Friday, April 25, 2014

Student Spotlight with Ricky Lee Barnes

We talked with Level E grad and current 'The Reel Deal' contestant, Ricky Lee Barnes about his time at Second City and more. Help him become a finalist on 'The Reel Deal' by voting on his Finalist Page here:

Where are you from and what made you move to Chicago?
I grew up in Moraine, Ohio which is a small suburb of Dayton. I knew I wanted a bigger life than I was living and when I was presented with a job opportunity in the city I packed up the Winnebago and took to the open road. …Which was actually a U-Haul and Highway 90.

What did you think of Chicago when you first moved here?
I thought it was beautiful and super big. I remember thinking, “This is a city and they have TREES too!?” I also couldn’t believe that I lived in a neighborhood where I could walk to a bar. The only thing you can walk to in my old neighborhood is an abandoned elementary school and a Pentecostal church.

What do you love most about the city?
The summer. There is a festival every weekend and people are always ready to let their hair down and celebrate.

What do you hate most?
The 9-month winter #SAD… Oh, and the smell of hot-pee on the redline round-about August 1st.

Did you have a nickname as a child/teen (that you dont mind sharing?)
My family is from Kentucky & Virginia so…Bubba. My parents actually still call me “Bub”. My grandpa used to call me "Pistol Pete with Stinkin’ Feet" but that one faded once I hit puberty.

What made you want to be a performer?
I always wanted to be but I was afraid to admit it. I wasted a ton of time getting a degree I’ll never use (wha, what Bachelors in Communications!?) and trying to live an idealistic, “successful” life. I knew when I moved to Chicago I would perform again but it wasn’t until I started classes at the Second City that the performer actually resurfaced.
I love to talk and tell stories and make people laugh. I always have. Performing allows me to move people and entertain them using nothing but me. It’s powerful to know that I am the only tool I need.

What Classes have you taken at the Second City?
I have taken Improv A-E and performed in the Writing 6 show “Never Change”. I know that’s not a class but I learned so much that I have to count it.

What is the coolest thing that happened to you in class so far?
Learning that everyone fails. Also coming to the realization that usually we each perceive our own failure as catastrophic when, in reality, it wasn’t thatterrible.

What is the silliest improv scene you have done in class so far?
Once I was a metrosexual business man arguing with my manicurist about her attitude while reminding her that I basically pay her Comed bill. Also when I was a 19-year old Hollister employee who couldn’t let his hair down because it was so sexy it would distract all the other employees.

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone just starting the Beginning Improv program, what would it be?
Don’t try to be good - just be real. And expect to be scared the first time you ask for a suggestion.

You are a semi-finalist on The Reel Deal! How has the experience been so far?
You know, I never thought I’d be on reality tv but when I read the description of The Reel Deal I thought it would be a great experience for a few reasons: I'd be a part of the film-making process from beginning to end AND I’d be able to showcase my personality. I'd get to be Ricky and Ricky Lee Barnes in the same show.

I made my personality video and so many people encouraged me and shared it and liked it on Youtube… It was moving. Coming to the realization that I have a support network that is willing to help me achieve a goal and pursue my passion is paramount. This process has shown me what I’m capable of and inspired me to continue to fight so that I can live the life I want rather than the life I thought I wanted.

i.e. It’s been a really amazing ride so far

Right now, The Reel Deal is collecting votes for each of the actors online - what can we do to help?
Each contestant was challenged to create an initial audition/personality video as well as filmed, monologue callback videos. You can view my submissions on my personal finalist page and click the “Vote for Me” button under my headshot.

Voting is done through Squerb and I am ranked in 6 categories: Person, Acting, Appearance, Life Story, Personality, and Social Media Savviness. This system is in place to allow a more comprehensive picture of each contestant rather than being a simple “like” contest. Words like “interesting”, “convincing”, “flawless” etc. are attached to each vote. It sounds confusing but just think of it as throwing darts at a dart board covered in opinions.

Voting is open until May 15th so I have until then to get as many votes in as many categories as I can!
Finalist Page:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SC Alum Andrea Martin Nominated for Critics Circle Award

Congrats to SC Toronto alum, Andrea Martin, on her Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play in Act One! So proud of her!

Playing House Pilot Filled With SC Faces

Check out Second City alums and friendly faces Keegan Michael Key, Brad Morris, Emily Wilson, Mary Sohn and Kate James in the Playing House pilot.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Congrats to Conservatory Grad Allison Tolman on 'Fargo' Lead Role

Allison Tolman is turning heads as the lead in FX's 'Fargo', Before landing blockbuster roles, Allison was taking classes at The Second City Training Center and working hard to get ahead. Check out the inspirational Sun Times article on Allison below to find out more.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Student Graduation Shows this Sunday

Join us at the Second City Mainstage (51 Mercer Street) this Sunday, April 13th at 3pm for TWO Writing 6 Graduation Shows. We're very excited because this is the first time we've ever had two Writing 6 Grad shows in one term!

3pm: Journey To The Centre of Google Earth (Directed by Dave Pearce)
4pm: Selfie's Choice (Directed by Jennifer Goodhue)

Our Writers have been working as an ensemble to create an original sketch revue for the last six months joined by a cast of our very own Conservatory graduates who have brought the hard work of our writers to life.

If you want even more comedy, show up at 2pm to watch our Conservatory 3 Archive show. Where they perform scenes from the Second City Mainstage archives.

All shows are pay what you can.

SC Alum Stephen Colbert Named New "Late Show" Host

SC alum, Stephen Colbert, has officially been named the new replacement for David Letterman on CBS' "Late Show." For more information, click here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SC EVP, Kelly Leonard: Keynote Speaker for Lake Forest College Commencement

Lake Forest College alumnus Kelly Leonard ’88, executive vice president of Second City, will be the keynote speaker at Commencement on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Honorands will be Christine Chakoian, pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest and Rabiah Mayas PhD, director of science and integrated strategies for the Museum of Science and Industry.

For the quarter-century since his own college graduation, Kelly has been with The Second City, where he oversees all live theatrical operations and has worked with such celebrated alumni as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler and Keegan Michael Key. He co-founded Second City Theatricals which produced “The Second City Guide to Opera” with Lyric Opera Chicago, “Twist Your Dickens” at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles and an upcoming collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance titled “The Second City Guide to Dance.” He is the man who brought The Second City to the high seas when he brokered a partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line that is entering its tenth year. Additionally, he works with Second City’s television and film division, developing content for broadcast television and new media. His first book, on innovation and improvisation, will be published by Harper Collins in 2015.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SC Alum Steve Carell to Play David Menasche in The Priority List

SC alum, Steve Carell,  will portray Miami local David Menasche in the film adaptation of the book The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the memoir, which focuses on Menasche's six-year battle with brain cancer and his journey to live in the present and find peace with his illness.

The Priority List will be produced by Carell and Carousel Productions' members Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock. With Carell at the helm, the film promises to be a funny, heartwarming, honest tale that would make any teaching hero proud.

For the full article, click here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tinder: A Second City Love Song

Earlier this year, The Second City opened "The Second City's Incomplete Guide to Everything." We love it and it has gotten rave reviews. Thanks to the Chicago Tribune, we're able to share a little taste of it with you here. Ladies and gentlemen, we present, "Tinder."

Student Appreciation Day

Thinking of taking a class, but not sure what it’s all about? Already a student but not sure what program to take next? Well this is the day for you! To show how much YOU mean to us, come check out an afternoon and evening of free shows and workshops. This is just our way of saying "thank you" the students, for helping Second City build such an amazing community.

3:00pm: Join us for our Conservatory 6 graduation show, A Person of Pinterest. Check out our latest group of up and coming talent hit the Mainstage at 51 Mercer Street. The show is pay-what-you-can and doors open at 2:30pm.

6:00pm & 7:45pm: Want to get some extra improv practice time or get a taste of what some of the other programs are like? Check out these workshops. All workshops are open to current students, friends and family members who may want to see what it's like to study with us at The Second City Training Centre. Best of all they’re FREE!

Here’s a list of the great workshops we’ll be offering:

Stand Up 
Writing (6pm only)
Musical Improv (7:45pm only)
Stagecraft 101 (7:45pm only)

Spaces are limited, so it's first come first served. Email ASAP to reserve your spot. Don’t miss out!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alan Arkin In The Spotlight

SC alum, Alan Arkin, will sit down with TCM host Robert Osborne on Sunday, April 13th for an interview at The Ricardo Montalban Theatre. For more details, click here.

Kevin Frank, Joins TSYO as Narrator/Host of "The Composer is DEAD!"

The Training Centre's Artistic Director, Kevin Frank, will be the Host/Narrator for the Lemony Snicket Mystery story "The Composer is DEAD!" A series of youth performances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thompson Hall running March 29th through to April 3rd.

For more information or to purchase tickets please visit the website. Click here to read more about Kevin Frank.