Our Events

We’ve designed The Understudy from the ground up to support a variety of events. Join us after close for play readings, drag performances, concerts, meetups, and more! The calendar is always updating, so check back often.

We’re always on the lookout for new ways to share our space and bring creative people together. If you have an idea for a new one-off event or series at The Understudy, please fill out the form below. Please note that we give priority to theatre related events, and, though we really want to, we can’t accommodate every request. Let’s chat!

recurring series

Next Draft Series: How to Kill a Rodent

June 1 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

How to Kill a Rodent By Eleanor McCaughey Canadians Guy and Carrie take a road trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania only days before Groundhog Day, in an effort to assassinate Punxsutawney […]

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Next Draft Series: How to Kill a Rodent
June 1 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

TGNC Theatre Maker’s Meetup

June 2 @ 7:00 pm10:00 pm

🏳️‍⚧️MEETUP🏳️‍⚧️ Trans and gender non-conforming theatre makers, Join us June 2nd for an evening of community and connection. We’re hanging out 7pm to 10pm and keeping the cafe open for […]

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TGNC Theatre Maker’s Meetup
June 2 @ 7:00 pm10:00 pm

Next Draft Series: How to Kill a Rodent

June 3 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

How to Kill a Rodent By Eleanor McCaughey Canadians Guy and Carrie take a road trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania only days before Groundhog Day, in an effort to assassinate Punxsutawney […]

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Next Draft Series: How to Kill a Rodent
June 3 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Next Draft Series: Infinity Burns

June 8 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Infinity Burns By Felix Abidor Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century monk, is sentenced to death for his radical beliefs in an infinite universe. Cast: Peter Ferneding Stephanie Fongheiser Madison Kiernan Playwright: […]

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Next Draft Series: Infinity Burns
June 8 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Next Draft Series: Infinity Burns

June 10 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Infinity Burns By Felix Abidor Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century monk, is sentenced to death for his radical beliefs in an infinite universe. Cast: Peter Ferneding Stephanie Fongheiser Madison Kiernan Playwright: […]

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Next Draft Series: Infinity Burns
June 10 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

G. L. O. W. : A Queer Sober Open Mic Night

June 14 @ 7:30 pm10:00 pm

The Understudy presents G.L.O.W.: a Queer Sober Open Mic Night ABOUT THE EVENT Join The Understudy for G.L.O.W., a queer sober open mic night hosted by K.J Whitehead and Sharon […]

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G. L. O. W. : A Queer Sober Open Mic Night
June 14 @ 7:30 pm10:00 pm

SERVICE by Makeda Delcet

June 24 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

When a close circle of buds have to go to their recently-deceased friend’s apartment to retrieve a suit for his burial, they discover a woman tied up in his closet. […]

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SERVICE by Makeda Delcet
June 24 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm
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How to Kill a Rodent

By Eleanor McCaughey

Canadians Guy and Carrie take a road trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania only days before Groundhog Day, in an effort to assassinate Punxsutawney Phil on live television.

Cast: Peter Ferneding Stephanie Fongheiser Madison Kiernan Playwright: Eleanor McCaughey Director: Maddy Brown Dramaturg: Zoe Sjogerman CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS This reading is presented as part of Avalanche Theatre's Next Draft Series The Next Draft Series is Avalanche Theatre's ongoing new play incubator.

Over the course of 3-4 months, Avalanche develops new work by emerging Chicago playwrights through readings, feedback sessions, and mentorship, culminating in a workshop production of the plays at the end of the process. Chicago theatre leaders such as artistic directors, literary managers, and creative producers are invited to the workshop productions in order to provide playwrights access to companies who may be interested in producing the plays. The purpose of the Next Draft Series is to fully develop the most exciting and challenging new plays being written in Chicago today, to foster a community that is supportive of writers, and to provide opportunities for these plays to go on to receive full productions.

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How to Kill a Rodent

By Eleanor McCaughey

Canadians Guy and Carrie take a road trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania only days before Groundhog Day, in an effort to assassinate Punxsutawney Phil on live television.

Cast: Peter Ferneding Stephanie Fongheiser Madison Kiernan Playwright: Eleanor McCaughey Director: Maddy Brown Dramaturg: Zoe Sjogerman CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS This reading is presented as part of Avalanche Theatre's Next Draft Series The Next Draft Series is Avalanche Theatre's ongoing new play incubator.

Over the course of 3-4 months, Avalanche develops new work by emerging Chicago playwrights through readings, feedback sessions, and mentorship, culminating in a workshop production of the plays at the end of the process. Chicago theatre leaders such as artistic directors, literary managers, and creative producers are invited to the workshop productions in order to provide playwrights access to companies who may be interested in producing the plays. The purpose of the Next Draft Series is to fully develop the most exciting and challenging new plays being written in Chicago today, to foster a community that is supportive of writers, and to provide opportunities for these plays to go on to receive full productions.

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Infinity Burns

By Felix Abidor

Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century monk, is sentenced to death for his radical beliefs in an infinite universe.

Cast: Peter Ferneding Stephanie Fongheiser Madison Kiernan Playwright: Eleanor McCaughey Director: Maddy Brown Dramaturg: Zoe Sjogerman CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS This reading is presented as part of Avalanche Theatre's Next Draft Series The Next Draft Series is Avalanche Theatre's ongoing new play incubator.

Over the course of 3-4 months, Avalanche develops new work by emerging Chicago playwrights through readings, feedback sessions, and mentorship, culminating in a workshop production of the plays at the end of the process. Chicago theatre leaders such as artistic directors, literary managers, and creative producers are invited to the workshop productions in order to provide playwrights access to companies who may be interested in producing the plays. The purpose of the Next Draft Series is to fully develop the most exciting and challenging new plays being written in Chicago today, to foster a community that is supportive of writers, and to provide opportunities for these plays to go on to receive full productions.

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Infinity Burns

By Felix Abidor

Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century monk, is sentenced to death for his radical beliefs in an infinite universe.

Cast: Peter Ferneding Stephanie Fongheiser Madison Kiernan Playwright: Eleanor McCaughey Director: Maddy Brown Dramaturg: Zoe Sjogerman CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS This reading is presented as part of Avalanche Theatre's Next Draft Series The Next Draft Series is Avalanche Theatre's ongoing new play incubator.

Over the course of 3-4 months, Avalanche develops new work by emerging Chicago playwrights through readings, feedback sessions, and mentorship, culminating in a workshop production of the plays at the end of the process. Chicago theatre leaders such as artistic directors, literary managers, and creative producers are invited to the workshop productions in order to provide playwrights access to companies who may be interested in producing the plays. The purpose of the Next Draft Series is to fully develop the most exciting and challenging new plays being written in Chicago today, to foster a community that is supportive of writers, and to provide opportunities for these plays to go on to receive full productions.

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The Understudy presents G.L.O.W.: a Queer Sober Open Mic Night
ABOUT THE EVENT Join The Understudy for G.L.O.W., a queer sober open mic night hosted by K.J Whitehead and Sharon Pasia. Expect comedy, drama, and stunts galore. Stay tuned for performer signups! Doors open at 7. Performances begin at 7:30. The Understudy Cafe will be open for refreshments!
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When a close circle of buds have to go to their recently-deceased friend’s apartment to retrieve a suit for his burial, they discover a woman tied up in his closet. Dark and farcical, this play explores the question, “How far would you go to preserve the memory of a friend?"   Cast and Creative Team TBA Freshly Brewed Team: Emma Durbin - Co-Artistic Producer Joel Willison - Co-Artistic Producer Magdalena Dalzell - Literary Committee Coordinator Danny Fender - The Understudy Co-Owner Adam Crawford - The Understudy Co-Owner About Freshly Brewed Freshly Brewed seeks to invest in Chicago’s emerging playwrights and theatre artists in keeping with The Understudy’s commitment to Community, Collaboration, and Discovery. The series features monthly readings of new plays in various stages of development. Each artist conrtibuting– playwrights, directors, and actors– will receive a stipend underwritten by the series' anonymous donor. Freshly Brewed also marks the inaugural collaboration between The Understudy and its neighbor, Edgewater’s Raven Theatre, who is thrilled to support The Understudy as their fiscal sponsor for this series. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Freshly Brewed.
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THE DRAG by Mae West presented by Gerber Hart Library

May 25 @ 7:30 pm9:30 pm

Join us for a community reading of “The Drag” presented by the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. Written by the iconic Mae West, this 1927 drama about a closeted socialite and […]

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THE DRAG by Mae West presented by Gerber Hart Library
May 25 @ 7:30 pm9:30 pm

CROOKED hosted by Betty Theft

May 24 @ 8:00 pm10:00 pm

Join host Betty Theft alongside a sordid cast of drag things. CROOKED is a show for villains, freaks, and petty thieves. A show that celebrates all things strange, dark, bizarre, […]

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CROOKED hosted by Betty Theft
May 24 @ 8:00 pm10:00 pm

ISLAND OF LOVE by Felicia Oduh

May 20 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

A batch of romantic hopefuls compete for a chance to win love and a large cash prize on the UK’s hottest summer reality dating series. Though everyone has come on […]

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ISLAND OF LOVE by Felicia Oduh
May 20 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

A Taste of RED with A Red Orchid Theatre

May 14 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Hang out with our friends from A Red Orchid Theatre on May 14th for the latest installment of their series A Taste of Red. A Red Orchid Theatre invites you […]

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A Taste of RED with A Red Orchid Theatre
May 14 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

BOTH by Paloma Nozicka

May 13 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Join us for a peek into the process of a new play by Paloma Nozicka. Presented as the first collaboration between Teatro Vista Productions and The Understudy. BOTH A woman’s […]

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BOTH by Paloma Nozicka
May 13 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

HEROES: A Reading to Benefit Freshly Brewed

May 12 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

An exclusive, one-night-only reading featuring Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Daniel Breaker (Billions), and Michael Kostroff (The Wire). It’s August 1959, and three aging French veterans of the first world war, Philippe, […]

RSVP NOW
HEROES: A Reading to Benefit Freshly Brewed
May 12 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm
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Join us for a community reading of “The Drag” presented by the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. Written by the iconic Mae West, this 1927 drama about a closeted socialite and the morality of homosexuality was banned from theatres and torn to shreds in the press. No acting experience required! This is a reading with the goal of getting this text out into the world. By doing this as well as providing historical context and archival materials, we are recentering text over performance. There will be a raffle system to cast each role, ensuring everyone has a chance to participate. Come explore the intertwined narratives of theatre, LGBTQ history, and American history, and their significance for our community today. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of this special community building event. See you there! About Gerber/Hart: Gerber/Hart is a LGBTQ+ library and archives located in the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago. Founded in 1981, Gerber/Hart is one of the largest repositories of LGBTQ+ content in the world. Gerber/Hart focuses on collecting, preserving, and making accessible the LGBTQ history and culture of Chicago and the Midwest. Learn more at gerberhart.org or by following @gerberhart on Instagram and Facebook. And for a deep dive into some of the amazing collections at Gerber/Hart, listen in to their 2022 podcast Unboxing Queer History!
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Join host Betty Theft alongside a sordid cast of drag things. CROOKED is a show for villains, freaks, and petty thieves. A show that celebrates all things strange, dark, bizarre, fringe, and alternative! CROOKED is a theatrical platform for dark and alternative drag- ominous, expressive, and dramatic. Featuring performances by: Betty Theft Fallon Finn Kerosene Monsieur Bombastic Tiki Vonte Doors open at 7:30 PM for an 8 PM show. The Understudy cafe will be open for refreshments.
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A batch of romantic hopefuls compete for a chance to win love and a large cash prize on the UK’s hottest summer reality dating series. Though everyone has come on the show for the same reasons, one contestant soon learns that not everyone will have the same experience. Positioning the audience as the camera and including all of your favorite elements of reality TV -- confessionals, drama, and surprise eliminations -- Island of Love dives deep into the various forms of othering that are faced by reality TV’s Black female contestants, on screen and off. Cast and Creative Team TBA Freshly Brewed Team: Emma Durbin - Co-Artistic Producer Joel Willison - Co-Artistic Producer Magdalena Dalzell - Literary Committee Coordinator Danny Fender - The Understudy Co-Owner Adam Crawford - The Understudy Co-Owner About Freshly Brewed Freshly Brewed seeks to invest in Chicago’s emerging playwrights and theatre artists in keeping with The Understudy’s commitment to Community, Collaboration, and Discovery. The series features monthly readings of new plays in various stages of development. Each artist conrtibuting– playwrights, directors, and actors– will receive a stipend underwritten by the series' anonymous donor. Freshly Brewed also marks the inaugural collaboration between The Understudy and its neighbor, Edgewater’s Raven Theatre, who is thrilled to support The Understudy as their fiscal sponsor for this series. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Freshly Brewed.
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THE CAVE by Ensemble Member Sadieh Rifai
Dema’s life is upended when her Palestinian-American family moves from Las Vegas to Ohio. While Dema rapidly approaches puberty and the first Gulf War intensifies, her father Jamil’s mental health deteriorates. The world around her gets physically and emotionally darker as truths are revealed and everything around her shatters.
Doors open at 7pm and the reading begins at 7:30pm. As part of this reading, we will be collecting donations for the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund. CLICK HERE TO RESERVE [post_title] => A Taste of RED with A Red Orchid Theatre [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-taste-of-red-with-a-red-orchid-theatre-4 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-05-14 09:59:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-05-14 14:59:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/?post_type=tribe_events&p=2189 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2246 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2024-05-06 12:09:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-05-06 17:09:35 [post_content] =>
Join us for a peek into the process of a new play by Paloma Nozicka. Presented as the first collaboration between Teatro Vista Productions and The Understudy. BOTH A woman's life is thrown into chaos when her missing twin suddenly reappears. This play currently in development as part of the Geffen Playhouse 2023/2024 Writers Room residency.
Doors open at 7pm. Performance Begins at 7:30pm. The cafe will be open for refreshments.
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An exclusive, one-night-only reading featuring Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Daniel Breaker (Billions), and Michael Kostroff (The Wire).
It's August 1959, and three aging French veterans of the first world war, Philippe, Gustave, and Henri spend their days on the terrace of their home for retired military men. The three friends reminisce, banter, and plot a daring escape. Translated from the original French by the inimitable Tom Stoppard, the play is suffused with his signature wit and intellect. An intimate and hilarious evening with three extraordinarily accomplished stage and screen performers at the height of their game, currently sharing the stage in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's world premiere Judgment Day. All proceeds from one-night-only performance support The Understudy's new play reading series, Freshly Brewed. JASON ALEXANDER CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE: Judgment Day. BROADWAY: Fish in the Dark, Accomplice, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Broadway Bound, The Rink, Merrily We Roll Along. OFF BROADWAY: The Portuguese Kid, Light Up the Sky, Personals, Forbidden Broadway. REGIONAL: The Producers, They’re Playing Our Song, Promises Promises, I Love My Wife, Defiled, Give ‘Em Hell, Harry. FILM: Pretty Woman, Shallow Hal, Dunston Checks In, Love! Valor! Compassion!, Hachi. TELEVISION: Seinfeld, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orville, Young Sheldon, Duckman, Criminal Minds, Monk, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bye Bye Birdie, Cinderella. THEATER DIRECTING: The Cottage (Broadway); God of Hell, Broadway Bound, The Last Five Years, Sunday in the Park with George, Damn Yankees, Native Gardens, The Fantasticks, If I Forget, Windfall. FILM DIRECTING: For Better or Worse, Just Looking. TELEVISION DIRECTING: Seinfeld, Everybody Hates Chris, Criminal Minds, Mike and Molly, Young Sheldon. AWARDS: 1989 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Critics Circle Award, 4 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Country Music Video Award, Emmy Award, Julie Harris Award, 2 American Comedy Awards. DANIEL BREAKER CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE: Judgment Day. BROADWAY: Hamilton, Book of Mormon, The Performers, Shrek the Musical (Drama Desk Award Nomination); Passing Strange (Tony Award Nomination, Drama Desk Award Nomination, Theatre World Award, Audelco Award); Cymbeline, Well. OFF BROADWAY: Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare in the Park); By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Second Stage Theater); Passing Strange (The Public Theater); Fabulation (Playwrights Horizons); Pericles (Red Bull Theater, The Culture Project). LONDON: How to Act Around Cops (SoHo Theatre). REGIONAL: A Doctor in Spite of Himself (Intiman Theatre); Life is a Dream (South Coast Repertory); The Comedy of Errors (Helen Hayes Award Nomination), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Tempest (Helen Hayes Award Nomination), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rivals, The Silent Woman (Shakespeare Theatre Company); H.M.S. Pinafore (Berkshire Theater Festival); Black Sheep (Barrington Stage Company); Sundance Theater Lab, 2005. FILM: Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Limitless with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, He’s Way More Famous Than You, Redhook Summer, Passing Strange directed by Spike Lee. TELEVISION: Billions, Girls 5Eva, The Good Fight, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mozart in the Jungle, Unforgettable, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. EDUCATION: The Juilliard School. MICHAEL KOSTROFF CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE: Judgment Day. CHICAGO: The Whistleblower (Theater Wit). BROADWAY: The Nance. OFF BROADWAY: Enter Laughing (The York Theatre Company); Babes in Toyland (Carnegie Hall). NATIONAL TOURS: The Producers, Les Misérables. REGIONAL: Clue, The Producers, Lend Me a Tenor, A Comedy of Tenors (Paper Mill Playhouse); Inherit the Wind (Pasadena Playhouse); Native Gardens (Pioneer Theatre Company); Carnival (Goodspeed Opera House); Hairspray (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors (Sacramento Music Circus). FILM: Molly’s Game, The Man Who Saved Pinball, Maybe I Do, Chupa. TELEVISION: The Wire, The Deuce, Wizard of Lies, The Plot Against America, Law & Order: SVU, The Blacklist, NCIS, The Rookie, Billions, Banshee, Platonic, 9-1-1: Lone Star. Kostroff is an adjunct professor at UCLA and the author of Letters from Backstage, Audition Psych 101, and The Stage Actor’s Handbook: Traditions, Protocols and Etiquette for the Working and Aspiring Professional.   About The Understudy The Understudy Coffee and Books is a one-of-a-kind hybrid theatre bookstore and specialty coffee shop in Andersonville. The Understudy is dedicated to celebrating, fostering, and uplifting artistry in our community in all its forms. The bookshop features over 3,500 plays, technique books, and other titles to get your creative juices flowing. The cafe offers high quality specialty coffee with a focus on direct trade sourcing and supporting local artisans.   About Freshly Brewed Freshly Brewed seeks to invest in Chicago’s emerging playwrights and theatre artists in keeping with The Understudy’s commitment to Community, Collaboration, and Discovery. The series features monthly readings of new plays in various stages of development. Freshly Brewed offers a space for Chicago area artists to explore, experiment, and develp their craft. Freshly Brewed also marks the inaugural collaboration between The Understudy and its neighbor, Edgewater’s Raven Theatre, who is thrilled to support The Understudy as their fiscal sponsor for this series. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Freshly Brewed.   Special Thanks to Chicago Shakespeare and JUDGMENT DAY for assistance in coordinating this event.   About JUDGMENT DAY: Be first to see Chicago Shakespeare Theater's hilarious world premiere comedy Judgment Day featuring a powerhouse cast of comedic talents! Emmy & Tony Award winner Jason Alexander plays a morally bankrupt lawyer threatened with eternal damnation by a terrifying angel. Desperate for redemption, he forms an unlikely bond with Michael, a Catholic priest in the midst of his own crisis of faith. Written by award-winning TV screenwriter Rob Ulin and staged by celebrated Broadway director Moritz von Stuelpnagel, this deliciously devious comedy rollicks through timeless questions on faith, morality, law & dis-order with razor-sharp wit. Now playing through May 26. Tickets: www.chicagoshakes.com/judgmentday
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