City Goes Back to the 60s for MTC Gala

By Jacob Nelson

The Music Theatre Company’s (TMTC) third annual Gala, A Mod Musical Evening, transformed the Highland Park Community House into a retro 1960’s cabaret.

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Over 150 Gala guests, wearing all varieties of mod attire, enjoyed 1960s musical performances by TMTC’s performers and danced to the music of local Beatles cover band Dr. Mark and the Sutures.

Dr. Mark Nolan Hill was honored with the 2012 TMTC Visionary Award for his commitment to The Arts in Highland Park and Highland Park Mayor Nancy R. Rotering served as Honorary Chair of the event.

Peggy Hayner of Deerfield, TMTC’s Board President, was the gala’s co-chair, along with Roberta Seedman of Highland Park.

The Gala raised more than $18,000 from ticket sales, a silent auction and a raffle with all proceeds benefiting TMTC’s upcoming professional theatre productions.

The evening was catered by Whole Foods of Deerfield, and wine was sponsored by Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants. Donors of items to the silent auction included: Ablan Gallery, Ann Conners, Body Evolve Solutions, Will Buck, Café Central, Chicago Dramatists, DiVinci Painters, Drury Lane, Derek Faust, Bonnie Murphy French, Geoff Gluck, Deborah Hamilton, Hel’s Kitchen, Stephanie Herman, Highland Pop, Jan Channon Flowers, Jeweled Elephant, The Klairmont Family, M Restaurant, Carol McErlean & Mike Levin, The Metropolitan Opera, Moderno, Murphy French & Associates, North Central College Fine Arts, James Paradiso, Pascal Pour Elle, Paula Winter Design, Jessica Redish, Martin Redish, Hollis Resnik, Mark Rose, Ross Mondschain,Gabrielle Rousso, Starbucks of Highland Park, Starland, Joey Stone, Mary Pat Studdert, Lauren Taslitz Jewelry, The Art Center, Therapeutic Kneads, TimeLine Theatre, Charles Troy, Visceral Dance Center and Steve Zacharias.

For more about the Music Theatre Como please check out its website.

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Related Topics: 60s, Gala, and Music Theatre Company

The Music Theatre Company’s 2012 Gala Celebrates the Musical Evolution of the 60′s

Contact: Audrey Suffrin
Audrey Suffrin Public Relations, LLC

(Highland Park, IL) – Theatre and music lovers are invited to join The Music Theatre Company as they celebrate the evolution of Broadway in the 1960s at their third annual Gala: A Mod Musical Evening on Sunday, May 20th from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Road in Highland Park. The evening’s theme will feature retro music theatre performances by local Chicago talent and a special appearance by Dr. Mark and the Sutures, a Beatles cover band that has been entertaining local audiences with 60’s-era tunes for the past 25 years.

The Music Theatre Company is proud to honor Highland Park resident Dr. Mark Nolan Hill with the 2012 TMTC Visionary Award for his commitment to The Arts in Highland Park. “Dr. Hill has not only been an enthusiastic supporter of TMTC, but a crucial part of the fabric of the arts scene in Highland Park for many years,” said Jessica Redish, Founding Artistic Director for The Music Theatre Company. In addition to Dr. Hill serving on the Board of YEA! Highland Park, this year his band, Dr. Mark and the Sutures, is celebrating their 25th anniversary. “We’re thrilled to have Dr. Mark and his band present a special performance at this year’s Gala!”

Highland Park Mayor Nancy R. Rotering will be serving as Honorary Chair and will also be honored for fostering The Arts in Highland Park. “Through the support of Mayor Rotering and the City Council, The Music Theatre Company can continue to provide professional music theatre productions and educational programming,” continued Redish. “It is our hope that in addition to contributing to the arts community, we can also continue to support a vibrant downtown Highland Park.”

The evening will be generously catered by Whole Foods Market of Deerfield, with wines sponsored by Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants. Both a silent auction and a raffle including cash prizes will be featured. “Mod 1960’s cocktail attire is encouraged!” states Peggy Hayner, TMTC’s board president and gala co-chair, along with Roberta Seedman. “This event will have an energy that promises to please. Aside from awesome entertainment, food, wine, raffle, and silent auction items, guests will be helping to keep professional music theatre in our own community.”

Donors to the 2012 silent auction and raffle include: The Metropolitan Opera, Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, Jeweled Elephant, Murphy French & Associates, The Highland Park Police Department, Café Central, Silk Thumb, Pascal Pour Elle, Hell’s Kitchen, Writers’ Theatre, Lake Shore Country Club, Gallery Paradiso, a private concert by Stephanie Herman, Ablan Gallery, Midtown Athletic Club, Starland, ESPN and more. Also available for auction are: signed Bears and Blackhawks memorabilia, Metropolitan Opera tickets with a backstage pass, White Sox tickets, and a Ravinia package.

The Music Theatre Company values the musical as an art form. Through the presentation of fully-staged productions, commissions of new works, musical experiments and an interactive dialogue between artist and community, The Music Theatre Company, a nationally-based company of professional artists creating work in Highland Park, explores the musical in the interest of expanding the canon of musical theatre.

Tickets to The Music Theatre Company’s 2012 Gala are limited and can be purchased by for $75 per person by visiting: or calling (847) 579-4900.

Cooper’s Hawk Wheels Its Wine Into Wheeling

By Izidora Angel

As befits the look of an upscale casual chain, Cooper’s Hawk Winery is no exception in its polished image. The sleek Web site, modern exterior, shiny floors and black tables are all there, which in turn often begs the question: Is this another case of restaurant style over menu substance? The answer is, there’s a little of both style and substance.

The fourth location of this Chicago-only chain of wineries and restaurants just opened in Wheeling, right across from the Westin on Milwaukee. The winery is located in Orland Park, but great big oak barrels for wine ageing are seen through the windows here at the Wheeling location. Outside, a concrete patio lets you enjoy a sunny fall day, and inside, a gift shop serves as the entryway to the restaurant itself, boasting varying goodies from bottles of wine (obvious) to cheesecake on a stick (not so obvious). Alternating carpet and hardwood floors lead to the main dining area through the wine-tasting room and bar. The general layout is pretty by the book, as exemplified by many similar restaurants, with its open kitchen and large spaces, so we were curious to see what made this one stand out.

The menu serves up some classic contemporary American grub, such as chicken and mashed potatoes, ribeye steak and seafood, and at a modest two pages, it isn’t a hassle to navigate.

We started with a free sample of the Barrel Reserve (a potent bouquet of the house merlot and cabernet) as well as a bowl of the always-hard-to-resist crab and lobster bisque, here branded as the restaurant’s signature soup and one patrons “will never forget.” Creamy and quite heavy with small pieces of crab, lobster and shrimp (the most visible of the bunch), the soup was also pretty heavy in butter – always a surefire taste pleaser, but a little like cheating, too.

The main courses were absolutely enormous. Anne’s chicken Saltimbocca, which we found under the chicken specialties, was comprised of several chicken breasts topped with thin prosciutto, melted provolone, garlic and sage, and served in a thick and (again) very butter-heavy, white wine lemon sauce with big artichoke hearts, capers and diced tomatoes. As accompanied by Mary’s potatoes and asparagus, the dish was truly overwhelming in its heaviness, which even the vegetables couldn’t disperse. A dish such as this is definitely eaten better in two seatings.

Another main course, Aunt Lynn’s Asian pork tenderloin, was a sliced pork tenderloin roasted in honey, soy, ginger and brown sugar. The meat was perfectly cooked, but a little bland, something which the fragrant Asian noodle stir-fry beside it promptly offset.

Having been open for only about two months, the restaurant can be somewhat forgiven for its slightly distracted service in the dining area. The service in the gift shop, however, proved more than competent and very friendly. Cooper’s Hawk is a good lunch or date destination, with varying menu items from sandwiches to steaks. What makes it definitely worthwhile though is getting some free wine samples brought to you at your request.

• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. Our aim is to describe the overall dining experience while guiding the reader toward the menu’s strengths. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery

Facts: 583 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling; (847) 215-1200;

Cuisine: Contemporary American

Setting: A very modern, airy and polished eatery with a gift shop, wine-aging oak barrels and a diverse menu

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Price range: Appetizers $7.99 to $10.99; entrees $9.99 to $29.99; desserts $5.99 to $6.99

Restaurant Plan Unveiled in Wheeling

By Nadia Malik

A new restaurant near the Westin North Shore Hotel in Wheeling will likely be making its way through the plan commission next month.

Mike Firsel, restaurant project developer with Oak Brook-based Mid-America Development Partners LLC, gave the Wheeling village board updates Monday on progress in developing property adjacent to the Westin.

He said Cooper’s Hawk, a restaurant and winery, would take up one of the vacant retail spots.

The village has expressed some concern about other empty retail spots in the development, but Firsel said those are also his priority.

“No one is more concerned about this than we are,” he said.

On Dec. 10, the village will also be looking at an amendment to the development agreement to give Firsel’s group a 30-month extension from a January deadline for putting up three final retail buildings.

Firsel said he needs the extra time because the buildings would be constructed on existing parking.

“It’s a double-edged sword: If we build, not only do we take the existing parking spaces, but the users of those new buildings would have to have parking as well,” he said.

One potential solution could come from an agreement the village is working on with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Wheeling wants to build a lagoon on forest preserve property by the Westin development.

Firsel said this could potentially benefit him as well because some of the detention ponds on the Westin property could be relocated to the forest preserve land. This would free up more land for a parking garage.

However, Firsel said he also has two other options that could solve the issue, including building a parking garage in another location or creating off-site employee parking.