Showing posts with label Second City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Second City. Show all posts

Sunday, July 24, 2022

REVIEW: Queer Eye: The Musical Parody Now Playing at The Second City in Chicago

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Queer Eye: The Musical Parody

at The Second City in Chicago 


By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

My older daughter and I loved to watch the original “Queer Eye” when she was in high school. She’s now been finished with grad school about ten years. Yeah, we’re talking 2003. I’m wondering why bother to skewer an outdated show? Well, a new “Queer Eye” debuted in 2018 with a different cast who are mimicked perfectly in this funny production at Second City. My cynicism was won over. The talented cast have high energy, fun dance moves, and great voices which add to their over-the-top performances and drive the momentum of the show. I’ve been dragging my new-to-Chicago sister to a LOT of theater, and she said this was one of her favorites. 

The poor sap (victim!) being made over is “Sam,”(Bryson Howard) who lives in his mom’s basement, was breastfed until he was 9 (ewww…), plays “Fortnite,” and “is unemployed but an aspiring puppetteer.” This prize of manhood is adored by his childhood friend Claire, played with goofy enthusiasm by Bridget Adams-King (who has an astounding voice). Of course, Sam is too clueless to realize that Claire has a tremendous crush on him. (hysterical puppet scene a la “Avenue Q” late in the show).      

While being made over, Sam # 1 transforms into Sam # 2, played by the charismatic Jordan Dell Harris. One of the big improvements is switching out Sam’s ugly t-shirt; even his mother tells him,”This shirt says, ‘You’re a virgin.’”

Or as the fashionista (Tina Arfaee) sings: “Straight men’s clothes bring me to tears. They look like they haven’t shopped in years.” 

There are ongoing jokes that the home makeover guy has to perform the most work, with Eddie Ledford as Bobby nearly having a nervous breakdown about needing to redo an entire living space. The other members of the “Fab Five” get off pretty easy with their tasks, especially the “Culture” guy, Karamo (Evan Tyrone Martin). My daughter and I always pondered exactly what the hell his role contributed. Here, Karamo sings how he doesn’t know what to do when it’s his segment. (“I got nothin’!”) 

My sister’s favorite Fab Five was the grooming/hairdresser Jonathan, played with relish by Evan Starkweather. His comic timing and reactions were spot-on. They were funny as he delivered them, but I later watched an episode of the new “Queer Eye,” and he is channeling the hairdresser on the show. (“Are we about to bond?”) 

My personal fave was the food guy, Antoni, played by the adorable (and hot!) Dominic Rescigno. He confesses that he is the “eye candy” of the show and asks when can he take his shirt off? Loved his cooking segment in his “Kiss the Cok” apron! (and avocado puppets!) 

Dakota Hughes got a huge cheer from the crowd with her rousing song imploring Sam to move out of her house! She and Adams-King both had two roles with lots of back-and-forth costume changes. One of the funniest bits was when their characters asked where their other characters were and made a hasty excuse of, “Uhhhh…She’s busy.” 

None of the show is possible without the tremendous talent of Music Director/Composer/Lyricist/Orchestrator Heidi Joosten. She keeps it all together. I could hardly believe she was the only instrumentalist. 

After the show, I walked my sis around so she could see the informal museum that celebrates all the talent that has rolled through Second City. All those famous faces that have created a huge legacy In Chicago. We’re lucky this theater is here. 

Catherine Hellmann could use a makeover, but who has time between teaching teenagers and attending theater?  

Legendary Chicago comedy institution The Second City is excited to present Queer Eye: The Musical Parody. Co-created and co-written by Second City Mainstage ensemble member Evan Mills and Heidi Joosten, the show will be co-directed by Mills and Stephen Schellhardt, who is also choreographer. Joosten, the composer, lyricist and orchestrator for the show, will fill the role of musical director. Cast members include Bridget Adams-King, Tina Arfaee, Jordan Dell Harris, Bryson Howard, Dakota Hughes, Eddie Ledford, Evan Tyrone Martin, Dominic Rescigno, and Evan Starkweather. Shannon Golden-Starr is stage manager.

Inspired by the hit Netflix show Queer Eye, Second City audiences will follow everybody's fave Fab Five as they help an Average Joe manifest their full potential through aggressive self-love, laugh-out-loud comedy, and more songs than you can handle, henny! Watch a two-act "episode" of the show we all thought we knew... until now. Queer Eye: The Musical Parody features all the avocados, plenty of pompadours, and maybe even a puppet or two. Say "YASS, and" to this hilarious experience where things just keep on getting better...and funnier! 

Tickets for Queer Eye: The Musical Parody start at $39.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at The show schedule is as follows beginning May 26, 2022: Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 7pm in UP Comedy Club.

About the Artists

Bridget Adams-King (“Claire/Rachel”) (she/her) is thrilled and so grateful to be making her Second City debut! Some of the theaters she has previously worked with include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Kokandy Productions, Northlight Theatre, and Griffin Theatre. She is a two-time Jeff-nominated performer for her portrayal of “Kate” in If/Then at Brown Paper Box Co. and “Lucy Parsons” in Underscore Theatre Company’s 2018 production of Haymarket: A New Folk Musical. She has also appeared in an episode of NBC’s hit show Chicago PD. She is repped by Gray Talent Group. @badamsking 

Tina Arfaee (“Tan”) (they/any) has been writing and performing in Chicago since 2012, most notably at The Annoyance Theater with Matt Damon Improv. With MDI, she wrote and starred in the web series In-Diana. She has also appeared on an episode of Chicago Fire, Centered the web series, and short film The Sweatshirt. Tina is a graduate of The Second City/NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship. She is repped by Big Mouth Talent. @tinatwocats

Shannon Golden-Starr (Stage Manager) (She/They) CHICAGO: I, Banquo, Short Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, Q Brothers' Christmas Carol, Shakespeare in the Parks production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Frankenstein, Act(s) of God, Plantation!, Hard Times, Moby Dick, Thaddeus and Slocuum: A Vaudeville Adventure (Lookingglass Theatre Company); The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Frederick (Chicago Children’s Theatre); The King of the Yees, Uncle Vanya, Carlyle, Soups Stews and Casseroles: 1976, Feathers and Teeth (Goodman Theatre); The Mutilated, Simpatico (A Red Orchid Theatre); This Wonderful Life (American Blues Theater); Betrayal (Raven Theatre).

Jordan Dell Harris (“Sam #2”)  (he/him) is making his Second City debut! He was last seen onstage as “Donald” in Windy City Playhouse’s The Boys in the Band (Jeff Award winner, Best Ensemble). Other Chicago credits include work with Goodman Theatre, Raven Theatre, Griffin Theatre, The Story Theatre, BoHo Theatre and more. TV credits include 4400 (CW) and Next (Fox). 

Bryson Howard (“Sam #1”) (he/him) is a Chicago transplant from South Carolina by way of Nashville, TN, and Paris, France. After four and a half years of performing improv and scripted comedy around Chicago, the city thankfully has not yet rejected the transplant. He has been fortunate enough to perform in several shows at The Annoyance Theatre; he was part of the cast of The Queer Eye: The Musical Parody at the Playground Theater; he is an ensemble member of Baby Wants Candy, and he can be found performing improv at various venues in Chicago with his comedy partner Cassidy Russell. Twitter: @BrysonHoward. Instagram: @BrysonDallasHoward.

Dakota Hughes (“Bev/Executive Producer”) (They/Them) is ecstatic to make their Second City debut! Dakota is a Los Angeles native and graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where they earned a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. Some favorite credits include Kinky Boots, Cinderella (Paramount Theatre), American Idiot (The Hypocrites), Lizzie (Firebrand), Thrones! The Parody Musical! (The Apollo Theater), and [title of show] (Open Door Rep).

Heidi Joosten (Music Director/Composer/Lyricist/Orchestrator) (she/her) is thrilled and grateful to be making her Second City debut with this show that is so near and dear to her heart. A multi-hyphenate performing artist, Heidi has collaborated on over 100 new theatrical, comedic, and concert works in the Chicagoland area since her arrival in 2014. Notable writing credits include: Queer Eye: the Musical Parody (The Second City), Saint Hildegard: the Rupertsberg Tour (Theo Ubique), Micro (Music Theatre of Madison), and The Bone Harp (Underscore Theatre Company). Joosten is a highly-sought after composer with over 200 works to her name, and her award-winning music has been performed across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Heidi holds a Bachelors of Music from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Masters of Music from Roosevelt University - Chicago College of Performing Arts. Proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

Eddie Ledford (“Bobby”) (he/him) is a Chicago-based actor, singer and comedian. He is a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory, an ensemble member of the queer comedy group Baby Wine, and has performed in theaters, festivals and digital projects around the city including The Annoyance, Rhino Fest, Chicago Sketch Fest, Ordinary Peepholes, Commercial Appeal and web series Guilty. He originated the role of “Bobby” in the show’s initial run at The Playground Theatre and is very happy and grateful to reprise it at The Second City. Instagram: @_eddele

Evan Tyrone Martin (“Karamo”) (he/him) is excited to be making his Second City debut! Most recently, Evan could be seen in Blues In The Night at Porchlight Music Theatre opposite Broadway star Felicia P. Fields. Regional credits: “Jim” in Roundabout Theatre's digital reading of Zora Neale-Hurston's musical SPUNK (directed by Lili-Ann Brown); The Black Clown (Ensemble) at American Repertory Theater/Lincoln Center's 2019 Mostly Mozart Festival; Hair (“Hud”) at Mercury Theater; Jesus Christ Superstar (“Jesus,” BTAA Nomination) at Paramount Theatre; Dreamgirls (“Curtis,” BTAA Nomination) and Far From Heaven (“Raymond,” Jeff nomination) at Porchlight Music Theatre; and The Little Mermaid (“King Triton”) at Arkansas Rep. Evan has worked with Godspeed, Arkansas Shakes, Chicago Shakes, Chicago Humanities Festival, and many others. He also toured starring in the hit revues Unforgettable: Falling in Love with Nat King Cole and An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas. Next up, Evan will play “Mister” in The Color Purple at the legendary MUNY in St. Louis. Instagram: @3vanMart1n. He is repped by Paonessa Talent.

Evan Mills (Co-Director/Writer/Creator)( He/Him) is incredibly grateful to be co-directing the original musical he wrote with his writing partner Heidi Joosten, Queer Eye: The Musical Parody. He is currently an ensemble member in The Second City’s 110th Mainstage Revue and was previously an ensemble member of The Second City Mainstage revue Together at Last. Evan has toured with Second City’s RedCo and is a recipient of the Bob Curry Fellowship Program. He spent a summer in Washington D.C., performing at the Kennedy Center in Generation Gap and has also performed at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. He has been featured in the Break Out Comedy Festival, LA Laughter Comedy Fest, and the Comedy Central Showcase. You can check out his original music on Spotify (“A Little Bit Alexis” cover and “Sissy Boy”) and follow him on all social media platforms @awkvanmills.

Dominic Rescigno (“Antoni”) (he/him) is experiencing a dream come true doing this show with these people on this stage. He is a graduate of Second City’s Comedy Studies program and is currently finishing the Conservatory. He has performed for Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Onion, ClickHole, Walt Disney World, and starred in Chicago's long-running comedy Tony N' Tina's Wedding. His two webseries The Dominics and Dominic Tonight! have been critically ignored. | @dominicrescigno

Stephen Schellhardt (Co-Director/Choreographer) (he/him) is thrilled to be a part of the Queer Eye: A Musical Parody family. He is a Jeff Award-winning director and actor, as well as choreographer, producer, educator, and casting director. In Chicago, Stephen has worked with the Marriott Theater, Writers Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Mercury Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, About Face Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago’s Lyric Opera, The Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Northwestern University, and BoHo Theatre, where he served as a company member and Artistic Director for six years. National tours include Altar Boyz. International credits include Jane Austen’s Persuasion at The Royal Winchester Theatre in England and the Shanklin Theatre on The Isle of Wight (Chamber Opera Chicago). From 2014-2017, Stephen served as Associate Producer and Casting Director at Writers Theatre in Glencoe before becoming a visiting professor at Northwestern University and then moving to The Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he now holds the title of Head of Musical Theatre. Stephen is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama and a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.  

Evan Starkweather (“Jonathan”) (he/they) is a Chicago-based performer and writer making their Second City debut. They were last seen performing karaoke at a bar in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but before that, they wrote and performed numerous sketch and musical variety shows at The Annoyance, The Playground, and The Second City Training Center. They are a graduate of The Second City Conservatory, and their music video “Platonic Gay Best Friend” has been featured on Funny or Die. @evanspelledellen

About The Second City

The Second City opened its doors in 1959 as a small comedy cabaret and has since grown to become the world’s most influential name in improv and comedy. Second City's stages, Touring Companies, and Training Centers across North America have proudly been the launch pad for many of the funniest names on the planet, including John Belushi, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Eugene Levy, Tim Meadows, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Suzy Nakamura, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Sam Richardson, Joan Rivers, Amber Ruffin, Jason Sudeikis, and Steven Yeun, among many more.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

NEW The Second City’s Temple of Geekdom: An Improvised Adventure Now Playing Mondays and C2E2 Weekend

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
The Second City Presents 
Temple of Geekdom: An Improvised Adventure
A New Fully Improvised, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Show

The Second City is excited to announce its new fully improvised show The Second City’s Temple of Geekdom: An Improvised Adventure. This “choose your own adventure” experience allows the audience to guide a party of improv adventurers and fracture their favorite fandoms in search of comedic gold. The show is directed by Second City alumnus and resident director Anthony LeBlanc and will be performed by a rotating cast of The Second City’s sharpest, geekiest, and most intergalactically fluent improvisers. 

The Second City’s Temple of Geekdom: An Improvised Adventure puts the audience in the driver’s seat as the cast sets off on this live-action role-playing game. At each step of the story, the audience will decide which into which universe the team will venture next—and which fandom they want to explore. With geeked-out custom improv games like “Super Heroes,” “Star Trek Away Team,” and “Dungeons & Tag-Ins,” this show promises no fan, stan, cosplayer, or even (gasp) Slytherin will be left behind. 

“Since playing the Star Wars character ‘Mace Windu’ in my very first show in Chicago, it has long been my dream to bring a show like this to The Second City. We’re taking the very best of what improv has to offer and pairing it with all the Easter eggs, deep cuts, and references that everyone will appreciate--from the most discerning pop culture fanatics to merciless, mutated Daleks,” says LeBlanc, who performed with Star Wars stalwart Warwick Davis last year in The Second City and Lucasfilm’s Rogue Pun: A Star Wars Show during Chicago’s Star Wars Celebration weekend.

The Second City’s Temple of Geekdom: An Improvised Adventure teleports into UP Comedy Club (230 W. North Avenue) February 24-May 25 on Mondays at 8 PM with an additional weekend run during C2E2 weekend, February 28-February 29. Tickets start at $18.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at

About The Second City
Since opening its doors as a small cabaret theater in 1959, The Second City has grown into an entertainment empire. With sold-out shows playing 7 days a week on 10 stages in Chicago and Toronto, Second City’s Touring and Theatrical companies entertain an additional 1 million theatergoers a year around the globe. The Second City Training Center is the largest school of improvisation-based arts on the planet, with locations in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles that serve 11,000 students annually. In 2016, the Harold Ramis Film launched, becoming the world’s only film school dedicated to comedy. Second City Works, the B2B side of Second City, has brought award-winning improvisation and audience-driven techniques to over 600 Fortune 1000 companies, challenging businesses seeking a more collaborative culture to innovate through development programs, original digital and video content, campaign consultation, private events, and more. Second City Entertainment’s foray into television and media continues to produce new content and programming, including two-time Emmy winner SCTV and the upcoming Martin Scorsese-helmed Netflix documentary exploring the iconic series’ enduring legacy.

Alumni of The Second City include some of the world’s foremost comedy superstars, including Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Aidy Bryant, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Richard Kind, Eugene Levy, Jack McBrayer, Tim Meadows, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Sam Richardson, Joan Rivers, Amy Sedaris, Martin Short, Cecily Strong, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Willard, and many more.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

OPENING: The Second City’s 107th Mainstage Revue

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
The Second City’s 107th Mainstage Revue

Under the direction of ten-time resident stage director and Jeff Award winner Matt Hovde and with returning music direction by Vinnie Pillarella, The Second City’s 107th Mainstage Revue will feature current Mainstage ensemble members Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, and Nate Varrone, who will be joined by Gaslight District cast member Emily Fightmaster and She the People cast member Kimberly Michelle Vaughn. The stage manager is Craig Taylor. 

The Second City’s 107th Mainstage Revue plays Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 11pm, and Sundays at 7pm in the Mainstage Theater, located at 1616 N. Wells Street, Chicago. Tickets start at $31 and are available at the Second City Box Office (230 W. North Ave, First Floor, Piper's Alley), by phone at 312-337-3992, or online at

About the Artists
RYAN ASHER (Ensemble) is from Charlottesville VA, and received her BFA in theater performance at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ryan is currently an ensemble member in The Second City’s 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall from Space, and was a member of The Second City Touring Company. She also appeared last summer in The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She also performs with improv groups around Chicago, including Trigger Happy and SHEBEAST.

TYLER DAVIS (Ensemble) is a Columbus, Ohio, native and a current an ensemble member in The Second City’s 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall from Space. He has performed with The Second City Touring Company, as well as in The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand at the Kennedy Center. He also performs with improv groups around Chicago, including Devil’s Daughter and Trigger Happy.

EMILY FIGHTMASTER (Ensemble) is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a current ensemble member in The Second City e.t.c.’s 42nd revue, Gaslight District. She graduated from DePaul University with a Women and Gender Studies degree and has traveled coast to coast with The Second City Touring Company. Emily is a proud alum of Boom Chicago, the Amsterdam-based comedy theatre and is a member of Baby Wine at The Annoyance.

MATT HOVDE (Director) is a Second City Conservatory Program grad and began teaching at The Second City Training Center in 2003. Matt has directed several resident stage revues for the Mainstage and e.t.c. stages, including A Red Line Runs Through It, Let Them Eat Chaos, Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting), Studs Terkel’s Not Working, America: All Better! and Between Barack and a Hard Place. Additional directing credits include Twist Your Dickens, The Second City & Slate’s Unelectable You, Second City’s Game Night, and productions for The Second City in Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Baltimore, Vienna, Brussels, and on the high seas. He studied TV, Film, and Theater at TCU.

JEFFREY MURDOCH (Ensemble) was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area and attended the University of Michigan. In addition to performing in Dream Freaks Fall from Space, Jeff has performed with The Second City Touring Company and at the Upstairs Gallery, iO, and The Annoyance.

VINNIE PILLARELLA (Musical Direction, Original Music, Sound Design) is a Chicago native and has been the musical force behind The Second City’s 105th and 106th Mainstage revues. A veteran of The Second City Touring Company, Vinnie has also created music in theaters around the city, including The Annoyance, iO, Public House, and Silk Road Rising.

CRAIG TAYLOR (Stage Manager) has stage managed for The Second City for nearly 40 years and has been asked to provide the impossible for numerous Second City directors.

NATE VARRONE (Ensemble) is from Columbus, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University.  Currently an ensemble member in The Second City’s 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall from Space, Nate has also performed with The Second City Touring Company, at iO, with Crab Atlanta, and is a cast member of Holy F*** Comedy Hour at The Annoyance.

KIMBERLY MICHELLE VAUGHN (Ensemble) graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with her BA in Theatre. A recent alum of The Second City Touring Company, she recently opened She the People: Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters Doing It For Themselves, Second City’s first all-female created and performed show. 

About The Second City
Since opening its doors 1959, The Second City has grown to become the world’s premier comedy club, theater and school of improvisation, entertaining 1 million theatergoers a year around the globe. Alumni of The Second City’s resident stages, touring companies, and theatrical divisions include some of the biggest names in entertainment, and in addition to the sold-out shows playing nightly on resident stages in Chicago and Toronto, the comedy empire has staged productions with a wide range of illustrious creative partners and theatre companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, Center Theater Group Los Angeles, Portland Center Stage, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and even the Chicago Bulls. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ON SALE NOW: The Second City & Gilda’s Club Chicago Present: "I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt"


The Second City & Gilda’s Club Chicago Present:
"I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: 
The Roast of George Wendt"
With Roastmaster Jason Sudeikis

The Second City is excited to announce “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt” a night guaranteed to destroy one of the world’s most beloved comedy legends, George Wendt--all in the name of charity.

Roastmaster Jason Sudeikis, along with Roasters Bob Odenkirk, Betty Thomas, David Koechner, and a growing list of the biggest and brightest names in comedy will gather for this once-in-a-lifetime evening of comedy and camaraderie to benefit Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund, hosted at Chicago’s iconic Mainstage at The Second City.

The one-night-only performance will take place on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 in the Second City Mainstage Theater (1616 N. Wells, Chicago, IL 60614) The show will begin at 7:00pm.

“The Second City has been a phenomenal friend of Gilda’s Club Chicago since we opened in 1998, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with them on this exciting event,” stated LauraJane Hyde, CEO of Gilda’s Club Chicago. “Support like this helps us continue to ensure that anyone impacted by cancer is empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.”

“We’re looking forward to an incredibly special evening that brings back the long-lost art of the Dean Martin-era celebrity roast. It’s been a few years since George has returned to his old stomping grounds here at Second City, and he’s saint of a guy for letting us put him in the hot seat for two incredible causes. We are thrilled to be able to partner with Gilda’s Club Chicago again for this tremendous opportunity to impact the lives of those who are battling cancer, their support circles, and also the members of our own Second City family who are up against the most challenging of circumstances.” Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer of The Second City.

Tax-deductible tickets for the “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt” are on sale now and are organized into three ticketing tiers.

Top-Shelf VIP Tickets ($3,000 each) include a pre-show VIP reception inside Second City’s historic complex at 1959 Kitchen & Bar. Includes a photo opportunity with George & Jason. Appetizers and top shelf open bar service provided.

The 1959 Package ($1,959 each) features a backstage experience led by Second City’s Behind the Bentwood tour guides including special surprise guests. Open bar & dinner in Mainstage Theater provided by the best of Chicago's classic cuisine is also included.

General Admission is also available ($1,000 each) and includes open bar & dinner in Mainstage Theater provided by the best of Chicago's classic cuisine.

Tickets are tax-deductible and can be purchased online at or by phone at 312-664-4032.

About Gilda’s Club
Gilda’s Club Chicago supports anyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends, as well as those who have lost someone to cancer. Their innovative program, including more than 300 free activities each month, is an essential complement to medical care and offers support groups, educational lectures, healthy lifestyle workshops, resource referrals, and social opportunities. Their mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. Visit or call (312) 464-9900 to learn how to join, volunteer or donate.

About The Second City Alumni Fund
Originally established by Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara and Andrew Alexander, The Second City Alumni Fund is a resource for performers, technicians, support staff, and other members of the creative and production teams associated with The Second City theaters and SCTV. The Fund has raised over $500,000 and counting to provide financial assistance to alums with critical health and financial challenges.

Friday, May 19, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:



Kaye Winks has been a token black for as long as she can remember.

In her new one-woman show Token, Winks shares her hilarious and often cringe worthy adventures in being that lone black person in a world of white.

Through her colorful portrayals of family, friends, strangers and foes, Winks offers a comic and ironic look at what it's like to be the token black person.

But white people aren't her only target. Winks also casts a smart, funny and sometimes sobering lens on class clashes within the black community.

"Token is unapologetically un-PC, but it's fair in its political incorrectness because I pick on everyone equally," says Winks. "The show actually brings people together by 'telli ng it like it is.'"

Don't miss Winks' hilarious, 60-minute takedown of the race discussion through the voices and stories of 30 characters we've all met at some point in our lives.

Token, directed by Schoen Smith, will be presented Fridays May 19-June 9, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at Judy's Beat Lounge at the Second City Training Center, 230 W. North Avenue, 2nd Floor, Chicago. 

Credit: Joel Maisonet

Tickets are $13. For tickets and information, visit or call
(312) 337-3992.

Token information
Kaye Winks has been a token black since the day she was born in Naperville, Illinois to black Republicans. Today she is a stage and screen actress, writer, part-time funny person and full-time cat person. Winks trained at the Moscow Art Theater's Stanislavsky School in association with the American Repertory Theater and Harvard University. Her improv training was at the Second City Chicago. She also studied physical comedy and clown with world-renowned French master teacher, Philippe Gaulier. She has been featured in national commercial and print campaigns for Honda, Sony and Hot Pockets among others. She has recently returned to Chicago following a six-year stint in LA.

Schoen Smith (director) is an actress, writer, producer and director. In March, she directed a sold-out, one-night only performance of Token as part of Collaboraction Theatre Company's Gender Breakdown Lounge series. She also premiered her original spoken word piece Hands Up at Collaboraction's 2016 PEACEBOOK Festival. Before moving to Chicago, she was Producing Director for DOMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles, and also produced the hit play Elevator in the inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival. She is a co-producer on the award-winning documentary about homeless youth, American Street Kid, which won Best Social Impact Film at the Hollywood Film Festival and People's Choice Award and Power in Film Award at The Beloit International Film Festival this year. She is the Director of Development for Collaboraction and the VP of Development for Venture Hill Entertainment, LLC.

For more, visit or follow Winks on Twitter and Instagram: @kayewinks #tokenblack.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Warm Your Winter With Laughter: See “BABY WANTS CANDY” Every Saturday at The SECOND CITY TRAINING CENTER

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


Chicago’s Original Improvised Musical Runs Through March 25, 2017 at The Second City Training Center’s Judy’s Beat Lounge 

“Baby Wants Candy,” has long been a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows. I came from an improv background, studying it in high school and college in the 80's and forming my own nationally award winning troupe at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. They lasted over 20 years. I've always had a soft spot for imrov done well, and Baby Wants Candy delivers. This talented troupe not only takes audience suggestions for dialogue and show theme, but they put on a full on musical with a live band! You've got to see it to believe it. 

Chicago’s celebrated comedy institution will be spending the winter at Judy’s Beat Lounge at The Second City Training Center (230 W. North Ave) for a limited run, starting January 7 and running through March 25, 2017. After beginning at Improv Olympic and moving to the Apollo Theater in 2005, the “truly amazing” (New York Times) and “consistently funny and crowd pleasing” (Chicago Sun-Times) improvised musical will now perform every Saturday at 9 p.m. at the Training Center’s intimate 60-seat theater. Featuring a full band, each performance comes to life with a call-out by the audience resulting in a 60-minute, fully-improvised musical by some of Chicago’s finest improvisers. Tickets to “Baby Wants Candy” ($15/general admission; $7/students) are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting

“We are incredibly enthused to partner with the team at The Second City Training Center to bring our show to a whole new audience” said “Baby Wants Candy” Producer Emily Dorezas. “Since the recent election has created a lot of headlines, we expect to get some very interesting and topical titles for our signature improvised musicals.”

Each “Baby Wants Candy” performance begins with the cast asking the audience for a suggestion of a musical that has never been performed before. In that moment, accompanied by a full band, the first title that the group hears becomes the title and theme for that evening’s improvised musical, featuring a roller coaster ride of spontaneously choreographed dance numbers, rhyming verses and improvised comedy.  Each performance is its own opening and closing night, and by design every show is completely unique and a once–in a lifetime premiere.

“The Training Center is really looking to add more prestigious groups to our programming, and 'Baby Wants Candy' fits that bill perfectly,” said The Second City Training Center producer Stephanie Case. “We think that our students, faculty, and community will be very excited to have this show in our building.”

The cast of “Baby Wants Candy” includes seasoned improv vets Erica Elam (Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Tribune’s “One of Top Five Actors to Watch”), Nick Semar (“50 Shades! The Musical” National Tour), Ross Taylor, Nicole Hastings and Maria Randazzo (Second City Tour Company) and more, with musical direction by Jesse Case (Second City Mainstage & e.t.c., “Shamilton,” “Longer, Louder, Wagner!”). Performances of “Baby Wants Candy” run every Saturday night at 9 p.m. from January 7 – March 25, 2017.
Since its inception, “Baby Wants Candy” has expanded to include performing companies in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, as well as an international touring company, creating more than 3,000 completely improvised musicals to sold-out crowds all over the world. In addition to weekly performances in Chicago, they also perform regularly at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in LA. “Baby Wants Candy” performs annual to sold-out audiences at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and will travel to Australia for a month long run at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in February 2017. For more information about “Baby Wants Candy,” visit the website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

About Baby Wants Candy
“Baby Wants Candy” has received rave reviews in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Onion, Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut New York and more, and has received numerous awards including the winner of FringeNYC’s Outstanding Unique Theatrical Experience, Best Improv Ensemble by Chicago Magazine, the Best Visiting Comedy Ensemble by TimeOut New York, the recipient of the Ensemble of the Year Award at the Chicago Improv Festival, and a rare Sixth Star Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“Baby Wants Candy” has included several notable performers including Peter Gwinn of “Colbert Report;” Aidy Bryant of “Saturday Night Live;” Stephnie Weir of “MadTV;” Nicole Parker of “MadTV” and Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway; Jack McBrayer of “30 Rock;” Al Samuels and Kevin Fleming of “Sports Action Team;” Thomas Middleditch of “Silicon Valley;” Garry W. Tallent of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; Mark Pender of The Max Weinberg 7 and Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band; and Johnny Pisano of the Jesse Malin Band and The Marky Ramone Band. Members of “Baby Wants Candy” have recently written the hit off-Broadway show “50 Shades! The Musical Parody”.

The producing team behind “Baby Wants Candy” debuted “50 Shades! The Musical Parody” in 2012, playing to sold-out crowds off-Broadway, nationally and internationally. “50 Shades” currently runs in Las Vegas and Japan, and has been translated into more than 12 languages. In 2015, Baby Wants Candy also produced “Thrones! The Musical Parody,” opening to sold-out performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed by a twice-extended run at the Apollo Theater in Chicago as well as the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles. After previews in Los Angeles last spring, “Baby Wants Candy” brings “Shamilton,” the newest improvised musical based on the Broadway smash hit, to Apollo Theater running January 20 – March 31, 2017.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Second City Comedy 2nd To None

There's a reason Second City is a world renowned breeding ground for comedians. They're very good at what they do and have a gazillion famous alums. Still, if you live here in Chicago it's easy to forget the ongoing shows in the onslaught of stellar short runs. So we're going to give a little love to the reigning kings & queens of improv and sketch comedy. 

I was just there a few days ago for a press preview/World Premier of What's Happy Got to Do With It? with the fabulously funny and insightful Doctor G (Author, Deborah Gilboa) in Second City’s ETC Theatre. Thanks to Second City for wining and dining us and hosting this program geared towards parents. Deborah Gilboa has a down to earth persona and an uncanny ability to impart truly useful nuggets of parenting wisdom without coming across as a know it all. Thanks to our friends over at The Silverman Group for the heads up. 

I have a background in improv and theatre arts and actively acted throughout high school, college and a bit beyond, though I never did work for Second City. I can't tell you though how many of my college improv colleagues and Chicago theatre pals have passed through those hallowed halls! Many of them are STILL teaching there and/or can be seen on stage. 

Here's Second City's Up Comedy Club current lineup:

(of course live theatre doesn't technically have a rating system like films, but do note, these shows are self rated "R" and make a better parents' night out than a family foray.)

Click here for all the stand up going down.

Nick Thune


Join the cast of The Second City's Deep Cuts as they navigate the daily apocalypse of the internet age, where the end of the world is simply fodder for top ten lists and worldwide politics are boiled down to philosophical T-Rex memes. Too busy googling your ex-boyfriend to make a new memory at prom? Too many Big Macs ruining your profile smile?  It's easy to go to the hit single, but the deep cuts are where it really gets rewarding.

CAST: Bente Engelstoft, Peter Kim, Kelsey Kinney, Adam Peacock, Dewayne Perkins, Rashawn Nadine Scott
DIRECTOR: Anthony LeBlanc
MUSICALDIRECTOR: Vinnie Pillarella

Follow along with #SCDeepCuts.
90 minutes with a brief intermission.
Suggested Rating: R

The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything 
Open Run
Tuesdays at 8pm
Saturdays & Sundays at 4pm Location:
UP Comedy Club, Piper’s Alley, 3
rd Floor, 230 W North Ave

Tickets: $24 - $29 
Box Office: 230 W North Ave; by phone at 312-662-4562; online at 

From the great books to the worst presidents, The Second City has spent half a century laughing in the face of our past, present and future.  And now it’s all in one show…sort of.  UP Comedy Club presents The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything, a hilarious collection of scenes and songs that skewers everything that you learned in college – or that you should have learned in college on the days you slept in.  

Incomplete Guide is directed by Ryan Bernier with Musical Direction by Vinne Pillarella.  The cast of The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything includes Second City veterans Sayjal Joshi, Shad Kunkle, Beth Melewski, Tim Stoltenberg, Daniel Strauss and Niccole Thurman.

Suggested Rating: R
Run Time: 90 minutes; brief intermission

Second City’s Game Night
Open Run
Wednesdays at 8pm
Location: UP Comedy Club, Piper’s Alley, 3rd Floor, 230 W North Ave
Tickets: $24 
Box Office: 230 W North Ave; by phone at 312-662-4562; online at 
Everyone wins at Second City's Game Night! Get ready to join in the fun with Chicago's best improvisers for an evening of unscripted improvisational comedy. Join in the fun by earning points for your team and playing classic game shows. So raise your hand for a chance to get on stage and to win a prize!
Game Night features Joey Bland, Brendan Dowling, Paul Grondy, Megan Hovde, Tim Paul and Sue Salvi with musical direction by Matthew Cohen. Meghan Teal is the stage manager.

Run Time: 90 minutes; brief intermission

Second City Improv All Stars
Open Run
Mondays at 8pm
Location: UP Comedy Club, Piper’s Alley, 3rd Floor, 230 W North Ave
Tickets: $17 
Box Office: 230 W North Ave; by phone at 312-662-4562; online at 

See Chicago’s finest improvisers under the direction of the legendary Mick Napier in an evening of unscripted and unequaled improvisational comedy.  This show is highly interactive, hilarious and thoroughly original.

Suggested Rating: R
Run Time: 60 minutes

The Second City’s Holidazed and Confused Revue
November 16 – December 27, 2014
Thursdays at 8pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays 8pm and 11pm
Sundays at 7pm
Location: UP Comedy Club, Piper’s Alley, 3rd Floor, 230 W North Ave
Tickets: $24 
Box Office: 230 W North Ave; by phone at 312-662-4562; online at 

UP Comedy Club presents the hilarious sketch comedy show Second City's Holidazed and Confused. Laugh this season with family and friends as Second City skewers all that is right and wrong about the holidays.

Suggested Rating: R
Run Time: 90 minutes; brief intermission.

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