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The Chicago Women's Funny Festival commandeers Stage 773

In its third year the showcase offers 70 acts, 400 performers, and some tough decisions.



Just like every little girl's backyard clubhouse, the four stages of Stage 773 boast a "No boys allowed!" sign this weekend: It's time for the Chicago Women's Funny Festival, now in its third year. From June 5 to 8, estrogen flows freely on Belmont, with 70 acts featuring 400 lady performers (and perhaps a few male strays) showing off their skills in improv, stand-up, musical comedy, burlesque, and anything else they feel like.

This year the festival is hosting some exciting names, two of whom will offer workshops. Performing twice is Beth Stelling (6/6 and 6/7, 8 PM), a familiar face on Chelsea Lately and Conan O'Brien, who'll also host a "sit-down" on stand-up (6/7, 11 AM-1 PM). Second City alum Katie Rich (see Reader Recommends), now a writer for Saturday Night Live, conducts a class on advanced long-form improv (6/7, 3-6 PM), and Canadian queer comic and improviser Danz Altvater takes the mike Saturday night (6/7, 10 PM). Rounding out the workshop schedule is talent agent Marisa Paonessa, who discusses breaking into the funny business (6/8, 10:30 AM-1:30 PM).

Throughout the fest you'll find some familiar faces from the Chicago comedy scene as well. On opening night there's Candy Lawrence (6/5, 10 PM) and The Kates (6/5, 10 PM). Burlesque parody troupe Off Off Broadzway heats up Saturday night (6/7, 9 PM), and ukulele-armed Plucky Rosenthal helps close out the weekend with some vaudeville on Sunday (6/8, 8 PM).

With 70 acts to choose from, decisions must be made, and to help there'll be staffers on hand to guide you to a show based on your interests. Isn't that nice?

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