Next to Normal is part of the 2011 Broadway In Chicago Spring Season Series

 TONY AWARDWINNER
ALICE RIPLEY
REPRISES HER TONYAWARD
WINNING ROLE IN
ASA SOMERS, CURT HANSEN, EMMA HUNTON, PRESTON SADLEIR & JEREMY KUSHNIER
ROUND OUT THE CAST
CHICAGO (October 21, 2010) – Alice Ripley, who received the 2009 Tony Award for Best Actress in a
Musical for her performance in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award‐winning Next to Normal, will
reprise her acclaimed performance in the musical’s 36‐week multi‐city North American tour. Next to
Normal will play the Bank of America Theatre April 26 – May 8, 2011.
Next to Normal also features Asa Somers (Dan), Curt Hansen (Gabe), Emma Hunton (Natalie),
Jeremy Kushnier (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine) and Preston Sadleir (Henry).
“As our New York production continues its acclaimed run on Broadway, we are very excited to gear up
for the national tour of Next to Normal,” stated the show’s producer, David Stone. “We look forward to
bringing this contemporary and emotionally powerful musical to cities across the country and to giving
audiences outside of New York the opportunity to see Alice Ripley’s legendary, Tony‐winning
performance.”
With a thrilling contemporary score, Next to Normal is an emotional powerhouse of a musical about a
family trying to take care of themselves and each other.
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three 2009 Tony Awards, Next to Normal features
music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, musical staging by Sergio Trujillo, and direction by
Michael Greif. The creative team also includes Mark Wendland (set design), Jeff Mahshie (costume
design), Kevin Adams (lighting design), and Brian Ronan (sound design). Musical direction is by Bryan
Perri, orchestrations are by Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, and vocal arrangements by AnnMarie
Milazzo.
Next to Normal was chosen as “one of the year’s ten best” by The New York Times, The Washington Post,
The Los Angeles Times, Time Out New York, New York Daily News, The Bergen Record, and NY1 – more
than any other musical from that season.
Next to Normal Announces Cast
Page 2 of 3
Next to Normal has had a surprising and highly unlikely route to Broadway. The musical originally
opened at Off‐Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre on February 13, 2008. The producer, David Stone, who
had been guiding the musical since 2005, took the unexpected step of bringing the show to Washington
D.C.’s Arena Stage where it was significantly reworked, and then back to New York and to Broadway,
where it opened to rave reviews on April 15, 2009. This unusual trajectory from a New York Off‐
Broadway premiere to an out‐of‐town regional theatre engagement and then back to New York is
unprecedented.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times calls Next to Normal “a brave, breathtaking musical. A work of
muscular grace and power. It is something much more than a feelgood
musical; it is a feeleverything
musical.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone raves, “Rock is alive and rolling like thunder in
Next to Normal. It is the best musical of the season by a mile. Next time you think the Broadway
musical is dead, head off to Next to Normal. It’ll pin you to your seat.” And Peter Marks of The
Washington Post calls it “a moving, blisteringly honest, and inordinately powerful new musical. It
is stocked with beautiful songs that get to the heart of the story – and simply get to the heart.
Next to Normal strikes a blow for the American musical’s future each night.”
Next to Normal is produced by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo,
and Second Stage Theatre.
Individual tickets for Next to Normal will go on sale in early 2011. Next to Normal is part of the 2011
Broadway In Chicago Spring Season Series. 2011 Broadway In Chicago Spring Season Series
ticket holders will receive a multitude of special benefits, including savings up to 64%, priority seating
at each venue, ticket exchange privileges, pre‐paid and discounted parking, access to gift cards to give
tickets as gifts, as well as the first opportunity to purchase additional tickets to future Broadway In
Chicago productions, including those not currently listed in the 2011 Season Series. 2011 Season
Series subscription packages are on sale now, and are available by logging onto
www.BroadwayInChicago.com or calling the Season Ticket Hotline at (312) 977‐1717.
Groups of 15 or more may receive a discount on most shows by calling (312) 977‐1710. Gift
certificates, which can be redeemed for any production or for season ticket packages, can be obtained
at Broadway In Chicago box offices, www.BroadwayInChicago.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800)
775‐2000.
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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Barnum’s Funundrum!

ALL ACCESS PRE-SHOW

An hour before show time, audiences can join Ringling Bros.® talented performers and learn new circus skills at the All Access Pre-show, FREE with your ticket!
o At the Free All Access Pre-show,Ringling Bros. acrobats, clowns and other accomplished athletic performers show young and old alike an awe-inspiring and action-packed approach to daily health and fitness.
o Audience members can get up close and personal with Ringling Bros. performers to take photos, get autographs and learn circus skills at theAll Access Pre-show.
o Circus-goers can meet some ofRingling Bros. majestic animals, see a pachyderm paint a portrait and learn more about Ringling Bros. commitment to elephant conservation at the All Access Pre-show.
o The All Access Pre-show is the only place where you can register for a chance to win a masterpiece created by one of Ringling Bros. artistic Asian elephants. 

ANIMAL OPEN HOUSE

Opening 90 minutes before show time, theRingling Bros.® Animal Open HouseSM is FREE to all ticketholders.
At the Animal Open House, visitors can learn about Ringling Bros. biggest stars, our Asian Elephants, and our commitment to animal conservation through informative kiosks, audio tours, or by asking one of our dedicated animal care team members.
* The Animal Open House is held only in select markets. To find out if there is anAnimal Open House in your market, please click here.
Visit Ticketmaster online here, for full list of locations.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM

Reminder of the promo code for the upcoming Ringling Bros circus that is coming to Chicago next month.  Be sure to click on the coloring sheet above and print a copy for your kids to color and enjoy.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM, a new jumbo-sized, un-miss-able event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth!   
Leap aboard and go on an unbelievable excursion that brings together performers and characters from exotic countries all over the world.  From the moment that you arrive, the momentum explodes as The Greatest Show On Earth® comes to life in a way that can only be inspired by the greatest showman who ever lived.
Thrill-seekers may pay for the entire seat, but will only need its edge as a rip-roaring motorcycle troupe braves fear and physics in the 16-foot Spherical Miracle.  Height-seeking high-wire artists perform 40 feet in the air, all while at a 45 degree angle.  Body Benders use their bodies in the ultimate test to see how far the human body can be pushed in a mind-blowing world of distortion and contortion.    
Just as the Ringling Bros.® train keeps traveling from city to city, Barnum’s FUNundrum! keeps the energy going As each extraordinary act blends thrills and contemporary spectacle to overdeliver a heart-racing experience that, until now, was beyond imagination! 
At Barnum’s FUNundrum!, the funtastic and funbelieveable experience answers the FUNundrum! “What wonders create The Greatest Show On Earth?” 
Save $4 when you use the code:MOM
for more detail, click the flier below to enlarge.

Disclosure:  Our family will receive complimentary tickets to the circus in exchange for my posts.  However, any opinions expressed are my own personal feedback.

Disney Live! presents Mickey’s Magic Show!

Playing at Rosemont Theatre,
October 29-31, 2010!
Abracadabra! It’s Disney Live! presents Mickey’s Magic Show!  Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and a host of Disney friends come together with world-class illusionists to perform magic from legendary Disney films right before your eyes. See the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful ball gown in a split second; the spectacular levitation of Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine; and the enchanted dancing brooms of Fantasia. Join Donald Duck and Goofy, Alice and the Mad Hatter, and many more for a one-of-a-kind stage show you’ll never forget. Mickey’s Magic Show is a whole new way to experience Disney magic with your family!
Save $5 when you use the code: MOM. Click on the image below to enlarge it for full details!

And if you need something to keep the kiddos busy while you order tickets to this great Disney LIVE! show, click on this coloring page to enlarge it and print for coloring fun!!

Disclosure:  Our family will receive complimentary tickets to the show in exchange for my posts.  However, any opinions expressed are my own personal feedback.

LEGOLAND Discover Center Chicago review

This week we went to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago for the first time and LOVED it.  Located in the suburb of Schaumburg just outside Woodfield Mall, is a Lego fan’s paradise.  We spent 3 hours with the boys there and easily could have spent 3 more.

From the amazing Lego creations in Miniland, a miniature model of Chicago made from nearly a million Lego’s, and Jungle Expedition, a jungle full of Lego animals to the super 4D movie experience, there is literally something for everyone.  Your Lego fan will enjoy the chance to work with Master Builders or race their own creation on a race track.  While your littler ones can play in a (clean) playland type area or build with LARGE soft blocks or standard toddler blocks.  And there’s Dragon Quest, a ride that’s perfect for all ages, and the Lego Factory to keep you busy for hours.

With Birthday Party rooms available LEGOLAND Discovery Center would be a great place to hold a party.
I have to say that we loved all of it but the thing that struck me most was how amazing the staff was.  They were friendly and helpful and absolutely wonderful with the kids.  Sadly, I find that this is the case at fewer and fewer places these days.

LEGOLAND would be an especially perfect yucky weather day activity.  Just be warned…you WILL exist through a Lego lover’s paradise of a Lego Store.  You could easily shop til you drop store, but we were able to get something that each of the boys loved within their $10 budget.  

We will definitely be heading back, as the boys weren’t even in the car before they were asking when we could go again. Maybe we’ll see you there!

See all of my photos here.

Disclaimer: We were treated to this complimentary evening of fun courtesy of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, however all opinions expressed here are my own, honest personal feedback.

Wiggles Wiggly Circus

A couple weekends ago, my two year old son and I attended The Wiggles Wiggly Circus. The show was at the Rosemont Theater which is easy to get to, with easy to access parking and the place is really nice. Inside the theater is cozy and I’m pretty sure there weren’t any truly bad seats. But we had AMAZING seats. With no food or drinks allowed in the theatre you’re safe from wandering snocone and popcorn salesmen but there’s still plenty of merchandise to drop your money on. Yeah I caved at the last minute when the people in front of us sat down and Bryan fell in love with the light up wand with the Big Red Car on it. We ran out to the lobby and waited in line right at the scheduled start time of the show. So the fact that they started late, which would typcially have annoyed me at least some, considering it is a show for LITTLE kids, I think its a bit rude to expect them to wait, this time it saved my Wiggly Circushiney! I didn’t check the time when the show started, but I’d guess it was maybe 10 minutes late, which if it were an adult concert I wouldnt’ even blink at. But once it started, it was nonstop. Because we don’t get the channel that the Wiggles are currently on, I haven’t seen the new shows, we only havd older DVD, I’m not sure if some of the songs they did are on the new shows or if they were exclusive to the live show. But the show consisted of a mix of songs/dancing and some circus-y type acts. There were no animals or crazy motorcycle riders, but some tumbling and acrobatic type elements. I thought it gave it a fun twist, and would be especially enjoyable if you’re Wiggles regulars as it would give you a little something different. At this performance, and I believe they said about the last week, Murray was not performing but tending to “personal matters at home.” They addressed this issue head on and introduced his temporary replacement by his own name which I appreciated because I hate when people don’t give credit to kids for being intelligent and try to pull one over on them. I’m sure some fans were dissappointed that they didn’t get to see Murray but I think it would have been a bigger turn off if they attempted to pass off a fake Murray! I was also surprised by how many people were apprently privy to the knowledge that during the show the Wiggle would walk to crowd to collect any roses brought for Dorothy and bones brought for Wags. And that they would also take time out to read any signs that the children “made” and brought in. This is a great thing to know ahead of time if you have a try Wiggles fan! We weren’t aware of it but probably wouldn’t have brought anything anyway as B is too young to get that part of it. There were several times when I thought for sure they were wrapping things up but then would keep right on going. There were more costume changes than I could count (more for the other dancers than the Wiggles but even they had a couple) and there really was no down time during the show at all. At one point they stopped to ask parents to collect their kids because the theater would be getting dark but that was for their performance of Twinkle Twinkle, which I think was one of Bryan’s favorites. The lights ALL went down, they asked everyone to turn on their cell phones or anything with lights and the only lights on the stage were a few lights worn by the dancers and a large lit up star. It was dark enough to possibly make some kids nervous, but Bryan was fine and has been talking about ever since. All the Wiggles character were there, though Dorothy and Wags make fairly short apparences. And even the Big Red Car got some stage time! When it was all over and we got to the car I was surprised to look at the clock to see that the show had been well over an hour and a half. In comparison to another kid show we attended in the last year, this was a considerably longer performance time. If you have a little Wiggles fan, I would definitely recommend the Wiggly Circus.

Tickets: $ ?? (sorry I forgot to price them, but other areas are going anywhere from $14 to 70 something)

Parking: $11
Light up Wand: $18

Watching THIS: PRICELESS 

A slide show of a few photos from the show.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets from the Wiggly Circus and USFamilyGuides in exchange for my honest, personal review of the show.  I have not been otherwise compensated, and all opinions are my own HONEST feedback.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

This weekend I took the boys to a Kenosha Kings baseball game with their Cub Scout pack.  It has been years since I went to this ball park but its nice, easy parking and best of all…free! 

The pack arranged our visit with the team ahead time so they allowed the boys to take the field with the team during the National Anthem and be in their huddle.  Then after the first game the players graciously let the boys hound them for autographs even while they attempted to get something to eat before they continued with their double header.  The rest of the scouts left after the first game but the boys were having a good time so we stayed for the second game.   During the second game Timmy hung out in the area outside the first baseline and shagged foul balls.  Here the balls had to be returned but it was still exciting for him.  The other two boys got a little silly about half way through the second game but we made it through and everyone had fun!

The Kings won both games 2-6.

Check out the photos of our fun.

OldBoyGames.com review

OldBoyGames.com was established in the Fall of 2006 as a outdoor games theme online store, with a goal to provide hours of outdoor fun for kids, families, groups, and anyone looking for quality, memory-making and relationship-building, outdoor activities.
They have a unique focus on the type of classic outdoor games that have proven to be favorites of old and young in every generation. It is our mission to search for these classic and timeless outdoor games–some of which might be hard to find in your local stores–and offer them at competive prices and with professional customer service.

Corn Toss Game consists of:
– 2 Collapsible, All-Weather, White Plastic Game Targets
– 8 All Weather Game Bags – 4 each of Orange and Blue (or other standard colors)
– Game Setup Guide, Rules and Frequently Asked Questions
Other Corn Toss Game Features:
– On-Board Locking bag storage
– Integrated Carry Handles
– Legs collapse and lock under with both boards nesting together for compact storage
– Lightweight and easily transported – At 30lbs, including bags, our games are 1/3 to 1/2 the weight of most wooden games
– Solid Playing top and rigid design eliminate bounce and play just like traditional wood games
– Fully Weather Proof and Cleanable with soap and water!
– 48″x24″ with a 6″ hole
Limited Warranty: Product carries a 60 day manufacturer’s warranty against material defects in material or workmanship. If product breaks, cracks or otherwise has problems within 60 days of delivery due to a manufactured defect please contact the manufacturer for inspection which will result in a replacement or refund if unit is found to be defective.
Other names this game is known by: bean bag toss, cornhole, baggo, and corntoss game.


*Nice beachy destination not included!

It’s been years since I first saw this type of game being played by many tailgaters at a sporting event.  It was one of those tings we always said we’d like to have.  But in reality its big and we don’t have any storage space.  But OldBoyGames.com has really fixed that problem.  These all weather units collapse down so they’ll take up minimal room at the end of the season but for now we simply collapse them and prop them up (with the bags conveniently stored inside) and store them upright outside.  The boys LOVE this game.  Of course they don’t follow the rules and there is occasionally some attempts at defensive playing.  But its a fun outdoor activity that even at its craziest (my kids can make anything rowdy) isn’t dangerous.
I love the concentration in Bryan’s face in this picture below.
Please note that life jacket is NOT required for this game.  We just happened to buy the jacket earlier in the day for him and he wouldn’t take it off no matter how sweaty he got!

Edited to add: after publishing this post yesterday I went home to find out that the older boys got the game out played for close to two hours and then….PUT IT AWAY ALL BY THEMSELVES!!  Apparently the game has magical powers (legal notice, of course it doesn’t actually).  Needless to say we’re all thrilled with this Corn Toss game!!!

Check out some of their other games…