I'm Not a Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce Returns to Chicago
Theatre 68 and the Venus Cabaret Theater announced the return of the critically-acclaimed production, "I'm Not A Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce," to Chicago beginning Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Carefully restaged for the intimate venue, directed by multi award-winning actor and director Joe Mantegna, and produced in partnership with Lenny Bruce's daughter Kitty Bruce, "I'm Not A Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce" was written by and stars Ronnie Marmo.
The production will include content from Bruce's repertoire previously unseen in Chicago.
"I believe Lenny's is the voice this country needs right now," said playwright and star Ronnie Marmo. "In the 1960s, he exposed many of the 'untouchable' subjects that are in the news again now: religion, racism, immigration, xenophobia, gender inequality, sexual identity, the criminal justice system, capital punishment, bail reform, government aid, police brutality, corrupt capitalism, the opiate epidemic, marijuana legalization, censorship, I could go on and on. So here we are, over 50 years later, all of the issues Lenny was fighting for are still so relevant and even radical. In certain ways, we've progressed since Lenny was with us, and in many, we have regressed."
The story of the life and early passing of one of the most legendary comedians of all time, "I'm Not A Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce" opened to rave reviews in Chicago in October 2019 and was enjoying an open run at the Royal George Theatre through March 15, 2020. Chris Jones with the Chicago Tribune raved "even the most devoted Bruce fan will leave impressed with Marmo," and WTTW called the play "brilliant" and "furiously funny" while the Daily Herald called the show, "striking." Celebrated Chicago actress Bonnie Hunt said, "Ronnie Marmo delights as he channels Lenny Bruce. A thoughtful authenticity in performance, direction and script."
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. "I'm Not a Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce" runs approximately 90 minutes, explores mature themes and includes strong language and nudity.