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NYE Picks: Theater

Chicago's theater scene has a midnight for everybody.
Monday Dec 28, 2009.     By Reina Hardy
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

E. Faye ButlerE. Faye Butler will take you through the American songbook at Northlight.

Want a real fireworks show on New Year's Eve? Head to one of these special theater events. You'll have a ball, we promise.

For the class clown
The Chuckle Bowl Spectacular
12/31 at Lincoln Square Lanes
"Don't Spit the Water," a giddy live game show that asks audience contestants to hold cheekfuls of water while withstanding assaults from bizarro gimmick comedians, headlines what might be Chicago's least pretentious New Year's bash. The Chuckle Bowl, held at dive bowling alley Lincoln Square Lanes, features open bowling, vid screens looping comedic found footage, free pizza and cheap booze. At midnight, toast the High Life with Miller.

For your mom
E. Faye Butler and Her Trio
12/31 at Northlight Theatre
This New Year's, put yourself in the hands of a diva. Hometown heroine E. Faye Butler, who blasted audiences away with lead performances in "Ella" and "Caroline or Change," will sing out 2009 with verve and a jazz trio. Perfect for grownups who want to be in bed at a reasonable hour, this show will take you through the American songbook starting at 8 p.m.

For the musical theater dork
A Cabaret New Year's Celebration
12/31 at No Exit Cafe
Theo Ubique, with its young, gutsy casts and atmospherically gunky venue, almost makes showtunes cool. Almost. For the Eve, this small company will help you get your geek on in the intimate dark of the No Exit Cafe. Start with selections from their current show, "Man of La Mancha," break for snacks, then come right back for a set of musical-theater favorites at 11 p.m. Your ticket comes with an open bar, party favors and a glass of the bubbly at midnight.

For the French kissers
Michelle L'Amour's Chicago Starlets
12/31 at La Mediterranee
If 2009 left you in need of an uplifting performance experience, may the splendid rear of Michelle L'Amour, duchess of Chicago burlesque, preside over the dawn of your 2010. L'Amour and her Starlets are planning two NYE performances at La Mediterranee, and the striptease will be as French as the four-course meal (included). With a champagne toast, bien sur.

For the die-hard off-Loop fan
Too Much Light New Year's Eve '10
12/31 at the Neo-Futurarium
Fifty-two weeks a year, these shoestring-theater deities serve Chicagoans a rotating menu of 30 quick-fire world-premiere plays. And what did you accomplish in 2008? Celebrate another year of sold-out shows, persistent creativity, and pizza with the Neofuturists. Tickets must be purchased in advance for this one (no long lines and dice rolls) and the "30 Plays in 60 Minutes" time restriction has a special urgency: the plays must wrap before 2009.

If these don't fit the bill, check out these other New Year's Eve events.


Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

What's Happening Today
  • Rockwood Place
    $1 all sliders, $2 all flatbreads, $3 half-slab of dry-rubbed baby back ribs, $8 pitchers of Miller Lite and Bud Light, $10 pitchers of white peach sangria, $12 pitchers of 4 Rebels Dragonfruit Vodka iced tea
  • Goldie's
    $1 drafts of PBR