'Happiest comic' Rob Little headlines Rosemont's Zanies
Zanies in Rosemont welcomes headliner Rob Little, dubbed by NBC's "Last Comic Standing" as the happiest comic in America. Little worked for IBM until he sent out a companywide email that read: "if you aren't happy here, quit your job and follow your dream." That missive marked the end of his corporate career and the beginning of his career in stand-up.
8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, and 7:30 and 9:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25, at Parkway Bank Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont. Tickets are $30 plus a two item food or beverage minimum. Patrons must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and wear masks. See rosemont.zanies.com.
In other news
• The Raue Center for the Arts offers patrons discounted tickets from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of Member Appreciation Day. The discounts are available for patrons who purchase tickets from the box office at 25 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. RaueNow members receive 37% off and nonmembers receive 20% off tickets. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org.
• Collaboraction Theatre presents its sixth annual Peacebook Festival beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St., Chicago, and Saturday, Oct. 2, at Kehrein Center for the Arts, 5628 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. The events include film screenings and performances by musicians, dancers, spoken-word artists, storytellers, actors and activists. Tickets are $5-$35. See collaboraction.org.
• Writer/actor/comedian Nick Kroll (Netflix's "Big Mouth") brings his "Middle-Aged Boy" tour to The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Performances are at 7 and 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 27-28. Also at The Den, standup comedian Cameron Esposito performs at 8 p.m. Oct. 2. See thedentheatre.com.
• Broken Nose Theatre launches its 10th season with an audio adaptation of its 2018 production of "Kingdom," Michael Allen Harris' play about two gay men and longtime partners who have different opinions when it comes to same-sex marriage. The production will stream on demand from Monday, Oct. 4, through Oct. 24 at brokennosetheatre.com. Tickets are pay-what-you-can.
• Previews begin Friday, Oct. 1, for PrideArts production of "4000 Days," Peter Quilter's drama about a man who awakens from a coma that has affected his memory to find his partner and his mother at odds over his care. The production opens Monday, Oct. 4, at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. Tickets are $15 for previews and $30 for the regular run. See pridearts.com.
• Black Ensemble Theater marks the resumption of in-person performances with a concert cabaret series consisting of spoken word, music and comedy at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. The schedule is as follows: "The Feel Good Musical Revue" (Oct. 1-3); "The Joy of Life" (Nov. 19, 21 and 29) and A Black Ensemble Holiday Spectacular (Dec. 11, 12, 18 and 19). Tickets cost $45. (773) 769-4451 or blackensembletheater.org.
• Performances of Third Eye Theatre Ensemble double-bill of two operas devoted to women in STEM continue through Oct. 3 at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago. The double-bill consists of Kamala Sankaram and Rob Handel's "The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace" and the newly commissioned "Petticoats and Sliderules" by Elizabeth Rudolph. See thirdeyete.com.
• Feelz Right Quiz Night, The Annoyance Theatre's live, comedic trivia quiz runs online at 9 p.m. Mondays through Oct. 18. Tickets are $40 per team with 25% of the revenue going to the Ali Forney Center, which assists LGBTQ youth. See theannoyance.com/show/feelz-right-quiz-night. Also at the Annoyance, the long-standing improv team Deep Schwa has a new home at The Annoyance, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. They perform at 8 p.m. Sundays. See theannoyance.com.
• Goodman Theatre hosts in-person readings of new works by the members of its Playwrights Unit beginning Oct. 9 at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The schedule is as follows: "The Madness of Mary Todd" by Terry Guest on Oct. 9; "La Fuente De Cascabeles" by Exal Iraheta on Oct. 14; "Expatriate" by Steve Pickering on Oct. 15; "Rust" by Nancy García Loza on Oct. 21; "You Deserve To Be Here" by Alex Lubischer on Oct. 23; "Boxing Play" by Marisa Carr on Oct. 28; and "Rack Up" by Eliza Bent on Nov. 4. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required at goodmantheatre.org/playwrights. Also, Goodman announced four new members its 2021/2022 Playwrights Unit: Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom, Susan H. Pak, Andrew Rosendorf and Omer Abbas Salem.
• Applications are available beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, for the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrating excellence in high school theater. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and are due by Sept. 23. The categories include best actor and best actress. Twenty-four nominees (12 actors and 12 actresses) will be invited to perform on stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place in front of Chicago casting agents and theater professionals on May 23, 2022. All participants (including the nominees, event staff and audience must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. See broadwayinchicago.com/IHSMTA.
• Congo Square Theatre Company named longtime ensemble member Ericka Ratcliff as its new artistic director. A veteran of Northlight, Second City, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens and other Chicago-area theaters, Ratcliff first performed with Congo Square in 2006 in its production of Lydia Diamond's "Stickfly." "From the first time I encountered Congo Square through its production of Chadwick Boseman's 'Deep Azure,' I became immediately enthralled by the company because of the beauty of the work, the authenticity of Black culture being represented on stage, and the celebration of Black artists as a family through the ensemble," Ratcliff said in a prepared statement.
• BrightSide Theatre's 10th anniversary season begins Dec. 10 with a musical audio play version of "Miracle on 34th Street," adapted from the 1947 radio broadcast. That's followed by a concert version of the musical "Promises Promises" (Jan. 15-22, 2022) adapted from the comedy "The Apartment." The mistaken-identity farce "Don't Dress for Dinner" runs Feb. 25-March 13, 2022. The season concludes with the jukebox tuner "Mamma Mia!" (June 3-19, 2022) set to the music of ABBA. Performances take place at the Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall at North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth, Naperville. Individual tickets and subscriptions go on sale in October. (630) 447-8497 or brightsidetheatre.com.
• First Floor Theater announced its ninth season will begin Jan. 27, 2022, with the Chicago premiere of "Botticelli in the Fire," about Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, who's romancing the wife of patron Lorenzo de Medici, employs Leonardo da Vinci as an apprentice and is working on his breakthrough painting "The Birth of Venus" all while a plague and civil dissent ravage the city. That's followed on May 5, 2022, by the premiere of "The Secretaries: A Parable" about four women vying to be Adolf Hitler's secretary as he and Eva Braun prepare to enter the bunker as the Third Reich crumbles. Performances take place at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See firstfloortheater.com.
• Yasmina Reza's dark comedy "God of Carnage," about two couples who meet to talk about the playground altercation involving their sons, marks the start of AstonRep Theatre Company's new season. Performances begin Nov. 12 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theatre, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago. That's followed by virtual performances of the company's 13th Annual Writers Series (Jan. 29-30, 2022). The season concludes with the Chicago premiere of "When We Were Young and Unafraid" (May 13-June 12, 2022, at The Edge Off-Broadway), Sarah Treem's 1970s-set drama about a woman who turns her B&B into a safe haven for domestic violence survivors, which forces her to confront her presumptions about the women she attempts to help. See astonrep.com.
• A Red Orchid Theatre announced its live, in-person 2021-2022 season will commence Oct. 24 with a workshop production of "Tom and Eliza" by Celine Song. That's followed by the Chicago premiere of "The Moors" (Jan. 6-Feb. 27, 2022), Jen Silverman's comedy inspired by "Wuthering Heights" and the Bronte sisters and the price paid for love and autonomy. The season concludes with the premiere of "Last Hermanos" (April 21-June 12, 2022) by Exal Iraheta. Recorded last season as an audio play, it's about Latino brothers who disagree on the benefits of revolution as opposed to maintaining the status quo. Performances take place at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. The two-show preview flex pass is $40 and the regular run two-show pass is $60. See aredorchidtheatre.org.