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  I'm Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce at Royal George Theatre

I'm Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

An undisputed comic legend, Lenny Bruce was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. His life and work have had an impact on poetry, politics, music, film and of course, comedy. Bruce's tempestuous personal and professional life was marked by great passion and great pain. His unwavering commitment to free speech led to numerous obscenity charges and arrests. No stranger to Chicago, Bruce was arrested for obscenity for his performance at The Gate of Horn in December 1962. Bruce fought for freedom of speech all the way to the Supreme Court. He died of an accidental overdose in 1966, while out on appeal. Bruce has not yet been surpassed at his particular brand of art and if he were around today, he would be in as much trouble as when he was alive.

Thru - Mar 20, 2020

Price: $69-$79

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-988-9000

Running Time: 1hr, 40mins

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  I'm Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...For me, Marmo’s great achievement — no doubt forged with Mantegna’s help — is his ability to replicate not just Bruce’s essential vulnerability, a sweet neediness that made him seek constant relief, but his furious mind, forever fated to rail about the lack of intellectual honesty in America."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"..."I'm Not a Comedian ... I'm Lenny Bruce," the one-person show now playing at the Royal George Theatre after runs in New York and L.A., boasts a generally winning turn by writer-performer Ronnie Marmo. But the solid summoning of Bruce's ghost - he first talks to us naked and dead and sitting on the toilet - never provides a reason we should be watching him in the first place."
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Steven Oxman

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...Directed by Chicago favorite son Joe Mantegna, "I'm Not a Comedian" is an ardent homage to the self-described "surgeon with a scalpel for false values," who overdosed in 1966 at age 40. And while his humor is most certainly of its era, the truths he spoke about the injustice he perceived and the peril to democracy that comes from trying to silence dissent resonate in every decade."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Bruce's last years, encompassing myriad battles with authorities (including a famous trial for obscenity) and drug addiction, though the stuff of comedy legend, must have been a living hell. But Marmo also leaves us with the undeniable feeling that Bruce was a deeply flawed person, if clearly one of the best comic minds of his generation: a bad dad, a lousy lover, and a genius who may have needlessly squandered it all looking for a fix."
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Jack Helbig

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Many of you will not know the name, Lenny Bruce. This may be the time to use your “Google” so that you can truly learn about this man prior to going to The Royal George. When it came to social commentary, he was the master of his times. Yes it was the 1950’s and 1960’s. A great time in our history, but not for him. In this 90 minute, solo performance written and starring Ronnie Marmo, who truly brings Lenny back to life and directed with great care by Chicagoan Joe Mantegna. I must say the opening night audience was glued to every moment in the 90 minute ( no intermission) biography of THE MAN!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...With languid grace, Marmo delivers a performance that at times goes beyond acting and seems to channel Bruce’s iconoclasm and defiance of authority. As playwright, Marmo does a credible job of weaving in the details of Bruce’s life, which revolved around two women and a girl: his mother Sally Marr, herself a gifted performer, who raised and mentored him; his wife and great love, the one-time stripper Honey Harlow, of whom he said, “We were like a drug to each other”; and his daughter Kitty, whom he adored but could never nurture, and who was only eight years old when he died in a final act of abandonment."
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Hugh Iglarsh

WTTW - Recommended

"...Directed with just the right balance of the sacred and the profane by Chicago-bred actor Joe Mantegna, Marmo’s show is a seamless weave of excerpts from Bruce’s acts along with original material that deftly takes us inside the man’s psyche. And the intimate, club-like space of the Royal George Cabaret is enhanced by Matt Richter’s smoky lighting and Danny Cistone’s set, where a toilet is the principal piece of furniture."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Ronnie Marmo has created a script for himself that showcases his admiration for its source. It’s also beautifully suited to Mr. Marmo’s own talents. The series of excerpts from Bruce’s life and comedy routines provide just enough details for theatergoers to form a well-rounded impression of a man who was tortured by his own life. Marmo, quite literally, bares himself to play this iconic character. When the show opens, we are reminded that Lenny Bruce was found naked on a toilet in his hotel room, having (supposedly) killed himself with an overdose of heroin. Mr. Marmo then dresses and proceeds to tell Lenny Bruce’s story, from childhood to his final moments. Beautifully directed by the great Joe Mantegna, this one-man show is quite an astonishing, monumental tour de force that will not soon be forgotten."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...It’s too bad Bruce did not live to see his outrageousness turn into prophecy. The raw language that infuriated so many people in his day can now be heard in PG-13 movies and commonly on television. He died of an illicit drug overdose and today marijuana can be bought over the counter. The times they have been a-changing and Lenny Bruce and his legacy can take some strong bows. For those who know little or nothing of this gifted and tragic figure, the Marmo play is a persuasive starting point."
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Dan Zeff - Highly Recommended

"...Ronnie Marmo's play has come at just the right time at its relevancy in today's world couldn't be timelier. Marmo makes his point on the importance of free speech to perfection in this powerful production while also delivering an engaging, inside look at someone who changed the landscape for comedy as we knew it."
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Ken Payne

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...I’m Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce is a one-of-a-kind production, not just because it’s a deep dive into the rise and fall of Lenny Bruce, but because of how it makes you think, not just about how far our country has come in the 53 years since Lenny Bruce’s death, but also about how much more we need to do to truly become “The Land of the Free”."
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James Brod

Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Prepare to be dazzled by Ronnie Marmo who plays the tragic Lenny Bruce in “I’m Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce,” now extended at the Royal George Theater."
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Mira Temkin

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...One of the best things about Marmo’s biographical play for me was that, when it was finished, I felt the need to find videos of the actual Bruce at work. (As you might imagine, there aren’t very many, but his talent and charisma are clearly visible in those that survive.) For the time being, though, watching Marmo completely inhabit the man is as good as it gets: this show, both humorous and devastating, gives us Bruce in all of his many moods and leaves the audience with a deep understanding not only of who he was but of the legacy he left behind. Next time you watch one of those Netflix comics, recognize the debt they owe to Lenny Bruce, who made it all possible."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...This is a top pick for lovers of comedy. It’s also a great conversation starter about the 1st Amendment, and the fight for our Constitution. W-T-F Lenny, you’re practically a founding father!"
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Amy Munice

City Pleasures - Recommended

"...I’m Not a Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce celebrates this unorthodox sage, this Godfather of socially conscious comics who use their platform to do many of the things Mr. Bruce tried to do."
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Mitchell Oldham

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