‘James and the Giant Peach’ is a sweet treat at Marriott Theatre


Cast of “James and the Giant Peach” at Marriott Theatre. (Photo by Liz Lauren)


Introducing young theatregoers to the delights of musical storytelling leaps off the page of the famous Roald Dahl novel at the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences in Lincolnshire.

“James and the Giant Peach” is the perfect way to introduce young theatergoers to enjoying live musical theatre. The hour-long performance is suited for audiences of all ages as they watch the fantastical musical come to life. 

In traditional Roald Dahl fashion, James is an orphan forced to live with his two screechy aunts who are anything but nice to him. When he is sent to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that turns an ordinary peach tree into a gigantic peach.

All of a sudden, he finds himself among a group of larger-than-life insects who quickly become the family he is missing. They go on adventures in the ocean ending up at the Empire State Building in New York City. Along the way they learn that they must work together to survive.

Humor, music, and comedic antics weave their way through this wonderful performance. The music by the Tony Award-nominated team of Pasek and Paul (La La LandDear Evan Hansen) is catchy and fun.

Starring is the always wonderful Alex Goodrich as Ladahlord. Lucy Godinez as Aunt Sponge and Leah Morrow as Aunt Spiker are hysterical with quirky costumes to match. The young James is played by the talented Kai Edgar.

The show is directed and choreographed by Tommy Rapley with music direction by Ryan T. Nelson. Kudos to costume designer Amanda Vander Byl for her amazing insect and character costumes.  They are colorful and fun.

Each performance is followed by a question-and-answer session with the cast.  The show plays most Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 am with select 12:30 pm performances and plenty of Spring Break performances. 

Also currently playing at the Marriott is Lin Manuel’s “In the Heights” now through March 17, 2024. Next up is The Music Man opening April 10.

“James and the Giant Peach” is the perfect way to introduce young theatergoers to enjoying live musical theatre.

Details:” James and the Giant Peach” runs through March 30 at the Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire. For tickets, call Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit   www.MarriottTheatre.com

Mira Temkin

For more shows visit  Theatre in Chicago

Reclamation of Invisible Lives


Manny Buckley and Jon Hudson Odom in "The Reclamation of Madison Hemings" by American Blues Theater. (Michael Brosilow)

(L to R) Manny Buckley and Jon Hudson Odom in “The Reclamation of Madison Hemings” at American Blues Theater. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

4 Stars

Can you free yourself from the past, particularly if your past was filled with unhappiness? Can you find the good times you remembered? Can you shake loose the pain or reclaim your legacy? These are some of the themes explored by playwright Charles Smith in “The Reclamation of Madison Hemings” on stage at the American Blues Theater. 

Shortly after the end of the Civil War two former slaves ruminate on their experiences living and working within Monticello, the estate of former President Thomas Jefferson.

Arriving at Monticello as a boy, Israel Gillette Jefferson (Manny Buckley) was originally assigned to making nails in the nailery with his brother, Moses. Eventually he was moved into the house as a fetcher, rising to the position of footman at the time of Jefferson’s death.

Madison Hemings (Jon Hudson Odom), together with his siblings, lived a life of comparative privilege by slavery standards. They were the product of the union between the former President of the United States and his slave, Sally Hemings.

Brothers Israel and Moses were auctioned off after the death of Jefferson and had vowed to meet at Montecillo on the anniversary of their purchase date if ever they were freed. Madison was freed as part of a stipulation in Jefferson’s will. After emancipation they found themselves as neighbors settled in Pike County, Ohio.

Madison has now agreed to accompany Israel to reclaim a bit of their past. In doing so they are reunited in spirit with family and friends who lived and died alongside them in bondage and provided what little love and support they were able to find in a cruel and oppressive system.

Centered around a campfire, the banter between the two is reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” as the two men, seemingly suspended in time, conjecture and bicker about whether Moses has come and gone, whether he is delayed or whether he will come at all.

The playwright’s dialog in this well produced production gives voice to a traditionally unheard side of American History. It is peppered with humor that establishes an obvious underlying bond between the two men who do not always share the same point-of-view regarding the effects of the war, their new station in life, their view of the man who controlled them, nor how much longer they should linger.

Credit to director Chuck Smith who no doubt contributed to the natural cadence and rhythm that comes to life from the mouths of Odom and Buckley. Their conversations enlighten us as to the peculiar realities of the Monticello household, including the obvious hypocrisy of the person who penned “All men are created equal” into the Constitution of the United States. This is all done without preaching or lecturing.

There is the matter of a reference to a blind white mule often heard braying offstage. I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that this device represents echoes of slavery. Though out-of-sight, starving and debilitated it is not easily silenced and not yet dead.

In regard to stagecraft the scenic design and props by Jonathan Berg-Einhorn were suitably evocative, with the presence of a large buckboard wagon offering an imposing sense of time and place.

The costumes of Lily Wallis demonstrated an appreciative attention to detail down to the bow-tied gatherings of Israel’s long-johns. I did however find the lighting by Jared Gooding and Rachel West to be flat. With the exception of an impending storm it did not add much to the atmospherics or mood.

This was my first visit to the new home of the well-respected award-winning American Blues Theater one block north of Bryn Mawr on Lincoln Avenue.

It was refreshing to see that the theater’s board, under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, elected to add a bit of style to the design rather than go with a simply barebones “get away as cheap as we can” approach. The seats are comfortable and relatively spacious in terms of leg room.

The proscenium stage proportionally seems unusually wide compared to its depth especially as the theater seating area is also more wide than deep. Though not technically a thrust the generous apron provides a gentle curve that adds an even greater sense of intimacy for the 137-seat audience.

The spacious contemporary look of the lobby and theater, sporting wood paneling with metal detailing, belies the building’s humble history as a former Walgreen’s and most recently a Dollar General. I live only about three blocks away and am happy to have ABT as a new neighbor.

DETAILS: “The Reclamation of Madison Hemings” is at American Blues Theater, 5627 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, through March 24, 2024. Running time is a little more than 90 minutes with a short intermission. For tickets and information visit  www.americanbluestheater.com or call (773) 654-3103.

Reno Lovison

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago


Two diverse cultures wonderously offer support during an accidental overnight visit


Egyptian band members, Rom Barkhordar and Armand Akbari, hear Israeli cafe owner Dina’s (Sophie Madorsky) thoughts in “The Band Visit – The Musical” at Writers Theatre. (Photo by Michael Brosilow).

Highly Recommended

When an Egyptian Police Unit’s professional band ends up in the desert Israeli town of Bet Hatikva overnight instead of at the cultural center in a large Israeli community due to the similarity in town names, both sides, the musicians and town residents, take away a better understanding of their own lives by dawn. That is the basic plot of “The Band’s Visit.”

I loved the show when it was simply a 2007 screenplay by Eran Kolirin because it delicately entered the life situations of the band members and of the residents.

Audience members of Writers Theatre in Glencoe where it is now appearing through March 17, will find the basic premise is still there but the production, now a 2018 multi-Tony Award-winning Broadway musical by composer David Yazbek and book writer Ithamar Moses, has drastically changed the show. I don’t think it is better or worse. It’s just different. There is even a roller-skating rink (with appropriate musical number) in this desert town.

Audiences who saw “Once” at WT will recognize and love the introductory musical number and closing number as similar in beat, musical instruments and choreography. Not sure why they were used here unless they somehow represent the music at the destination’s cultural center but they don’t change the story line.

Directed by Zi Alikhan, the characters present their situations with sensitivity and also compassion for each other.

Dina, a cafe owner interpreted by Sophie Madorsky, is both sensual and empathetic as she interacts with Tewfiq, the band’s leader played by Rom Barkhordar. They sing “Something Different.” By the story’s end you learn of  Tewfiq’s tragic family story.

During the show you watch other band members getting to know and interact with residents who are having relationship problems. However different the musical is from its original intent, ‘The Band’s Visit” is a heartwarming and beautiful short story of two cultures coming together with support for each other.

DETAILS: “The Band’s Visit” is at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, IL., now through March 17,2024. Run time: 95 minutes with no intermission. For tickets and more information call (847) 242-6000) or go to www.writerstheatre.org.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit www.theatreinchicago.com.



Superb ‘Silent Sky’ reminds how gender matters

(L-R) Cameron Feagin, Anne Lentino, and Melissa Harlow (Photo by North Shore Camera Club

Highly recommended

First, I must reveal that Lauren Gunderson is my favorite contemporary playwright.  I loved her ATCA award-winning “The Book of Will,” a play about saving the works of William Shakespear and how they got published. She is among the most produced current American playwrights.

Gunderson often intertwines witty dialogue with historical matter while developing themes that have been overlooked. Such is “Silent Sky,” currently on stage at Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest.

A true story based on what Ratcliff grad and astronomer Henrietta Leavitt faced in 1900 when she left Wisconsin and family to join the Harvard University Observatory, (she used her dowry to move and get settled), the play follows her discoveries and interaction with female coworkers called “computers” and a male who is the boss’ assistant.

Now imagine what it must have been like to be told she couldn’t touch much less use the famed telescope there. Picture her working after hours to explore the universe through photos that she and coworkers used in an office space called “the Harem” (really).

Do you think much has changed since then? Did you see the true NASA-related movie, “Hidden Figures?”

Through Gunderson’s words, finely interpreted by Melissa Harlow, Henrietta comes to life in the beautifully done Citadel show. 

The entire production is well cast with Cameron Feagin and Anne Lentino, both of the Promethean Theatre Ensemble that did the excellent “Blue Stocking,” as fellow computers in the Harem and Adam Thatcher as Peter Shaw, the assistant boss. Thatcher just did Citadel’s “She Loves Me.”

Even though the theater space is small and the stage is tiny, Trevor Dotson’s set design includes a proper area for Henrietta’s Wisconsin’s home that includes her sister Margaret’s piano.

Margaret, now a young mother played by the very talented Laura Michele Erle (also the co-writer of “Three Sisters, Four Women”), is composing a symphony.

Pulling it all together is Director Beth Wolf, a Jeff award nominee for Citadel’s “Outside Mullingar” production.

Details: “Silent Sky is at Citadel Theatre, 300 S, Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest, (West Campus of Lake Forest School District) now through March 17, 2023. Run time is about 2 hours including one intermission. For tickets and other information visit www.citadeltheatre.org or call 847-735-8554.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit  Theatre in Chicago





Colorful orchids match carnival mood at Botanic Garden


Orchid Show wonders includes carnival atmosphere and special effects (JJ Photo)

Imagine a colorful carnival taking over the greenhouse area of the Chicago Botanic Garden. Picture part of a Ferris Wheel. Notice unicycles. The fun is part of “The Orchid Show of Wonders” that this year turns the Garden’s annual orchid display of 10,000 blooms into a delightful entertainment break. 

It’s happening daily  Feb 10 through March 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL

It's all there at the Chicago Botanic Garden - What you might find at a carnival. (JJ Photo)
It’s all there at the Chicago Botanic Garden – What you might find at a carnival. (JJ Photo)

Walk under the Big Top, listen to the music. Look for the Fun House next to the greenhouses with its fattening mirrors. Then go inside the greenhouses to see more carnival style accessories including a tightrope walkers net that caught the flowers. 

Pansy Orchids among different ones to look for in the greenhouses. (JJacobs photo)
Pansy Orchids among different ones to look for in the greenhouses.(JJacobs photo)


Take time to stroll among thousands of colorful orchids then return on the weekend to find vendors selling some of the exotic plants in the Market Place. (Saturday & Sunday February 10–11, 17–18, 24–25 and March 2–3, 23–24 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information visit Chicago Botanic Garden.

Jodie Jacobs


The where and what of April solar eclipse across Illinois


Photo taken at 2017 Adler exhibit (JJacobs photo)
Photo taken at 2017 Adler exhibit (JJacobs photo)


Where: as defined by Southern Illinois

The place to be mid-day April 8 is Carbondale, IL. That is ground zero for the full-totality, solar eclipse that crosses the United States in 2024.

The town, home to Southern Illinois University, is holding a four-day festival that includes a program by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium in SIU’s stadium on April 8.

Mokena, IL, a tiny, arts community near Carbondale, is also holding a festival. This is where WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling did his broadcast during the 2017 solar eclipse.

Listeners will remember Skilling’s reactions to totality, the darkness the weather changes. Now it’s happening again in Southern Illinois.

Accommodations will be available (if not already booked) in both towns.


What: as defined by 2024 solar eclipse 

But if you live near Chicago and don’t travel down to Southern Illinois, the other place to be in the state is at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

“This one is different from 2017,” said Michelle Nichols, Adler Planetarium Director of Public Observing. (Nichols will also be doing the SIU program April 8.

She was talking about the unusual circumstance where the Carbondale area is again in the direct path of a complete solar eclipse

Enumerating the differences, she said, “The direction is different.”

After first talking about how it starts over water she continued, saying, “This eclipse goes from Mexico to Maine.” (Southwest to Northeast) She noted that the 2017 eclipse went from Oregon to South Carolina. ((Northwest to Southeast)

(NASA map readers will note the 2024 eclipse enters Canada in Southern Ontario, and continues through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton and will exit continental North America at Newfoundland’s Atlantic coast.)

“Also, the last was smaller,” said Nichols, explaining that the moon was further. “This is closer and the shadow covers a wider area.”

Other differences are the amount of time the eclipse takes and the area covered.

“This time the moon will be a tiny bit bigger. The shadow will be wider and will take longer in totality,” said Nichols. “In 2017 it was two minutes. This time it will be over four minutes.” she said.

“Chicago will go from 12:51 p.m. to 3:22 p.m. with the maximum amount of totality at 2:07 p.m.,” she said and added ghat Chicago would experience 94 percent totality.

At the Adler:

Nichols cautioned that safety was very important so the Adler will have solar-appropriate, disposable glasses available on April 8 when it holds a free watching event. “Glasses will be handed out beginning at 11 a.m. until the supply runs out.”

According to Nichols, people who still have their solar glasses from 2017 can use them only if in good shape and not scratched or damaged. (Regular sun glasses won’t work)

Another reason to go to the planetarium is that visitors can watch through telescopes equipped with appropriate filters made with a 3D printer.

“We will have telescopes, about five to ten of them, for people to look through but they don’t have to be up close to the lens. The lens is very wide and they can take a picture of what they see,” she said.

For people watching at home she suggested they make a pin-hole camera with a card to capture the eclipse on paper or the ground so they don’t look at the sun.

 (NASA and other scientific sites warn that looking directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing will cause severe eye injury.)

Ed Note: The Adler has terrific exhibits up now about eclipses and more information on its website. Go to Explore/Chasing Eclipses and to Eclipses Over Illinois. For other information including safety precautions and a time chart of towns on and near the path visit NASA.

Jodie Jacobs

Kokandy Productions leads Jeff awards announcement


The 2023 Chicago theater season’s Jeff Awards nominations for excellence among Non-Equity theaters were announced today, Feb. 6.

The Non-Equity awards considered 144 theater artists from 32 companies in 24 categories presented during the season from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023,

Four theater companies are recognized with more than 10 nominations each. Kokandy Productions garnered the most with 17 from two productions. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre received 16 nominations, Invictus Theatre Company and Refracted Theatre Company each received 10. “Tambo & Bones” at Refracted Theatre Company drew the most nominations for a single production with 10.

Plus, the Jeff Awards recently expanded categories to recognize Short Run Productions of nine to 17 performances.

2024 Non-Equity Nominees:
“Cat’s Cradle” – Lifeline Theatre
“The Crucible” – Invictus Theatre Company
“Dying For It” – The Artistic Home
“Indoor Cats” – Red Theater
“Right Now” – Facility Theatre
“Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company
“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915” – Theatre Y

“American Psycho” – Kokandy Productions
“Assassins” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
“The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions
“The Threepenny Opera” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
“tick, tick… BOOM!” – BoHo Theatre

“Cat’s Cradle” – Lifeline Theatre
“The Crucible” – Invictus Theatre Company
“Jane: Abortion and the Underground” – Idle Muse Theatre Company
“Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation” – Prop Thtr (i/a/w Perceptions Theatre)
“The Pragmatists” – Trap Door Theatre
“Right Now” – Facility Theatre
“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915” – Theatre Y

“American Psycho” – Kokandy Productions
“Assassins” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
“Promises, Promises” – Blank Theatre Company
“The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions

India Nicole Burton – “Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation” – Prop Thtr (i/a/w Perceptions Theatre)
Tina Fakhrid-Deen – “Dandelions” – MPAACT (Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theater)
Mora V. Harris – “Indoor Cats” – Red Theater
John Hildreth – “Cat’s Cradle” – Lifeline Theatre
Evan M. Jackson – “The Last Queen of Camelot” – Idle Muse Theatre Company
Shannon O’Neill – “The Kelly Girls” – The Factory Theater
Ed Rutherford & George Howe – “Murder, ReWrote” – Hell in a Handbag Productions
Micah Ariel Watson – “Alaiyo” – Definition Theatre

Charles Askenaizer – “The Crucible” – Invictus Theatre Company
Mikael Burke – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company
Heather Currie – “Cat’s Cradle” – Lifeline Theatre
Dado – “Right Now” – Facility Theatre
Wyatt Kent – “Indoor Cats” – Red Theater
Tyrone Phillips – “Fairview” – Definition Theatre
Kezia Waters – “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915” – Theatre Y

Fred Anzevino – “The Threepenny Opera” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Derek Van Barham – “American Psycho” – Kokandy Productions
Daryl D. Brooks – “Assassins” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Bo Frazier – “tick, tick… BOOM!” – BoHo Theatre

Brittney Brown (Regan Kelly) – “The Kelly Girls” – The Factory Theater
Laura Coover (The Woman) – “Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle” – Griffin Theatre Company
Ny’ajai Ellison (Camae) – “The Mountaintop” – Invictus Theatre Company
Julian Hester (Scratch) – “Witch” – The Artistic Home
Patrick Newson Jr. (Bones) – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company
Felicia Oduh (Ariel) – “Alaiyo” – Definition Theatre
Aila Ayilam Peck (Layla) – “Hatefuck” – First Floor Theater
Soleil Pérez (Agnes) – “Agnes of God” – Redtwist Theatre
Mark Pracht (John Proctor) – “The Crucible” – Invictus Theatre Company
William Anthony Sebastian Rose II (Tambo) – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

Neala Barron (John Wilkes Booth) – “Assassins” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Frankie Leo Bennett (SpongeBob SquarePants) – “The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions
Britain Gebhardt (Bessica Feltcher) – “Murder, ReWrote” – Hell in a Handbag Productions
Carl Herzog (Macheath) – “The Threepenny Opera” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Brandy Miller (Fran Kubelik) – “Promises, Promises” – Blank Theatre Company
Patrick O’Keefe (Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald) – “Assassins” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Kyle Patrick (Patrick Bateman) – “American Psycho” –
Kokandy Productions Alec Phan (Jonathan) – “tick, tick … BOOM!” – BoHo Theatre
Rory Schrobilgen (Chuck Baxter) – “Promises, Promises” – Blank Theatre Company

For more categories, and info about Jeff Awards visit www.jeffawards.org

Jodie Jacobs

‘Heights brings hip hop and rap to Marriott Theatre


The cast of “In the Heights” at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

The cast of “In the Heights” at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. (Photo by Liz Lauren)


With “In the Heights” Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire takes on Lin-Manuel Miranda (music and lyrics) and Quiara Alegria Hudes (book) musical that is arguably very different from the longtime traditional shows presented there.

And audiences know that immediately when a street artist Graffiti Pete (Phillip Wood) opens the show by spray painting an awning outside a neighborhood store and performs hip-hop style. 

The musical goes on to tell about a distraught, mostly Domincan Latino community in Upper Manhattan’s NYC’s Washington Heights  neighborhood that s worried about family, work, rent and changing times.

It centers on Usnavi (Joseph Morales) who runs the community’s bodega (small grocery/convenience store) inherited from his parents.

 But it also deals with problems of love, parental approval and making it outside the community’s cultural boundaries.

If you go: Don’t expect “West Side Story” style songs and dances. “In the Heights” pulses to a very different beat. Think “Hamilton” which Miranda wrote and uses different rhythms.

“In the Heights” is at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, through March 17u, 2024.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago


Exciting Flyover ‘ride’ comes to Chicago


Navy Pier adds a three dimensional ride. Photo by J Jacobs)
Navy Pier adds a three-dimensional ride. Photo by J Jacobs)

See Chicago in a whole new way.

Flyover Chicago is part thrill ride and part immersive three-dimensional multi-sensory video experience that utilizes cutting edge drone technology featuring impressive aerial views allowing visitors to see Chicago in a whole new way.

Located in the former IMAX theater at Navy Pier.  The attraction’s designers say they immediately realized it was the perfect place to present the newest addition to their Flyover family that includes theater rides in Vancouver, Canada; Reykjavík, Iceland; and La Vegas.

Participants will sit in a moveable seat that pitches, rolls and articulates while viewing never been seen drone footage of Chicago on a 65 foot high domed theater screen. Flying towards, through and over buildings throughout Chicago in a way you have never seen them before. This means you will feel totally immersed in the Flyover experience.

There is no narration but rather a custom designed surround sound soundtrack of music that defines Chicago including rock, blues, gospel, jazz, hip hop, rap, house and more. Fragrances are included to complete your multisensory enjoyment.

Flyover Chicago will open March 1, 2024 at Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL The attraction opens at 11:00 AM Daily. Advance purchase tickets are available online at flyoverchicagonavypier.com

Reno Lovison


February means food plus fun and parades

Past Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans (Photo courtesy of New Orleans Visitors Bureau)


So glad to about to turn the calendar to February. On the horizon there is:  

  1. Chinese food to order in or eat out for Lunar New Year beginning Feb. 10 and celebrated most of the month.

In the Chicago area there are a couple of dragon parades and other events on Argyle and in Chinatown

2. We have Super Bowl Sunday to nosh through as we watch and rate the commercials Feb. 11. Some interesting ads are already out on U Tube. See more football info at NFL LVIII

3. We get to try cajon and other Louisiana or Rio delicacies for Mardi Gras, Feb. 13 before Lent begins. Mardi is French for Tuesday and Gras means fat but the French reverse the order so Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday.

4. Of course there is Valentines Day flowers, cards and candy to get or send on Feb. 14. But this is a holiday to eat out at a romantic or fun restaurant.

The Chicago area has hundreds of restaurant choices so if not sure where to go, visit Choose Chicago. The city’s tourism site has compiled some suggestions. It includes two old favorites, Mon Ami Gabi. and Geja’s Cafe,  (fondu). Supposedly the holiday’s origins began in Roman times and continued in England with the Legend of St. Valentine but it has become a Hallmark holiday.

Jodie Jacobs