The artists at Profiles Theatre enthrall audiences through interpretations of established works and independent premieres such as the Jeff-award-winning production of Tracy Letts's Killer Joe. Following in the company's two-decade tradition of staging thought-provoking theater in an intimate setting, the 2011–2012 season kicks off with the midwest premiere of Martin McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane. Directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder, the dark comedy documents a man's search for his missing left hand. Leslye Headland's Bachelorette, the story of three unhappy friends barging in on a former classmate's bachelorette party, contrasts the spiritual The Break of Noon, Niel LaBute's retelling of a memorable lunch break. Finally, Deirdre O'Connor's Assisted Living premieres, enchanting audiences with a tale of a young optimist who helps a middle-aged woman rediscover happiness.
Routines from nationally recognized joke wranglers crack up club-goers within Jokes and Notes's elegant club atmosphere. Emceed by BaldHead Phillips, Friday- and Saturday-night shows host itinerant comics who hawk hilarity for two nights before moving on to new audiences or packs of despondent hyenas. January headliners include recent Bay Area Black Comedy Competition finalist Willie Lynch Jr., who adds a goofy edge to drawn-from-life stories. James Davis's youthful observation and high-energy verve have carried him to appearances on Comedy Central, BET, and Bell Bellamy's Who's Got Jokes?, which has also showcased Las Vegas native J. Reid.
Hailed by the Chicago Reader as the Best New Play of 2011, Musical of the Living Dead takes audiences on a rip-roaring journey beyond the grave with its satirical send-ups of classic zombie films and musical theater. Now that their bodies have had one more year to decay, the play’s zombies return for a triumphant second run that promises even more brain-eating mayhem than the last. The curtain opens on 10 survivors of a recent zombie apocalypse, trapped in a farmhouse and willing to try anything to escape. Directors Marc Lewallen and Brad Younts gleefully fulfill horror-film conventions in selecting which cast members survive and which succumb to the screeching songs of the zombies, who have sewn up their larynxes to perform harmonized ditties in honor of Halloween. As musical trends rarely reach the deaf ears of the undead, the play’s soundtrack gathers inspiration from such disparate sources as George Gershwin, Green Day, and the werewolf doo-wop group that sometimes practices out of The Charnel House’s basement.