Entertainingly Uptown

By Patrick Erwin, editor in chief

Uptown has a long history as an entertainment district in the city of Chicago.

And both city officials and neighborhood groups have talked about entertainment being the key to revitalizing Uptown, with the proposed renovation of the Uptown Theatre at the core of those plans. The mayor’s Cultural Plan will be looking at the scene in Uptown as part of the overall cultural picture in the city.

If this weekend was any example, Uptown already has a pretty healthy slate of entertainment options. Here’s what was on the menu to chose from this weekend:

  • Truman’s Novar Hall hosted several performances of the Truman Theater Project play “The Odd Couple.” I attended the Friday performance, and heard from several of Friday’s audience members that the Thursday performance was near sellout. The final performance of the play, which included several Truman faculty members, was Saturday, Mar. 24.
  • “The Odd Couple” wasn’t the only choice for theatrical productions in Uptown for the weekend; active productions are in the middle of their runs at Profiles Theatre (“The Bachelorette”), while Black Ensemble Theater hosted a Black Playwright Play Festival,  which included an opening party honoring actress Regina Taylor. This week’s festival featured seven different plays. And “Superior Donuts,” the play about Uptown, continues its run at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre. 
  • The revitalized performance space in the Preston Bradley Center played host to the Lakeshore Pride Music Ensemble’s “A Salute to Uptown.” The ensemble’s mission is to promote the Chicago LGBT community through music, and this performance featured several works by composer Robert Sheldon as well as a short film. The emcee for the evening was 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman.
  • There were also several options on the music scene. In addition to the standing Saturday and Sunday options at the Green Mill, the Riviera is hosting Andrew W.K. tonight.
  • And the weekend entertainment options in Uptown always include comedy, with several offerings at the Annoyance Theatre, as well as the interactive improv piece “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” by The Neo-Futurists, which has been running for over twenty years in their performance space in the northwest corner of Uptown (at 5153 N. Ashland).

That’s a wide selection of entertainment options, all within a few blocks of Truman’s campus and the Wilson el stop.

Have you attended a play, concert or comedy show in Uptown? Let us know in the comments. 

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