Looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve but worried that your lack of resolve (so to speak) in making advance plans might leave you stuck at home watching TV? Relax—we’ve got you covered with five fun, last-minute options to ring in 2012 for under $100. And the best part? They all include top-notch stage productions, post-show parties and champagne toasts.
‘Too Much Light New Year’s Eve’
The Neo-Futurists bring more than two decades of tradition forward into 2012 with an 11 p.m. performance of “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” a one-hour blitz of short-short plays, Chicago’s longest-running show that has been running (and changing weekly) since 1988. The New Year's Eve edition includes a pre-show appetizer and non-alcoholic beverage reception and a midnight pizza party with a champagne toast.
Go: 9:30 p.m. at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Tickets: $50 (RSVP required); 773-275-5255; neofuturists.org
We’re pHucked! A Kick Ass End of the World New Year’s Eve Party
Mayan apocalypse predictions got you wondering if you’ll be ringing in the new year for the last time? Either way, pH Productions sends you into the afterlife—or at least into 2012—with a New Year’s Eve blowout featuring a performance of its down and dirty interactive improv show, “pHrenzy pHucked.” Take advantage of the open bar, complimentary food buffet, live ball drop, champagne toast, raffles, games, dance party and an optional—“just in case the world really does end”—component, where you can arrive dressed as your favorite decade in history and join the actors onstage. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
Go: 10 p.m. at Studio BE, 3110 N. Sheffield Ave.
Tickets: $40-$50; 773-732-5450; whatisph.com
The Cat’s Pajama Party
Take one step forward into 2012 and one step backward into the world of “Midnight in Paris” at this 1920s-style dance party inspired by author F. Scott Fitzgerald's decadent jazz-age pajama soirees. Miss Exotic World 2005 Michelle L’amour and others provide seductive performances, a live jazz band accompanies and the Everleigh Social Club’s crop of naked girls host a candlelight countdown and champagne toast. Appetizers and an open wine bar are also provided. What to wear? Your most extravagant PJs, lingerie or other bed-and-boudoir-wear, of course.
Go: 9 p.m. at the Everleigh Social Club, 939 W. Randolph St.
Tickets: $90; 312-243-6690; everleighsocialclub.com
2nd Story New Year’s Eve
Chicago’s most sophisticated storytelling collective offers up hilarious and dramatic tales of new beginnings from local writer-performers Stephanie Chavara, Julie Ganey, Deb Lewis and Doug Whippo with live musical accompaniment by Seeking Wonderland (10 p.m.)—plus a complimentary cocktail, post-show live and DJ music and a midnight champagne toast. Bonus: Even if tickets sell out online, a few are set aside for walk-ins. If that’s you, arrive at 9:30 p.m. sharp.
Go: 9:30 p.m. at Morseland, 1218 W. Morse Ave.
Tickets: $40-$50; 2ndstory.com
New Year’s Eve Cornstravaganza
Ring in 2012 on a high note: It’s hard to obsess about resolutions when Corn Productions helps you celebrate with two sets of sketch and improv comedy followed by dancing until the wee hours. Keep your budget intact, too—admission includes an all-night open bar and buffet dinner (with veggie-friendly options) made by the cast, plus a midnight champagne toast.
Go: 8 p.m. at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave.
Tickets: $55 per person or $100 per couple (RSVP required); 773-650-1331; cornservatory.org
Julia Borcherts is a RedEye special contributor.