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In their most ambitions production yet, Emerald City Theatre proudly presents the adventures of The Fantastic Mr. Fox on the two story Victory Gardens mainstage. Kicking off their 22nd season, Director Jacqueline Stone and company bring one of British author Ronald Dahl’s most beloved 1970’s children’s books to life. Falling right in line with his other classics, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, The Fantastic Mr. Fox relies heavily on “pure imagination.” Emerald City mounts another impressive piece to “celebrate all of Chicago’s children through playful, professional and culturally relevant artistic programs that motivate young people to creatively face the world.” The lessons here might be a bit fuzzy, it is tough to get behind a hero best known for stealing, but if you focus on the thieving as an avenue to feed his family and the neighboring woodland creatures, this feisty fox proves fun for all.

Relying on his natural cunning and charisma to rise above the opposition, Mr. Fox (Mario Aivazian) is easy to enjoy. Whether wiggling his long tail or engaging the kiddos in the first few rows, Aivanzian carries the piece with effortless zeal. Pulling double duty as both narrator and the Badger, Brianna Buckley is all moxie and dash, sporting a whimsical hairpiece more Scary Spice than unground forager. With Mrs. Fox (Tia Pinson) and their two children (Rebecca Keeshin and Adhana Reid) in tow, Mr. Fox has it all, including a short but potent enemies list. This troika of bad guys include Boggis (Aaron Lawson) Bunce (Isa Arciniegas) and Bean (Jeffrey Hoge) who chew the scenery as equally as they try to defeat the fanciful, marvelous and mischievous Mr. Fox.

Once again, if you look past the fact this feisty fox is a thief, stealing each farmer’s prize chickens, ducks, geese and cider to feed his crew, then the show will go along swimmingly. Honestly, Mr. Fox continued to use his ingenuity and imagination throughout to constantly outwit these pesky farmers “all three of them were about as nasty and mean as any men you could meet.” You’ll find yourself cheering as he becomes the hero of both the forest and his family. When the farmers ambush the wily fox, they only succeed in managing to cut off his long and luxurious tail. By the time they bring in spades and excavators as pest control, the audience is squarely behind the Robin Hood-esque patriot, not only providing for his own family, but by now also rabbits and badgers and squirrels, oh my! Does he win out in the end? Well, it’s a family show so you can easily guess. Buying a ticket certainly helps too.

Clearly having a ball, the score orchestrated by Music Director, Julia Schade Armstrong, is a combination of earthy bluegrass stylings which will have you tapping a toe more than once. Jamal Howard’s choreography will undoubtedly leave you with a smile on your face. The real news here is Michelle Lilly’s dynamic scenic design. Of course Emerald City is not Broadway in Chicago, but you can see every penny spent on the metallic skeleton of a two story set, larger than any previous set piece I can recall. Alison Siple’s costuming is garage sale chic, repurposing everyday garments into woodland creature couture. The Diana Ross inspired badger’s coat is the stuff of any drag queen’s Halloween fantasy and must be seen to be believed. Keith Parham’s dramatic lighting added necessary suspense and drama as well. 

What I enjoy most about Emerald City is their laser like focus to get the children of Chicago exposed to the arts. From putting books into the hands of low income students at very early ages to exposing them to the cultural riches of live theatrical productions, Emerald City is sincerley their own masterful wizard. No smoke, no mirrors, no magic man behind the curtain. Bringing their latest to the larger Victory Gardens Theatre mainstage is a true feather in their cap. While the hero of his tale might be a little dubious in the eyes of the adults attending, by the show’s conclusion, the little ones around me were equally engaged and entranced and that is what this show is all about. This feisty, Fantastic Mr. Foxbrought festive fun and frivolity to all.

Emerald City Theatre’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox is now playing at the Victory Gardens Theatre through January 12, 2019.

Stephen S. Best is currently a freelance writer for the Times Square Chronicles, covering the performing arts scene in the greater Chicagoland area. He has been a theater aficionado for years, attending his first live production, Annie, at the tender age of six. After graduating from Purdue University, Stephen honed his skills attending live theater, concerts and art installations in New York and Chicago. Stephen's keen eye and thorough appreciation for both theater patrons' time and entertainment dollar makes him a valuable asset and his recommendations key. Stephen currently lives in downtown Chicago.

Broadway

Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth

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The Broadway League’s Black to Broadway initiative announces the performers for this year’s Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth concert taking place in Times Square on Wednesday, June 19th from 11:00am – 12:30pm (rain or shine).

Michael James Scott

Michael James Scott will host. Flagstar Bank will be this year’s presenting sponsor.

Phylicia Rashad

The 2024 Juneteenth Legacy Award will be presented to two-time Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad, a versatile performer, director, educator, and humanitarian who has delighted generations of audiences through her work in beloved roles both in theatre and on screen. As an actress, Ms. Rashad has won two Tony Awards, for A Raisin in the Sun (2004 Best Actress in a Play) and Skeleton Crew (2022 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play). She was also a 2005 Best Actress in a Play nominee for Gem of the Ocean. As a producer, Ms. Rashad recently received a Best Revival of a Play nomination for Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.

The fourth annual Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth concert features more than 35 performers from the following 17 Broadway shows: Aladdin; & Juliet; Back to the Future: The Musical; Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club; Chicago; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; The Heart of Rock and Roll; Hell’s Kitchen; Illinoise; The Lion King; MJ; Moulin Rouge! The Musical;The Notebook; Suffs; Water for Elephants; The Who’s Tommy; The Wiz; and the return of the kids of Young Gifted and Broadway. All performances will be accompanied by live music thanks to The Music Performance Trust Fund and the Film Funds. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

The exciting line-up of Broadway stars set to perform includes: Blu Allen, Donovan Louis Bazemore, Jace Bentley, Ronnie S. Bowman Jr., Maya Boyd, Tsilala Brock, Max Chambers, Taylor Colleton, Jay Copeland, Lorna Courtney, Charity Angél Dawson, Mariama Diop, Desmond Sean Ellington, Will Ervin Jr., Jerome Hermann-Hardeman, Dorian Harewood, Jackson Hayes, Najah Hetsberger, Afra Hines, Manny Houston, Jaylen Lyndon Hunter, Bre Jackson, Polanco Jones Jr., John-Michael Lyles, Mehret Marsh, Deja McNair, Alex Newell, Veronica Otim, Cristina Rae, Jelani Remy, William Rhem Jr., Albert Rhodes Jr., Walter Russell III, Antoine L. Smith, Nia Thompson, Lamont Walker II, Rachel Webb, NaTasha Yvette Williams, and Hailee Kaleem Wright.

Joining The Broadway League in partnership for Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth are Black Theatre United (BTU), Black Theatre Coalition (BTC), The New York Times, and the Times Square Alliance. Black Theatre United has curated a selection of Black-owned restaurants to take part in the celebration by selling food and treats to attendees. Kokomo, LaMode BK, and Brooklyn Sweet Spot will be on-site with a selection of delicious options to add to the festivity.

Flagstar Bank is the 2024 presenting sponsor of Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth. Other sponsors include: The Music Performance Trust Fund and Film Funds; the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment; Audience Rewards; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; Broadway.com; M·A·C Cosmetics; TodayTix; Playbill; The Araca Group; and Open Jar Studios.

The creative and production teams of Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth include Director and Writer Steve H. Broadnax III, Music Director Rashad McPherson, Executive Producers Brian Anthony Moreland and Aaliytha Stevens, Stage Manager Monet Thibou, and General Manager Devon Miller of Foresight Theatrical.

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Family

Experts Can Help Revive Old Floors and Wooden Surfaces! Here’s How

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Many prefer wooden floors for their unique charm and warmth. However, with time, these wooden surfaces can become dull, lose their luster, and wear out, and this is when you need to look for proper restoration techniques that would bring life to the old wooden flooring.

We are about to share restoration tips that will revive your wooden flooring and bring back the beauty of the place.

  • Check the floor condition

Before you start the restoration project, you have to assess the condition of the old wooden floor. Look for signs like water damage, stains, wear, scratches, and holes. Note down all the areas that require repairing. You can also get help from the flooring contractor Tampa Florida, to determine the extent of damage and restore the place effectively.

  • Sanding and refining

In restoration, you must remove the old finishes, imperfections, and scratches through sanding. This would help to reveal the natural surface of the wood. You can use an orbital or drum sander to achieve a smooth finish on the wooden floor. These have fine-grit sandpapers that help with the smoothing process. However, it would help if you did not overdo sanding the place; otherwise, it can create uneven patches. After you are done, apply a fresh finish coat to enhance the color and protect the wooden floor.

  • Repairing damage

Over the years, the wooden floor has undergone different kinds of damage, including water stains and scratches. To get a uniform and polished appearance, you need to repair the imperfections, so if there is any scratch or gouge, fill it with a wood pillar or putty. You can use the sanding technique to smoothen the wooden surface. If there is a water stain, gently sand the affected area and apply the wood bleach to lighten the discoloration. If the damage is quite extensive, then you need to replace the rotten boards to protect the structural integrity of the place.

  • Staining and coloring

To achieve the natural beauty of the wooden floor, you have to apply stain, and on top of that, you have to put in a desired color tone. Go through the existing decor or architectural feature, and based on that, choose a stain that would complement the space. Always conduct a small test before applying that stain to ensure the product will meet your expectations. Use a brush or rag to apply this paint and wait for it to penetrate. Finally, a topcoat is applied to protect and seal the coat.

  • Preserve the character features

Wooden floors are popular due to their appealing elements, such as grain patterns, patina, or knots. You need to retain these character features when restoring old floors and not erase them.

Summing it up

After restoring the wooden floor, remember to maintain it routinely to ensure its long-lasting beauty. Sweep or vacuum dirt and debris daily and gently mop the damp area to keep the wooden floor free from stains. To prevent scratches, you can use protective felt pads under the furniture. Also, make it a habit to avoid walking with heels or shoes on this wood; otherwise, it can damage the wood.

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Events

Raising Cane’s and Ice-T Make National Iced Tea Day Even Sweeter

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Don’t mess with Ice T perfection!

June 10 is National Iced Tea Day, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with this sweet combination.

Iconic musician and actor Ice T is mixing up an incredible batch of delicious fun with Raising Cane’s and making this National Iced Tea Day twICE as nICE!

It’s the national holiday celebrating me – and Cane’s iced tea – and it’s great to be working with Cane’s again on one of my favorite holidays,” said Ice T. “There are two versions of iced tea: one is sweet, and one is unsweet. Both are great at Cane’s, but you only want the sweet version of Ice T!”

During a recent surprise guest appearance as a Raising Cane’s Fry Cook & Cashier at the Astor Place location in New York City, unsuspecting fans and customers got a special treat when he popped up with a perfectly filled cups of iced tea. The Big Apple got some crisp love from the star and it made for a memorable moment that will forever be frying in the minds of those who got to see him action on this date.

Today only, Caniac Club members craving the perfect summer beverage can enjoy a free 22 oz. iced tea at Cane’s locations nationwide. The offer will load to Caniac Club accounts automatically and is redeemable by swiping the Caniac Club Card or scanning the QR code within the Raising Cane’s mobile app.

For more information visit raisingcanes.com.

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Shopping

Bud BagsTM Launches The World’s Standard Secured Delivery Bag

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Introducing Bud Bags an eco-friendly and secure new way to transport cannabis. These biodegradable courier bags, blend sustainability and security. These bags are for the environmentally conscious and engineered for unparalleled protection.

Bud Bags from BUD BAGS on Vimeo.

These bags have tamper-evident security made with features to detect and deter theft. Often they are equipped with unique seals to indicate when unauthorized use or tampering has occurred. These bags are typically used for the transportation of valuable items like cash, cannabis, or documents.

Most bags are made of plastic and mylar so they are not biodegradable. However these bags can be cusomized.

Bud Bags allows anything to be transported without knowledge. They are opaque with an adhesive strip that let you know it’s been tampered with, which means that if something’s missing, it is the company not the courier.

Bud bags is working hand and hand with ASTM International, an international standards company in transportation. ASTM International, serves over 12,000 ASTM standards operate globally. The standards are defined and set by them, as they improve the lives of millions every day. Combined with our innovative business services, they enhance performance and help everyone have confidence in the things they buy and use.

Its good to be carried by the best.

 

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Events

Eli Marcus Throws One Of The Best Networking Events in The City at Fushimi Time Square

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Kiril Mihajlov owner of The Consulate, Suzanna Bowling, publisher of the Times Square Chronicles, Theatre Marketing pro Keith Hurd, Doria Lee from the Time Hotel. Jeffrey Pai from The Beekman Hotel. Eric Papanikolas from the Time Hotel.

Eli Marcus otherwise known as “The Mayor of Times Square” is the king of fabulous networking events. Last night over 300 people gathered together at Fushimi Time Square, 311 West 43 St (8th/9th Aves) from 4:30 til 7pm.

Eli Marcus and Chef Sal Scognamillo of Patsy’s Italian Restaurant

It was one of the largest networking events in the city, filled with people in the hospitality, theatre and media industry’s.

Errol Rappaport, Producer Craig Horsley, Producer Pat Addiss, Singer Quinn Lemley

Gerard McKeon publisher Black Tie International Magazine and Chuck Armstrong producer and owner of Wonderama TV Show

There was a three piece jazz band, door prizes, happy hour prices with passed hors d’oeuvres

hors d’oeuvres

May Pang, companion to John Lennon in the 70’s, helped give away an 18″ Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s luggage, courtesy of Marty Singer, from Rocksax licensed Rock band products.
May Pang is featured in the best documentary I have seen in years: The Lost Weekend: A Love Story. See it on Amazon Prime, Roku, YouTube, etc. Also, check out her one-of-a kind photos with Lennon…not available anyplace else, at www.Newyorksbest.nyc.

The luggage winner Jayson Colon, May Pang, Marty Singer and Eli Marcus

There were also tickets to the 78th annual Theatre World Awards and Mercer Labs: Museum of Art and Technology.

Eli Marcus and yours truly

If you missed this amazing event, Eli’s next event will happen Thursday June 20 in Little Italy at Baby John’s Pizzeria with The Cannoli King himself John DeLutro. Also on Friday June 28, from 4:30 til 6:30 Kiril Mihajlov will host Eli’s third Networking event at The Consulate Midtown at 44 West 56.

This is definitely the place to be, especially if you are looking to connect.

 

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