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Performing Arts Next 7 Days – Free

24 total results

Bronzeville Comedy Showcase

Through 8/27: every other Wednesday, 7 PM

Comic Brian Babylon returns with his Bronzeville Comedy Showcase, featuring an ever-rotating cast of stand-ups collectively setting up a mike on the south side every other week. The show moved spaces this year, settling in a bigger venue to accommodate its rise in popularity.

Blanc Gallery (map)
4455 S. King Dr.
phone 773-952-4394
Bronzeville Comedy Showcase


Living Loop Performance Arts Festival

Through 8/29: Fri, times vary

This summer-long multidisciplinary festival features weekly appearances by artists and troupes including Hubbard Street 2 (6/6), Solaire (7/18), and M.A.D.D. Rhythms (8/22), with times and locations to be announced two weeks before the performance.


Enchanted April

Sat 8/30-Sun 8/31: 1 PM

Theatre-Hikes specializes in combining theatrical productions with a walk in the park, with scenes typically presented at points along a guided hike. The company's current production, a stage adaptation of Elizabeth von Arnim's charming 1922 novel about four unhappy Englishwomen transformed by a holiday in Italy, enhances the best qualities of von Arnim's story—its good-hearted optimism and faith in the curative powers of peace and sunshine. Bradley Baker's cast excels at delivering intense, believable performances under less than ideal conditions: the day I saw the show, in Ravenswood Manor Park, two cabs collided no more than 20 feet from the performance; Allison Reinke, alone and in the midst of a monologue, never missed a beat. —Jack Helbig

North Park Village Nature Center (map)
5801 N. Pulaski Rd.
Albany Park
phone 312-744-5472


The Jungle

Through 9/6: Fri-Sat, Mon 8 PM; Sun 7 PM

Upton LewisSinclair's 1906 muckraking novel isn't just a sobering exposé of abominable labor conditions in Chicago's meatpacking industry. It's also a hell of a narrative. LewisSinclair feeds young, optimistic immigrant worker Jurgis into the maw of unregulated industrial capitalism, unleashing havoc on him and his entire family. In director Matt Foss's somber, ardent, schematic adaptation for Oracle Theatre, by contrast, Jurgis's prototypical nemeses (the factory boss, the landlady, the real estate swindler) are transparently malevolent, making Lewis's compellingly monstrous world border on melodrama. And the production's unflinching gloom makes it clear Jurgis is doomed from the start; while the show is full of visual, theatrical and musical ingenuity, it belabors the obvious for 100 minutes. As Jurgis, Travis Delgado wears an almost permanent mask of anguished nobility. —Justin Hayford

Buy Tickets
Oracle Theatre (map)
3809 N. Broadway St.
phone 773-244-2980
The Jungle

Romeo + Juliet

Through 9/7: Sat-Sun 3 PM

Muse of Fire's newest production is an apt response to Ira Glass's recent Twitter-diss of Shakespeare as not “relatable.” Director Jemma Alix Levy’s dynamic staging of the tale, played in Evanston's shady Ingraham Park, finds relevance in perhaps his most famous story of love and violence and features cross-gender, cross-racial casting. Heather Chrisler plays Juliet with a bold, athletic exuberance, matched perfectly by Benjamin Ponce's whiny drama-queen Romeo, who suffers with a properly teenage lack of perspective. Yes, love is madness, but so, too, is the weight of longstanding, intergenerational violence in feud-filled Verona (Chicago? Evanston?). As Friar Laurence (Reggie Robinson Jr.) advises the young lovers, “violent delights have violent ends.” "Relatable" or not, this is the story Levy wants to tell. —Suzanne Scanlon
Ingraham Park (map)
2100 Ridge Ave.


A Midsummer Night's Dream

Through 9/9: Mon-Tue 7 PM

This abridged outdoor version of William Shakespeare's comedy about romantic confusion in a forest filled with fairies certainly nails the confusion part. In their messy and unfocused staging for Rabid Bat Theatricals, directors Jae Daphne Kim and Sammy Zeisel make several choices—performers in dual roles, gender-bending, using pantomime instead of props—that often obscure the text rather than illuminate it. Part of the problem is the young cast's inexpert execution; though they've got plenty of enthusiasm, they could use a little polish and precision. It doesn't help matters that the directors haven't figured out how to negotiate the playing space (a cramped and leafy portion of the patio at Moody's Pub), leaving those of us in the audience with a severely limited view of the action. —Zac Thompson
Moody's Pub (map)
5910 N. Broadway
phone 773-275-2696


Entertaining Julia

Open run: Sun 9:30 PM

The strength of Chicago's small but lively stand-up scene is its make-your-own-show mentality. Long overshadowed by a storied improv tradition, local stand-up comics have essentially been forced into adopting a DIY approach to producing and booking shows. The best places to see stand-up in this town remain bars, bookstores, and anywhere else that doesn't require a two-drink minimum. Case in point: Entertaining Julia, the free comedy/variety show started in 2007 by Jena Freidman (currently a field producer for The Daily Show) that's located in the back of a Boystown dive. Now hosted by local staples Danielle and Tiffany Puterbaugh—aka the Puterbaugh Sisters—the weekly show at Town Hall Pub promises not only the best in local stand-up but anything that fits the sisters' absurd, irreverent, and queer-friendly ethos. A night at Entertaining Julia—so named because the point of the show is to get Julia Pishko, the bartender, to crack a smile—might include stand-up, sketch, improv, music, burlesque, performance art, or a one-person show. It's up for grabs. The only thing that's certain about EJ is its reputation. Chicago expats like TJ Miller, Cameron Esposito, and former cohost Beth Stelling are sure to pop in whenever they're in town, and even national acts (Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Williams) have been known to drop by. —Drew Hunt

Town Hall Pub (map)
3340 N. Halsted St.
phone 773-472-4405
Entertaining Julia


The Free for All

Open run: Sun 7:30 PM

An improv show of multiple groups, anchored by the four-man team Koleno. free

Playground Theater (map)
3209 N. Halsted St.
phone 773-871-3793

Best Night Ever

Open run: First and third Monday of the month, 8 PM

Stand-up showcase of local comedians presented by Alex Stone, Thomas Brady, Rebecca O'Neal, Sonia Denis, and Sam McHale.

Gingerman Tavern (map)
3748 N. Clark St.
phone 773-549-2050


Get Up, Stand Up

Open run: Tue 9:30 PM

A weekly stand-up showcase featuring local veteran comedians and an open mike for newcomers.

Public House Theatre (map)
3914 N. Clark St.
phone 800-650-6449


Hug City Presents: A Night of Stand-up Comedy

Open run: Tue 9:30 PM
phone 773-871-1600

Hug City presents a showcase.



Open run: First Tuesday of the month, 6 PM

Theatrical events by the NUFAN Ensemble.

Holiday Club (map)
4000 N. Sheridan Rd.
phone 773-348-9600


No-Tell Motel

Open run: Wed 10 PM

If you need a little burlesque excitement to make it through your workweek, look no further than No-Tell Motel, the weekly showcase dubbed Best Midweek Burlesque Break in our 2014 Best of Chicago issue. Reader contributor Jay Gentile writes that the "hump-day party features pyrotechnics and dancers humping power sanders that spray streams of sparks into the audience." So maybe bring some protective eyewear.

Debonair Social Club (map)
1575 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-227-7790


Flabby at the Abbey

Wednesdays, 8 p.m.

A comedy variety show hosted Flabby Hoffman.

3420 West Grace Street
Irving Park
phone (773) 478-4408
Flabby at the Abbey


Parlour Car

Open run: Thu 8 PM

Local comics Matty Ryan, Kenny DeForest, and Adam Burke present a weekly stand-up showcase.
Bar DeVille (map)
701 N. Damen Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 312-929-2349


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