Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, the tiny musical-theater powerhouse whose identity has long been intertwined with the No Exit Café, its shoebox of a venue in Rogers Park, has announced its final season there. In 2018, the company will move a few blocks north and just across the city limits into a space on the Evanston side of Howard Street.
Known for inventive, immersive stagings of musicals like The Light in the Piazza, Rent or the current The Most Happy Fella in the tight space—and for costumed cast members doubling as preshow and intermission cocktail servers—Theo Ubique has been a long favorite of the Joseph Jefferson committee; last week it racked up a leading 11 nominations for this year’s Non-Equity Wing Jeff Awards.
For the farewell season at No Exit, Theo Ubique will stage William Finn and James Lapine’s A New Brain, a charming, whimsical piece inspired by composer Finn’s own brain surgery (really), running September 15 to October 29 and helmed by artistic director Fred Anzevino; the contemporary-Christian-music boy-band spoof Altar Boyz, directed by Courtney Crouse, December 1 to January 14; and what the company is billing as the first Chicago production in two decades of Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg’s Finian’s Rainbow, in a two-piano concert version directed by Anzevino and running from March 9 to April 29.
Before exiting No Exit, Theo Ubique will close out with a summer 2018 cabaret, Last Call at No Exit, looking back on the 14 years of shows it will have staged there. “Everyone’s doing scaled-down musicals now,” Anzevino told Time Out Chicago in a 2006 profile. “But what we have that they don’t have is the No Exit Café.”
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