Pride2024: John Michael’s ‘Spank Bank Time Machine’ at Steppenwolf

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CHICAGO – Pride Weekend is upon us, and what better way to celebrate then with “Trauma Clown” John Michael, showcasing his latest one-man performance of “Spank Bank Time Machine“ at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre from June 28th-30th, 2024. For tickets and info, click SPANK BANK.

“Spank Bank Time Machine” is a serious subject that John Michael manages to put into elegant and humorous context, as it tells the journey of one of his best friends … nicknamed Fun Monster … and his difficult relationship with substance abuse. The show is an inquiry, within the ramifications of Fun Monster’s constant misuse of self medication, as to why it evolved to the point of no return. This audience participation show is a loving portrait of madness, with John Michael going back and forth along the timeline … thus the title … with several hilarious cautionary tales.

Part of the ”Outlook” Series at Steppenwolf Theatre
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John Michael is a Texas-born performer whose specialty is the one man show. His spin brings in the audience as characters, as he tells his life stories in his one-of-a-kind style. He first got rave notices in Chicago with a show he developed in his native Dallas, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix.” His follow-up was “Dementia Me” – a chronicle of his two-year period keeping up with dementia patients as he worked at a Dallas care facility. “Meatball Seance” first opened in 2017, and he took that on the road to various theater and performance festivals. And finally, as he explains in the Podtalk, his introspective road to “Spank Bank Time Machine.”

Patrick McDonald of sat down with John Michael for a Podtalk and asked him four questions about the show, and then he gives his personal video pitch below, while unboxing of his preferred brand of “Man-kini."




QUESTION FOUR (Spoiler Alert: If you want to be completely surprised by the performance, don’t listen) …

Man-kini Master John Michael does an “Unboxing” …

Steppenwolf Theatre of Chicago “Outlook” series presents “Spank Bank Time Machine,” created by John Michael with Sammy Zeisel. Directed by Elizabeth Lovelady. The 2024 Chicago Pride Parade is Sunday, June 30th, 2024, beginning an hour earlier than usual at 11am. For details, go to To access the Facebook Page of John Michael, click here. Have a Happy Pride Weekend with John Michael! senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2024 Patrick McDonald,

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