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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for December 2015

On with the flowers! ‘Innovation Rocks!’ gets the floral treatment at Rosemont Pavilion

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015

A visit to Rosemont Pavilion on Wednesday saw a lot of changes to Destination Irvine's "Innovation Rocks!"  The volunteers at Phoenix Decorating Company were working hard to get fresh materials on the float before the judges stopped by for the first of three rounds of judging.  Mums in yellow, gold, red, white, rust, lavender and Kermit green were being placed and roses in red and lavender were in vials in boxes or pressed into the foam layer.

Gear and flowers

Lyn Lofthouse, Floral Director at Phoenix, spoke about the art of choosing the right flowers for the right place.  "There will be mums on the gears in various areas, but too much will lose the gear look," she said.  "I'm always looking for what's the best material for each individual prop and where it is on the float."

 The fanciful giant sculpted flowers, though mostly covered with statice in purple, gold and lavender and white everlasting, have centers of yellow gerbera surrounded by hyacinth root with yellow Billy buttons shooting out like stamen, "for fun," Lofthouse said.  The taller flowerBilly buttons use delphinium in shades of blue and purple. 

Red and yellow flowers, including roses, cover the deck of "Innovation Rocks!" along with green plants such as cordyline, ferns and Spanish moss.  Fresh sod, a material that may seem unusual is glued onto the deck in rectangles.  Tulips in white and pink, hyacinth, hydrangea and heliconia, anthurium in white, pink and red, and pink gladiolas complete the floral touches. 

Peter in gray

With all the color on the rest of the float, a shortage of blue statice changed the plans for Peter the Anteater.  The big guy has changed his color from blue to gray, which really is more anteater-like anyway. 

Volunteers from Kiwanis youth clubs-Key Club for high schoolers and Circle K for collegians-earn service hours and money for their clubs by decorating Rose Parade floats.  The decorating process is directed by crew chief Dave.    

For the lowdown on the dry decorations, read "Bringing ‘Innovation Rocks!' to Life with Statice and Strawflower." 

 Kiwanis volunteers



 

Winter Fest- A New Orange County Holiday Tradition

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Monday, Dec 21, 2015

Snow doesn't fall in Orange County. Our palm-tree laden home isn't the place to fulfill those dreams of a white Christmas. While we are more likely to be surfing than having snowball fights, that doesn't mean Orange County is can't have our share of winter fun. 2015 is the inaugural year of Winter Fest, a carnival-meets-winter-festival taking place at the Orange County Fairgrounds December 18- January 3rd.

 

Ice Slides

Who says you need a snow hill to go sledding? Children will love tubing down the indoor ice slides. My kids couldn't seem to get enough of the slide which zipped kids down in comfortable tubes (small and large tubes are available) that shoot down one of six different lanes. Safety is top priority and helpful staff will make sure that one child goes down the lane at a time. If the lines are long and your patience is short, you may consider purchasing a Fast Pass for $15 that allows you to skip the lines and get right on down the hill.

 

Ice Skating

Winter Fests large outdoor rink is sheltered by a hangar, which proved to be a real relief for my family as we were caught in a downpour. Holiday music is pumped throughout the rink and a massive screen shows classic Christmas movies. It was fun to skate around the rink and Santa on the big screen. Ice skating is not included in the cost of admission. The rate is $15 per person and does include skate rental. Adorbable little penguins and polar bears ice skating assitants, helpful for new skaters and little ones who aren't sure footed, can be rented for $5. Food, hot chocolate, and adult beverages can be purchased inside the hangar. I think the Winter Whisper- Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, and half and half- sounds especially tasty.

 

Candy Cane Carnival

The Candy Cane Carnival is your typical fair carnival. There are rides ranging from the carousel to rides that zip. spin, and flip thrill seekers. Various carnival games will test your skill (and luck), rewarding winners with stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes or the classic carnival pet- the goldfish.

 

More Christmas-themed Fun

No holiday-themed event is complete without Santa and hiis reindeer! Luckily Santa likes to hang out at Winter Fest and can be found in the building housing crafts, balloon artists, a face painter, cartoon artist, and several model trains. The reindeer can be found outside in their outdoor pen located between ice skating and the Candy Cane Carnival. They can be fed at various times throughout the day. Holiday performers such as carolers, dancers, singers, and a magician can be found throughout Winter Fest. At 5:30PM every evening, the Christmas Tree lighting is not to be missed. The tree is quite beautiful and the lighting includes a "snowfall". Of course no visit to Winter Fest can be complete without a walk through the world's largest walkthrough ornament, which glows bright in hundreds of red lights every evening.

Details

Child admission tickets are $20 at the door or $10 online. Adult admission is $30 at the door and $20 online. Unlimited carnival ride wristbands are available for online for $20. Every Wednesday is "Nurse Appreciation Day" and nurses will be granted free admission with a valid workplace ID. Every Thursday is "Teacher Appreciation Day" and teachers will be granted free admission with a valid workplace ID. All firefighters, law enforcement personnel, active and retired military will be granted free admission daily through January 3, 2016. All participants are required to show proper ID verifying their profession at the ticket booth to receive admission.Hours vary depending on the date. Visit the Winter Fest website for more information.

Bringing ‘Innovation Rocks!’ to Life with Statice and Strawflower

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Thursday, Dec 17, 2015

There's a giant blue anteater with open arms smack dab in the middle of the Destination Irvine float, "Innovation Rocks!"  Blue is one of the most difficult colors to create with flowers, because a true blue is rare in nature and flowers that we see as blue might look more purplish on television.  Dyed flowers, even those tinted with special products while growing, are not allowed on Rose Parade floats.  Every color on a float is the natural color of the material used.  But there's a giant anteater named Peter who needs to be blue.

Lyn LofthouseDI sat down with Lyn Lofthouse, floral director at Phoenix Decorating Company, to ask about Peter and find out more about decorating a Tournament of Roses float.  Lyn met her husband, President/CEO of Phoenix Chris Lofthouse, on the job.  She has worked on floats for more than 30 years, starting in the art (painting) department and moving to contracting, which is welding and sculpting the metal frames.  At the end of a shift, she would often help the floral designer.

"I had been a crew chief, so I knew floats," she said.  While the company went through several floral designers, Lyn continued working as a contractor.  "Finally, I just took over the job-I had trained two people.  I slowly moved into it....  I'm always looking for what's the best material for each individual prop and where it is on the float."

Lyn orders the materials, both dry and fresh, to be applied to specific floats.  The first order is sent in April and monthly after that, increasing to weekly in December.  The materials come from all over the world, though she gets as much as she can from the United States.  South Dakota, New York, Hawaii, California; south of the border to Mexico and South America and across the sea to China and Japan.  She favors Mom-and-Pop growers, those with 10 to 40 acres.

Gears

"Mom and Pop farms are fun to work with," she said.  "Different parts of the world have different growing seasons.  I learned to have more than one grower in one place.  Whoever has it, I will call."  Requests are created for each float and set aside specifically for the float.

"Everything I order is for that float," she said.  "You can't wing it."  Decorators get the materials from the flower tent, where they are massed in buckets on the floor and tables.  The people staffing the tent make sure the right quantity of flowers goes to the right float.  Lyn said she doesn't worry if the order comes in a couple hundred short, but if it is several hundred, she has to pull from another float.

She puts together a book for each float that is given to the crew chief, who manages the decorating process.  "Front to back materials, even glue," she said.  If there are special materials, the book explains how to use them.  If it can't be adequately explained on paper, she puts a note in to come to her for a visual.  But now, back to Peter.

Dry materials

"Blue is always hard, unless it's iris petals which can be true dark and light blue," Lyn said.  For Peter, she has ordered statice, but "statice leans to the lavender side."  She puts in special orders to growers that Phoenix works with regularly so they can grow the materials each float needs, including the light blue statice she ordered in July.

Down at the float barn, Rosemont Pavilion in the Rose Bowl area, crew chief Lauren stood by volunteers cutting the blue petals off statice stems for "Innovation Rocks!" last Saturday.  She said that Peter is three different shades of blue.  "There's a different shade in every shipment," she said.  "We will wait until it's all cut, and figure as we go."

Beaker

Statice and strawflower are two of the most common flowers used in "dry dec," which is decoration with dry materials such as seeds, oatmeal, natural wood, rice, beans, lentils.  Most of the solid colors on the Destination Irvine float are these two materials, such as the red strawflower used on a beaker.  The orange flask is powdered lentils.  The centers of the poppies are hyacinth root (the black, hairy-looking thing in the photo), purple statice, and fresh flowers. 

Lyn said that statice is shipped in each week in December for the upcoming weekend's dry dec, which occurs the first three weeks.  Though it dries on the stem in the field, it has to be cut and shipped immediately in water buckets to avoid rot.  Every Friday, crew members cut down the stems to ready the flowers for the volunteers to snip.  Some of the dry materials are pulverized in blenders to create a smoother look.

PagesAt Rosemont Pavilion, Kiwanis International is responsible for supplying volunteers.  Members of Key Club (the high school Kiwanis auxiliary) Teresa and Ricky were gingerly applying onion seed in narrow rows to simulate the pages of the books at the front of the float. 

Though there were no Irvine volunteers working on the float, crew chief Lauren noted that she is from nearby Lake Forest.  I love that the float represents so much science," she said.  "There's so much industry in Irvine." 

Laurine, a one-year Irvine resident who is with the Lutheran Hour Petal Pushers, said "I think the float is amazing!  I love Irvine.  I think it's beautiful and safe."

Next blog: Getting the float dressed in fresh materials, and what makes the bright colors pop.

Filed In: Events

5 Ways to Celebrate a California Christmas

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Dec 09, 2015

So we don’t live in a Winter Wonderland and our Christmases may not be White.

But celebrating the holidays in sunny, southern California is a unique experience with advantages that the rest of the frozen nation can envy.

Here are 5 of my favorite ways to spread holiday cheer, California-style.

 

Crystal Cove State Park

 

We may not have snow-covered pines trees, but we have sandy beaches and sunsets.

Crystal Cove State Park celebrates its history as a prime vacation spot from 1935-1955 by "decking the cove" with retro holiday decor and a Christmas Tree on the sand. It's hard to imagine that others are shoveling snow and putting chains on their tires while you breathe in fresh sea air and listen to the sound of the crashing surf nearby. An early dinner at The Beachcomber restaurant is the perfect way to kick off an evening of holiday merriment. Just make sure you send a picture of the sunset to make your chilly relatives jealous. 

Newport Harbor Parade of Lights

 

Even though Californians relish warm weather, we still like to bundle up once and awhile.

Like at the Newport Harbor Parade of Lights, where a pair of mittens and a warm cup of cocoa are enough to remind us that it's December. From Wednesday, December 16th until Sunday the 20th, boats of every size and shape will be decked out in thousands of holiday lights as they make the 14-mile cruise throughout Newport Harbor. The real beauty of this 107-year-old parade is that you don't need to be in a specific viewing spot to enjoy it. Just come to the Harbor, walk to the water's edge and you'll be sure to catch a glimpse. My favorite way to enjoy the parade is while walking around Balboa Island. There I can enjoy the holiday displays on the bay front houses as well as the glistening ships passing by. 

Irvine Park Railroad

 

Christmas is for kids, and for grown-ups who want to feel like kids.

Whether you have a minivan full of children or you just want to treat your own inner child, the Irvine Park Railroad is a great way to get your holiday celebrations on the right track. Irvine Park Railroad is a 1/3 scale train that take both children and adults on a ride through the beautiful and historic Irvine Regional Park, home of James  H. Irvine's ancient grove of 100 year-old California Live Oak trees.  At Christmas time, the train depot becomes a holiday wonderland, complete with crafts and treats and even story time with Mrs. Claus.  

Selfies with Santa and Ice Skating at The Irvine Spectrum Center

 

In Orange County, we not only need credit cards for our holiday shopping, we need sunscreen.

The Irvine Spectrum Center has the typical holiday necessities of any American mall; except here we shop in shirt sleeves and our Santa is dressed as a surfer. But even in balmy temperatures, locals can make figure eights at the outdoor skating rink, OC Chill. The rink is open daily beginning at 11 am. During the week of Christmas, there will be extended late night hours in case you feel like a romantic, midnight skate. And just in case you missed a tree-lighting ceremony, The Spectrum hosts a nightly tree-lighting as part of the "Disney Magical Holiday Lights" show. Shows run every hour from 5:30pm until 9:30pm.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The city of San Juan Capistrano is the perfect pace to experience an "Old California" Christmas.

The Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1776, and is generally regarded as the birthplace of Orange County. Many of the original structures from California's eariest days are still here, and a walk through the Mission gardens and chapel takes you back to a simpler time. After seeing the Mission's traditional holiday nativity display, you can visit the Los Rios Historic District, for a stroll through one of the oldest neighborhoods in the state. The little wooden houses were once homes of those who came to build and protect the Mission. Now many are home to unique gift shops, galleries and cafes. The old El Adobe Restaurant, built in 1797has more than 200 years of history to share. A cozy, comfortable dinner in the former home of Miguel Yorba is the perfect way to end your trip back in time.

Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up to Open at Irvine Spectrum Center

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, Dec 04, 2015

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is coming to the Irvine Spectrum Center, this time as a pop-up cafe expected to be open to the public any time now (was slated for late November) through 2016. Who knows, if it's as popular and in demand as the cafe trunk, maybe it will be sticking around more permanently past 2016. 

The pop-up cafe is designed within a metal shipping container with your favorite Sanrio characters adorning the interior and exterior of the shop. Hello Kitty Cafe Truck fan favorites such as the mini cakes, macarons, doughnuts and bow shaped water bottles, alongside an expanded offering of sweets, daily tea service, artisanal sodas, and specialty coffee drinks brewed using Portola Coffee Lab coffee will be available.

The pop-up cafe will have a fast-casual setting, inviting guests to pop in & out quickly for a sweet snack -or to stay & enjoy their treats & coffee at a few high top tables located inside the container. Hello Kitty and her friends will welcome customers into the coffee shop space with bold character graphics adorning the exterior and interior panels. The cuteness continues inside of the pop-up cafe with modern fixtures and colorful displays throughout.

"The response from the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck appearances at Irvine Spectrum Center has been so phenomenal," said Easther Liu, chief marketing officer for Irvine Company Retail Properties. "We're looking forward to providing a year-long experience for our guests and die-hard Hello Kitty fans with the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up."

Sanrio will expand its food service venture in the U.S. late next year, with the opening of a permanent Hello Kitty Cafe location at an as of yet undisclosed Southern California location. Fans can stay up-to-date on goings on at the pop-up café, as well as with Hello Kitty Cafe Truck appearances, by following on Facebook Twitter Instagram

670 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, (949) 753-5180, www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com

Check out my experience at the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck here.  

Images via Hello Kitty Cafe Truck / Store Rendering via Cornerstone Communications

Rose Parade creates American memories, new adventures for businessman Dan Han & Irvine parade-goers

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Wednesday, Dec 02, 2015

Dan Han, at right, holds the artist's concept of "Innovation Rocks!" the Destination Irvine 2016 Rose Parade entry. Left to right, Wendy Haase, Destination Irvine; Sam Murray, Managease, Inc.; Kate Klimow, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of California, Irvine; Linda DiMario, Destination Irvine; Tallia Hart, Irvine Chamber of Commerce; Dan Han, Ignite Payments Agape.

 

What is your first Rose Parade memory?  Even those who have never been to the parade in person probably have memories of watching it on television, and some, like scientist Greg Weiss in an earlier post, may have special traditions to go along with it.  For Irvine businessman Dan Han, his first "American memory" is of watching The Tournament of Roses Parade on TV when he was a child.

"My family emigrated from South Korea when I was 6 years old to find a better life and live the American Dream," he states.  "As a child I had no background in the English language and no concept of American culture. Living in my grandfather's house, we shared the space with my aunts and uncles and their families, 12 people in total. One of my first experiences with American culture was watching the Rose Parade on television.

"As a child I was enthralled by the color and pageantry of the event. Seeing the floats and characters as they paraded down the street, my imagination ran wild about what life in America would be like. Seeing all of the happy families and people attending and participating in the parade, I thought that America was a great place to be." 

Han is a member of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors.  His business, Ignite Payments Agape, provides payment processing solutions for businesses by providing ways to accept various forms of payments.  These include credit cards and online commerce as well as newer technologies such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Google Wallet.  He says, "By accepting payment methods other than cash, businesses open themselves to a much larger audience. A larger audience and more ways to pay generally translates into more revenue for the business."

With such a warm memory of the Rose Parade, when he learned the Chamber is sponsoring "Innovation Rocks!" Han says, "I was ecstatic because it brought back those memories from my childhood just coming to the United States.  The float will bring Irvine further in the minds of the people throughout the US and around the world.  The design is a great representation of the various and diverse education and business opportunities that are here in Irvine.

"Irvine and its various communities are very family centered with great access to parks, education, shopping and dining. It also boasts incredible cultural diversity in its population. I believe the exposure that is brought on by this float in the Rose Parade will encourage businesses to move here and want to do business in Irvine. Irvine is already an economic hub with several corporate headquarters and regional offices, ample manufacturing, and huge service industries; coupled with the amazing standard of living, it's a great place to be."

Dan Han looking at height of DI floatSeeing the float for the first time a few weeks ago at Phoenix Decorating Company in Pasadena, Han craned his neck to see the tip top of the 25-foot-high creation.  He says, "The float was huge! Much bigger in real life than I envisioned. The float portrayed many of the qualities of Irvine in relation to the theme of ‘Innovation Rocks!'"

Han says that the business of payment processing must also be innovative in using cutting-edge technology to ensure clients are up-to-date on quickly evolving transaction methods.  Currently the parent company, Ignite Payments, is moving merchants to NFC technologies.  He says, "When I got into this industry, I was looking for something where instead of selling a product or gadget I was providing a service that had a direct benefit. We meet that by helping merchants to reduce the costs of accepting payments, and providing a personal level of service that is rare in our industry."

The name of his office, Ignite Payments Agape, reflects that commitment.  "As a Christian myself I wanted my business to embody the values that I've found through my faith," Han says. "Agape means brotherly love, or the love we have for one another. With that mission we strive to always do what's best for our customers, even when it's hard or doesn't work in our favor. We will always go the extra mile to meet the needs of our customers to the best of our abilities."

Find Your Adventure at the 2016 Rose Parade

Honda opening show for 2016 Rose Parade

When "Innovation Rocks!" glides along Colorado Blvd. on New Year's Day 2016, Irvine fans will want to be prepared for a glorious experience.  These tips will help them be as savvy as seasoned parade-goers. 

• The parade starts at Orange Grove just south of Colorado Blvd. promptly at 8 a.m. and takes about two hours to get to the end of the route on Sierra Madre Blvd. Parade-goers can find a good spot on the street up to an hour or two before the parade arrives, but the closer the spot is to the beginning of the route, the earlier they should arrive. Grandstand seats, available from Sharp Seating Company, provide the assurance of a reserved seat and a place to sit. Viewing is best from the south, or "camera side" of Colorado Blvd.

• To get there, get on the 210 West into Pasadena. Exits from Allen to Fair Oaks and head south to the parade route. Drive time increases closer to Colorado Blvd., so allow plenty of extra time. Reserved parking is available from Sharp Seating (626) 795-4171 and Easy Parking Service (626) 286-7576 and there are plenty of private lots that sell slots for the Rose Parade on the spot.

• Public transportation from Irvine isn't readily available, but a compromise is to exit at Madre/Sierra Madre Villa, turn right and right again into the free parking structure for the Metro Gold Line. Take the train to Allen Avenue, Lake Avenue, Memorial Park, or Del Mar station and follow the crowd to Colorado Blvd.

• Dress in layers; early mornings can be very cold, but it warms up through the morning. Travel light with tote back to stash snacks, beverages and those extra layers. Keep money or wallets in a front pocket and limit valuables to cash, credit card, ID, car keys, and tissues. Food, beverages and souvenirs are sold along the parade route.  

Three basic rules:

1. There are three demarcations for street viewing: the sidewalk, the curb, and the blue line. 

The blue line is the absolute limit for street viewing.  Viewers may not block the sidewalk.  There must be enough room for people to easily pass between storefronts and the viewers.

2. Don't throw things.  Silly string, marshmallows, tortillas, anything.

3. Don't bring contraband.  Weapons, sticks, poles, glass bottles, alcoholic beverages, ladders, or any items which may cause injury or interfere with the parade or spectators' enjoyment of the parade are banned. 

Helpful links

Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game 2016: Complete guide to all events

Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau website, www.visitpasadena.com or call the hotline (877) 793-9911 after Dec. 29

Tournament of Roses Parade Day Guide

Accessibility issues: Leave a voice mail at (626) 744-4782 or email Robert Gorski, City Accessibility Issues Coordinator, rgorski@cityofpasadena.net.


A Holiday Escape to Pelican Hill

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Dec 01, 2015

Hey Ladies.....Wanna Get Away?

A few years ago, my friend Mimi and I started a tradition.

On the Monday after Thanksgiving, instead of launching head-first into the holidays with a day of CyberMonday madness, we choose to take a step back and schedule a time-out

...for ourselves. 

 

Our retreat is The Spa at Pelican Hill, the five-star, little bit of heaven overlooking the ocean at Newport Coast. This ultra luxury resort is a favorite destination of discriminating travelers from all over the world who travel many miles to enjoy its first-class pampering.

For Mimi and me, it's only a few minutes away.

Our goal is simple: after a busy Thanksgiving celebration and before the Christmas holidays get underway, we make time to breathe in eucalyptus, we close our eyes and relax, and we take a few hours to recharge our batteries.

This is a crazy time of year for us girls.  If we're not careful, the busy holiday season can become a whirlwind of tiring tasks that saps all the joy from the merriest time of the year.

The perfectly selected gifts, a cleverly-staged Christmas card, hosts of holiday parties and a festively, decked-out home all add up to an overwhelming check list that can squeeze all the "happy" out of anyone's holiday.

The Resort at Pelican Hill is the perfect place for a little attitude adjustment.

Recently voted "#1 Spa in California" by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, it's hard to believe that the serenity of the spa's relaxation lounge is only a short drive from my house in Irvine. Before I know it, I'm wrapped in a warm robe with an impossibly-soft blanket draped over my feet. I gaze up at the dimly-lit, tranquil waterfall and I think,

"Is it really Monday?"

  

But that's the real beauty of Pelican Hill. This world-class resort is right in our own backyard. For a short time, we can feel like we've escaped and we're on a dream vacation, even if it's only for a few hours. It may be an international destination, but The Resort at Pelican Hill is also a wonderful place for Orange County residents to visit and enjoy.  

Whether it's watching an NFL game at The Pelican Grill bar, enjoying a Sunday brunch next to the Coliseum Pool, or savoring a Grape Seed and Olive Oil Massage with your best friend on a weekday, OC locals can enjoy the same luxury amenities as seasoned, world travelers.

  

After our morning of relaxation and a decadent poolside lunch, my friend and I were ready to head into the holidays with refreshed bodies, renewed spirits and grateful hearts.

For the next month, we will focus on serving others. We will fill our time with preparing, hosting and giving to those we love. So it's only appropriate that we should spend a few hours reveling in the supreme service at The Spa at Pelican Hill. 

Sometimes the most valuable gifts are those we give to ourselves.

 



Filed In: Events

Give the Gift of Theatre at UCI Dramatic Arts

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Tuesday, Dec 01, 2015

Looking to give some unique gifts for the holidays?  Share a theatre experience at UCI with friends and family. Check out these five shows UCI has in store for OC this season.

These Shining Lives

Written by Melanie Marnich; Directed by Sarah Butts

These Shining Lives takes as a lens the strength and determination of women considered expendable in their day, exploring their true story and its continued resonance. Catherine Donohue and her friends have loving families and good jobs painting glow-in-the-dark watch faces at Chicago's Radium Dial Company, and the 1920s seem full of promise. The war is over, the economy booming, and Catherine bobs her hair and treats the girls to banana splits to celebrate their new prosperity. The tragedy comes when Catherine and her colleagues begin falling ill, one by one, with mystifying ailments. When the cause of their symptoms finally becomes clear, Catherine and her friends must find a way to deal with their own inconvenient truth: that the job they love has betrayed them. This is a story of survival in its most transcendent sense, as these women refuse to allow the company that stole their health to kill their spirits or endanger the lives of those who come after them.

Performances @ Humanities Hall Little Theatre:

Opens: Saturday, 21 November at 8:00 pm

Sunday, 22 November at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, 2 December at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 3 December at 8:00 pm

Friday, 4 December at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 5 December at 2:00 pm and 8:00pm

Closes: Sunday, 6 December at 2:00 pm

Clybourne Park

Written by Bruce Norris; Directed by Leslie Ishii

A spin-off of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, this razor-sharp satire examines race and real estate in a fictional Chicago neighborhood. At the heart of this Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a house, acting as the locus of reactions to the shifting racial landscape of a community. In act one, the house is being sold in 1959; following a family tragedy, a white couple is selling their home in a suburban Chicago neighborhood, and their neighbors are dismayed to learn that the buyers are African-American. In the second act, in 2009, the house is again being sold; this time, a white couple is purchasing the home from an African-American couple, and the two butt heads over showing respect for a neighborhood that has become largely African-American. These two racially charged transactions tell the story of a home and a neighborhood, while exploring the broader elements of personal and national history people choose to hang onto, even within the ever-shifting boundaries of our cultural landscape.

Performances @ Robert Cohen Theatre:

Opens: Saturday, 30 January at 8:00 pm

Sunday, 31 January at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, 3 February at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 4 February at 8:00 pm

Friday, 5 February at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 6 February at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Closes: Sunday, 7 February at 2:00 pm

 

Woyzeck

Written by Georg Buchner; Directed by Andrew Borba

Having fathered an illegitimate child with his lover Marie, feckless soldier Franz Woyzeck takes odd jobs around his small town to provide some extra money for them. One of these is volunteering for experiments conducted by a local doctor, who puts Woyzeck on a diet of peas; this serves to drive him to the brink of madness, and the discovery that Marie is conducting an affair with the local drum major exacerbates the situation. Pushed too far, Woyzeck resorts to violence. Based on the true story of Johann Christian Woyzeck, a lowly soldier in Leipzig, Germany, this remains one of the most enigmatic and influential works of modern theatre. The exploration of the dehumanizing tests Woyzeck was put through to determine if he should be held responsible for his actions, and the implications of these tests, provide the impetus of Buchner's episodic and radically innovative play.

Performances @ Claire Trevor Theatre:

Opens: Saturday, 5 March at 8:00 pm

Sunday, 6 March at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, 9 March at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 10 March at 8:00 pm

Friday, 11 March at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 12 March at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Closes: Sunday, 13 March at 2:00 pm

An Enemy of the People

Written by Henrik Ibsen; Directed by Jane Page

The future is looking bright in Dr. Stockmann's hometown on the coast of southern Norway. At his urging, the town has built therapeutic Baths, which will invite tourists and their dollars. However, trouble arrives when the Doctor discovers that the water of the Baths is teeming with bacteria, guaranteed to make everyone sick. Ridiculed and persecuted by the townsfolk for his honesty, he is declared an "enemy of the people." This classic Ibsen text explores the intersection of standing alone to tell an uncomfortable truth versus bowing to the corruption of a complacent majority. It also questions whether there is even such a thing as absolute truth; in Ibsen's words, "A normally constituted truth lives-let us say-as a rule, seventeen or eighteen years, at the outside twenty, very seldom more. And truths so patriarchal as that are always shockingly emaciated."

Performances @ Humanities Hall Little Theatre:

Saturday, 30 April at 8:00 pm

Sunday, 1 May at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, 4 May at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 5 May at 8:00 pm

Friday, 6 May at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 7 May at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Sunday, 8 May at 2:00 pm

 

Evita

Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber; Lyrics by Tim Rice; Directed by Travis Kendrick; Music Direction by Daniel Gary Busby

One of the most popular musicals of the modern era, Evita is the story of Argentina's controversial First Lady, Eva Peron. The play opens with her awe-inspiring funeral - attended by seven million devoted followers - and takes the audience back through the previous ten years, explaining how a B-movie actress became the object of such passionate and zealous devotion. This semi-staged concert version of the full musical score takes us from Eva's humble beginnings in rural Argentina in the 1930s, through her impoverished years and eventual success as an actress in Buenos Aires, to her eventual place by the side of president Juan Peron as the beloved yet politically polarizing figure of "Evita." The original Broadway production of Evita was the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Performances@ Irvine Barclay Theatre:

Friday, 27 May at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 28 May at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

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