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

For the Lovers Hosted by Georgia Rising

February 23 @ 8:00 pm10:00 pm

An exploration of the eight kinds of Greek love through the lens of Black drag performers with music by Black artists. Presenting For the Lovers: an exploration of the 8 […]

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For the Lovers Hosted by Georgia Rising
February 23 @ 8:00 pm10:00 pm

Working in the 21st Century: A Conversation with Mark Larson

February 29 @ 6:00 pm7:30 pm

PLEASE NOTE: This event occurs offsite at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum Join the celebration for the release Mark Larson’s book “Working in the 21st Century” & participate in […]

RSVP NOW
Working in the 21st Century: A Conversation with Mark Larson
February 29 @ 6:00 pm7:30 pm

Legland: An Absurd “Staged” Reading

March 2 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

LegLand creates absurdist, bouffon-inspired devised theatre pieces that parody everything from Greek drama to reality TV to consumer culture We thought we had already found all the great lost works […]

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Legland: An Absurd “Staged” Reading
March 2 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

USITT Presents The Stage Rigging Handbook

March 4 @ 7:30 pm10:30 pm

Join us for this special event on March 4, at The Understudy in Chicago! USITT Executive Director Laura Lee Everett will sit down with co-author Shane Kelly and scenic designer […]

RSVP NOW
USITT Presents The Stage Rigging Handbook
March 4 @ 7:30 pm10:30 pm

THE LACY PROJECT by Alena Smith

March 14 @ 8:00 pm9:30 pm

The Lacy Project directed by Clara Zucker A Snails on a Bike Production Her mother’s photographs turned Lacy into an icon of childhood innocence and beauty. Now, on the night […]

RSVP NOW
THE LACY PROJECT by Alena Smith
March 14 @ 8:00 pm9:30 pm

THE LACY PROJECT by Alena Smith

March 15 @ 8:00 pm9:30 pm

The Lacy Project directed by Clara Zucker A Snails on a Bike Production Her mother’s photographs turned Lacy into an icon of childhood innocence and beauty. Now, on the night […]

RSVP NOW
THE LACY PROJECT by Alena Smith
March 15 @ 8:00 pm9:30 pm

THE LACY PROJECT by Alena Smith

March 16 @ 8:00 pm9:30 pm

The Lacy Project directed by Clara Zucker A Snails on a Bike Production Her mother’s photographs turned Lacy into an icon of childhood innocence and beauty. Now, on the night […]

RSVP NOW
THE LACY PROJECT by Alena Smith
March 16 @ 8:00 pm9:30 pm

BRAWL! by Connor Ermir Bradshaw

March 18 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Masculinity, desire, and belonging form a heady mix at the center of the boxing ring in BRAWL! Will Lucky find a way out? Dug into the backyard of Diesel Philips’ […]

RSVP NOW
BRAWL! by Connor Ermir Bradshaw
March 18 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

ECHO’S INFERNO by Juliet Kang Huneke

April 15 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

It’s 1884, and Echo really doesn’t get along with her brothers. Or anyone. Then, the devil offers her a chance to skip forward and start over. Will she take it? […]

RSVP NOW
ECHO’S INFERNO by Juliet Kang Huneke
April 15 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm
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An exploration of the eight kinds of Greek love through the lens of Black drag performers with music by Black artists.
Presenting For the Lovers: an exploration of the 8 kinds of Greek love through the lens of Black drag performers with music by Black artists. Hosted by Georgia Rising in collaboration with Cafe Royalty, the show will present the spectrum of love’s expressions from its joyful peaks to its intense valleys. Join us at the understudy on February 23rd at 8 pm! Doors open at 7:30pm. The Understudy cafe will be open for refreshments. Black audience members: use code BLACKLOVE for 50% off tickets!  
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PLEASE NOTE: This event occurs offsite at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum
Join the celebration for the release Mark Larson’s book "Working in the 21st Century" & participate in an exclusive discussion with Larson.
Why do we show up to the jobs we’ve chosen? Or why don't we? How has the upheaval of the past few years changed our experience of work? To coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Studs Terkel’s legendary Working, we celebrate the release of Mark Larson’s Working in the 21st Century: An Oral History of American Work in a Time of Social and Economic Transformation. Larson will discuss his own relationship to Studs Terkel, and share a selection of intimate, honest, and illuminating recordings from the interviews he conducted for the book. Refreshments will be served and books will be on sale from The Understudy. This event is FREE and open to the public!
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LegLand creates absurdist, bouffon-inspired devised theatre pieces that parody everything from Greek drama to reality TV to consumer culture
We thought we had already found all the great lost works of the past. We thought wrong. LegLand is proud to present an absurd “staged” “reading” of all the newly discovered texts from their private archives, including some of the only great, classical texts to be set in a major American city. Discover a densely energetic guided descent into absurdity. Created and performed by LegLand (Connor Konz, Danny Gadaj, and Mo Less) "Stage Manager": Aida Delaz LegLand creates absurdist, bouffon-inspired devised theatre pieces that parody everything from Greek drama to reality TV to consumer culture. Their signature style melds drag, larger-than-life costumes, audience participation, burlesque, and various multimedia elements.
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Join us for this special event on March 4, at The Understudy in Chicago! USITT Executive Director Laura Lee Everett will sit down with co-author Shane Kelly and scenic designer Regina García to discuss the latest edition of the Stage Rigging Handbook, working in the industry, and the impact Jay O. Glerum’s work has had on the world of theatrical stage rigging over the last several decades.   Doors open at 7pm. Discussion begins at 7:30pm. The Understudy cafe will bbe open for refreshments during the event. PREORDER THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK First published in 1987 and revised in 1997 and 2007, Stage Rigging Handbook remains the only book in any language that covers the design, operation, and maintenance of stage rigging equipment. Though often unnoticed, these systems are critical in both easing the workload of stage technicians and creating storytelling magic for the audience. This landmark text imparts the foundations for understanding and implementing rigging systems, such that upon completion of the book, the reader is ready to begin hands-on training and practice. Organized into four sections, the handbook combines research and practical experience to guide riggers through their work. It begins by explaining the construction and care of basic lifting media. Part two analyzes types of rigging systems; then the handbook details the forces that impact rigging, from Newtonian physics to calculating expansive modern systems. Finally, it presents day-to-day best safety practices, including brand new sections on risk assessment and fall protection. This reorganized and greatly expanded fourth edition of Jay O. Glerum’s industry standard text updates much of the information in the previous editions with the addition of chapters on truss (the framework that supports lighting, screens, and other accessories), motorized chain hoists, hardware, and job safety, including fall protection systems. Award-winning production manager Shane Kelly preserves Glerum’s voice while bringing fresh information to a new generation of riggers, supplementing the text with updated versions of earlier photographs and drawings as well as an additional one hundred illustrations. The handbook facilitates the development of a rigging practice rooted in safety, precision, and professionalism.
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The Lacy Project directed by Clara Zucker A Snails on a Bike Production

Her mother's photographs turned Lacy into an icon of childhood innocence and beauty. Now, on the night of her 22nd birthday, Lacy has to navigate between image and reality, sex and friendship, self-indulgence and responsibility. This wild tragicomedy presents a portrait of a young woman held captive by her own childhood and a vivid picture of a generation unable to grow up.

CAST

Tyra Grove Jane Hobson Nena Martins Kyra McConnell Talia Roland-Kalb Content Warning: drug abuse, violent and derogatory language, stylized depiction of masturbation. Recommended for audience members 18+.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

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The Lacy Project directed by Clara Zucker A Snails on a Bike Production

Her mother's photographs turned Lacy into an icon of childhood innocence and beauty. Now, on the night of her 22nd birthday, Lacy has to navigate between image and reality, sex and friendship, self-indulgence and responsibility. This wild tragicomedy presents a portrait of a young woman held captive by her own childhood and a vivid picture of a generation unable to grow up.

CAST

Tyra Grove Jane Hobson Nena Martins Kyra McConnell Talia Roland-Kalb Content Warning: drug abuse, violent and derogatory language, stylized depiction of masturbation. Recommended for audience members 18+.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

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The Lacy Project directed by Clara Zucker A Snails on a Bike Production

Her mother's photographs turned Lacy into an icon of childhood innocence and beauty. Now, on the night of her 22nd birthday, Lacy has to navigate between image and reality, sex and friendship, self-indulgence and responsibility. This wild tragicomedy presents a portrait of a young woman held captive by her own childhood and a vivid picture of a generation unable to grow up.

CAST

Tyra Grove Jane Hobson Nena Martins Kyra McConnell Talia Roland-Kalb Content Warning: drug abuse, violent and derogatory language, stylized depiction of masturbation. Recommended for audience members 18+.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

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Masculinity, desire, and belonging form a heady mix at the center of the boxing ring in BRAWL! Will Lucky find a way out?
Dug into the backyard of Diesel Philips’ home is The Pit: the home and training ground for young boxers in the Mowbray Mountain valley. Here, limbs lock until a bell dings or a body drops. Here, loving looks a lot like fighting. And here, boys don’t leave; they escape.
Playwright: Connor Ermir Bradshaw Director: Danny Fender Movement/Intimacy Director: Magdalena Dalzell Dramaturg: Madie Doppelt Lead Producer: Emma Durbin 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, as its fiscal sponsor. Donations made to the Freshly Brewed program are tax-deductible and can be made via raventheatre.com with a note that the contribution is for The Understudy/Freshly Brewed.
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It's 1884, and Echo really doesn't get along with her brothers. Or anyone. Then, the devil offers her a chance to skip forward and start over. Will she take it? Will it matter? With biting humor and irreverent logic, ECHO'S INFERNO explores girlhood, rage, ambition, and connection. Cast and Creative Team TBA 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, as its fiscal sponsor. Donations made to the Freshly Brewed program are tax-deductible and can be made via raventheatre.com with a note that the contribution is for The Understudy/Freshly Brewed.
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Crush(ed) By Maria Arreola

February 19 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

A heartfelt comedy from Chicago playwright Maria Arreola about the embarrassments and excitements of the search for love. In a desperate bid to get her love life in order, Maria […]

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Crush(ed) By Maria Arreola
February 19 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

A Taste of RED with A Red Orchid Theatre

February 13 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Hang out with our friends from A Red Orchid Theatre on February 13th for the latest installment of their series A Taste of Red. A Red Orchid Theatre invites you […]

RSVP NOW
A Taste of RED with A Red Orchid Theatre
February 13 @ 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Virtue and Grace by Isabella Van Houzen

February 11 @ 7:30 pm9:30 pm

The fall of 1814, Kingston upon Thames. As four best friends ready themselves to court this season, Lady Grace Quimby schemes to attend events dressed as a man in order […]

RSVP NOW
Virtue and Grace by Isabella Van Houzen
February 11 @ 7:30 pm9:30 pm

Valentine Portrait Sketches with Joe Kraft

February 10 @ 11:00 am3:00 pm

Join us Saturday February 10th as we host our friend (and Understudy muralist) Joe Kraft! Joe is offering live 30-minute sketches of you and your partner (or whoever you want!). […]

RSVP NOW
Valentine Portrait Sketches with Joe Kraft
February 10 @ 11:00 am3:00 pm

FIKA Fest Coffee Crawl

February 10 @ 10:00 am1:00 pm

The Andersonville Coffee & Hot Cocoa Crawl returns as a part of Fika Fest! Each route invites you to explore specialty offerings that may include coffee, hot cocoa, bakery items, […]

RSVP NOW
FIKA Fest Coffee Crawl
February 10 @ 10:00 am1:00 pm

ALL ABOUT LOVE: A Valentines Day Cabaret

February 9 @ 7:30 pm10:30 pm

Join us for an intimate evening celebrating the work and legacy of bell hooks through text and song. ALL ABOUT LOVE explores how we love each other, what we gain […]

RSVP NOW
ALL ABOUT LOVE: A Valentines Day Cabaret
February 9 @ 7:30 pm10:30 pm
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A heartfelt comedy from Chicago playwright Maria Arreola about the embarrassments and excitements of the search for love.
In a desperate bid to get her love life in order, Maria enlists Dr. Love and her fabulous game show Crush(ed). After speaking to Maria’s closest friends and family members, Dr. Love has assembled a cast of past loves who must fight to win back her affection in a series of mini dates.   Maria Arreola - Playwright Karina Patel - Director Emma Durbin - Dramaturg Tatiana Bustamante - Maria Sahar El Dika - Dr Love/Renee Casey Whisler - Crush Rich Adrian Lazatin - Crush   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, as its fiscal sponsor. Donations made to the Freshly Brewed program are tax-deductible and can be made via raventheatre.com with a note that the contribution is for The Understudy/Freshly Brewed.
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How do actors, directors, playwrights, and designers all approach the same text differently? What defines a quintessential A Red Orchid production? This iteration features Hells Canyon written by Keiko Green and directed by Vanessa Stalling Doors open at 7pm and the reading begins at 7:30pm. CLICK HERE to Reserve Your Seat [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-3 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-31 13:36:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-31 19:36:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/?post_type=tribe_events&p=1871 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1851 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2024-01-27 14:47:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-01-27 20:47:08 [post_content] => The fall of 1814, Kingston upon Thames. As four best friends ready themselves to court this season, Lady Grace Quimby schemes to attend events dressed as a man in order to court other women. With the help of her friends, she dons a disguise and navigates a convoluted web of lies. It is a farcical tale of love, gender, and societal pressure. To reserve tickets please email isabellavanhouzen@gmail.com for availability. Tickets are $10+ and donations are welcome! TEAM: Playwright and Director - Isabella Van Houzen Stage Manager - Gianni Carcagno Lady Grace Quimby - Teri Talo Earl Theodore Paget - Max Stolte Viscount Harry Ravensworth - Micah Mabey Viscount Frederick Harris - Grant Carriker Lady Virtue - Kristina Newcomb Aunt - Maggie Smith Isabel - Kristen Bock Lady Elanor and Beatrice - Jenny Hinojosa Footman 1, Seamstress, and Doctor - Zach Koptik Footman 2 and Maria - John Drea Ladies Maid and Katherine - Liliana Mastroianni [post_title] => Virtue and Grace by Isabella Van Houzen [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => virtue-and-grace-by-isabella-van-houzen [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-31 13:43:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-31 19:43:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/?post_type=tribe_events&p=1851 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1876 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2024-01-31 12:49:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-01-31 18:49:51 [post_content] => Join us Saturday February 10th as we host our friend (and Understudy muralist) Joe Kraft! Joe is offering live 30-minute sketches of you and your partner (or whoever you want!). Slots are limited. Click Here to Reserve in Advance Stop by and check out a selection of Joe's prints and merch in addition! [post_title] => Valentine Portrait Sketches with Joe Kraft [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => valentine-portrait-sketches-with-joe-kraft [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-31 14:53:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-31 20:53:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/?post_type=tribe_events&p=1876 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1814 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2024-01-13 13:06:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-01-13 19:06:46 [post_content] => The Andersonville Coffee & Hot Cocoa Crawl returns as a part of Fika Fest! Each route invites you to explore specialty offerings that may include coffee, hot cocoa, bakery items, and more! Check in begins at 9AM on February 10 at the Swedish American Museum, located at 5211 N Clark. Folks are encouraged to drop off puzzles during the check in for the Great Andersonville Puzzle Exchange, happening at the Swedish American Museum on the following day, February 11. Stay tuned for full details! Please note that routes are subject to change and there are no refunds. [post_title] => FIKA Fest Coffee Crawl [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => fika-fest-coffee-crawl [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-13 13:06:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-13 19:06:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/?post_type=tribe_events&p=1814 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1826 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2024-01-19 12:43:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-01-19 18:43:46 [post_content] =>
Join us for an intimate evening celebrating the work and legacy of bell hooks through text and song. ALL ABOUT LOVE explores how we love each other, what we gain when we are loved well, and how love shapes our lives. Performed by a cast of black musical theatre artists, ALL ABOUT LOVE promises to inspire and renew its audience. Doors open at 7pm for a 7:30pm performance. The Understudy Cafe will be open for refreshments.
[post_title] => ALL ABOUT LOVE: A Valentines Day Cabaret [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => all-about-love-a-valentines-day-cabaret [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-19 12:45:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-19 18:45:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.theunderstudy.com/event/all-about-love-a-valentines-day-cabaret/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => tribe_events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )