Ross Johnson, an older white male in a gray suit, stands center stage. Two other older white males stand on either side of him. Johnson has his right index finger raised. There are two red chairs visible behind them.
He knows what you've been thinking: Ross Johnson in action in A Funny Thing Happened . . . Tomorrow! Credit: Courtesy Rhapsody Theater

More than 30 years into his second act as a mind reader and psychic performer, Ross Johnson, a former schoolteacher, is still eliciting gasps. The second performer at Rogers Park’s new Rhapsody Theater—formerly the Mayne Stage—the 77-year-old is like Mister Rogers meets Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling in his interactive one-man show. It’s hard to shock people these days when YouTube explains everything and everyone is a skeptic, but the reactions to Johnson on the day I attended weren’t very different from a 1992 review of his work in the Chicago Tribune. He’s still “gee-whizzing” audiences with deadpan humor, a magician-like ability to build suspense and yet a bumbling, approachable ethos of “I hope this works.”

A Funny Thing Happened . . . Tomorrow!
Open run: Wed 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Rhapsody Theater, 1328 W. Morse, 888-495-9001, rhapsodytheater.com, $35-$75

Over the course of the two-act show, the bits (or do we call them tricks?) build from more straightforward exercises with guessing numbers and sorting decks of cards to intuitive readings of audience members and some of their most personal information and feelings. Expect lots of time with the house lights on; Johnson does some “warm-ups” to determine the most ideal audience volunteers, but by the end most of us participated in some form or fashion. While some of his success is surely attributable to being an A+ student of body language, personality quirks, and vocal cues, some of it is truly head-scratching, and it’s fun to lean into that suspension of disbelief. Johnson is quick to remind audience members he’s “not a prophet,” but he is an expert of a timeless art form that can add mystery to your otherwise mundane week.