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The Annoyance Theatre, or Annoyance Productions as it is sometimes called, is a theater and associated ensemble based in Chicago that deals mainly in absurd, pretentious and outrageous humor. Many people that have performed with the ensemble have gone on to become successful stage and screen actors. Popular productions included Co-Ed Prison Sluts and That Darned Antichrist.
The Annoyance Theatre was founded by Mick Napier, as Metraform in 1987 and changed its name to the Annoyance after moving into a new building in 1989. The Annoyance moved again in 1994 to a theater on the 3700 block of North Clark Street where it would remain for six years. In 2000 the Annoyance was forced to move out so the building could be demolished to make room for a temporary parking lot for nearby Wrigley Field, and later a mixed commercial/residential building containing a Blockbuster Video. At the time of its closing in 2000, Co-Ed Prison Sluts, a musical comedy with a frequently rotating cast, was the longest-running musical comedy in Chicago, having played for 11 years. The Annoyance took up residence in a new building in 2002, and signed a lease for a permanent home in 2004.
In 1992 the Annoyance opened a show called The Real Live Brady Bunch, in which a troupe of performers, with an eye toward irony, acted out entire episodes of the 1960s and '70s family sitcom The Brady Bunch. The show was hugely successful, riding the wave of 1970s nostalgia that came in part to define the 1990s and continues to this day. What Every Girl Should Know... An Ode to Judy Blume was another popular show and even gained the respect and approval of author Judy Blume. Throughout the late 1990s iconic film director John Waters and comedian Charlie Callas made appearances at the Annoyance.
The Annoyance opened a new theatre and bar in July 2006 in the Uptown area of Chicago (4830 N Broadway) and the company continues to produce original material created by their own ensemble. The new location opened with a production of President Bush is a Great Man directed by Mick Napier.
In October 2006, the theatre revived their very first show, Splatter Theatre, first performed in 1987. This has become a Halloween tradition at the theater.
In July 2008, the theater revived their flagship show, Co-Ed Prison Sluts, first performed in April 1988. The show has since been given an open run.
In 2013 the theatre announced that they would be moving from their Uptown Chicago location to a new home at 851 W. Belmont in the Lakeview district of Chicago. The last performance at the uptown theatre location was on August 24, 2013.
The first performance at the Belmont space was Napier's "Invisible World" on Saturday May 24, 2014.
- Ike Barinholtz, MADtv castmember
- Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live castmember
- Beth Cahill, Saturday Night Live castmember
- Stephen Colbert, television host
- Martin de Maat, teacher
- Paul Dinello, Strangers with Candy actor/director
- Jon Favreau, actor, writer, and director
- Kate Flannery, The Office (US TV series) actor
- Jeff Garlin, Curb Your Enthusiasm actor/producer
- Melanie Hutsell, Saturday Night Live castmember
- Lisa Lewis, actress/voiceover artist
- Jane Lynch, actor
- Susan Messing, Late Friday comedian
- Mick Napier, Exit 57 director
- David Pasquesi, actor
- Kerri Randles, actress
- Andy Richter, Late Night with Conan O'Brien cohost/actor
- Amy Sedaris, Strangers with Candy actor
- Faith Soloway, musician
- Jill Soloway, Six Feet Under writer/producer
- Jason Sudeikis, Saturday Night Live castmember
- Matt Walsh, Upright Citizen's Brigade actor