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A Night Out

Through 9/22: Sun-Mon 7:30 PM

Originally written for television, this early Harold Pinter work depicts an uncharacteristically eventful night in the life of mopey, middling Albert Stokes. After a humiliating incident at an office party, he turns violently on his overbearing mother and, eventually, a chatty prostitute. Though not as lean as Pinter's best work, the play nevertheless illustrates his knack for making ordinary talk seem somehow strange and threatening. It requires precision and focus, but the script gets neither in the hands of director Dado, who turns the central party scene into shrill chaos. She further distracts from the dialogue by adding surreal touches like hallucinatory dance numbers and ghostly figures in masks. The show's sole bright spot is Maria Stephens's tense yet vulnerable performance as the motormouth prostitute. —Zac Thompson $10

A Red Orchid Theatre (map)
1531 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-943-8722

Ecstasy

8/28-9/28: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

"Victory of the people" is the rallying cry of Cole Theatre, a new company from Chicago-based actors Boyd Harris and Layne Manzer. So it's a bit ironic that the group's inaugural production is Mike Leigh's Ecstasy, whose downtrodden working-class characters would seem anything but victorious. Manzer, Cole Theatre's artistic director, and Harris, managing director, say they chose the play because it's "big, ambitious." And it is that. Leigh, of course, is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker whose credits include Secrets & Lies (1996), Topsy-Turvy (1999), and Vera Drake (2013). But he's long written and directed for the stage as well; Ecstasy debuted in 1979 at London's Hampstead Theatre. Not atypically for Leigh, nudity and violence take their turns in the show, and its setting—1970s London, in a heavily Irish neighborhood near Kilburn High Road—calls for a range of working-class dialects that American actors really have to nail if the whole thing isn't to reek of phoniness. On top of that, the play takes quite a while to get going. Continue reading >> $15-$25

http://coletheatre.org
A Red Orchid Theatre (map)
1531 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-943-8722
Ecstasy

Tools

Depraved New World

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

I'm the king of regret. You name it, I've got a voice inside my head telling me I should be sorry or embarrassed or guilty about it. Have I ever done anything right? Don't bother answering. I know. The big news is that I may not be the only one in the world who feels that way. Second City's latest main-stage revue spends a lot of time on the subject of self-subversion, and I don't think it can be aimed at me alone. (Can it? Oh God, what if it is?) An entertaining if not blockbusting show, Depraved New World opens with a song for the psychic saboteur in all of us: "Why can't I turn off these voices of loneliness, fear, despair, and dread?" ask the six cast members. "The world is so filled with noises. The loudest are in my head." They follow that up with a bit set at a corporate staff meeting where people compulsively second-guess themselves ("Nobody likes your brownies," the office brownie queen hears herself thinking—though, as it happens, she's right), even to the point of second-guessing the second guess. Continue reading >> $23

Buy Tickets
Second City (map)
1616 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Depraved New World

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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

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

Second City E.T.C.

Open run: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 7 PM, also Tue 8/2-8/30 and Wed 7/6-8/31, 8 PM,
phone 312-337-3992

Second City E.T.C.'s latest revue, A Clown Car Named Desire, is directed by Ryan Bernier $22-$27

http://secondcity.com
Buy Tickets
Second City E.T.C. (map)
Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

The Second City's Deep Cuts

9/14-10/12: Sun 7 PM

A sketch revue navigating the Internet age. $24

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

Benefit of Laughter

Tue 9/16, 7 PM

Kyle Kinane hosts local comics Sean Flannery, C.J. Sullivan, and Junior Stopka at this benefit for Chris Robinson, who has brain cancer. $20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

Nick Thune

10/2-10/4: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM
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This guitar-strumming comedian combines deadpan delivery with witty humor and quiet confidence. On his latest special, Folk Hero, there's often a pause between the punch lines and laughter as the audience connects the dots, but sometimes figuring out the joke is half the fun. $20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Nick Thune

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Jerrod Carmichael

Thu 11/13-Sat 11/15: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM
,

"I've decided, fuck it, I don't care anymore. Because if it's between me and your fucking friendship and that fucking chicken sandwich, then I'm choosing the chicken sandwich every time." Never mind the F-bombs—and his unabashed love for the simmering controversy that is Chick-fil-A—Jerrod Carmichael delivers his lines with an easy confidence that screams with a shrug, What do you want from me? Continue reading >>

This is one of our Fall Arts Best Bets for Comedy.

$20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Jerrod Carmichael

Tools

Todd Glass

11/20-11/22: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM

Glass is a thinking man's comic with a boisterous stage presence and a well-informed opinion on virtually any topic. On his podcast The Todd Glass Show, he and fellow comedians dissect everything from their starts in stand-up to Glass's love of candles, but tonight he'll probably just tell some great jokes. $20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Todd Glass

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Second City's Game Night

Open run: Wed 8 PM

Improvisers engage in classic game shows. $24-$29

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

The Second City's Improv All-Stars

Ongoing: Mon 8 PM

The Second City's top performers present their interactive improv every week, directed by Mick Napier. $17

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

Second City's Incomplete Guide to Everything

Ongoing: Tue 8 PM, Sat-Sun 4 PM

A collection of scenes and songs that seeks to cover everything you learned in college. $24-$29

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

What the Tour Guide Didn't Tell You: A Chicago Revue

Open run: Tue 8 PM, Sat-Sun 4 PM

There's more to Chicago than Italian beef and the Magnificent Mile, as illustrated by this sketch show. $28

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992

Tools

Jared Logan

9/9-9/14: Tue-Wed and Sun 8:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8:30 and 10 PM; Sat 7, 9, and 11:15 PM

$25 plus two-drink minimum

Zanies (map)
1548 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-337-4027

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Showing 1-15 of 16 total results in this search.