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Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
Lots of visitors to Chicago as well as locals enjoy this improv show.
The Neo-Futurists theater group attempt to perform 30 short plays in 60 minutes. Guests pay an admission that varies from $6 to $11, based on their lucky roll of some dice upon entry. Guests are then asked their name and are issued a nametag that may or may not have anything to do with their name.
The audience is then handed a list of the 30 play titles, which correspond to 30 numbers hanging on a rope above the stage. When each short play is completed the company yells, 'Curtain!' and the audience yells out the next one they'd like to see performed.
Its a fast-paced fun time where the audience is involved from the start, and the theater is small and engaging. The short plays range from hilarious to somber and are often political and timely. If the theater sells out, they order pizza for everyone.
See a film or a play!
Chicago is historically known as a breeding place for actors and the theater. There is the theater district downtown, but my favorite is the Steppenwolf Theater. Ensemble members include John Malcovich, Gary Sinese, Laurie Metcalf, John Mahoney, Terry Kinney, Martha Lavey.....many many more.
If you like Saturday Night Live, go see where half of the stars on the show learned how to do improv comedy at Second City.
But, if you are more of a film fan, like me, then visit one of our historic movie theaters. The Biograph, Music Box and Esquire are my favorite places to see international, independent, and old classics. Plus, the theaters themselves are beautiful landmarks of Chicago.
The picture is of the Biograph Theater on Lincoln avenue. Ganster John Dillinger was finally gunned down outside after alluding the police for decades. His mistress the "lady in red" turned him in. Some believe his ghost hangs out around here. I think you might see a more frightening sight here around 2 a.m. when all college students come wandering out of the bars after one too many drinks.
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Looking for a good laugh? Don't miss Second City!
When visiting Chicago I always recommend a trip to the famous Second City. This is a definite Do Not Miss!!! Second City boasts a slew of famous alumni such as John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Mike Myers and Bonnie Hunt - just to name a few. Their mainstage show runs every night of the week (twice on Fridays and Saturdays) and changes each year, except Mondays. On Mondays the mainstage features their touring company performing Second City's "Greatest Hits". In the Spring they are usually testing out new material for their next show. Regardless, any time is a great time to see them perform. They are always political and usually hysterically funny. And the theatre is small enough for every seat to be great. If you want to sit up front get their early as seating is first come. The mainstage also sells out often, especially on weekends so I recommend buying your tickets in advance. Tickets are $17 and you can buy them online or through the box office. Although if you are in town during the week you can occasionally buy half price tickets at the Hot Tix booth in Water Tower the day of the show. But there are no guarantees that tickets will be available through Hot Tix. They serve food (although a little pricey) and have a full bar with servers that come to your table throughout the show. Every night of the week (except Friday) Second City offers a free improv session on the mainstage after the last show of the night. If you're already seeing the show hang out for the free improv. If you saw an earlier show or are just in the neighborhood you are welcome to come on up to the theatre to catch the late night act. It's so much fun! I have seen many of their shows and even the same show multiple times and it still gets me laughing. You can also check out what's playing on their second stage if the mainstage is sold out. They also offer a training program if you're interested in learning more about improv and sketch comedy.
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Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra played their first concert on October 16, 1891and has been one of the most important orchestras in the world ever since. The CSO has performed numerous American premieres of pieces by Strauss, Elgar, Holst, Tchaikovsky, and has been home to many of the world's finest conductors, such as Boulez, Solti, Bernstein, and Barenboim.
At the concert I went to, famous conductor/cellist Mstislav Rostropovich played the Haydn c minor cello concerto...from a purely technical standpoint, his playing has definitely seen better days, but his musicality and expression were spectacular, not to mention that all of the cadenzas were improvised.
OK I will stop here, because, to quote one of my favorite movies, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
The Chicago Symphony can only truly be experienced by a concert at Symphony Center or at least on a good stereo system.
Second City Theater
The Second City Theater has been the launching pad for actors/comedians such as John Belushi, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers, Eugene Levy, Tina Fey, Horatio Sans and Rachel Dratch. Second City began as a small cabaret called the Compass Players, and now operates comedy clubs in Chicago, Toronto, Las Vegas, Detroit and Los Angeles as well as several touring groups.
The actors write and perform comedy revues and do a little improv too. I saw the revue entitled "Doors Open on the Right" (the title quotes the recorded announcements that play on the L at each stop informing passengers which side to exit the train)....anyway, the show was terrific. It's sort of SNL style-with shory scenes that don't necessarily have anything to do with each other, but sometimes do.
I was a little surprised at how often Steve Bartman (poor loser who touched-and dropped-that foul ball last year) came up, but it was funnier every time he popped up. My favorite scene was with a married couple and a marriage counselor, who was totally on the woman's side...the husband ends up having to decode the wife's stories about chess sets and yellow gumballs to find all she really wants is to have another baby.
The Glorious Chicago Symphony Orchestra
If you're in town during their regular season and like classical music, you must see a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance. Orchestras don't get any better than this, and Symphony Center (formerly Orchestra Hall) is a wonderful place to hear them.
Simply the best in classical music!
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago is known for its arts and has a wide array of museums, galleries as well as world class musical performers. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is led by current music director, Daniel Barenboim. See the website for more information.
The Second City
This comedy club was probably the best event in my latest trip to Chicago. The talent was amazing and the service was exceptional. For $18 US you are treated to two hours of hilarious skits with excellent actors. The Second City has spawned such great comics as Mike Myers, John Candy, Jim Belushi, and many other well known characters.
- Theater Travel
As you probably know, Chicago is one of the birthplaces of jazz. So to feel it it's not necessary to go to night clubs and listen to professionals (though it's desirable), but sometimes it's enough to stand near street black band. What an energy, what an art, what a show!
I'm just loading pictures and place holders until I can get back and add some text. Come back in November and see what's been added.
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