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Crowd Pleasers for Dec. 14, 2012

Hazel Crest resident Melanie Brezill plays MarthCratchit 'A Christmas Carol' through Dec. 29 Goodman Theatre Chicago.

Hazel Crest resident Melanie Brezill plays Martha Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" through Dec. 29 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

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Updated: January 15, 2013 6:05AM



Here is a look at some crowd pleasers.

Events include Hazel Crest resident Melanie Brezill starring in “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and Frankfort resident Kayla Rea starring in “Annie” at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

‘Annie’

It’s the rags to riches story everyone loves. It has the songs everyone loves. It has little girls, little girls, little girls, everywhere one turns, plus one very talented dog.

It’s the musical everyone’s been waiting for: “Annie,” directed by Rachel Rockwell.

“Bring the entire family and join Annie, her canine companion Sandy, and her pint-sized cohorts for the musical adventure of a lifetime,” officials said.

The show, which features Frankfort resident Kayla Rea as Duffy, is being staged at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora.

Don’t let the red curls, freckles and dress fool you. Little Orphan Annie is a true adventurer.

This adorable little girl has been abandoned as a baby, raised in an orphanage, run away and lived with the homeless, befriended a U.S. president, and found a new home with one of the wealthiest people in America.

And that’s all in just 11 years. Leapin’ Lizards! No wonder Annie was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won seven including best musical.

“From ‘Hard Knock Life’ to ‘Tomorrow,’ the music, dancing and heartwarming story make ‘Annie’ the perfect way for families to spend the holiday season,” officials said.

“Just wait until director-choreographer Rachel Rockwell (named best director by Chicago magazine), music director Evan Rea an A-list cast and design team and the Paramount Theatre Orchestra combine forces to do what Paramount does best: inject fresh, new ideas into beloved American musicals like ‘Annie’ to create a sensational live theatrical experience like you’ve never seen before.”

Performances run through Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 5 p.m. Sundays, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays except there is no evening show on Dec. 19 or performances on Dec. 20, 26 and 27.

Tickets are $34.90-$46.90 at the box office from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and two hours prior to evening performances or at (630) 896-6666.

Note: Rea is among two sets of six girls — the red cast and the green cast – who rotate performances for “Annie.”

Provided to the SouthtownStar

‘A Christmas Carol’

Hazel Crest resident Melanie Brezill, who most recently starred in Regina Taylor’s award-winning production of “Crowns” in summer at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, has returned to the theater for the 35th anniversary production of “A Christmas Carol” as Martha Cratchit.

Brezill also has been seen in “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway.

“A Christmas Carol” is a holiday tradition enjoyed by more than 1 million Chicagoans and has been dubbed “a joyous present for the entire family” by SouthtownStar sister newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times.

Goodman Theatre associate producer Steve Scott directs the anniversary production starring Chicago actor Larry Yando in his fifth turn as Ebenezer Scrooge.

“A Christmas Carol” runs through Dec. 29 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre.

Tickets are $25-$82 at goodmantheatre.org/scrooge, (312) 443-3800 or the box office, 170 N. Dearborn St. Chicago.

BMO Harris Bank is the major corporate sponsor, and Aon and KPMG LLP are corporate sponsor partners. FTD Group Inc. is the lead corporate sponsor of Community Day (Dec. 29).

“A Christmas Carol has become my favorite holiday event over the years, and I am thrilled to direct this 35th anniversary production,” Scott said.

“We’ve assembled a cast of some of Chicago’s best actors to bring this story to life including the redoubtable Larry Yando as Scrooge.

“I hope that we can make this year’s edition even scarier, funnier and more emotionally powerful than it’s been in the past.”

Provided to the SouthtownStar

‘Love Jones’

Mahdi Theatre Company will present “Love Jones” Dec. 15 at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago.

This stage classic will feature the talents of Margaret Mahdi, of Dolton, and Sun-Times Media advertising account executive Wanda Boelter, a Chicago-style stepper from Chicago’s Morgan Park community.

The screenplay was written and directed in 1997 by Theodore Witcher who aimed to display romantic “black” love. He highlighted the importance of establishing positive male and female relationships.

“This remarkable film had viewers, then and now, delighted with the beautification of the portrayals (by) Larenz Tate (as) Darius Lovehall and Nia Long (as) Nina Mosely, and how they both captured the hearts of many,” officials said.

“Even today people are still asking the significant questions, ‘Is there really true love or a ‘special’ someone for everyone?’

“Now, many years later, director and writer Margaret Mahdi’s renditions will promote and infuse a unique twist and turn as well as an updated message in this adaptation.”

The production also will incorporate many favorite themes and anticipated guests of Chicago such as local poets the Mouthpeace and Lyssen.

The show will feature Ben Lane, an aspiring model turned actor, who is portraying the romantic Darius Lovehall, and Mita Vain, also a talented actress, who gracefully embodies the lovely Nina Mosely.

“Chicago-style steppers will enhance the musical component of the show along with live singing performances from vocalists that will give this stage performance an intimate yet vibrant feel,” officials said.

The mission of Mahdi Theatre Company is to educate, elevate and entertain in the arts and to become positive role models in the lives of aspiring actors, actresses dancers, singers and performing artists as a whole by using God-given talents to infuse a cultural revolution in the arts.

Tickets for “Love Jones” are $20 in advance at margaretmahdi.com. Information: (312) 835-1878.

Provided to the SouthtownStar

MORE CROWD PLEASERS

ART

THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO: 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, (312) 443-3600: The Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art recently opened. Exhibits include “Rarely Seen Contemporary Works on Paper” through Jan. 13. *** Admission is free to Illinois residents on the first and second Wednesdays of the month.

SALON ARTISTS GALLERY: Salon Artists Gallery, 294 Main St., Park Forest, (708) 833-5108, (708) 703-7806: The 2012 Holiday Art Sale continues to Dec. 22. The gallery is open from 1:30-4 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

UNION STREET GALLERY: 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights, (708) 754-2601: “Twelfth Month,” which is on display through Dec. 22, is a large annual exhibit and art sale featuring fine, decorative and functional art. More than 30 local and regional artists have been invited to exhibit a variety of art and fine craft.

Pieces include paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, glass art, and found object art.

An array of smaller works of art and crafts will be for sale with items including handmade cards, jewelry, pottery, artist-made clothing and accessories, blown glass and ornaments.

“Many of the pieces on exhibit are affordable and are perfect for unique gifts,” officials said.

The opening reception for “Twelfth Month” will be from noon-3 p.m. Dec. 1. This reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.

The reception provides time for visitors to view the large quantity of original and handcrafted works of art displayed in the galleries, small boutiques and artists’ studios throughout all three floors of the building.

Visitors also can enjoy music and free coffee, tea and sweet treats while they mingle with exhibiting artists, friends and members of the Union Street community.

Exhibiting artists include Richard Benoit, Geri Biamonte, Linda Bravo, Keri Joy Colestock, Claudia Craemer, Suzanne Dreher, Pam Eberlin, Dorita Fuller, Nick Galatte, Lea Goldman, Margi Hafer, Pat Huss, Nikkole Huss, Aline Keith, Sylvia Koch, Erica Lessie, Selma Lisit, Joe McIlhany, Harriett Miller, Patricia Moore and Renee Klyczek Nordstrom.

Stuart Pearson, Gisele Perreault, Donna Radcliffe, Ginny Raftery, Mike Recker, Pamela Rodey, Cynthia Russakoff, Richard Schmidt, Carolyn Sims, Margie Glass-Sula, Mary Ann Trzyna, Michael Weiss, Peter Wilhelm and Marikay Peter Witlock also are among the exhibiting artists.

Provided to the SouthtownStar

COMEDY

RIDDLES COMEDY CLUB: 5055 W. 111th St., Alsip, (708) 422-5055: Jesse Adams will perform two shows each on Dec. 14-15.

MUSEUMS

ADLER PLANETARIUM: 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, (312) 922-7827: Exhibits include “The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time,” “Our Solar System,” “Collecting Memories: The Webster Story,” “Planet Explorers” for families with ages 3-8, “Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass,” and “Shoot for the Moon.”

THE FIELD MUSEUM: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, (312) 922-9410: “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts” recently opened and will run to Feb. 3. Other exhibits include “Extreme Mammals” through Jan. 6; “Images of the Afterlife” through June 9 and “Fashion and the Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto” through June 16.

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY: 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, (773) 684-1414: “Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit” recently opened. Other exhibits include “Smart Home: Green + Wired” through Jan. 6, “Science Storms,” “YOU! The Experience,” “The Great Train Story” and the Baby Chick Hatchery. There also are daily live science demonstrations like the chemistry show “Bangs, Flashes and Fire.” *** The Omnimax Theater is showing “Born To Be Wild” through March 1.

1950S PARK FOREST HOUSE MUSEUM: 141 Forest Blvd., parkforesthistory.org: “Step Back into a 1950s Christmas” is on display throughout December from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturdays and Wednesdays or by appointment.

SHEDD AQUARIUM: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, (312) 939-2438: Visitors can stop by and see the new baby beluga whale and the newest otter, Cayucos, a rescued pup from California. Cayucos joined five adult otters that are native to Alaskan waters. *** Exhibits include “Jellies,” which has been extended through 2013, “Waters of the World,” “Caribbean Reef,” “Amazon Rising,” “Wild Reef” and the Polar Play Zone. Attractions include the Shedd’s aquatic show.

VARIETY

BACINEMA SCREENING OF “JOYEUX NOEL” (“MERRY CHRISTMAS)”: Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago, (773) 445-3838: The weekly film series continues with this movie at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Rated PG-13, the movie runs for 1 hour and 56 minutes. Tickets are $7.50 or $5.50 for members.

Crowd Pleasers listings may be sent to jvirtusio@southtownstar.com with “Events” in the subject line. Items must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the desired Friday print date in order to be considered for publication.

More events can be found at the website for the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, cscvb.com.



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