Shows to See In Chicago This 4th of July Weekend

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend falling so close to the middle of the week, many people will find themselves with four fun-filled days off of work. So when the fireworks have finished their "red glare" over Lake Michigan, how should Chicagoans spend the rest of their weekend? Why take in some amazing theatre, of course! Here are some shows to check out over the weekend:


To see  a summer blockbuster live on stage:

Assemblers 2: Gamma-Radioactive Boogaloo! (pH Comedy Theatre)
Written by Ensemble, Directed by Brett Mannes

In a post-Avengers world, the superhero craze just keeps  getting stronger. So, the creators of The pH Comedy Theater's hit show,  The Assemblers, have once again heeded the call to give the citizens of Chicago an all new original super-satire of the comic book genre with Assemblers 2: Gamma-Radioactive Boogaloo!

Assemblers 2 is a sketch comedy show that explores all aspects of the modern superhero and his or her universe. From the skies of Metropolis to the depths of the sea, Assemblers 2 explodes into the fray with new sketches about the frustrations of the geek, the plight of mere humans in a superhuman world, and the warped mind of the costumed vigilante. There will be fighting. There will be singing. But most of all, there will be epic laughter.

Assemblers 2 is meant for mature audiences and will be performed every Friday at 9:30 pm atThe pH Comedy Theater, 1515 W. Berwyn in Andersonville, from June 7 through July 19. The show is BYOB. Tickets are $15 / $10 (students with valid ID) and can be purchased here.

For something innovative:

The Half-Brothers Mendehlssohn (Strange Tree Group at Signal Theatre Ensemble)
Written by Elizabeth Bagby, Directed by Thrisa Hodits

Change the past. Alter the future. Find true love. Bring back the dead. Theo Mendelssohn believes he can achieve all of these by building a working time machine to blast twenty years into the past and stop his mother from abandoning the family in 1908. But, by doing so will he also prevent his father's second marriage and the birth of his doubly doomed half-brother, Nicholas? Not if Nicholas has anything to say about it! Join The Strange Tree Group as we tumble back through time to set right what once went wrong, fall in love with other people's mothers, cause calamitous train accidents and try desperately to get the piano tuned.

The Half-Brothers Mendelssohn runs at Signal Theatre Ensemble, 1802 West Berenice Ave in Chicago through July 20. Tickets are $10-$25 and can be purchased here or by calling 773-347-1350.

Something to bring the kids to:

The Cat in the Hat (Emerald City Theatre at the Broadway Playhouse)

Emerald City Theatre's production of THE CAT IN THE HAT, based on the book by Dr. Seuss and adaptation by Katie Mitchell, is the perfect friend for a boring rainy afternoon. From games and mischief to Thing One and Thing Two, The Cat brings all sorts of trouble to this grey day- but will Sally and her brother be able to explain the mess to Mother? This Dr. Seuss classic leaps onto the stage with chaotic exuberance in this adaptation from the National Theatre in London. Best suited for ages 3+.

The Cat in the Hat plays September 1 at the Broadway Playhouse, 175 East Chestnut Street Chicago in Chicago. Tickets can be purchased here.

For something riveting:

Blood and Gifts (TimeLine Theatre Company)
Written by JT Rogers, Directed by Nick Bowling

This spy thriller-named one of the Top 10 plays of 2011 by The New York Times - goes deep inside the secret United States intrigue that powered the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s. A CIA operative struggles against conditions on the ground and politics in the halls of Washington to stop the Soviet Army's destruction of Afghanistan. As alliances shift and the outcome of the Cold War appears to hang in the balance, he and an Afghan warlord find that the only one they can trust is each other. This bold new play unmasks the actions of men behind one of recent history's greatest events - the repercussions of which still shape our lives.

Blood and Gifts runs through July 28 at TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington in Chicago. Tickets are  $32-$42 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 773-281-8463 or clicking here

For a new take on "The American Dream:"

Mahal (Bailiwick Chicago at Stage 773)
Written by Danny Bernardo, Directed by Erica Weiss

Alright, so I'm a little biased. The world premiere of my play Mahal has opened to some lovely reviews. All the critics who've seen it so far have unanimously agreed that though the play centers on a Filipino American family redefining themselves after loss, the laughs and struggles are universal. As new relationships blossom and family bonds are tested, a long forgotten secret from the homeland threatens to tear the Reyes family apart. Dealing with themes of cultural identity, assimilation, homophobia, interracial and inter-generational relationships, Mahal examines what it truly means to be an American family.

Mahal runs through August 2 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont in Chicago. Tickets are $25-$35 (with $10 off discount available for performances through July 14 using promo code MABUHAY.) Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 773.327.5252

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