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New Year's Eve Spotlight

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 27, 2005 9:50PM

Now that Santa’s returned to the North Pole and Hanukkah Harry has commenced his rounds, it’s time to focus on New Year’s Eve. Maybe you’ve already ponied up your $100 or more to celebrate that sharp new desk calendar. Or maybe you’ve sworn off Saturday night as an overblown, overhyped, overpriced holiday. If you’re in that second category, consider spending 2005’s final hours at the theater, a more reasonably priced alternative where you leave the entertainment to the professionals (and their non-Equity counterparts). There’s no shortage of choices.

wneparm.jpgWNEP Theater offers The Armageddon Radio Hour New Year’s Eve, a revival of a holiday adaptation of an old favorite. After 11 years and various incarnations, this parody of old time radio continues to impress in a taut 75-minute production. The end of existence, conveniently enough, arrives in time for Auld Lang Syne.

As they have virtually every weekend since 1988, The Neo-Futurists present Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. As this is no ordinary night, the usual rules have been suspended: no die will be cast, admission is a fixed $30, doors will open at 9:30pm, and reservations are required. They’ll order pizza, as they do whenever they sell out or otherwise feel like it, and toast 2006 with appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages.

Improv and sketch comedy troupes provide competitively priced antidotes to the 2005 retrospective avalanche. I.O. presents two improvised musicals: Cupid Has a Heart On and Baby Wants Candy. If you behave, they’ll let you at the champagne and dance floor afterwards. Second City provides equal opportunity political lampoonery with the mainstage Iraqtile Dysfunction, e.t.c.’s Immaculate Deception, and a Best Of show. Tickets are twice the normal price but include a copy of The Second City: Backstage at the World’s Greatest Comedy Theatre and admission to one of next year’s shows. Chemically Imbalanced Comedy and Corn Productions team up for a Cornstravaganza variety show. ComedySportz wants you to laugh all day—at the children’s matinee, a late-afternoon show, and two evening shows meshing aspiring comics with an aspiring garage band.

Or for entertainment on the cheap, $14 gets you into First Night Evanston ($8 for the kiddies, free for the little kiddies), where you can shuttle between 19 downtown sites for music, family-friendly performance, art, and clean sober fun.

The choice is yours, until they start selling out.

New Year’s Eve shows & events mentioned above:

Armageddon Radio Hour, Apollo Theater Studio, 2540 N Lincoln Ave, Doors at 10pm, performance at 10:45pm. Tickets are $45. More info at

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland Ave, Doors at 9:30pm, Performance at 11pm. Tickets are $30. More info at

Cupid Has a Heart On, 8pm, and Baby Wants Candy, 10:30pm at the IO Theater, 3541 N Clark Ave. Tickets are $30/show. More info at

Second City and Second City e.t.c. productions at 7 & 10pm, Best of Second City at 10pm, performed at 1608-1616 N Wells St. Tickets are $50. More info at

Cornstravaganza at the Cornservatory (try saying that 10 times fast), 4210 N Lincoln Ave, 8pm. Tickets are $30/person, $50/couple. More info at

ComedySportz Spectacular plays at 8pm, New Year’s Eve show at 10:30pm, tickets are $25 and $35 respectively. Shows are at 2851 N Halsted St. More info at

First Night Evanston conquers Downtown Evanston starting at 6pm. Tickets are $14 adults, $8 children, hotel packages available. More info at

Image via WNEP Theater