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  • Nov 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."


    11/24/2014 Comments (0)
  • Nov 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.

    11/7/2014 Comments (0)
  • Nov 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.

    11/5/2014 Comments (0)
  • Aug 19 2014

    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

    8/19/2014 Comments (0)
  • Aug 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

    8/11/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jul 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.

    7/10/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jun 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 www.SecondCity.com.

    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 www.SecondCity.com.

    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.

    6/19/2014 Comments (0)