Monday, December 29, 2014

"Yes And" Listed #1 on Washington Post's Leadership Books in 2015

The Second City's EVP, Kelly Leonard, and The Second City Communications' CEO, Tom Yorton, have teamed up to put together what Washington Post declares the #1 leadership book to look out for in 2015! Check out "Yes And" coming February 2015 - we have to say...we're pretty excited!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Panic on Cloud 9 Reviews Are In...

The Second City's 103rd Mainstage Revue, Panic on Cloud 9, opened last Thursday and the reviews are in, not too shabby...

                                    "takes plenty of risks"
- Chris Jones
Chicago Tribune

"exceptionally fine new mainstage revue"
- Hedy Weiss

"the cast spends the majority of this two-hour show delivering hilarious hit after hit"
- Zach Freeman

"Largely Successful, Unexpectedly Touching"
- Jim Kopeny

"a true comic experience"
- Alan Bresloff

"hot fun on a cold night"
- Lawrence Bommer

"I don’t recall when I have seen a better acted show."
- Dan Zeff

"grinding out laughs at a manic pace"
- Tom Williams

Tickets available here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Twist Your Dickens Extends Run at Goodman Theatre

Due to high demand for tickets, Goodman Theatre extends Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You!, The Second City’s version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with seven additional performances through January 3, including a special bar package on New Year’s Eve. Tickets start at $20 for the added performances (prices are subject to change) and can be purchased at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Twist Your Dickens is appropriate for adults and savvy teens age 16+. Please be advised that the show incorporates the use of strobe lights, smoke and haze.

Additional performances include:

     Monday, December 29 at 4pm and 8pm
     Wednesday, December 31 at 6pm and 10pm*
     Friday, January 2 at 8pm
     Saturday, January 3 at 4pm and 8pm

*Additional $40 New Year’s Eve package includes beverages pre-show through intermission, a champagne toast at midnight and party favors with promo code NEWYEARS

The seven-member cast includes Francis Guinan as Scrooge (note: Brian Boland replaces Guinan for all performances starting December 26); Frank Caeti as the Ghost of Christmas Past; Peter Gwinn as Jacob Marley; Sayjal Joshi as Tiny Tim; Beth Melewski as the Ghost of Christmas Present; Robyn Scott as Mrs. Cratchit; and Tim Stoltenberg as Bob Cratchit. The creative team includes Tom Buderwitz (sets), Rachel Lambert (costumes) and Gina Patterson (lights). Mara Filler is the Production Stage Manager. Headshots and bio information, along with rehearsal and production photos can be found in the Press Room.

Additionally, the show includes a special Chicago-based celebrity guest in a cameo role at each show, though audiences won’t know who appears in this spot from night to night. Newly confirmed appearances include chef Rick Bayless; musician JC Brooks, author Aaron Freeman; comedian Shad Kunkle; Orange is the New Black’s Adrienne C. Moore; comedian Eddie Mujica; hip-hop artist Che Smith aka “Rhymefest”; comedy duo TJ and Dave; NPR’s Peter Sagal; Windy City Live’s Ji Suk Yi; co-owner of The Hideout Tim Tuten; and actor Jonathan Weir (a former Scrooge in A Christmas Carol). As previously announced, other expected appearances include comedian and Vocalo host Brian Babylon; WBEZ’s Niala Boodhoo; WXRT’s Lin Brehmer; Senator John Cullerton; actor Allen Gilmore (Scrooge alternate in A Christmas Carol); chef Stephanie Izard; Chicago Tribune’s Candace Jordan; Chicago Cubs’ Len Kasper; WBBM-TV’s Bill Kurtis; musician Jon Langford; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, B96’s Showbiz Shelly; and sommelier Alpana Singh.

Written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort and directed by Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Matt Hovde, Twist Your Dickens—a “riotous havoc” (Los Angeles Times) that blends legitimate theater, parody, sketch comedy and improvisation, including the integration of audience “misdeeds” that are written in the lobby preceding the show—finds Scrooge and Tiny Tim hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the Island of Misfit Toys and even Little Orphan Annie. While the set and costumes reflect The Second City’s minimalist aesthetic, audiences can expect to see backdrops of their favorite holiday television specials and the ensemble sporting “business casual Dickensian” wear inspired by ugly sweaters and other pop culture icons.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Old Town Tree Lighting - 12/2 @ 5:30pm

Old Town Merchants and Residents Association will be holding a Tree Lighting ceremony at the Burton Place park (1501 N. Wells) this year!

On Tuesday, December 2nd join your neighbors and friends at Burton Place Park for the annual tree lighting shortly after dusk (approximately 5:30pm).

Local shops are providing hot chocolate, candies and other sweets for the event.

New this year is the Old Town Storefront Stroll!  Between 2pm-8pm many Old Town businesses up and down Wells, from Division to St. Paul, will hand out goodies and have GREAT DEALS!!!

Holiday decorations — as well as all 2014 street plantings and landscaping on Wells Street — are installed by Old Town Gardens, through a shared contract between SSA 48 Old Town and the Old Town Merchants & Residents Association.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Celebration of Sheldon Patinkin

A celebration of the life of Sheldon Patinkin will take place Monday, January 26, 2015, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, located at 9501 Skokie Blvd. in the suburb of Skokie north of Chicago. The free event starts at 7:30 PM, with guest speakers reflecting on Mr. Patinkin's enormous impact on Chicago theatre. A reception with cash bar will follow the presentation. RSVPs are encouraged. For reservations, please call 312-369-6333 to leave a message or respond via Eventbrite.

The event is presented jointly by the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and The Second City -- three organizations with which Mr. Patinkin had close professional and personal ties for decades.

Sheldon Patinkin was Chair of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department from 1980 to 2009, when he assumed the title of Chair Emeritus, continuing to teach and direct at the College until his death. He was an Artistic Consultant at Steppenwolf Theatre and co-founder of The School at Steppenwolf, and taught at The School for 17 years. And he was an original member of Second City from the company's beginnings -- when it was founded in 1959 by Bernard Sahlins, Paul Sills, and Howard Alk. He served as Sills' assistant director and then succeeded Sills as artistic director of the groundbreaking comedy theatre, eventually becoming an Artistic Consultant there.

Born in Chicago on August 27, 1935, Mr. Patinkin died September 21, 2014, following a heart attack. He was an integral figure in the development of a professional, grassroots Chicago theatre scene starting in the 1950s, when he was part of the talented young group of artists who created the Playwrights Theatre Club, Compass Players, and The Second City. He directed some of Chicago theatre's most memorable productions, including the commercial Chicago premieres of several Off-Broadway hits as well as productions at Steppenwolf, The Second City, Gift Theatre, City Lit Theater, National Jewish Theatre, and other Chicago-area companies. During his tenure as Chair, the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department educated hundreds of students who have gone on to distinguished careers in theatre, film, and television; he also mentored alumni who went on to start their own theatre companies. His books include Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater (Sourcebooks, 2000) and "No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance": A History of the American Musical Theater (Northwestern University Press, 2008). In that book, he wrote:

"We live in a time when, more and more, the response to trouble is violence; when too many individual communities have become too insular for the good of the larger community; when too much beyond one's immediate world seems to exist either to be feared to taken advantage of; when too many people try not to feel deeply or try to disguise their feelings with catch phrases, crudeness, inarticulateness, and sentimentality. It is one of the most important functions of both art and entertainment to help us transcend such times, sometimes by helping us to think things through, sometimes by helping us not to think at all."

"Sheldon was an artist, a scholar and a dear friend. He was a mentor to multiple generations and a productive and prolific leader of the Chicago theatre community until his final days. We look forward to celebrating his extraordinary life and career," said Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc.

“Sheldon has been a part of the Steppenwolf family from the earliest days of our existence," said Martha Lavey, Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company. "He was an artist, a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. The School at Steppenwolf will always be a part of Sheldon’s legacy. His influence lives on in the work of several generations of theatre artists.”

"At Columbia College we encourage our students to 'live what you love,' and Sheldon personified that ideal every day -- in every aspect of his teaching, directing, and mentorship," said John Green, Mr. Patinkin's successor as Chair of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department. "Like George in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George, he awoke students to the many possibilities of their lives as theatre artists, and the extension of those lives out into the community he loved and served so well."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twist Your Dickens Special Guests & Event Announced

Equal parts naughty and nice, Chicago’s famed The Second City brings our version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, beginning December 5.

Titled Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You!, this send-up of Dickens’ classic includes a special Chicago-based celebrity guest in a cameo role at each show; while audiences won’t know who appears in this spot from night to night, expected appearances include:

Comedian and Vocalo host Brian Babylon
WBEZ’s Niala Boodhoo
WXRT’s Lin Brehmer
Senator John Cullerton
Actor Allen Gilmore (Scrooge alternate in A Christmas Carol)
Chef Stephanie Izard
Chicago Tribune’s Candace Jordan
Chicago Cubs’ Len Kasper
WBBM-TV’s Bill Kurtis
Musician Jon Langford
Author Sara Paretsky
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
B96’s Showbiz Shelly
Sommelier Alpana Singh and more.

Written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort and directed by Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Matt Hovde, Twist Your Dickens—a “riotous havoc” (Los Angeles Times) that blends legitimate theater, parody, sketch comedy and improvisation, including the integration of audience “misdeeds” that are written in the lobby preceding the show—finds Scrooge and Tiny Tim hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the Island of Misfit Toys and even Little Orphan Annie.

While the set and costumes reflect The Second City’s minimalist aesthetic, audiences can expect to see backdrops of their favorite holiday television specials and the ensemble sporting “business casual Dickensian” wear inspired by ugly sweaters and other pop culture icons. Twist Your Dickens runs December 5 - 28 in the Owen Theatre (press night is December 10 and opening night is December 11) and is appropriate for adults and savvy teens age 16+. 

Tickets ($15 - $45; subject to change) are on sale now, available at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Please be advised that the show incorporates the use of strobe lights, smoke and haze. 

“Peter and Bobby have written a play that not only upends a classic holiday staple of the stage and screen, but lampoons a variety of other holiday farrago that has become an ingrained part of the yuletide season,” said Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of The Second City and President of Second City Theatricals. Added Goodman Theatre Executive Director Roche Schulfer: “The Goodman has always wanted to pair A Christmas Carol with a holiday production in the Owen. The Second City's Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You! is a perfect fit and we look forward to expanding our audience now and in the future"

As previously announced, the seven-member cast includes Francis Guinan as Scrooge, Frank Caeti as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Peter Gwinn as Jacob Marley, Sayjal Joshi as Tiny Tim, Beth Melewski as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Robyn Scott as Mrs. Cratchit, and Tim Stoltenberg as Bob Cratchit. The creative team includes Tom Buderwitz (sets), Rachel Lambert (costumes) and Gina Patterson (lights). Mara Filler is the Production Stage Manager.

Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room.

Special Event: “Cocktails with a Twist”
Tuesday, December 9
6pm Pre-Show Reception, 7:30pm Performance
$65 with promo code TWIST

The Goodman’s Scenemakers auxiliary board hosts a night of yuletide debauchery with pre-show cocktails and hors d’oeuvres—with a twist, and a few surprises—in the theater’s rehearsal space, followed by a performance of The Second City’s send-up of Christmas classics in their holiday revue. The party continues post-show with more holiday libations and revelry.

Goodman Theatre is grateful to Nesek Digital, the Presenting Sponsor of the Scenemakers Board 2014/2015 Season; Baird, the Event Sponsor; and Sopraffina Marketcaffe, Trattoria No. 10 and Twisted Stem, the Event Partners of “Cocktails with a Twist.”

The Scenemakers young professionals board of 37 is in its 12th season, having contributed more than $80,000 to the Goodman’s new play development initiatives and Education and Community Engagement programming in the immediate past 2013/2014 Season. Other events scheduled this Season include: “Two Trains and a Sidecar” on March 11, 2015 and the Scenemakers’ signature fundraiser, the fourth annual “Scene Soiree” on June 13, 2015. For tickets and information visit

Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIP Mike Nichols

"We have lost a giant. Mike Nichols was an architect of modern improvisational theater. As a member of The Playwrights Theatre Club and The Compass Players, Mike helped create the foundation for not only The Second City, but for a host of storefront theaters that eventually became the thriving theatrical community that you see today in Chicago. His work always played to the top of its intelligence, bathed in wit and infused with honesty. We mourn the loss of our esteemed forbears and offer our condolences to his family."

Andrew Alexander
CEO/Executive Producer
The Second City

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cecily Strong Hosts White House Correspondent's Dinner

Second City veteran and current SNL cast member, Cecily Strong, has been asked to be the featured entertainer and host of next spring's White House Correspondent's dinner. More details here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SC Announces Two Shows Benefiting Deserving Chicago Families

The Second City is thrilled to announce two epic events: the return of its legendary 24-hour improv and music marathon, as well as an intimate all-star evening. Proceeds from both shows will support families from Chicago’s Onward Neighborhood House.

First up, The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour celebrates its 13th year, running non-stop from Tuesday, December 16th at 6:00 p.m. until Wednesday, December 17th at 6:00 p.m. in The Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 N. Wells Street, 2nd floor of Piper’s Alley.

This year’s lineup includes music by James McCartney, Kim Deal, J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound with Ian Rubbish, Bobby, Holly & the Ricketts, Renaldo Domino, Robbie Fulks and Jeff Tweedy. Live improv and comedy will be provided by a team of Second City’s finest and funniest. Special guests include Steve Albini, Fred Armisen and Natasha Lyonne.

In addition to the live performances, several one-of-a-kind items will be up for auction at 24 Hour, including two sets of tickets for two to Saturday Night Live, compliments of Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant.

Then on Monday, January 5th, join us for Our Living Room Show in UP Comedy Club. This all-star evening will feature sketch comedy and improv from Saturday Night Live cast members and distinguished Second City alumni, including Aidy Bryant, Mike O’Brien and Tim Robinson, followed by an intimate “living room”-style musical performance from Wilco’s Grammy-winning frontman, Jeff Tweedy.

Tickets to Our Living Room Show are on sale now via The UP Comedy Club Box Office at (312) 662-4562 or Prices range from $75 (general house seating) to $150 (first row).

Tickets to The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour are $20 and will be sold at the door throughout the event as long as seats are available. Doors open Tuesday, 12/16 at 5:00 p.m. The event will also be streamed LIVE at or Donations via PayPal are appreciated.

For ongoing schedule updates and information, "Like" our Facebook page at Onward Neighborhood House empowers families and individuals in need to achieve their full potential in a community-based setting.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

SC Mainstage Preps for Panic on Cloud 9

The Second City is proud to announce the opening of The Second City’s 103rd Revue, Panic on Cloud 9.

Join the incredibly talented and funny cast of The Second City Mainstage for Panic on Cloud 9, a hilarious and smart collection of original scenes and songs that invite you to relax, take a breath and laugh as they brave everything from Ebola to modern parenting to the lies of advertising and the advertising of our own lies.

Joseph Jeff Award-Winning director Ryan Bernier makes his Mainstage debut with Panic on Cloud 9. Returning cast members include Chelsea Devantez, John Hartman (Jeff Award-Winner - Best Actor in a Revue) and Emily Walker with new cast members Paul Jurewicz, Daniel Strauss and Christine Tawfik. Jacob Shuda joins the Mainstage ensemble as Musical Director, Composer and Sound Designer and Craig Taylor returns to the booth as Stage Manager.  The producing team for Panic on Cloud 9 includes Andrew Alexander (CEO & Executive Producer), Kelly Leonard (Executive Vice President), Alison Riley (Producer) and Jeremy Smith (Associate Producer).

Tickets for Panic on Cloud 9 start at $23.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at 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.


Chelsea grew up in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Louisiana before finally landing in New Mexico. She studied at The United World College and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, on scholarships. The best thing at NYU was a "semester abroad" in Chicago's Comedy Studies program at The Second City.  She moved to Chicago as soon as she could to pursue her dream of working on this very stage. She is beyond lucky to have her dream job alongside her best friend, Emily Walker -- together they created the web series Modern Women on The Second City Network, as well as a pilot that became a finalist at NYTVF.


John is ecstatic to be performing in his second Mainstage revue. He previously appeared in Depraved New World, for which he received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor. He is a member of Baby Wants Candy, the sketch duo Witaske & Hartman, and his solo work has appeared at: Annoyance, iO, TBS Just for Laughs, Comedy Central Stage & UCB Theatre.


Paul has been performing all over Chicago for the last seven years. He’s traveled the world on sea and land with The Second City. He is a founding member of the sketch comedy groups Germans and Dog Dads. He’s proud to have been a part of many Annoyance Theatre productions including Co- Ed Prison Sluts; It’s Christmas, Goddammit!, The Raven and the Messenger and Becker.


Daniel is thrilled to be a cast member of The Second City's 103rd Mainstage Revue. A native of Washington, D.C. and an alum of The Second City Touring Company, other credits include The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, and Team Starkid’s Airport for Birds. He is online at, on Twitter at @DanielStrauss and on YouTube with his web series, Game Bros.


Christine is delighted to make her debut on The Second City Mainstage. Raised in Egypt and later Colorado, she has studied improv and sketch at iO, The Second City and The Annoyance. She performs regularly with Virgin Daiquiri, The Armando Diaz Experience and various independent groups around Chicago. She’s appeared in Girls Night Out and has performed at Vienna’s English Theatre as a member of The Second City Touring Company. Follow her on Twitter at @ChrisTawfik.


Emily hails from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. She has studied improv, sketch comedy and musical improv with The Second City. She has performed for The Second City at Sea on several NCL Cruise ships and traveled the country with The Second City and Mighty Mighty Blue Co. She and her best friend, Chelsea Devantez, created the pilot SBS:Stupid Bitch Syndrome, which was a 2013 NYTVF finalist. She is also the co-creator of The Second City Network series Modern Women. This fall you can see her on the fourth season of the Showtime series Homeland.

Ryan is thrilled to be directing this cast. Some of his directing credits include Second City e.t.c.’s Jeff Award-nominated A Clown Car Named Desire (Best Revue, Best Director), Jeff Award-winning We’re All in this Room Together (Best Revue, Best Director), Second City’s America: All Better!! (at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Helen Hayes Award–nominated), UP Comedy Club’s Four Girls & A Guy, as well as What the Tour Guide Didn’t Tell You. He was recently awarded Suffolk University’s 10 Under 10 Honor. He also directs at the Improv Asylum in Boston. He teaches at Columbia College and the Second City Training Center.

JACOB SHUDA Musical Director, Composer and Sound Design
Jacob is feeling the same joy he felt as a five year old when he discovered the drumset in his grandpa Ray’s basement, Jacob is now a pianist, guitarist, drummer, composer, and sound designer.

CRAIG TAYLOR Stage Manager
Craig has stage managed more than 35 revues for The Second City and has been asked to provide the impossible for numerous Second City directors.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Rachael Mason wants you to rock at your next improv audition. As the head of The Second City Training Center’s Chicago Advanced Improv program, a Second City TourCo Alum and current cast member of ‘The Boys’ at 9pm in Donny’s Skybox - you should take her advice. If you have questions, comments or want to add a tip of your own, email us at

1. WARM UP BEFORE YOU ARRIVE! Some folks need to meditate for 20 minutes and some folks need to do 20 jumping jacks. Do what centers YOU. The warm up when you arrive is mostly to suss out the group you will be playing with if you even get to warm up at all.

2. SHOW UP ON TIME. There is a saying that 15 minutes early is on time. On time is late. 15 minutes late? Don't bother. Leave early. Set two alarms. Everyone has a good reason for being late but it simply smacks of disrespect to those who are there and ready to work.

3. BE KIND TO THE PERSON CHECKING YOU IN. Really you should just be kind in general. If you are a jerk to the person checking you in then why would we want to hire you for a high stakes ensemble job? That person has been inundated with requests. Yours will be prioritized. Relax about that. And watch with the crap talk about other theaters in the lobby too. We all work everywhere. Why would we hire you if you are pooping on another theater?

4. LOOK IN A MIRROR BEFORE YOU GO IN. You might have crazy hair, lipstick on your teeth, pizza sauce on your lapel, or heaven forbid your barn door might be open. Zip it up zippy. I personally can't stand when someone has a ball cap on or sunglasses on their head or collar. You should be dressed nice so you feel good. Take one final look at your suit (that musty thing should have been laundered) or one final peek at your dress (that you can move in with bike shorts or leggings underneath). Look good = Feel good.

5. LISTEN TO THE AUDITOR'S INSTRUCTIONS. They are TELLING you what they want to see and describing the shape of the audition. If you are planning out your funny line or listening to your inner monologue you are going to miss valuable information. Calm down and listen.

6. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SCENE PARTNER. Throwing elbows for funny lines is not what gets you hired. Yes anding and heightening what is there does. Your repartee and game play with your partner are what we want. Listen and respond as opposed to panicked reaction. Be people in a relationship, who feel a way about each other and the world they live in. Then play some games together. Comedy is a natural byproduct of that. Not your inorganic stabs at funny that crap on your partner. Don't crap on your partner... not even an object work crap.

7. DON'T MAKE AN ASS OUT OF YOURSELF AT THE ALE HOUSE (or similar bar). Your audition is over. Whether it went well or not so well our temptation is to head across the street and toast those feelings away. Word of your drunken mess gets back to us too. Have a drink. Go home. Sleep. Wait patiently for the response. If you get in GREAT! Now it only gets harder. If you didn't GREAT! Now you can write in for you notes and take a class and get better.

Ready? Go kill it killer. - Rachael

About Rachael:

Rachael Mason began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, concentrating on Shakespearean Studies, she moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. She trained at The Second City, The Annoyance, and iO. Currently she performs with The Second City Improv Allstars, and The Boys. She is most happy when she is teaching improv.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Martin Short Returns to Broadway

SC alum, Martin Short, returns to Broadway for Terrance McNally's comedy, It's Only A Play starting in January. He will be replacing Nathan Lane's character as Lane departs to prepare for a new role. More information here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dick Schaal

"We are very sad to hear the news of Dick Schaal's passing. As an improviser from the early days of The Second City, he was an artist, innovator and an incredible physical comedian. Through the years, he would often return to Chicago to see the latest Mainstage revues. Through his acting, directing and teaching, he inspired generations of actors and improvisers. Our thoughts are with his family and friends." - Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer for The Second City

Click here to read Dick Schaal's obituary in the Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

SC Toronto Training Centre: 5th Annual Fall Ball: Nov 8th

Join us for our 5th Annual Fall Ball happening Saturday, November 8th at 9pm.

Students and friends of students are invited to get dolled up in their best party clothes and join us for a night of laughs, prizes, food and one crazy dance party!

The night starts off with a talent show at 9pm in the JCB featuring hilarious, dramatic and musical acts by some of The Training Centre's students, grads, faculty and alumni.

After the show follow us to the Charlotte room (19 Charlotte St) where the party really gets going. We'll have food, drink specials, great prizes and one crazy dance party with Dj Josh Murray!

Tickets ($5) on sale now at the front desk of The Training Centre.

This is going to be a great night! See you there!

The Power of Creating Your Own Work: An Interview with Ithamar Enriquez

Written by Christa Nannos

The Second City Alum, Ithamar Enriquez, has created his own, one-man show called, Ithamar Has Nothing to Say, and though he doesn’t say a single word throughout the show, he captivates the audience with body language, music, and impeccable characterizations. Having moved to LA a few years ago, he quickly realized the benefits of creating his own work. I had the privilege of interviewing Ithamar to get the inside scoop on the show, and to hear how much he does, in fact, have to say about his creative process and advice for upcoming comedians.

CN: What was your inspiration behind the show?

IE: This type of work is something I’ve always been drawn to. Since I was a kid I really loved all the physical comedians. Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Steve Martin, Jerry Lewis, and, of course, Mr. Bean who is a huge influence. I remember seeing Rowan Atkinson’s One Man Show on video, and that changed everything. There are a couple of scenes in that show where he doesn’t speak, and I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, you can actually do this’. Once I started getting more into sketch and improv, I tried to figure out ways I can create sketches that aren’t typical. Physical sketches, musical sketches. So this show has been in the back of my brain for a very long time.

CN: Why is it so important to create your own work?

IE: Once I got to LA, I realized it’s very easy to sit back and ask why certain things aren’t happening for you as an actor. ‘Why aren’t I getting an audition? Why aren’t I booking the role’? So the cure for that was to write my own show. As an actor you literally have to create your own job out here. So I decided to write this show. I knew it would be a challenge and really fun, and it’s been all those things. The very first version of the show was 25 minutes long. And since then it’s grown into a 50-minute version and now we’re also working on a web series. In the past year I have worked on it creatively and now see more doors opening for me as well as opportunities for it to be exposed to a bigger audience.

CN: Your characters never speak in the show but are extremely physical. How did you train for this show?

IE: By watching those who did it before me. I always tell students, when you’re in this work you have to throw yourself in completely. Watch every movie, read every book, do anything and everything that has to deal with comedy. It really makes me sad when I mention Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy, and students will have no idea who I’m talking about. If you don’t know those people you should not be doing comedy. You can take every class in the world that you want, but if you’re not throwing yourself into this world and making it your life, then you’re not going to benefit from it. I think that’s what I’ve always done.

CN: What came first, the music or the characters?

IE: It depends. Sometimes I would think of a funny, physical bit and then try to find the perfect piece of music that would try to fit that. There’s one scene I do with a puppet, and at first that scene had a completely different song. By the time it got to the show I changed the song, knowing the bit wouldn’t change that much. For another scene I knew I wanted to do something to the song “White Rabbit” because it’s such a weird and funny song with such a great build, so the bit came after the song.

CN: How did you come up with your bits? Did any of them come from real life experiences?

IE: I think just like any show, some of it comes from personal observation, and some of it comes from just sitting and brainstorming ideas. I think Jazz Face came from noticing how people react to Jazz music. And then the Luchador scene is basically what I was doing as a kid. I’ve always loved wrestling and Luchador masks, so that scene was inspired from that.

CN: You tackle so many variations of body language and physical movements in this piece; you really stretch the audience’s imagination and change all expectations of what might happen next. Was it difficult coming up with so much diverse physicality?

IE: When you give yourself the task of coming up with a 50 minute show where you can’t speak, you have no choice but to vary it up. Just like a standard sketch show will have blackouts, some political stuff and relationship scenes, I had to translate that into a show where I didn’t speak. Some of the scenes have to be high energy, some of them, a little bit smaller. For some of it you use other parts of your body, ‘Oh, cool! I’ll use my hands and only my hands’. Some scenes you play multiple characters and some you just play one character. And variation in music. Making sure I’m hitting a bunch of different time periods. For the most part my taste tends to be really, really old. So I thought ‘Ah, I should throw some Daft Punk in there’.

CN: I love how you use some improv, and audience participation in the show. Why did you decide to layer in that art form, and did you find it difficult?

IE: It was another challenge for me. Can I do pieces that are improvised while not speaking? So I came up with this scene that is mad-libs like, where the audience gives me suggestions and then I act it out. Here’s the thing: I love this type of work so much that I can sit and think about it forever and still come up with ways to do the things that standard comedy shows have, but without speaking.

CN: Can you tell me a little about the web series idea?

IE: It follows a curious, whimsical character as he experiences life without speaking. Frank Caeti (director of the live show) and I are writing and producing it along with Maker Studios, Principato Young Entertainment, and Key and Peele. Some of it is taken directly from the live show, and some of it has been written exclusively for the web series. This character experiences everything from a hipster coffee shop to a jazz club to his thoughts that wander when he’s at a laundromat.

CN: Ithamar Has Nothing to Say is a one-man show, but how important was it to have a creative team to collaborate with, such as working with your director, Frank Caeti?

IE: Once I knew I wanted to do this show, there was no question in my mind who I wanted to direct it. Frank and I have known each other for so long, and we’ve been working together for so long that it’s such a great, fun, working relationship. He is so smart when it comes to comedy. He’s such a good director because he’s such an amazing performer and writer. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without him.

CN: Can you give some advice to upcoming comedians who might want to create a one-man show but don’t know where to start, and who want to get seen more but are afraid of failing? What are some things you learned during your process of creating, Ithamar Has Nothing to Say?

IE: First thing I’d say is you have to see a lot of comedy and do a lot of comedy. There’s something to be said about creating your own work. Taking all of the stuff that you’ve learned, and really going out there and writing something for yourself. I remember watching this documentary about comedy, and the one thing that remained constant was everyone saying, ‘The whole time we were writing, we were just writing to make ourselves laugh’. Trust your own comedic instinct and just try it. Don’t be afraid of it failing because the good thing about it not working is that you figure out a way to make it work. Give yourself the opportunity to try it somewhere in front of people. You have to be willing to throw yourself out there without a net. Otherwise you won’t succeed and you won’t create. Also know that you’re never done with something you create. There’s always stuff to work around with and a year from now who knows where this show will be? Maybe I’ll be in another show where I’m talking non-stop. You just never know what’s ahead. So do the thing that you’re excited about now and trust that it’s going to grow into something else and might lead you in other directions.

ITHAMAR HAS NOTHING TO SAY can be seen every Saturday at 8pm through Dec 20th at Second City Hollywood.


The Second City Studio Theatre is located at 6560 Hollywood Blvd. LA, CA 90028

Friday, October 24, 2014

SC Comedy Study Alums To Produce Comedy Pilot for TBS

TBS has just given pilot orders for "Wrecked," the single-camera comedy from SC Comedy Study alums, Justin and Jordan Shipley. Congrats guys, can't wait to see the pilot!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

SCN Video Screened at Midwest Independent Film Festival

"The Mayor's Aide: Free Speech" by The Second City Network will be screened Tuesday night, November 4th as part of the Midwest Independent Film Fest at Landmark Cinema. Congrats to SCN and please join them for this exciting evening!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Student Spotlight: Help Conservatory Grad Anthony Bonazzo Become a Festival Finalist

Beginning Improv and Conservatory Grad Anthony Bonazzo was recently pre-selected in the Montreaux Comedy Festival and is currently in the Top 5 in voting. The contest takes the Top 4 and the winner is awarded the opportunity to perform in Switzerland. Check out his stand-up clip and help him make the cut by voting for him here

About Anthony:
Anthony graduated both the Conservatory and Music Improv Conservatory's at Second City, performed in the Del Close Marathon, has starred in videos for The Onion, and was recently a Semi Finalist in the NBC Stand Up for Diversity contest. He can be seen performing Stand Up and Improv in various venues throughout Chicago.

Depraved New World's John Hartman Wins Jeff Award

Congratulations to SC's Depraved New World actor, John Hartman, on his Jeff Award win last night. A big congrats to all nominees, what a terrific evening!

SC + Hubbard Street Opens Tomorrow

The Second City partners with The Hubbard Street Dance Company for "The Art of Falling" with the preview tomorrow evening and shows the rest of the weekend. This is a limited run, ending Sunday October 19th. New City Stage interviewed a few ensemble members for more information:

"Without giving too much away (which is pretty much impossible considering the fragmented rehearsals) the structure of the show loosely follows a Second City mainstage production: two acts with intermission, three separate but interwoven plot lines interspersed with short vignettes. A writer/choreographer team developed each thread, and the score, by Julie Nichols, includes a lot of original music performed live on stage along with pointed, referential excerpts of pop songs. The theme is falling—in love, primarily—and requisite risk-taking to make it happen."

To read the entire article, click here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cast Announced for SC & Goodman's "Twist Your Dickens"

In an unprecedented partnership, Goodman Theatre and The Second City join forces to present “comedy gold” (bePortland) with the holiday send-up Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort.

Directed by Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Matt Hovde, this “riotous havoc” (Los Angeles Times) finds Scrooge and Tiny Tim hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the island of misfit toys and even little orphan Annie, all in The Second City’s trademark improvisational style. Twist Your Dickens runs December 5 - 28 in the Owen Theatre (opening night is Thursday, December 11).

Tickets ($15 - $45; subject to change) are on sale online now or you can order by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The production complements the Goodman’s 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol, which is directed by Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper in the Albert (November 15 – December 28).

“We’re thrilled to partner with The Second City as part of our 90th Anniversary Season,” said Executive Director Roche Schulfer. “A Christmas Carol has been a longstanding tradition at the theater, and we look forward to the humor and surprises that come with The Second City’s irreverent interpretation.”

"Adding The Second City's Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens, or Scrooge You! to their holiday schedule alongside the time-honored production of A Christmas Carol is a perfect example of what makes the Goodman a forward thinking and innovative Chicago institution," states Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer of The Second City. "We're honored to partner with our friends at the Goodman this holiday season."

The seven-member cast includes:

  • Francis Guinan (currently in The Night Alive at Steppenwolf Theatre Company) as Scrooge
  • Frank Caeti (MADtv) as the Ghost of Christmas Past
  • Writer Peter Gwinn as Jacob Marley
  • Sayjal Joshi (The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything) as Tiny Tim
  • Beth Melewski (The Second City Guide to the Opera and Chicago’s Cash Cab) as the Ghost of Christmas Present
  • Robyn Scott (Ask Aunt Susan) as Mrs. Cratchit
  • Tim Stoltenberg (The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything) as Bob Cratchit
Audiences can also expect some famous faces to drop by for surprise cameo appearances. The creative team includes TK. Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room.

Peter Gwinn (Writer) was one of the original writers for The Colbert Report, for which he received two Emmy Awards. Other written works include Moulin Scrooge! (WreckingBall Theater Lab and iO Chicago), Listen Kid! (UCB Theater and iO Chicago), PeterGwinn’s The Confidence Ladder (UCB Theater) and The Awesome Show (iO Chicago). He is a founding member of Baby Wants Candy, a troupe that improvises one-act musicals. Other performer credits include ASSSSCAT (UCB Theater), The Armando Diaz Experience (iO Chicago), The Second City Touring Company and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

Bobby Mort (Writer) has won an Emmy Award for his work on The Colbert Report and performed as part of the ensemble People of Earth (iO Chicago) and sketch trio Maximum Party Zone (iO Chicago). He was also the screenwriter for Circle of Pain and Beatdown.

Matt Hovde (Director) is the Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center. His directing credits at The Second City include Let Them Eat Chaos, Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting), Second City’s Game Night, Studs Terkel’s Not Working (Jeff Award), America: All Better; Rod Blagojevich Superstar!; and Between Barack and a Hard Place. He has directed productions for The Second City in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Baltimore, Vienna, Brussels and others. He previously directed Twist Your Dickens at Portland Center Stage in 2013.

Student Spotlight Podcast: Callie Johnson in 'Evil Dead The Musical' - In Chicago til Oct. 12

Improv for Actors and Dramatic Improv Grad, Callie Johnson, is starring in 'Evil Dead The Musical' - playing at Chicago's Broadway Playhouse until October 12th. Callie and the cast stopped by the Training Center for a Q & A session with our Rob Holmes.

Listen to the Q & A podcast and find out 'behind the scenes' secrets, more about the cast and what the stage blood tastes like.

Listen to the Podcast!

Monday, September 29, 2014

SC Toronto's "Rebel Without a Cosmos" is Four Stars

Congratulations to SC Toronto for an incredible opening night! Last night their latest Mainstage revue, "Rebel Without a Cosmos" opened to rave review. It was said to be "sheer comic bliss: as funny as you could dream of, but also full of real wisdom and razor-sharp satire."

What more could you ask for...oh maybe to also get four out of four starts -- which it did!

Congrats Toronto!

Click here for the entire review from the Toronto Star.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Second City Wants to Twist Your Dickens

The holidays are on their way and The Second City has teamed up with The Goodman Theatre for "Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You" playing at Goodman for the month of December.

An irreverent send-up of the holiday classic, Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You is written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort and features Second City's trademark improvisation. Scrooge, Tiny Tim and those know-it-all ghosts find themselves hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the Island of Misfit Toys and even little orphan Annie in a heaping host of holiday hilarity for all.

Tickets are on sale now and you can either order them by phone by calling the Box Office at 312.443.3800 or ordering online!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Andrew Alexander Honored by Phi Beta Kappa Association

Andrew Alexander, Executive Producer & CEO of The Second City, Inc., will be honored for his contributions to Chicago’s cultural life by the Chicago alumni association of Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious national academic society, at its Annual Dinner and Scholarship Benefit on Friday, November 14, 2014 at 6:30p. The event will be held at The Casino (195 E. Delaware Place) and is open to the public. Tickets and additional information are available at

Past recipients of Phi Beta Kappa’s Distinguished Service Award include Lois Weisberg, former Chicago Commissioner of Cultural Affairs; Project Exploration’s Paul Sereno and Gabrielle Lyon; the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s William Mason; the Art Institute of Chicago’s James Cuno; and Arne Duncan, former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and current U.S. Secretary of Education. The full list of past recipients can be found at

In addition to presenting the Distinguished Service Award, Phi Beta Kappa Chicago annually awards scholarships to outstanding CPS high school students and advocates intellectual pursuits and the benefits of a liberal education.

Andrew Alexander
Andrew Alexander is best known for his leadership of The Second City theatre company and the hit television show SCTV. Alexander is a major presence in the entertainment scene and also works as a theatre, film, and television producer.

Alexander was born in London, England. He studied at Tri-State College in Indiana and Ryerson University in Toronto. Working as a cab driver, truck driver, speakeasy operator, waiter, tree salesman, marketing manager, ad salesman, magazine editor, and producer in the alternative theatre scene in Toronto positioned him well for a career in the Comedy Business. That chance came in 1974 when he became the head of The Second City in Toronto.

As leader of the Toronto theatre, Alexander produced and developed content for live theatre shows in collaboration with the legendary performers of the 1970s: Gilda Radner, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, and Joe Flaherty, among others. Two years later, he forged a partnership with Len Stuart to create The Second City Entertainment Company, whose first production was the groundbreaking television show SCTV. After almost a decade developing the Entertainment Company, Alexander and Stuart became owners of The Second City Chicago in 1985. Since then, Alexander has actively led The Second City in Canada and the United States for over thirty years.

Alexander has produced or executive produced over 200 Second City revues in Canada and the United States. Under his leadership, The Second City has created innovative revues that have inspired generations of comedic creators. Over the past 35 years, The Second City has made its mark by operating resident theatres and/or improv training facilities in Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Edmonton, London Ontario, New York, and Cleveland. Never forgetting the company’s Windy City roots, The Second City has at one point operated three resident theatres in Chicago alone.

During Alexander’s prolific career as a television producer, he has co-developed and executive produced more than 185 half-hour shows and produced over 150 hours of television comedy for SCTV. Throughout the length of SCTV’s run, the comedy series garnered an ACTRA Award, two Emmy Awards, and 13 Emmy Award nominations.

Alexander has also developed television programming for numerous networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Television, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, A&E, and the CBC. Alexander has had co-production deals with MGM Television, Imagine Films, Disney Studios, and United Artist. He has also produced movies and television shows with some of North America’s brightest stars including Ed Asner, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Bonnie Hunt, Shelly Long, Andrea Martin, Steve Carell, John Candy, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey.

Recently, Alexander served as Executive Producer for Second City’s Next Comedy Legend on CBC (2007). He was also executive producer of the Canadian feature film Intern’s Academy (2004), written by Dave Thomas and featuring Canadian comedy virtuosos Dan Aykroyd, Dave Foley, Dave Thomas, and Maury Chaykin.

Alexander was a founding shareholder of the Pay Television service Super Channel and also served on the Board of Directors.

Alexander serves on the Columbia College Board of Trustees. He is Chair of the Gilda’s Club Toronto Honorary Board and acts as an Honorary Member of the Chicago Gilda’s Club Board. Alexander has also served on the Board of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Canadian Walk of Fame. In 2008, he coordinated a reunion of the cast of SCTV in Toronto and launched the Alumni Fund, a fund that in its first months raised over $200,000 to assist actors and support staff during times of illness or economic hardship.

Alexander has received numerous awards including the Canadian Comedy Awards Chairman’s Award, Gilda’s Magic Award from Gildas Club, and the League of Chicago Theatres’s 2009 Artistic Leadership Award. That same year, Alexander was named Chicago Tribune’s Chicagoan of the Year. He has also been featured in Crain’s 2011 Who’s Who Chicago Business and Chicago Magazine’s 2012 Power 100.

Since acquiring The Second City Chicago in 1985, the company under Alexander’s leadership has collected 148 Jeff Award Nominations and 28 Jeff Award wins. Since 1975, Second City Toronto has been nominated for 19 Doras and 2 Dora wins. On behalf of The Second City as a whole, Alexander has accepted the Spirit of Innovation Award 2011, the NAB Spirit of Broadcasting Award 2012, Lifetime Achievement Award from Just for Laughs, and the 2012 Big Shoulders Award from the Chicago Film Critics.

In his current capacity as CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Alexander ensures that Second City’s empire of funny will stay on top.

Phi Beta Kappa
The mission of Phi Beta Kappa is to inspire enthusiasm for pursuits of the mind.

Individuals are elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a result of the intellectual curiosity, discipline, rigor, and achievement they exhibit over the extended course of a liberal education.

Providing such persons with a locus to apply and further develop that mindset, the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Chicago Area advocates intellectual pursuits and the benefits of a liberal education. Through diverse activities drawing upon the resources of metropolitan Chicago, our goal is to inspire enthusiasm for pursuits of the mind, a sense of discovery, and independent judgement.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sheldon Patinkin

"We are heartbroken to learn of the sudden death of Sheldon Patinkin. Beginning as a bar manager at The Second City in 1959, Sheldon became our artistic conscience as director and artistic consultant. He has worked with Second City casts and directors for the past 55 years; most recently giving notes and consulting on The Second City e.t.c.’s “Apes of Wrath.” His work expanded beyond The Second City and he became a prolific director and educator. He was a beloved mentor to thousands. His legacy is exponential and we are so proud to have also called him a friend." - Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer, The Second City

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Key and Peele Found Love at SC

Here's a great piece on SC alum Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele on how they got their start together at The Second City!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wellness Week Schedule

Click Here to Register for Wellness Week

Congress established National Mental Health Awareness Week 24 years ago in 1990 due to the efforts of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an organization we recently sponsored.

During this week, October 5th-October 11th, mental health advocates and non health-based organizations (LIKE US!) across the U.S. join together to sponsor a variety of events to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illnesses such as anxiety. We are hosting events because of our growing Wellness Program which includes Improv for Anxiety (IFAX), Improv for ASD, and Humor Doesn’t Retire: Improv for Older Adults.

We are providing opportunities to show what we are doing with our program and invite the public to participate in and learn about Improv! We hope that everyone will take this opportunities to simply connect, take risks, and try something new in an open, safe environment. Challenge yourself to "Yes, And" a new experience!
The Second City Training Center is excited to share our unique philosophy centered on connecting with others and building ensemble. Come play with us!

All events free and open to the public. Ages: High School and up

10/5/2014, 5:00-6:30PM, Room 301
Hannah Bailey
Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) for Actors

10/6/2014, 10am-1pm, Room 405

Piero Procaccini
Intro to Improvisation: Improv Basics for Beginners

10/6/2014, 6pm-6:50pm, Room 403

Becca Barish & Mark Pfeffer
Intro to Improv for Anxiety

10/7/2014, 5:00-6:50pm, Room 305

Janna Sobel
Storytelling & The Gift of the Truth

10/8/2014, 12:00-2:00pm, Donny's Skybox
Stephanie McCullough Vlcek
Singing Against the Darkness

10/8/2014, 4:00-6:00pm, DeMaat Theatre
Rachael Mason & Jeff Bouthiette
Self Discovery through Improvised Song

10/8/2014, 6:00-6:50pm, DeMaat Theatre
Aaron Graham
Making & Faking Confident Choices in Music Improv

10/8/2014, 6:00-6:50pm, Room 403
Molly Fisher & Nick Johne
Intro to Improv for Aspies and Individuals with
Autism Spectrum & Similar Disorders
10/9/2014, 5:00-6:50pm, Room 301
Lynda Tourloukis
Laughter Yoga Workshop

10/10/2014, 9:00am-11am, Room 301
Ruth Williams Hennessy
Whole Body Voice Workshop

10/10/2014, 10:00am-11am, Donny's Skybox
Lauren Dowden
Improv for Older Adults- Presentation & Play

10/10/2014, 11:15am-12pm, Room 305
Susan Messing & Rachael Mason
I'Mprovising Right

10/10/2014, 12:00pm-1:00pm, Room 305
Ashley Nicole Black
Getting Past Writer's Block
Participants: Please bring a pen and a notebook
10/10/2014, 1:00-3:00pm, Room 305
John Hildreth
Scenic Improv

10/10/2014, 3:00-4:00pm, Donny's Skybox
Jim Winter
The "Sense" of Humor

10/10/2014, 4:00-6pm, UP COMEDY CLUB Showcase and Reception
Director: Nick Johne

Doors open at 4pm
Lights up at 4:15pm
Host: Ashley Nicole Black
Sorry Bouts featuring Erin Lann & Brooke Montoya
Therapy Players
Wellness Program Ensemble

5:00-6:00pm Reception: Free Appetizers and Beverages

10/11/2014, 9:00-9:50am, Room 301
Hannah Bailey
Vinyasa Yoga Class
Participants: Please feel free to bring your own yoga mat!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

R.I.P. Roy Leonard

Our thoughts are with the family of Roy Leonard following the news of his passing. He was a Chicago institution and we are forever grateful for his support of our theater and the Chicago arts community. He was a gentleman of the highest order, full of optimism and curiosity. Such a sweet soul of a man." - Andrew Alexander, CEO & Executive Producer - The Second City Click here for more information about Roy Leonard.

SC Alum Joan Rivers Passes Away

We are so sad to learn of Joan Rivers’ death. Though her time with Second City was short, Joan Rivers embodied all of the attributes of a Second City alum - hard-working, smart as a whip and incredibly funny. We are very sad to lose this trailblazer but are so thankful for her prolific body of work. Our thoughts are with her beloved family and friends.

- Andrew Alexander, CEO & Executive Producer, The Second City

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Stephen Colbert On Late Night with Seth Meyers

If you didn't catch SC alum, Stephen Colbert, on Late Night with Seth Meyers, here's a clip -- one where he sings a lil' song from his time at Second City nonetheless!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second City's Depraved New World Received 4 Jeff Award Nominations

Congratulations to Mick Napier (Director), John Hartman (Actor), Tawny Newsome (Actress) and the entire Depraved New World (Revue) cast and crew on their Jeff Award nominations. So exciting!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shop Old Town’s Shop Wells Showcase

We love our Old Town neighborhood and all that thrives within it. Please join us this weekend and get your shop on at the Shop Wells Showcase, this Saturday, August 23rd and Sunday, August 24th. A bunch of boutiques are participating and have great deals and discounts available!

Adelaide Boutique | 1704 N. Wells Street
30% off of new Fall merchandise + a gift with purchase!

Luxury Garage Sale | 1658 N. Wells Street
Sip and shop with complimentary mimosas!

 Handle With Care | 1706 N. Wells Street
Sale up to 70% off + 15% off all full-priced merchandise!

Mercy Beaucoup | 1545 N. Wells Street
10% off full-priced merchandise + sale merchandise up to 75% off!

Sara Jane | 1343 N. Wells Street
Additional 40%-off sale + $25 gift card for purchases of $100 or more.

Remembering Fred Kaz, the "Captain of Cool"

Please join us in Chicago to celebrate the life of the inimitable Fred Kaz, an extraordinary man who touched and influenced the lives of so many. The Second City is presenting a Celebration of Life for Fred at UP Comedy Club on Tuesday, September 30th. A reception with light appetizers and beverages will take place from 6:00-7:00pm with the service from 7:00-9:00pm.

We hope you can join us. Please click here to RSVP.

UP Comedy Club
230 W. North Avenue (inside Piper's Alley)
3rd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Click here for directions or additional location information

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Air & Water Show This Weekend in Chicago

The Chicago Air & Water Show returns to the lakefront Saturday, August 16 - Sunday, August 17. If you're coming to the theater this weekend, come a little early to check out the show. Click here for more information. The Air & Water show tends to draw big crowds. You may want to consider taking public transportation or grabbing a taxi if you're not within walking distance. Google Maps has a great public transportation feature if you're not sure which train or bus to catch. Click here to find your route.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Comedy World Lost A Legend Today: Robin Williams

"We are deeply saddened to learn of Robin Williams' death. He was an enormously talented performer and a good friend of The Second City. On several occasions we had an opportunity to perform with him and it was always a pleasure. In the late 70's, Robin and Martin Short spent a week on The Second City stage doing the most extraordinary improvising I have ever witnessed. He also was superb as a guest on SCTV. Our thoughts are with his friends and family."

- Andrew Alexander, CEO & Executive Producer, The Second City

SC Alum, Christina Anthony, Lands Role in "Found" Off-Broadway

Found features a book by Tony Award nominee Hunter Bell ([title of show]) and Lee Overtree and original music and lyrics by Eli Bolin.

The ensemble cast of ten includes Christina Anthony ("The Second City," "Key & Peele"), Nick Blaemire(Godspell, Glory Days), Andrew Call (Rock of Ages, American Idiot),Daniel Everidge (Grease, Fat Camp), Orville Mendoza (Peter and the Starcatcher, Pacific Overtures), Betsy Morgan (Les Misérables, A Little Night Music), Molly Pope (Molly Pope, Okay?; Introducing Molly Pope), Danny Pudi ("Community," "Gilmore Girls"), Sandy Rustin (Rated P [for parenthood], Modern Orthodox) and Barrett Wilbert Weed (Bare, Heathers).

"Found is an original musical based on scores of surprising and eccentric discarded notes and letters that have been 'found' in the real world by every-day people," press notes state. "Inspired by actual events, the show follows Davy (Blaemire) who, along with his two best friends, is lost and broke. When he finds a strangely revealing note on his windshield meant for someone else, it sparks an outlandish idea that finds him and his compatriots on a wild, comedic journey. This raucous and insightful new musical tells a story of ambition, betrayal and loyalty while celebrating the weirdness in all of us."

For the full article, click here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Enjoy the Seward Park Jazz Fest in Old Town

Come out and enjoy this year's Jazz in the Park. Located in the beautiful Seward Park that has grown in Community and Residents with live Jazz and Food. Feel free to bring your Family and Friends to enjoy this year's Free Concert Series, hosted by Near North Unity Program. (Held every other Friday from June thru August.)

Jazz begins at 6:30 pm in Seward Park, 364 W. Elm.  Prior to the jazz music beginning, at 4:30pm, Old Town Merchants and Residents Association, Near North Unity Program, and Old Town Triangle Association, in conjunction with Redmoon, will be hosting an event featuring grilling, music and a photobooth.

Additional talents include The Jesse White Tumbling Team!  Come on out for both events, you are guaranteed a great summer evening!

More details here:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Second City Alumnus, Jackie Hoffman, to star in Broadway revival of On the Town

Hairspray star and SC alum, Jackie Hoffman, has been cast as Madame Dilly in the Broadway revival of On the Town. The show, which is being produced by Howard and Janet Kagan, will reach its 70th anniversary with this production. Not only does it have a talented cast, but set design and costume design are led by Tony Award winners Beowulf Boritt and Jess Goldstein. Jackie Hoffman and the rest of the cast will begin performances on September 20 at the Lyric Theatre. The production will officially open October 16.

For more details, click here.

Second City's Bob Curry Fellowship featured on ABC7's Heart and Soul Special

ABC 7 featured Second City's Bob Curry Fellowship in its Heart and Soul segment, which aired on July 26. While The Second City has long had an Outreach and Diversity program, this year it launched the Bob Curry Fellowship, a free fellowship for diverse actors.The segment features the head of Second City's Outreach and Diversity program, Dionna Griffin-Irons, and gives an inside look at the program and the 16 actors within it. The Second City will offer the fellowship again in 2015.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mainstage Cast Announced for 103rd Revue

The Second City Mainstage is proud to announce the cast for our 103rd Mainstage Revue.

Returning ensemble members Chelsea Devantez, John Hartman, Emily Walker and
Craig Taylor (Stage Manager) will be joined by Paul Jurewicz, Daniel Strauss, Christine Tawfik and Jacob Shuda (Musical Director). Jeff Award Winning director Ryan Bernier returns to direct his third resident company revue.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Second City Chicago Training Center to Double its Pipers Alley Footprint

The Second City, Inc. announced today the signing of a lease with Old Town Development Associates, L.L.C., to expand into additional space at Pipers Alley (230 W. North Avenue) formerly occupied by the four-screen AMC movie theater. The new space will allow The Second City Training Center, the largest school of comedy in the world, to add an array of student-centered facilities including new classrooms, two student theaters, a screening room, a student resource center, a student lounge and bar, two large special events spaces and additional space for the companies’ growing businesses. The new lease adds 25,000 square feet to The Second City Training Center's current 20,300 square feet of space essentially doubling the school's current footprint. In total, The Second City will occupy nearly 75,000 square feet in Chicago's Old Town.

Named one of “The 25 Best Drama Schools in 2014” alongside Yale School of Drama, The Juilliard School and Carnegie Mellon University by The Hollywood Reporter, The Second City continues to develop an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Last month, The Second City Training Center announced the launch of its TV, Film and Digital Program, under the direction of Jack C. Newell.  New classrooms will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology including voiceover studios, on-camera training studios and editing suites to accommodate the Digital Program launch.

"We are very excited to enhance our students' experience with the development of this new space,” says Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc. “This will give the opportunity for more student performances in front of audiences, resources to enhance their education, places to work and collaborate, and program-specific materials and technology in classrooms. For our team, it's taking what's already a fantastic training institution and heightening it to the best experience possible for our students."

The second-floor space at Pipers Alley first opened as a movie theater in 1991, and has been unoccupied since AMC went dark on May 26, 2011. The Training Center’s multi-million-dollar build-out begins immediately, with physical enhancements to include opening up the bricked-over 22-foot high window arches overlooking North Avenue and Wells Street.  The space is expected to be completed and serving students by spring of 2015.

Long in the works, the expansion is in response to The Training Center’s desire to launch new and progressive programming while maintaining the high teacher to student ratio and enhancing the overall student experience. With the acquisition of the AMC space, the Second City Training Center can keep its educational programming under one roof – close to its history and next to its professional theaters. Students on a professional track can get even more stage time, and with the growth of the overall student body, additional theaters can accommodate end of term graduation performances. The new Student Resource Center will give students an actual on-site workspace.

"For years we've been listening to student feedback and building this plan to fulfill their requests,” says Kerry Sheehan, President of the Second City Training Centers & Education Programs. “Not only will we be able to better accommodate our wait lists in core programs – such as improvisation and writing – but our newer initiatives into digital media and advanced classes for the professionally tracked student will have room to grow and thrive."

The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theaters 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 Training Center has a current student body of 5,000 per week and is the largest school of comedy in the world.

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More from the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Second City Cocktail Contest!

The Second City is remodeling our Toronto bar, and we want our patrons to help us concoct a couple of tasty new cocktails to add to our bar menu.

Put your mixology skills to the test for your chance to win two free tickets to a Second City show, plus $25 gift card, bragging rights, and the chance to see your cocktail concoction featured on our bar menu!

We’ve suggested two featured ingredients. All you have to do is visit our Facebook page, and add a comment with:

1) A third featured ingredient
2) Directions on how to prepare or serve your creation **
3) An original name for your cocktail creation!

** Keep in mind: our bar functions at a very fast pace and complicated preparation steps slow down our service. So no flames, muddling or hoop jumping!

It’s that simple! Check our Facebook or Twitter feed on Friday afternoon to see if your concoction has been chosen as the winner of our summer cocktail contest!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

George Morrison, Compass Player Alum, Dies at 86

The Second City is saddened by the death of Compass Players director and esteemed acting teacher, George Morrison at the age of 86. In addition to being a director with the Compass Players, George also founded the New Actors Workshop with fellow Compass Players Mike Nichols and Second City co-founder Paul Sills in 1988.

Our thoughts are with his friends and family. Click here to learn more about the life of George Morrison.

SC Alums Sweep Up Emmy Nominations

Congrats to all of our TourCo and SC resident stage alums that received Emmy Nominations last night!
  • Amy Poehler
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Tina Fey
  • Tom Purcell
  • Paul Dinello
  • Keegan Michael Key
  • Rebecca Drysdale
  • Rich Talarico
  • Jane Lynch
  • Joshua Funk
  • Ian Roberts

Monday, July 7, 2014

Student Jacob Williams returns to Nick Cannon's Wild N Out!

After taking our 'Acting on Camera' class and frequenting our open mics, jams and drop-ins, Jacob Williams returns as a cast member on the MTV2 improv show Wild N Out on Wednesdays at 10pm this summer. Hosted by Nick Cannon with guest stars each week, episodes will be available to stream on the show's website the day after they air.

Say hi to Jacob on Twitter and check out the show here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Second City Remembers Paul Mazursky

It is with great sadness that The Second City learned of the passing of film director, screenwriter, actor and Second City alum Paul Mazursky in Los Angeles last night. Mazursky earned an Oscar nomination for directing his first film "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" in 1969. Other films he wrote and directed include the Oscar winning "Harry and Tonto," "An Unmarried Women" which was nominated for Best Picture and "Down and Out in Beverly Hills." Paul Mazursky performed with The Second City in 1961 in a long running engagement at the Ivar Theatre in Los Angeles. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Friday, June 27, 2014

SC Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Help Fundraise

The Second City has created an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money to support Gilda's Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund as a part of our All-Star Comedy Benefit. You have the option to donate as little as $10 to support the cause or you can purchase a $50 autographed poster or a few thousand dollars for VIP access for you and nine friends. Take a look at the details here and remember that every little bit helps!

Thank you so much and we hope to see you at the event on July 17th!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SC Alum Jason Sudeikis Cast in New Jared Hess Heist Comedy

SC alum, Jason Sudeikis, is in talks to join Zach Galafianakis, Owen Wilson and Kristen Wiig in the Jared Hess-directed heist drama formerly known as Loomis Fargo, which is set up at Relativity Media. Sudeikis will play a hit man in the pic, which is based on an original screenplay by Emily Spivey and is getting a new title.

For more details, click here.

Rick & Laura Hall Return to The Second City Training Centre July 18th & 19th

They're coming back, for two days only! We have a beginner and an advanced musical improv workshop and two back-to-back shows!

If you've seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? and have always wanted to learn to do musical improv then the beginner class on Saturday, July 19th from 11-2pm is a great starting point. If you have experience with musical improv and are looking to further expand your skills then try your hand at the advanced class on Friday, July 18th from 2-5pm.

Back-to-back shows Friday July 18th starting at 7:30pm in the John Candy Box Theatre.

7:30pm: Open Jam
$5 Second City Training Centre Students/ $10 Non-Second City Training Centre Students

9:00pm: Advanced Workshop show
$8 Second City Training Centre Students/ $15 Non-Second City Training Centre Students

Tickets available at the front desk of The Second City Training Centre (70 Peter Street, Lower Level)

About Rick and Laura:
Rick and Laura met when he was a member of The Second City Touring Company in Chicago and she was the musical director.

Rick is best known for his roles in Three Fugitives, My Fellow Americans & Vice Versa while Laura can be seen on the hit TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? starring Second City Alumni Colin Mochrie & Ryan Stiles.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mainstage Musical Director Speaks about Evolutoin of Role with Technology

The handful of music directors at The Second City over the years have provided piano accompaniment some of the country's biggest stars during their formative years.

What started as a role for a jazz pianist in 1959 has since transformed in tune with the greater music industry.

Jesse Case, the theater's newest music director, still sits behind a grand piano, but is equipped with a synthesizer above the main set keys, a third keyboard down below for sound effects and industry standard audio programs on a laptop to his side...

For the full interview, click here.

New City Stage Recommends e.t.c's "Apes of Wrath"

This is one of the strongest casts that I’ve seen on either stage at Second City and director Jen Ellison handles them with a deft hand, pulling the best out of each. Barreca, Breit and Patel are returning from the most recent e.t.c —the excellent “A Clowncar Named Desire”—and have upped their already impressive games considerably since then, while Mujica, Perlman and Ryder bring an air of newcomers excitement to the mix. The cast works well across the board, but the interspersed solo sketches serve to remind us that while we are indeed insignificant, we still crave individual attention from those around us.

Read the full review here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

SC Adds More Names to All-Star Benefit

The Second City is excited to announce more alumni and friends to The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit line-up including Scott Adsit, Neil Flynn, Mike Hagerty, T.J. Jagodowski, David Koechner, Susan Messing, Katie Rich and Allison Tolman. They will be joining Aidy Bryant, Jack McBrayer, Tim Meadows, George Wendt, Fred Willard and Steven Yeun. The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit is a special one night fundraising event benefiting Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at The Second City Mainstage Theater (1616 N. Wells St). Performances will be at 7:00p and 10:00p. Tickets are on sale now at

Featuring a hilarious cast of alumni and friends, The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit includes improv and some of the best scenes from The Second City’s 54-year history for one night of legendary laughs at the birthplace of Chicago-style improv and sketch comedy. Scheduled performers include Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Neil Flynn (The Middle), Mike Hagerty (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mob City), T.J. Jagodowski (TJ & Dave), David Koechner (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, American Dad!), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls), Susan Messing (Messing with a Friend), Katie Rich (Saturday Night Live), Allison Tolman (Fargo), George Wendt (Cheers), Fred Willard (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Modern Family) and Steven Yeun (Walking Dead). This line-up is subject to change based on availability.

Proceeds from The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit will go to Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund.

VIP Tickets for The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit are $500.00, and include a post-show private cocktail reception.  Premium tickets which include two cocktails and a souvenir glass will be available for $300.00 and a limited number of seats are available for $250.00. Tickets are now on sale at

The Second City is pleased to work with The James Chicago in partnership for The James' new Cultural Collection, a curated group of partners representing Chicago’s dynamic and vibrant cultural communities.

About Gilda’s Club Chicago
Gilda’s Club Chicago offers FREE programs for men, women, teens and children and their family and friends whose lives have been impacted by any kind of cancer. Their mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

About The Second City Alumni Fund
The Alumni Fund of The Second City is a resource fund for performers, technicians, support staff and other members of the creative and production teams at The Second City and SCTV. The Alumni Fund provides counseling and/or short-term financial aid to assist in expenses for health, housing and rehabilitation after an illness, injury or sudden inability to work.