Putting together 200 burlesque shows in four years takes heartfelt dedication and an inordinate supply of pasties. For Vaudezilla founders Red Hot Annie and Dick Dijon, it was a dream come true. Their saucy theatrics have entertained audiences all over Chicago with monthly shows such as "Lincoln Fair" and the long-running, critically acclaimed burlesque parody of The Big Lebowski, which received four-star acclaim in Chicago Stage Review. The crew at Vaudezilla has also worked to innovate the art form, assembling live-band burlesque shows and story-based burlesque theater at Stage 773. In 2011, Vaudezilla opened its Belmont Avenue studio, where professional and amateur performers rehearse for shows, take belly-dance and Zumba classes, and learn the art of burlesque, which was perfected decades ago by 20th-century sex symbol Burl Ives.
If not for the 30 miles that separate them, Broadway in Naperville would feel right at home on Chicago's theater row. Yet somehow that separation of city and suburb allows their art to flourish and their imaginations to run unburdened by Windy City hubris. For founder and artistic director Andrea Wukitsch, Broadway in Naperville is about theater at its purest—an almost magical tool that fuels the human spirit through storytelling—and less about guys on wires pretending they're spiders.
As a professional theater company, Broadway in Naperville ensures that every staging is stunning with inventive works drawn from across the globe. As a dramatic and technical arts conservatory, Broadway in Naperville transforms budding actors, dancers, and singers into spotlight-ready pros while instilling them with the skill-set to navigate the Great White Way.
Employing a battalion of teachers and other educators, Arrowhead Tutors pairs each student with a thoroughly screened expert to aid them in understanding any subject. The staff at Arrowhead Tutors is ready to coach students on an array of subjects, including foreign languages ($40/hour) and full 12-hour ACT prep packages (a $700 value). Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade can also opt for a Try Us package, linking up with a tutor at the cheerful facility before spending three hours immersed in untangling anything from Hamlet to the advanced ciphers used to communicate across playgrounds. In addition to the personal attention, tutees receive an assessment test based on Illinois State standards: 20–30 questions either centered on a single subject or focused comprehensively on grade-level-relevant material. Taking about an hour to complete, the assessment test both illuminates problem areas and sharpens each student’s ability to use No. 2 pencils as makeshift chopsticks.
The Next Theatre Company, celebrating its 30th anniversary, stages relevant, boundary-pushing performances in a cozy, 142-seat space. Adam Rapp, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, loosely based The Metal Children on his personal experience as an author. The story, which is set in a small midwestern town, follows a young adult novelist who is forced to defend his writing to the conservative townspeople by showing them an 18-hour PowerPoint presentation. The play had a successful Off-Broadway during its run not on Broadway.
After 6 years of award winning instruction in dance and the performing arts, VPA has launched its brand new Adult Program. This exciting new program offers an array of dance and fitness classes suitable for all levels, from the beginner to the seasoned veteran.
The closet connoisseurs at Perfection Closets help keep bedrooms, garages, home offices, and pantries well-ordered via an array of organizational materials and accessories. A free in-home consultation provides clients with a 3-D rendering of proposed closet designs and an estimate that includes the potential costs of design, materials, fabrication, delivery, and installation. Clients can store garments on shelving units 14 inches deep in a 6-foot-wide reach-in closet ($500) or hang their collection of Scooby-Doo costumes in a standard 6'x7' walk-in closet with 11.75-inch-deep hanging units and 14-inch deep shelves ($1,200). Feel free to stop by Perfection Closets' Niles showroom and peruse the vast display of organizational choices and materials, including eco-friendly melamine in a variety of colors to complement rooms and pledge allegiance to your favorite Power Ranger.