Theater Combines Bingo with German Heritage in Exciting New Show

innerwegotta06102015The benefits of bingo are expansive. Social games are used to raise money for churches, subsidize school field trips and buy equipment for volunteer fire departments. However, a theater in Chicago is taking the benefits of bingo to a brand new level through the production of an innovative new show called ‘We Gotta Bingo’. The plot revolves around a bingo game in a German beer hall where rivaling Irish and Italian catholic churches are joining forces to raise some money. The joint venture comes with a healthy share of over-the-top tension, which is on full display throughout the bingo festivities at Der Brew-Ha-Ha.

In total, the theater fits around 150 guests, but you won’t be sure who the cast members are until later in the show. Instead, they’re dispersed throughout the tables in order to encourage an inclusive, friendly bingo game. It isn’t all about bingo, though, as there will also be a fair share of hilarious antics along the way, and, if polka is your kind of music, you’re in for a real treat at this innovative stage show. Don’t worry; dancing is encouraged!

For the cost of admission, players receive a bingo card and a tasty meal from nearby Giordano’s. If you want a few drinks to enhance the experience, you’ll need to buy your own beer, but the rest of the meal is hand-delivered and served up family style.

If you’re wondering about the connection between polka music and bingo, you may be surprised to find out that bingo was an educational game for children in Germany long before it became a carnival amusement in the United States in the 1920s. These days, bingo has grown from those humble beginnings into a global sensation. Casinos offer bingo games from morning through night, and ‘rebel bingo’ – a game that blends bingo rules with a rave atmosphere – is becoming a true favorite among young adults.

Bingo isn’t just fun and games; it’s also a powerful fundraising tool. In Wisconsin, licenses are issued to 450 bingo organizations for charitable gaming each year, and many catholic parishes have become dependent on the revenue generated by these games. The biggest bingo fanatics may just be residents of Sweden, where the entire country engages in a nationally-televised bingo game once a week, but even tiny villages in Central American rainforests have been known to host nightly bingo contests.

Because of its fund-raising power, bingo games are highly regulated in most jurisdictions, and Wisconsin is no different. Rules state that no one can play for free, and bingo cards can only be printed on one side. The maximum charge is $1 per game, and no donations can be solicited during bingo events in the state. As an added security measures, Wisconsin also insists that at least two players must see and verify that all 75 bingo numbers are represented before games begin.

If a show about bingo, food and history sounds like your kind of fun, ‘We Gotta Bingo’ is currently playing at Chicago Theater Works.