Citadel Theatre provided Military Families of the USO of Illinois with Holiday Cheer


A Christmas Story: The Musical runs Nov 18 thru Dec 18 at Citadel Theatre. To purchase tickets to a performance, click the link above.

Citadel Theatre gave a free, exclusive performance of "A Christmas Story: The Musical" to military families of the USO of Illinois

Celebration November 17 included free performance, refreshments and treats, goodie bags from Sweet Pete's and a visit from Santa

LAKE FOREST IL – Citadel Theatre, through a gift to the USO of Illinois, has set aside the entire theatre for the benefit of the men and women stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and at USO of Illinois facilities throughout Illinois. On November 17, 2016 Citadel has invited 130 guests from the USO of Illinois to attend a special and exclusive advance performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical, with the show set to start at 7:30pm. Military guests, and their families, will be greeted by Santa and whirled away into the theatre to join Ralphie in his epic quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas presents – a Red Ryder BB Gun.

Steven Esposito of Heal Team 6 – a non-profit organization providing event planning services for charitable activities - is partnering with Citadel Theatre on this event for the USO of Illinois. “We are huge supporters of the military and wanted to help give them a great evening out to enjoy with their families,” said Mr. Esposito. “They are so important to our community and this is a small token to show how much we appreciate them and the brave work that they do for our country.” Steven, on behalf of Heal Team 6, is donating refreshments and treats for this event.

Also joining this great cause is Sweet Pete’s - the gourmet chocolate and candy store located at 270 Market Square in Lake Forest. They will be providing goodie bags -- featuring their special Hand Pull Candy Canes -- for all of the children of these amazing USO families. “Sweet Pete’s is honored to be supporting the USO of Illinois families through this fun night out at Citadel Theatre,” said Gina Gault, General Manager of Sweet Pete’s.

“Citadel Theatre has always strived to be an active part of the community,” said Citadel Theatre Artistic Director Scott Phelps. “We are so grateful for all that Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and the wider Lake County community have done for us, from the Lake Forest School District providing such a wonderful space for our theatre to individuals like Steven Esposito to the terrific local businesses like Sweet Pete’s to the many devoted patrons who keep coming to see our performances. We really want to show our gratitude by giving back to the brave men and women who serve our country, through our ticket partnership with the USO of Illinois.”

“It’s the least we can do,” added Citadel Managing Director Kevin Sherman. “These service personnel are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for this community and this nation and we just wanted to express our appreciation by giving these families a fun evening out to enjoy this wonderful play.”

The service families will receive: free tickets from Citadel Theatre to A Christmas Story: The Musical -- the critically acclaimed Broadway musical; refreshments and treats from Steven Esposito of Heal Team 6; goodie bags from Sweet Pete’s for the kids to take home; and pre-show festivities with Santa.

Press wishing to cover the event are invited to attend the reception starting at 7:00pm. Due to Citadel and the USO of Illinois’ commitment to service members, no press seats will be available for this exclusive performance. Press wishing to cover the performance are invited to return to Citadel on Friday, November 18 for the 8pm start of Citadel’s public offerings.

For people wishing to help Citadel Theatre in giving back this holiday season, the theatre is taking a collection for Midwest Veterans Closet, a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides clothing, food, furniture, and dignity to current active duty families, military Veterans, and their families. When you come to the theatre to see A Christmas Story with your family, please consider helping our veterans with a donation of blue jeans, long johns, warm hats, gloves and scarves. For more information please visit

A Christmas Story: The Musical, directed by Robert D. Estrin, will run November 18 through December 18, 2016 with performances Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Additional matinees have been scheduled for Wednesdays December 7 & 14 at 11am and Saturdays December 10 & 17 at 1pm.

The show is based on the 1983 movie and the nostalgic writings of radio personality Jean Shepherd. Tickets are available online at or over the phone by calling the Citadel Theatre box office at 847.735.8554.


Citadel Theatre is one of Chicagoland’s premier live theatres, producing hundreds of performances annually and inspiring audiences for over 14 years. Founded by Scott and Ellen Phelps in 2002, Citadel Theatre is comprised of its Main Stage performances, its On Tour programs, and its theatre acting classes for children. A proud member of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff ArtsLink, Citadel Theatre offers a unique intimate theatre experience that transports you to another setting and leaves you feeling exhilarated and wanting more. A recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Citadel can accept tax-deductible donations. For more information, ticketing, and to make a donation, please visit Citadel online at or call 847.735.8554.


The USO of Illinois strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Supporting over 330,000 troops and their families every year, the USO of Illinois is a civilian 501(c)(3) non-profit that is supported solely by the generosity of the American people. For more information about the USO of Illinois, visit:


Lake Forest-based Heal Team 6 was created by the Esposito family: Steven, his wife Melissa, and their children Stephanie and Michael. They formed Heal Team 6 to assist local charities and causes with fundraising and event planning. Their all-volunteer team consists of the Esposito Family, Ric Popp, Neal Heriaud, Robert Rose, and Greg Monsen, who work with local charities and causes by providing them with the tools necessary to meet their goals and change lives.