Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Den Theatre Presents Comedian CAMERON ESPOSITO December 30 & 31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage

  ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

The Den Theatre Presents Comedian


December 30 & 31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage

Plus: Ring in 2023 at “The Den’s New Year’s Laughin’ Eve”

The Den Theatre is pleased to welcome back comedian Cameron Esposito, performing two stand-up shows December 30 & 31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830. Regular, mezzanine and VIP table seating available. Drink service is provided for all seats (two drink minimum).

Following Cameron’s December 31 performance, ring in 2023 at The Den’s New Year’s Laughin’ Eve, featuring additional comedy performances by Chicago favorites Lucia Whalen and Nate Armbruster, music from DJ Thee David Davis and a midnight toast with a surprise drag queen! Admission ($47 including fees) includes two cocktails and a midnight champagne toast! Purchase a ticket to Cameron’s NYE show and check your email confirmation for a code that unlocks a 50% discount on tickets to the party.

Cameron Esposito is an award-winning standup comic, actor, podcaster and bestselling author. Cameron most recently appeared in HBOMax's Moonshot and ABC's A Million Little Things. Cameron's new hour is about divorce, self-acceptance and butthole surgery.


Performance schedule:

Friday, December 30 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 31 at 8:30 pm (followed by The Den’s New Year’s Laughin’ Eve)


COVID safety: Effective November 21, 2022, The Den Theatre will no longer require patrons to offer proof of vaccination for COVID-19 to gain entry into the facility. For the most up-to-date information on our venue’s COVID precautions, please visit


About The Den Theatre

The Den Theatre opened in 2010 in the Wicker Park neighborhood with just a single theatre space. Now celebrating its thirteenth year, Co-owners Ryan Martin and Carol Cohen, along with their talented and dynamic staff, have developed The Den into a multi-level, live entertainment venue that boasts five intimate and unique theaters ranging from 50 – 300 seats. In addition, the first floor houses The Den Bar & Lounge – a full-service bar where audiences gather before and after performances to share a drink and commune with like-minded culture-hounds. Today, The Den is focused on providing world-class stand-up comedy and cultivating its first love – the theatre. The Den is home to six resident theatre companies including About Face Theatre, The Artistic Home, Broken Nose Theatre, First Floor Theater, Haven and The New Coordinates. Hundreds of other companies, artists and comedians from Chicago and beyond have called The Den home – from national names to local stars, and The Den consistently plays host to a lineup of exciting and diverse talent. As a building created for interdisciplinary arts, The Den has accommodated a wide variety of programming, including plays, musicals, stand-up comedy, improv, dance, film screenings, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit

Friday, November 25, 2022

World Premiere! THE GOLDEN GIRLS: THE LOST EPISODES The Obligatory Holiday Special Via Hell in a Handbag Through December 30, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

World Premiere!

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents


The Obligatory Holiday Special

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed by Spenser Davis

November 26 – December 30, 2022 at The Center on Halsted

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've adored Hell in a Handbag Productions original comedies for decades! David Cerda has a penchant for penning parodies and legs to die for. The hellions at Handbag Productions do incomparably hilarious drag parodies of classic films, but our hands down handbag favorites are always The Golden Girls. Grab a few friends and get thee to The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – The Obligatory Holiday Special. Don't miss this!

Hell in a Handbag Productions is thrilled to ring in the holiday season with the return of its favorite seniors in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – The Obligatory Holiday Special, playing November 26 – December 30, 2022 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives return in all new episodes, written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by Spenser Davis. Tickets are now on sale at or

The production stars original cast members David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Ed Jones* and Ryan Oates as the Geriatric Fab Four, joined by Lori Lee*, Terry McCarthy*, Michael Miller*, Michael Rashid*, Coco Sho-Nell, Jamie Smith and Danne W. Taylor*. 

The holidays take an unexpected turn for the gals when they find out that the infamous Shady Pines Retirement Community is on the verge of closing, leaving most of Sophia’s friends homeless for the holidays. Can the girls step in and save the day in time for Christmas? Will Rose be able to make it to St. Olaf in time for the ever-popular Herring Bowl Parade? These questions, and many more you never asked will be answered this newest installment of The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes.

The production team includes Robert-Eric West (Costume Design), Liz Cooper (Lighting Designer), DJ Douglass (Sound Designer), Devon Green (Props Designer), Sydney Genco* (Make-Up Design), Keith Ryan* (Wig Designer), Christopher Rhoton (Scenic Design Consultant) and Veronica Kostka (Stage Manager).


COVID safety: Masking is recommended, but not required. COVID guidelines may change in accordance with public health guidelines.

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Rose), Lori Lee* (Host, Clara), Terry McCarthy* (Nurse Ursula) Michael Miller* (Councilman Hardin), Ryan Oates* (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Esther Shapiro), Coco Sho-Nell (Wanda), Jamie Smith (Bob Hope) and Danne W. Taylor* (Nancy Drew).


Location: The Hoover Leppen Theater at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago

Previews: Saturday November 26 at 7:30 pm, Sunday November 27 at 3 pm and Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, December 4 – Friday, December 30, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Sunday, December 18 at 7 pm and Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm; there will not be performances on Saturday, December 3, Saturday, December 10, Saturday, December 24 or Sunday, December 25.

Tickets: $24 previews, $29 advanced general admission, $34 at the door, $48 VIP/reserved seating with drink ticket. Group rates $24 for 10 or more. Tickets are now on sale at or

About the Artists

David Cerda (Playwright) is a founding member and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, now celebrating its 20th year anniversary. As resident playwright, he has written many Handbag productions as well as acted in them. His play, The Drag Seed was recently produced at LaMaMa Experimental Theater and his Golden Girls Lost Episodes parody shows have been produced around the country and was featured in Golden Con: Thank you for being a Fan, the world’s first fan convention dedicated to all things Golden Girls at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Cerda is a proud inductee into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and recipient of a Jeff Award for lifetime achievement for his 25 years (and counting) of work and service to the community. He lives in Chicago with his partner, Christopher.

Spenser Davis (Director) is excited to be back at Hell in a Handbag, where he previously directed 'the Girls' in their virtual "Lockdown!" special. An award-winning director and playwright, he was the 2020/21 Maggio Directing Fellow at the Goodman Theatre, where he worked alongside Bob Falls on Rebecca Gilman's Swing State and Adam Rapp's The Sound Inside. Regionally, he's worked at South Coast Repertory, the Colorado New Play Festival, and Street Corner Arts in Austin, TX. Chicago directing credits include Labyrinth, Plainclothes (with Kanomé Jones), At The Table, From White Plains, Mare and A Phase (Broken Nose Theatre); The Spin (Interrobang Theatre Project); May the Road Rise Up, Adventures of Spirit Force Five and the upcoming Kelly Girls (The Factory Theater); and Blue Stockings (Promethean Theatre). His production of At The Table was named "One of Best of the Decade" by Storefront Rebellion and "One of the Year's Best" by the Chicago Tribune. His honors include the Jeff Award for Best Director, the B. Iden Payne Award for Best Director, the Elizabeth George Commission, the M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award and being named finalist for the Harold & Mimi Steinberg New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association. He's currently developing projects for television with Orion/MGM, among others. He’s represented by both William Morris Endeavor + Heroes and Villains Entertainment.

About Hell in a Handbag Productions

Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit. For additional information, visit


Sunday, July 24, 2022

REVIEW: Queer Eye: The Musical Parody Now Playing at The Second City in Chicago

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Queer Eye: The Musical Parody

at The Second City in Chicago 


By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

My older daughter and I loved to watch the original “Queer Eye” when she was in high school. She’s now been finished with grad school about ten years. Yeah, we’re talking 2003. I’m wondering why bother to skewer an outdated show? Well, a new “Queer Eye” debuted in 2018 with a different cast who are mimicked perfectly in this funny production at Second City. My cynicism was won over. The talented cast have high energy, fun dance moves, and great voices which add to their over-the-top performances and drive the momentum of the show. I’ve been dragging my new-to-Chicago sister to a LOT of theater, and she said this was one of her favorites. 

The poor sap (victim!) being made over is “Sam,”(Bryson Howard) who lives in his mom’s basement, was breastfed until he was 9 (ewww…), plays “Fortnite,” and “is unemployed but an aspiring puppetteer.” This prize of manhood is adored by his childhood friend Claire, played with goofy enthusiasm by Bridget Adams-King (who has an astounding voice). Of course, Sam is too clueless to realize that Claire has a tremendous crush on him. (hysterical puppet scene a la “Avenue Q” late in the show).      

While being made over, Sam # 1 transforms into Sam # 2, played by the charismatic Jordan Dell Harris. One of the big improvements is switching out Sam’s ugly t-shirt; even his mother tells him,”This shirt says, ‘You’re a virgin.’”

Or as the fashionista (Tina Arfaee) sings: “Straight men’s clothes bring me to tears. They look like they haven’t shopped in years.” 

There are ongoing jokes that the home makeover guy has to perform the most work, with Eddie Ledford as Bobby nearly having a nervous breakdown about needing to redo an entire living space. The other members of the “Fab Five” get off pretty easy with their tasks, especially the “Culture” guy, Karamo (Evan Tyrone Martin). My daughter and I always pondered exactly what the hell his role contributed. Here, Karamo sings how he doesn’t know what to do when it’s his segment. (“I got nothin’!”) 

My sister’s favorite Fab Five was the grooming/hairdresser Jonathan, played with relish by Evan Starkweather. His comic timing and reactions were spot-on. They were funny as he delivered them, but I later watched an episode of the new “Queer Eye,” and he is channeling the hairdresser on the show. (“Are we about to bond?”) 

My personal fave was the food guy, Antoni, played by the adorable (and hot!) Dominic Rescigno. He confesses that he is the “eye candy” of the show and asks when can he take his shirt off? Loved his cooking segment in his “Kiss the Cok” apron! (and avocado puppets!) 

Dakota Hughes got a huge cheer from the crowd with her rousing song imploring Sam to move out of her house! She and Adams-King both had two roles with lots of back-and-forth costume changes. One of the funniest bits was when their characters asked where their other characters were and made a hasty excuse of, “Uhhhh…She’s busy.” 

None of the show is possible without the tremendous talent of Music Director/Composer/Lyricist/Orchestrator Heidi Joosten. She keeps it all together. I could hardly believe she was the only instrumentalist. 

After the show, I walked my sis around so she could see the informal museum that celebrates all the talent that has rolled through Second City. All those famous faces that have created a huge legacy In Chicago. We’re lucky this theater is here. 

Catherine Hellmann could use a makeover, but who has time between teaching teenagers and attending theater?  

Legendary Chicago comedy institution The Second City is excited to present Queer Eye: The Musical Parody. Co-created and co-written by Second City Mainstage ensemble member Evan Mills and Heidi Joosten, the show will be co-directed by Mills and Stephen Schellhardt, who is also choreographer. Joosten, the composer, lyricist and orchestrator for the show, will fill the role of musical director. Cast members include Bridget Adams-King, Tina Arfaee, Jordan Dell Harris, Bryson Howard, Dakota Hughes, Eddie Ledford, Evan Tyrone Martin, Dominic Rescigno, and Evan Starkweather. Shannon Golden-Starr is stage manager.

Inspired by the hit Netflix show Queer Eye, Second City audiences will follow everybody's fave Fab Five as they help an Average Joe manifest their full potential through aggressive self-love, laugh-out-loud comedy, and more songs than you can handle, henny! Watch a two-act "episode" of the show we all thought we knew... until now. Queer Eye: The Musical Parody features all the avocados, plenty of pompadours, and maybe even a puppet or two. Say "YASS, and" to this hilarious experience where things just keep on getting better...and funnier! 

Tickets for Queer Eye: The Musical Parody start at $39.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at The show schedule is as follows beginning May 26, 2022: Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 7pm in UP Comedy Club.

About the Artists

Bridget Adams-King (“Claire/Rachel”) (she/her) is thrilled and so grateful to be making her Second City debut! Some of the theaters she has previously worked with include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Kokandy Productions, Northlight Theatre, and Griffin Theatre. She is a two-time Jeff-nominated performer for her portrayal of “Kate” in If/Then at Brown Paper Box Co. and “Lucy Parsons” in Underscore Theatre Company’s 2018 production of Haymarket: A New Folk Musical. She has also appeared in an episode of NBC’s hit show Chicago PD. She is repped by Gray Talent Group. @badamsking 

Tina Arfaee (“Tan”) (they/any) has been writing and performing in Chicago since 2012, most notably at The Annoyance Theater with Matt Damon Improv. With MDI, she wrote and starred in the web series In-Diana. She has also appeared on an episode of Chicago Fire, Centered the web series, and short film The Sweatshirt. Tina is a graduate of The Second City/NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship. She is repped by Big Mouth Talent. @tinatwocats

Shannon Golden-Starr (Stage Manager) (She/They) CHICAGO: I, Banquo, Short Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, Q Brothers' Christmas Carol, Shakespeare in the Parks production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Frankenstein, Act(s) of God, Plantation!, Hard Times, Moby Dick, Thaddeus and Slocuum: A Vaudeville Adventure (Lookingglass Theatre Company); The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Frederick (Chicago Children’s Theatre); The King of the Yees, Uncle Vanya, Carlyle, Soups Stews and Casseroles: 1976, Feathers and Teeth (Goodman Theatre); The Mutilated, Simpatico (A Red Orchid Theatre); This Wonderful Life (American Blues Theater); Betrayal (Raven Theatre).

Jordan Dell Harris (“Sam #2”)  (he/him) is making his Second City debut! He was last seen onstage as “Donald” in Windy City Playhouse’s The Boys in the Band (Jeff Award winner, Best Ensemble). Other Chicago credits include work with Goodman Theatre, Raven Theatre, Griffin Theatre, The Story Theatre, BoHo Theatre and more. TV credits include 4400 (CW) and Next (Fox). 

Bryson Howard (“Sam #1”) (he/him) is a Chicago transplant from South Carolina by way of Nashville, TN, and Paris, France. After four and a half years of performing improv and scripted comedy around Chicago, the city thankfully has not yet rejected the transplant. He has been fortunate enough to perform in several shows at The Annoyance Theatre; he was part of the cast of The Queer Eye: The Musical Parody at the Playground Theater; he is an ensemble member of Baby Wants Candy, and he can be found performing improv at various venues in Chicago with his comedy partner Cassidy Russell. Twitter: @BrysonHoward. Instagram: @BrysonDallasHoward.

Dakota Hughes (“Bev/Executive Producer”) (They/Them) is ecstatic to make their Second City debut! Dakota is a Los Angeles native and graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where they earned a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. Some favorite credits include Kinky Boots, Cinderella (Paramount Theatre), American Idiot (The Hypocrites), Lizzie (Firebrand), Thrones! The Parody Musical! (The Apollo Theater), and [title of show] (Open Door Rep).

Heidi Joosten (Music Director/Composer/Lyricist/Orchestrator) (she/her) is thrilled and grateful to be making her Second City debut with this show that is so near and dear to her heart. A multi-hyphenate performing artist, Heidi has collaborated on over 100 new theatrical, comedic, and concert works in the Chicagoland area since her arrival in 2014. Notable writing credits include: Queer Eye: the Musical Parody (The Second City), Saint Hildegard: the Rupertsberg Tour (Theo Ubique), Micro (Music Theatre of Madison), and The Bone Harp (Underscore Theatre Company). Joosten is a highly-sought after composer with over 200 works to her name, and her award-winning music has been performed across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Heidi holds a Bachelors of Music from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Masters of Music from Roosevelt University - Chicago College of Performing Arts. Proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

Eddie Ledford (“Bobby”) (he/him) is a Chicago-based actor, singer and comedian. He is a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory, an ensemble member of the queer comedy group Baby Wine, and has performed in theaters, festivals and digital projects around the city including The Annoyance, Rhino Fest, Chicago Sketch Fest, Ordinary Peepholes, Commercial Appeal and web series Guilty. He originated the role of “Bobby” in the show’s initial run at The Playground Theatre and is very happy and grateful to reprise it at The Second City. Instagram: @_eddele

Evan Tyrone Martin (“Karamo”) (he/him) is excited to be making his Second City debut! Most recently, Evan could be seen in Blues In The Night at Porchlight Music Theatre opposite Broadway star Felicia P. Fields. Regional credits: “Jim” in Roundabout Theatre's digital reading of Zora Neale-Hurston's musical SPUNK (directed by Lili-Ann Brown); The Black Clown (Ensemble) at American Repertory Theater/Lincoln Center's 2019 Mostly Mozart Festival; Hair (“Hud”) at Mercury Theater; Jesus Christ Superstar (“Jesus,” BTAA Nomination) at Paramount Theatre; Dreamgirls (“Curtis,” BTAA Nomination) and Far From Heaven (“Raymond,” Jeff nomination) at Porchlight Music Theatre; and The Little Mermaid (“King Triton”) at Arkansas Rep. Evan has worked with Godspeed, Arkansas Shakes, Chicago Shakes, Chicago Humanities Festival, and many others. He also toured starring in the hit revues Unforgettable: Falling in Love with Nat King Cole and An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas. Next up, Evan will play “Mister” in The Color Purple at the legendary MUNY in St. Louis. Instagram: @3vanMart1n. He is repped by Paonessa Talent.

Evan Mills (Co-Director/Writer/Creator)( He/Him) is incredibly grateful to be co-directing the original musical he wrote with his writing partner Heidi Joosten, Queer Eye: The Musical Parody. He is currently an ensemble member in The Second City’s 110th Mainstage Revue and was previously an ensemble member of The Second City Mainstage revue Together at Last. Evan has toured with Second City’s RedCo and is a recipient of the Bob Curry Fellowship Program. He spent a summer in Washington D.C., performing at the Kennedy Center in Generation Gap and has also performed at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. He has been featured in the Break Out Comedy Festival, LA Laughter Comedy Fest, and the Comedy Central Showcase. You can check out his original music on Spotify (“A Little Bit Alexis” cover and “Sissy Boy”) and follow him on all social media platforms @awkvanmills.

Dominic Rescigno (“Antoni”) (he/him) is experiencing a dream come true doing this show with these people on this stage. He is a graduate of Second City’s Comedy Studies program and is currently finishing the Conservatory. He has performed for Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Onion, ClickHole, Walt Disney World, and starred in Chicago's long-running comedy Tony N' Tina's Wedding. His two webseries The Dominics and Dominic Tonight! have been critically ignored. | @dominicrescigno

Stephen Schellhardt (Co-Director/Choreographer) (he/him) is thrilled to be a part of the Queer Eye: A Musical Parody family. He is a Jeff Award-winning director and actor, as well as choreographer, producer, educator, and casting director. In Chicago, Stephen has worked with the Marriott Theater, Writers Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Mercury Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, About Face Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago’s Lyric Opera, The Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Northwestern University, and BoHo Theatre, where he served as a company member and Artistic Director for six years. National tours include Altar Boyz. International credits include Jane Austen’s Persuasion at The Royal Winchester Theatre in England and the Shanklin Theatre on The Isle of Wight (Chamber Opera Chicago). From 2014-2017, Stephen served as Associate Producer and Casting Director at Writers Theatre in Glencoe before becoming a visiting professor at Northwestern University and then moving to The Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he now holds the title of Head of Musical Theatre. Stephen is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama and a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.  

Evan Starkweather (“Jonathan”) (he/they) is a Chicago-based performer and writer making their Second City debut. They were last seen performing karaoke at a bar in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but before that, they wrote and performed numerous sketch and musical variety shows at The Annoyance, The Playground, and The Second City Training Center. They are a graduate of The Second City Conservatory, and their music video “Platonic Gay Best Friend” has been featured on Funny or Die. @evanspelledellen

About The Second City

The Second City opened its doors in 1959 as a small comedy cabaret and has since grown to become the world’s most influential name in improv and comedy. Second City's stages, Touring Companies, and Training Centers across North America have proudly been the launch pad for many of the funniest names on the planet, including John Belushi, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Eugene Levy, Tim Meadows, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Suzy Nakamura, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Sam Richardson, Joan Rivers, Amber Ruffin, Jason Sudeikis, and Steven Yeun, among many more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Tickets On Sale Now for Comedian DAVE ATTELL at The Den Theatre August 18 – 20, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 
The Den Theatre Announces Comedian
August 18 – 20, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage

My family ChiILin' with Dave Attell in Alaska in 2002

My husband, Dug, of Dug Production Sound, Inc worked on Insomniac with Dave Attell for 4 seasons and traveled the world with him on the international specials. Fun times! Dug even makes cameo appearances in many of the episodes. 

Our whole family tagged along on the Insomniac Alaska shoot, pictured above, when our son, Dugan was one. Dave ended up sitting next to our toddler for dinner one night and was a great sport when our kid decided to hand feed Dave his Mexican food. We still love to catch Dave Attell and his irreverent humor when he comes through town, and can't wait to see him in August. Tickets are on sale now for his 3 night run in Chicago at The Den Theatre. Don't miss this!

The Den Theatre is pleased to announce comedian Dave Attell for five stand-up performances August 18 – 20, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets ($18 - $40) are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830.
Dave Attell is a stand-up comedian, actor and writer, best known as the host of Comedy Central's Insomniac with Dave Attell, which gave him a cult following. He can next be seen in the Hulu series Life & Beth alongside Amy Schumer, Michael Rapaport and Michael Cera. He also appears on Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross, currently streaming on Netflix and HBO’s Crashing with Pete Holmes. His stand-up series, Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground and his one-hour special, Road Work, were featured on Comedy Central and Road Work is now streaming on Netflix.
His film credits include Chris Rock’s cult film Pootie Tang, Funny People, Scary Movie 4 and Los Enchiladas and the Amy Schumer films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty. His television credits include The Simpsons, Difficult People, Bob’s Burgers, Arrested Development, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Jim Norton Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Ed, Everybody Loves Raymond and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. He was named one of the “25 Funniest People in America” by Entertainment Weekly Magazine. When not on the road, Attell makes regular appearances at the Comedy Cellar in New York City.
Performance Schedule
Thursday, August 18 at 8 pm
Friday, August 19 at 7 pm & 9:15 pm
Saturday, August 20 at 7 pm & 9:15 pm

Tickets: $30 regular seating ($20 obstructed view); $50 front row VIP table seating; $40 VIP table seating; $35 mezzanine table seating. All ticket prices include cocktail service with a two-drink minimum.
The Den currently requires proof of vaccination for all guests, staff and performers and adheres to all CDC, state and local safety guidelines. Additionally, masking is required for all guests during performances. For the most current information on The Den’s COVID guidelines, visit
About The Den Theatre
Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den in 2010 in the Wicker Park neighborhood with a single theatre space. Now celebrating its tenth year, The Den is a multi-level live entertainment venue that boasts five intimate and unique theaters ranging from 50 – 300 seats. The first floor houses The Den’s Haven Lounge – a full-service coffee shop and bar where neighbors, audiences and like-minded culture hounds gather to drink, eat, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. Currently, The Den is home to five resident theatre companies including Broken Nose Theatre, ComedySportz Chicago, First Floor Theater, Haven and The New Coordinates (formerly The New Colony). Hundreds of other companies and artists from Chicago and beyond have called The Den home – from national names to local stars, The Den consistently plays host to a lineup of exciting and diverse talent. As a building created for interdisciplinary arts, The Den has accommodated a wide variety of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, live music, dance, improv and stand-up comedy, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit

Friday, October 22, 2021


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar



I had the great pleasure of catching this show in 2019. I thought I knew the comedy of Lenny Bruce, but prior to this show I hadn't realized how controversial he was at the time, and just how much he pushed the boundaries and shook up the complacency of his middle American audiences. He was a warrior for social justice, all about challenging outdated puritanical mores, and undoubtedly a comedic genius. Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce is a joy to see in action, and “I’m Not A Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” is a must see. In our current era of cancel culture and social upheaval, the comedy,  ideals, and actions of Lenny Bruce are still shockingly relevant. If you caught this show pre-pandemic, the new production will include content from Bruce’s repertoire previously unseen in Chicago, so come or come again. 

Written by and Starring Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce and Directed by Joe Mantegna. Previews Begin Nov 3.

Theatre 68 and the Venus Cabaret Theater (3745 N. Southport Ave.) are thrilled to announce the return of the critically-acclaimed production, “I’m Not A Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce,” to Chicago beginning Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Carefully restaged for the intimate venue, directed by multi award-winning actor and director Joe Mantegna, and produced in partnership with Lenny Bruce’s daughter Kitty Bruce, “I’m Not A Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” was written by and stars Ronnie Marmo. For tickets and more information, please visit The performance schedule can be viewed below. 

The production will include content from Bruce’s repertoire previously unseen in Chicago.

“I believe Lenny’s is the voice this country needs right now,” said playwright and star Ronnie Marmo. “In the 1960s, he exposed many of the ‘untouchable’ subjects that are in the news again now: religion, racism, immigration, xenophobia, gender inequality, sexual identity, the criminal justice system, capital punishment, bail reform, government aid, police brutality, corrupt capitalism, the opiate epidemic, marijuana legalization, censorship, I could go on and on. So here we are, over 50 years later, all of the issues Lenny was fighting for are still so relevant and even radical. In certain ways, we’ve progressed since Lenny was with us, and in many, we have regressed.”

The story of the life and early passing of one of the most legendary comedians of all time, “I’m Not A Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” opened to rave reviews in Chicago in October 2019 and was enjoying an open run at the Royal George Theatre through March 15, 2020. Chris Jones with the Chicago Tribune raved “even the most devoted Bruce fan will leave impressed with Marmo,” and Hedy Weiss of WTTW called the play “brilliant” and “furiously funny.” Celebrated Chicago actress Bonnie Hunt said, “Ronnie Marmo delights as he channels Lenny Bruce. A thoughtful authenticity in performance, direction and script.”

An undisputed comic legend, Lenny Bruce was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.  His life and work have had an impact on poetry, politics, music, film and of course, comedy. Bruce’s tempestuous personal and professional life was marked by great passion and great pain. His unwavering commitment to free speech led to numerous obscenity charges and arrests. No stranger to Chicago, Bruce was arrested for obscenity for his performance at The Gate of Horn in December 1962. Bruce fought for freedom of speech all the way to the Supreme Court. He died of an accidental overdose in 1966, while out on appeal. Bruce has not yet been surpassed at his particular brand of art and if he were around today, he would be in as much trouble as when he was alive. “I’m Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” runs approximately 90 minutes, explores mature themes and includes strong language and nudity.

Award-winning actor and comedian Billy Crystal said, “beautifully directed by Joe Mantegna with a strong performance by Ronnie Marmo, this funny, fierce and tragic work vividly brings to life the comedian we so miss today.” Famed stand-up comedian and actor Richard Lewis concurred saying, “’I’m Not A Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce’ is superlative in all departments…it's the tour de force by actor Ronnie Marmo that for me is historic. Lenny's life pours out of him.” Patti LuPone raves “Ronnie Marmo is a force of volcanic proportions. I was riveted.” Bruce’s own daughter Kitty called the show, “The best portrayal of my father I have ever seen. Brilliant.”

The performance schedule for “I’m Not A Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” is as follows: Thursdays at 8 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.   There will be two preview performances November 3 and 4 at 8 p.m.  The schedule is subject to change; visit the website for the most current information.

Tickets ($69-$79 for VIP seating) are on sale now and can be purchased at or by calling the Mercury Theater Box Office at Group tickets are available via Group Theater Tix at or by calling 312-423-6612.

A portion of the show’s proceeds will go to the Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3). The foundation provides funds for those who don’t have insurance or the ability to get treatment for drug and alcohol addiction on their own. For more information please visit, All contributions are tax deductible.

About Ronnie Marmo

Ronnie Marmo (Playwright and Actor) has starred in more than 60 feature films and television shows, most recently guest starring on “Criminal Minds” and “Lethal Weapon.” He also starred in “Ammore E Malavita (Love and Bullets),” an Italian musical film which won the David di Donatello for best picture (the Italian equivalent to an Academy Award). Other credits include “Back In The Day” (on Netflix now), “Deuces Wild”, “Crocodile Dundee in LA,” “West Of Brooklyn,” “Pizza With Bullets,” “Truck 20’s Location,” “Death Of A Tree,” “Irish Eyes (aka Vendetta),” and “Limbo Lounge.” He has guest starred in several hit television shows including “JAG” and “The Young and The Restless.” He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Indie Soap Awards for his role as Crotch in the series, “Adults Only.” Marmo enjoyed a three-year run on ABC’s “General Hospital” as Ronnie Dimestico. On stage, he has starred in more than 40 plays. Marmo recently completed the audiobook in which he portrays Lenny Bruce in Lenny’s autobiography, “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People.” He continues to serve as the Artistic Director of Theatre 68 (68 Cent Crew Theatre Company) in Los Angeles and New York City.

About Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna (Director) was awarded the Tony and Joseph Jefferson Award for his acclaimed performance as Richard Roma in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Some of Mantegna’s film and television highlights include: “House of Games,” “Searching for Bobby Fisher,” “Godfather III,” his Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated role of Dean Martin in “The Ratpack,” his Emmy-nominated role of Pipi Delana in “The Last Don” and the voice of Fat Tony on “The Simpsons.” For two seasons Mantegna starred with Mary Steenburgen and Amber Tamblyn in the critically acclaimed CBS drama “Joan of Arcadia,” which won the 2004 People Choice Award for best new drama and picked up three Emmy nominations. In 2008 Mantegna reprised his Emmy-nominated role of Lou Manahan opposite Debra Messing in the USA Network series “The Starter Wife.” Mantegna has also lent his voice to the Disney/Pixar film “CARS 2” and continues his 23-year run as Fat Tony on “The Simpsons.” In April of 2011 Mantegna received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Currently Mantegna stars as FBI Special Agent David Rossi in season thirteen of the hit CBS Drama “Criminal Minds” and continues his hosting and producing duties for six seasons on “Gun Stories” for the Outdoor Channel. His newest collaboration is “Hollywood Weapons: Fact or Fiction?” Mantegna resides in Los Angeles with his wife of 40 years, Arlene and their two daughters, Mia and Gia.

Friday, July 16, 2021

TONIGHT: Streaming LIVE The Screwbelles Go Channel Surfing!

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

The Screwbelles Go Channel Surfing!

The Screwbelles are pleased to announce our first virtual show taking place on Friday, July 16. Tickets are on sale for $20: 

Click HERE for tickets. 

Pre-show at 7pm, Show starts at 7:30

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've caught The Screwbelles' unique brand of comedic burlesque a number of times in person, and love their creativity and their body positive spin. We're excited that they've now created a show you can enjoy in the comforts of home, so it's no longer a barrier if you can't make it to Chicago tonight. Stream from anywhere. If you can't swing the live stream at 7pm tonight, a recording will be available to purchase after. Check it out. 

On the way to their first virtual show, The Screwbelles go missing! Host, Shirley Blazen, goes on a mission to rescue the slapstick superstars before it’s too late! In this made-for-television internet event, expect an action-packed ride full of side splitting absurdity that only The Screwbelles deliver!

Starring: ALLOY, Bettie Attitude, Divine Emmeline, Fig Leaf, Honey Buns, Minnie Moog, Nitty Gritty, Pappy Longstockings, Sheffield Belmont, and Shirley Blazen.

Guest Starring: Coco Sho-Nell, Cindy Nero, and Highness Noire.


Chicago's fearlessly funny Slapstick syndicate, The Screwbelles, is a character driven Vaudeville style comedy ensemble that has been splitting sides since 2016!

From eight eager comedians busting guts at a burlesque show, The Screwbelles have exploded, performing in 5 comedy festivals, producing 17 full length shows, and developing over 50 sketches.

The Screwbelles have no doubt carved out a niche in the performing arts community for classic comedy with a schticky twist!

Our Mission

The Screwbelles mission is to nurture a safe, equitable and candid community that celebrates gutsy comedic performance.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Join over 400 queens of comedy from all around the world for one of the biggest funny festivals in the country, now with their first ever all-Spanish speaking set, August 22-25

Chicago knows funny, and we're ready to launch some laughs again, with four days of fem fun. This year, for the first time ever, the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival will also feature an all-Spanish speaking slot showcasing a stand up show, a sketch group, and two improv groups! 

Check it out. The 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival is taking place August 22 through August 25 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival is the largest celebration of women in comedy in the country and offers talented, and funny individuals the opportunity to learn, teach, and empower each other and audiences who all love to laugh. Featuring a spectrum of comedic genius ranging from ‘relatable stand up’ to ‘highbrow musical improv’, the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival has something for everyone. 

Blending long term veterans with fresh newcomers, the fest packs over 80 shows into four funny-filled days, making it easier than ever to discover new groups to love. 

The full schedule and searchable calendar for the 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival can be viewed at  

“Chicago is home to one of the biggest comedy scenes in the world, and with that comes an immeasurable number of very funny and highly talented women who are constantly re-defining the industry and setting the stage for what it means to be a comedian,” said Valentine. “We are honored to have the opportunity to unite these women and deliver a festival that is full of fun laughs, inclusion, and empowerment.”

Featuring an array of veteran talent and newcomers, highlights for the 2019 festival include stand up acts like longtime favorite, Patti Vasquez, whose solo show will take audiences on a journey of awkward dates, embarrassing moments and other funny stories of personal humiliation that will make you think “Wow, I guess my life isn’t so bad after all”, Dina Nina Martinez, who the Late Late Show’s James Corden hails as “…very funny”, longtime couple and dynamic comedy duo Anna Vocino and Loren Tarquinio of Married AF with their special part stand up, party storytelling, part improv set, and ventriloquist Hannah Leskosky with her magical mouth moving and substance abusing puppet unicorn, Marzipan Lavender Sparkles.

The brand new all-Spanish speaking set of shows will feature standup comedian, Eliana La Casa, an Argentinian comedian living in Chicago who blends personal stories and opinions into laugh out loud relatable moments, La Carne Asada #2: The Seasoning, a hilarious sketch show re-living all that a Latinx family dinner has to offer, Las Tinas Improv, creating a one night only audience based telenovela, and Ratas De Dos Patas, who will translate suggestions into Spanish to create hilarious streetwise teaching moments for the audience.

Other lineup highlights include the marvelous talent of improv group Bosses in Bonnetts with their “Black Girl Magic” Sketch Revue offering lots of laughs and real thoughts on the black female experience, the Chicago Reader’s 2016 Best Improv Troupe, Hitch* Cocktails, with their Alfred Hitchcock style improv fueled by audience suggestions, and the Super Tasty variety show featuring frank and funny talks about sex, performances, demos and more.

Chicago Women’s Funny Festival was founded in 2012 when producers Jill Valentine and Liz McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together and celebrate all art forms of comedy under one roof. The first festival boasted 66 shows and 400 performers in five days. Women’s Fest also hosted events throughout the week where women from across the country could network with each other and more importantly, celebrate one another’s work. The response from comedians and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for an eighth year.

Jill Valentine is a Chicago Southside native who has been the Executive Director of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival (the largest of its kind in the nation) since the festival’s inception in 2000. She is also Stage 773’s Executive Director and a founding principal of the building. Jill performs in several popular and critically acclaimed groups in Chicago, including The Cupid Players, Off Off Broadzway and Feminine Gentleman who have performed all over the country.

Liz McArthur hails from St. Louis and has worked with the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival since 2005. McArthur can be seen with groups such as Off Off Broadzway, OneTwoThree Comedy, and Feminine Gentlemen. McArthur is also part of the hit zombie comedy Musical of the Living Dead.

All performances will take place at Chicago’s home for the city’s most innovative, creative and passionate off-Loop performing artists, Stage 773, located at 1225 W. Belmont. Stage 773 is a non-profit Chicago company that produces produces Bye Bye Liver, The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival, The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, education and program opportunities, as well as offering subsidized theater rental space to the hundreds of Chicago’s itinerant off-Loop companies and performers.

Tickets for the 8th Annual Women’s Funny Festival are $15 each. Nightly and festival passes are also available ranging from $36 to $150. Tickets and information are available online at, by phone 773.327.5252, and in person at the Stage 773 box office, located at 1225 W Belmont.

About Stage 773
Stage 773 is a vibrant anchor of the Belmont Theatre District and home to Chicago’s finest off-Loop talent. As a performance and tenant venue, our four stages provide entertainment for everyone: comedy, theatre, dance, musicals and more. We are a not-for-profit, connecting and catalyzing the theater community, while showcasing established artists and incubating up-and-coming talent.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
JUNE 7 – 22 
ComedySportz Chicago (CSZ) will Host First Pride Month Program by Celebrating LGBTQIA+ members in Select Performances Every Week in Junet

(L to R): Mishell Livio, Simon Collier, Cynthia Kmak, Jason Geis, Kevin Daliva
by Edward Fox Photography 

ComedySportz Chicago (CSZ) will commence Pride Month with the company’s very first ComedySportz Chicago Pride Month featuring a series of performances,and a Pride Weekend celebration with CSZ’s LGBTQIA+ cast members from June 7 – 22 at ComedySportz Theater Chicago, 929 W. Belmont Ave.  A special one-night only 18+ Rainbow A-Go-Go Variety Show will take place Saturday, June 22 at 10 p.m. In addition to the regular performance schedule, the company will hold family-friendly performances. These all-ages performances will be Fridays  June 7, 14, and Saturday, June 22 at 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 a person for 6  and 8 p.m. shows and $10 a person for the 10 p.m. performances and may be purchased at or by calling 773-549-8080.
Members of the ComedySportz Chicago’s LGBTQIA+ ensemble including Simon Collier, Artistic Director Jason Geis and ensemble member and D&I Director Luis Cortes are organizing the event, as well as performing. All performances will contain an all LGBTQIA+ cast, made up of ComedySportz Chicago ensemble members and they will be performing in the classic ComedySportz format with new and unique LGBT takes on each match.

The theatre will also sell a signature cocktail, The Pride Tai, created by our Audience Services Director, Nicko Patterson (who is also a member of the LGBTQIA+ community)  with 100% of the profits going to the Pride month partner Howard Brown Health. Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experience by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness.


ComedySportz is the longest-running, game-based, short form improv comedy show in the comedy capital of the world, perfect for all ages, offering comedy for everyone! ComedySportz's interactive format is emceed by a referee overseeing a hilarious battle of wits between the home team, the blue Downtown Chicago Bosses, and the "visiting" red team, scored by live keyboard music and rocking popular music between scenes! Using audience suggestions and willing volunteers, our professional players create short games, scenes and songs on the spot, and the winner is determined by the Applause-o-Meter and your laughs.
ComedySportz Chicago (CSZ) will commence Pride Month with the company’s very first ComedySportz Chicago Pride Month featuring a series of performances,and a Pride Weekend celebration with CSZ’s LGBTQIA+ cast members from June 7 – 22 at ComedySportz Theater Chicago, 929 W. Belmont Ave.  A special one-night only 18+ Rainbow A-Go-Go Variety Show will take place Saturday, June 22 at 10 p.m. In addition to the regular performance schedule, the company will hold family-friendly performances. These all-ages performances will be Fridays June 7, 14, and Saturday, June 22 at 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 a person for 6  and 8 p.m. shows and $10 a person for the 10 p.m. performances and may be purchased at or by calling 773-549-8080.

Google Analytics