Monthly Archives: April 2015

Porchlight Musical Theatre Presents: A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum at Stage 773 (April 26, 2015)

The show opens with “Comedy Tonight”, a number that breaks through the fourth wall and sets the style of the play as light hearted and family friendly. The comedy was first performed in 1962 and is reminiscent of David Barry’s style. The audience can’t help but say “Oh Gosh” over and over.  This play appeals to those nostalgic for the theatre of that time. The scenes with the courtesans might have been scandalous and exciting in the 60’s, but it is quite tame by today’s standards.  If you would like a peak into the history of musical theatre, this is the show for you!

Quinn Delaney

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” runs through May 24 at Stage 773, 1225 West Belmont Avenue. Most performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Call (773) 327-5252 or visit

The Next Fleetwood Mac: Delta Rae at the Metro (April 24, 2015)

Delta Rae has drawn a sizable crowd to the Metro tonight.  They quickly get the audience singing along to their rocking Americana sound.  Midway through the set, they play the melody to “Born in the USA” as an intro to Bethlehem Steel. It’s a nice fit as the song starts “A child was born in Bethlehem.” Later on they play “If I Loved You” while the song of the same name is being performed across town at the Lyric Opera in Carousel.  The difference is that in Delta Rae’s version, she never falls in love.

To close out the set, they play Bottom of the River.  With just singing and percussion, including a large metal chain being slammed onto a steel can, a dark and beautiful performance is created.  After a short break, they return to play Chandelier by Sia.  It’s an excellent match for the female singers in the band.  They close out the night on “Dancing in the Graveyard” with the lanterns surrounding the audience and the lights on the trees flashing along to the music.  It’s the end of a fantastic concert of one amazing song after another reminiscent of the awesome shows put on Fleetwood Mac! (Note: Lindsey Buckingham is featured on their recording of “If I Loved You”)

Soulful with a Touch of Electronic: Kevin Garrett at Schubas (April 23, 2015)

Kevin Garrett sounds like a James Blake with a touch of Radiohead. As he plays songs such as “Smoke”, the crowd is paying full attention.  The music completely fills the room and draws everyone in. While the other keyboardist fixes a technical issue, Kevin tells a joke:

Q: There are 2 cats, an English cat and a French cat, in a contest to swim the English Channel. The English cat is called the one two three cat, and the French cat is called the un deux trois cat. Who won?

A: The English cat. The un deux trois cat sank. (un deux trois quatre cinq)!

Later on in the set, he plays his latest single, Control.  The low baseline matched with Garrett’s soft singing voice are ​quite pleasant to the ears.  Definitely ​catch his soulful music with a touch of electronic as he tours across the country.

Quinn Delaney

The Hypocrites Present: Three Sisters at the Den Theatre (April 22, 2015)

Three Sisters does not have a lot of action, but there is a lot of dialogue. It presents a challenge to the acting ensemble as well as to audiences, because in place of conventional action, Chekhov offers a “theatre of mood” and a “submerged life in the text”. “Actors climb up Chekhov like a mountain, roped together, sharing the glory if they ever make it to the summit”, Ian McKellen. There is a touch of color theory as well.  The characters wearing green are greedy.  The ones in red are passionate, and those wearing brown are normal or dull.

Also, the play starts in the middle without much of an introduction to the characters. It’s like arriving in the middle of a party. “A richer submerged life in the text is characteristic of a more profound drama of realism, one which depends less on the externals of presentation” said Styan.

Performances will run at The Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Previews: Friday, April 17 at 8 pm, Sunday, April 19 at 3 pm and Tuesday, April 21 at 8 pm. Press Performance: Wednesday, April 22 at 8 pm
Regular Run: Friday, April 24 – Saturday, June 6, 2015. Curtain Times: Mondays, Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets Prices: $28. Tickets are currently available at

Improv Pick of the Weekend: Terrible People, The Soup of the Day, Facklis & Hildreth at Annoyance Theatre (April 25, 2015)

Terrible People

Founded in 2014 at The Second City Chicago, “Terrible People” has one common goal: to expose the inherent humanity in the people & situations that exist in life’s moral gray spaces – between what’s right & what’s wrong.  Blending dramatic improvisation with a dose of reality, Terrible People draws on real life current events to explore the more complex, often troubling aspects of human nature.

The Soup of The Day

The Soup Of The Day is a dramatic duo driven by the curiosity of what is actually about to happen next. They are excited to share whatever that may be with you.  Andreas Södermark is an improviser from the igloos of northern Sweden. He enjoys dark chocolate with raspberries and finding out what happens beyond the need for laughs.  Esteban Reyna is a performer and currently lives in Chicago, where he takes improv classes and eats chicken and waffle pizzas. He is proud to be performing in a 2-Person Team this year with Andreas. Play on!

Facklis and Hildreth

These two veterans take your suggestion and then take their time. Weaving stories built on characters.

Dina Facklis recently founded and serves as the creative director at The Chicago Improv Den.  She also performed and directed for the Second City TourCo/Theatricals, and enjoys being a teacher and performer at iO Chicago.  John Hildreth is an alumnus of the Second City, and currently an instructor at the Second City Training Center and in the theater department at Columbia College Chicago.  Dina and John started performing together on a whim in 2012, and kept performing together because it felt wonderful.  They’ve enjoyed runs at iO Chicago, the Upstairs Gallery, and Second City’s de Maat Studio Theatre.  Both are thrilled to return to CIF this year in the dramatic improv category.

Dark Mysterious Rock: In The Valley Below at House of Blues (April 20, 2015)

In the Valley Below open their set with the fantastic song Stand Up.  Their dark and eerie style is immediately noticed as unique. They dress in solid black and white and use a Y-shaped microphone stand to hold the mics for the two lead singers. Just as the White Stripes did before, they are ambiguous about their relationship. On stage, Angela Gail seems to long for Jeffrey Jacob while he seems disinterested.  This adds to the experience as they sing about love and heartbreak. The crowd perks up when they play Peaches , their excellent hit single. As Angela moves around Jeffrey, it’s clear there is a chemistry between them while they are performing on stage.  Whether this extends offstage is unknown, which adds to the interesting mysterious feel of this live act.

Quinn Delaney

Singer/Songwriter Showcase: Laura Joy in Get Off The Couch at the Hideout (April 19, 2015)

Get Off The Couch, a singer/songwriter showcase at the Hideout, makes you feel like you’re just hanging out with friends at a house party. And that suits Laura Joy perfectly. She starts by playing Moving On, one of her many breakup songs.  Other songs’ subject matter ranges from spiders and moths to Miles Davis, all in a voice and style that remind one of Ani Difranco, another indie folk songstress.  The showcase’s format limited Ms. Joy to four songs, but that was more than enough to let her talent shine and make you crave more of her heartfelt music.

Quinn Delaney

The Best of Reggae Rock: Iration with Stick Figure at House of Blues (April 17, 2015)

The House of Blues is packed tonight for some reggae rock.  Stick Figure takes the stage and the crowd is soon transported to a tropical beach.  They play Breathe and everyone sways back and forth to the music. This California band knows how to set a groove and keep it going.  They leave the stage with the audience wanting more.

Iration opens their set with Wait and See. This song, along with Automatic, which they play later, are great examples of how they have a more upbeat and pop friendly sound than Stick Figure.  The contrast between the bands is evident yet they share a similar reggae rock backbone. The combination of the overhead lights and the row of bright LEDs behind the band made for fantastic lighting the entire show.

Midway through their set, they pay tribute to reggae history and play a Bob Marley song while the lights change to the colors of Jamaica: red, green, and yellow.  The lights then change to yellow and shades of red to mimic a sunset for Summer Nights.  With the reggae beats and colors, it feels like a Hawaiian beach party, where Iration calls home.

Overall, it was a fantastic night of the best of reggae rock.  Catch this tour when it comes to your town!

Quinn Delaney

Pick of the Week: Chicago Improv Festival Presents: 3 Peat, Joan and Ro at Second City e.t.c (April 21, 2015)

3 Peat is a Chicago team from the iO Theatre. Their show consists of an improved monologue that inspires a long form improv piece.

Joan and Ro are characters created by Second City Alums Holly Laurent and Katie Rich. The characters are an elderly couple of lifelong friends from New York. According to Laurent, “Joan and Ro are wise, they are offensive, they are inappropriate, and they are over it. But goddamn it, do they love each other.” [From Joan and Ro reunite (and it feels so good) in the Chicago Reader]. Holly and Katie were in three Second City revues together: Southside of Heaven, Who Do We Think We Are?, and Let Them Eat Chaos.

For tickets and more information:

Quinn Delaney

Second City Does Online Dating! #DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment at Up Comedy Club (April 16, 2015)

#DateMe explores a very fertile ground for comedy, online dating. The dialogue is from actual conversations on OKCupid that the creator, Robyn Lynne Norris, had with daters.  One of the 38 fake characters she created was named TracyLovesCats.  A hilarious scene plays out where Tracy is chasing a laser pointer controlled by her date.  Eventually, he points the laser the laser dot to his crotch as he lures her off stage.  The scenes range from the dramatic to the obscene.  For example, one dater sent multiple messages without any response with the final one saying “Just let me know what’s up. I don’t like games.”  And on the other end of the spectrum is some very graphic sexual language.

Norris also created a few male characters with her co-experimenter, Bob Ladewig.  One of them has a profile picture of a guy holding a wedding ring named MarryMeNowStat.   The actors had to pause as the audience erupted in laughter at this introduction.  Midway through the show, two single members of the crowd are interviewed as if filling out a dating profile.  The actors go on to portray what their first date would be like.  It’s this mixing improv within a mostly scripted show that Second City does so well.  It’s a perfect blend.  For everyone who has ever dated online, and those who have dated offline, this show is a must see!