Buzzed Broadway | Improv/Sketch | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thursdays. Continues through Feb. 26 2015
Price: $10
When musical improv is done right, it's one of the most fun and exciting theatrical events out there. When done wrong, it's one of the most awkward and excruciating things to sit through, whether performed in a theater or on the moon. A group's success is contingent on its ability to not only improvise well together, but also harmonize well together. It can get complicated—and nailing down a story line and seeing it through till the end helps. Letting the audience have a few drinks doesn't hurt either. Buzzed Broadway has this formula down to a science. The nine-person collective performs its hybrid of a drinking game and improvised musical at the recently rebranded MCL Chicago, a theater now dedicated entirely to musical comedy. During my visit, things kicked off with a prepared opening number that acted as an explanation of the drinking-game rules. And I swear I heard one big sigh of relief when the crowd was assured that, yes, the performers could in fact sing. The rules were a little hard to remember, especially once I became wrapped up in the show, but sound cues alerted us to a duet (one sip), an appearance of a villain (three sips), and "diva belts" (chug). Fortunately for the teetotalers out there, the buzz wasn't necessary to enjoy the show. Based on the audience's suggestion of "tiny feet," the group neatly split into good guys who were pro being different and bad guys whose agreed-upon mantra was "change is bad." What followed was sharp dialogue, catchy songs, and dance numbers that weren't terrible—which is a major compliment considering the majority of comics I've seen try to dance. Because it was such fun to watch, it's sad that the show I witnessed will never be seen again, but that's another one of the charms of musical improv. Each performance is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—and if it's in the right key, all the better. ­—Brianna Wellen


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