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Warm up with big laughs on Chicago stages this winter

AstonRep Theatre Company is partiaking in the 25th annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival with two comedic one-acts: Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and Jeffrey Helgeson’s In the Moment directed by Artistic Director Robert Tobin and Adrian Balbontin. Featuring Rory Jobst and Tim Larson, the performances are slated for January 31, February 7 and 14, 2014 at 7 p.m. at Chicago’s Prop Theatre on 3502 N. Elston Avenue. Tickets are available at www.astonrep.com, www.rhinofest.com or by calling 773- 508-0666.

First Folio Theatre presents Tom Stoppard’s farce Rough Crossing previewing January 29, opening February 1, and running through March 2, 2014. Directed by Jeff Award nominee and Alison C. Vesely, the musical includes three new jazz songs composed by Jeff Award winner Christopher Kriz, set to Stoppard’s original lyrics. All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 W 31st St., off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook. For tickets or more information, call 630-986-8067 or visit www.firstfolio.org.

“When Gus brought me this script, I knew it was a perfect fit for First Floor and our audiences. It combines Roman history, Elizabethan England, non-linear storytelling and metatheatrics to create a play like I have never experienced—blisteringly smart and unapologetically hilarious,” notes Will Bishop, artistic director of First Floor Theater which presents the Chicago premiere of Nat Cassidy’s metaphysical buddy comedy The Reckoning of Kit and Little Boots which runs from February 8 to March 2, 2014 at The Den Theatre. The play about Elizabethan playwright, Christopher "Kit" Marlowe features Artistic Associate Kate Cornelius-Schecter with Owais Ahmed, Sarah Davis, Garrett Lutz, Tim Parker, Alfred Thomas and Dav Yendler. Tickets are available at http://trokalb.brownpapertickets.com/.

Sayjal Joshi, Shad Kunkle, Beth Melewski, Tim Stoltenberg, Daniel Strauss and Niccole Thurman star in the musical-comedy revue The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything at Chicago’s UP Comedy Club located on the third floor of Piper’s Alley on 230 W. North Avenue. Directed by Jeff Award winner Ryan Bernier with musical direction by Vinne Pillarella, the PG-13 show opens February 13, 2014.

Gorilla Tango Bucktown is launching the Improv Space Program, a nine-week course facilitated by Jamie Campbell and Jay Steigmann. To schedule an audition slot on Wednesday evening, January 29, email improvspaceprogram@gorillatango.com. If accepted, students will study short and long form, take part in specialized workshops including musical improv, and perform weekly immediately following class. Improv Space Jam performances are free and open to the public on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. from February 5 through April 2, 2014. For more information, visit www.gorillatango.com.