Theater events: Clayton English brings funny to Schaumburg's Chicago Improv
Standup in Schaumburg
Standup comedian Clayton English headlines the Chicago Improv in Schaumburg this weekend. The 2015 winner of NBC's "The Last Comic Standing," English also appears in Netflix's "Love," a romantic sitcom from Judd Apatow. 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, March 3; 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, March 4; and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $24, plus a two-item food or beverage purchase per person. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.
"Spamilton" -- the off-Broadway "Hamilton" parody from "Forbidden Broadway" creator Gerard Alessandrini -- comes to the Royal George Theatre. A six-member cast, made up of local theater artists, celebrates and sends up the hit musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens March 12. $59-$99. (312) 988-9000 or theroyalgeorgetheatre.com.
'Frindle' on stage
Griffin Theatre brings its adaptation of "Frindle" to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre as part of its Stories in Action! series. The all-ages production is based on the children's book by Andrew Clements about a fifth-grade boy named Nick whose attempt to annoy his teacher inspires him to make up a new word for pen, which surprisingly catches on with his fellow students. Opens at 9:45 a.m. Monday, March 6, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $12, $14. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
Other theater events
• The Neo-Futurists in Chicago, New York and San Francisco launch the newly renamed late show "The Infinite Wrench," made up of two-minute plays, on Friday, March 3. Local performances run at 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. Tickets range from $10 to $15. (773) 878-4557 or neofuturists.org.
• The recorded voices of Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Martha Lavey and John Mahoney, along with Barbara Robertson and Peter Sagal, will be featured in Theater Wit's Midwest premiere of "10 Out of 12," an Anne Washburn comedy set during a theater technical rehearsal. Jeremy Wechsler directs the play, which begins previews Friday, March 3, at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens March 14. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.
• The Gift Theatre co-founder and artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton teams up with Chicago actor James Doherty for the improvised two-hander "You & Me." The duo perform at 9 p.m. Friday, March 3, at The Second City Training Center's Blackout Cabaret, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. (312) 337-3992 or secondcity.com.
• ShawChicago stages "Heartbreak House," George Bernard Shaw's examination of society on the cusp of war. The action unfolds during a house party shortly before World War I, during which a practical, working-class woman decides to marry a man her father's age in order to obtain financial security. The preview is Saturday, March 4, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, March 5. (312) 587-7390 or shawchicago.org.
• Former "MythBusters" co-host Adam Savage and Vsauce YouTube channel creator Michael Stevens bring "Brain Candy Live!" -- an evening of toys, tools and demonstrations -- to the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Gorilla Tango Theatre presents a family-friendly panto "Jack and the Beanstalk" beginning Saturday, March 4, at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. In this version, however, the kidnapped princess ends up saving Jack. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
• Previews begin Sunday, March 5, for Kokandy Productions' revival of "The Wiz," Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown's updated version of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" set within an urban, African-American community. Director Lili-Anne Brown's production opens March 11 at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or kokandyproductions.com.
• Barrel of Monkey's presents "That's Weird, Grandma: Rise of the Rock Spectacular," a musical version of its long-running show adapted from stories written by Chicago public school children. This incarnation unfolds as a rock concert consisting of songs inspired by the students' stories. It runs Saturday, March 5, through March 27 at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. (773) 506-7140 or barrelofmonkeys.org.
• Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, hosts a talkback following the 3 p.m. Sunday, March 5, performance of "The Assembled Parties," Richard Greenberg's drama that examines a politically ambitious family over two Christmas celebrations, 20 years apart. Actor/director Jeff Ginsberg, coordinator of the acting program at Columbia College Chicago, discusses "Richard Greenberg and the American Jewish Theater" following Sunday's performance. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.
• Two childhood friends meet during a night of dreams to uncover the truth about themselves and their relationship in "Enter Your Sleep" by Christina Quintana. Baby Crow Productions' staging runs Sunday, March 5, through March 16 at Magnolia Theatre, 4742 N. Magnolia Ave., Unit 15, Chicago. See babycrowproductions.com.
• The comedy group Schmoon premieres its first comedy play "Pinching & Screaming," about a murderous high school mascot. It opens Sunday, March 5, at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Also at The Annoyance, Matt Damon Improv, a sketch comedy group comprised of women of color, performs its weekly variety show beginning Sunday, March 5. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.
• Remy Bumppo Theatre hosts its 20th anniversary benefit Envision the Future, beginning at noon Sunday, March 5, at The Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago. The event includes a cocktail reception, silent auction, lunch and entertainment. (773) 244-8119 or remybumppo.org.
• The national tour of the rock musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" begins a brief run Tuesday, March 7, at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. The musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask is about a transgender person who was born male, and whose botched sex change operation is one of several personal and professional setbacks she endures. Performances run through March 19. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Raven Theatre premieres "Sycamore," a family drama by Sarah Sander about teenage siblings living in a Midwestern suburb who both fall for their new next-door neighbor, sparking a sibling rivalry that takes a toll on their relationship. Devon de Mayo directs the production, which begins previews Wednesday, March 8, at 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show opens March 13. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.
• Court Theatre artistic director Charles Newell helms the Chicago-area premiere of Tom Stoppard's new play "The Hard Problem." It's about a young psychologist struggling with consciousness and a resolution to the question of "where biology ends and personhood begins." Previews begin Thursday, March 9, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. The production opens March 18. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.
• Artemisia Theatre and ShawChicago Theater collaborate on "Her Words, Her Voice" a panel discussion during which women discuss their experiences as Chicago theater artists. The event will be streamed live on the Artemisia and ShawChicago Facebook pages at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 9.
• The League of Chicago Theatres' Theatre Thursdays series continues Thursday, March 9, at the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway, Chicago, with a performance of Jackalope Theatre Company's production of "The Snare" by Samantha Beach. The play examines the nature of good and evil in the guise of an eighth grade girl who one night hears the voice of the devil. Tickets are $20. The event begins with a 6:30 p.m. reception at The Growling Rabbit, 5938 N. Broadway, Chicago, followed by an 8 p.m. performance. See chicagoplays.com.
• Redtwist theatre has extended its production of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" starring Brian Parry (through March 18) as Willy Loman and Jan Ellen Graves as his wife, Linda. Performances run through March 26 at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.
• Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, has extended its world premiere of Marcus Gardley's "A Wonder in My Soul," about two longtime friends who run a beauty salon in their changing South Side neighborhood. Performances run through March 19. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.
• Greenhouse Theater Center's one-woman show "Squeeze My Cans" in which writer/performer Cathy Schenkelberg recounts her life as a Scientologist, has been extended. Performances run through March 19 at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or greenhousetheater.org.
• Chicago Theater Works and the producers of the interactive comedy "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," have extended the show indefinitely. The production commences with a wedding at Resurrection Church, 3309 N. Seminary Ave., Chicago, then moves to the nearby Chicago Theater Works, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago for a 1980s-style reception. See tonylovestina.com.
• Teatro Vista recently named Sylvia Hevia managing and development director. The Latinx theater company also added six new ensemble members including playwright Isaac Gomez and actors Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Eddie Martinez, J. Salome Martinez Jr., Ayssette Munoz and Nate Santana.
• Namir Smallwood, currently appearing in Steppenwolf Theatre's world premiere of Walter Dean Myers' "Monster" has been named an ensemble member.
• TimeLine Theatre Company named playwrights Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Maureen Gallagher and Calamity West to its resident playwrights collective for the 2017-2018 seasons. TimeLine assists in the development of new works by its resident playwrights.
• Representatives from some of Chicago's leading Latino cultural institutions have partnered with the Mayor's Office to launch the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance, which will help promote Latino writers and actors within the Chicago-area theater community.
• Brown Paper Box Co. announced "They're Playing Our Song," the relationship musical by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager with a book by Neil Simon, will open the company's 2017-2018 season. The production is followed in winter 2018 with a revival of Stephen Karam's "Speech & Debate," a coming-of-age drama about three high school speech team members living in Salem, Oregon. See brownpaperbox.org.
• Music Theater Works, formerly known as Light Opera Works, announced its first season under its new name will commence June 3, with a revival of "Candide" based on Voltaire's examination of the human condition. That's followed by "Gypsy" (Aug. 20-27), about a stage mother who pins her dreams of stardom on her daughter, Gypsy Rose Lee. Concluding the main stage series is "Peter Pan" (Dec. 23-Jan. 1, 2018) based on the J.M. Barrie novel. The main stage productions take place at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston. The company's revue, "Duke Ellington's Greatest Hits" (Oct. 6-15), takes place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Season subscriptions are available at (847) 920-5360 or musictheaterworks.com.