By Nick Smith
The families that work together succeed together: the Von Trapps. The Kennedys. The Mansons. The same could be said about Chicago's Elams, but they don't focus on music, politics, or murder — improv comedy is their thing. The family — the three Elam siblings Erica, Brett, and Scott, plus Brett's fiancée Jet Eveleth and Scott's fiancée Lisa Burton — have taken the Chicago comedy world by storm, honoring the mirthful memory of Del Close at the iO Theater. "Our family's close," says Erica Elam, "but we don't talk about things very much. We tell stories on stage we might never say to dad or mom, because it's a different kind of bravery to tell one-on-one than it is in front of audience." That's the charm of Dinner with the Elams — they'll do traditional improv sketches, but there's added intimacy since they're all related or engaged. "The best improv groups have a real sense of trust and support," Erica says. "But we don't just have a couple of years of history. There are decades of it between us."
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