In 1903, Hammond’s first mayor, Marcus M. Towle, opened the Towle Opera House to provide the city with a venue for theatrical productions. Times changed, and with them the theater: the opera house became a cinema, and eventually a string of fashion shops moved into the space. The building seemed destined for a future of holographic retail, but in 2003—a century since the stage first opened—it was reborn as the Towle Theater. Since then, its intimate brick-lined confines have hosted such crowd-pleasing productions as The Musical of Musicals, the Musical and A New Brain.
Bravo hits the road with reality-television powerhouses, delivering an interactive Real Housewives gathering at the Horseshoe Casino’s spacious venue. Four Real Housewives from four cities—Sonja from New York City, Gretchen from Orange County, Kathy from New Jersey, and Phaedra from Atlanta—discuss their most talked about on-screen moments, answer audience questions, and share cast secrets, such as pressing gossip and gym-locker combinations. Orchestra seats place reality-television junkies in the middle of the venue and the VIP-ticket seats guests in the first 10 rows. In addition to up-close viewing, the VIP ticket includes an exclusive reception hosted by The Real Housewives with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a separate red-carpet entrance to the venue, and a limited-edition tour laminate with matching lanyard. Attendees must be over 21 or a master of fake mustaches to participate in the Red Carpet package.
The Museum of Science and Industry, opened in 1933, has nearly 14 acres of interactive exhibits and more than 35,000 intellect-tickling artifacts. Current exhibits include YOU! The Experience, which explores the intellectual, corporeal, spiritual, and immiscible aspects of human life through 50 interactive experiences; Science Storms, which explains the science behind natural phenomena and allows visitors to control the air flow of a 40-foot tornado, make a tsunami in a 30-foot wave tank, and more; and the U-505 Submarine, which showcases a German submarine captured off the coast of West Africa during World War II. Plus, classic exhibits such as the Coal Mine are always available.
Dennis and Marge Dennehy started the Dennehy School of Irish Dance more than 50 years ago. Since then, the school's instructors have taught Irish dances to countless kids—including Michael Flatley, who went on to star in shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.
Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.