Fillet of Solo
Performers Stephen Bastion of Gurnee and Tekki Lomnicki of Elmhurst are among those featured during Lifeline Theatre's 18th annual Fillet of Solo Festival, showcasing Chicago area storytellers and the "Live Lit" scene taking place at select bars and bookstores. Participants include the all-Asian ensemble Stir-Friday Night; The Sweat Girls; the all-female comedy group the kates; Chicago Slam Works, a performance poetry collective; and Story Club, a nonfiction storytelling ensemble, among others. The fest kicks off with a free event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave., Chicago. Performances run Jan. 9 to 25 at Lifeline, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., and at Heartland Studio Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. $10 per show; $50 for an all-festival pass. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.
From sub to stand-up
Nathan Craig, a former Chicago substitute public schoolteacher who studied at The Second City, headlines Zanies in St. Charles this weekend. Craig, who began his standup career in 1999 while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has appeared on Comedy Central and Funny or Die. 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2, and 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. $20 plus a two item food or beverage minimum. (630) 584-6342 or zanies.com.
Signal Ensemble Theatre's Ronan Marra directs The Side Project's world premiere of "Push Button Murder," Steve Spencer's dark political comedy about Becky and Roy, a couple of military industrial complex employees who have access to personal information about their fellow citizens and licenses to kill. Steve Spencer directs. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at 1439 W. Jarvis St., Chicago. The show opens Jan. 10. $20. (773) 340-0140 or thesideproject.net.
• Previews begin Thursday, Jan. 8, for Cor Theatre's Chicago area premiere of the Obie Award-winning psychological thriller "A Map of Virture," by Erin Courtney. Described as part comedy, part horror tale, "A Map of Virture" is about friends stranded in the woods with a bird statue to serve as their guide. Artistic director Tosha Fowler directs the production, which opens Jan. 11 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. (866) 811-4111 or cortheatre.org.
• Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland St., Chicago, presents "Cookie Play," Ken Prestininzi's satire on what happens when an ordinary family in America's heartland comes up against Homeland Security, including black sites and sanctioned torture. Performances begin Thursday, Jan. 8. (773) 384-0494 or trapdoortheatre.com.
• The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, featuring more than 160 performers and ensembles from around the country begins Thursday, Jan. 8 and runs through Jan. 18, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $15. An all-festival pass is $150. (773) 327-5252 or chicagosketchfest.com.