Worth The Trip: The Greatest Story Never Told {Chicago}

Greatest Story Never Told at iO Chicago
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

Little known fact about me, I’m a bit of an improv nerd.  After a year of training at Second City my blazing trajectory to the SNL Stage was halted by the birth of my first child.  Thanks to a bottle of cheap wine, the world was deprived of “The Loralie Project.”  My husband offers his apologies.

Ok, so in truth I wasn’t all that great, but you know who does great improv?  The folks at iO Theater in Chicago! And they’re inviting your kids on stage to tell their own story at The Greatest Story Never Told performing Saturdays through April 25, 2015.  You don’t even have to be an improv nerd to enjoy it.

L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

The Greatest Story Never Told is a children’s theater performance that is completely interactive.  Suggestions are given by you, the audience, and children are invited on stage with professional improvisers to act out and co-create “The Greatest Story Never Told!”

L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

I’ve got a little ham at home, so I knew my extrovert would love this format.  My shy one? I wasn’t so sure.  However, after watching all the high jinks on stage, 15 minutes later she threw her hand up in the air to volunteer.  No one tried to coerce her. The improvisers were just so energetic and engaging she could not resist.  My shy little flower became a bloodthirsty elephant on stage.  Yeah, she told the audience she drinks “blood water.”  I really do need to monitor her television habits more closely.

L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

The show lasts for one hour and is great for all ages, most typically ages 3-11.  We even saw a couple of precocious toddlers in diapers get in on the absurdity.  The actors are so adept at moving the story along, they remained completely unfazed no matter what the kids threw at them. Be it a toddler offering up a piece of bagel mid-performance or random soliloquies delivered by an enthusiastic kid, it’s all good!  It all becomes a seamless part of the show and lends itself to the entertainment factor.  There’s no need to shush your child or scold them to sit still during this show.  Their childish energy just makes it better.

L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

As if all the on-stage fun wasn’t enough, each performance is adapted by a professional writer.  The stories are then illustrated by an artist and each performance is transformed into a storybook available for purchase.  If your child participated in the story, you’ll just have to order this keepsake which is available in both digital and hard copy.  The Marketing Director in me was impressed at what I initially perceived as a genius merchandising move.  When I held an actual book in my hand I changed my mind. Each storybook is bound by hand and is in and of itself a beautiful piece of art, made all the more special by your child’s unique contribution.

L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

An added touch all parents will appreciate is the “Pre-Show Hangout.”  A half hour before curtain, children can participate in activities like arts & crafts, dress-up and board games on stage with the cast.  It really helps to break down the “fourth wall” so the stage doesn’t seem so off-limits or the actors so scary when the time comes to join in.  iO Theater knows its audience, so they have complimentary snacks available for the kids and coffee for the adults.  For suburbanites like us making the drive in from Lake County, it’s a huge plus when you arrive early and are looking for something to do.

Pre-Show Hangout - L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
Pre-Show Hangout – L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

A note on arriving early, DO ARRIVE EARLY.   The theater is located just south of the busy North Avenue Shopping Corridor which is guaranteed to provide nothing but stop-and-go traffic all the way from the expressway, particularly on a Saturday afternoon. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes minimum to navigate city streets once you exit the expressway.  While my husband and I are familiar with Chicago traffic, 10 years of suburban living spoils you, so plan ahead, be prepared, and do your best not to curse in front of the children.

Image from iO Chicago on Facebook
Image from iO Chicago on Facebook

Another luxury we Lake County folks take for granted is parking. Street parking is available for those who are patient, but we had two kids 6 and under in the car, so “patient” was not in our vocabulary at the time.  We opted for the more expensive garage parking found throughout the area.   If we were smarter, hipper and more frugal, we could have used SpotHero to find and reserve parking. But we’re old-fashioned, crochety, and awful at parallel parking so we parked in the garage at North and Clybourn and walked over.  We’ve learned to suck it up as the cost of enjoying an afternoon in the city.  When  you live so close to a world-class city like Chicago (the city that made improvisational comedy an art form,)  you need to indulge now and again.

 

The Greatest Story Never Told
iO Theater, 1501 North Kingsbury Street, Chicago
Saturdays at 1:30 pm through April 25, 2015 {*Update: Extended through May 30th}
Tickets are $15, General Admission/Cabaret Seating
Call (312) 929-2401 for advance tickets, purchase online or at the box office
Doors open at 1 pm for Pre-Show Hangout

Connect with The Greatest Story Never Told
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Connect with iO Theater in Chicago
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Disclosure: Our writer was given complimentary tickets to attend a performance in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are those of the writer. 

Dance academy of Libertyville
About Loralie 310 Articles
When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home. She is the Features Editor and Marketing Director at Little Lake County.

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