Friday, April 21, 2023

ADULT NIGHT OUT: Chicago Premiere of MotherFreakingHood! at Chicago's Venus Cabaret Theater May 4 – June 11, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

The uproarious new musical comedy


makes its Chicago premiere at the Venus Cabaret Theater

at Mercury Theater Chicago

The critically acclaimed musical features

original book and music by Julie Dunlap and Sara Stotts

with direction by Heidi Van

and music direction by Linda Madonia


Featuring Leah Morrow, Jacquelyne Jones, Tafadzwa Diener and Maya Rowe 

May 4 – June 11, 2023

Grab your friends, hire a sitter, and get ready to laugh your abs off! MotherFreakingHood!, the uproarious musical comedy celebrating the world’s second-oldest profession, is coming to Chicago’s Venus Cabaret Theater. This new, original musical by Julie Dunlap and Sara Stotts is directed by Heidi Van, with music direction by Linda Madonia. MotherFreakingHood! runs May 4-June 11, 2023 in the intimate Venus Cabaret Theater at Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue. I'll be out for the press opening May 13th, so check back soon for my full review.

MotherFreakingHood! is an irreverent, yet sentimental, original musical comedy that follows first-time mom Rachel, second-time mom Angie, and fourth-time mom Marcia, as they sing and dance their way from pregnancy tests to empty bottle at a time! The uncensored trio takes on the world with unmotherly charm, discovering that this inconceivably hilarious adventure is best shared with friends. MotherFreakingHood! takes a blunt look at the parenting journey, told through all original music and unbridled humor.

After debuting in Kansas City at the Goppert Theatre in 2015, MotherFreakingHood!enjoyed a limited off-Broadway run at the 2017 New York Musical Festival in New York City, receiving rave reviews and continuing its development in Chicago and Kansas City. The musical then had a limited, sold-out run at The Black Box in Kansas City in September 2022 where it was named Broadway World's Best New Play or Musical for 2022 in the region.

“I am thrilled to be bringing this show to my hometown, sweet home Chicgo,” says co-playwright Sara Stotts. “Between Heidi [Van], Linda [Madonia)], Keely [Vasquez, casting director], and our all-female cast, we have a great team of extraordinary women bringing this critically acclaimed musical to the beautiful Venus Cabaret Theater.”

“MotherFreakingHood! is a full experience that gives mothers a place to laugh at the absurdities of child-rearing and reminds them they are not alone,” adds co-playwright Julie Dunlap.

The cast includes Leah Morrow (Marcia Burger), Jacquelyne Jones (Angie Miller),Tafadzwa Diener (Rachel Nixon) and Maya Rowe (Everywoman).

Tickets for MotherFreakingHood!, priced $65 for single tickets and $260 for premium reserved tables of four, are on sale now at the box office, 3745 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago, Discounted tickets available for groups of 8 or more.

About the Artists

Playwrights Julie Dunlap and Sara Stotts know the power of friendship well. The former roommates met at

the University of Kansas and quickly bonded while co-writing a short musical for the campus variety show, Rock Chalk Revue. While their careers led them to different cities, they maintained their friendship and shared love of music and writing, teaming up to writeMotherFreakingHood! while coping with raising their own kids, a move they claim was cheaper than therapy. With the primary goal of celebrating unsung heroes with unsung songs, the musical comedy became a labor of love.

Julie Dunlap (Playwright / Producer), a Kansas City native and mother of five, entered motherhood with a degree in Human Biology she used to make her own humans. To cope, she started a mom blog that was soon picked up by the Lawrence Journal-World as a weekly humor column. Within three years, though, she no longer felt 500 words each week sufficiently expressed the stories that made up her days as a mom and partnered with her former college roomie to write an entire musical about the experience. Julie lives in Lawrence, KS where she is a freelance writer and pianist.

Sara Stotts (Playwright / Producer), a mother of two, grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma. After graduating from the University of Kansas, Sara earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Northwestern University. While in Chicago, she studied improvisation at both the Annoyance Theater and The Second City. There, she seasoned her funny bone and honed her music writing skills as the former front woman of the funk-blues band Chubby Nothin’ and the Bone. Sara lives in Wilmette, IL and practices Physical Therapy by day and by night she practices being a mom to her two delightful and loving and not at all angsty teenagers.  

Heidi Van (Director / Producer) is an actor, creator, and producer of contemporary experimental live theatre. She is the founder of Fishtank Theatre, Inc, a stalwart in the Kansas City arts community, which has been nurturing local artists and entrepreneurship in the arts since 2009. In 2019, Heidi opened The Black Box, an ever-evolving stage in Kansas City's West Bottoms. She leads with experience, wit and creativity both within the theater and in her favorite role: as a mother of three.

Dates: May 4 – June 11, 2023

Previews: May 4 – 7, 2023

Regular Run: May 11 – June 11, 2023

Press Performances: Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 13 at 3pm and 8pm; Sunday, May 14 at 3 pm



Thursdays: 8pm

Fridays: 8pm

Saturdays: 3pm and 8pm

Sundays: 3pm


Location: Venus Cabaret Theater at Mercury Theater Chicago; 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago


Single Tickets: $65

Premium Reserved Tables for 4 people: $260

Box Office: 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago;


COVID PROTOCOL: Mercury Theater Chicago follows the CDC and State of Illinois recommendations about maintaining a COVID safe environment. Any interaction with the public poses an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. By visiting Mercury Theater Chicago, it is understood that everyone voluntarily assumes all risks related to exposure.


About Mercury Theater Chicago

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is in the heart of the Southport Corridor at 3745 North Southport Avenue, within a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful destination, Mercury Theater Chicago is a live-theater seating 280 people, adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (seating 80). 

The building that houses the Mercury opened in 1912 as a silent film nickelodeon, named The Blaine Theatre after actor and former Senator and Secretary of State James G. Blaine. The Blaine became obsolete when talking pictures became popular nationwide in 1928. The building served a variety of uses until 1994, when it was purchased by theater producer Michael Cullen and transformed into a live theatre, named the Mercury Theatre.

In 2010 the building was sold again and reopened as Mercury Theater Chicago under the direction of Walter Stearns, a veteran theater director and producer. Mercury Theater Chicago's second performance space, Venus Cabaret Theater, offers a unique intimate theatrical experience complemented by specialty cocktails. Mercury Theater Chicago is thrilled to be part of the city's vibrant theatre community, boasting record-setting long runs, employing hundreds of artists and recognized with dozens of award nominations. Mercury Theater Chicago's team includes L. Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon (Executive Producers), Christopher Chase Carter (Artistic Director), and Kristi J. Martens (Managing Director). Visit


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