After months of preparation, the Mills Entertainment production of American Girl Live had its World Premiere at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois - just outside of Chicago. Our family was in attendance for the debut performance of the all-new musical, which whisks audiences away to join a group of girls for an adventure at summer camp.
Following an inaugural season that brought magic to families from coast-to-coast, HGTV presents Santa HQ again this year! Back for 2018 at The Fashion Outlets of Chicago and a total of 15 Macerich Shopping Centers nationwide, a new tradition continues as an all-new experience aimed at bringing holiday magic to kids and grownups alike with some flourishes that have been upgraded and expanded for the social media age. Santa HQ welcomes families for the traditional photo with Santa (online reservations available, but not required), upping the game with the Elf Academy in which kids can experience the latest in Elf fashion; take an Elfie Selfie; of check out the latest in Elf-Ray Vision - an AR experience in which families can see just what the Elves are up to. Of course, Santa HQ still serves-up an incredible light show with over 10,000 individual lights synchronized to the "Carol of the Bells."
A familiar green villain is currently back in theaters, reimagined in Universal and Illumination's animated picture, THE GRINCH. But that's not the only place to see the tale come to life as Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical brings magic to the stage in select cities for 2018. Madison Square Garden's touring production is the big one, featuring Tony-nominated Gavin Lee (SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical, Mary Poppins) in the lead role as The Grinch. Kicking off at The Chicago Theatre (November 16-25) before heading off to Boston and New York, my family and I were guests at the opening night performance in Chicago as holiday cheer took hold to a sold-out crowd.
Back in April, I shared the news that Mattel and Mills Entertainment had teamed-up to bring characters from American Girl into the realm of live theatre with the launch of American Girl Live. Now comes news on the full cast for the debut performances, which will have their world premiere at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois, Dec. 21-23, 2018. The cast of American Girl Live includes Jenna Bruce as Rebecca, Ashley Diane as Luciana, Laila E. Drew as Melody, Shelby Lysette Miguel as Nanea, Monica Poston as Julie and Kelsey Elaine Pressnall as Maryellen. The cast also features Orisa Gutierrez and Mari Skoultchi.
It's officially Chicago Toy & Game Week, the annual gathering of toy industry players here on the Third Coast. Toy & game designers, inventors and innovators will be meeting with acquisition executives from major toymakers as a variety of conferences take place leading up to the annual TAGIE Awards on Friday, followed by the main event on Saturday and Sunday - #ChiTAG: the public Chicago Toy & Game Fair. Happening at Navy Pier, November 17 & 18, 2018, ChiTAG has become a Chicago tradition to usher in the holiday shopping season by allowing families to go hands-on with some of the hottest toys of the season, along with some under-the-radar picks from major manufacturers and independent toymakers alike. There's fun for the whole family, and this year there's some new additions on opposite ends of the spectrum... like the baby and toddler play area and a beer garden (with games!) for the "big kids" (21+).
With Veterans Day placing a much-deserved focus on members of the American Armed Forces, many companies are taking the opportunity to say "thanks" with special offers and promotions that are only available for a limited time. At Great Wolf Lodge, the gratitude is year-round as they pay respect to those who have served to product us all year long. The Howlin’ Heroes discount welcomes veterans with up to 30% savings on each stay with the special code: heroes. Great Wolf Lodge knows veterans have continued to protect our families and it’s time to reconnect with theirs.