for our children’s health; because lets face it us Mommies can use all the quality recommendations we can get to help in our search for healthy green products, organic, nutritious snacks, and general opportunities and activities to keep our kids active and healthy 3) I am a HUGE proponent of educating our children in the arts, broadening their horizons, and anything that makes learning a fun activity and not a chore. Basically, I am trying to raise some very well-rounded, healthy happy, children..as I am sure you all are , as well. That being said, I have to share with you, my friends, an experience that my family and I enjoyed this past weekend , courtesy of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Arriving at CST to see The Emperor’s New Clothes

Saturday, we had the pleasure of seeing the CST production of The Emperor’s New Clothes. We arrived at Navy Pier in Chicago, where the CST theater is so conveniently located. Convenient because CST, has designated parking at the Navy Pier garage ( so no worrying about “GARAGE IS EMPTY”) and they validate parking at a 40% discount for patrons. BONUS! Anyone who has ever had to park in the city knows that the parking situation at CST alone, is AWESOME! I was excited already and I hadn’t even entered the building yet.

So excited for the Emperor’s New Clothes to Begin

We arrive 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. The colors of the set were vibrant and my children were immediately engaged by the bold color choices and props used. The lighting worked in tandem with the characters to create an illusion of boundless space and time. In a matter of seconds, we were transformed from the Emperors closet, to a forest, and then to a shop without ever leaving our seats. The color and props supplied quite the feast for our visual appetites..

Complimentary to the vibrant colors of the set were the spectacular colorfulness and depth of the characters. The characters were multifaceted and their personalities were appealing to both children and adults alike.My daughters were giggling, clapping and thoroughly engaged throughout the entire performance. I was happily surprised. We have taken our daughters to other shows, most of the children’s channels variety and they have enjoyed them, I assume mostly because of the familiarity. This was the first time my girls have been to the “Theater” for a performance with an actual story line and not just singing and dancing performed by giant puppets or TV characters, other than the Nutcracker ( which they are obsessed with because of ballet).
The Emperor’s New Clothes is about a larger than life emperor, his daughter and their relationship. As a side story, it also explores the relationship between a seamstress and her son and Lord Vince, the Emperor’s right hand man who is actually trying to humiliate the Emperor and dethrone him so that he may become Emperor. At the core of the musical it is a love story of the most meaningful kind; the love and bond between a parent and a child. In addition to the main characters, the parents and children, there is a fantastic supporting ensemble cast consisting of the Emperor’s 3 secretaries, and random peasants who to say are humorous is a grand understatement. My children were laughing belly laughs and my husband and I were almost in tears.The Hans Christian Anderson play was skillfully  and creatively adapted to be easily related to by its 21st century audience of all ages. When it was over, my girls didn’t want to leave! As a bonus, some of the characters from the Emperor’s New Clothes were available to sign programs after the show was over. My daughters loved that they got to meet the “Stars” of the show. They couldn’t stop talking about it all day. Between the audacious costumes, the brilliant sets,  and the unforgettable antics of the cast; The Emperor’s New Clothes is a must see for any parent who wants to find a extraordinary way to introduce their child to the wonderful world of the classics and the theater. My children, as well as my husband and myself, had a fabulous experience at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater .
The Emperor’s New Clothes runs June 30, 2010 thru to August 29, 2010,with multiple performance times available. There are also many great activities and attractions going on at Navy Pier this summer so come for the show and make a day of it on the Pier! If you live in the Chicago land, Northwest Indiana area, I would highly recommend taking your child to see this performance while you still have the opportunity. For more information click the badge below

Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to see the Emperor’s New Clothes 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..

CST Presents The Emperor’s New Clothes

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I sit here on this gorgeous Sunday summer morning, on my deck lounging as my girls play in their splash pool. I am surrounded by giggles as hues of bright white, sky blue and the warmth of the bright yellow sun dance all around me and to make it even more special my beautiful husband is in the same zip code with us.  As I am writing this post down, I think to myself “MY LIFE IS GOOD!”
Today is such a relaxing day. It is quite a contrast to yesterday that was spent in a mad dash rushing from one place to the next. We sped around Navy Pier trying to take in ..everything. It was the first trip to the Pier for my girls and I wanted to make every moment count. The girls oohed and aahed at the boats in the lake, the stared in awe at the giant Ferris wheel and the hot air balloon looming overhead the crowd, as they chomped on their rock candy suckers that Daddy had purchased them. I do,however, think they were sufficiently terrified by the Chicago seagulls that were dive bomb attacking us in the sweltering heat. Nothing like 100 degree weather and the fear of bird shit to get your kids moving in a hasty manner. Our trip to the Pier was cut short by the heat but as always sometimes life’s most expected happiness comes when you are least expecting it.

We decided to head to my sister’s home to spend the day with her and her beautiful family. My girls were ecstatic to spend the day with their little cousin, my adorable Godson. Gabs especially loves it because she feels like she gets to be the “big sister” when he’s around. Its so adorable how she coddles and guides him, ever the protective maternal force:) (thank God he doesn’t mind..for now).

I was looking forward to spending some quality time chatting with my own “little ” sister. These moments seem to be so few and far between these days with us living in different areas and having families of our own. The big guy, he looks forward to spending “man” time with my Brother in law; sampling exotic beers, driving fast cars and swapping tall tales..(yeah, just like Pecos BILL:) And all of us look forward to eating the glorious Serbian/Romanian feast my sister’s Mother in law prepares for us with love and enthusiasm (seriously, that woman has a gift when it comes to cooking and baking).
What started out as a day full of sights to see turned into a day of making wonderful family memories. It was wonderful sitting around the splash pool at my sister’s house, enjoying one another’s company and the, seldom had these days, face to face conversation while our children embraced their time together.

My sister and I shared memories of our own childhood and acted as our childrens very own paparazzi. There is something magical about being able to speak to someone who has known you your whole entire life and knows every single thought and word you may have before you even open your mouth. It may have not seemed like anything special to the general onlooker but the day with my little sister was priceless. We are no longer little girls, we will always be sisters but we choose to be friends; and my sisters’ friendships mean more to me than they will ever know.

But as all good things must, our day had to come to an end. There were overtired tears from the children who absolutely did not want to part. The dull feeling of melancholy that accompanies every goodbye between loved ones began to slowly creep into the room. As we kissed and hugged and kissed and hugged once more, we made our usual tentative plans to see each other again soon ( this happens so often between  family members and friends living out of town) and we believe with all of our hearts that this time will be different. The drive wasn’t that bad, the day was so great,and  so on and so forth.
All the way home, I assured myself that “this” time our promise and plans were different, this time things will be different (reminiscent of every diet I have ever failed).Unfortunately, more than likely, life will get in the way of our plans and more time will end up passing than either of us had intended. But yesterday, life was good! Love you lil Sis!

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I love Chicago and anything fun to do with the kids in Chicago is awesome, in my book. If you are looking for something a little different then taking the kids to the beach or the playground , look no further! We all know how hard it is to keep the kids entertained during the summertime. Normally, by about the end of June, I am completely out of ideas. What’s even harder is to find affordable entertainment, especially if it also provides a little education and culture for the girls. I know you all know exactly what I am talking about. With this in mind, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST)  has graciously invited my family to a performance of the new musical based on,Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. We are thrilled about attending a performance next month. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is located at Navy Pier, so we plan on making a family day of it.I think it would also make a great play date excursion.The greater news is that CST is also generously providing a Free Family four pack set of tickets to be given away to one of my lucky readers to the performance of their choice.*
I have read that  The Emperor’s New Clothes is high energy,chalked full of clever costumes and valuable lessons.If you’d like more information on the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes please click here. Sounds to me, like a great production for the whole family to enjoy. I can’t wait to see it for myself.
Tickets are $18–$23 or as low as $12 per child for parties of 10 or more. Tickets to The Emperor’s New Clothes would make a great family day event and CST Patrons save 40% on parking at Navy Pier as well! 

Ways to enter to win the Free Family Four pack
  • Mandatory* Follow me via Google Friend Connect.
  • Mandatory* Email Subscribe to my blog.+2
  • Add me to your blog roll. (Link me to your blog so I can find it!)
  • Blog about this giveaway & link me to it. +5
  • Like me on Facebook.
  • Post about this giveaway on your Facebook wall. +2
  • Follow me on Twitter
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  • Tweet this giveaway. (You can do this once daily!)Please include @TruthfulMommy and @Chicagoshakes in your tweet! 

 *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 7/3/10 at 9 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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