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Lady’s Night

Sandra Bernhard brings her rockin’ one-woman show to the MCA.

Sandra Bernhard


Sandra Bernhard is still going strong. Not only is the 58-year-old Michigan native a well-regarded comedian, but she has appeared in films, television shows (she currently has a recurring role in Switched at Birth on ABC Family) and on Broadway. Known for her raunchy attitude and snarky insight on the world, Bernhard brings her live show, Sandyland, to the MCA’s Edlis Neeson Theater for two sold-out shows this month. The performance, which blends theater, rock ‘n’ roll and stand-up, with burlesque and cabaret thrown in the mix, offers her outspoken views and outrageous mouth, along with music from her band, The Flawless Zircons. The evening blends first-person stories of her current life in New York City with her 15-year-old daughter, Cicely, and partner of 14 years, Sara, with her thoughts on feminism, politics and Hollywood. “It’s a travelogue; it’s emotional, it’s personal, it’s global, it’s lightly political, it’s feminist, it’s post-feminist; and it’s all interwoven with music—some personal songs I have written.” Really, it’s a little bit of everything, kind of like what Bernhard has been experiencing for 30-plus years in the business. “My show tends to be a complete experience,” she says. “It’s not stand-up; I’m not telling jokes or pacing the stage like some kind of cornball performer at a comedy club. You’re coming to a theater, and you are seeing what takes you on a journey and takes you someplace.” So, how does Bernhard feel about our hometown? “I love Chicago; it’s one of my favorite cities,” she says. “I have been performing here for 30 years. The good food, the smart people—it’s just sophisticated. It’s a cosmopolitan, fabulous city that has that Midwest spirit.”

Bernhard’s Hots
Shopping on Michigan Avenue, City Winery, the Four Seasons hotel

Bernhard’s Nots
Stopping her live shows. Performing is “a muscle. You need to keep working it.”