Baby Wants Candy | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Baby Wants Candy

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You can always tell when improvisers are getting desperate because they start singing. Many of the songs we improvised back when I was performing were lame, with laughable lyrics and forgettable tunes, but they were fun--and the music never failed to pull us together and give us the courage to face the next improv challenge. A similar magic informs Baby Wants Candy, ImprovOlympic's first official "resident company": these guys sing at the drop of a hat. But there's a key difference. Baby's nine bright, energetic, seasoned performers don't sing out of desperation but because that's what they do--create fully improvised one-act musicals. Singing is their raison d'etre and their gimmick--and they do it well, thanks in large part to their sensitive accompanist, Larrance Fingerhut: the night I saw the show he never once attempted to lead the improvisation with his tune. Still, most of the praise should go to the cast, who support one another fully in everything. Even when someone stumbles, initiating an idea that doesn't quite fit, everyone else jumps in to back up the move, validating James Joyce's remark that genius makes no mistakes--errors are the portals of discovery. ImprovOlympic, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199. Open run: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM. $8.50. --Jack Helbig

-- Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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