Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicago Live! Returns for Second Season

Straight off its inaugural fall season, the Chicago Tribune, in partnership with The Second City, is thrilled to announce the renewal of CHICAGO LIVE! and welcome The Nielsen Company as a Season Two sponsor. Jam-packed with comedy, musical performances and commentary, CHICAGO LIVE! is a live stage show, taped for WGN Radio, that showcases who and what is making news in Chicago. Featuring topical comedy sketches by members of the award-winning Second City, interviews with front-page newsmakers and athletes, and rare, up-close performances by talent typically headlining theater and music club stages, CHICAGO LIVE! has been confirmed for four six-week seasons at the intimate Chicago Theatre Downstairs, 175 N. State Street, Thursday evenings at 6:30pm beginning February 10 and running through November 17. Following each show will be a "meet and mingle" reception with the cast.

Hosted by Rick Kogan, a veteran Chicago reporter, author and radio/TV personality, CHICAGO LIVE! is a fast-paced 60-minute program, building a bridge between the newsroom and the audience. Utilizing the abundance of talent from each institution, the live shows are taped for broadcast (and podcast) on WGN Radio (720AM) Saturdays at 11pm. Show recaps and behind-the-scenes footage are also available at

Launched in October 2010 for a pilot six-week season, CHICAGO LIVE! presented a variety of local and national celebrities and newsmakers and plans to continue the same caliber of entertainment in Season Two. A sampling of the guests already confirmed for Season Two include Steve "Mongo" McMichael, a member of the Bears '85 Super Bowl team and head coach of the Chicago Slaughter (Chicago's Indoor Football League team), Michael Orlove from the Chicago Tourism Fund, and musician Psalm One (February 10); actor Michael Patrick Thornton from The Dilemma and Private Practice, Chicago Auto Show Chairman Kevin Mize and jazz singer Tammi McCann (February 17); Alinea chef and author Grant Achatz, comedian Will Durst, and cabaret singer Ava Logan (February 24); blues musician Rob Stone and Poetry Slam founder Marc Smith (March 3); City Provisions owner Cleetus Friedman and founder/director of Interfaith Youth Core Eboo Patel (March 10); and Irish musician Paddy Homan (March 17). Additional talent will be announced continually throughout the season.

Tickets for CHICAGO LIVE! are on sale now and priced at $20 and include a meet & mingle reception (with cash bar) following each taping. Tickets are available at The Chicago Theatre box office, 175 N. State Street, all Ticketmaster outlets, and Ticketmaster phone charge (800) 745-3000 or can be purchased online at and For more information or to download a podcast of all CHICAGO LIVE! programs, please visit

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stephen Colbert Delivers Northwestern Commencement

Second City alum Stephen Colbert has been confirmed to speak to the 2011 graduating class at Northwestern University. Colbert graduated from NU's School of Communication in 1986 with a degree in theater after transferring from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia as a junior. While at NU, Colbert performed with a student improvisation group alongside actor David Schwimmer. For more information, click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Andrew Alexander Listed in Top Ten of Chicago Theater Leaders

Second City CEO/Executive Producer, Andrew Alexander has been listed in the top ten of New City's Annual List of The Players – The 50 People Who Really Perform in Chicago Theater. He's recognized for leadership and vision of The Second City citing that he has "has overseen the evolution of The Second City from a 'wild and crazy' fermenting pot of creativity into the professional operation that today seems well-established to last into perpetuity as one of Chicago's—and America's—cultural institutions." Read the full article at NewCity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Theatrical Clown Workshop with Helen Donnelly coming in March!

This weekend intensive will focus on Physicality, emotional honesty, innocence, vulnerability, joy of the play, simplicity, direct interaction with the audience, and listening (to self, partner and audience).

Each student will have an opportunity to add a more physical and emotional range to their improv and performances. Less verbal and more listening means more opportunity to grow the scene and develop a character.

March 5 & 6 1-5pm each day.

$100.00 + HST

Helen Donnelly has directed, taught and performed in clown in Canada and the U.S for over 12 years. She holds an Honours B.A. Specialist degree in Drama from the University of Toronto. Helen clowns for the theatre, circus (Cirque du Soleil, Circus Orange, Zero Gravity Circus) and also as a therapeutic clown at Sickkids and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. She has been trained extensively in the Pochinko technique and has also studied Lecoq methods, and those of David Shiner and Roch Jutras when she worked and toured with Cirque du Soleil. Helen is known for her bizarre clown personas and her dynamic yet empathetic teaching methods.

Second City Featured in New York Times!

The Second City was featured in this past Sunday’s edition of The New York Times! Writer Megan Angelo went behind the scenes to find out how we create our city-specific shows. Using Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center as a model, she spoke with writers, actors, directors and producers about our process. Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Alums John Kapelos and Ira Miller Debut New Film

Alums John Kapelos and Ira Miller have produced a short film, COMMENTARY which will premiere at Sundance on Saturday, January 22, in Park City, Utah.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Registration on NOW: March Break Camps & Intensives for Teens

Spend your March Break improvising! We host full day improv camps for grades 5-8 and afternoon improv intensives for grades 9-12. Think on your feet, create scenes from scratch and have fun. You perform in a showcase with your class in The John Candy Box Theatre!

More information:
March Break Camp (grades 5-8)
March Break Intensive (grades 9-12)

Mary Scruggs - 1964-2011

It's with great sadness that we need to let you know that longtime Second City instructor and writing program head Mary Scruggs passed away unexpectedly last night. Our condolences go out to Mary's husband Richard and son William - as well as her many, many friends at Second City and in the Chicago theatre community. Mary was funny, brilliant and beloved. She will be greatly missed.

For more information about Mary and her incredible legacy, click here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Second City Scores Big in Louisville, Baltimore & Rochester

Last week, Second City Theatricals opened three different city-specific shows in Louisville, Baltimore and Rochester. Each show scored raves from critics and audiences alike. Congratulations to all of the writers, directors, stage managers, musical directors and casts! Listed below is a sample of all the great reviews we've received:

Second City Does Baltimore @ Centerstage Theatre in Baltimore, MD

"Hysterical – we were laughing the entire night"
Tom and J. Wynn Rousuck
Maryland Morning on NPR

"fresh and funny"
Tim Smith
Baltimore Sun

It Takes a 'Ville @ Actors' Theatre of Louisville

"...they nailed it."
Erin Keane
The Courier-Journal

The Second City Does Rochester @ Geva Theatre Center

"funny and just a little bit painful"
Stuart Low
Democrat & Chronicle

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Second City Does Rochester" Opens Saturday!

Now we're headed to Rochester to open "The Second City Does Rochester" at the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY on Saturday, January 8. We've written a show exclusively for Geva all about life in the Flour City (or was that Flower City?) featuring local icons, current gossip and ancient history, which will be filtered through the brilliant lens of the Second City Ensemble. Directed by Jim Carlson, the ensemble includes Hilary Bauman, Shad Kunkle, Michael Lehrer, Tawny Newsome, Ric Walker and Beth Winslow.

To book your tickets and for more information, visit Geva Theatre.

Second City Training Center Featured on ABC News Chicago

The Second City Training Center is featured in a terrific profile of Jim Bernardin, a student in our improv program. Diagnosed with Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy 13 years ago, he has figured out how to navigate his future without much sight. Check out the clip on ,ABC Chicago.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Second City Opens "It Takes a 'Ville" in Louisville Tonight!

Tonight Second City Theatricals keeps up its streak of city-specific shows with It Takes a 'Ville opening at the Actors Theatre in Louisville. Written by Ed Furman and Tim Baltz, It Takes a ‘Ville is directed by Joseph Jefferson Award-Winning Director, Mick Napier and features an all-star cast including Lauren Dowden, Jennifer Estlin, Mitchell Fain, John Hartman, Anthony Irons and Steve Waltien. For more information, Actor's Theatre in Louisville.

To read more about the writing process for It Takes a ‘Ville with alum Ed Furman, check out this article in the Louisville Courier.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Comedy Desk: Predictions for 2011

Click to enlarge the latest Second City Comedy Desk in the Chicago Tribune by Seth Weitberg

Comedy Desk: Two Point Oh

Click to enlarge the latest Second City Comedy Desk in the Chicago Tribune by Jeff Poole

The Second City Does Baltimore Opens Wednesday!

The Second City Does Baltimore opens Wednesday, January 5 at the Centerstage Theatre in Baltimore! With original material written by TJ Shanoff and Megan Grano and directed by Joseph Jefferson Award Winning Director, Matt Hovde. The cast includes Warren Phynix-Johnson, Brett Lyons, Dana Quercioli, Tim Sniffen, Niccole Thurman and Megan Wilkins. For more information, Centerstage Theatre.

Follow Megan Grano and TJ Shanoff as they immerse themselves in Baltimore culture to prep for writing the show in this great article from the Baltimore Sun.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

RIP Alumni Omar Shapli

Sadly, alumni Omar Shapli passed away on December 29th. An Egyptian-born, American-raised Korean War veteran, Omar Shapli dropped out of the University of Chicago after falling in with the theatre folk who eventually founded Second City. During his time at The Second City, he wrote six revues as an ensemble member from 1963-1965. He has written, directed, and acted in numerous plays in Chicago and New York, creating a principal role in Mac Wellman’s Crowbar and, more recently, appearing as Polonius in Richard Schechner’s production of Hamlet.

While teaching his craft at NYU, CCNY, Williams, Emerson, and Dartmouth, he has attempted to preserve his sanity by writing poetry, some of which has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Café Review, Main Street Rag, New Orleans Review, and Small Pond, to name a few. He was married to the dancer-choreographer Tryntje Shapli and has three sons.

For more information about Omar Shapli.

Comedy Desk: The Year in Review

Click to enlarge the latest Second City Comedy Desk in the Chicago Tribune by Seth Weitberg

Director and Teacher Mick Napier Shares His Biggest Influences

Mick Napier, one of Chicago's best improv and comedy directors and teachers, shares the biggest influences on his work. The list includes former teachers, film directors, and writers. Read the article in the Courier Journal.