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'Leading Ladies' a light and airy silly comedy

'Leading Ladies' a light and airy silly comedy

While watching Ken Ludwig's new stage comedy "Leading Ladies," enjoying its Midwest premiere right here at Munster's Theatre at the Center, the audience realizes right away this is a farce with force.

March 02, 2009 12:00 am Photos

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K. Todd Freeman loves both role and play about finer points of friendship

K. Todd Freeman loves both role and play about finer points of friendship

Actor K. Todd Freeman says the friend he most identifies with is Marc.

March 01, 2009 12:00 am
Munster musician at famed Pump Room

Munster musician at famed Pump Room

After a recent column that mentioned my desire to finally check out the historic Empire Room at Chicago's Palmer House, I received a tip from some readers about another legendary space: The Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel.

March 01, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Marriott's 'Joseph' a colorful and splashy joy ride

Marriott's 'Joseph' a colorful and splashy joy ride

I can't believe the last time I saw a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" was in October 2006, starring Homewood's own Matt Raftery at Theatre at the Center in Munster.

February 28, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Residents connect for fun and social causes

Residents connect for fun and social causes

Russ and Nancy Adams, owners of Strongbow Inn Restaurant in Valparaiso, have made it a business tradition to give back to the community.

February 27, 2009 12:00 am Photos

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'Oz' Munchkin Soldier Clarence Swensen dead at 91

'Oz' Munchkin Soldier Clarence Swensen dead at 91

Clarence Swensen, who played a Munchkin soldier in the 1939 MGM film classic "The Wizard of Oz" and annually attended the Porter County Wizard of Oz Festival, died around 8 p.m. Wednesday at his home near Austin, Texas.

February 27, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Region's feast of festivals grows

Northwest Indiana might be the only place where you can pay homage to popcorn king Orville Redenbacher, chat with a real "Wizard of Oz" Munchkin and celebrate the taste sensation of pierogi, all in a two-month span of festivals.

February 27, 2009 12:00 am
New York City and Liz Smith a legendary connection

New York City and Liz Smith a legendary connection

While unpacking my desk last week as part of an office-wide "spring cleaning" ritual, my colleagues gave me some grief about the number of books, many reference materials, that form what I refer to as "a neatly arranged wall of knowledge" around my desk.

February 26, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

'Oz' Munchkin soldier Clarence Swensen dead at 91

'Oz' Munchkin soldier Clarence Swensen dead at 91

Clarence Swensen, who played a Munchkin soldier in the 1939 MGM film classic "The Wizard of Oz" and annually attended the Porter County Wizard of Oz Festival, died Wednesday evening at his home near Austin, Texas.

February 26, 2009 12:00 am
Porter County nurse and VNA director experienced 'real' moments of 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Porter County nurse and VNA director experienced 'real' moments of 'Slumdog Millionaire'

On Monday, my parents Chester and Peggy joined me for dinner with Laura Harting, executive director and founder of the Visiting Nurse Association of Porter County.

February 25, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Chili event extra special this year

Chili event extra special this year

It's that time of year again.

February 25, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Kid Picks with Philip Potempa

Kid Picks with Philip Potempa

Here's our weekly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youth.

February 25, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

New 'Fame' movie casting and Web site released by MGM

New 'Fame' movie casting and Web site released by MGM

The new big screen remake of the 1980 film "Fame" doesn't hit theaters until Sept. 25.

February 24, 2009 12:00 am
Readers and film critic clear up confusion about Sundance Fest movie

Readers and film critic clear up confusion about Sundance Fest movie

One of my columns that ran earlier this month, featuring a reply to a reader question about the film "Push," starring Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans, resulted in some confusion and a flurry of calls and e-mails.

February 24, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Local notables ready to toe the line in Times dance competition

Local notables ready to toe the line in Times dance competition

When Bill Banham of Crown Point entered and was selected winner of the fourth-annual "Ever Wanted to Dance Like a Star?" Times promotional contest, he was expecting Margaret, his wife of more than 40 years, to be his dance partner.

February 22, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Dan Aykroyd and Betty White (back) in Chicago for events

Dan Aykroyd and Betty White (back) in Chicago for events

South Chicago served as the famed landscape where Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as the Blues Brothers set out on Chi Town adventures.

February 22, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

'Chicago' in Chicago

'Chicago' in Chicago

In the theater, it's the best of both worlds -- snaring the leads in two stage hits that feature fun and inviting material and music.

February 22, 2009 12:00 am
Paris Hilton's 'favorite' frozen yogurt coming to Downtown Chicago

Paris Hilton's 'favorite' frozen yogurt coming to Downtown Chicago

Straight from Canada and the lips of Paris Hilton comes the latest "it" snack that Chicago publicist Alexis Wallsh tells me "will likely see juice bars and coffee chains quiver in their takeaway cups."

February 21, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

New Ken Ludwig stage comedy makes Chicago premiere in Munster

New Ken Ludwig stage comedy makes Chicago premiere in Munster

As soon as actor Larry Wyatt received the script for Ken Ludwig's new stage comedy, "Leading Ladies," he told his wife it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

February 20, 2009 12:00 am
Celebrities worry about taxes too, including Oscars swag

Celebrities worry about taxes too, including Oscars swag

Just 53 days to go before the dreaded April 15 income tax deadline.

February 20, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

President Obama-inspired cocktails feature PAMA pomegranate liqueur

President Obama-inspired cocktails feature PAMA pomegranate liqueur

When Bridget Albert, award-winning cocktail creator, author and master mixologist for Southern Wine and Spirits, alerted me to new specialty cocktails marketed as President Barack Obama-inspired favorites for last month's inauguration festivities, I decided to file both away to save for a ra…

February 19, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

'Mommy Kissing Santa' singer dead at age 69

'Mommy Kissing Santa' singer dead at age 69

I'm always on the watch for either the names of people who have been left out of the daily celebrity birthday listing or notables whose obits we haven't published.

February 18, 2009 12:00 am
Family wedding announcements bring joy

Family wedding announcements bring joy

There's nothing that compares to the romance of an engagement announcement on Valentine's Day.

February 18, 2009 12:00 am Photos

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Steppenwolf thought-heavy play is 'Art' imitating life

Steppenwolf thought-heavy play is 'Art' imitating life

Everyone knows a friend who is always a bit disagreeable but still likeable.

February 17, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Reader upset with 'Times film critic'

Reader upset with 'Times film critic'

The 81st Annual Academy Awards are just around the corner, airing Feb. 22 on ABC.

February 16, 2009 12:00 am
Look for local guy's face in 'Chicago'

Look for local guy's face in 'Chicago'

It was last spring, and just about this same time, I wrote about Drew Nellessen, who is proof that hard work and determination pay off.

February 15, 2009 12:00 am Photos

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Elegance, creativity and affordability key to today's best V-Day gift finds

Elegance, creativity and affordability key to today's best V-Day gift finds

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Friday 13th perfect day for mystery, romance and ninth book announcement

Friday 13th perfect day for mystery, romance and ninth book announcement

It's easy to tell that Valparaiso mystery and romance novelist Linda Tsoutsouris has been in this business for more than 15 years.

February 13, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Sofitel Hotel Chicago offers romantic setting a la 'Sex in the City'

Sofitel Hotel Chicago offers romantic setting a la 'Sex in the City'

Not every Chicago hotel is created equally.

February 12, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Kid Picks with Philip Potempa

Kid Picks with Philip Potempa

Here's our weekly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youth.

February 11, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Bakers Square trying to tempt guests with free pie offer

Bakers Square trying to tempt guests with free pie offer

"With this money I can get away from you. From you and your fried chicken and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture. And this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear o…

February 11, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Making the most from the least

Making the most from the least

St. Valentine's Day is just two days away, and many minds are on gift ideas.

February 11, 2009 12:00 am
More region hopefuls eye final 50 spots tonight for Fox 'American Idol' 8th season

More region hopefuls eye final 50 spots tonight for Fox 'American Idol' 8th season

From Kansas City, Mo., auditions to the "golden ticket" elimination round now in process in Hollywood, two Northwest Indiana hopefuls have made it this far, out of the original pool of 11,000, to bask in the spotlight of international fame as "Hollywood Week" semifinalists for the eighth sea…

February 10, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's World Stage Series 'Sweet William' a fascinating one-man journey

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's World Stage Series 'Sweet William' a fascinating one-man journey

I had always wanted to see actor Maurice Evans perform one of William Shakespeare's classics on stage.

February 09, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Corners of the world cuisine

Corners of the world cuisine

VALPARAISO | Moninder Holly Singh, director of international students and scholars at Valparaiso University, believes in the importance of fusion.

February 08, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Robert Wagner shares life's tears and laughter in new autobiography

Robert Wagner shares life's tears and laughter in new autobiography

The book title says it all.

February 08, 2009 12:00 am Photos

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Defending our local 'caveman'

Defending our local 'caveman'

There have been countless studies and sophisticated theories about why men and women behave the way they do. But stand-up comic turned Broadway-stage success Rob Becker believes the answer to all of those gender questions is found in the past.

February 08, 2009 12:00 am
Clintons' White House cat Socks said to be 'near death'

Clintons' White House cat Socks said to be 'near death'

Online columnist Paul Bedard, who writes "Washington Whispers," is reporting that President Bill Clinton and former First Lady, now U.S. Secretary of State Hillary's White House pet Socks the Cat is "near death."

February 07, 2009 12:00 am
Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter only allowed to call mom for today's birthday

Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter only allowed to call mom for today's birthday

In Hollywood, the important necessities of life include air, food, water -- and a good publicist, not necessarily in that order.

February 06, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Ed Asner here this weekend in play to celebrate Darwin's milestone birthday

Ed Asner here this weekend in play to celebrate Darwin's milestone birthday

Over the years, I've interviewed almost every cast member from the old "Mary Tyler Moore" television series about the daily adventures in and out of the WJM TV station.

February 05, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Kid Picks with Philip Potempa

Kid Picks with Philip Potempa

Kohl's is offering collector's editions of favorite Dr. Seuss books and coordinating plush characters to benefit kids across the nation through the Kohl's Cares for Kids program.The books and exclusive coordinating plush toy, including the beloved Cat in the Hat, are available for just $5 ea…

February 05, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Robert Wagner joining Valentine Teibel's lunch

Robert Wagner joining Valentine Teibel's lunch

I have a special surprise for readers planning to attend this month's Valentine's Day weekend luncheon event at Teibel's.

February 04, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Charity tea gathering and lunch event this month prove popular

Charity tea gathering and lunch event this month prove popular

The old expression "A man with friends is a rich man, indeed!" is certainly true.

February 04, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Zsa Zsa receives unhappy financial news on eve of 92nd birthday

Zsa Zsa receives unhappy financial news on eve of 92nd birthday

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor celebrates her 92nd birthday on Friday.

February 03, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

'Xanadu' Broadway musical just silly and dumb fun plus music

'Xanadu' Broadway musical just silly and dumb fun plus music

I wasn't sure what to think while attending the press opening of "Xanadu," produced by Broadway In Chicago and playing an open end run at Chicago's Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place.

February 02, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Walter Payton remembered with new KangaROO shoes

Walter Payton remembered with new KangaROO shoes

I thought I was really cool in seventh grade in 1982 when my parents took me to the discount shoe store in little Toto, Ind., near our family farm and bought a pair of new KangaROO Sneakers for me for basketball season.

February 01, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

'In Step' Parade magazine celeb columnist Jim Brady, 80, will be missed

'In Step' Parade magazine celeb columnist Jim Brady, 80, will be missed

In the flurry of two busy days in the newsroom and out and about on story assignments, I was surprised when my parents mentioned at dinner on Thursday that one our favorite Sunday reading habits would soon be missed.

January 31, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Final three days for Richard Chamberlain's 'Spamalot' fun

Final three days for Richard Chamberlain's 'Spamalot' fun

The current Broadway in Chicago run of "Monty Python's Spamalot" marks my third quest for the Holy Grail, you know that famed crusade for the chalice used by Christ at the Last supper?

January 30, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Vicki Quade 'Late Nite Catechism' variations a great lesson in humor

Vicki Quade 'Late Nite Catechism' variations a great lesson in humor

Chicago playwright and producer Vicki Quade's popular "Late Nite Catechism" has experienced plenty of metamorphoses, especially considering the show has been running continuously since May 1993.

January 29, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Woolworth's luncheon to feature 'Babs' ring

Woolworth's luncheon to feature 'Babs' ring

When Dennis Zelenke of Highland called to make a reservation for my Feb. 15 Valentine's Day luncheon at Teibel's benefiting The Caring Place Shelter for victims of domestic violence, he was particularly intrigued by the event's theme, the life of eccentric five-and-dime heiress Barbara Woolw…

January 28, 2009 12:00 am Photos

Photos

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