No doubt about it, the house that improv legend Del Close and founding partner Charna Halpern built rules. Not only has iO churned out legendary folk like Mike Myers and Amy Poehler, but it consistently puts the art of improv first, most noticeably via the Harold, its signature long-form. The shows are generally cheap and the classes a must for budding improvisers. The new theater complex, completed in 2014, contains four performance spaces: the Del Close Theater, the Jason Chin Harold Cabaret, the Chris Farley Cabaret and the Mission Theater. The venue's expansive lobby bar is an inviting place to hang out even if you're not seeing a show.
|Venue name:||iO Theater||Contact:|
1501 N Kingsbury St
|Transport:||El stop: Red to North/Clybourn. Bus: 8, 72.|
|Price:||Average price: $5–$15|
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The Improvised Shakespeare Co.
Suggestions from the audience inspire the improv team to create an entirely new show with Elizabethan flair. Expect a full hour of Shakespeare references, proper language, and plenty of laughs.Improv Until Friday August 26 2016Read more
Whirled News Tonight
This weekly winner deserves its prime-time slot. Scenes are based on articles that audience members clip from the dailies and post to the wall.Improv Saturday July 30 2016 - Saturday August 27 2016Read more
The Armando Diaz Experience
It's a simple concept: one performer takes a suggestion from the audience and from that, delivers a monologue based on something they've experienced. Then, the rest of the improv ensemble engages in a series of scenes inspired by their story. The Armando...Improv Monday August 1 2016 - Monday August 29 2016Read more
iO Open Mic
Taylor Wolfe hosts this stand-up open mic in iO's Chris Farley Cabaret. Performer signups start at 9:30pm.Open mic nights Monday August 1 2016 - Monday December 26 2016 FreeRead more
The incredible chemistry between improv legends Susan Messing (Messing with a Friend) and Blaine Swen (Improvised Shakespeare) and the complex characters they create makes this long-running Tuesday night show something equally hysterical and artful. Get...Improv Tuesday August 2 2016 - Tuesday August 9 2016Read more
If Sesame Street really took advantage of the freedoms afforded by its new home on HBO, the result might looks something like this long-running, decidedly adult puppet improv show.Improv Wednesday August 3 2016 - Wednesday August 24 2016Read more
Chicago Musical Improv Festival
In its second year, the Chicago Musical Improv Festival features four nights of impromptu tunes.Improv Thursday August 25 2016 - Sunday August 28 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4 / 5
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The bar is stocked with a ton a craft beer on tap and everything on the menu, especially the iO burger, is really delicious. If you're thinking about taking classes go watch some of the graduation shows to get an idea of what you'll be doing.
iO is an amazing place for comedians and comedy fans alike. Whether you're looking to hone your craft, take an introductory improv course or just get hammered while laughing your butt off, this place is a sure thing. Comedy giants (see Amy Poehler) have cut their teeth in this legendary theater, and any given show there could very well include a budding star.