Just in time for spring, the Chicago Children’s Theatre is back in bloom. Returning to live, in-person productions, Carmela Full of Wishes is a charming tale about the importance of imagination. Adapted for the stage by Alvaro Saar Rios from the children’s book by Matt de la Pena with illustrations by Christian Robinson. The quartet of actors here playing an array of characters. The primary, Carmela, is describe by Rios as a “fierce Latina with an awesome imagination”. More on that in just a moment. The show’s official opening attended by a cornucopia of ages, genders and races. The true unifier, introducing children to the performing arts.
Directed by Michelle Lopez-Rios, this story focuses on a Latin family, but really is relatable to all. The action starts at young Carmela’s (Maria Clara Ospina) birthday breakfast. This little lady is as thrilled to be turning seven as she is to be enjoying her chocolate chip pancakes with a candle, shining brightly, in the middle. Her mother, Mami (Jasmin Cardenas) and big brother (Juan Gonzalez) delighted to be giving her a gift, a charm bracelet. Also turning seven means she is old enough to join her big brother as he runs errands to the laundromat and the store. Well, I don’t know any teen-ager who wants a little sibling hanging around, and young Carmela is quickly left in his dust and spends the remainder of the show playing catch up with her elusive sibling.
In the interim, she crosses path with a series of people from the neighborhood; a shop keeper, a flower salesman, the ice-cream cart person, a pretty kitty, and collects a series of birthday accolades from each. Her gifted flower, a dandelion, soon withers and becomes the “puffy white fluff” of wishes and dreams. Before blowing on her flower’s head, she fantasizes about reuniting with her father, Papi (Christopher Alamo). Spoiler alert, he has been deported, but out of site doesn’t mean out of mind. She dreams of gifting her mother a new, firm mattress and bedding. After a squabble with her brother, she wishes he would turn into a cockroach that scurries away in the light. Not all of her wishes are entirely altruistic. She is just seven, you know.
Before Carmela gets the opportunity to cast her official wishes on the flower, she crashes her scooter and the spores are subsequently lost in the hubbub of the accident. Big brother to the rescue. He takes his sister to a field of “flores de cempazuchitl”. This is where the audience participation part began. Those arriving early participated in a group craft project, gluing white, mini-pom poms to wooden popsicle sticks. Those like me, who arrived minutes before showtime, were gifted with an extra. Holding them high above our heads, the audience satisfactorily serves as an added visual component, a real time field of flowers.
What isn’t more relatable than imaginative dreamers everywhere? More than two dozen artisans assembled to bring this beloved children’s book to flesh. Costume designer Jazmin Aurora Medina’s work showcased both bold colors and elements of flash, enjoyably adding to the story. I was able to briefly flip thorough the book after the show, and Medina nails the looks, picture perfect. The stage setting is intimate, but scenic designer Regina Garcia aptly took us from a laundromat to the neighborhood bodega with ease. Jason Lynch’s lighting effective as well.
On top of staging original productions, Chicago Children’s Theatre has served more than half-a-million children and their families with yearlong workshops, classes on acting, art and dance. I firmly believe arts education is absolutely imperative to childhood development and this company must be commended for all of their unending efforts. Carmela Full of Wishes is now playing for family entertainment four times a week, exclusive to Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. Bring the family and enjoy.
Chicago Children’s Theatre presents Carmela Full of Wishes is now playing through May 22, 2022 at 100 S. Racine, Chicago, Illinois
Avengers Tower Sets Meet And Greet With Signing
C. B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and The LEGO Group Senior Graphic Designer Mark Tranter will be at the Fifth Ave LEGO Store this Friday, December 1st from 5pm-6pm signing the Avengers Tower set—the most iconic building in the Avengers Universe, with 5,201 pieces and an all-star cast of 31 figures.
The Avengers Tower, formerly known as Stark Tower, was a high-rise building complex located in Manhattan. Constructed by Tony Stark, the tower was powered by an Arc Reactor that made it capable of running itself for over a year. The top ten floors housed the research and development initiatives.
Following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark Tower became the main headquarters of the Avengers. However, after the Ultron Offensive, Stark refurbished a Stark Industries warehouse upstate into the Avengers Compound to use as their primary base while Avengers Tower was repurposed for Stark Industries’ use. In the aftermath of the Avengers Civil War, Stark sold the tower and moved all of its equipment to the Avengers Compound.
By 2024, the tower, under its new ownership, had gone through extensive construction and renovation.
Lifevine Brings a Sparkle to Your Holiday Party
Lifevine is a wine that is oh so fine this holiday season for all the right reasons.
If you are looking for an alternative for drinking this holiday season look no further than these incredible bottles that will forever find a place in your home.
The wine brand with zero sugar is a wine lovers dream. All in the brand’s portfolio is excellent in every single sip and it feels oh so good to know it is one of the first wines to list both serving facts and ingredients on the bottle. They believe in providing you the transparency you deserve so that you can make the best choices about what you put in your body.
As the company states, “We set out to produce a wine to fit your active lifestyle. We wanted a wine that offered excellent taste, purity, zero sugar* and full transparency. That is why we created Lifevine. We are committed to the highest level of transparency because we believe you should know what’s in your wine. Beyond zero sugar*, we want our wine to be free of harmful toxins and pesticides, without compromising quality or flavor. For this reason, we lab test all of our wines and submit them to a 3rd party standards organization to certify and award for things like organic and purity.”
Your holiday parties are set to buzz with delight with such an amazing alternative that tastes great and will not make you feel guilty the next day.
Varietals include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and more. Lifevine is lab tested for purity, certified pesticide free and committed to label transparency.
Here is to your perfect holiday with Lifevine.
Park Terrace Hotel, Hotel Chocolat and Ofreh
We miss the fireworks at the Bryant Park Christmas Tree lighting ceremony but we did watch Ofreh sing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Click here to hear her husband Andy Karl singing “Sleigh Bells”.
Bryant Park Tree Lighting and Andy Karl
Tonights tree lighting was hosted by Broadway performer Mauricio Martínez and Tony Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Jenn Colella, the Tree Lighting event featured live skating performances from Olympic skaters Mariah Bell, Karen Chen, Ryan Bradley, and World Champion skating pair Alexa Knierim and Brandon Fraizer, as well as Ice Theatre of New York, Figure Skating in Harlem, and The Skyliners.
t where Andy Karl and his wife Orfeh. Here is Andy singing “Sleigh Bells”.
Tomorrow look for the performances from Jenn Colella and Mauricio Martínez.
Did You Know You Can Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Did you know Tiffany & Co. has the Blue Box Café on the fourth floor nestled within The Landmark, store Tiffany’s 5th Avenue. Inspired by the iconic Tiffany’s heritage, Daniel Boulud, opened a charmingly elegant café that offers three signature culinary experiences for elevated daytime dining.
You can order Breakfast at Tiffany’s | $59. This includes a plain Croissant, Oranais and apricot danish, Madeleine a french butter cake, Parfait Framboise Hampton’s granola, raspberry coulis, Pineapple Rosace with kiwi, lychee, pomegranate, vanilla, lime, Egg In A Shell scrambled egg and caviar. To drink a glass of Golightly, carrot, orange, pineapple, mango and ginger.
There is also Holly’s Favorites | $34. This includes a Croissant, Jam, Fresh Fruit Juice and cafe or Chocolat Chaud.
Tea At Tiffany’s| $98. This includes
egg & watercress
cucumber, dill & cream cheese
smoked salmon “bagel”
chicken curry & mango chutney
corned beef, mustard & pickles
Scones: traditional scones, jam and double cream
Cookies: canelé, madeleine and coconut rocher
spiced cranberry eton mess
dulce de leche éclair
dark chocolate & orange cube
Your Choice of Belloc Tea: assortments of black, oolong, green, matcha, white, and herbal teas
and a glass of Champagne.
Hervé Rafflin, Brut NV | 30
La Caravelle, Rosé Brut | 35
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Brut | 70
There is also a Seasonal Menu which has Caviar, soup, salads, quiche, Salmon, baked eggplant, lobster salad, duck terrine, pasta, black angus cheddar cheeseburger, brioche potato bun, french fries and an assortment of desserts.
Have I made you hungry yet? Well head to Tiffany’s for the perfect upscale holiday treat. Maybe, just maybe you’ll also be able to get some shopping in as well.
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