On Sunday, more than 750,000 LGBT and allied hetero celebrants are expected to converge for Chicago's annual Gay Pride Parade to commemorate progress in human rights issues since the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Gear up at these stage shows taking place in neighborhoods around the city that feature an array of rainbow-themed entertainment.
Illinois says "I do" in support of marriage equality and local comedy troupe GayCo says "I do" to the start of its 18th season and fifth annual Pride show—the title of which refers in part to the potential for a new influx of high-maintenance spouses-to-be all over the city. The BYOB show begins with a special "Gay-lebrity" monologist—Friday, it's comedian Tamale Sepp; Saturday, it's Nightspots Magazine editor Kirk Williamson—who shares a humorous true-life story that the cast uses as a springboard to create and perform a no-holds-barred improv comedy show on the spot.
Go: 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St.
Tickets: $12. 773-871-3793; pridezilla.eventbrite.com
ChiGayGo presents: Poppy Champlin
Looking for another way to stand up for gay rights? Champlin, the founder and host of the edgy Queer Queens of Qomedy touring showcase—who got her start in Chicago at the Second City Training Center—returns to headline a Pride-themed stand-up comedy night. Local funnyman and ChiGayGo founder Scott Duff hosts.
Go: 8 p.m. Thursday at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway
Tickets: $17-$27. 773-327-3175; laughfactory.com/clubs/chicago
Windy City Gay Idol finals
Somewhere over the rainbow, Judy Garland nods in approval as local entertainer Sofia Saffire hosts Chicago's top 13 LGBT singers—selected from audience votes in several preliminary and semi-final competitions this spring at bars around the city—who vie for the crown, $1,000 cash and a $6,500 prize package in the 12th annual "American Idol"-style contest. Also featured are performances from Broadway star Karen Mason—who presents her marriage equality song, "It's About Time"—as well as burlesque artist Michelle L'amour and the 2013 Windy City Gay Idol, Maria Pahl. Admission includes a ballot and entry into raffles for prizes including a trip for two to Curacao.
Go: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave.
Tickets: $10-$25. 773-381-4554; maynestage.com
'5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche'
Chicago Commercial Collective remounts The New Colony's 2011 dark comedy—set in the Cold War era and featuring much of the original cast—which enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run after its extended Chicago opening. The audience dons name tags—with pre-assigned monikers such as Mildred, Norma or Phyllis—and joins five repressed and closeted members of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein at their politely passive-aggressive annual breakfast meeting. But good manners fly out the window—and confessions pour out—when the ladies discover that an atom bomb may be about to strike and their church basement meeting room becomes a fallout shelter.
Go: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.
Tickets: $35. 773-404-7336; 5lesbianseatingaquiche.com; Fifteen $15 rush tickets available per performance
'The Broken Gay Folk Revue'
Local performer Michael Gifford is not confused about his attraction to men. What he—and his family and friends—are confused about is his self-proclaimed complete lack of fabulousness. In his comedic solo show—interspersed with live original folk music compositions from Ross W. Berman IV—Gifford shares tales about his preference for shopping at a non-trendy department store your grandma probably favors, misguided efforts to explore the world of BDSM, attempts at navigating modern gay male culture despite the realization that his hairstyle resembles broadcaster Ted Koppel's and more.
Go: 8 p.m. Thursdays through July at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave.
Tickets: $12; $10 for students. 773-697-9693; annoyanceproductions.com
'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes'
The Neo-Futurists get both fierce and fabulous with this showcase of 30 extremely short plays. Some are brand new and some are pulled from the "best of" archives, but all explore sexual and/or gender identity. Proceeds from Thursday's performance ($20) benefit Project Fierce, which provides housing and support services for LGBT youth. Friday-Sunday, tickets cost $9 plus the roll of one die ($10-$15). Or, reserve in advance for $20 and get a roll-back refund at the door.
Go: 11:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Tickets: $10-$20. 773-275-5255; neofuturists.org