Described by critics as “schizophrenic,” “chaotic and confrontational,” “lunatic,” and “tremendously brave,” WNEP is theater for smart people with a disdain for the ordinary and a dissatisfaction for the status quo.

Founded in 1993 as an experiment in “destiny control” by three recent graduates of the Second City Training Center, WNEP (What No one Else Produces) Theater has been a critically acclaimed creative force in Chicago with a strange but intentional cocktail of improvisation, sketch comedy, game shows, one-act plays, full length comedies and dramas, musicals and performance art.

WNEP Theater has produced over 80 World Premieres since 1993 and performed at:

  • The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (The Armageddon Radio Hour)
  • The Grand Re-opening of Chicago’s Navy Pier (The Armageddon Radio Hour)
  • The Grand Opening of Chicago’s Museum Campus – audience included then Vice President Al Gore (The Armageddon Radio Hour)
  • The Chicago Improv Festival (Soireé DADA, The Emily Show, Angry White Guy Reads the Paper, Defending Your Life)
  • The Toronto Improv Festival (The Emily Show)
  • Funny Women’s Fest (The Emily Show)
  • SingleFile: Solo Festival (The Emily Show)
  • National Poetry Slam (Soireé DADA)
  • The New York International Fringe Festival – fringeNYC (Let There Be Light..!, Soireé DADA: Neue Weltaffen)

Mission Statement

WNEP Theater generates original work casting a critical eye on American values, culture, and perspectives by presenting the grotesque as beautiful, the mundane as unexpected, and asking its audience to change its role from spectator to participant.

WNEP is an Illinois Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Corporation.

FAQ

Are you a radio station?

No.  We are a theater company.

We do produce and perform a live radio show, entitled The Armageddon Radio Hour, that has been running off and on since 1994.

The Armageddon Radio Hour has been featured on radio stations, including WLUP (The Loop), Q101, and BBC Radio Scotland.  The show was also part of the 1995 Grand Re-Opening of Navy Pier and the 1998 Grand Opening of the Chicago Museum Campus.

How did WNEP Get its start?

WNEP got its start in Chicago in the fall of 1992.

Don Hall (a former Equity actor and 7th/8th grade music teacher), Jeff Hoover (a local voice over artist) and Joe Janes (a nationally known stand up comic and Emmy Award winner) were coming to the end of their 18-month tenure at the Second City Training Center and decided that there was more out there to do theatrically.

After an open audition, the three formed the ten-person ensemble known as LEVEL 6 and founded WNEP (What Now Entertainment Productions) which in December 1994 became WNEP Theater Foundation (WNEP officially becoming the acronym for “What No one Else Produces”).

The first shows were improv/sketch shows done in the backs of bars and reflected the common ground the ensemble had in their Second City training.  As the company evolved and grew, it became a haven for original plays and performance concepts as well as some of the most advanced improvisation in Chicago.