Theatre

In one of the comedy industry’s most anticipated traditions, iconic Chicago comedy institution The Second City is proud to announce the cast of their upcoming 106th Mainstage revue, set to open in October, 2017.
 
The all-new show will be written and performed by second-time cast member Kelsey Kinney and new cast members Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone, Jeff Award winner Ryan Bernier returns to direct his sixth resident show. Vinnie Pillarella will follow up his turn as music director for the current Mainstage production, as will longtime stage manager Craig Taylor, who has been at the technical helm of shows featuring legendary alumni including Chris Farley, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert over the course of his storied career at The Second City.
 
The title of the 106th Mainstage revue will be announced in September, 2017. The producing team includes Andrew Alexander (CEO & Executive Producer), Steve Johnston (President), D'Arcy Stuart (Chief Operations Officer), Brian Loevner (Managing Producer), Alison Riley (Producer), Jeremy Smith (Line Producer), and Lesley Stone (Associate Producer).
 
Tickets for The Second City’s 106th Mainstage Revue start at $19.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com.

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.
 
The Second City is located at 1616 N. Wells Street, Chicago.
 
About the Artists
 
RYAN ASHER (Ensemble) is from Charlottesville VA, and received her BFA in theater performance at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ryan was a member of The Second City Touring Company and appears this summer in The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She also performs with improv groups around Chicago, including Trigger Happy and SHEBEAST.
 
TYLER DAVIS (Ensemble) is a Columbus, Ohio, native and has performed with The Second City Touring Company, as well in in The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand at the Kennedy Center. He also performs with improv groups around Chicago, including Devil’s Daughter and Trigger Happy.
 
KELSEY KINNEY (Ensemble) is a Cleveland native and current cast member in The Second City’s 105th Mainstage revue, The Winner…of Our Discontent. She is a former member of The Second City Touring Company and appeared in The Second City’s Summer Blockbuster: Now in 4-D! at UP Comedy Club.
 
JEFFREY MURDOCH (Ensemble) was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area and attended the University of Michigan. Over the last eight years, he has performed at the Upstairs Gallery, iO, The Annoyance, and was a member of The Second City Touring Company.
 
TIEN TRAN (Ensemble) is graduate of Boston College, a 2016 Second City Bob Curry Fellow, and has most recently been performing in The Second City’s 41st e.t.c. revue, Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno.Prior to her time on Second City’s resident stage, she toured with The Second City and Slate’s Unelectable You. As a stand-up, she’s performed throughout the city and was featured at the 2016 Second City NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival and SCOUT Festival.
 
NATE VARRONE (Ensemble) is from Columbus, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University. He has performed with The Second City Touring Company, at iO, with Crab Atlanta, and is a cast member of Holy F*** Comedy Hour at The Annoyance.
 
RYAN BERNIER (Director)’srecent directing credits at The Second City include Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Un, Jeff Award-nominated revues Panic on Cloud 9 and A Clown Car Named Desire (Best Revue, Best Director), the Jeff Award-winning We’re All in This Room Together (Best Revue, Best Director), and Second City: America All Better!! at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Helen Hayes Award-nominated). He was recently awarded Suffolk University’s 10 Under 10 honor. Ryan directs at the Improv Asylum in Boston and teaches at Columbia College Chicago.
 
VINNIE PILLARELLA (Musical Direction, Original Music, Sound Design)is a Chicago native and is the current musical force behind The Second City’s 105th Mainstage revue, The Winner…of Our Discontent. A veteran of The Second City Touring Company, Vinnie has also created music in theaters around the city, including The Annoyance, iO, Public House, and Silk Road Rising.
 
CRAIG TAYLOR (Stage Manager)has stage managed more than 35 revues for The Second City and has been asked to provide the impossible for numerous Second City directors.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

The Second City is excited to announce “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt” a night guaranteed to destroy one of the world’s most beloved comedy legends, George Wendt--all in the name of charity.
 
Roastmaster Jason Sudeikis, along with Roasters Bob Odenkirk, Betty Thomas, David Koechner, and a growing list of the biggest and brightest names in comedy will gather for this once-in-a-lifetime evening of comedy and camaraderie to benefit Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund, hosted at Chicago’s iconic Mainstage at The Second City.
 
The one-night-only performance will take place on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 in the Second City Mainstage Theater (1616 N. Wells, Chicago, IL 60614) The show will begin at 7:00pm.
 
“The Second City has been a phenomenal friend of Gilda’s Club Chicago since we opened in 1998, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with them on this exciting event,” stated LauraJane Hyde, CEO of Gilda’s Club Chicago. “Support like this helps us continue to ensure that anyone impacted by cancer is empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.”
 
“We’re looking forward to an incredibly special evening that brings back the long-lost art of the Dean Martin-era celebrity roast. It’s been a few years since George has returned to his old stomping grounds here at Second City, and he’s saint of a guy for letting us put him in the hot seat for two incredible causes. We are thrilled to be able to partner with Gilda’s Club Chicago again for this tremendous opportunity to impact the lives of those who are battling cancer, their support circles, and also the members of our own Second City family who are up against the most challenging of circumstances.” Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer of The Second City.
 
Tax-deductible tickets for the “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt” are on sale now and are organized into three ticketing tiers.
 
Top-Shelf VIP Tickets ($3,000 each) include a pre-show VIP reception inside Second City’s historic complex at 1959 Kitchen & Bar. Includes a photo opportunity with George & Jason. Appetizers and top shelf open bar service provided.
 
The 1959 Package ($1,959 each) features a backstage experience led by Second City’s Behind the Bentwood tour guides including special surprise guests. Open bar & dinner in Mainstage Theater provided by the best of Chicago's classic cuisine is also included.
 
General Admission is also available ($1,000 each) and includes open bar & dinner in Mainstage Theater provided by the best of Chicago's classic cuisine.
 
Tickets are tax-deductible and can be purchased online at www.secondcity.com or by phone at 312-664-4032.

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Some things were just meant to go together, even if they do sound a little odd at first. Like peanut butter and bananas, apple pie and cheddar cheese, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet; The Art of Falling is amazing collaboration between Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City. The unexpected pairing of the extremely original and unique contemporary dance company, and a Chicago improve comedy standard, both staples of Chicago entertainment in their own right, was a match made in theater heaven!

 

Hubbard Street Dance has done many interesting collaborations in the past, pushing the envelope of what a dance performance is and exposing new audiences to dance in creative ways. In 2014, Hubbard Street and Second City first got together and put together the energetic, unexpected and endlessly engaging performance entitled The Art of Falling. Now back at the Harris Theater by popular demand, the show is once again bringing laughter, joy and maybe even some tears to Chicago audiences. 

 

This distinctive show incorporates so much more than simply dance and comedy. They leverage video - both pre-recorded and live footage, audience interaction, endless props and fantastic music – again both live and recorded. The sheer creativity of this production is mind-blowing. There are 20 pieces that make up this show, each different from the one before but just like a great comedy show, it circles around a primary story line and a few smaller secondary ones, making the whole show flow together seamlessly and move along effortlessly. 

 

The primary story line is a love story of course, but it challenges the traditional silver screen romance as it is rooted in real life where relationships are bumpy and have awkward edges that need smoothing and love - or rather admitting you are in love - is scary. It challenges the audience to take that leap of faith and conquer the fear of falling. After all, what is the worst that can happen?

 

All of the performers, under the direction of Billy Bungeroth, were pure perfection and there certainly were a lot of them! This collaboration was made up of five choreographers, three writers, six actors and two dozen dancers. At times, it was difficult to tell the comedians from the dancers as each tried on the others role with dancers delivering well timed punch lines and comedians flexing their dancing muscles. The writing was witty and fun, and the choreography was exceptional, highlighting the extreme talents of the dance company as well as their humorous side. In a piece completely improved by both the comedians and the dancers, it draws some unexpected similarities between the art of improv comedy and improv dance. 

 

Part of the appeal of this performance is that it continually surprises the audience with more and more creative, imaginative and inventive pieces. After the first act when you think they cannot top themselves, they prove you wrong with a second act that just keeps on impressing. All of that said, I leave this review here so as to not ruin the magic for you. You have to see this show for yourself. As it wows the audience with its cleverness, it also touches the heart and inspires the audience to take just let go, and not be afraid of falling.

 

Be sure to get your tickets now and catch The Art of Falling at the Harris Theater through June 19th!

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

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