The Chicago Women's Funny Festival commandeers Stage 773 | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

The Chicago Women's Funny Festival commandeers Stage 773 

In its third year the showcase offers 70 acts, 400 performers, and some tough decisions.

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Just like every little girl's backyard clubhouse, the four stages of Stage 773 boast a "No boys allowed!" sign this weekend: It's time for the Chicago Women's Funny Festival, now in its third year. From June 5 to 8, estrogen flows freely on Belmont, with 70 acts featuring 400 lady performers (and perhaps a few male strays) showing off their skills in improv, stand-up, musical comedy, burlesque, and anything else they feel like.

This year the festival is hosting some exciting names, two of whom will offer workshops. Performing twice is Beth Stelling (6/6 and 6/7, 8 PM), a familiar face on Chelsea Lately and Conan O'Brien, who'll also host a "sit-down" on stand-up (6/7, 11 AM-1 PM). Second City alum Katie Rich (see Reader Recommends), now a writer for Saturday Night Live, conducts a class on advanced long-form improv (6/7, 3-6 PM), and Canadian queer comic and improviser Danz Altvater takes the mike Saturday night (6/7, 10 PM). Rounding out the workshop schedule is talent agent Marisa Paonessa, who discusses breaking into the funny business (6/8, 10:30 AM-1:30 PM).

Throughout the fest you'll find some familiar faces from the Chicago comedy scene as well. On opening night there's Candy Lawrence (6/5, 10 PM) and The Kates (6/5, 10 PM). Burlesque parody troupe Off Off Broadzway heats up Saturday night (6/7, 9 PM), and ukulele-armed Plucky Rosenthal helps close out the weekend with some vaudeville on Sunday (6/8, 8 PM).

With 70 acts to choose from, decisions must be made, and to help there'll be staffers on hand to guide you to a show based on your interests. Isn't that nice?


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