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The Second City Panic on Cloud 9By J. Scott Hill

More than the Goodman, even more than Steppenwolf, Second City is Chicago’s most sought out theatre destination for out-of-towners — for theatregoers, for actors and comedians in search of training and experience and opportunity, for professionals in the entertainment industry looking for up-and-coming performers and/or writers. No one at Second City is more keenly aware of this than the folks involved in the revues on the Mainstage. I have seen several revues on the E.T.C. stage that were notably funnier and edgier than their concurrent Mainstage counterparts. I wouldn’t say that Mainstage shows tend to play to the least common denominator; rather, that the weight of being THE Second City revue — at least, as far as the wide world is concerned — tends to pull a Mainstage show out of the dark corners, away from the fringe, and more toward the middle.

The new Mainstage revue, Panic on Cloud 9, is unconcerned with anything but being the funniest damn show it can be.

The mostly rapid barrage of sketches mostly avoids the easier, more comfortable laughs as it lays waste to society’s preconceived notions about disparate subjects: from the experience of the comatose, to the affirmation of children, to the Secret Service. The pacing is broken halfway through the show by a comparatively long cowboy sketch — but, instead of bringing the party to an abrupt end, it serves as the spotlight dance.

The Second City Panic on Cloud 9

This is a talented, cohesive ensemble. Chelsea Devantez John Hartman, Paul Jurewicz, Daniel Strauss, Christine Tawfik, and Emily Walker are all fantastic utility players. Chelsea Devantez and Emily Walker are given the greater variety of personalities to portray, and are both cunning actors.

The Second City Panic on Cloud 9

The star shining most visibly through Panic on Cloud 9 is John Hartman. He can and does play some fairly regular guys in some sketches, but the quirkier the character, the more he excels at playing that character. He’s like a plate spinner of idiosyncrasies: the more oddball things he has to do simultaneously, the more enjoyable and impressive his performance becomes. Hartman’s youthful looks belie his years of outstanding work here in Chicago — not only in Panic on Cloud 9 and Depraved New World on the Second City Mainstage, but notably with the improv troupes 1, 2, 3, Fag! and the Improvised Shakespeare Company at iO, and his successful solo shows Your Friends and Enemies and I’m Sorry I Missed You at the Annoyance. He’s honed his craft, he’s paid his dues, and, within five years of whenever he takes the leap to New York or Los Angeles, he’ll be a household name.

The Second City Panic on Cloud 9

Panic on Cloud 9 is a daring, hilarious triumph for the Second City Mainstage — the best Mainstage revue in years.  Once the word gets out through the Chicago media as to just how delightful Panic on Cloud 9 is, the out-of-towners may find themselves hard pressed to get tickets.

 

4 STARS

(“Panic on Cloud 9″ is in OPEN RUN at The Second City Mainstage, 1616 North Wells Street. 312-337-3992.)


The Second City

 

Panic on Cloud 9 production photos by Todd Rosenberg.

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Jillian Erickson’s Original Solo Show 3:00 a.m.: Slipping Beyond the Boundaries of a Bruised Mind (Directed by Michelle Power) is a reflection of two of different phases of bi-polar, insomnia-filled evenings. From Colorado to Chicago… from Ralph Machio to Religion… from Biological Clocks to a Norwegian band  obsession… 3:00 a.m. is an interweaving of years gone by and the segments that have steered her towards her current path.. Join the Beast Women Saturday nights at The Den Theatre. Your Nights Belong To The Beast! $20 Tickets at the door or online.

 

3:00 a.m.: Slipping Beyond the Boundaries of a Bruised Mind

Friday, Nov 21 & Saturday, Nov 22 at 10:30 pm

@ The Den Theatre

1333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago ~ Steps from the Division Blue Line Stop

Show Type: Performance Art

 

Read the 4 STAR ChicagoStageReview here: 3:00 a.m. – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

 

The Den Theatre

Beast Women Productions

Brown Paper Tickets

unnamed  500x72Beast Women — Chicago’s Original All-Female Performance Variety Revue — serving as a platform to showcase the best female talent in Chicago. A diverse assortment of genres are presented each week that highlight female strength through performance including music, poetry, dance, performance art, spoken word, burlesque, etc. This is not your typical show. The artists presented, display their passion, strength, freedom, and sensuality to reveal the very things that make them the women they are today. The only demands placed on them are to be original and be bold. The show is an invigorating and stimulating experience that operates on a concept of revolving individual performances, so every night is different offering a unique, exciting, and memorable experience for audiences. Join the Beast Women Saturday nights at The Den Theatre. Your Nights Belong To The Beast! $20 Tickets at the door or online Presented by Beast Women Productions

Beast Women September Series 2014
Saturdays, Sep 6 - Oct 4 at 10:30 pm

 

Beast Women Rising, a new talent showcase
Sunday, Sep 21 at 7:00 p.m @ The Den Theatre

 

1333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago ~ Steps from the Division Blue Line Stop

Show Type: Cabaret

 

The Den Theatre

Beast Women Productions

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Clemente: The Legend of 21

NightBlue Performing Arts Company, in partnership with ArtoCarpus, proudly presents the Chicago Premiere of Clemente: The Legend of 21 at Stage 773. This musical, written and directed by the renowned Luis Caballero, tells the tale of struggle and triumph for one of baseball’s greatest players, Roberto Clemente. Beginning on the day of his death, this musical chronicles Clemente’s life from enduring poverty and racism to becoming an inspiration for generations to come.

Clemente was a Puerto Rican professional baseball player who played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He was the first Latino player to win a World Series as a starter and received numerous awards during his career including National League and World Series MVP, being named All-Star 12 times and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously. His passion, aside from baseball, was charity work in Puerto Rico and Latin American countries where he delivered food and baseball equipment to those in need. He perished in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 while in route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

“Clemente is a monumental figure for everyone,” said David Walters, Artistic Director of NightBlue Performing Arts Company. “You don’t have to be a baseball fan – or even a sports fan to appreciate the impact he made in the world. His story goes well beyond sports to overcoming adversity and hatred. His composure and dedication to helping others less fortunate is an inspiration to this day.”

 

Aug 22, 2014 - Sep 14, 2014

@ Stage 773

1225 W Belmont Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-327-5252

Stage 773

0ABeast Women — Chicago’s Original All-Female Performance Variety Revue — serving as a platform to showcase the best female talent in Chicago.

A diverse assortment of genres are presented each week that highlight female strength through performance including music, poetry, dance, performance art, spoken word, burlesque, etc. This is not your typical show. The artists presented, display their passion, strength, freedom, and sensuality to reveal the very things that make them the women they are today. The only demands placed on them are to be original and be bold. The show is an invigorating and stimulating experience that operates on a concept of revolving individual performances, so every night is different offering a unique, exciting, and memorable experience for audiences.

Join the Beast Women Saturday nights at The Den Theatre.

Your Nights Belong To The Beast!

$20 Tickets at the door or online

Presented by Beast Women Productions

 

Beast Women
Saturdays, May 10 – June 14 at 10:30 pm

Beast Women Rising, a new talent showcase
Sunday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m

@ The Den Theatre

1333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago ~ Steps from the Division Blue Line Stop

Show Type: Cabaret

The Den Theatre

Beast Women Productions

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Sprouting up from the cast-off tatters and scraps of our society, L’Imbecile is (according to playwright Aaron Adair) “shamelessly stolen” from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, which, in turn, was adapted in 1851 from Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse. But even if they were still around, Verdi and Hugo might not recognize their work when they see it: A Queen and her Fool, in a deadly dance of betrayal and revenge, play fast and loose with curses and courtly manners… with catastrophic consequences.

Presented by Babes With Blades Theatre Company

Thru - May 10, 2014

@ Rivendell Theatre

5775 N. Ridge Avenue

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-904-0391

L’Imbecile ~ Babes With Blades

Brown Paper Tickets ~ L’Imbecile

CouchSurferz 500 x 72.AWeb Sitcom “CouchSurferz” Premieres in Chicago

A hilarious web series starring local comedy legends, Tim Stoltenberg and Mark Piebenga, premieres April 10 in Chicago.

CHICAGO, IL (MARCH 10, 2014) — “CouchSurferz,” a web sitcom and stage show series, will premiere April 10th starring Second City Touring Company veterans Tim Stoltenberg and Mark Piebenga as two Chicago roommates navigating their way through a series of unwelcome house guests. Each hilarious episode of this six-part series introduces a new idiotic house guest, the first being TJ Jagodowski of the famed “TJ & Dave” improv comedy show.

Premiering to the public at Second City’s DeMaat Theatre in Chicago, IL., the night will include a live screening of the first episode, and an improv show by Stoltenberg and Piebanga. The following day, the episode will appear online at www.couchsurferz.com. Each week’s Thursday stage show will feature the guest star of the subsequent episode, through May 15, 2014.

CouchSurferz” was created in Chicago, IL. by Writer/Creator Jack Thurston Farrell and Producer Greg Dixon. Please visit www.couchsurferz.com for episode premieres and cast bios, or like facebook.com/couchsurferz for more updates.

Thursdays. April 10 – May 15, 2014 – 10:30 pm

@ The Second City, DeMaat Theatre

1608 N. Wells St., Chicago

Show Type: Web Series Screening / Improv

Box Office: (312) 337- 3992.

Beast_Evening_Winter_Series_2013 500 x 72Beast Women – Chicago’s Original All-Female Performance Variety Revue – is back, serving as a platform to showcase the best female talent!  Beast Women Is Finishing Off Our 2013 As We Do Everything… Kicking Ass.

Join Us at Our Winter Series, Which Has Moved to Wicker Park at The Den Theatre.

Beast Women Is Here To Heat Up Your Winter Nights! Your Nights Belong To The Beast!

$20 Tickets at the door or online

***Discount Tix***
$10 Students with I.D.
$10 for parties of 5 or more people
$10 for anyone wearing their Beast Women T-shirt!

Presented by Beast Women Productions

Beast Women
Saturdays, November 16 – December 21 at 10:30 pm

Beast Women Rising, a new talent showcase
Sunday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m

@ The Den Theatre

1333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago ~ Steps from the Division Blue Line Stop

Show Type: Cabaret

The Den Theatre

Beast Women Productions

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Halloween Hedonism at the Belmont Burlesque Revue

Looking for fiendishly hedonistic way to celebrate the Halloween season?  Join the Belmont Bombshells for an evening of song, schtick, and striptease in their annual Halloween Spooktacular!  Special guests Serenna Starr, Helena Handbasket, Diva LaVida, Hazel Hellbender, and Paly Flames join the critically acclaimed Belmont Bombshells in their annual moonlight revelry hosted by the vampiric MsPixy and her saucy sidekick Giant Martini.  With magic by The Amazing Tomas and comedy by Katie McVay, the Belmont Burlesque Revue is a refreshingly authentic classic burlesque experience bound to thrill striptease neophytes and delight veteran viewers from the first bump to the last grind, and every sequin in between.

 

Saturday. Oct 26 — 10:45 pm

@ Theater Wit

1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Burlesque

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Belmont Burlesque Revue at Theater Wit

500 x 72185 Buddahs Walk into a Bar and Bruiser opening

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar
The art of improvisation creates stories from thin air, making the unseen seen. For Amanda Rountree, this is not just an art form, but a way of life — one that includes unexpected twists and turns — leading, if not to mastery, to enlightenment.  Written and performed by Amanda Rountree, and directed by Jen Ellison, the show follows the artist on a path filled with funny and touching moments.

BRUISER: Tales from a Traumatized Tomboy
Some girls dream about their wedding day. Others long to play with ponies. Only a select few name and collect their scabs, speak to imaginary rodents in their minds, and make mortal enemies out of cute yellow doggies. Kelsie Huff brings to the Chicago stage the true story of how a misplaced tomboy blossoms into an even more awkward adult. “BRUISER” tackles the hilarity of adolescent and adult humiliation using Huff’s trademark blend of uproarious characters, crushing and unavoidable hereditary influences, and engaging storytelling. Huff shares her unique brand of humor in a new knock-down, drag-out solo show hailed as “comic gold” by the Boulder Daily Camera.  Read the 4 STAR review here: Bruiser: Tales from a Traumatized Tomboy – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

 

185 Buddahs Walk into a Bar and Bruiser
Sundays at 6:00 p.m.
Oct 13 - Nov 3, 2013

@ Studio BE

3110 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 773-248-5900

Amanda Rountree

Kelsie Huff

Studio BE

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