- Penn and Teller bring their unique magic to Hammond
- OFFBEAT: Munster grad turned wild animal vet nets new reality TV series
- Eight is Enough: Gentleman's Rule, minus two, ready for new tour and PBS TV special
- March Madness Mania: From brackets to game-watching gatherings, annual sports excitement builds
- Nudist Colonies local and from afar looking for younger skin and new members
RSSOffBeat With Phil Potempa
The thought of having a "personal assistant" sounds like a "dream come true" for many.
But having to work as a personal assistant can be a nightmare.
LiveWire Chicago Theatre, in association with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, kicked off its 2013-14 season with the Chicago premiere of the comedy "Assistance," by Leslye Headland, directed by LiveWire Executive Director Joshua Aaron Weinstein, running through next weekend to close March 16, 2014 at The DCASE Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St. in Chicago.
Male dance lead Bobby Hodges, who leads the talented cast of the international stage tour "Heartbeat of Home," has foot movement so quick and perfectly timed, he seems to float across the stage of the Oriental Theatre in Chicago, his temporary home in the spotlight at 24 W. Randolph, for the company's limited two-week engagement.
After a world stage premiere in Dublin last October, director John McColgan and his new two-hour international salute to dance "Heartbeat of Home" is being unveiled to Chicagoland audiences first before other U.S. tour cities have the chance to be dazzled by the precision timing of this "feet" feat.
Broadway In Chicago, McColgan and the producers of "Riverdance" have the show booked from March 4 to 16 and tickets are likely to move as quickly as the fancy footwork showcased in this two-hour- and-20-minute marathon of movement.
Walt Disney Pictures' film "Saving Mr. Banks" was virtually shut out at Sunday's 86th Annual Academy Awards.
The movie, which releases on DVD March 18, is about Walt Disney's chilly, uneasy partnership with London authoress P.L. Travers in 1961, while securing the rights to her book character Mary Poppins to make his now iconic 1964 film version starring Julie Andrews.
Uncle Walt, played by Tom Hanks, had spent 20 years campaigning and wooing the bristling Travers, played by Emma Thompson.
A week ago today, on Feb. 26, legendary singer and entertainer Fats Domino celebrated his 86th birthday with family and friends.
This prompted reader Chuck Bucsanyi of Hammond to contact me asking for an update about his "favorite entertainer-of-all-time."
"I have a large collection of Fats Domino vinyl records that I still cherish today," said 68-year-old Bucsanyi.
With their unique style and modern "Rat Pack" persona, Under the Streetlamp brings the American Radio Songbook to a whole new level in their second television special for PBS.
With the motto "Retro never sounded so now," these four talented and charismatic former cast members of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Jersey Boys" starred in an electrifying concert captured on cameras last September before a live audience at our own Star Plaza Theatre.
Adding to the excitement is an equaling entertaining new televised concert showcasing the talent of Gentleman's Rule, the energetic 9-man a cappella group that performs timeless classics and contemporary hits as a favorite Chicagoland audience ticket.
Yesterday marked the 110th birthday for Theodor Seuss Geisel, the American writer, poet and cartoonist widely known for his children's books written and illustrated as Dr. Seuss. He died at age 87 in 1991.
In recent years, his birthday has been honored in classrooms around the country for a page-by-page celebration called "Read Across America Week."
Sally Santellano, the librarian for St. Paul Catholic Elementary School in Valparaiso invited me to be part of a special event last Friday for classroom reading and literacy activities.
After a week back home, Drew Nellessen, a 2003 graduate of Valparaiso High School and a May 2007 graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., completes his final two performances today in "Chicago" (2 and 7:30 p.m.) before he heads back out with the national Broadway tour.
He also spent nearly two years in the spotlight for this step-by-step favorite choreography feat when "Chicago" played the Windy City on tour in 2009.
Drew was fantastic when I watched him in the spotlight last Tuesday for the press opening at Bank of America Theatre in Chicago.
Direct from what's been a whirlwind of international acclaim, the performance company Kneehigh and their telling of "Tristan & Yseult," billed as "a theatrical force of nature that combines vibrant storytelling with breathtaking spectacle, set to a rich musical tapestry of original songs and familiar scores performed by a roving ensemble of musicians," is coming this month to Navy Pier in Chicago.
Lauded internationally for its trademark vitality, the artistic collective, Kneehigh makes its long-awaited Chicago debut at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with the iconic work that first catapulted the company to international fame. "Tristan & Yseult" plays a limited run March 30 through April 13 in CST's Courtyard Theater.
Marrying gorgeous music and ingenious staging with cheeky humor and Wagnerian intensity, Kneehigh re-imagines an age-old tale of forbidden love and betrayal: the story of Tristan and Yseult.
Veterinarian Michelle Oakley is used to facing the wild animals of "the Great North," considering her years of experience at Kluane National Park and Reserve in Canada's Yukon Territory.
What she's not so used to is having to face the claws and scratching of biting television critics and media mammals who must be tamed to assure ratings success in the world of entertainment.
Michelle, 45, the daughter of Steve and Georgia Plantinga, who live in Schererville, has spent much of the start of 2014 making the rounds working to promote her new reality show set to premiere in April.
There's no better way to beat this week's cold than to face the heat and electricity from the stage at Bank of America Theatre in Chicago for this week's quick visit of "Chicago" the musical.
This national Broadway tour leaves on Sunday and the cast chemistry for this latest run is explosive entertainment.
The last time we had "Chicago" in Chicago it was 2011 and actor John O'Hurley is back and in fine form as lawyer Billy Flynn, the ringmaster of any courtroom.
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