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  • Nov 21 2014

    Twist Your Dickens Special Guests & Event Announced

    Equal parts naughty and nice, Chicago’s famed The Second City brings our version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, beginning December 5.

    Titled Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You!, this send-up of Dickens’ classic includes a special Chicago-based celebrity guest in a cameo role at each show; while audiences won’t know who appears in this spot from night to night, expected appearances include:

    Comedian and Vocalo host Brian Babylon
    WBEZ’s Niala Boodhoo
    WXRT’s Lin Brehmer
    Senator John Cullerton
    Actor Allen Gilmore (Scrooge alternate in A Christmas Carol)
    Chef Stephanie Izard
    Chicago Tribune’s Candace Jordan
    Chicago Cubs’ Len Kasper
    WBBM-TV’s Bill Kurtis
    Musician Jon Langford
    Author Sara Paretsky
    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
    B96’s Showbiz Shelly
    Sommelier Alpana Singh and more.

      Written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort and directed by Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Matt Hovde, Twist Your Dickens—a “riotous havoc” (Los Angeles Times) that blends legitimate theater, parody, sketch comedy and improvisation, including the integration of audience “misdeeds” that are written in the lobby preceding the show—finds Scrooge and Tiny Tim hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the Island of Misfit Toys and even Little Orphan Annie.

      While the set and costumes reflect The Second City’s minimalist aesthetic, audiences can expect to see backdrops of their favorite holiday television specials and the ensemble sporting “business casual Dickensian” wear inspired by ugly sweaters and other pop culture icons. Twist Your Dickens runs December 5 - 28 in the Owen Theatre (press night is December 10 and opening night is December 11) and is appropriate for adults and savvy teens age 16+. 

      Tickets ($15 - $45; subject to change) are on sale now, available at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Please be advised that the show incorporates the use of strobe lights, smoke and haze. 

      “Peter and Bobby have written a play that not only upends a classic holiday staple of the stage and screen, but lampoons a variety of other holiday farrago that has become an ingrained part of the yuletide season,” said Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of The Second City and President of Second City Theatricals. Added Goodman Theatre Executive Director Roche Schulfer: “The Goodman has always wanted to pair A Christmas Carol with a holiday production in the Owen. The Second City's Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You! is a perfect fit and we look forward to expanding our audience now and in the future"

      As previously announced, the seven-member cast includes Francis Guinan as Scrooge, Frank Caeti as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Peter Gwinn as Jacob Marley, Sayjal Joshi as Tiny Tim, Beth Melewski as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Robyn Scott as Mrs. Cratchit, and Tim Stoltenberg as Bob Cratchit. The creative team includes Tom Buderwitz (sets), Rachel Lambert (costumes) and Gina Patterson (lights). Mara Filler is the Production Stage Manager.

      Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room.

      Special Event: “Cocktails with a Twist”
      Tuesday, December 9
      6pm Pre-Show Reception, 7:30pm Performance
      $65 with promo code TWIST

      The Goodman’s Scenemakers auxiliary board hosts a night of yuletide debauchery with pre-show cocktails and hors d’oeuvres—with a twist, and a few surprises—in the theater’s rehearsal space, followed by a performance of The Second City’s send-up of Christmas classics in their holiday revue. The party continues post-show with more holiday libations and revelry.

      Goodman Theatre is grateful to Nesek Digital, the Presenting Sponsor of the Scenemakers Board 2014/2015 Season; Baird, the Event Sponsor; and Sopraffina Marketcaffe, Trattoria No. 10 and Twisted Stem, the Event Partners of “Cocktails with a Twist.”

      The Scenemakers young professionals board of 37 is in its 12th season, having contributed more than $80,000 to the Goodman’s new play development initiatives and Education and Community Engagement programming in the immediate past 2013/2014 Season. Other events scheduled this Season include: “Two Trains and a Sidecar” on March 11, 2015 and the Scenemakers’ signature fundraiser, the fourth annual “Scene Soiree” on June 13, 2015. For tickets and information visit

      11/21/2014 Comments (0)
    • Nov 20 2014

      RIP Mike Nichols

      "We have lost a giant. Mike Nichols was an architect of modern improvisational theater. As a member of The Playwrights Theatre Club and The Compass Players, Mike helped create the foundation for not only The Second City, but for a host of storefront theaters that eventually became the thriving theatrical community that you see today in Chicago. His work always played to the top of its intelligence, bathed in wit and infused with honesty. We mourn the loss of our esteemed forbears and offer our condolences to his family."

      Andrew Alexander
      CEO/Executive Producer
      The Second City

      For more information, click here.

      11/20/2014 Comments (0)
    • Nov 19 2014

      Cecily Strong Hosts White House Correspondent's Dinner

      Second City veteran and current SNL cast member, Cecily Strong, has been asked to be the featured entertainer and host of next spring's White House Correspondent's dinner. More details here.

      11/19/2014 Comments (0)
    • Nov 18 2014

      SC Announces Two Shows Benefiting Deserving Chicago Families

      The Second City is thrilled to announce two epic events: the return of its legendary 24-hour improv and music marathon, as well as an intimate all-star evening. Proceeds from both shows will support families from Chicago’s Onward Neighborhood House.

      First up, The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour celebrates its 13th year, running non-stop from Tuesday, December 16th at 6:00 p.m. until Wednesday, December 17th at 6:00 p.m. in The Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 N. Wells Street, 2nd floor of Piper’s Alley.

      This year’s lineup includes music by James McCartney, Kim Deal, J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound with Ian Rubbish, Bobby, Holly & the Ricketts, Renaldo Domino, Robbie Fulks and Jeff Tweedy. Live improv and comedy will be provided by a team of Second City’s finest and funniest. Special guests include Steve Albini, Fred Armisen and Natasha Lyonne.

      In addition to the live performances, several one-of-a-kind items will be up for auction at 24 Hour, including two sets of tickets for two to Saturday Night Live, compliments of Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant.

      Then on Monday, January 5th, join us for Our Living Room Show in UP Comedy Club. This all-star evening will feature sketch comedy and improv from Saturday Night Live cast members and distinguished Second City alumni, including Aidy Bryant, Mike O’Brien and Tim Robinson, followed by an intimate “living room”-style musical performance from Wilco’s Grammy-winning frontman, Jeff Tweedy.

      Tickets to Our Living Room Show are on sale now via The UP Comedy Club Box Office at (312) 662-4562 or Prices range from $300 (general house seating) to $500 (first row).

      Tickets to The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour are $20 and will be sold at the door throughout the event as long as seats are available. Doors open Tuesday, 12/16 at 5:00 p.m. The event will also be streamed LIVE at or Donations via PayPal are appreciated.

      For ongoing schedule updates and information, "Like" our Facebook page at Onward Neighborhood House empowers families and individuals in need to achieve their full potential in a community-based setting.

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      11/18/2014 Comments (0)
    • Nov 13 2014

      SC Mainstage Preps for Panic on Cloud 9

      The Second City is proud to announce the opening of The Second City’s 103rd Revue, Panic on Cloud 9.

      Join the incredibly talented and funny cast of The Second City Mainstage for Panic on Cloud 9, a hilarious and smart collection of original scenes and songs that invite you to relax, take a breath and laugh as they brave everything from Ebola to modern parenting to the lies of advertising and the advertising of our own lies.

      Joseph Jeff Award-Winning director Ryan Bernier makes his Mainstage debut with Panic on Cloud 9. Returning cast members include Chelsea Devantez, John Hartman (Jeff Award-Winner - Best Actor in a Revue) and Emily Walker with new cast members Paul Jurewicz, Daniel Strauss and Christine Tawfik. Jacob Shuda joins the Mainstage ensemble as Musical Director, Composer and Sound Designer and Craig Taylor returns to the booth as Stage Manager.  The producing team for Panic on Cloud 9 includes Andrew Alexander (CEO & Executive Producer), Kelly Leonard (Executive Vice President), Alison Riley (Producer) and Jeremy Smith (Associate Producer).

      Tickets for Panic on Cloud 9 start at $23.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at 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.


      Chelsea grew up in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Louisiana before finally landing in New Mexico. She studied at The United World College and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, on scholarships. The best thing at NYU was a "semester abroad" in Chicago's Comedy Studies program at The Second City.  She moved to Chicago as soon as she could to pursue her dream of working on this very stage. She is beyond lucky to have her dream job alongside her best friend, Emily Walker -- together they created the web series Modern Women on The Second City Network, as well as a pilot that became a finalist at NYTVF.


      John is ecstatic to be performing in his second Mainstage revue. He previously appeared in Depraved New World, for which he received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor. He is a member of Baby Wants Candy, the sketch duo Witaske & Hartman, and his solo work has appeared at: Annoyance, iO, TBS Just for Laughs, Comedy Central Stage & UCB Theatre.


      Paul has been performing all over Chicago for the last seven years. He’s traveled the world on sea and land with The Second City. He is a founding member of the sketch comedy groups Germans and Dog Dads. He’s proud to have been a part of many Annoyance Theatre productions including Co- Ed Prison Sluts; It’s Christmas, Goddammit!, The Raven and the Messenger and Becker.


      Daniel is thrilled to be a cast member of The Second City's 103rd Mainstage Revue. A native of Washington, D.C. and an alum of The Second City Touring Company, other credits include The Second City’s Incomplete Guide to Everything, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, and Team Starkid’s Airport for Birds. He is online at, on Twitter at @DanielStrauss and on YouTube with his web series, Game Bros.


      Christine is delighted to make her debut on The Second City Mainstage. Raised in Egypt and later Colorado, she has studied improv and sketch at iO, The Second City and The Annoyance. She performs regularly with Virgin Daiquiri, The Armando Diaz Experience and various independent groups around Chicago. She’s appeared in Girls Night Out and has performed at Vienna’s English Theatre as a member of The Second City Touring Company. Follow her on Twitter at @ChrisTawfik.


      Emily hails from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. She has studied improv, sketch comedy and musical improv with The Second City. She has performed for The Second City at Sea on several NCL Cruise ships and traveled the country with The Second City and Mighty Mighty Blue Co. She and her best friend, Chelsea Devantez, created the pilot SBS:Stupid Bitch Syndrome, which was a 2013 NYTVF finalist. She is also the co-creator of The Second City Network series Modern Women. This fall you can see her on the fourth season of the Showtime series Homeland.

      RYAN BERNIER Director
      Ryan is thrilled to be directing this cast. Some of his directing credits include Second City e.t.c.’s Jeff Award-nominated A Clown Car Named Desire (Best Revue, Best Director), Jeff Award-winning We’re All in this Room Together (Best Revue, Best Director), Second City’s America: All Better!! (at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Helen Hayes Award–nominated), UP Comedy Club’s Four Girls & A Guy, as well as What the Tour Guide Didn’t Tell You. He was recently awarded Suffolk University’s 10 Under 10 Honor. He also directs at the Improv Asylum in Boston. He teaches at Columbia College and the Second City Training Center.

      JACOB SHUDA Musical Director, Composer and Sound Design
      Jacob is feeling the same joy he felt as a five year old when he discovered the drumset in his grandpa Ray’s basement, Jacob is now a pianist, guitarist, drummer, composer, and sound designer.

      CRAIG TAYLOR Stage Manager
      Craig has stage managed more than 35 revues for The Second City and has been asked to provide the impossible for numerous Second City directors.

      11/13/2014 Comments (0)
    • Nov 12 2014

      AUDITION LIKE A CHAMP - By Rachael Mason

      Rachael Mason wants you to rock at your next improv audition. As the head of The Second City Training Center’s Chicago Advanced Improv program, a Second City TourCo Alum and current cast member of ‘The Boys’ at 9pm in Donny’s Skybox - you should take her advice. If you have questions, comments or want to add a tip of your own, email us at

      1. WARM UP BEFORE YOU ARRIVE! Some folks need to meditate for 20 minutes and some folks need to do 20 jumping jacks. Do what centers YOU. The warm up when you arrive is mostly to suss out the group you will be playing with if you even get to warm up at all.

      2. SHOW UP ON TIME. There is a saying that 15 minutes early is on time. On time is late. 15 minutes late? Don't bother. Leave early. Set two alarms. Everyone has a good reason for being late but it simply smacks of disrespect to those who are there and ready to work.

      3. BE KIND TO THE PERSON CHECKING YOU IN. Really you should just be kind in general. If you are a jerk to the person checking you in then why would we want to hire you for a high stakes ensemble job? That person has been inundated with requests. Yours will be prioritized. Relax about that. And watch with the crap talk about other theaters in the lobby too. We all work everywhere. Why would we hire you if you are pooping on another theater?

      4. LOOK IN A MIRROR BEFORE YOU GO IN. You might have crazy hair, lipstick on your teeth, pizza sauce on your lapel, or heaven forbid your barn door might be open. Zip it up zippy. I personally can't stand when someone has a ball cap on or sunglasses on their head or collar. You should be dressed nice so you feel good. Take one final look at your suit (that musty thing should have been laundered) or one final peek at your dress (that you can move in with bike shorts or leggings underneath). Look good = Feel good.

      5. LISTEN TO THE AUDITOR'S INSTRUCTIONS. They are TELLING you what they want to see and describing the shape of the audition. If you are planning out your funny line or listening to your inner monologue you are going to miss valuable information. Calm down and listen.

      6. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SCENE PARTNER. Throwing elbows for funny lines is not what gets you hired. Yes anding and heightening what is there does. Your repartee and game play with your partner are what we want. Listen and respond as opposed to panicked reaction. Be people in a relationship, who feel a way about each other and the world they live in. Then play some games together. Comedy is a natural byproduct of that. Not your inorganic stabs at funny that crap on your partner. Don't crap on your partner... not even an object work crap.

      7. DON'T MAKE AN ASS OUT OF YOURSELF AT THE ALE HOUSE (or similar bar). Your audition is over. Whether it went well or not so well our temptation is to head across the street and toast those feelings away. Word of your drunken mess gets back to us too. Have a drink. Go home. Sleep. Wait patiently for the response. If you get in GREAT! Now it only gets harder. If you didn't GREAT! Now you can write in for you notes and take a class and get better.

      Ready? Go kill it killer. - Rachael

      About Rachael:

      Rachael Mason began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, concentrating on Shakespearean Studies, she moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. She trained at The Second City, The Annoyance, and iO. Currently she performs with The Second City Improv Allstars, and The Boys. She is most happy when she is teaching improv.

      11/12/2014 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)
    • Oct 30 2014

      The Power of Creating Your Own Work: An Interview with Ithamar Enriquez

      Written by Christa Nannos

      The Second City Alum, Ithamar Enriquez, has created his own, one-man show called, Ithamar Has Nothing to Say, and though he doesn’t say a single word throughout the show, he captivates the audience with body language, music, and impeccable characterizations. Having moved to LA a few years ago, he quickly realized the benefits of creating his own work. I had the privilege of interviewing Ithamar to get the inside scoop on the show, and to hear how much he does, in fact, have to say about his creative process and advice for upcoming comedians.

      CN: What was your inspiration behind the show?

      IE: This type of work is something I’ve always been drawn to. Since I was a kid I really loved all the physical comedians. Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Steve Martin, Jerry Lewis, and, of course, Mr. Bean who is a huge influence. I remember seeing Rowan Atkinson’s One Man Show on video, and that changed everything. There are a couple of scenes in that show where he doesn’t speak, and I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, you can actually do this’. Once I started getting more into sketch and improv, I tried to figure out ways I can create sketches that aren’t typical. Physical sketches, musical sketches. So this show has been in the back of my brain for a very long time.

      CN: Why is it so important to create your own work?

      IE: Once I got to LA, I realized it’s very easy to sit back and ask why certain things aren’t happening for you as an actor. ‘Why aren’t I getting an audition? Why aren’t I booking the role’? So the cure for that was to write my own show. As an actor you literally have to create your own job out here. So I decided to write this show. I knew it would be a challenge and really fun, and it’s been all those things. The very first version of the show was 25 minutes long. And since then it’s grown into a 50-minute version and now we’re also working on a web series. In the past year I have worked on it creatively and now see more doors opening for me as well as opportunities for it to be exposed to a bigger audience.

      CN: Your characters never speak in the show but are extremely physical. How did you train for this show?

      IE: By watching those who did it before me. I always tell students, when you’re in this work you have to throw yourself in completely. Watch every movie, read every book, do anything and everything that has to deal with comedy. It really makes me sad when I mention Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy, and students will have no idea who I’m talking about. If you don’t know those people you should not be doing comedy. You can take every class in the world that you want, but if you’re not throwing yourself into this world and making it your life, then you’re not going to benefit from it. I think that’s what I’ve always done.

      CN: What came first, the music or the characters?

      IE: It depends. Sometimes I would think of a funny, physical bit and then try to find the perfect piece of music that would try to fit that. There’s one scene I do with a puppet, and at first that scene had a completely different song. By the time it got to the show I changed the song, knowing the bit wouldn’t change that much. For another scene I knew I wanted to do something to the song “White Rabbit” because it’s such a weird and funny song with such a great build, so the bit came after the song.

      CN: How did you come up with your bits? Did any of them come from real life experiences?

      IE: I think just like any show, some of it comes from personal observation, and some of it comes from just sitting and brainstorming ideas. I think Jazz Face came from noticing how people react to Jazz music. And then the Luchador scene is basically what I was doing as a kid. I’ve always loved wrestling and Luchador masks, so that scene was inspired from that.

      CN: You tackle so many variations of body language and physical movements in this piece; you really stretch the audience’s imagination and change all expectations of what might happen next. Was it difficult coming up with so much diverse physicality?

      IE: When you give yourself the task of coming up with a 50 minute show where you can’t speak, you have no choice but to vary it up. Just like a standard sketch show will have blackouts, some political stuff and relationship scenes, I had to translate that into a show where I didn’t speak. Some of the scenes have to be high energy, some of them, a little bit smaller. For some of it you use other parts of your body, ‘Oh, cool! I’ll use my hands and only my hands’. Some scenes you play multiple characters and some you just play one character. And variation in music. Making sure I’m hitting a bunch of different time periods. For the most part my taste tends to be really, really old. So I thought ‘Ah, I should throw some Daft Punk in there’.

      CN: I love how you use some improv, and audience participation in the show. Why did you decide to layer in that art form, and did you find it difficult?

      IE: It was another challenge for me. Can I do pieces that are improvised while not speaking? So I came up with this scene that is mad-libs like, where the audience gives me suggestions and then I act it out. Here’s the thing: I love this type of work so much that I can sit and think about it forever and still come up with ways to do the things that standard comedy shows have, but without speaking.

      CN: Can you tell me a little about the web series idea?

      IE: It follows a curious, whimsical character as he experiences life without speaking. Frank Caeti (director of the live show) and I are writing and producing it along with Maker Studios, Principato Young Entertainment, and Key and Peele. Some of it is taken directly from the live show, and some of it has been written exclusively for the web series. This character experiences everything from a hipster coffee shop to a jazz club to his thoughts that wander when he’s at a laundromat.

      CN: Ithamar Has Nothing to Say is a one-man show, but how important was it to have a creative team to collaborate with, such as working with your director, Frank Caeti?

      IE: Once I knew I wanted to do this show, there was no question in my mind who I wanted to direct it. Frank and I have known each other for so long, and we’ve been working together for so long that it’s such a great, fun, working relationship. He is so smart when it comes to comedy. He’s such a good director because he’s such an amazing performer and writer. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without him.

      CN: Can you give some advice to upcoming comedians who might want to create a one-man show but don’t know where to start, and who want to get seen more but are afraid of failing? What are some things you learned during your process of creating, Ithamar Has Nothing to Say?

      IE: First thing I’d say is you have to see a lot of comedy and do a lot of comedy. There’s something to be said about creating your own work. Taking all of the stuff that you’ve learned, and really going out there and writing something for yourself. I remember watching this documentary about comedy, and the one thing that remained constant was everyone saying, ‘The whole time we were writing, we were just writing to make ourselves laugh’. Trust your own comedic instinct and just try it. Don’t be afraid of it failing because the good thing about it not working is that you figure out a way to make it work. Give yourself the opportunity to try it somewhere in front of people. You have to be willing to throw yourself out there without a net. Otherwise you won’t succeed and you won’t create. Also know that you’re never done with something you create. There’s always stuff to work around with and a year from now who knows where this show will be? Maybe I’ll be in another show where I’m talking non-stop. You just never know what’s ahead. So do the thing that you’re excited about now and trust that it’s going to grow into something else and might lead you in other directions.

      ITHAMAR HAS NOTHING TO SAY can be seen every Saturday at 8pm through Dec 20th at Second City Hollywood.


      The Second City Studio Theatre is located at 6560 Hollywood Blvd. LA, CA 90028

      10/30/2014 Comments (0)
    • Oct 24 2014

      SC Comedy Study Alums To Produce Comedy Pilot for TBS

      TBS has just given pilot orders for "Wrecked," the single-camera comedy from SC Comedy Study alums, Justin and Jordan Shipley. Congrats guys, can't wait to see the pilot!

      10/24/2014 Comments (0)