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by BWW News Desk
Stage773 Artistic Director Brian Posen proudly announces the lineup for the 10th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. Chicago SketchFest, an annual event that celebrates the best in local, national and international sketch comedy, runs Jan. 6 - Jan. 16, 2011. All performances will take place at the recently acquired and soon-to-be renovated Stage773 building, located at 1225 W. Belmont. The festival's performance dates and times are: Thursdays at 8 and 9:30 p.m., Fridays at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m., Saturdays at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30, 4, 5:30, and 7 p.m. (Sunday, January 9th also features as 1 p.m. performance.) Tickets are $14 each and go on sale Friday, Nov. 19 at noon; tickets purchased by December 31 will be discounted to $12.50. Tickets can be purchased at www.Stage773.com, by phone at 773.327.5252, and in person at the box office.
This year's festival is especially exciting for Posen and the Stage773 team because, though Chicago SketchFest has been held at 1225 W. Belmont since it began in 2002, this is the first year that the building is under Stage773's management. "We are not going to have some of the restrictions that we had in earlier years," said Posen. "It's incredible to be doing the festival in our home, and we think both the performers and audience will experience some fun changes - plus, the beer is now cheaper!"
"We received a record number of applications for this year's festival, so you're going to see even greater quality," continued Posen. "Our schedule features 129 different groups performing 152 shows - that is a SketchFest record! We've added two more timeslots than last year to accommodate 18 more performances over the two weekends."
Highlights of the 10th annual Chicago SketchFest include reunion performances by past favorites Maximum Party Zone, Blaire and Dark Eyed Strangers, other past SketchFest favorites, exciting new talent and family programming.
"It's going to be so much fun to see Maximum Party Zone, Blaire and Dark Eyed Strangers perform on the SketchFest stage again," said Posen. "These are seasoned, successful performers who have achieved so much since their SketchFest days. I'm grateful that they are helping us celebrate our 10th anniversary by getting back together and back on our stage. Maximum Party Zone was there our first year - and we're thrilled to have them back for the tenth!"
Since their days performing sketch on Chicago stages, the three men of Maximum Party Zone have optioned a screenplay and transitioned to video work, seen on their YouTube channel. The five women of Blaire are dedicated to creating comedy in all its incarnations, presenting sketch comedy from a female, but decidedly un-feminine perspective. Dark Eyed Strangers represents a rare fusion of Chicago's theater and sketch communities, featuring live music, spectacle, and general A-game stagecraft.
The afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 15 features Chicago SketchFest Kids, Teens and Family day. This mini-festival features 12 groups performing especially for and primarily performed by kids and teens. "We're building the next generation of sketch performers and audiences," said Posen. "The sketch group The Adults is a great example. These are three teenagers who met at a Second City youth ensemble class and found they had passion and talent. They got a director - Second City Training Center Faculty Member Jeff Poole - and got serious. They offer a great look at how teens view the adult world."
The 10th Chicago SketchFest will also feature four groups who have been in all ten festivals: Backrow, The Cupid Players, monsters from the id and Stir-Friday Night! Chicago groups Salsation! and GayCo have also performed in most years of the festival, including the first year of the festival. These performers have helped the festival grow into the nation's largest sketchfest.
In the two weekends from January 6 - 16, 2010, more than 800 artists from these 129 sketch comedy troupes will perform more than 150 shows for the largest ever Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival - and the largest sketch comedy festival America has ever seen. The entire schedule for the 10th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival can be viewed at: ChicagoSketchfest.com.
Stage773 celebrates off-Loop Chicago performing arts and artists. Formerly known as Lukaba Productions, Stage773 is a non-profit Chicago company that produces The Cupid Players, Bri-Ko, The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and other programs, as well as offering subsidized theater rental space to the hundreds of Chicago's itinerant off-Loop companies and performers. Stage773 is located at 1225 W. Belmont (the former Theatre Building Chicago); Stage773's three theaters are home to performances by some of Chicago's most innovative, creative and passionate off-Loop performing artists.
Beginning July 2011 Stage773 will break ground on a $1 million renovation, which will include:
Redesigning the Belmont Avenue façade;
Increasing the amount of lobby light and opening the lobby to street side viewing with the addition of floor to ceiling windows along Belmont Avenue;
Modernizing and doubling the number of lavatories;
Completely overhauling the South Theater, including relocating the stage and seating to allow for easier load-in, better sound proofing and convenient audience access.
Transforming the West Theater into two new flexible spaces: a cabaret and a blackbox.
For more information on the renovation or a list of current events at Stage773 visit Stage773.com or call 773.929.7367.
The 10th Annual Chicago Sketch Festival runs January 6 - January 16, 2011. All performances will take place at Stage773, located at 1225 W. Belmont. The festival's performance dates and times are: Thursdays at 8 and 9:30 p.m., Fridays at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m., Saturdays at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30, 4, 5:30, and 7 p.m. (and a 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 9.) Tickets are $14 each and go on sale Friday, Nov. 19 at noon; tickets purchased by December 31 are discounted to $12.50. The price includes a $2 facility fee and can be purchased at www.Stage773.com, by phone at 773.327.5252, and in person at the box office.