#Hashtag You’re It!
The fast-moving mix of musical sketch and improvisational comedy practiced by Chicago City Limits held audiences' attention well during a recent performance of its new revue "#Hashtag You're It!" Why choose between scripted material and on-the-spot jokes when one can offer structure within the free play of the other?
Warming up with a Shakespearean invention allowing the cast to flex its dramatic (or more rightly melodramatic) muscles, the cast alternates between improv games and parody numbers, showing off sweet singing voices and wicked senses of humor.
Despite its punchy name, "#Hashtag You're It!" has no social media-based material, unless the antics of Lindsay Lohan as tweeted and Instagrammed all over New York count. (She gets a version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in which she, portrayed by Canedy Knowles in a magnificent fright wig, chirps "Rehab, I'm on my way" -- if that were only true.)
Its New York location affords it some other privileges, including knowing its tweaking of the NRA (set to "YMCA") over its response to the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut will receive cheers instead of boos. But Joe Degise II's imitation of an alien sapped of testosterone in a long-form set whose premise is too confusing to be explained here wasn't too subtle or welcoming with the crowd.
Malachi Nimmons scored two big hits with a song about Lance Armstrong and another in which he imitated Korean pop star Psy's "Gangnam Style" to sing about Libya because hey, why not?
The final long-form improv set, using an audience member's traumatic birth story to improvise a Broadway musical, pleased not only her table but the audience as a whole, and even if the songs couldn't match some of Chicago City Limits' earlier offerings, their creativity kept it light. "#Hashtag You're It!" is a winter warmer worth a watch.
"Hashtag You’re It" enjoys an extended run at Chicago City Limits, 318 West 53rd Street. For tickets and info, visit chicagocitylimits.com.