Friday, June 28, 2013

"A Clown Car Named Desire" Opens to Rave Reviews

The Second City e.t.c.'s new revue, "A Clown Car Named Desire," opened to rave reviews and also received a Jeff Recommendation. Tickets are on sale now for "A Clown Car Named Desire." Click here to book your tickets.

Check out the great reviews:

A Clown Car Named Desire

 “4 out 4 Stars…a hot young cast… funny, high-stakes show.”
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 4-star review

“magic…bring a pair of oversized floppy shoes and enjoy.”
Jason Heidemann, Chicago Magazine

“…it’s more than funny. It’s hilarious. Consistently, uproariously hilarious.”
Zach Freeman, New City Stage

“…puts absurd new bents on familiar set-ups.”
Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

“…combines a particularly talented ensemble with contemporary takes on some of the company's most time-honored bits.”
Kelly Kleiman, Huffington Post 

“…full of sight gags, deliberately hammy performances, and bits of crowd-pleasing audience participation.”
Matt Byrne, Chicagoist

“Highly Recommended…evening of raucous comedy…let yourself go and have a ball.”
Alan Bresloff, Around The Town Chicago

“…non-stop laughs. The stage chemistry and wonderful comic timing along with the instant smart ad-libs produced a tightly spun revue.”
Tom Williams, Chicago Critic

Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

"The McCarthy's" Pilot by Brian Gallivan Back in Play at CBS reports that CBS has commissioned a multi-cam pilot shoot of "The McCarthy's," created by Second CIty alumni Brian Gallivan. "The McCarthy's" follows the gay son of a sports-crazed Irish-American family in Boston. Click here for the full story.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bernard Sahlins – 1922-2013

Bernard Sahlins died peacefully at his home after a short illness. In 1959, Sahlins founded The Second City with Howard Alk and Paul Sills and served as the theatre’s longtime producer and director until 1984. He produced multiple television productions in the UK and the USA, as well as SCTV in Canada. For the past eight years, he worked with the Poetry Foundation directing staged readings – the most recent of which was Comic Poetry. Honors include the Sergel Prize for playwright, several Jeff Awards for directing and the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Chicago for his contributions to the theatre.

“Bernie Sahlins made no small plans and his legacy will be felt for generations to come” states Andrew Alexander, CEO/Managing Partner of The Second City. “As producer and co-Founder of The Playwrights Theatre Club, The Second City, The University of Chicago’s Off-Off Campus, the International Theatre Festival of Chicago and the Lithuanian International Theatre, Bernie was a true theatrical impresario. His passion for the theatre was only equaled by his tremendous capacity for laughter. No one was quicker with a joke than Bernie and he remained an indefatigable figure in the Chicago theatre scene as a writer, director and lecturer. Although we mourn the loss of Bernie Sahlins, he will forever be remembered as a giant in the industry and a true friend and colleague to generations of Chicago theatre artists.”

Sahlins was born in Chicago and studied at the University of Chicago before he turned to theatre. In 1953, he became a producer of Playwrights Theatre Club which is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. In 1956, he took over the empty downtown Studebaker Theatre which presented, among other things, the Chicago premiere of “Waiting for Godot.”

He remained a prolific presence in the Chicago arts community and when he was presented with an honorary doctorate from Columbia College in 2006, Sheldon Patinkin wrote “his legacy to theater and, in particular, to comedy in America, is secure and clearly permanent.”

Funeral services will be private. A Memorial Service will follow at a later date.

Biography for Bernard Sahlins:
Director, author and producer Bernard Sahlins is the founder of the world-renowned The Second City, where he also served as a longtime director and producer. Sahlins also co-founded The International Theatre Festival of Chicago and The Lithuanian International Theater Festival, and has directed and/or produced various shows in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Toronto. He is also the co-creator and producer of “SCTV.” Sahlins’ directing credits include his own adaptation of “The Mysteries” for the Court Theatre, “The Wasteland” for the Chicago Humanities Festival & The Arts Club, “The Cure at Troy” at Steppenwolf Theater, “The Shoemakers Holiday,” “The Knight of the Burning Pestle” and “The Burial at Thebes” at Chicago Shakespeare and multiple readings for the Poetry Foundation, among myriad other productions. He has written and directed several works, including “See the Light” for the Museum of Science & Industry, “The History of Comedy, Part 2” for the University of Chicago and “A Woman for All Seasons,” “Jane Addams,” and “Dylan Thomas” for the Chicago Humanities Festival. He has been a consultant for the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and the Lithuanian National Theatre, The Disney Company, The Market Theatre: Johannesburg, The Museum Campus, USIS: Rumania, Lithuania, The University of Chicago arts programs, and The British Council. He is the author of “Days and Nights at The Second City: A Memoir.” Sahlins is the recipient of The Sergel prize for playwriting, The University of Chicago Professional Achievement Award, The Chicago Drama League’s Professional Achievement Award, Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing and professional achievement, The Illinois Arts Alliance “Legend” award, and the Chicago Improv Festival gave him a CIF Lifetime Achievement Award. He served on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Board of Directors for The Arts Club of Chicago, and the Board of Directors for the DePaul School of Drama.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:

The Second City Alumni Fund
1616 N. Wells St
Chicago, IL 60614

The Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60654

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
800 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Second City Vegas Alum Joe Boyd Stars in Indie Feature: A Strange Brand of Happy

A Strange Brand of Happy will be released in 42 cities across the country on September 13th. Joe Boyd is not only starring as the lead, but is also producing this feature film. A Strange Brand of Happy also features Holly Walker and Academy Award winner Shirley Jones. Jones has been in 77 films and has never been allowed to improvise until this one! Check out the video interview below as well as the movie trailer.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Congratulations to Second City alum and Tony Award winner Andrea Martin!

Last night, Second City alumnus Andrea Martin won a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role Musical for Pippin The Musical currently running at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway. Congratulations to her and all of our friends from Chicago that took home awards last night! Click here for a complete list of winners.

Friday, June 7, 2013

e.t.c. Gears Up for New Show - "A Clown Car Named Desire"

The Second City e.t.c. is proud to announce the opening of their 37th Revue, "A Clown Car Named Desire." Reviewing press are invited to attend the show on Friday, June 21, 2013, at 8:00 p.m. at The Second City e.t.c. Theatre (1608 N. Wells Street, 2nd floor of Piper’s Alley). A Grand Opening is scheduled for Sunday, June 23, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.

Join the limber and handsome cast of "A Clown Car Named Desire" for a spectacular night of illusion featuring brave, multitasking mothers expressing themselves; hyper hipsters competing for the ultimate in cool; and long term monogamous couples desperately trying to remember how they got that way. Its a night to remember and the perfect antidote to that mundane and troublesome state called reality.

Jeff Award-winning director Ryan Bernier (We’re All in This Room Together) returns to The Second City e.t.c. Theater to lead a mix of new cast members including Carisa Barreca (The Second City’s Guide to the Opera), Brooke Breit and Punam Patel, with veterans Mike Kosinski (Jeff Nominated for Best Actor - Revue), Michael Lehrer and Chris Witaske. Alex Kliner makes his debut behind the baby grand as Musical Director/Composer and Kyle Anderson returns as Stage Manager. The producing team for "A Clown Car Named Desire" includes CEO/Managing Partner for The Second City, Andrew Alexander; Executive Vice President, Kelly Leonard; Producer, Alison Riley; and Associate Producer, Jeremy Smith.

Tickets for "A Clown Car Named Desire" are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Planning Reminder - Old Town Art Fair This Weekend

As you plan your trip to The Second City this weekend, please note that on Saturday and Sunday, our neighborhood hosts the Old Town Art Fair and Wells St. Festival. If you're planning to see a show, please take some time to enjoy the art fair or street festival.

During this time, Wells Street will be closed off to traffic from North Avenue south to Division for the Wells Street Art Festival. The Old Town Art Fair will also be taking place north of us on the streets immediately west of Lincoln and Wells which will decrese parking availability. If possible, please opt for alternative transportation such as taxi, CTA ( can help you find the best route!) or bike.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Offstage with Rachel LaForce

Rachel LaForce performed her entire life, but she was always landing what she called the, "Kathy Bates Characters," doing comic relief. So when she discovered Second City, she knew were she had to be.

How did you first get involved in The Second City?
Everyone has a similar story - saw my first Second City show and had that Wayne's World moment - you know when Wayne goes and looks at the guitar he wants and repeats, "Oh yes, you will be mine." I moved to Chicago nine months later.

Tell us about some of the voiceover work you do
I was lucky to be introduced to voiceover work my freshman year of college. Voiceover is a really great way to make money as an actor. My agents are very knowledgable and come out to support me at shows, which is really awesome. Naked Voices. Check them out! I have mostly booked industrials so far. I am still praying for that McDonald's money!

What else are you working on right now?
Casey Whitaker and I are writing our second two women show as LaForce & Whitaker for The Women's Funny Festival at Stage 773 in June. Our show is titled, "Copy. Edit. Paste." and directed by Scott Goldstein. We are trying new styles and it is a whole new format for us, come see it! Saturday, June 8th, 10pm. Whitaker and I are also half of a sketch group called, Wildcard. Carmen Christopher and Greg Worsley make up the other 50%. We are always challenging each other creatively. Worsley and I are currently shooting a webseries titled, "Fights In Cars." We dated for 2 years and are still good friends, so we have a lot of material for relationship based arguments. I have always wanted to write a one women show. I finally gave into myself. The working title is, "I Carried A Watermelon" inspired by one of my favorite lines from Dirty Dancing.

What are some of your hobbies?
I recently read, "It's good to have hobbies. They give without taking. There is no pressure. They're like church" . . . I love to paint. I am not very good at it, but it's relaxing. I LOVE thrifting. You can find the coolest stuff for great deals, and I love the thrill of the hunt. I've been reading a lot more, which feels great. I've really gotten into Ted Talks. It is interesting to get a glimpse into worlds I don't know much about. Is dining out a hobby? I love trying new restaurants . . . Large farm tables, candles, bottles of wine and great friends. Perfect.

What movies, TV shows, etc. influence your comedic style?
My favorite movie for inspiration right now is "Bridesmaids." I am loving watching the ladies of SNL right now. Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant are so fun to watch. Aidy and I improvised together in college and I was always in awe of her. I love "Parks and Rec" - I mean, come on. If you don't watch, "The Mindy Project," I suggest giving it a shot. Louis C. K. is unreal. I'm late to the GIRLS train, but I love it.

What other comedians inspire you?
Lately I have been really inspired by . . . the ladies of Fanny (Claire Mulaney, Blair Beeken, Sarah Shook and Lily Sullivan) I love watching them play. Kristen Schaal. Bobby Moyniham's Drunk Uncle. Barry Hite's references. Tig Notaro. "Let Them Eat Chaos" - good lord this show is fantastic. Anna Kendrick - follow her on Twitter. Mindy Kaling. Aubrey Plaza. The ladies of Superhuman. Lee and Matt Baratts. . . Life long inspirations: Chris Farley. Diane Keaton. Maya Rudolph. Kristen Wiig. Carol Burnett. Ellen. Billy Crystal.

When you’re not acting, improvising or writing, what are you doing?
Sleeping. Ha. That is the most honest answer. I love sleep. It's the best. I mostly make time for my girlfriends that arn't in the community. My girls from college live within 2 blocks from me in Wicker Park. I am lucky to have 2 of my best friends from high school live here as well. I love hanging out with them. It feeds my soul.

By Pamela Birchard

Monday, June 3, 2013

"The Second City Guide to the Opera" is Jeff Recommended!

Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Second City opened the summer run of The Second City Guide to the Opera at the Civic Opera House this weekend and received a "Jeff Recommendation." "Jeff Recommended" indicates at least one element of a production was deemed excellent by opening night judges. The entire production is then eligible for nomination at the end of the season. See for full list.

For more information, to see the trailer for The Second City Guide to the Opera, or to purchase tickets, please visit Lyric Opera.