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Magic City Festival

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This marathon performing-arts showcase--sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and The Arts Matter Foundation with lots of corporate backing--is a aimed at (though certainly not restricted to) families with children aged 3 to 13. Producer Cheryl Sloane and her colleagues have booked an impressive collection of local and international talent; there's a heavy emphasis on storytelling and improvisation, and many attractions (including a slew of workshops) prioritize audience participation. The better-known entertainers on the agenda range from Ben Vereen, Bob McGrath, and Raffi to local groups such as the Jellyeye drum ensemble, Second City, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago; the schedule also includes performances by local kids, some of whom took part in Magic City Arts Camps organized by the Park District and taught by members of local theater and dance troupes.

Performances take place Friday-Sunday, August 11 through 13, from 10 AM to 10 PM daily at seven locations on Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand: the Skyline Stage, the Magic City Tent, the Family Pavilion stage, the Compass Rose, the South Dock East and South Dock West stages, and the new Chicago Children's Museum, which doesn't officially open till the fall. Informal performances also take place throughout the weekend in the Crystal Garden. General admission is $3 per day; a three-day pass costs $6. These prices include all shows in the Magic City Tent and the Chicago Children's Museum, as well as workshops in the Workshop Space. Performances at the Family Pavilion, Compass Rose, and South Dock Stages are completely free. Skyline Stage shows are $10-$15 extra as indicated in the listings below (these prices include general admission to the festival).

The listings below are based on information available Tuesday and are subject to change. For tickets to Skyline Stage shows, call 559-1212 (Ticketmaster); for other information, call the festival at 744-1612.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11

Denise Berry-Hanna

The Chicago-based storyteller offers tales from Korea, Russia, England, and Africa. South Dock East, 10:30 AM.

Gluscabi

Chicago's experimental Lookingglass Theatre Company performs its adaptation of a Native American folktale about the misadventures of a mythic trickster. Magic City Tent, 11 AM.

Stories Just So

The Paint Box Theater offers its version of Rudyard Kipling fables, featuring pantomime and masks. Chicago Children's Museum, 11 AM.

Tom and Chris Kastle

These musical tale-tellers specialize in songs of the sea. South Dock West, 11 AM.

Las Semillitas

A youth ensemble perform traditional and modern dances and songs from Spanish-speaking countries. Family Pavilion, 11 AM and noon.

Linda Phistry

Her workshop "Poetic Wizardry" teaches the ABCs of poetry. Workshop Space, 11 AM.

Chicago Park District Show Team

The young athletes in this semiprofessional company of exhibition gymnasts and dancers got their start in local park sports programs. Compass Rose, 11 AM, noon, and 1, 2, 3, and 4 PM.

What's So Big About AIDS?

The HealthWorks Theatre's educational play seeks to demystify HIV for younger children. South Dock East, 11:30 AM.

A Quirky Carol

Gaia Theatre's modern musical retelling of Dickens's Christmas classic stresses audience interaction and ecological awareness. Chicago Children's Museum, noon.

Grupo Folklorico Internacional

Children aged 6 to 14 perform dances and songs from Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and El Salvador. South Dock West, noon.

Denise Berry-Hanna

The storyteller leads a workshop on "Bringing Stories to Life." Workshop Space, noon.

Bob Kann

Skokie-bred and Madison-based, Kann uses puppetry, juggling, and clowning to enliven his storytelling. South Dock East, 12:30 PM.

Bocon! The Big Mouth

Stage Left Theatre performs a children's play by Lisa Loomer about a boy who escapes to the U.S. from a South American dictatorship. Magic City Tent, 12:30 PM.

Tom and Chris Kastle

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock West, 1 PM.

Antonio Sacre

The performance artist leads a workshop on "Creative Storytelling." Workshop Space, 1 PM.

Bobby Norfolk

The Saint Louis actor-turned-storyteller employs sound effects and playful movements as he tells tales from the African and southern African-American tradition. Family Pavilion, 1 PM.

Beth Horner

The Chicago-based storyteller punctuates her folktales with autoharp music and listener participation. South Dock East, 1:30 PM.

Bob Kann

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. South Dock West, 2 PM.

Stories Just So

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Chicago Children's Museum, 2 PM.

Bamboo Harvest

Steve Pollitt performs songs from Europe and Asia using bamboo flutes, ancient woodwinds, and ethnic percussion. Family Pavilion, 2 PM.

Gaia Theatre

The environmental-education troupe leads a workshop on theatricalizing "Familiar Fables." Workshop Space, 2 PM.

What's So Big About AIDS?

See listing for 11:30 AM Friday. South Dock East, 2:30 PM.

South Shore Country Club/Lookingglass Theatre Camp Show

This summer the Chicago Park District sponsored three free camps to introduce children at all levels of physical ability to the performing arts. Each camp employed teachers from local arts companies. At the South Shore Country Club park, members of Lookingglass Theatre helped campers create their own modern adaptation of The Wizard of Oz; this is the result. Magic City Tent, 2:30 PM.

Jim May

A leader in the local storytelling movement, May tells folktales and ghost stories from diverse cultures. Family Pavilion, 2:30 PM.

Tom and Chris Kastle

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock West, 3 PM.

A Quirky Carol

See listing for noon Friday. Chicago Children's Museum, 3 PM.

Antonio Sacre

The bilingual, Cuban-born performance artist offers traditional tales and personal anecdotes. Family Pavilion, 3 PM.

Beth Horner

See listing for 1:30 PM Friday. South Dock East, 3:30 PM.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. South Dock West, 4 PM.

Jim May

See listing for 2:30 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 4 PM.

Music Theatre Workshop

This company, which creates original musicals, leads a workshop on making "Real Life Theatre." Workshop Space, 4 PM.

Broadway Bound Dance Company

A group of young people aged 5 to 16 perform Broadway hits. Magic City Tent, 4:30 PM.

Colorado Kenny

Ken Krause presents stories and songs about everyday things. South Dock East, 4:30 and 5:30 PM.

Dr. Gesundheit

The doctor is in with his trademark blend of precision juggling, eccentric dance, physical clowning, and verbal comedy. South Dock West, 5 and 7 PM.

Antonio Sacre

See listing for 3 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 5 PM.

Jim May

See listing for 2:30 PM Friday. South Dock East, 6 and 7 PM.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 6 PM.

Pageant

Chicago's Redmoon Theater, known for its use of oversize puppets and its seasonal "pageant" events, leads a procession to kick off tonight's "Magic City Celebration." The parade steps off at 6:30 PM from the end of South Dock and proceeds toward the Magic City Tent.

Ben Vereen and the "Magic City Celebration"

Vereen, the quintessential song-and-dance man in such Broadway musicals as Pippin and Jesus Christ Superstar, has devoted himself to working with kids since his near-miraculous recovery from devastating injuries sustained when he was hit by a truck. He headlines this gala, which features the Chicago Children's Choir, Alyo Children's Dance Theatre, Child's Play Touring Theatre, Jellyeye, Chris Fascione, the Natyakalalayam Dance Company, Redmoon Theater, Steppin' Out, and other groups. Skyline Stage, 7:30 PM (followed by fireworks at 10:15 PM). $15.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12

Tom and Chris Kastle

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock West, 10 AM.

Ooooogy Green and Other Fables

Chicago's Metamorphosis Theatre performs its combination of Aesop's fables, vaudeville shtick, classical music, and science education about insect life. Chicago Children's Museum, 10 AM.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 10 AM.

Brechita 44: Pequenas Estrellas

Youngsters from the Channel 44 TV show twirl, kick, sing, and dance in two languages. South Dock East, 10:30 AM.

Bamboo Harvest

See listing for 2 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 10:30 AM.

Bob McGrath

Sesame Street's singing storyteller performs with Moves Dance Theater, a local youth group. Skyline Stage, 11 AM. $10.

Jeff Moyer

The visually disabled songwriter stresses self-esteem and diversity in his kids' shows. South Dock West, 11 AM.

Eckhart Park/Tellin' Tales Camp Show

The kids who studied with Tellin' Tales members put together "The Prince and the Pauper" and "The Princess and the Pauper," their own musical versions of the Mark Twain story. Chicago Children's Museum, 11 AM.

Dave Herzog's Marionettes

The Chicago puppet troupe performs. Family Pavilion, 11 AM.

Linda Phistry

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Workshop Space, 11 AM.

Las Semillitas

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock East, 11:30 AM.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 11:30 AM.

Use It Again

The Gaia Theatre performs an environmental-awareness play. South Dock West, noon.

Jinx

Stunt skating by a team of Rollerblading daredevils. Compass Rose, noon.

Ooooogy Green and Other Fables

See listing for 10 AM Saturday. Chicago Children's Museum, noon.

Music Theatre Workshop

See listing for 4 PM Friday. Workshop Space, noon.

Bob Kann

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. South Dock East, 12:30 PM.

Antonio Sacre

See listing for 3 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 12:30 PM.

Child's Play Touring Theatre

This itinerant company features grown-up actors performing material written by kids. Magic City Tent, 12:30 PM.

Chicago Park District Show Team

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 12:45 PM.

Tom and Chris Kastle

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock West, 1 PM.

Eckhart Park/Tellin' Tales Camp Show

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Chicago Children's Museum, 1 PM.

Dave Herzog's Marionettes

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 1 PM.

Metamorphosis Theatre

The company offers a workshop on adapting fables. Workshop Space, 1 PM.

Steppin' Out

The tap dance duo performs. South Dock East, 1:30 PM.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 1:30 PM.

Antonio Sacre

See listing for 3 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 1:30 PM.

Hamlin Park/Chicago Moving Company Camp Show

This program of dance theater performed by kids includes a choreographic audience-participation murder mystery. Magic City Tent, 1:45 PM.

Use It Again

See listing for noon Saturday. South Dock West, 2 PM.

Rives Collins and Julie Shannon

Collins, coartistic director of the Chicago Children's Theatre, joins singer-songwriter Shannon for an evening of original stories and music. Chicago Children's Museum, 2 PM.

Jeff Moyer

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 2 PM.

Chicago Park District Show Team

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 2 PM.

Players Workshop

The venerable children's theater offers a workshop on "Improvisation." Workshop Space, 2 PM.

Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

The paradox of African dance is that, despite all its physical vigor, it's essentially an exercise for the spirit. Few performers are more invigorating and uplifting than the Muntu drummers and dancers, who have been entertaining audiences in Chicago and worldwide for more than 20 years. Skyline Stage, 2:30 PM. $10.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. South Dock East, 2:30 PM.

Dave Herzog's Marionettes

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 2:30 PM.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 2:45 PM.

Tom and Chris Kastle

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock West, 3 PM.

Kids in Control

The Players Workshop presents an improvised, audience-interactive show about a space creature who comes to earth. Chicago Children's Museum, 3 PM.

Shanta

The Chicago storyteller offers tales about "empowerment, peace, healing, and self-discovery." Family Pavilion, 3 PM.

Rives Collins

Collins leads a workshop on "Finding Family Stories." Workshop Space, 3 PM.

Jeff Moyer

Moyer leads a workshop on "Creative Songwriting." Magic City Tent, 3 PM.

Las Semillitas

See listing for 11 AM Friday. South Dock East, 3:30 PM.

Chicago Park District Show Team

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 3:30 PM.

Steppin' Out

See listing for 1:30 PM Saturday. South Dock West, 4 PM.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 4 PM.

The Emperor and the Nightingale

City Lit Theater Company performs Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a monarch whose life is saved by birdsong. Chicago Children's Museum, 4 PM.

Dave Herzog's Marionettes

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 4 PM.

Players Workshop

See listing for 2 PM Saturday. Workshop Space, 4 PM.

Hamlin Park/Chicago Moving Company Camp Show.

See listing for 1:45 PM Saturday. Magic City Tent, 4 PM.

Chris Fascione

Fascione's charming renditions of stories and poems employ mime, clowning, and theatrics. South Dock East, 4:30 PM.

Jeff Moyer

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 4:30 PM.

Sooz

She sings and plays sax, and she's joined by "Special Kids" from the Chicago Park District. South Dock East, 5 PM.

Second City

The company leads a workshop on improvisation. Workshop Space, 5 PM.

Shanta

See listing for 3 PM Saturday. South Dock West, 5 PM.

Gluscabi

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 5 PM.

Kids in Control

See listing for 3 PM Saturday. Chicago Children's Museum, 5 PM.

Chris Fascione

See listing for 4:30 PM Saturday. South Dock East, 5:30 PM.

Rives Collins and Julie Shannon

See listing for 2 PM Saturday. South Dock West, 5:30 PM.

Bob Kann

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 5:30 PM.

Hula Halau O'Manulani

This company of African-American hula dancers celebrates the rejuvenating spirit of the traditional Hawaiian dance. Compass Rose, 6 and 7 PM.

The Emperor and the Nightingale

See listing for 4 PM Saturday. Chicago Children's Museum, 6 PM.

Jellyeye

A favorite on Chicago's vanguard arts scene, this exciting, innovative drum ensemble combines percussion, opera, and dance. Magic City Tent, 6 PM.

Shanta

See listing for 3 PM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 6:30 PM.

Sooz

See listing for 5 PM Saturday. South Dock East, 6:30 PM.

Rives Collins and Julie Shannon

See listing for 2 PM Saturday. South Dock West, 6:30 PM.

Raffi

The Canadian pop singer performs. Skyline Stage, 7 PM. $15.

The Second City National Touring Company

The itinerant improv troupe performs an evening of skits and songs. Magic City Tent, 8:30 PM.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 13

Bob Kann

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. South Dock West, 10 AM.

Cinderella Stories

Highly physical story theater from the Illustrated Theatre. Chicago Children's Museum, 10 AM.

Shanta

See listing for 3 PM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 10 AM.

Faith Tabernacle Choir

Gospel music. South Dock West, 10:30 AM.

Martina y Perez

The Pros Arts Studios presents this kids' play, performed in Spanish and English, about a proud cockroach who falls in love with a mouse. South Dock East, 10:30 AM.

Playing Around

The Imagination Theatre offers a program of guided improvisation. Family Pavilion, 11 AM.

Bob Kann

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. South Dock West, 11 AM.

Nelson Gill

Magic City Tent, 11 AM.

Stories From Black Traditions

City Lit Theater Company performs material reflecting the African heritage. South Dock East, 11:30 AM.

Bocon! The Big Mouth

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. Chicago Children's Museum, 11 AM.

Chris Fascione

See listing for 4:30 PM Saturday. South Dock West, noon.

Chicago Park District Show Team

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, noon.

Jeff Moyer

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, noon.

Linda Phistry

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Workshop Space, noon.

The Happiness Club

This singing and dancing ensemble features local kids addressing contemporary issues. South Dock East, 12:30 PM.

Rumpelstiltskin

The Hystopolis Puppet Theatre enacts the famous legend. Family Pavilion, 12:30 PM.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 12:45 PM.

Song and Dance

The ETA Creative Arts Foundation's kids' musical about the importance of self-respect highlights black musical trends of the past and present. South Dock West, 1 PM.

Cinderella Stories

See listing for 10 AM Sunday. Chicago Children's Museum, 1 PM.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 1 PM.

Dan LeMonnier

LeMonnier leads a workshop on "Mime & Story." Workshop Space, 1 PM.

Stories From Black Traditions

See listing for 11:30 AM Sunday. South Dock East, 1:30 PM.

Building Characters

The Imagination Theatre holds a workshop. Family Pavilion, 1:30 PM.

Shanta

See listing for 3 PM Saturday. South Dock West, 2 PM.

Jackie Torrence

The North Carolina storyteller is joined by young musicians from the Merit Music Program. Magic City Tent, 2 PM.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 2 PM.

Jeff Moyer

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 2 PM.

Jim May

The storyteller leads a workshop. Workshop Space, 2 PM.

Bocon! The Big Mouth

See listing for 12:30 PM Friday. Chicago Children's Museum Theatre, 2:30 PM.

Chris Fascione

See listing for 4:30 PM Saturday. South Dock East, 2:30 PM.

Bamboo Harvest

See listing for 2 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 2:30 PM.

Chicago Park District Show Team

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 2:45 PM.

Alyo Children's Dance Theatre, Natyakalalayam Dance Company, and Trinity Irish Dance Company

For this program each of these troupes, made up of children and teenagers, performs its own brand of cultural dance: Alyo does African, using its own youthful drummers; Natyakalalayam performs the east Indian classical dance form bharatanatyam; and Trinity, well known for its appearances on the old Tonight show with Johnny Carson, specializes in dainty, vigorous Irish step dancing. All these forms rely heavily on the percussive effects of the music, the dancing, or both, so the collaborative piece the companies perform at the end of this concert should be something to see. Skyline Stage, 3 PM. $10.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 3:15 PM.

Song and Dance

See listing for 1 PM Sunday. South Dock West, 3 PM.

Shanta

See listing for 3 PM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 3 PM.

Second City

The company leads a workshop on improvisation. Workshop Space, 3 and 4 PM.

Jinx

See listing for noon Saturday. Compass Rose, 3:15 PM.

Jackie Torrence

The storyteller leads a workshop. Magic City Tent, 3:15 PM.

Brechita 44: Pequenas Estrellas

See listing for 10:30 AM Saturday. South Dock East, 3:30 PM.

Rumpelstiltskin

See listing for 12:30 PM Sunday. Family Pavilion, 3:30 PM.

Grupo Folklorico Internacional

See listing for noon Friday. South Dock West, 4 PM.

What's So Big About AIDS?

See listing for 11:30 AM Friday. Chicago Children's Museum, 4 PM.

Chris Fascione

See listing for 4:30 PM Saturday. Family Pavilion, 4 PM.

Chicago Park District Show Team

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 4 PM.

Bobby Norfolk

See listing for 1 PM Friday. South Dock East, 4:30 PM.

Chris Fascione

Fascione leads a workshop on "Creative Dramatics." Workshop Space, 5 PM.

The Happiness Club

See listing for 12:30 PM Sunday. South Dock West, 5 PM.

Gluscabi

See listing for 11 AM Friday. Compass Rose, 5 PM.

Jim May

See listing for 2:30 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 5 PM.

Jackie Torrence and Merit Music Program

See listing for 2 PM Sunday. Magic City Tent, 5 PM.

What's So Big About AIDS?

See listing for 11:30 AM Friday. Chicago Children's Museum, 5:30 PM.

Rumpelstiltskin

See listing for 12:30 PM Sunday. Family Pavilion, 5:30 PM.

Jeff Moyer

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. South Dock East, 5:30 PM.

Dan LeMonnier

Actor, storyteller, singer, and clown, LeMonnier's also known as the basketball mascot Benny the Bull. South Dock West, 6 and 7 PM.

Hula Hulau O'Manulani

See listing for 6 PM Saturday. Compass Rose, 6 and 7 PM.

Jim May

See listing for 2:30 PM Friday. Family Pavilion, 6 PM.

Menu Mania

The Players Workshop's kids' show brings together Shakespeare, Mother Goose, and rock 'n' roll. South Dock East, 6:30 PM.

Jeff Moyer

The singer leads a workshop on "creative songwriting." Magic City Tent, 6:30 PM.

Michael Moschen

and Tuyo

See Critic's Choice. Skyline Stage, 7 PM. $15.

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