Second City troupe offers improv with a political bite
By the time Chicago-based improvisational theater group Second City rolls into town, game seven of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians will be over. So, whew, Homer audiences won’t have to worry about the traveling troupe forgetting to show up for its performance at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Mariner Theatre.
“Free Speech! (While Supplies Last)” brings back to Homer the wacky humor when Second City presented “The Best of Second City” in 2015. This time around, it’s a show with some political bite.
The show features satire created by alumnae like Tina Fey and material first seen at the Second City main stages in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles.
Performing are Adam Archer, Danny Catlow, Alison Gates, Eve Krueger, Greg Ott and Maria Randazzo, with stage manager Barry Branford and musical director Adam Shenk.
Second City got its start in 1959 and takes its self-mocking name from the title of a New Yorker article about Chicago.
“We’re called the Second City because we’re proud of the way we were put down,” said Lesley Stone, associate producer of the Chicago resident stages and touring companies.
Over the decades, Second City has launched the careers of many of North America’s top comedians, actors, directors and writers, including Alan Arkin, Dan Akroyd, James and John Belushi, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Eugene Levy, Mike Myers, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, Amy Sedaris, Martin Short and Fred Willard.
“One of our strongest assets is our alumni, including those who are most recently cast or writing for Saturday Night Live and other TV shows, including the Daily Show and Colbert,” Stone said.
In addition to classic and recent material, the traveling shows also add comedy bits relevant to the town they’re in.
“I know they try to dip into the localization and try to make the improv games fun and pay attention to the news,” Stone said.
Second City not only performs on stage and on the road, but the company includes an improv training center.
“One can take classes or teach here,” Stone said. “There are many ways you can come up the ranks.”
As part of its outreach while in Homer, the Second City troupe also does improvisational workshops 7-9 p.m. Nov. 2 and Nov. 4. Visit homerart.org to register or call 235-4288 for more information.
Loyalty among the cast toward perennial underdogs the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs might be split. Catlow and Krueger are from Chicago while Randazzo is from Cleveland.
“We want to think of this as now no one will lose,” Stone said, “But on the stage, of course we’re Cubs fans.”
“Free Speech! (while supplies last)”
WHEN: 7:30 P.M. THURSDAY, NOV. 3
WHERE: HOMER MARINER THEATRE
$35 general admission, $25 Homer Council on the Arts members
Recommended for ages 17 and older; adult language and content.
Second City Improvisation Workshop
7–9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 4
$36.50 HCOA members
Call HCOA at 235-4288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.
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