Shakespeare in the Park: A welcome [new] tradition for Park Districts

This summer I had the opportunity of attending one of the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre “Shakespeare in the Park” productions in conjunction with the Chicago Park District and Boeing. The concept is to bring professional productions, such as The Taming of the Shrew, free of charge to Park Districts throughout the city so masses can enjoy. A new sort of summer tradition, if you will. The Summer 2012 schedule ran from North of the City at Welles Park to South of the City at Ridge Park, making classic drama accessible to all. Stellar acting lends a new take on Shakespeare.

Although the productions are done for the summer, keep an eye out for the 2013 season. It’s a great non-traditional tourist attraction while visiting the city. Plus did I mention it’s FREE? So pack a picnic and bring a bottle of wine, it’s perfectly acceptable. The Red Line El train, located 1 block from the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown, makes transportation to and from select Park Districts easy! To receive information on upcoming Shakespeare in the Park locations and productions, sign up for the email blasts, follow the hashtag #ShakesInTheParks on Twitter, or “like” them on Facebook.

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Nothing’s Sacred

Kristen and I got back from the Big Apple in early March – after beating those mean streets.  The purpose of our visit was to make travel agents in NY aware of the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago/Downtown, for business and leisure travel.  Twenty – one appointments and touching 500+ agents in a week, we returned back to our home and our home away from home, Chicago and the Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago/Downtown.

Now you know what kept us busy during the day – but the evenings were ours for the asking.  What comes to mind when some people think NYC – if you resemble me – the theatre would be number one. And pray tell (no pun intended) what did I see “The Book of Mormons”.

The title of my “Blog” describes the tone of the play in a nutshell.  If you cannot take a joke – for no matter who you are you are going to get slammed.  No one is left unscathed.  It is written by the creators of South Park – come on – would you expect anything less – and no TV censors.

Performances in Chicago start in December of this year and I urge you to get your tickets now- because the run will sell out quickly.  Just remember “Nothing’s Sacred”, and do bring something to wipe away those tears of laughter.   This review does come with a warning – not for the easily offended.

Andrew Rannells plays the central character Elder Price in the Broadway...

Broadway in Chicago.

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Jersey Shore: The Musical

To be a Jersey Shore fan or not to be, that is the question? MTV has once again successfully hooked millions of viewers to the reality show which follows 7 (really tan) strangers from the east coast who try to live together in a ridiculous house on the Jersey Shore. Sounds like just another season of “The Real World” right? WRONG. The Jersey Shore has not only captured its audience with the intense arguments and dramatic “hook ups”, but they have made up their own nicknames and contagious vocabulary that has taken the nation by storm. If these words confuse you: GTL, Grenades, T-Shirt Time, Fist Pump, Juice heads, GFF, or MVP, than you have not tuned in on Thursday aka “Jersday” to see what shenanigans Nicole “Snookie” , Mike “the Situation”, DJ Pauly D, Vinny, Jenni “JWOWW”, Ronnie, Sammy “Sweetheart,” and Angelina are getting in to.

After the first season, the show just exploded and the cast became famous for doing absolutely nothing.  The demand for leopard print and big hoops skyrocketed; they are appearing on TV shows i.e. Dancing with the Stars, JERSEY SHORE Halloween costumes were a #1 seller, and our very own Hampton Brand is using Jersey Shore for their TV commercials. Just when I thought the pandemonium was over, the Jersey Shore Musical launched in Chicago.

 

Poster of Jersey Shore: The Musical

Jersey Shore: The Musical

Jersey Shore: The Musical is written by 4 Days Late with a hilarious tone and perfectly selected cast. Snookie had her poof, JWOWW had her extensions, Sammy and Ronnie had their fights, Angelina instigated those fights, Pauly D and Vinny had their “T-Shirt” time, and the Situation had his “Situation.” The Music was directed by Matt Griffo and definitely didn’t lack originality with songs like “We’ve got no shame” and “Snookin’ for Love.” Along with talented actors and creative songs, there were some impressive dance numbers which did not include fist pumping.

The show plays every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm at Studio BE located at 3110 North Sheffield. You can purchase tickets online at http://www.studio-be.org/buy-tickets or at the door for $23. The show runs about 2 hours and the venue is a BYOB. The show recently got extended to play until December 3rd so round up your friends, call a cab, and brace yourself for the madness at the Jersey Shore.

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