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Events Search – The Short List (Theater)

80 total results

10-4: The Truck Stop Plays

8/8-8/30: Thu-Sat 8 PM

None of the four plays that make up this bill feels finished. Each one feels rough, ill-formed, or incomplete in its own way. That is to be expected. These are one acts written by students at Ohio University's MFA program, and each writer has wisely allowed himself (all the writers are male; the directors are female) the creative freedom to take risks and "fail forward." This may be good for the writers in the long term. But the result is an evening of half-baked work, enlivened by moments of deep-dish Chicago-style acting. SarahJayne Ashenhurst and Elizabeth Birnkrant are particularly intense as an unlikely contract killer and her narcissistic client in Ryan Patrick Dolan's Burger King. —Jack Helbig $10

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

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

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Apes of Wrath

Ongoing: Tue-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 7 PM

The six spritely, mercurial, wholly engaging performers behind Second City E.T.C.'s Apes of Wrath work overtime to make their show appear to be about something. But just what remains a mystery. And an unnecessary one at that. Press materials describe the two-hour sketch comedy review in vaguely dystopic terms. "In the world of high stakes, we become a more heightened version of ourselves," the PR asserts, "which can sometimes resemble more simian behavior than human." Despite the syntactical tangle, the point seems clear: this will be a series of skits about our baser selves, in which "the dark and light sides of our human devolution" will be showcased. Except for the most part, they're not. Unitard-clad performance artists improvise poetry about the World Cup and cigarettes for inmates at Louisiana State Prison. The Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies, on a collision course, seduce each other by singing about their impending billion-night stand. The attention-span-challenged BuzzFeed staff try to concoct daily lists with social significance, like "The 15 Vegetables That Don't Make Me Greenhouse Gassy." Continue reading >> $23

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Second City E.T.C. (map)
Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Apes of Wrath

Arguments and Grievances

Open run: first Sun of each month, 8 PM

As the country faces deep, divisive questions about the nature and direction of our shared society, some issues are in perilous danger of falling through the cracks. Phish vs. Insane Clown Posse. Friend Zone vs. Bone Zone. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Curated by Zach Peterson, this excellent debate series enlists some of the city's funniest underground comedians to hash out the overlooked questions of our day. The lineup and topics rotate each week, but on opening night the comics came doubly armed with hard facts and potent bits. Politicians take note: Showing up to a debate in ICP greasepaint is one sure way to polarize a crowd. On the Juggalo question, there can be no middle ground. —Keith Griffith

Schubas (map)
3159 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-525-2508

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The Armando Diaz Grand Opening Experience

8/29-8/30: Fri 10 PM, Sat 8 PM

A star-studded Armando celebrates the official opening of the new theater. Guests include David Koechner, Kay Cannon, Eric Stonestreet, Tim Meadows, Amber Ruffin, Scott Adsit, and more. $50

iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville

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The Arsonists

8/28-9/27: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 4 PM

An adaptation of Max Frisch's radio play about a town plagued by mysterious fires. $28

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Strawdog Theatre Company (map)
3829 N. Broadway St.
Lakeview
phone 773-528-9696

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Avenue Q

Through 10/26: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 6:30 PM

The brilliance of this foulmouthed 2003 Broadway musical comedy (book by Jeff Whitty, music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) is not just that it skewers a certain long-running PBS kids' show, but that it does so while telling a compelling story, about a callow recent college grad coming to grips with the real world and all the downwardly mobile misfits he meets in his edgy New York neighborhood. L. Walter Stearns packs his production with adept quadruple threats (they sing, they act, they dance, and they work puppets). Jackson Evans earns lots of laughs as the hapless hero who finds himself all the way out on Avenue Q. But the heart of the show belongs to Adam Fane and Daniel Smeriglio, playing closeted knockoffs of Sesame Street's odd couple, Bert and Ernie. —Jack Helbig $20-$59

Mercury Theater (map)
3745 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-325-1700

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Baby Wants Candy: The Rock Musical

Open run: Fri 10:30 PM

Baby Wants Candy—a tight troupe now famous for its improvised musicals—began in 1997 as one of the dozens of ImprovOlympic teams formed every year. Somehow they've avoided the usual dissolution of such groups. More impressive, they've never experienced the artistic conservatism that paralyzes improvisers eager to "do it right"—and reap the reward, presumably, of a career in NYC or LA. Instead the troupe has become the very model of smart, physical, quick-thinking, and just plain silly long-form improvisers; they still play well together and manage to entertain. Inspired by the improbable suggestion "So this is it" at the show I saw, nine actors (backed by the five-member Yes Band) improvised a complicated, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek tale of three partnerships on the rocks--two marriages and a professional relationship--and the narrator who helps bring the couples back together. —Jack Helbig $15

Apollo Theater (map)
2540 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-935-6100

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Beer Shark Mice

Sat 8/30, 9 PM

A reunion improv show featuring iO alums Pete Hulne, Dave Koechner, Pat Finn, and Mike Coleman. $35

iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville

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Blue Man Group

Open run: Thu 8 PM, Fri 7 PM, Sat 2, 5, and 8 PM, Sun 4 and 7 PM
phone 773-348-4000

At the Briar Street Theatre since 1997, the cobalt zanies have added wizard-worthy tricks to an already potent mix of visual puns, physical stunts, and cultural commentary. The latest edition conjures up a 2.5-D universe, giant "GiPads" that perform outsized multitasking, and Lady Gaga hat spin-offs. The same subversive spirit fuels the show's still-potent signature bits, including splatter-crazed "paint drumming." The secret of their cerulean success? Understanding that laughter and thought can be BFFs. —Lawrence Bommer $49-$59

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Briar Street Theatre (map)
3133 N. Halsted St.
Lakeview
phone 773-348-4000

The Boxer

Through 8/31: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM

Matt Lyle's silent play is called The Boxer, but its true hero is Velma, a plucky gal down on her luck, who gets work during the Great Depression by disguising herself (not always credibly) as a man. Thanks to a twist of fate and a well-timed punch, she finds herself training a boxer for a big fight. Then she falls in love with him. For their third collaboration with Pursuit Productions, director Kacie Smith and choreographer Ahmad Simmons have put together a show that feels like a lost Chaplin feature and is just as delightful. The actors—led by Amber Snyder and Eric Duhon as Velma and the Boxer—are at once goofy and graceful, Mike Evans's piano performance of his own score and Matt Wills's sound effects are witty and well-timed, and Craig Kidwell's light design cleverly recreates the look of a black-and-white film. —Aimee Levitt $20

Athenaeum Theatre (map)
2936 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-935-6860

Bri-Ko

Open run: Sat 2 PM

How many bumbling buddies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Or juggle? Or deliver a meal in a water balloon? On Saturday afternoons at Stage 773, the answer is three—specifically the three members of Bri-Ko. The sketch-comedy troupe Rube Goldberg would've created if Rube Goldberg had created sketch-comedy troupes, Bri-Ko puts on a silent clown show for the sort of kid who'd appreciate British humor. The name suggests bricolage—i.e., art improvised from materials found at hand. But the many kooky props at hand here (Nerf darts, ping-pong balls, various foodstuffs) are used to make a great, big mess. Tim Soszko, Brian Peterlin, and Chicago Sketch Fest founder Brian Posen bop happily about like Beaker the Muppet, contriving difficult ways to accomplish routine tasks. High art it's not, but the slapstick is practiced and the dumb smiles on these bozos' faces are contagious. —Asher Klein $10-$20

Stage 773 (map)
1225 W. Belmont Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-327-5252

Burlesque Is More

Through 8/30: Sat 10:30 PM

A comedic burlesque show. $20, $15 for students

Annoyance Theatre (map)
851 W. Belmont
Lakeview
phone 773-697-9693

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The Ceyx Series

Open run: first Mon of every month, 7:30 PM

A monthly variety show set up by Halcyon Theatre. $10

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

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Chicagoland and Fish Nuts

Open run: Tue 8 PM

At the start of each show an all-star ensemble creates a tableau onstage, then asks after a blackout, "Where in Chicago did that take place?" "Soccer practice" was the response the night I was there, and after an hour the improvisers—intensely alert and feisty—had crafted a veritable community, complete with idiosyncratic characters, unpredictable backstory, and tragicomic intrigue. Veteran T.J. Jagodowski, recognizable from a series of Sonic commercials he's done with quick-witted cast member Peter Grosz, played a thick-accented German coach. Abruptly launching a new scene by charging to the front of the stage, he squatted and gestured as he yelled at his coed youth team, "I will yank on your nuts like the Hunchback of Notre Dame working a bell!" —Ryan Hubbard $8

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Annoyance Theatre (map)
851 W. Belmont
Lakeview
phone 773-697-9693
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