Formed by a group of Judson University playmakers more than a decade ago, GreenRoom Productions delights showgoers with full seasons of musicals, plays, improv, and original sketch comedy. GreenRoom's signature 90-minute Unscripted Improv Show employs its side-splitters to mine the audience for laugh-affirming anecdotes before transforming them into hilarious, family-friendly narratives devoid of plodding preshow speeches from scarf-ensconced authors. Each improv show boasts competing teams, improvised songs, and audience participation for those foolish enough to look performers in the eyes. Live music soundtracks the evening and patrons can fill laugh lairs with vittles and drinks from the on-site concession stand.
Seasoned boat captains and crustacean prospectors Sig Hansen, Johnathan Hillstrand, and Andy Hillstrand gather to share with audience members their tales of struggle and survival during crab season on the high seas, as partly documented by the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Fishing the Bering Sea in the middle of winter demands strong wills—which can come together in times of treacherous weather and 100-foot waves or come to blows about who performs better in the three-legged crabwalk race. Selected audience members will also have the chance to don the survival suits from the Time Bandit. Following the story-swapping and previously unreleased video footage, greenhorns and avid fans will have the opportunity to launch questions at the captains, wave giant foam claws, and learn how to communicate in claw-snap Morse code.
Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre closed in 1989 and reopened its doors in 2001 after city funds helped 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee. But its most notable feature is the 2,200-pound chandelier, which gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.
Laugh Out Loud Theater sprays the suburban fringes of Chicago with a thick foam of world-class improv comedy. An extensive, experienced cast brings a highly interactive, audience-assisted experience to the intimate Schaumburg stage, drawing on hive mind suggestions to kick off its inevitably LOL-worthy sketches. Families can provide the laugh track for the 7:30 p.m. show, which serves up healthy levels of consistent hilarity minus the inclusion of swearwords or adult situations such as applying for bank loans and replacing lost driver’s licenses. The 9:30 p.m. adult show is structured the same way, but performers will take audience suggestions that pave the way for hilarious onstage ribaldry guaranteed to knock the buckle-hat off your inner puritan. Both shows rely heavily on audience participation, and LOL’s indefatigable ad-libbers make it a point to invite willing audience members up on stage to help them achieve exponential levels of funny.
Zanies Comedy Club presents established comics in Chicago, St. Charles, and Rosemont. Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chelsea Handler are among the many comedic greats who have brought in crowds with jokes since the club opened in 1978.
Renovated in 2006, the nearly century-old Wilmette Theatre entertains theatergoers with a rotating slate of current and classic offerings, including Hollywood blockbusters and niche art films. Cylindrical light from a whirring projector flickers across two auditoriums, where movie-going duos can snack on buttery tubs of popcorn while sipping a soda and whispering spoilers into the facility’s pristine Soundfold curtain. The Wilmette underwent a key renovation in 2006, fortifying the century-old venue’s commitment to quality art with fresh coats of paint, an overhauled concessions center, and screenings of feature-length still lifes.