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!