CHICAGO – Stage 773 Executive Director Jill Valentine and co-producer Liz McArthur are thrilled to announce the highly anticipated lineup for the 7th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, taking place August 23 through August 26 at the comedy hub of Chicago, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, the largest of its kind in the nation, features a melting pot of comedic genres, including everything from ‘highbrow musical improv’ to ‘relatable stand-up’ to ‘character driven sketch’. Blending long term veterans with fresh newcomers, the fest packs over 70 shows into four funny-filled days. Stage 773 has made it easier than ever to discover new groups to love, allowing patrons to filter through art forms, a rating and keywords to find their own taste in comedy. The full schedule and searchable calendar for the 7th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival can be viewed at www.stage773.com/cwff-lineup.
“The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival has become a celebrated event for women in the comedy community not only on a local level in the Windy City, but also on national front,” says Valentine. “To bring together over 400 comediennes from around the country under one roof for four days is a feat in and of itself and the fact we are going into our seventh year of this festival is something really special.”
Featuring both fresh and familiar faces, highlights for 2018 include the return of LA-based comedian Jen Murray and winner of the IO West Comedy Festival’s “Best Comedian” Award in 2015, the “New Fiona” from Season 7 of Shameless, Mary Kennedy, Canadian comic Amanda McQueen, who recently appeared in OFF- Just For Laughs and WICF Boston, as well as opened for well-known comedians including Scott Thompson and Debra DiGiovanni, and Harpreet Sehmbi, the star of the well-known web series, INDIE-pendent. Stand-up favorites include the debut of well-known “gutsy game changer” Sarah Squirm Sherman, who is taking the female comedy scene by storm with her “What Did I Just See?” approach, the “hard hitting” and “quick witted” Texas standup comedian Netra, Netra, Netra, and transgender standup comedian Dina Nina Martinez, who the Late Late Show’s James Corden hails as “…very funny.”
Additional highlights include the return of Katie Rich with former SC Mainstage/Consultant for Onion News Network, Holly Laurent, in their improv duo High Wise & Handsome; Chicago Sketchfest veteran groups Off Off Broadzway, The Cupid Players and Rehner and Nixon and much more.
Chicago Women’s Funny Festival was founded in 2012 when producers Jill Valentine and Liz McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together and celebrate all art forms of comedy under one roof. The first festival boasted 66 shows and 400 performers in five days. Women’s Fest also hosted events throughout the week where women from across the country could network with each other and more importantly, celebrate one another’s work. The response from comediennes and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for a seventh year.
Jill Valentine is a Chicago Southside native who has been the Executive Director of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival (the largest of its kind in the nation) since the festival’s inception in 2000. She is also Stage 773’s Executive Director and a founding principal of the building. Jill performs in several popular and critically acclaimed groups in Chicago, including The Cupid Players, Off Off Broadzway and Feminine Gentleman who have performed all over the country.
Liz McArthur hails from St. Louis and has worked with The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival since 2005. McArthur can be seen with groups such as Off Off Broadzway, OneTwoThree Comedy, and Feminine Gentlemen. McArthur is also part of the hit zombie comedy Musical of the Living Dead.
All performances will take place at Chicago’s home for the city’s most innovative, creative and passionate off-Loop performing artists, Stage 773, located at 1225 W. Belmont. Stage 773 is a non-profit Chicago company that produces The Cupid Players, The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, education and program opportunities, as well as offering subsidized theater rental space to the hundreds of Chicago’s itinerant off-Loop companies and performers.
The 7th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival runs August 23-26, 2018. Performances are Thursday, August 23rd at 8 – 10 p.m., Friday, August 24th at 8 – 11 p.m., Saturday, August 25th at 4:30 – 11 p.m., and Sunday, August 26th at 2 – 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. Individual ticket prices are $15, and festival passes are available for $40 (Thursday), $50 (Friday), $60 (Saturday), $55 (Sunday) or $150 for an all festival pass (Thursday – Sunday). There is a special festival pass discount available before August 1 that allows $10 off nightly passes and $50 off all festival passes. All tickets and festival passes may be purchased at www.Stage773.com, by phone at 773.327.5252, or in person at the Stage 773 box office.
ABOUT STAGE 773
Stage 773 is a vibrant anchor of the Belmont Theatre District and home to Chicago’s finest off-Loop talent. As a performance and tenant venue, our four stages provide entertainment for everyone: comedy, theatre, dance, musicals and more. We are a not-for- profit, connecting and catalyzing the theater community, while showcasing established artists and incubating up-and- coming talent.