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Chicagoist Weekend Theater: The Real Live Brady Bunch

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 7, 2013 7:00PM


Few television programs defined a decade quite like The Brady Bunch did the 1970s, and no other decade made quite as much fun of the 1970 like the 1990s. Case in point: The Real Live Brady Bunch, which started at Chicago's Annoyance Theatre in 1991.

Sisters Jill and Faith Soloway had a simple premise to take The Brady Bunch scripts and act them out verbatim. In the hands of the Soloways and cast members like Jane Lynch (Carol Brady), Andy Richter (Mike Brady), Melanie Hutsell (Jan) and the amazing Susan Messing (Cindy), The Real Live Brady Bunch became more than a send-up. It was equal parts parody and sincere tribute to a show that became an indelible part of American pop culture.

The stage play eventually became a cult phenomenon itself, with separate productions in New York City and Los Angeles, and touring productions across the country. Lynch and Richter would move on to bigger and better things, obviously. Hutsell became a member of Saturday Night Live from 1991-1994. Messing is still a popular and vital presence in Chicago's theater and improv scenes as a performer and teacher. Jill Soloway went on to become an acclaimed author, actor, feminist and producer.