A reborn American Blues Theater announces its 2009-2010 season

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American Blues Theater, Chicago’s second oldest equity ensemble company, announced its 2009-2010 season. The award-winning ensemble-based company will open its 24th season under its original name with a symbolic return to its first artistic home, Victory Gardens Theater, for “It’s Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph!”

Marty Higginbotham returns to direct a new adaptation of the classic story based on the Frank Capra masterpiece and performed as a period radio piece. It runs November 27-December 27 in the new Studio at Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.

Other shows in the season include Jack Kirkland’s 1933 classic “Tobacco Road” (May-June 2010) and “Ripped: The Living Newspaper Project” (Fall 2010), a new project by ABT founding ensemble member Rick Cleveland, fellow ensemble members Tania Richard and Gwendolyn Whiteside and a wealth other writers, musicians, dancers, singers, actors and directors from Chicago and across the country.

For more information, visit americanbluestheater.com.


Summer’s over but not Chicago’s free events and festivals!

Chicago festivals are far from done for the year! There are five more free events happening in Chicago: Franken Plaza, Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa House, Chicago Sports Fest and Snow Days Chicago.

Franken Plaza: This Halloween, Daley Plaza once again becomes Franken Plaza October 23-31 with new performances, movie nights, arts & crafts and much more. Opening day is Friday, October 23 and kicks off at 11 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Free admission. Franken Plaza continues through Halloween: Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Halloween Happening Parade is canceled, but the Monster Bash on Saturday, October 24 will feature a costume contest, hayrides and trick-or-treating. For more information, visit www.chicagoween.us or call (312) 744-3315.

96th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Wednesday, November 25, 2009. Musical performances and festive holiday music begin at 4:00 p.m. and the holiday season officially commences at 4:30 p.m., when the switch is flipped and lights begin to dazzle in Daley Plaza. For more information, visit www.explorechicago.org/specialevents.

Santa House: Jolly Old St. Nick again graces the plaza with his holiday cheer from his Midwest satellite workshop on Daley Plaza! Visits with Santa Claus start on Wednesday, November 25 at 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve feature special hours (11 a.m.-8 p.m.). Santa’s regular hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. through the Christmas season, ending on December 20. (Santa takes a break each day from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Digital photos of children with Santa are free courtesy of UL and can be ordered on line at www.safetyathome.com or linked from www.explorechicago.org/specialevents.

Mayor Daley’s Chicago Sports Fest: The Mayor’s Office of Special Events & Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois present Mayor Daley’s Holiday Sports Festival Sunday, December 27 and December 28 at McCormick Place in Halls A & B (2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive). Admission and interactive zones to the biggest indoor gym are free. Discounted parking in Lot A – $9. Activities take place daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Fore move information, visit Facebook, www.chicagosportsfestival.us.

Snow Days Chicago: Snow Days Chicago is a free three-day winter festival taking place January 29-January 31 in Grant Park on Michigan Ave. The festival opens Friday at 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. -8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The event features a natonal snow sculpting competition, dog sled demonstrations, a snowboard rail jam and kids activities! Bring the whole family and watch as the city is transformed into a winter wonderland, showcasing over 27 beautiful and unique sculptures made entirely out of snow! For more information, visit Facebook, www.snowdayschicago.us.


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