Category: Open Run

Review: WaistWatchers The Musical (Royal George Theatre)

Martha Wash, Kiley L. McDonald, Krissy Johnson, Katherine S. Barnes and Sarah Godwin star in Royal George Theatre's "WaistWatchers The Musical" by Vince di Mura and Alan Jacobson, directed by Matt Silva.    



WaistWatchers the Musical 

Written by Vince di Mura (music)
   and Alan Jacobson (book, lyrics)
Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted (map)  
open run  |  tix: $45+  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments More

Review: Southern Gothic (Windy City Playhouse)

Paul Fagen, Brianna Borger, Michael McKeough and Sarah Grant star in Southern Gothic, Windy City Playhouse            


Southern Gothic

Written by Leslie Liautaud
Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving (map)   
thru Jan 27  |  tix: $80-$100  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments More

Review: Spamilton (Royal George Theatre)

Yando Lopez and Eric Andrew Lewis star in Spamilton at Royal George Theatre            


Written by Gerard Alessandrini
Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted (map)  
open run  |  tix: $50-$55  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

April 21, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Who Do We Think We Are? (Second City)

Holly Laurent and Katie Rich in Second City's "Who Do We Think We Are?", directed by Matt Hovde. (photo credit: Clayton Hauck)       
Who Do We Think We Are? 

By Mary Sohn, Katie Rich, Edgar Blackmon
     Tim Baltz, Holly Laurent and Steve Waltien
Directed by Matt Hovde  
Second City Mainstage, 1616 N. Wells (map) 
Open run  |  tickets: $23-$28   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
           Read entire review

May 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sky’s the Limit (Second City e.t.c.)

Michael Lehrer, Mary Sohn, Aidy Bryant - Second City Chicago
Sky’s the Limit

Written/performed by Tim Baltz, Aidy Bryant, Brendan Jennings, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer and Mary Sohn
Directed by Matt Hovde
at Second City, 1608 N. Wells  (map) 
Open Run  |   tickets: $22-$27  | more info

Check for half-price tickets

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August 5, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: Baby Wants Candy (Apollo Theater Chicago)


Celebrating 14th year in Chicago, “Baby” wants a little more finesse


Nathan Jansen, Brendan Dowling, Erica Elam, Nick Semar, Christy Bonstell, Zach Thompson, Ben McFadden, Chris Ditton, Kevin Florain, Sam Super - Baby Wants Candy - Apollo Theatre Chicago - Photo: Joanna Feldman.

Apollo Theater presents
Baby Wants Candy
Developed by Peter Gwinn, Al Samuels,
Stuart Ranson, Bob Kulhan and Don Bardwell
Written weekly by ‘Baby’ cast
Apollo Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln (map)
Open Run  |  tickets: $15  |  more info

Reviewed by Paige Listerud

Oh, to have witnessed Baby Wants Candy at its Chicago inception 14 years ago – first performing at iO Theatre before, later, moving to the present Apollo mainstage. The brain-child of Peter Gwinn, Al Samuels, Stuart Ranson, Bob Kulhan and Don Bardwell, Baby Wants Candy’s central premise is this: the troupe improvises a new musical every performance, created from a title shouted out from the audience. The tactic had its formulas, but each evening the actors spontaneously crafted and performed a new one-hour long musical, never to be seen again. Previously performed musicals include: Peace Corps: the Musical, The Day the Gingers Ruled the World: the Musical, David Hasselhoff’s Secret Children: the Musical, and The Department of Redundancy Department: the Musical.

Zach Thompson, Erica Elam, Christy Bonstell, Brendan Dowling, Sam Super, Kevin Florian, Ben McFadden, Chris Ditton, Nick Semar, Nathan Jansen - 'Baby Wants Candy'  - Photo credit: Joanna Feldman.On the evening I attended, one audience member beat everyone else to the punch by throwing out The Confessions of a Teenage Rahm Emmanuel. How something that biographical would have been handled by Baby’s original member Peter Gwinn is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately, the new cast seemed to be just finding their feet with Baby Wants Candy’s drill. They seemed constrained and hesitant. They pulled back from a full out rift on Emmanuel. The team fell back on teenage high school formulas and played it fairly safe with Emmanuel’s life story. Although they generated a few laughs in spoken scenes, they floundered on producing consistently distinctive or funny musical lyrics. Relax, guys, he’s not mayor yet and, besides, making up random and absurd shit about Rahm, of all people, is the essence of improv.

There were a few bright moments, though they largely centered on the teenage Rahm’s balls. Rahm’s dream of going from high school loser to prom king felt fairly predictable, yet it yielded a bit of fun in his algebra teacher’s encouragement to join ballet–“Ballet Will Give You Balls” being the one successful tune of the evening. From then on, the jokes were pretty much about Rahm’s balls. Rahm’s balls rule the school hallways. Rahm’s balls hijacked a car once. Rahm’s rival, Troy, attempts to cut off Rahm’s balls at high school prom but only manages to get his finger. Seldom did the cast attempt to venture out from the safety of ball jokes—like one student claiming baby wants candy logohis dad was a moon-ologist or the momentary inspiration of having Christopher Walken host Rahm’s prom.

Baby Wants Candy has made it big in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and with its international touring company in Singapore and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Perhaps last weekend was just a little off with a new team. Then again, perhaps the franchise is showing quality control problems. Formulas may be necessary but an improv troupe has to have enough security with them so that it can take off to new horizons. For all the team’s struggles last weekend, the band held tight and ready under Ben McFadden’s direction. That remains the strongest element of performance—let’s hope it carries right on through to the rest of the cast every evening.

Rating: ★★½

Baby Wants Candy performs Fridays at 10:30pm on the Mainstage at the Apollo Theater, 2540 North Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.  Tickets are $15.  Student discounts are available with a valid student ID the day of the show only.  For tickets, call the Apollo Theater box office at 773-935-6100, Ticketmaster at 312-559-1212 or visit  More info at BWC website.

March 5, 2011 | 0 Comments More