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Events Search – The Short List (Theater)

14 total results

Pimprov

Open run: Fri 10:30 PM

If pimpin' ain't easy, pimprovising must be even harder. But the five members of Pimprov project a scary ease as they dress and cavort like "Super Freak"-era Rick James (only with more accessories) and smoothly assimilate audience suggestions into thug-themed short-form games. The group stays heavily engaged with the crowd throughout this high-energy show, bringing people on stage and carrying on multiple side conversations during and between bits. What I enjoyed most were their hilarious, spontaneous dancing (from tap to b-boying) and varied characters. These are no one-trick pimps: at the show I saw they shrewdly played everything from north side trixies to blue-collar Chicagoans. —Ryan Hubbard $15

Chemically Imbalanced Theater (map)
1422 W. Irving Park Rd.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-865-7731
Pimprov

CIC Comedy Showcase

Ongoing: Sat 10:30 PM

Rainbow Deli headlines with a rotating lineup of comedy teams. $10

Chemically Imbalanced Theater (map)
1422 W. Irving Park Rd.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-865-7731

Tools

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Open run: Fri 8 PM

Seven strapping men in swashbuckler shirts improvise a two-act Shakespearean play based on a title suggested by the audience. At the show I saw, "The Taming of the Jew" inspired the Bard's usual themes (religion, family, betrayal) and plot devices (murders, disguises, fortunes gained/lost) as well as an uncomfortably funny circumcision. Director-performer Blaine Swen, a veteran of long-form Shakespearean improv who swears they don't conspire during the intermission, has assembled a vigorous ensemble of actors and proven improvisers. Their experience doing Shakespeare flowers in the language: they relish iambic dialogue, execute perfectly timed asides, occasionally utter rhyming couplets (some hilariously forced: "Let us be quick-sa, and get to the bar mitzvah!"), and drop parodic phrases ("scurvenous knave," "midfortnight report") and well-placed anachronisms (the bar mitzvah had a DJ). Even the ending echoed the real plays: story lines resolved tidily—and uproariously. —Ryan Hubbard $14

http://www.improvisedshakespeare.com/
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iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199
The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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Lean Back

Open run: Sat 10:30 PM
,

Lean Back, the first sketch show from the all-women iO team Virgin Daiquiri, explodes with nuclear-level humor, tongue clamped firmly in cheek. Female stereotypes get tripped feet first, leaving us with heroic flight attendants, ambitious actresses, and women who wear sports bras because they're comfortable, damn it. ("So are mothers' wombs, but we don't wear them on our chests," zings the on-point Dina Facklis as a vicious bra saleswoman.) The show's capped off with a song and dance homage to the supremely unfunny Crimea and global warming. You leave feeling like you've just met your lifelong best friends on the first day of school. —Chloe Riley $14

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iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199

The iO Musical Featuring the Deltones

Open run: Sat 8 PM

Like the Cupid Players, another musical comedy act that performs at iO, the Deltones have a penchant for the nasty and the absurd. But unlike the Players, the Deltones improvise. Accompanied by veteran iO keyboardist Dave Asher, they create varied song structures and impressively catchy lyrics, and demonstrate a good feel for when to turn scenes into tunes, capitalizing on fortuitous openings in plot or character development. At the show I saw, the suggestion of "couch" led to an authentic long-form piece with intertwining characters--including a hilarious couch potato who fell onto a plumber, prompting her husband to beg, "Aw, don't pull tools out of your folds, hon!" —Ryan Hubbard $14

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=125002385
Buy from TicketWeb
iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199

Whirled News Tonight

Open run: Sat 8 PM

The fact that this fully improvised show has lasted ten years is impressive enough—most improv troupes are good for a season or two at most. Even more impressive, though, is how well the ensemble functions under the direction of creator Jason Chin. They listen to each other, play well together, and never resort to the kind of cheap, quick laughs that can wreck a scene. Instead, as the best improvisers do, they build slowly, adding to one another's improvisations and in the process creating fascinating, funny scenes with the ease of an ace jazz ensemble. The improv bits here are loosely based on items taken at random from the newspaper, as well as on questions submitted by the audience. —Jack Helbig $14

http://chicago.ioimprov.com
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iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199

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3033

Open run: Sun 10:30 PM

A comedy supergroup consisting mainly of former members of People of Earth, 3033 creates some of the liveliest, most consistently solid improv around. Members Andy St. Clair and Alex Fendrich have been highlights of recent Second City E.T.C. shows; Rush Howell, a lawyer by day, is one of the scene's wittiest performers; and Bill Arnett and Danny Mora are personable comedians with off-beat senses of humor. Unlike most troupes at iO, 3033 doesn't stick with the Harold improv format. Instead, they play it loose, letting an audience suggestion and Jason Chin's playful music and light effects steer them. At a recent show the topic of gangs inspired a hilarious 70s-era game show. —Ryan Hubbard $5

http://chicago.ioimprov.com/
Buy Tickets
iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199
3033

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Dummy

Open run: Tue 8 PM
,

Colleen Doyle and Jason Shotts, no strangers to the Chicago improv scene, continue to cook up subtle, spontaneous scenes to order in their new Tuesday-evening slot at iO. The night I went they played out the story of a recently married couple enjoying a brief, romantic stay at a bed-and-breakfast. Both actors played two characters—a honeymooner as well as an inkeeper—and both had an excellent sense for navigating their constantly shifting roles. The performance was slow to start, but ended up being unexpectedly elegant; a plot emerged that was as tidily made as a hotel bed. The production managed to find laughs in minute details and dark discoveries. —Hannah Gold $12

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iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199
Dummy

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Felt

Open run: Wed 8 PM

There's just something about cussing puppets--and this improvised puppet show by the Atticus Finch ensemble suggests bitter, rejected prototypes of Elmo, Chewbacca, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Crank Yankers/Muppets characters ganging up in a dark alley off Sesame Street. But the troupe's nine members exceed the old, easy laugh of vulgar-talking innocents: after tutorials from professional puppeteers and a few months of practice, they display sophisticated physical control as they wield the puppets from behind the curtains of a bilevel ministage. Seamlessly creating gestures and quick takes (hilariously deadpan on the perfectly blank cartoonish faces), they also smoothly execute difficult maneuvers like sliding a quarter across a bar or crossing the stage via motorized scooter. Sharp timing and self-mockery point to the performers' long experience together, though the motley mob of puppets takes center stage: Felt is improv cut from new cloth. —Ryan Hubbard $5

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=74868973
Buy from TicketWeb
iO (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-880-0199
Felt

Super Human/The Scoundrels

Open run: Sun 10:30 PM

Five women storm the stage. Over the loudspeaker Philadelphia-bred rapper Khia sings of her neck and her back and two specific parts of her nether regions while the ladies hump the air and pound the walls—one even does a handstand. They're Super Human, and before they even get to the improv they're amazing. Continue reading >> $5

iO Theater (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville Super Human/The Scoundrels

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TJ & Dave

Open run: Wed 11 PM

Veteran comedians T.J. Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi perform a long-form improv show each week. $5

iO Theater (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville TJ & Dave

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The Harold

Open run: Sun 8 PM, Mon 10:30 PM, Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10:30 PM, Sat 10:30 PM

Improv teams use an audience suggestion to create interweaving story lines that result in a connected long-form narrative. $5-$14, Wednesdays free

iO Theater (map)
3541 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville

Tools

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.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-472-4405
Entertaining Julia

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I Saw You

Open run: Wed 8 PM,

Bruised Orange Theater Company's I Saw You is a charming theatrical interpretation of "I Saw You," "Matches," and "X-Matches" listings from the Reader. Performed in bars, each show features a rotating cast of three actors presenting ads published in the past year, the yearnings of their anonymous characters echoing the banter, flirting, and stares of the patrons. The material is naturally funny--"I backed up your toilet something fierce," "Do you like to churn butter?"--but the actors avoid the trap of easy "sexy" voices and imaginatively embellish the text with a wide range of accents and consistently surprising attitudes (shy to monstrous, robotic monotone to smarmy). —Ryan Hubbard $5

http://bruisedorange.org
Town Hall Pub (map)
3340 N. Halsted St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-472-4405
I Saw You
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