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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Author and “Mother” of Improvisational Theater Viola Spolin of The Second City to Be Honored February 10, 2020

American Writers Museum
to Honor 
Viola Spolin and The Second City
February 10, 2020 at 6:30pm


I have fond memories of my first theatre improvisation class in high school, based on Viola Spolin's work, and discovering the joys of her improv games. I later employed her techniques in college, when I founded Miami University's first troupe, Tower Players Improv, in Oxford, Ohio. The troupe remained in existence over 20 years and won nationwide competitions. I later taught improv classes through the park district in Oxford and The Discovery Center in Cincinnati and Chicago, so she has been an influence of mine for decades. I still see her techniques pop up today in exercises both of my teens have done in numerous theatre productions, camps, and After School Matters programs. Her contributions and influence on theatre arts have been invaluable. 

Join the American Writers Museum as they honor the work of Viola Spolin, author and “mother” of improvisational theater. Ms. Spolin’s groundbreaking work and codification of her theater games into a training method and philosophy eventually led to the creation of The Second City.

The evening will include cocktails at 6:30 PM following by programming that will include opening remarks by museum president Carey Cranston, the unveiling of Ms. Spolin’s ceremonial bookmark to be permanently displayed at the museum, and words by writer and teacher of improvisational theater Aretha Amelia Sills, the granddaughter of Ms. Spolin and daughter of Second City co-founder Paul Sills.

In addition, the event will celebrate The Second City’s 60th anniversary and the release of The Second City: The Essentially Accurate History with an improvised discussion by moderator Mark Bazer (The Interview Show, WTTW) and talent from The Second City. Book signing to follow.

This event is open to the public; however, capacity is limited to 150 attendees. Please RSVP in advance here.

Monday, February 10, 2020
6:30 - 8:30 PM
American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Ave., 2nd Floor 

About Viola Spolin:
There would be no Second City if it were not for the work of Viola Spolin, who created and developed a system of actor training that evolved to become the modern art form of improvisation. Born in 1906, actress, social worker, and educator Viola Spolin became drama supervisor for the Works Progress Administration Recreation Project in Chicago, where she invented a series of games designed to teach dramatics to children and recent immigrants. Formalized under the rubric of “Theater Games,” the exercises gave the children hands-on experience at behaving collaboratively and empathetically.

In the early 1950s, Spolin taught those games to actors working with her son, Paul Sills, at the University of Chicago, where their true potential to develop material and entertain audiences was uncovered. Sills used the new techniques in productions for the Playwrights Theater Club and with the Compass Players, the first improvisational theatre in America. In 1960, Spolin began running improvisation workshops for the cast of The Second City, a still-new theater company Sills co-founded with Bernie Sahlins and Howard Alk.

Spolin remained an active teacher, artist, and writer until her death in 1994. Her 1963 book Improvisation for the Theater remains a classic reference text for teachers of acting and improvisation, as well as across a variety of other fields. The book defends the position that “it is highly possible that what is called talented behavior is simply a greater individual capacity for experiencing.” For more, visit www.violaspolin.org

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 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.

Monday, March 25, 2019

OPENING: The Second City's Greatest Hits to Play UP Comedy Club Along With the Return of Improv Brunch and Salute to Pride

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


The Second City announces a showcase of the Greatest Hits from previous decades with The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 90s Edition, The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 80s Edition, and The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 70s Edition. Each decade will play for a consecutive month on Tuesday and Wednesdays at 8pm, beginning in March 2019 at UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave.

For nearly six decades, The Second City has been the unparalleled comedy launchpad for legions of comedy superstars. The iconic alumni have written and performed countless sketches on Second City’s stages throughout the years, and we are bringing them back to life in a showcase of the decades: The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 90s Edition, The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 80s Edition, and The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 70s Edition.



"The Second City has what is quite possibly the most jam-packed archive in the history of comedy, and, with our 60th anniversary quickly approaching, there is no better time to look back on the many incredible scenes that were created on our stages by some of the funniest people to ever walk this flat earth," said Jen Hoyt, Vice President of Production.

These three shows put a current spin on Second City classics. 90s Edition will feature sketches created by all-star alumni like Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Horatio Sanz. 80s Edition will bring the laughs with material originated by Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Bonnie Hunt, and Tim Meadows. 70s Edition will highlight the work by John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, and John Candy, among many others.



The Second City’s Greatest Hits will perform on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8pm with the following schedule:

90s Edition:  March 2019, July 2019, October 2019
80s Edition:  April 2019, August 2019, November 2019
70s Edition:  May 2019, September 2019



In addition to The Second City’s Greatest Hits, UP Comedy Club is excited to announce the return of The Second City’s Improv Brunch on Sundays at noon, with bottomless mimosas and bottomless laughs beginning on March 24, 2019. To continue the excitement, The Second City’s Salute to Pride show will plant its rainbow flag in UP Comedy Club on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June at 8pm. 



For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.secondcity.com or call 312-337-3992



About The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.

2019 Year of Chicago Theatre
The Second City is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.

Monday, March 18, 2019

OPENING: Canadian Icon Margaret Trudeau to Stage Debut ‘CERTAIN WOMAN OF AN AGE’ at The Second City Mother’s Day Weekend

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Canadian Icon Margaret Trudeau to Stage Debut
Directed by Kimberly Senior 
at The Second City
‘CERTAIN WOMAN OF AN AGE’ 
will run Mother’s Day weekend
 May 9- May 12, 2019


The Second City invites you to celebrate Mother’s Day with Margaret Trudeau, the mother of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In a world premiere engagement, Margaret Trudeau is coming to Chicago to bring her intimate staged performance Certain Woman of an Age exclusively to UP Comedy Club at The Second City, 230 W. North Ave. Co-written by Ms. Trudeau, herself, and directed by Kimberly Senior, this solo performance follows the compelling story of one of the world’s most fascinating figures, chronicling her courageous public and private journeys.

Through vividly told anecdotes recounting her experiences as the mother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former wife of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, catapulting her to feminist icon status, and suffering tremendous personal loss, Ms. Trudeau bravely and humorously paints a surprisingly universal picture that will empower audiences with the perspective that mental illness affects all families, no matter who they are.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of sharing Margaret's story in this intimate setting. Through her courage, insight, and humor, we all stand a little taller and are better able to face the ever-challenging world around us," said director Kimberly Senior.

Co-written by award-winning playwright Alix Sobler, the stripped-down performance will be supported by simple lighting design, projections, and photographs from historic sources as well as Ms. Trudeau’s personal archives. Following 2018’s developmental run of Julia Sweeney: Older & Wider, Certain Woman of an Age is the latest development project from The Second City, and the new work shares a Canadian connection. Canadian Andrew Alexander started the Toronto Second City in 1974, and he and his partner Len Stuart acquired The Second City Chicago in 1985.

“I first met Margaret Trudeau 25 years ago. I was asked to meet her after writing a screenplay which featured her as one of the main characters. The film never happened, but a friendship was born. As the years went by, I realized her real-life story of grace, forgiveness, love, and determination in the face of unspeakable tragedy is a magnificent story of survival and more compelling than any fiction,” said executive producer Diane Alexander. “Margaret is also one of the most charming and funny people I have ever met."

Tickets start at $45 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com. The show schedule is as follows: Thursday, May 9 at 8pm; Friday, May 10 at 8pm; Saturday, May 11 at 8pm; and a special Mother’s Day performance on Sunday, May 12 at 4pm.

About The Artists

Margaret Trudeau
Canadians fell in love with Pierre Elliott Trudeau's beautiful bride when he brought her to the world stage as the youngest First Lady in the history of the country. Yet, as time went by, Margaret was unprepared for public life, and plagued by mood swings. After three sons with Pierre, the marriage ended. She then remarried and had two more children. But the tragic loss of her son, Michel, in a skiing accident and the passing of Pierre Trudeau a few years later were too much to bear, and she became severely ill.

Today, Margaret has rebuilt her life once again. Now, she brings her formidable life story to the stage in her quest to help others, sharing her message of resilience with the goal of helping to inspire others and to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Margaret is the author of four books, including her bestselling title, Changing My Mind, which charts her life’s ups and downs, and her latest title, The Time of Your Life, which offers women an inspirational and practical approach to creating a healthy, happy, secure and satisfying future.

Kimberly Senior is a freelance director and the director of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar. Most recently, Kimberly made her HBO debut with Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Kimberly was awarded the 2016 TCG Alan Schneider Award. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Primary Stages Einhorn Award and 2016 Special Non-Equity Jeff Award for her work as a trailblazer, champion, and role model for emerging artists.

New York Credits: Disgraced (Broadway); Chris Gethard: Career Suicide (Judd Apatow); The Niceties (Manhattan Theatre Club); Sakina's Restaurant (Audible); The Who and The What; Disgraced (LCT3); Discord (Primary Stages); Engagements (Second Stage Uptown). Regional Credits: Christmas at Pemberley (Milwaukee Rep); The Niceties (Huntington and McCarter); Sheltered (Alliance Theatre); Support Group for Men; Disgraced; Rapture, Blister, Burn (Goodman Theatre); Buried Child; The Scene; Marjorie Prime; Diary of Anne Frank; Hedda Gabler; The Letters (Writers Theatre); Other Than Honorable (Geva); Sex with Strangers (The Geffen Playhouse); Disgraced (Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre); The Who and The What (La Jolla Playhouse); Little Gem (City Theatre); Want; and The North Plan (Steppenwolf), among others. She is the proud mother of Noah (12) and Delaney (10). Kimberly is a member of SDC. Find more at kimberlysenior.net.

Alix Sobler is a writer and performer who lives in New York City. Her play Sheltered won the 2018 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and received a world premiere at Alliance Theater in 2018. Other recent work includes The Great Divide, which won the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, was named as a finalist in the Henley Rose Playwriting Competition, and was the runner-up for the 2017 Jane Chambers Award. It received its world premiere in September of 2016 at The Finborough Theatre in London. Her play The Secret Annex was most recently produced at the Segal Centre in Montreal in 2016. It was originally produced in 2014 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. A two-time finalist for the Eugene O’Neill NPC, she has had work read or produced in theaters across North America and England, including Roundabout Theater Company (New York, NY), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), The Print Room (London, UK), The Stratford Festival (Stratford, ON), South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, CA), Theater J (Washington, DC), Gulfshore Playhouse (Naples, FL), Theatre Seven (Chicago, IL), Mad & Merry Theater Company (New York, NY), Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg, MB), Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep (Providence, RI), The Tank (New York, NY), Theatre Or (Minneapolis, MN), and others. BA: Brown University, MFA: Columbia University. Find more at alixsobler.com.

About UP Comedy Club

Since opening its doors as part of The Second City’s resident stages in 2012, UP Comedy Club has developed and produced a diverse array of sketch comedy shows, stand-up performances, festivals, and original works from voices of every kind. Programming has included the box office smash #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment, critic and audience favorite She the People: Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters Doing It for Themselves, The Second City’s Black History Month Show, and The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue. The theater is also home to the annual NBC Universal + The Second City’s Break-Out Comedy Fest, which showcases the hottest emerging and seasoned comedic acts in the worlds of stand-up, sketch, and improv.

Monday, March 11, 2019

OPENING: NEW She the People: The Resistance Continues at Second City

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Revamped She the People Re-Conquers UP Comedy Club at The Second City



I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's infamous Second City for the relaunch of The Second City's She The People: The Resistance Continues on March 14th, so check back soon for my full review. She The People is one of my favorite Second City shows to date and I can't wait to see the new material they've added. The women of She the People are breaking ceilings and taking names. If you've heard the old cliche that feminists are humorless, you'll never believe it again. This show is fierce, funny and unapologetically feminist. You'll never look at advertising, pop culture, and dating quite the same way again. Don't miss this! 

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara (AKA: ChiIL Mama) and Chicago artist, Kathy Blankley Roman, ChiILin' at the press opening of Chi, IL's She The People, January 2018.



The Second City’s knockout show She the People: The Resistance Continues is electrifying UP Comedy Club with a refreshed name, updated material, new cast members, and all of its signature witty, empowering bite. The all-female, all-funny show directed by Carly Heffernan welcomes Mary Catherine Curran, Sayjal Joshi, and Kaye Winks who join original cast members Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, and Katie Caussin.

“The Second City has never been lacking for new material, and just like entertainment juggernaut Blue Man Group or the most recent tour of Miss Saigon, art must evolve to stay true and relevant and inspiring to its audience,” said Second City CEO and Executive Producer Andrew Alexander. “People coming back to She the People for the second or third time will be delighted to see that about half of the show is brand new.”

"Our goal is, and always has been, to satirize the woes of being a woman in this wild world while also empowering the audience to take a stand and make real change. The show bounces around everything our writing team knows are hot button topics these days--dating, body positivity, motherhood, and what might prove to be the most important election of our lifetime. It's a call to action bundled up inside a party, and we're all proud to be part of it." says director and head writer Carly Heffernan.

She the People first hit The Second City in September 2017. After its smash run in UP Comedy Club, the show brought its tour-de-female-force to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, where it earned a Helen Hayes award nomination and became the highest grossing show in the theatre’s history. “It’s a fast-paced, wild ride of a show that throws off sparks,” said MD Theatre Guide. DC Metro called the show “a dip into the often hilariously unbelievable or absurd situations that women– queer women, women of color, plus-sized women– find themselves in on a daily basis, and it does so not just playfully, but with a deep intelligence and purpose that never veers into the pedantic.”

She the People was originally written by Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, Marla Caceres, Katie Caussin, Carly Heffernan, Maria Randazzo, Rashawn Nadine Scott, Tien Tran, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn, and Lauren Walker. Additional material for the re-launched production was written by Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, Katie Caussin, Mary Catherine Curran, Carly Heffernan, Alexis J. Roston, and Kaye Winks.  Other team members include Mary Mahoney (Music Director/Original Music/Sound Designer), Abby Beggs (Lighting Designer), and Jaci Entwisle (Stage Manager).

She the People plays in The Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 West North Avenue). Tickets start at $31.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com

The show schedule is as follows:

Thursdays @ 8:00pm
Fridays @ 8:00pm
Saturdays @ 8:00pm
Sundays @ 7:00pm

About the Artists
CARISA BARRECA (Ensemble/Assistant Director/Choreographer) is thrilled to be a part of She the People. She is an alumna of The Second City's e.t.c. stage, where she wrote and performed in three critically acclaimed revues. She has had the honor of performing at Lyric Opera of Chicago
with Sir Patrick Stewart and Renée Fleming in The Second City's Guide to the Opera, at Goodman Theatre and the Kennedy Center with Twist Your Dickens and wrote and performed in Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City's collaboration The Art of Falling. Follow her @Cinderisa.

ALEX BELLISLE (Ensemble) is thrilled to be working on She the People! A Chicago-based actress and comedian, Alex is one-half of the improv and sketch duo Girlish, which has performed its self-titled show around the country, including at the New York International Fringe Festival. Other credits include The Best of The Second City, Feminine Wilds, PANTS!, No Selfie Control and Just Being Honest. Alex can be seen performing with various improv groups around Chicago, including Gone Gone at The iO Theater.

KATIE CAUSSIN (Ensemble) is originally from Springfield, VA, and received her degree in Theater from Radford University. She has been an actor in Chicago for over 20 years, many of them with The Second City as part of their Touring Company and Theatricals shows. Most recently, she returned from a month-long run of She the People at the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington, D.C.  Previously, she appeared as Mrs. Cratchit in Twist Your Dickens at Goodman Theater and toured around the US in The Realish Housewives of (Your City Here). Katie has also performed with Second City for the USO in the Balkans and at both the iO and Annoyance theaters in Chicago. On camera, Katie has appeared in an episode of Chicago Justice on NBC and has been featured on the Onion Network’s Special Report webseries.

MARY CATHERINE CURRAN (Ensemble) is so excited to join this cast of badass women! MC studied Theatre Performance at the University of Maryland and trained at The Second City Conservatory and iO Theater in Chicago. She has improvised, written, performed, and directed shows all over Chicago, at the Annoyance (Steamworks, Bite Size Broadway, Burlesque is More) and iO (Virgin Daiquiri, Lil' Tooties, One Woman Space Jam). MC just finished the debut run of The Second City's Love Factually at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Follow @itismarycatherine on Insta and @yomarycatherine on Twitter for great content.

SAYJAL JOSHI (Ensemble) hails from North Carolina where she earned her BA in theater from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and co-founded Greensboro’s first improv comedy club, The Idiot Box. For sixteen years, she has been writing, performing, and teaching theater, sketch, improv, film, guitar comedy, and stand-up all over the universe. Credits include The Second City e.t.c., the Kennedy Center, Goodman Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Zanie’s Comedy Club, The Laugh Factory, The Second City Touring Company, The Annoyance Theater, iO (formally Improv Olympic), ComedySportz, Laugh Out Loud Theater, and the critically acclaimed Asian-American sketch ensemble Stir-Friday Night. Follow her @SayjalJoshi.

KAYE WINKS (Ensemble) is #blessed to be alongside the fabulous ladles of She the People! Kaye trained with the Moscow Art Theater. She recently performed her hit solo show TOKEN to sold-out audiences at The Second City Training Center and toured it to UCB LA, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, and United Solo Theater Fest In NYC. She is proudly repped by Shirley Hamilton and NV Talent.

CARLY HEFFERNAN (Director/Head Writer) is an award-winning alumna of The Second City
Toronto, where she wrote and performed in four Mainstage revues. She recently co-wrote the hit show The Second City Guide to the Symphony and toured with it across Canada and the United States. She directed the critically acclaimed Second City Toronto Mainstage revue Come What Mayhem!, as well as for The Second City Touring Company and several Norwegian Cruise Line shows. Carly currently writes for Second Jen (City TV), The Irrelevant Show (CBC Radio) and Air Farce Canada 150 special (CBC).

MARY MAHONEY (Music Director/Original Music/Sound Design) is thrilled to be working with the talented women of She the People. Mary has worked as a Musical Director for sketch and improv comedy all over the continent while touring with Second City Theatricals aboard the Norwegian Dawn and with The Second City Touring Company. A former music faculty member of Western Washington University, she is now a proud faculty member at The Second City Training Center.

ABBY BEGGS (Lighting Design) is excited to be joining The Second City on this show. When she's not in the booth at The Second City, she can be found stage managing, directing, and composing music for theater around town. Stage management credits include: L’enfant et les Sortilèges, L’incoronazione di Poppea (Roosevelt University), The Out of Tooners (Off-Color Theatre Company}, Gallo (Guerilla Opera), Blue Window (Brown Box Theatre Project), The Scene, Good People, and Barefoot in the Park (Dorset Theatre Festival), among others.

JACI ENTWISLE (Stage Manager) is excited to return to Second City for She the People, having
previously worked on #DateMe in UP Comedy Club, as well as on stage management teams in
Sonoma (Transcendence Theatre Company), Philadelphia (Quintessence Theatre Group) and
Chicago (Goodman Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theater).




About The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

World Collide As Legendary Comedy Empire The Second City Partners With Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019

Save the Dates:

The Second City Appearing at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago
April 11-15, 2019 at McCormick Place


Legendary comedy empire The Second City will bring its world-famous brand of entertainment to thousands of fans at Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019. What’s more, The Second City will also be hosting Star Wars-themed performances at their iconic theater in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, which can be easily reached by public transportation or speeder-sharing services.

Alumni of The Second City include some of the world’s foremost comedy superstars, including Dan Aykroyd, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, Martin Short, and many more (not to mention many of the current and past cast members of Saturday Night Live).

Star Wars Celebration Chicago, the ultimate Star Wars fan festival, is slated as a 5-day show taking place April 11-15, 2019 at McCormick Place. Celebration is the place for Star Wars fans to gather with their global community, make memories with friends old and new, and revel in the past, present and future of the greatest galactic saga ever told. Spend a weekend immersed in a Star Wars experience featuring cast and crew appearances, Star Wars cosplay at its finest, exclusive merchandise, live entertainment, screenings, behind-the-scenes panels, select exhibits, and never-before-seen glimpses into the future of Star Wars!



Please visit StarWarsCelebration.com for more exciting details about The Second City’s featured content at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

Monday, June 4, 2018

FINAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED for the 4th Annual NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival at The Second City's UP Comedy Club

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

The Second City announces lineup for the
4th Annual NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival
Hosted by Godfrey, David Pompeii and Azhar Usman
June 7 - 9 at Second City’s UP Comedy Club




The Second City announces the lineup for the NBCUniversal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival, which spotlights rising talent from across the country. The festival will be hosted by incomparable comic Godfrey (Comedy Central, VH1, BET), Second City alumnus David Pompeii (Comedy Central, Key and Peele) and special guest Azhar Usman (Comedy Cellar of NY).

“The Second City Diversity and Inclusion program was formally introduced over 25 years ago as part of Second City’s ongoing mission. The Bob Curry and Break Out Festival events, which are the centerpieces of the initiative and a vital part of the overall programming at Second City, are not to be missed. The weekend is exploding with fresh, diverse voices,” said Dionna Griffin-Irons, Director of Diversity Talent and Development. “The stories and narratives that will be seen on stage June 6-9 at Second City are the perfect antidote to the political and social climate in America these days.”

4th Annual NBCUniversal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival
Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
June 7 - 9, 2018
Tickets: $10-$25, 312-337-3992, www.secondcity.com

Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm ($20-$25): Hosted by David Pompeii
with special guest Azhar Usman
Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at 7:30pm and 10pm ($20-$25): Hosted by Godfrey
Saturday, June 9 at midnight ($10): Hosted by Azhar Usman

Back for its fourth year, this dynamic partnership with NBCUniversal and Second City will again showcase some of the hottest emerging and seasoned diverse comedic acts in stand-up, sketch and improv from around the country. This year’s Break Out Comedy Festival features hosts Godfrey (Comedy Central, VH1, BET), David Pompeii (Comedy Central, Key and Peele), Azhar Usman (Comedy Cellar of NY).

On Thursday, June 7, 7:30pm, Second City alum, David Pompeii will host with special guest Azhar Usman. Veteran Chicago stand-up comics will perform, along with up-and-coming new talent. Performers include newcomer Vincent Bryant Second City trained comedians Anthony Bonanza, Joel Boyd, Amy Ramelli and Lauren Walker, award-winning journalist Mariam Sobh (WBBM radio), Marz Timms (founder of Pimprov), and Bob Curry Fellowship Toronto alum Carol Zoccoli.

Friday, June 8, 7:30pm and 10pm, will be hosted by Godfrey with introductory emcee Alex Kumin (Chicago Reader’s Stand Out Comics to Watch). The show will feature Second City alum Mona Aburmishan, Jayson Acevedo and Stephanie Branco (Second City’s Urban Twist), current Bob Curry fellow Aaron Branch, newcomer Max Desolhn, Adam Mamawala (Funny or Die’s Top 30 Under 30 Comedians to Watch), Naperville native Vik Pandya, Felonious Munk (Blipster Life, Comedy Central), and Wisconsin comic Esteban Touman,

The Saturday, June 9, 7:30pm and 10pm performance will be hosted by Godfrey and will include introduction emcee Alex Kumin, Kerry Codett (BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), New York-based comic Paul Elia (Conan), Houston comic Mickey Housley, Chicago comedians TMurph, Calvin Evans and Shannon Noll, Azhar Usman and Toronto-based comedian Carol Zoccoli.

On Saturday, June 9, midnight, the late night show will be hosted by Azhar Usman and will feature up to five performers who be selected from the Break Out Stand Up Social event earlier that day.

All shows will also feature select graduates of the Bob Curry Fellowship Program.

Break Out Stand Up Social Event
Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
Saturday, June 9th
12pm - 2pm
FREE Event

Break Out Comedy Festival’s panel and social event for newcomers and emerging comics to network, connect with local and out of state comedians to compete for a chance to perform in Saturday’s Late Night (midnight) show, hosted by Azhar Usman. Up to five comics will be selected after the panel event to share their material and set for selection.

The Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase
Second City’s e.t.c. Theater (230 W North Ave, 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
Wednesday, June 6 at 8pm
Tickets, $15, 312-337-3992, www.secondcity.com

The 5th annual cohort of the Bob Curry Fellowship program, comprised of 16 of the best and brightest new voices in comedy, will perform together in the Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase, directed by Second City Co-Artistic Director, Matt Hovde. The showcase will highlight ten weeks of master improv training, with original material and best of Second City archival scenes.

The 2018 Bob Curry Fellows are: Angela Alise, Trumane Alston, Damian Anaya, Aaron Branch, Menaka Delekar, Jillian Ebanks, George Elrod, Steve Han, Maya Haughton, Javid Iqbal, Asia Martin, Julia Morales, Yazmin Ramos, Ana Silva, Max Thomas and Shadee Vossonghi.

Building upon a unique partnership established with Universal Television, the Bob Curry Fellowship is a professional mentoring and development program focused on cultivating the best new voices in improv and sketch comedy. A highly competitive and rigorous process, applicants must audition to be considered for the program. In 2018, over 250 applicants submitted with sixteen diverse actors and improvisers from a diverse, array of multicultural, ethnic backgrounds being selected. The Bob Curry Fellowship is offered bi-annually at Second City Toronto, and an inaugural program launches at The Second City Hollywood this summer.

The success of The Bob Curry Fellowship program is felt on Second City’s stages, as several participants in the fellowship have been cast in The Second City’s professional companies. Tyler Davis and Tien Tran are graduates of the fellowship who now perform in the current Second City Chicago Mainstage production of Dream Freaks Fall from Space, with numerous other fellows touring with the Second City Touring Company and Second City Theatricals.

About Bob Curry
Bob Curry was Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor and director. In 1966, Curry became the first African-American to join The Second City’s resident company before joining what evolved into the first-ever touring company. In 1986, he received a Jeff Award for the Northlight Theatre production of Boesman and Lenam, tying for Best Supporting Actor with Danny Glover. An inspired director, Curry coached many actors of color in the Chicago theatre community on several projects, and he directed Paul Robeson at Kennedy-King College shortly before his death in 1994.

About NBCUniversal Talent Development & Inclusion
NBCUniversal Talent Development & Inclusion hosts a variety of programs and events and partners with other entertainment entities to develop, nurture, showcase and provide networking opportunities for new and diverse actors, writers, directors and other talent.  The programs include Late Night Writers Workshop, NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, NBCU Emerging Directors Program, Writers on the Verge, StandUp NBC, Scene Showcase, the Casting Apprentice Program and the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, among others.  For more information, please log onto www.nbcunitips.com.

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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Second City’s UP Comedy Club To Host 5th Annual Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase and 4th Annual NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival This June

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

The Second City presents
5th Annual Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase
Wednesday, June 6 at 8 pm in Second City’s e.t.c. Theater



4th Annual NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival
Hosted by Godfrey, David Pompeii and Azhar Usman
June 7 - 9 at Second City’s UP Comedy Club


The Second City will bring diverse new voices to the forefront of the comedy world with a series of events June 6 - 9, 2018. The weekend kicks off with the 5th annual Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase, featuring 16 of the best and brightest new voices in comedy. The 4th annual NBCUniversal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival, which spotlights rising talent from across the country, will be hosted by incomparable comic Godfrey (Comedy Central, VH1, BET), Second City alumnus David Pompeii (Comedy Central, Key and Peele) and special guest Azhar Usman (Comedy Cellar of NY).

“The Diversity and Inclusion program was formally introduced over 25 years ago as part of Second City’s ongoing mission. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the Bob Curry and Break Out Festival events, which are the centerpieces of the initiative and a vital part of the overall programming at Second City,” said Dionna Griffin-Irons, Director of Diversity Talent and Development. “No fan of comedy should miss out on this weekend exploding with fresh, diverse voices.”

The Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase
Second City’s e.t.c. Theater (230 W North Ave, 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
Wednesday, June 6 at 8pm
Tickets, $15, 312-337-3992, www.secondcity.com

The 5th annual cohort of the Bob Curry Fellowship program, comprised of 16 of the best and brightest new voices in comedy, will perform together in the Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase, directed by Second City Co-Artistic Director, Matt Hovde. The showcase will highlight ten weeks of master improv training, with original material and best of Second City archival scenes.

The 2018 Bob Curry Fellows are: Angela Alise, Trumane Alston, Damian Anaya, Aaron Branch, Menaka Delekar, Jillian Ebanks, George Elrod, Steve Han, Maya Haughton, Jarid Igbal, Asia Martin, Julia Morales, Yazmin Ramos, Ana Silva, Max Thomas and Shadee Vossonghi.

Building upon a unique partnership established with Universal Television, the Bob Curry Fellowship is a professional mentoring and development program focused on cultivating the best new voices in improv and sketch comedy. A highly competitive and rigorous process, applicants must audition to be considered for the program. In 2018, over 250 applicants submitted with sixteen diverse actors and improvisers from a diverse, array of multicultural, ethnic backgrounds being selected. The Bob Curry Fellowship is offered bi-annually at Second City Toronto, and an inaugural program launches at The Second City Hollywood this summer.

The success of The Bob Curry Fellowship program is felt on Second City’s stages, as several participants in the fellowship have been cast in The Second City’s professional companies. Tyler Davis and Tien Tran are graduates of the fellowship who now perform in the current Second City Chicago Mainstage production of Dream Freaks Fall from Space, with numerous other fellows touring with the Second City Touring Company and Second City Theatricals.

4th Annual NBCUniversal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival
Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
June 7 - 9, 2018
Tickets: $10-$25, 312-337-3992, www.secondcity.com

Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm ($20-$25): Hosted by David Pompeii
with special guest Azhar Usman
Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at 7:30pm and 10pm ($20-$25): Hosted by Godfrey
Saturday, June 9 at midnight ($10): Hosted by Azhar Usman

Back for its fourth year, this dynamic partnership with NBCUniversal and Second City will again showcase some of the hottest emerging and seasoned diverse comedic acts in stand-up, sketch and improv from around the country. This year’s Break Out Comedy Festival includes hosts Godfrey (Comedy Central, VH1, BET), David Pompeii (Comedy Central, Key and Peele), Azhar Usman (Comedy Cellar of NY) and a lineup of Chicago favorites and emerging comedic acts.

On Thursday, June 7, veteran Chicago stand-up comics Calvin Evans and Alex Kumin will perform, along with up-and-coming new talent. Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 performances will include New York-based comics Paul Elia (Conan), Adam Mamawala (Funny or Die’s Top 30 Under 30 Comedians to Watch) and Kerry Codett (BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Toronto-based comedian Carol Zoccoli and newcomer Max Desolhn from Seattle. All shows will also feature select graduates of the Bob Curry Fellowship Program.

About Bob Curry
Bob Curry was Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor and director. In 1966, Curry became the first African-American to join The Second City’s resident company before joining what evolved into the first-ever touring company. In 1986, he received a Jeff Award for the Northlight Theatre production of Boesman and Lenam, tying for Best Supporting Actor with Danny Glover. An inspired director, Curry coached many actors of color in the Chicago theatre community on several projects, and he directed Paul Robeson at Kennedy-King College shortly before his death in 1994.

About NBCUniversal Talent Development & Inclusion
NBCUniversal Talent Development & Inclusion hosts a variety of programs and events and partners with other entertainment entities to develop, nurture, showcase and provide networking opportunities for new and diverse actors, writers, directors and other talent.  The programs include Late Night Writers Workshop, NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, NBCU Emerging Directors Program, Writers on the Verge, StandUp NBC, Scene Showcase, the Casting Apprentice Program and the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, among others.  For more information, please log onto www.nbcunitips.com.

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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

OPENING: Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider to run in The Second City’s e.t.c. Theater April 24 – May 30, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Sweeney moves to a resident stage after a live workshop process at The Second City


SNL vet Julia Sweeney’s one-woman show Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider will move to The Second City's e.t.c. stage for a six-week run beginning April 24, 2018. Sweeney has been honing her first-ever stand-up show in front of live audiences since she began a January workshop run in one of Second City’s studio theater spaces. Julia Sweeney: Old and Wider will run on the e.t.c. stage at The Second City April 24 – May 30, 2018. 

“It turns out I had to do five years on SNL to make it to The Second City, and that’s alright with me! This is truly a dream come true,” said Sweeney. “I’d always considered myself a comedic monologist, but it occurred to me that I was so close to doing stand-up that I should just take that step...My show is observational and strewn with funny stories. I’m older and yes, a wee bit wider, but I think you’ll laugh and have a good time.”

Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider
Schedule: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8pm April 24-May 30; Saturdays & Sundays at 4pm April 29-May 27

Running Time: 90 minutes

Location: The Second City’s e.t.c. Theater, 230 W North Ave, 2rd Floor of Piper’s Alley, Chicago

Tickets: Tickets start at $26 for general admission with premium rail seating also available. Special rates for students.

Box Office: 230 W. North Ave, 1st Floor, Piper's Alley. By phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com.

About Julia Sweeney
Called “a consummate storyteller with exquisite comic timing” by Variety, Julia Sweeney is a writer, actor, comedian, director, and monologist. Perhaps most recognized as a Saturday Night Live cast member from 1990 to 1995, she created and popularized the androgynous character “Pat.” Sweeney is also adored for her comedic and dramatic (and usually both at the same time) monologues, including God Said Ha!, which she staged across the country, as well as on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater. The film version was produced by Quentin Tarantino and premiered at the 1998 South by Southwest Film Festival, and the accompanying comedy album was nominated for a Grammy. Sweeney's second monologue, In the Family Way, played in New York and LA and was ultimately developed into a memoir, If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. Her third monologue, Letting Go of God, was adapted into a film that aired on Showtime. Sweeney is also a cancer survivor, an outspoken secular humanist, and the proud mother of a teenage daughter.

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 theater 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 the Chicago Bulls.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

OPENING: GASLIGHT DISTRICT The Second City e.t.c.'s 42nd REVUE

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:



Here at ChiIL Live Shows we know Chicago style improv and sketch comedy is second to none. We'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's renowned Second City this Friday for the press opening of GASLIGHT DISTRICT, The Second City e.t.c.'s 42nd REVUE. These are some seriously funny actors and we can't wait.  

From aliens to the alienated, savage roasts to distorted boasts, The Second City e.t.c.’s 42 revue invites you along on a frenzied frolic that translates our modern world into the common language of laughter.  Clear your mind, open your eyes and hail one wild rideshare to a place where the truth isn’t just out there, it’s waaaay out there.

PERFORMANCES:
Thursdays at 8pm
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm and 11pm
Sundays at 7pm

This performance runs about 2 hours with one 10 minute intermission and should be considered rated R.

Groups of 16 or more can visit our Group Events page for party package options. Contact our Group Sales Department for more information on rates and catering options. Phone: 312-337-3992. E-mail: groups@secondcity.com

For more information and to book your tickets click HERE.





The cast for the 42nd revue:
Returning ensemble members Sayjal Joshi, Alan Linic, Andrew Knox, Jasbir Singh Vazquez, and Jacob Shuda (Musical Director) will be joined by new cast members Emily Fightmaster and Katie Kershaw.

Second City Touring Company director Anneliese Toft will direct her first resident company revue.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

OPENING: The Second City's She the People Is Back at Up Comedy Club 1/11-4/1/18

The Second City presents the return of
The Second City’s She the People: 
Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters 
Doing it for Themselves


The hit sketch show is back to take on women’s issues with wit and wisdom
January 11 – April 1, 2018
*Run Time: 100 minutes (2 Acts with a brief intermission)**

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we love sketch comedy and funny women. Can't wait to catch this remount of The Second City’s hit, She The People.

Back by popular demand, The Second City’s She the People: Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters Doing It for Themselves, a sketch show created, designed and performed entirely by the women of Second City, returns to the stage in 2018. Under the direction of Carly Heffernan with musical direction by Mary Mahoney, She the People runs January 11 – April 1, 2018, in The Second City’s UP Comedy Club. Tickets start at $26 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at (312) 662-4562 or online at www.secondcity.com. UP Comedy Club is located on the 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley at 230 W North Ave, Chicago.

We’ll bet you 72 cents on the dollar (or much, much less!) you’ll cheer for the women of The Second City as they roast the patriarchy! This mimosa-and-madness-fueled foray takes on everything from having it all to having that sick feeling your government is trying to send you back to the Middle Ages. It’s time for women everywhere to collectively reclaim comedy!

She the People is written by Carisa Barreca, Marla Caceres, Carly Heffernan, Tien Tran and Lauren Walker. Casting will be announced at a later date. 

She the People plays on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm at UP Comedy Club, located at 230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley, Chicago. Tickets, starting at $26, 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 www.secondcity.com.

About the Artists
CARLY HEFFERNAN (Director) is an award-winning alumna of The Second City Toronto, where she wrote and performed in four Mainstage revues. She recently co-wrote the hit show The Second City Guide to the Symphony and toured with it across Canada and the United States. She directed the critically acclaimed Second City Toronto Mainstage revue Come What Mayhem!, as well as The Second City Touring Company and several Norwegian Cruise Line shows. Carly currently writes for Second Jen (CityTV), The Irrelevant Show (CBC Radio) and Air Farce Canada 150 special (CBC).

MARY MAHONEY (Music Direction/ Sound Design) has worked as a Musical Director for sketch and improv comedy all over the continent while touring with Second City Theatricals aboard the Norwegian Dawn and The Second City Touring Company. A former music faculty member of Western Washington University, she is now a faculty member at The Second City Training Center.

ABBY BEGGS (Lighting Design) When she’s not in the booth at The Second City, she can be found stage managing, directing and composing music for theatre around town. Stage management credits include: L'enfant et les Sortilèges, L'incoronazione di Poppea (Roosevelt University), The Out of Tooners (Off-Color Theatre Company), Gallo (Guerilla Opera), Blue Window (Brown Box Theatre Project), The Scene, Good People and Barefoot in the Park (Dorset Theatre Festival), among others.

Tickets: Starting at $26
Groups of 16 visit the Group Events page for party package options.

Box Office: 230 W. North Ave, First Floor, Piper's Alley
phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com.

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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

RETURNING: TOKEN, KAYE WINKS’ SOLO SHOW AT SECOND CITY TRAINING CENTER’S BLACKOUT CABARET 10/22/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

TOKEN, 
KAYE WINKS’ SOLO SHOW 
ABOUT BEING A LONE BLACK PERSON IN 
A WORLD OF WHITE,
RETURNS OCTOBER 22 AT SECOND CITY TRAINING CENTER’S BLACKOUT CABARET WITH Q&A HOSTED BY ERICA MANN RAMIS


Kaye Winks’ timely one-woman show Token is returning to The Second City Training Center for a one-night-only performance Sunday, October 22 at 8 p.m., followed by a Q&A hosted by Erica Mann Ramis, a member of Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School Advisory Board and facilitated by diversity trainer Jim Lew.



Token returns to The Second City Training Center after enjoying a sold-out run in its Judy’s Beat Lounge in May-June 2017 and touring to UCB Los Angeles, the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas, and United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City in August.

In 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 satiric 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, directed by Schoen Smith, will be presented in The Blackout Cabaret at the Second City Training Center, 230 W. North Ave., 2nd floor, Chicago. Tickets are $13. For tickets and information, visit secondcity.com or call (312) 337-3992. 













Actual moments when Kaye Winks was the token black.


More about Token
“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 ‘telling it like it is.’”

The performance will be followed by a Q&A with Winks hosted by Erica Mann Ramis, wife of the late Second City alum and Hollywood icon Harold Ramis, and director Schoen Smith, facilitated by diversity trainer Jim Lew. The Q&A will serve as a town-hall type discussion of the show. Ramis attended a performance of Token in June and was inspired to get involved in hosting a dialogue with the audience.

“It’s such a brilliant and important piece, especially right now,” says Ramis.

Don’t miss Winks’ hilarious and relevant 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, followed by a lively Q&A.



Kaye Winks has been a token black since the day she was born in Midwestern suburbia 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 May/June 2017, she directed a sold-out, month long run of Token at The Second City Chicago. 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 former Director of Development for Collaboraction and the VP of Development for Venture Hill Entertainment, LLC.

Erica Mann Ramis (presenter), a writer, producer and philanthropist, was born in Los Angeles, CA and moved to Chicago over 20 years ago with her late husband, Harold Ramis, and their two children, Julian and Daniel. Erica currently serves as an active member of the Advisory Board for The Harold Ramis Film School, and was recently a featured artist in Chicago's PEACEBOOK Festival, for which a scene from her first play, Quiet Time, was produced at the Goodman Theatre. Erica co-produced, Joffrey - Mavericks of American Dance, a documentary about the Joffrey Ballet in 2012, and is currently collaborating on a yet-to-be titled film project about her late husband. Erica enjoys books, music, movies, meditation, and spending time with friends and family. She is an advocate for education, social justice and women's rights around the world.

Jim Lew (Q&A facilitator) has training experience that goes back years to his work with educational organizations and business since 1982. Currently his work in the important field of Diversity Awareness Training fills most of his time. Jim's background as an Asian-American, raised in the heartland of the Texas panhandle and later, Kansas, his experience learning to succeed socially to become president of his student-body at Grinnell College, his work in the public housing projects of Chicago and with the Indians of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota all contribute to an ability not only to empathize with the experience of people of every cultural group, but also to help build the bridges that can lead to real growth and acceptance among a whole workforce.

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

OPENING: 106th Mainstage Revue at The Second City This Month

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

The Second City Announces Casting For 
The 106th Mainstage Revue


The all-new show will be written and performed by second-time cast member Kelsey Kinney and new cast members Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone, Jeff Award winner Ryan Bernier returns to direct his sixth resident show.

ChiIL Live Shows will be out for the press opening October 26th, so check back soon for our full review. I fell in love with Chicago style improv in high school, when I first took a class through my school. I went on to found, perform with, and direct Tower Players Improv Troupe at Miami University in Oxford, OH during 3 of my undergrad years. The troupe went on to last over 20 years. Now I'm on the audience side of the stage, and love reviewing shows of every conceivable genre, all over town, but it's fun to come back to those improv and comedy roots. 

In one of the comedy industry’s most anticipated traditions, iconic Chicago comedy institution The Second City is proud to announce the cast of their upcoming 106th Mainstage revue, set to open in October, 2017.

The all-new show will be written and performed by second-time cast member Kelsey Kinney and new cast members Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone, Jeff Award winner Ryan Bernier returns to direct his sixth resident show. Vinnie Pillarella will follow up his turn as music director for the current Mainstage production, as will longtime stage manager Craig Taylor, who has been at the technical helm of shows featuring legendary alumni including Chris Farley, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert over the course of his storied career at The Second City.

The title of the 106th Mainstage revue will be announced at a later date. The producing team includes Andrew Alexander (CEO & Executive Producer), Steve Johnston (President), D'Arcy Stuart (Chief Operations Officer), Brian Loevner (Managing Producer), Alison Riley (Producer), Jeremy Smith (Line Producer), and Lesley Stone (Associate Producer).

Tickets for The Second City’s 106th Mainstage Revue start at $19.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com.

The show schedule is as follows:
Tuesday - Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Sunday @ 7:00 p.m.

The Second City is located at 1616 N. Wells Street, Chicago.

About the Artists
RYAN ASHER (Ensemble) is from Charlottesville VA, and received her BFA in theater performance at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ryan was a member of The Second City Touring Company and appears this 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 has performed with The Second City Touring Company, as well in 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.

KELSEY KINNEY (Ensemble) is a Cleveland native and current cast member in The Second City’s 105th Mainstage revue, The Winner…of Our Discontent. She is a former member of The Second City Touring Company and appeared in The Second City’s Summer Blockbuster: Now in 4-D! at UP Comedy Club.

JEFFREY MURDOCH (Ensemble) was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area and attended the University of Michigan. Over the last eight years, he has performed at the Upstairs Gallery, iO, The Annoyance, and was a member of The Second City Touring Company.

TIEN TRAN (Ensemble) is graduate of Boston College, a 2016 Second City Bob Curry Fellow, and has most recently been performing in The Second City’s 41st e.t.c. revue, Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno. Prior to her time on Second City’s resident stage, she toured with The Second City and Slate’s Unelectable You. As a stand-up, she’s performed throughout the city and was featured at the 2016 Second City NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival and SCOUT Festival.

NATE VARRONE (Ensemble) is from Columbus, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University. He has 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.

RYAN BERNIER (Director)’s recent directing credits at The Second City include Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Un, Jeff Award-nominated revues Panic on Cloud 9 and A Clown Car Named Desire (Best Revue, Best Director), the Jeff Award-winning We’re All in This Room Together (Best Revue, Best Director), and Second City: America All Better!! at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Helen Hayes Award-nominated). He was recently awarded Suffolk University’s 10 Under 10 honor. Ryan directs at the Improv Asylum in Boston and teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

VINNIE PILLARELLA (Musical Direction, Original Music, Sound Design) is a Chicago native and is the current musical force behind The Second City’s 105th Mainstage revue, The Winner…of Our Discontent. 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 more than 35 revues for The Second City and has been asked to provide the impossible for numerous Second City directors.

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