Guests Announced for Michael Patrick Thornton's Two-Person Improv Show YOU & ME, Starting 4/18

NATURAL GAS, the five-year-old house improv team of The Gift Theatre, appears Friday nights at Wicker Park's The Den Theatre, performing entirely improvised group sets in addition to their standing Wednesday night set at The Gift in Jefferson Park. Every other week is YOU & ME-a two-person, entirely improvised show featuring ensemble member/The Gift artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton with a special guest from the Chicago arts community. Upcoming performances of YOU & ME are Friday, April 18 (TJ Jagodowski),May 2 (Darci Nalepa), May 16 (John Pantlind), May 30 (Wild Card-the YOU is picked live from the audience), June 13 (Rachael Mason), June 27 (Ian Belknap), July 18 (Carly Olson) and August 1 (Atra Asdou) at 10:30 p.m. The schedule is updated at

YOU & ME was recently performed at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where ATL Artistic Director Les Waters called it "Hilarious, horrifying, and human. Quite magical, really."

Thornton says, "I keep hearing from my actor friends how fearful and alien Improv feels to them and vice-versa with my Improv pals regarding Theater." "This is an unfortunate and unnecessary perceptual divide. Whether dialogue is written or invented, great scenes are about people needing each other and listening to each other. YOU & ME hopes to playfully refocus this misperception, refresh our faith in collective imagination, and reinforce the freeing truism that for this theatrical event, all we need and have is You & Me."

NATURAL GAS is the house improv team of The Gift Theatre sponsored by Fischman Liquor & Tavern that takes one suggestion from the audience to create an entirely improvised world of comedy that is wild, randy and appropriately inappropriate! Every Wednesday, 8 p.m. at The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. (at Lawrence); and Fridays, 10:30 p.m. at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets are always $5 in advance or at the door.

The Den Theatre provides a creative gathering place, an actors' and artists' den, a comfortable and affordable home to create and explore, and home to a young storefront company that shares the name. Founder and Artistic Director Ryan Martin saw a diamond in the rough when he first walked onto the bare and empty wood-floored 2nd story of 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. With the potential for innovative live performance in a neighborhood that has long been known for its creative heartbeat, this formerly empty space is now fully equipped with a bar and café, and boasts five unique, intimate theater spaces on two floors, and enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. In addition to The Den Theatre Ensemble, Black Box Studio, with its new conservatory program, also calls The Den home, as well as Seanachi Theatre Company. Theatre and dance companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing our theaters, mirrored studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements

The Gift Theatre is conveniently located at 4802 N. Milwaukee in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood, and is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, the Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenue buses and the Kennedy Expressway. For more information about The Gift Theatre's productions and programs, visit

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