Considering the term “Broadway” is epynonymous with the term “American live threatre” it’s no wonder that New York City is widely recognized as the epicenter of theatre in America. It’s not really even up for debate with about 99% of Americans. Beyond that, however, Chicago is widely recognized as one of the better “1a” cities in the country, from the widely famous and successful Second City comedy troupe to small, local productions like The Gift Theatre Company in my home ‘hood of Jefferson Park.
There are a couple of really good shows out there right now, if you’re looking to class it up for a night, and that doesn’t even include the Charlie Sheen Violent Torpedo of Truth Hour that sweeps into the Chicago Threater this weekend.
The Dude Abides
It’s exactly what you think it is, a rock musical based on The Big Lebowski. Hilarity surely ensues at this iO production that runs until mid-May at the Del Close Theatre at iO’s Wrigleyville home (3541 N Clark). Tickets are $12 and the show precedes another intriguing production, Sarah Palin Explains America at You. And yes, White Russians are available.
Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque
Another one you definitely read correctly, this production by Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N Milwaukee) is a self-described “sexy send-up” of the classic NES game, the storyline revolves around Mario’s numerous quests to save the Princess and his inability to seal the deal (hey, it was a kid’s game). Shows are 18 and up and due to its popularity, its run has been extended every through April, every Friday night at 9:30 and Saturday at 11:30. Tickets are $20 and the audience is encouraged to bring coins for tips, if the cast collects enough they claim an alternate ending is unlocked.
The South Side of Heaven
You couldn’t do a run-down of live comedy in Chicago and miss Second City (1616 N Wells), could you? Opening April 1 is the newest revue on the Second City’s professional main stage, featuring most of the top talent currently in the troupe, the group’s page offers vague hints at the plot, but it seems very Chicago-oriented, so it can’t be that bad. It plays 7 days a week and tickets are $22-$27 depending on your night.
The Madness of George III
Well, I had to include one dramatic history to kind of even out this post, so I’ll go with the upcoming production at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, focused on the waning years of George III’s rule in England. Written by internationally renounded playwright Alan Bennett, I have full faith in this play, as the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E Grand) is one of the true underappreciated culture gems in this city. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. The Madness of George III runs from April 13-June 12.