Events with The Short List (Theater) | Chicago Reader

Events with The Short List (Theater)

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Super Tasty at the Chicago Women’s Funny Fest

Sat., Aug. 24, 8 p.m.
Stage 773 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy Tickets$15

This special one-hour show is a monthly inclusive cabaret talk show about sex. A segment about anatomy and on-site sexperts will be happening at this super sex educational geared event. 773-327-5252

The Infinite Wrench

Open run: Fri-Sat 11:30 PM, Sun 7 PM
Neo-Futurarium 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago Andersonville

Greg Allen gave and Greg Allen took away. On December 31, 2016, the Neo-Futurists founder made good on his promise to kill off the company's signature cult show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, ending an unprecedented run of 28 years. The current generation of ensemble members weren't happy. Now they've pretty much reconstituted TMLMTBGB in everything but name, running on the same schedule at the same venue with the same exuberance. Though their new baby is superficially different from the original (where before the plays were numbered, for instance, now they're color coded), it retains the identical goal of offering 30 original short plays in 60 minutes. The performance I saw lapsed occasionally into reductive political posturing, having more to do with tribal affirmation than revelation. But it also had its share of wit, insight, emotional frankness, and dancerly physicality. —Tony Adler 773-275-5255

Love, Chaos & Dinner

Through 9/29: Wed-Fri 7 PM, Sat-Sun noon and 7 PM
Hotel Cambria 32 W. Randolph, Chicago Loop

Buy Tickets$99-$189 (includes a four-course meal)

The Recommendation

Through 9/22: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 6 PM
Windy City Playhouse 3014 W. Irving Park, Chicago Irving Park

Buy Tickets$80-$100


Women of 4G

Through 9/14: Thu-Sat 8PM, Sun 3 PM

Buy Tickets$10 previews 8/1-8/4, $28 regular run, students and seniors $15.

Babes with Blades stages Amy Tofte's sci-fi thriller about a group of women on a mission to Mars whose male commander has been murdered. 773-904-0391

Out of Love

8/16-9/14: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM
Rivendell Theatre 5775 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago Edgewater

Buy TicketsPreviews 8/16-8/18 $16, regular run $32, $16 students.

Interrobang Theatre Project presents the U.S. premiere of Elinor Cook's drama about the friendship and rivalry of two women who grow up together in a small English town. 312-219-4140


Through 9/14: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; no performances Sun 8/25-9/8
Steep Theatre 1115 W. Berwyn Ave., Chicago Edgewater

Buy Tickets$38 advance reserved seats, $27 general admission, $10 “access” tickets based on availability


Head Over Heels

Through 9/8: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; also Sat 8/10, 8/24, and 8/31, 3 PM, and Wed 8/14 and 8/21, 8 PM, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150,
Theater Wit 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago Lakeview

Buy Tickets$40, $35 students and seniors


True West

Through 8/25: Wed 2 and 7:30 PM (Wed 7/17, 7/24, and 8/21, 2 PM only), Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 3 and 7:30 PM (Sun 8/18 and 8/25, 3 PM only), Tue 7:30 PM

Buy Tickets$20-$96


You Can't Fake the Funk

Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; no show Sat 7/27 3 PM or Fri 9/13
Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago Uptown

Buy Tickets$65

Daryl D. Brooks's new musical celebrates funk music from James Brown to Parliament. 773-769-4451

Diamond Lil & The Pansy Craze

Through 9/7: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 4 and 7:30 PM

Buy Tickets$15-$25

Three Cat Productions presents the premiere of a new musical by Jason Paul Smith and Roy Freeman about a famous gay nightclub on Rush Street in the early 1930s. 312-970-9840

The Drag Seed

Through 8/24: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM
Mary's Attic Theatre 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago Andersonville

Buy Tickets$27-$44 in advance, $30 at door


Drunk Shakespeare

Wed 8 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10 PM
The Lion Theatre 182 N. Wabash, Chicago Loop

Buy Tickets$59

A hidden speakeasy sets the stage for five classically trained actors, one of whom attempts to perform a major Shakespearean role after downing five shots of whiskey.

All Quiet On the Western Front

8/16 through 9/14: Fri-Sat and Mon 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM
Greenhouse Theater Center 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lincoln Park

Buy TicketsFree

Matt Foss directs his own new adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic about a German company in World War I. Coproduced by Red Tape Theatre and the Greenhouse Theater Center. 773-404-7336

Lips Chicago Grand Opening Weekend

Through Aug. 25, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Lips Chicago 2229 S Michigan, Chicago South Loop

Lips Chicago boasts a drag dining theater experience and joins existing Lips locations in NYC, San Diego, Fort Lauderdale, and Atlanta. 6:30 Doors Open; 7:00 First Seating; 8:00 Show starts; 9:30 Second Seating; 10:45 Show starts. Photo courtesy of Lips Chicago. 312-815-2662

Lincoln Lodge

Open run: Fri and Sat, 8 PM
Lincoln Lodge 956 W. Newport, Chicago North Center

For close to 15 years, one of Chicago's best comedy clubs wasn't even in a club. It was in the back of the Lincoln Restaurant, a modest diner in North Center where the Lincoln Lodge, the successful indie stand-up and variety show, set up shop. The restaurant's wood-paneled walls and curiously patterned carpets created a warm and welcoming experience not unlike watching a comedy show at your grandma's house. Lest this environment sound too safe, the show itself is known for its edge. The house cast, which currently features promising up-and-comers Derek Smith and Rebecca O'Neil, boasts such alumni as Cameron Esposito and Kumail Nanjiani, while Kyle Kinane and Hannibal Buress were among the show's most frequent visitors until Hollywood came calling. Even now, the Lodge draws prominent headlining comedians—like Marc Maron and Eddie Pepitone—eager to perform for cheerful crowds untroubled by a two-drink minimum.

When the Lincoln Restaurant closed its doors in December, the Lincoln Lodge was without a home. Luckily, the Subterranean came calling. Located in the epicenter of Wicker Park and patronized by boozy youngsters, the SubT isn't as homey, but the Lodge has always had swagger, and the new digs reflect that. And the location is ideal for tracking down targets for Lincoln Lodge's live interview segment, which puts a comic out on the streets to interview unsuspecting passersby.

At the show I saw on March 14, genial host Marty DeRosa welcomed a mix of newer faces (Smith and fellow cast member Trey Brown) and old standbys (CPS teacher turned full-time comic Jeanie Doogan), all of whom were solid. Local legend Junior Stopka headlined the evening, and his irreverent ramblings and absurd non sequiturs were characteristically hilarious, enough to distract from the bass-heavy EDM show that was starting upstairs (some of the kinks are still being worked out, it seems). That lone drawback aside, the new era of the Lincoln Lodge is off to a strong start. —Drew Hunt 773-251-1539

The Blackout Diaries

Open run: Sat 10 PM
Lincoln Lodge 956 W. Newport, Chicago North Center

The gregarious Sean Flannery tells stories about adventures he's had inebriated out of his mind. He's joined each week by other comedians and the occasional layman—each with a drunken tale to tell. 773-251-1539

The Harold

Open run: Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10:30 PM, Sat 10:30 PM, Sun 8 PM, Mon 10:30 PM
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury, Chicago Lincoln Park

Improv teams use an audience suggestion to create interweaving story lines that result in a connected long-form narrative.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Open run: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury, Chicago Lincoln Park

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

ComedySportz Theatre

Open run: Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10 PM, Sat 6, 8, and 10 PM
ComedySportz Theatre 929 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$19

Part of a national chain of comedy clubs, this company is known for quick improv games (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?), but it also stages long-form improv. LCD screens and sophisticated lighting and sound systems amplify the sports-style improv of the company's eponymous production, ComedySportz. There's a snobbery in the Chicago improv community that looks up at the "art" of the long form, with its emphasis on story and characters, and down on the "entertainment" of the short, with its emphasis on games and punch lines. ComedySportz falls emphatically in the entertainment camp; its bottom line is laughter, and it gets plenty of it. The show is structured as a competition between two teams performing multiple games that require audience participation. A referee ensures that the players--a rotating roster from a company of about 50--work clean or they finish the game with a brown bag over their heads. The formula is practically foolproof: players may flash their quick wits in winning responses, but they're even funnier when they fail. In one game a team had to devise a pick-up line, each member contributing a word. Moving rapidly from player to player, the line developed: "Tonight-I'll-tango-with-your-face." Probably wouldn't work at a bar, but at ComedySportz it killed. --Ryan Hubbard 773-549-8080 or 312-559-1212

The One: The Matrix Parody Musical

Through 8/25: Fri-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM
Den Theatre 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago Wicker Park/Bucktown

Buy TicketsPreview Thu 8/1, pay what you can. 8/2-8/25, $25.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame

8/17-8/25: Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Wed 2 PM, Fri 8 PM

Buy Tickets$34-$96

Music Theater Works presents the Chicago professional premiere of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz's musical (book by Peter Parnell), based on the Victor Hugo novel and featuring songs from the Disney film. 847-920-5360

Manic Mondays

Open run: Mon 9 PM
Frances Cocktail Lounge 307 E. 75th, Chicago Other South

Lauded stand-ups Taneshia "Just Nesh" Rice and Marilee Williams host this weekly showcase—one of the few on the south side.

The Armando Diaz Theatrical Experience & Hootennany

Open run: Mon 8 PM
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury, Chicago Lincoln Park

An old standby, this weekly show transforms performer monologues (delivered by a different guest each time) into inspiration for a night of masterful long-form improv. The best-of-the-best iO talent typically make up the cast, so the show hops from literal moments from the story to abstract, playful scenes with aplomb.

Chicago Underground Comedy

Open run: Tue 9:30 PM
Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Roscoe Village

Buy Tickets$10; 21+

A benchmark for local stand-up comics takes the form of a slot at Chicago Underground Comedy—a weekly, curated showcase with the occasional former Chicagoan headlining. Think T.J. Miller, Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, or John Mulaney. 773-281-4444

Comedians You Should Know

Open run: Thu 9 PM

A mix of barflys and independent comedy fans flocks to this weekly showcase, one of the best in the city. The room is friendly, and if hecklers appear, they're shut down affably by Chicago's top stand-ups. It's not a place to try out new material, so the comedians hit jokes hard. And the audience, sitting close and around the stage like a big hug, welcomes the change of pace from the bar's drunk tomfoolery. CYSK is an appropriate name. 312-642-0700

Wet Cash

Open run: Fri 8 PM
Dark Tower Comics 4835 N. Western, Chicago Lincoln Square

Stand-up with a very big twist. Each week, performers at this showcase can do anything they want. One time, they ran a show where everybody on the bill and in the audience was named Derek. Plus, all donations benefit the fishbowl they toss their money in—hence the title. Expect, well, everything. 773-654-1490