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Tara Donovan : Smart Museum

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 22
Smart Museum of Art University of Chicago, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago Hyde Park

This is the first time Tara Donovan is exhibiting her sculptural and 2D prints together at the same time. Donovan, who makes art from everyday objects like thumb tacks, toothpicks, straws, will be presenting her pieces in the solo show, Fieldwork. The opening reception is June 13th 7-8:30pm at the Smart Museum. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10-5pm, closed on Mondays. 773-702-0200

Out of the Closets & Into the Exhibits

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Continues through Sept. 1
Gerber/Hart Library 1127 W. Granville Ave., Chicago Edgewater

The Gerber Hart Library and Archive will have an open house where several exhibitions will be on view, as well as objects from the archive. 773-381-8030

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


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


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)

HOX Gallery presents Diane Alexander White Photography

Through Sept. 8

Diane Alexander White presents her 1976 photos of the Pride Parade at the hotel, The Hoxton. PHOTO: Diane Alexander White 312-761-1700

Love All Potatoes

Through Sept. 7, 6-9 p.m.
The Franklin 3522 W. Franklin Blvd., Chicago Humboldt Park

The alternative gallery space, The Franklin, will be hosting a group exhibition, LOVE ALL POTATOES with artists Jim Duignan, Claire Pentecost, and Melissa Potter. The artists will plant heirloom potatoes in various location (compost bins and a homemade garden cart) and develop this work into other projects. 312-823-3632

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 Forced Transfer

Opens Tue 6/7
National Cambodian Heritage Museum 2831 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago Ravenswood

As a young Buddhist monk in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, during the 1960s, Kompha Seth studied the Brahmi alphabet and Magadhi—a root language of modern Khmer—which had been preserved and passed down for generations. Today, he's one of only a few Cambodians in the world who understands these dialects and their links to modern Khmer. Continue reading >> 773-506-1280

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

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.

Into the Woods

Through 9/22: Tue-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 and 6 PM; also Wed 8/28 and 9/11, 3 PM; 2 PM only 8/18, 9/1, and 9/15)
Writers Theatre 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe Other Suburbs North" target="_blank">Buy Tickets$35-$80

Gary Griffin directs Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical, based on several famous fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel 847-242-6000

Dream Freaks Fall From Space

Open run: Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 4 PM, Tue 8 PM
Second City 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago Old Town

Buy Tickets$29-$46

Second City is in denial. Donald Trump is our president, and along with that comes a host of issues regarding race, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and police brutality, among other things. The cast of the brand-new yet already outdated main-stage revue Dream Freaks Fall From Space tackle these loaded topics by mentioning them, then moving right along. And speaking of denial, scenes break one of the most fundamental rules of improvisation—embody the spirit of "yes, and . . . " to complement your partner onstage. Here instead actors deny ideas with "What are you talking about?" Second City is the tentpole of Chicago comedy for the rest of the country, but Dream Freaks feels like it was concocted in an intermediate-level improv class where mere nods get laughs and politics get skewered with Pixy Stix. Continue reading >> 312-337-3992

The Paper Machete

Open run: Wed 6:30 PM, Sat 3 PM
Green Mill 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago Uptown

The "salon in a saloon." Comedians, writers, and storytellers discuss the week in pop culture and politics. 773-878-5552

Andy Brown Quartet

Wednesdays, 5 & 7 p.m.
Andy’s Jazz Club 11 E. Hubbard St., Chicago River North


Cole's Comedy Open Mike

Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
Cole’s 2338 N. Milwaukee, Chicago Logan Square

Hosted by Sonia Denis and Rebecca O'Neal, this scrappy showcase boasts about 50 comics a week. 773-276-5802

Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan

Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
Green Mill 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago Uptown


Mike Smith & Jordan Baskin Trio

Wednesdays, 9:30 & 11:30 p.m.
Andy’s Jazz Club 11 E. Hubbard St., Chicago River North


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


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



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


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

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 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

Hold Steady

Sat., Aug. 24, 9 p.m.
Thalia Hall 1807 S. Allport Ave., Chicago Pilsen/Little Village

Buy Tickets Buy Tickets

8/24 is sold out 312-526-3851

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

Now or Later

Through 8/31: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; also Mon 8/19, 7:30 PM
Edge Theater Off-Broadway 1133 W. Catalpa, Chicago Edgewater

Buy Tickets$25, $15 students and seniors, $10 industry.

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