Founded in 1988 by Jenny Magnus and Beau O’Reilly—as the Curious Theatre “Branch” of the alt-rock cabaret act Maestro Subgum and the Whole—Curious has consistently worked with an ensemble of artists in a non-hierarchical decision-making process, through which the philosophy of collaboration as a social force is explored on every level.
Curious has produced more than 100 full productions of world-premiere plays in over 25 years, including Jenny Magnus’s Round and Round: a sexfarcetragedy at the Lunar Cabaret and the MCA Chicago, Bryn Magnus’s Love Horse, Shawn Reddy’s White Suit Science, and Beau O’Reilly’s Crowtown, Truck in Pieces, Whiskey in Blue, and The Madelyn Trilogy. For its 2011–2012 season, Curious was invited to return to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a year-long workshop culminating in Jenny Magnus’s Still in Play: A Performance of Getting Ready on the MCA stage.
In 1995, Beau O’Reilly was named one of the 50 most influential people in Chicago theater by Chicago Magazine. In 1998, Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus were named among the Artists of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, and nearly every year since 1998 Newcity has included them among the 50 most influential people in Chicago theater. Curious’s Waiting for Godot and The Caretaker were named among the top five theater productions of 2006 and 2009, respectively, by Newcity, and in 2007 Curious Theatre Branch won an Orgie Award for its year-long Samuel Beckett festival, No Danger of the Spiritual Thing: 100 Years of Beckett, which premiered in a site-specific performance at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.