Friday, February 4, 2011

Joyce Sloane – 1930-2011

It is with great sadness that we learned of Joyce Sloane's passing last night. Joyce Sloane has been associated with The Second City for 50 of its 51 years. She served as Associate Producer, Executive Producer and most currently, Producer Emeritus. Along with founder Bernard Sahlins, she produced Second City shows in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York and abroad. In addition, Ms. Sloane founded The Second City Touring Companies and The Second City e.t.c. and co-founded The Second City in Toronto.

"Joyce Sloane's impact on the Chicago theatre community cannot be measured. She nurtured thousands of young performers – she encouraged them, fed them, even housed them when needed. She was the mother of The Second City and she cannot be replaced. The loss is monumental but Joyce Sloane's legacy carries on forever in the work of the artists of whom she was so proud," states Andrew Alexander, Executive Producer of The Second City

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, February 8th at 11:00am at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 North Broadway. At 12:00pm, Second City will host a luncheon and open house followed by a memorial service at 1:30pm.

The family has requested that contributions in Joyce's memory be sent to:

Chicago Academy for the Arts
1010 W. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 606420-5414


Victory Gardens Theater

Instrumental in Chicago's now legendary off-loop theatre movement, Ms. Sloane was a founding member of the Victory Gardens Theater and continued to serve on their board. She also served on many theatre boards and nurtured countless other theatre groups including Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and Northlight. She was selected by Gaylord Donnelly to award arts grants for the Donnelly foundation – a role she served for over 20 years, giving most of the small theatres the first grant they received and thereby establishing their credibility in the community.

She was an original member of the Joseph Jefferson Committee and one of the founders of The League of Chicago Theatres. In addition to her work at Second City, she produced 2 seasons of Summer Stock in Toronto and Winnipeg, several summer tours and was Associate Producer of the 1971 Tony-award winning Broadway play "Borstal Boy". She is a founding member of the AIDS foundation of Chicago and is on the executive committee of Friends Against AIDS which is affiliated with the University of Chicago Children's Hospital. She is also a founder of the Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Ms. Sloane received numerous awards including a Special Joseph Jefferson Award in 1979, which states "For laboring in the vineyard with authority; for dedicated service as a counselor to all; for commitment as a working board member of several theatre companies; for professionalism as Associate Producer of The Second City; as Earth Mother to a host of Chicago actors." In addition, she received the Chicago Film Critics commitment to Chicago Award, The League of Chicago Theatre's Connie Callahan Award for commitment to Chicago theatre, a Special Award from Women in Film, The Mercedes-Benz Mentoring Award, The Chicago Drama League Crystal Award, The Illinois Arts Alliance Sydney R. Yates Lifetime Achievement Award for Advocacy in the Arts, The Spirit of Love Award from Little City, The Sinai Health Service Award, The Sinai Torch of Life Award, The Schwab Rehabilitation Center Special Award for Producing Theatre for People with Disabilities, The YWCA Leadership in the Arts Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kilkenny Comedy Festival in Ireland.


  1. I first met Joyce when I was a pimply 16 year old, in her office at Second City. It was summer. I had no job and no place to be or hang out. Well that all changed in a moment when she gave me free tickets to see the show that night. The next day I was back asked for work doing anything for free. What she let me do was rewire the lighting system for the place. It was great. Second City even paid me $100. for the job. My first paying job. What I got was a whole lot more though, because I became part of her theater family for the next ten or so years. I owe who I am to her, for letting me hang and work there on and off for all that time. I will truly miss her, and if she is hearing my thoughts out there, and what I forgot ask you last year. Don’t you think my face has cleared up fairly nicely?

  2. Nonie Newton BreenFebruary 4, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I am heart broken. Joyce did so much for me, she cared so much about family. My favorite memory: I was in labor with my son, Spencer, who is now 31 years old. It was taking a long time, like 3 days. Finally this big nurse came in and demanded to know "WHO IS JOYCE SLOANE?????" I asked her why? She said well that lady has called here about 500 times and would like to know where that baby is. She was even more excited than I was. I loved that she had a zillion fur coats in her office closet. She was always giving one to someone that was cold. She fretted when anyone was ill or had family trouble and she was thrilled for any small success any of us achieved. If that isn't a mother in the truest sense. For so many of us, Bernie was the brains, Fred was the soul, but Joyce will always be the heart.

  3. I met Ms. Sloan 8 years ago at saks fifth ave salonshe came to get her hair done with me every friday.
    Joyce I believe you heard me when I was struggling at the salon.
    I believe you are watching me and helping me from above.
    It hurts so much knowing that you're gone and when I heard you passed away it broke my heart.
    Joyce when I called you "Maddam" Joyce you made a beautiful smile and I can see that now.
    Joyce you were more than a client you treated me like your kid.
    Joyce I'm gonna miss you every moment last of my life.
    Joyce you used enjoyed my broken english....I still gonna talk to you like that.
    you are my angel
    i love you

  4. I just met Joyce a little over a week ago and must have spent over an hour in her office just listening to her amazing stories and memories, thinking how lucky I was to be buying soup for such an amazing woman (I introduced her to the "soup sampler" and she looked up and said "Where do they find these girls?"). I had only heard good things about her before I met her, but in those two days that I saw her, she really left a dramatic impression on me. Her presence in my life is a story I'll be telling for years and years and years, just as she liked to do for the countless people, who consider her their second mother at Second city. Joyce, as I'm sure many agree, I wish we had more time together, but I feel so grateful that I met you.

  5. I thank you for being apart of such a fantabluous place to share and enhance laughter.

  6. I did not know joyce personally, but I had seen her around the theatre during my years of training at the Second City. An enduring memory for me is a day that I was going into the lobby to attend a class, Joyce was entering and gave me a huge smile as if she knew me. That one smile said it all, and I felt like I was home again. That moment will live with me forever. Thank you Joyce, and God Bless You.

  7. Joyce was a wonderful woman. I only knew her for 6 months, but for that time I got to know her very well. Everyday at lunch I would sit in her office and she would tell me stories about the old days, and the beginning of Second City.

    She will be deeply missed by all.

  8. Diondai Brown-WhitfieldFebruary 8, 2011 at 5:43 AM

    I met Ms. Sloane when I was a teenager, attending Roosevelt University. She was very kind as we toured the facility. We were able to meet the staff and comedians. One of the greatest things that she did for me and our family was to open the doors of comedy to us and to the world. As a Breast Cancer Survivor, my family and I’d learned how to live and laugh again by her generosity of the Second City performances at Gilda's Club Chicago. Her joy of showing God's love by giving to others will surely be missed. May God bless her soul and comfort all of her relatives and friends. She will truly be missed.