- Spring Awakening opened its two-week Chicago run tonight at the Oriental Theatre. The story of sexual maturation among 19th century German teenagers (yes, that old cliche) won eight Tony Awards and received widespread attention for its rock soundtrack by Duncan Sheik. I caught the opening and enjoyed it. My Flavorpill preview is here.
- The Black Ensemble Theatre continues its run of A Tribute to the Black Crooners (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow), a musical celebrating decades of soulful love songs and burning slow jams. I liked it and if you're into the music of artists like Maxwell, Johnny Mathis and Luther Vandross, so will you. My Flavorpill preview is here.
- The Second City e.t.c. has rolled out its 33rd revue, Studs Terkel's Not Working. After taking on national politics in their last few shows during the presidential election cycle, the reigning masters of sketch comedy strike again with new material focusing on regular people and their foibles. I found it funny and accessible. My Flavorpill preview is here.
- Speaking of Second City, a couple of its talented alumni return soon with a two-man sketch comedy attack. Frank Caeti, a veteran of the Second City e.t.c. and star of Fox's MadTV, and Matt Craig, a onetime Second City mainstage player, team up for FrankenMatt, playing at Second City's e.t.c. space in Pipers Alley on August 25 and 26.
- Even as The Second City prepares for its 50th anniversary, another Chicago comedy institution marks a milestone. The Hot Karl, a dirty, filthy late night improv show, has been running for ten years at ComedySportz Chicago. It celebrates its 10th anniversary this Saturday night with a midnight performance and party at the ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont.
- Steppenwolf Theater is running its fifth annual First Look Repertory of New Work, featuring three plays by emerging young playwrights. Honest by Eric Simsonson, Ski Dubai by Laura Jacqmin, and Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason are playing in rotation at Steppenwolf's Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St., through August 9.
- Elsewhere on the new play front, LiveWire Chicago Theatre is readying its second annual festival of short works. VisionFest 2009: Six Worlds on One Street Corner presents a range of comedic and dramatic premieres, all with a shared location. The festival runs from August 6 thru 15 at the Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1420 W. Irving Park Rd.
- Not all touring extravaganzas that play huge tents in the West Loop are Cirque du Soleil shows. Cavalia, for example, a high-concept celebration of the relationship between people and horses, features acrobats, aerialists, dancers, riders, and live musicians, plus horses of 13 different breeds. The "spectacular equestrian odyssey" recently extended its run (gallop?) through August 16.
- RedEye humor columnist and FOBB&B Mark Bazer hosts a variety talk show on the first Friday of every month. The Interview Show with Mark Bazer is like the Jay Leno show, but funny. Mark's next installment features a strong guest lineup including celebrity chef Rick Bayless and the brilliant Onion writer Nathan Rabin. It's 6:30pm this Friday at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Only $5!
Get out there, support live theater and have a good time.