Spotlight: Curious Theatre Branch stages two-handers as part of its 'Back at the House' showcase

'Back at the house ...'

Curious Theatre Branch showcases plays by Jenny Magnus, Myle Yan Tay and Beau O'Reilly as part of "Back at the House ... With or Without Roommates." Magnus' play "The Personal" is about two people talking. Tay's play "Fandom" is about two nerds who play a game every year. And O'Reilly's play "Benny and Margaret Say Goodbye" is about two people "fessing up and facing off."

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13 and 19-20, at Jimmy Beans Cabaret, 2553 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago. $15 or pay-what-you-can.

Comedian Aries Spears headlines the Comedy Improv in Schaumburg this weekend.

Spears on stage

Comedian Aries Spears, a veteran of "Mad TV" and the Showtime series "The Underground" and co-host of the "Spears and Steinberg" podcast, headlines the Chicago Improv this weekend.

7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13, and 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $30, plus a two-item food/beverage minimum. (847) 240-2001 or

Concert, Broadway-style

Broadway in Chicago hosts its annual summer concert featuring favorite songs from upcoming productions including "1776," "Aladdin," "Chicago," "Les Miserables," "Tina" and "Jagged Little Pill." ABC 7 Chicago's Val Warner and Hosea Sanders host.

6:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Free.

In other news

Check with venues regarding COVID-19 precautions.

• The new comedy game show "Are You Smarter Than Your 8th Grade Nun?" by Vicki Quade has been extended. Performances run through Aug. 28 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show invites audience members to compete to determine who was paying attention in school. Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks required. (773) 404-7336, or

• Comedian and former "Conan" writer Laurie Kilmartin performs at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $18-$35. Also at The Den, Dave Attell (Comedy Central's "Insomniac With Dave Attell" and Hulu's "Life and Beth") headlines Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 18-20. $21-$51. Two drink minimum for both events. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required, masking optional. (773) 697-3830 or

• Definition Theatre showcases filmed scenes from eight new plays as part of its "Amplify Series Two Festival" running Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13-14, at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago. Screenings are pay-what-you-can. The mini-fest also includes playwriting, acting and dance workshops. See

• Cabaret artist Caryn Caffarelli incorporates pop and musical theater songs into "Momufactured," a show about parenting. Caffarellis performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. $25. Masking required. (847) 677-7761 or

• American Blues Theater hosts a reading of its 2022 Blue Ink Playwriting Award-winning play "The Reapers on Woodbrook Avenue," Mardee Benett's decades-spanning play about the relationships between three generations of Black women and their family's long-buried secrets. The reading takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at 4809 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. (773) 654-3103 or

• Theatre L'Arcadie opens its second season with "Things That Are Round," Callie Kimball's two-hander about a dentist and an opera singer "squaring off in a strange ballet of truth or dare." Performances run Wednesday, Aug. 17, to Aug. 28 at Facility Theatre, 1138 N. California Ave., Chicago. Admission is pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of $20. See

• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble hosts a new works festival titled Fresh Produce: A Celebration of New Plays by Women Aug. 18, 22 and 29 at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $10-$25 per reading or $25-$50 for all three readings. They include: Mackenzie Yaeger's "400 Horses" (Aug. 18) based on the real-life case of an Illinois village comptroller who embezzled more than $50 million and with the money bought 400 horses. "Blood of My Mother's" (Aug. 22) is Karissa Murrell Myers' play about a woman who abandons a baby who 16 years later goes missing. The mini-fest concludes with "Wipeout," Aurora Real d'Asuza's play about a non-surfer's determination to surf her first wave. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Also, the Chicago ensemble hosts its annual Blue Jean Ball fundraiser from 7-10 p.m. Sept. 22 at Bridge 410, 410 Paulina St., Chicago. The event includes food, drink, entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets are $125, $150. (773) 334-7728 or

• Magician Rob Zabrecky's show "The Zabrecky Hour" continues through Sept. 24 at The Rhapsody Theater, 1328 W. Morse Ave., Chicago. The interactive show runs about 60 minutes with one intermission. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required, but masking is recommended. (888) 495-9001 or

• To address the stress COVID-19 has had on youngsters, as part of its youth and young teen camp program, Libertyville's Improv Playhouse Theater is partnering with Youth and Family Counseling to help participants develop coping skills and combat depression they may have developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership ensures camp participants will have "a safe space within which to process and work through difficult events that have occurred in the region as well as their personal coping mechanisms as developing young people," said executive director David Stuart in a prepared statement. See

• The Chicago-area theater community mourns the loss of Myrna Salazar, co-founder and executive director of Chicago Latino Theater Alliance. Salazar died on Aug. 3, two weeks after her 75th birthday. A marketing and advertising expert, Salazar served as director of development and marketing at the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, which produced the annual Chicago Latino Film Festival from 2007 to 2011. In 2016, she co-founded CLATA, whose signature program "Destinos: The Chicago International Latino Theater Festival" showcase of Latino theater artists is now in its fifth year. Carlos Tortolero, founder and CEO of the National Museum of Mexican Art, described her as a "super arts activist." "In just a few years, she made the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance into a cultural force in Chicago, across the country and throughout Latin America," he said in a prepared statement. "She is truly a Chicago cultural treasure and will be missed by so many."

• Shattered Globe Theatre's new Global Playwrights Series was established to connect the theater with BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled and neurodiverse writers to collaborate with them on developing a work that SGT will eventually produce. Selected playwrights include: Phanésia Pharel, Kimberly Dixon-Mays and Jasmine Sharma.

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