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

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

July 19 @ 7:30 pm10:00 pm

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 […]

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G. L. O. W. : A Queer Sober Open Mic Night
July 19 @ 7:30 pm10:00 pm

THE BIG FINISH: BIG BOYS FINISH LAST

July 20 @ 8:30 pm9:30 pm

Join hosts Derek (aka Stephanie) and Taki Venti (aka Tiki Vonté) for a drag night for the theatre girlies comprised exclusively of 11 o’clock numbers. THE BIG FINISH is a […]

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THE BIG FINISH: BIG BOYS FINISH LAST
July 20 @ 8:30 pm9:30 pm

ROLE CALL: July 2024 @ The Understudy

July 23 @ 6:30 pm9:30 pm

Forget *seeing* a show. With this series you actually get to PLAY a role! Join us for a community exploration of some of our favorite work! Part book club, part […]

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ROLE CALL: July 2024 @ The Understudy
July 23 @ 6:30 pm9:30 pm

Kokandy Book Club Presents: WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

July 24 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Kokandy Book Club Presents WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF Join The Understudy and our friends from Kokandy Productions for the latest installment of our series Book Club. Our July Book […]

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Kokandy Book Club Presents: WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
July 24 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Play Reading Club: Cardboard Piano

July 29 @ 7:00 pm8:30 pm

Join our monthly play reading club! Each month, we gather to discuss a new, exciting or confounding play that has caught our attention. This month, we’re reading CARDBOARD PIANO by […]

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Play Reading Club: Cardboard Piano
July 29 @ 7:00 pm8:30 pm
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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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Join hosts Derek (aka Stephanie) and Taki Venti (aka Tiki Vonté) for a drag night for the theatre girlies comprised exclusively of 11 o'clock numbers. THE BIG FINISH is a show for full of stunts, drama, and theatrics. THE BIG FINISH: BIG BOYS FINISH LAST This edition of The Big Finish celebrates musical theatre's leading men and their show-stopping numbers. Pizzazz! Wa-chow! STAY TUNED for full cast announcement. Doors open at 7:30 PM for an 8 PM show. The Understudy cafe will be open for refreshments.
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Forget *seeing* a show. With this series you actually get to PLAY a role! Join us for a community exploration of some of our favorite work!

Part book club, part performance, part debate and part community healing, this year Refracted Theatre Company partners with locations across Chicago to offer Role Call, a community play exploration event coming a neighborhood near you!

At ROLE CALL, we bravely dive into a play by reading it cold, and then we engage in and practice the complicated conversations that often follow challenging art. This series is not a performed reading. That’s the best part – no preparation is necessary! All participants take part reading through the script together for the first time before we jump into a variety of activations and discussions based on our reading. It’s a space for everyone: actors, non-actors, theater lovers, ex-theater lovers, and especially the theater-curious. And this year, we're shaking it up a bit! Last year we met in the same space for each event but this year, we’re bringing the theatre to you! We’re excited to be partnering with various venues and hosts throughout the Chicago area to bring this accessible engagement into different neighborhoods to meet people where they are at. We’ll also be featuring some special guests, experts, and educators based on our location and the play/subject matter we explore. Part of the fun of Role Call is that it depends on the people who show up!  

All participants are given the chance to read throughout the course of the evening, helping to bring the play to life as everyone reads the play aloud together. It's low-stakes and no pressure, and nobody is forced to read.

This is followed by a series of questions, exercises, and discussions led by the Refracted team, in which the play's most divisive, nuanced questions are explored from a place of curiosity and empathy.

6:45 - doors open + drinks and snacks provided by Pizza Lobo

7:00 - casting begins

 

This event is BYOB! Please bring your own bevvy, and perhaps some to share! We'll provide some food and dishwares! This event it sponsored by Pizza Lobo!

 

A $10 suggested donation is encouraged, but not required! All are encouraged to attend (we will accept cash or Venmo at the event, or you can donate now at www.refractedco.com/donate)

About The Play:

Marian is visited by a Marian Apparition (just call her Mary, thanks) who tells them to write a play about the Blessed Virgin considering an abortion. Miryam is visited by the angel Gavri'el, who tells her she's to bear the son of God. And pomegranates keep fruiting up all around, asking them to choose.  

About The Playwright:

Katherine Gwynn (they/them) is a non-binary lesbian, CODA, and Chicago playwright who writes about the mythic and violent spaces between queerness, disability, and the divine. Gwynn is the winner of the 2022 UCROSS + The Blank Theatre – Future of Playwriting Prize and a 2023 Venturous Fellowship Nominee. Gwynn also won the 2015 Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award and Second Place for the EMOS Ecodrama Playwrights festival 2022. Their work has been developed and produced by Flint Rep, Jackalope Theatre, The New Coordinates, The Great Plains Theatre Conference, the Terra Femina Collective, Commission Theatre, The Fishtank, and Rockhurst University. Gwynn has been a 2024 American Blues Blue Ink Award Semi-Finalist, a 2021 Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Finalist and 2x Semi Finalist, 2021 Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series Finalist, a 2x Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist and 4x Semi-Finalist, a 2020 Parity Productions Commission Finalist, a 2020 Story Theatre Resident Playwright Semi-Finalist, a 2019 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship Semi-Finalist, a 2x Ashland Play Festival Semi-Finalist, a 2x New Works Festival at Kitchen Dog Theater Finalist, a 2019 LezPlay Finalist, and a 2x invited Submission for the Humana Festival of New American Plays.  

About Refracted:

Refracted’s mission is to disrupt socially accepted narratives by telling the “other side of the story.” By upending audience expectations through innovation and adaptation, Refracted inspires meaningful discourse centered on empathy and humanity. Refracted is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 2019 in New York City by Graham Miller and Tova Wolff. As a four-year old company, Refracted is proud to have been one of the only theaters in the country that produced two full seasons of live theatre during the pandemic, harnessing its powers of creativity and innovation. Now in its fourth season in its new home of Chicago, Refracted invites you to get involved as it redefines what theatre can be in order to build a world fueled by curiosity and compassion. Please visit www.refractedco.com for more information and follow Refracted on social media @refractedco.        
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Kokandy Book Club Presents WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF Join The Understudy and our friends from Kokandy Productions for the latest installment of our series Book Club. Our July Book Club is raising a glass (several, in fact) to Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This scorching American classic inspires a fierce and fiery night as we sing, scream and clink-clink-clink along with George, Martha, Honey and Nick. Curated by Kokandy Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham, with musical accompaniment by Nick Sula, our book club performers will be announced soon!   Kokandy Book Club is an intimate salon series celebrating theatre, music and community. Each meeting will focus on a well known play—investigating the plot, themes and relevant tangents through a mix of musical theatre and pop/rock performance. Have a sit, have a sip and honor the ritual of talking about good plays and having a good ole fashion jam session. Doors open at 7 PM for a 7:30 PM performance. The Understudy Cafe will be open for refreshments.
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Join our monthly play reading club! Each month, we gather to discuss a new, exciting or confounding play that has caught our attention. This month, we're reading CARDBOARD PIANO by Hansol Jung ABOUT THE PLAY Northern Uganda on the eve of the millennium: The daughter of American missionaries and a local teenage girl steal into a darkened church to seal their love in a secret makeshift wedding ceremony. But when the surrounding war zone encroaches on their fragile union they cannot escape its reach. Confronting the religious and cultural roots of intolerance Cardboard Piano explores violence and its aftermath as well as the human capacity for hatred forgiveness and love.   CLICK HERE to buy a copy   ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT Hansol Jung is a playwright and director from South Korea. Productions include Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre), Wolf Play (Artists Repertory Theatre) and Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Theater and The Public Theater). Commissions from Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theater, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant with Ma-Yi Theatre and a translation of Romeo and Juliet for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Repertory’s Ground Floor, Sundance Theatre Lab, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Lark Play Development Center, Salt Lake Acting Company, Boston Court Theatre, Bushwick Starr, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Asia Society New York, and Seven Devils Playwright Conference. She is the recipient of the Page 73 Playwright Fellowship, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop, MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, and International Playwrights Residency at Royal Court. She has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean, including Evita, Dracula, Spamalot, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, while working on several award winning musical theatre productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul, South Korea. Jung holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab.
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OCEAN AND HER MADNESS by Lydia Moss

July 15 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Written after Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro, this work is an exploration of the mind of a “mad black woman.” It is a madness that is both the synchronization […]

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OCEAN AND HER MADNESS by Lydia Moss
July 15 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Get Lit: Grown-Up Book Fair

July 9 @ 5:30 pm7:30 pm

Join us at The American Writers Museum and check out a curated selection of Understudy favorites! Indulge your literary impulses at Get Lit: Grown-Up Book Fair! Mix and mingle with fellow […]

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Get Lit: Grown-Up Book Fair
July 9 @ 5:30 pm7:30 pm

A Conversation with Sarah Ruhl: BECKY NURSE OF SALEM

July 1 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Author Sarah Ruhl joins Polly Noonan for a a discussion of her newly published play BECKY NURSE OF SALEM. Playwright, author, essayist, and professor Sarah Ruhl joins Polly Noonan to […]

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A Conversation with Sarah Ruhl: BECKY NURSE OF SALEM
July 1 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

CHEERS QUEERS: A Pride Month Cabaret

June 28 @ 7:30 pm10:30 pm

CHEERS, QUEERS! is a toast, not to the end of pride month, because pride lives on honey, but a toast in celebration and recognition of who keeps Chicago running, the […]

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CHEERS QUEERS: A Pride Month Cabaret
June 28 @ 7:30 pm10:30 pm

SERVICE by Makeda Declet

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 Declet
June 24 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

PHARAOH TAROT

June 24 @ 1:00 pm5:00 pm

Pharaoh Tarot is back for a surprise solstice popup on Monday, June 24th! The summer solstice is upon us and abundance and wealth are dancing in the sky as the […]

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PHARAOH TAROT
June 24 @ 1:00 pm5:00 pm
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Written after Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro, this work is an exploration of the mind of a "mad black woman." It is a madness that is both the synchronization and dissonance of space, time, and music. 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 contributing– 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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Indulge your literary impulses at Get Lit: Grown-Up Book Fair! Mix and mingle with fellow bookworms, share your favorite titles, and discover new ones. From cozy mysteries to epic adventures, there’s something for every reader to discover and enjoy!

GET TICKETS

  • Shop at pop-up book stands from some of our partner organizations. Organizations to be announced!
  • Challenge your friends to a game of ring toss, test your aim at cornhole, or try your hand at other fun carnival games.
  • Compete with friends old and new in our Summer Reading Trivia and test your knowledge of school-age books.
  • Make your own bookmark at our craft table.
  • Explore our special exhibit, Level Up: Writers & Gamers (opening May 24), which explores how Americans use role-playing and video games to define and respond to our culture.
  • Enjoy beer, wine, and the night’s specialty cocktail, The Paperback, a refreshing limoncello cocktail. Non-alcoholic options available as well.

Cap off your literary adventure at Get Lit: Grown-Up Book Fair with a toast to the power of storytelling and the joy of reading!

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Author Sarah Ruhl joins Polly Noonan for a a discussion of her newly published play BECKY NURSE OF SALEM.

Playwright, author, essayist, and professor Sarah Ruhl joins Polly Noonan to discuss their newly published play Becky Nurse of Salem.

Don't miss this intimate discussion ahead of the Chicago premiere of Becky Nurse of Salem. Learn about this layered and thoughful work by one of our favorite playwrights.
About the Play A wry, innovative reckoning with the legacy of the Salem witch trials from one of America’s foremost playwrights. Becky Nurse is an outspoken, sharp-witted tour guide at the Salem Museum of Witchcraft who’s just trying to get by in post-Obama America. She’s also the descendant of Rebecca Nurse, who was infamously executed for witchcraft in 1692—but things have changed for women since then…haven’t they? After losing her job for calling out The Crucible in front of schoolkids, Becky visits a local witch for help. One spell leads to another, and then everything really goes off the rails. A darkly comic play about a woman coming to terms with her family’s legacy and finding her voice in the “lock her up” era.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sarah Ruhl is an award-winning American playwright, author, essayist, and professor. Her plays include The Oldest Boy, Dear Elizabeth, Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2010); The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2005; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play (Pen American Award, Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Melancholy Play; Demeter in the City (nine NAACP Image Award nominations); Scenes From Court Life; How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday; Eurydice; Orlando; and Late: a cowboy song. Her plays have been produced on Broadway and across the country as well as internationally, and translated into fourteen languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a PEN Center Award for mid-career playwrights, a Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, and a Lilly award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She teaches at Yale School of Drama and lives in Brooklyn with her family. (Official Headshot by Greg Constanzo)
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CHEERS, QUEERS! is a toast, not to the end of pride month, because pride lives on honey, but a toast in celebration and recognition of who keeps Chicago running, the Queers. Join us for an intimate and extravagant night of music and spoken text! Performed by a stellar cast of queer actors of color, and hosted by our own co Event-Coordinator John-Payne, Cheers Queers promises to give a gay old time, and a renewed pride to carry home.
Doors open at 7pm for a 7:30pm performance. 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
Playwright: Makeda Declet Director: Regina Victor Dramaturg: Madie Doppelt Shelby: Shelby Marie Edwards Veronica: Kandace Mack Woman: Casey Whisler Dale: Sam Boeck Eric: Jeffrey David Thomas
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.
[post_title] => SERVICE by Makeda Declet [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => service-by-makeda-delcet [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-06-17 16:41:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-06-17 21:41:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/event/service-by-makeda-delcet/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2321 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2024-06-23 12:07:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-06-23 17:07:00 [post_content] => Pharaoh Tarot is back for a surprise solstice popup on Monday, June 24th!
The summer solstice is upon us and abundance and wealth are dancing in the sky as the sun is in cancer and the full moon heightens in Capricorn on June 21st. This is one of the most powerful spiritual holidays for manifesting in 2024! Create strategies for success with the revelations that come after summer solstice and the full moon in capricorn with Pharaoh & Tarot, offering intuitive spreads tailored to the individual. All readings are pay what you can, offerings of some type are encouraged for energetic exchange! Feel free to reach out to Regina via instagram or email with any questions: @officialreginav, officialreginavictor@gmail.com
[post_title] => PHARAOH TAROT [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => pharaoh-tarot-4 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-06-23 12:12:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-06-23 17:12:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/?post_type=tribe_events&p=2321 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )