Francis O'Neill, who served as Chicago's chief of police from 1901 to 1905, was a bit obsessed with the music of his native Ireland. He once disappeared, prompting assassination rumors and a police manhunt, only to turn up at the house of a friend—where he was busy playing duets. But in the latest version of Adam Whiteman's musical tribute, which Stefan Brun returns to direct, this fascinating character gets a lackluster dramatization. Though Tom Cassidy portrays O'Neill with genial confidence, the stilted script bends more toward hagiography than genuine storytelling. The show's stellar music—selected from O'Neill's own published collections of traditional Irish tunes, and played by a talented trio—remains the true star of this quirky jaunt. —Keith Griffith $25
The quality of an improv show is directly proportional to the quality of the improvisers who create it. Put together a group of kids who know nothing about the world—or themselves—and you get a lot of cliches and imitations of bad TV. Put together an ensemble of strong, experienced actors who happen also to like to improvise and you have the optimal conditions for a piece filled with well-articulated characters in amusing relationships and interesting situations. That latter was the case with Natural Gas, the Gift Theatre's house improv team, on the night I saw them. As in every improvisation, not every moment worked, and some actors made basic mistakes, like introducing inconsistencies. All the same, their show contained more than the usual moments of spontaneous delight—and occasional splashes of pure inspiration. —Jack Helbig $5
Rebecca O'Neil hosts this BYOB comedy show that features local stand-ups and is, curiously enough, operated out of a used book store.
Local comedians and monologists share personal stories of inadvertent defecation. Michael Sanchez and Monte LeMonte host. $5http://ishityounotshow.com
Burlesque, vaudeville, shtick, and other types of performance, hosted by Silent Theatre. $10http://silenttheatre.com
A series of works that explore space and time.
Monthly second Saturday show featuring open studios, poetry readings, and live music. Reception Sat 5/10, 5-10 PM.