Gift­ing 101

Some help­ful tips for your hol­i­day shop­ping

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By DANIELLE BRAFF

Chicago Tri­bune

The av­er­age per­son spent up­ward of $800 on hol­i­day gifts last year, ac­cord­ing to the National Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion. And if you shell out that much cash, you want the re­cip­i­ents of your gifts to be happy.

We grilled the ex­perts on how you can score big. (Hint: You might want to go with a gift card rather than some­thing su­per per­sonal). Be­fore you even think about shop­ping, check out some do’s and don’ts, which will guide you in the right di­rec­tion. Gift Ideas For Ev­ery­one Gift cards. To you, it may sound im­per­sonal. To the re­ceiver, it’s the per­fect present. Ac­cord­ing to an NRF sur­vey, 59 per­cent of peo­ple say they’d love to re­ceive a gift card as a present, and this is the ninth year in a row that gift cards have topped the list of most re­quested items. Make sure,

chal­lenges of his own to play his part. Usu­ally a bass, it took some ded­i­cated work to ready his voice for the higher notes re­quired of him. He used his “mo­bile re­hearsal hall — my car.”

“I can belt,” Creg­ger said, “and no one cares.”

Oth­ers, like Joseph Mur­phy, who plays Munkus­trap, dealt with an en­tirely dif­fer­ent set of ob­sta­cles. While Griz­abella and Old Deuteron­omy are fairly stan­dard roles in terms of phys­i­cal fit­ness, many in the mu­si­cal force their ac­tors to sing and dance, some­times si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Mur­phy has lost 30 to 35 pounds in the last few months in prepa­ra­tion.

He’s also had to bring his voice back up to snuff. His last ap­pear­ance was as Riff in “West Side Stor y” at Mil­burn Stone last year.

“Not re­ally per­form­ing and singing for a year, you got to get your pipes back in or­der, be­cause they start go­ing away,” Mur­phy said.

Re­cently, the theater added a mati­nee show on Dec. 10, dur­ing which it’ll ask for do­na­tions for a Plump­ton Park Zoo fun- draiser, to go to­ward a new en­clo­sure for its two tigers, Alexis and Mir­a­cle. It’s a step in the com­mu­nity in­volve­ment di­rec­tion that Johnson said she wants the theater to take.

Af­ter “Cats,” Mil­burn Stone will go on a brief hia­tus un­til Jan. 12, when “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jack­son” opens at Elk­ton Sta­tion.

“Cats” will run Nov. 25, 26, 27 and Dec. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 ( Fri­days and Satur­days at 8 p. m., Sun­days at 3 p. m.). Mati­nee on Satur­day, Dec. 10, at 2 p. m. Tick­ets can be bought at mil­burn­stone. com or at the door — $ 18.

CE­CIL WHIG PHO­TOS BY JOE ANTOSHAK

Rob Tucker, play­ing Mun­go­jer­rie, jumps dur­ing a scene in Monday’s run-through of “Cats,” which opens tonight at Mil­burn Stone The­atre

PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAM­STIME/TNS

Gift cards and clothes rank high with gift re­cip­i­ents.

CE­CIL WHIG PHO­TOS BY JOE ANTOSHAK

Bom­balu­rina, played by Darby McLaugh­lin.

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