Piccolo Theater specializes in comedy, but it's a different brand than is usually found in the improv and sketch comedy-heavy Chicago theater scene. Learn more about our forms of comedy theater.
From our intimate, 50-seat theater located inside the Main Street Metra station, Piccolo Theatre's comedy productions are deeply influenced by a wide-range of influences, including commedia dell'Arte, British Panto, Shakespeare, and modern playwrights whose work we admire.
What experts say about Piccolo's commedia:
"If Goldoni had originally intended this work as both a tribute to seicento theater it was also for him a stepping stone in his reform to move beyond this kind of theater. Your staging is truly a counter-reform, closer to what Strehler was aiming at. I don't recall ever getting this close to original commedia. This effect could hardly be achieved by staging a canovaccio. Goldoni's full-fledged text supports the Lazzi of this young and talented ensemble. Your Arlecchino is a promise for the future, and your Pantalone is downright phenomenal. He manages to tap into those basic human instincts, and in the process carry us back to an almost primitive Pantalone. "
Dr. Rocco Rubini
University of Chicago
"Dear cast of "Servant of Two Masters –
"This is just a note to say thanks for the production of 'Servant,' which I saw on the Sunday 2/27 matinee. It's hard to know where to start with praising what you've made: On one hand the whole piece held together with a solid-but-flexible forward rhythm and unified style, but at the same time each actor came out for each entrance as though she/he had every intention of breaking the whole thing open, as though leaping out with a 'ta-daaa!," challenging themselves and the other actors to risk everything to delight and surprise the audience. That is, a funny conflict between collaborating in ensemble while also trying to steal the scene, working every bit of personal improv repertoire to the nth degree, from lip-quivering to acrobatics, working totally with the group while also dropping the plot to go out and seduce every indivudal member of the audience. You achieved that controlled Marx Brothers chaos where the plot is always at risk of being shattered by the lazzi – are the lazzi subservient to the plot or is the plot just a setup for lazzi? The duet work was really good too, both the 'major' duets, like the young lovers, Dottore & Pantalone, the 'mature' lovers, Arlecchino & each of his masters, Arlecchino & Smeraldina, and the 'minor' duets too, like Arlecchino & Pulcinella, Smeraldina & her mistress, and so on. And let us not forget Brighella, a tricky role in this play. Every moment was filled to bursting, which created a giddy sensation in the audience.
"I could go on, but mainly just wanted to congratulate you on the terrific work. I look forward to the next one."
Dr. Tom Simpson
Read an article written about Piccolo Theatre in the New York Times: At Evanston Train Depot, The Play Is The Thing