Chandeliers: Brianna GetWellen | iO Theater | Improv/Sketch, Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Brianna Wellen (center) and her sisters, Madeline and Lily

Brianna Wellen (center) and her sisters, Madeline and Lily

Courtesy Brianna Wellen

When: Tue., June 23 2015
Price: $15
The Reader’s masthead lists Brianna Wellen as our Agenda section editor, and yes, she’s that. But she’s done a great many other things since she arrived here just over two years ago, such as making herself indispensable on the comedy and improv beats. Wellen is talented, industrious, and shockingly sweet natured for a journalist. It would be understandable, however, if she went just a little sour over what’s been happening to her lately. In April she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. The disease has required hospital stays and what’s expected to be a months-long regimen of chemotherapy. "It’s been a whirlwind," she says. Expensive, too. Although, at 24, Wellen is still on her parents’ insurance plan, she’s got plenty of treatment-related bills to pay out of her own pocket. Yet sour she did not go. Far from it: Wellen had already set up a page (total as of this writing: $11,265) when, she says, her old friend Alyssa Vitale suggested they "have fun with this. And I thought, ‘Why not do a comedy show?’ Because that’s one of my favorite things to do in the city." They got in touch with producer Matt Byrne and iO Theater creative director Alex Honnet. "And they were really excited about the idea and took it from there. I haven’t really done anything other than suggest the idea to them." What Honnet, Byrne, and Vitale came up with is a mixed-bag night of stand-up and improvisation headlined by SNL writer Katie Rich, a Chicago-grown gem who will reunite with longtime creative partner Holly Laurent for the occasion. Also on the bill: iO house team Casual Encounters and Celtic-surnamed stand-ups Sean Flannery, Katie McVay, and Rebecca O’Neal. Tickets are $15, the house seats 170, and every cent goes to Wellen. —Tony Adler


4.6 out of 5

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