League of Chicago Theatres - Summer Showcase

Some of the best theater companies in town are about to make lunchtime a whole lot more interesting. And you don't need money or reservations to see the performances.

Artists from Barrel of Monkeys, The Hypocrites, Kokandy Productions, Sideshow Theatre Company and the Old Town School of Folk Music will perform free 45-minute shows at noon Aug. 14 and 28 at Water Works, 163 E. Pearson. The mini-shows are part of the League of Chicago Theatres Summer Showcase Series.

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The Aug. 14 showcase will feature a musical number from Kokandy Productions' "Loving, Repeating," a rarely staged chamber musical based on the life and work of poet Gertrude Stein. Also on the program Aug. 14, a scene from Sideshow's "Stupid F***ing Bird," a wildly irreverent and equally intelligent send-up of the melancholic Russians in Anton Chekhov's masterpiece "The Seagull."

Want to get a preview on a show that hasn't even opened yet? Mark Aug. 28 on your calendar, when the enduring, audacious and acclaimed off-Loop artists from the Hypocrites will unleash a musical number from "American Idiot," an emotionally raw, punk-rock infused musical by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. The Aug. 28 show will also feature the Barrel of Monkeys, a troupe that takes short stories and poems by public school kids and transforms them into hilarious, moving and wildly creative sketches and songs.

Both lunchtime showcases will be hosted by novelty folk duo Gretchen & Regina and will also feature interviews with the artists as well as performances by musicians from the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Should you see something that whets your appetite, the League makes ticket buying painless. There's a Hottix box office in the Summer Showcase space at 163 E. Pearson (roughly kitty-corner to the iconic Mag Mile Water Tower). You can get half-price tickets there, as well as at Hottix locales at 72. E. Randolph and 108 N. State. Or, you can just head back to your desk post-lunch and log on to HotTix.org. For more information about the Summer Showcase - or anything else going on with Chicago's 200+ theater companies - visit ChicagoPlays.com.