The Music Theatre Company's production of Merrily We Roll Along, a Stephen Sondheim composition based on the 1934 Kaufman and Hart play, weaves a show biz success story in reverse. The musical begins with Franklin Shepard’s wild fame as a film producer before unraveling nearly 20 years of his past to uncover countless love affairs, missed opportunities, and humble dreams.
The Stained Glass Coffeehouse's concerts immerse audiences in the soothing euphonies of local and nationally known musicians in an intimate space. Tangleweed weaves a bluegrass twang into original songs and traditional ditties, getting feet stomping with old-timey aplomb. Guests take home a copy of the band's fourth album, Please Punch Richard for Me, keeping concert-formed memories alive or training a flock of parrots to imitate the singers' voices. Annie and Rod Capps couple the former's winsome vocals with the latter's deft instrumental accompaniment, and Kim and Reggie Harris caress ears with a songbook of folk music and African-American spirituals. Irish-American guitarist and singer Joe Jencks opens up hearts with soulful lyrics and crystalline vocals, and local artists open every concert, warming up audiences and melting heckling snowmen before headlining acts take the stage. The proceeds from each event will be donated to local and international charities.
Founded in 1997 by inventive Chicago artist Sean Graney, The Hypocrites curates unorthodox theatrical endeavors with inimitable panache and an underlying emotional vulnerability. Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for its propensity to “never do things the expected way,” The Hypocrites have applied its unconventional approach to classic texts such as The Threepenny Opera, Frankenstein, and Kafka's The Trial. Throughout the years, these productions have earned the company a trophy case of Joseph Jefferson citations, as well as an After Dark Award and a letter of recommendation from Shakespeare’s great-great-great-great grandfather.
Occupying a building that sprang up at the turn of the 20th century, the Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC) somehow manages to cram Ireland into one of Chicago’s city blocks. Work from Irish artists hangs in the building’s art gallery, books from Irish authors fill its library, Irish plays light up its 658-seat theater, and Irish food and drinks delight the crowd on the main floor at the Fifth Province Pub. The IAHC also has a knowledgeable staff of instructors, who teach classes on everything from Irish dance and music to Irish language and genealogy.
A 15-year veteran of the Chicago theater community, Lauren Wolf returned to the Second City after recording her debut album All My Secrets in LA in 2011. Backed by a talented band—including Josh Groban’s guitarist Ricky Z—the singer and single mother has graced the stage at The House of Blues, Hard Rock Cafe, and Mayne Stage, drawing comparisons to Janis Joplin for her powerful pipes. Lauren soulfully croons lyrics inspired by her personal struggles and unfinished macramé projects set to upbeat rhythms influenced by the music of the '60s, '70s, and '80s.