The Magic of Selznick, Barnum, Shakespeare, and more in Chicago

While there are many places in Chicago to take the family to, here are four unique events your family should not miss!

The Houdini Box

January 24-March 4, 2012
Recommended for ages 5 and up

The Mercury Theatre
3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago

Directed by Blair Thomas. Book and Lyrics by Hannah Kohl, Music by Mark Messing. Based on the book THE HOUDINI BOX written and illustrated by Brian Selznick, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Brought to life right before your eyes by actors, musicians, and puppets, sure to thrill and surprise. As famed escape artist Harry Houdini circles the globe performing one incredible stunt after another, Victor, a young devotee goes through his own rigorous magician’s training – locking himself in closets, holding his breath under water and walking into walls. After a chance encounter with his hero, Victor receives a special box that just might contain the secrets of Houdini’s great success.

Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare
featuring performers from The Chicago Chamber Musicians
in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago, IL – Navy Pier
January 21 and 22, 2012 at 10:00 and 11:30 a.m.

Theatrical magic and musical masters blend to draw young audiences into the performing arts in an hour-long family concert. Chicago Shakespeare actors and The Chicago Chamber Musicians bring together theater and classical music to create an interactive concert, giving children the opportunity to discover, up-close, the excitement of live performance. At 11:00 a.m. on both days, performers are available for autographs and pictures in the lobby, while young musicians demonstrate and answer questions about the featured instruments.

The People’s Barnum
Opening Night: Friday, February 10, at 8:00 p.m.
Performances continue through March 18, 2012:
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
All performances take place at The Blue Theatre, 1609 West Gregory
All Quest shows are FREE of charge while donations are greatly appreciated
Reservations are highly recommended
Free parking is provided in a lot north of the theater; additional street parking is available
Tickets/information: visit, email
or call 312-458-0895

Come “join the circus” as Quest Theatre Ensemble presents the Tony award winning Broadway musical The People’s Barnum! Set in the center ring, The People’s Barnum! tells the true story of Phineas Taylor Barnum and the acts that made him famous. The tale is set to Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart’s legendary music and features Quest Theatre Ensemble’s well known shadow/rod puppetry. See General Tom Thumb only 25 inches from toe to crown! Witness Jumbo, the largest elephant in the world! Behold the oldest woman on the planet with your very own eyes! Marvel at the feats of contortionists, gymnasts, tumblers, and stilt-dancers! And find out first hand why The People’s Barnum! is the “Greatest Show on Earth!”

Sleep Under the Skyscrapers: Indoor Overnight
Lincoln Park Zoo
2200 Cannon Drive Chicago, IL
March 9–10

Interested in sleeping among Lincoln Park Zoo’s amazing animals? Grab your nighttime gear and join us for an indoor overnight adventure!

The evening begins with dinner, followed by opportunities to explore the nightlife of the zoo’s residents. Slide your hands over the scales of a blue-tongued skink at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House or see the chimpanzees settle into their nests at Regenstein Center for African Apes. Hear stories from zoo experts and wind down with a movie and bedtime snack before you—and the rest of the zoo—turn in for the night.

Families can choose to attend just the evening activities OR they can stay for the entire program and sleep over at the zoo.

Evening Encounter (6–10 p.m.) $42 ($35 for members)
Full Overnight (6 p.m.–8:30 a.m.) $70 ($60 for members)
For families with children ages 5–12
Includes dinner and continental breakfast

MJ Tam

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

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