Strange things happen every time Schadenfreude takes the stage at its usual venue, the Heartland Studio Theater--there's a reason this troupe adopts as its name the German word for malicious joy at others' misfortunes. But nothing the troupe has done since its inception in late 1998 is likely to equal the headlining gig it has planned for the Chicago Improv Festival, a performance that ever excitable troupe member Justin Kaufmann promises will be "a complete kick in the face." In a sly nod to Andy Kaufman's landmark performance at Carnegie Hall, this consistently innovative sketch comedy troupe has enlisted some help: a professional cheerleading squad from Naperville, a 15-member gospel choir, and a live band. New material has been written for this show, which also includes old favorites--among them sketches delivered in American Sign Language and Spanish. Since the bill also includes the well-oiled two-person show Pick-Ups & Hiccups and the scatological Annoyance Theatre, it may be your best bet for experiencing the range of comedy Chicago has to offer. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500 or 773-394-3540. Friday, April 28, 10 PM. $20. --Nick Green
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Suzanne Plunkett.