'Mayor of Schaumburg' puts comedian's hometown pride on Chicago stage
Schaumburg elected its first new mayor in more than three decades Tuesday, but Tom Dailly's not the subject of the Chicago show "Mayor of Schaumburg" -- and neither is the retiring Al Larson.
Instead, the one-woman show comes from the imagination and hometown pride of Allie Ring. Though she lives in Wrigleyville now, the Schaumburg native and improv comedian heads home almost every week to visit family and friends.
"A while ago I posted on Facebook that I was going to quit comedy and run for mayor of Schaumburg and there was a good chunk of people that thought I was being serious," she said. "I know a lot of people from there and I love Schaumburg with all my heart so I thought it was the perfect title for my show and the perfect theme."
The show, which starts Monday, April 8, at Chicago's Annoyance Theatre, incorporates a mix of sketches and video where Ring plays both the mayor of Schaumburg and a variety of characters inspired by people she knows.
"It was so easy for me to write these characters," she said. "I didn't really have too much writer's block since I have so much to write about when it comes to Schaumburg."
Ring said she hopes her show will help audiences see her beloved hometown in a different light.
"A lot of people in the city when they make fun of the suburbs they pick Schaumburg because it's the one that everyone knows because of the Woodfield Mall and the Ikea," she said. "I'm going to show them all of the great things about it. There's so much to do there. I feel like I'm never bored whenever I go home now. I had the best childhood there."
Ring also found her career path there when she took a workshop on short-form improv comedy that Chicago's ComedySportz improv group taught at Schaumburg High School in 2008. She joined her school's improv group, Scared Scriptless, the following year and continued to do improv when she attended Mississippi State University. After graduating, she moved back in with her family in Schaumburg and traveled to the city to take classes at ComedySportz and learn the ropes of performing on one of their house teams. Now she's a member of the ensemble that first inspired her.
"I was put on this earth to make people laugh," she said. "I find that I'm my most comfortable when I'm around people I can make laugh. Going into a show with so much adrenaline, knowing I'm going to have a good time with the audience and with my cast or ensemble is just such an exciting feeling."
Ring previously performed at The Annoyance Theatre as part of the show "College Dorm Party" and said she's excited to return for "Mayor of Schaumburg."
"I love The Annoyance," she said. "It's one of the most supportive theaters in the city. You can submit the craziest idea and they'll say 'how can we help?' They just want to see cool ideas on the stage and they've been a really great help producing my show."
After spending years performing as part of an ensemble, Ring decided to put on a one-woman show to test herself and develop her skills.
"It's definitely pretty nerve racking but my director Lexi (Alioto) has been incredible in helping me with this," Ring said. "She's done a one-woman show before so she's shown me the ropes in terms of how it goes. I'm definitely nervous but excited for the opportunity and to see how I can grow from this."
Alioto also lives in Chicago and has performed with Ring before. She said she thinks everyone will be able to appreciate Ring's passion for Schaumburg.
"I loved where I come from and I totally see where she's coming from," she said. "I think people will find it to be something that everybody can relate to."
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"Mayor of Schaumburg"
When: 8 p.m. Mondays, April 8 to 22
Where: The Annoyance Theatre & Bar, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com