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  • May 29 2014

    Student Spotlight with Mollie Rehner and Chicago Women's Funny Festival

    The Chicago Women's Funny Festival - Chicago's THIRD annual festival celebrating women in comedy - has lots of Second City students and grads performing this year. One of our favorites is the wonderful Mollie Rehner, Conservatory student and Head Writer for the de Maat Theater's 'The Midnight Parade' Saturdays at Midnight. We were able to talk to Mollie about the festival and more.

    What will you be performing at the Women's Funny Festival and when?
    Sketch and musical comedy with my group Prostitute Tears on Thursday June 5 @9pm in The Pro Theatre, Stage 773.

    Tell us about your group!
    Prostitute Tears is very talented and every person in the group has a ton of creativity. With our shows you can expect music, dance numbers, and material that exposes the comedic seediness of every day life. We are so excited to be performing in this year's Chicago Women's Funny Festival and we are honored to have been selected!

    What other shows are you excited to see at the festival?
    The Cupid Players, The Fruit Flies, and Brouhaha: An Improvised Puppet Musical

    What training have you went through to be where you are today?
    I was a producer and writer of a sketch comedy show called Sideshow Comedy at Michigan State University, in which we won an Emmy award. I have also done entertainment reporting and hosting, and made some pretty sweet home movies when I was little. In Chicago, I have trained in The Second City's Conservatory program and at iO Theatre. I have also studied at the The Lincoln Lodge and perform regularly at Stage 773.

    What's the coolest thing that has happened to you on stage as a performer in Chicago so far?
    I tripped and fell during my very first stand up show. I guess that's what I get for making fun of people.

    If you had to give a Chicago newbie comedian one piece of advice, what would it be?
    Find a group of people that share your ambitions and passions. I believe if you put in the hard work and have a good attitude, opportunities will present themselves.

    Where can we see you performing after the festival's run?
    Stage 773! My group Prostitute Tears will be performing all summer!

    Anyone you want to shout out to and make them feel special?
    Brian Posen and the hard working staff at Stage 773, my Prostitutes, and of course all of the groups performing in this year's Chicago Women's Funny Festival!

    For more festival info, click here: http://www.chicagowomensfunnyfestival.com/

    5/29/2014 Comments (0)
  • May 23 2014

    Congrats to Conservatory Grad Mike Dozier on ‘Devil in My Ride’ Release

    Conservatory Grad Mike Dozier recently moved from Chicago to LA and is now writing for ThisisTight.com and co-wrote Comedy/Horror ‘Devil In My Ride’ - now available on Amazon, Hulu and more. Give him some love and check out this critically acclaimed film!

    About ‘Devil In My Ride’
    When Doreen becomes possessed by the devil on her wedding night, her groom Hank and her rebellious brother Travis put aside their differences to travel across country from Chicago to Las Vegas in the hopes of finding a mythical street preacher who is said to be the last exorcist in America.

    The film has received some great reviews.
    "The story is a cross between Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle and The Exorcist."-Legless Corpse
    "Top Horror/Comedy of 2013" - HorrorHound
    "DEVIL IN MY RIDE is the kind of against-all-odds independent film that is admirable in both concept and execution, and if you give it a chance, you won’t regret taking the trip." - Fangoria

    The film stars Joey Bicicchi, Erin Breen, Sid Haig (Devil's Rejects, Kill Bill 2) and Second City Detroit Alumni - Frank Zieger.

    5/23/2014 Comments (0)
  • May 13 2014

    SCTC Spotlight: Conservatory Grad Hope England Doing Great Things With 'Humor for Hope'

    Hope England is a conservatory grad, a talented performer and an all-around awesome lady. Find out what she is doing with her Non-Profit 'Humor for Hope' and how you can help. Inspiring stuff!

    Can you tell us what your organization is all about?
    Humor for Hope is a 501c3 non profit that uses the art of improvisational comedy as a form of therapy in children's hospitals. Our mission is to provide children with acute, chronic, or terminal illness an opportunity to experience improvisational comedy as a therapeutic intervention.

    How did you come up with the idea of 'Humor for Hope'?
    I was performing sketch and improv all around town while simultaneously volunteering at Lurie Children's Hospital. I had a really rough audition for NBC in LA and left feeling deflated, super self conscious, and doubting myself, my skills, and abilities. I had never felt that way before and didn't ever want to feel that way again. I felt like the work I was doing was self indulgent so I took some time off to process and do some soul searching. I realized I loved the work I was doing but wanted to use my talents, skills, and abilities for the greater good. I wanted my passions to benefit others, not just myself.
    At Lurie Children's I was doing volunteer work with patients that were placed on isolation. This means they are very limited in their interactions due to their illness and the risk of infection. As you know, improvisational comedy requires no props so that alone greatly reduces the risk of infection while still stimulating the imagination. Much of the time this isolated population of children needs engagement and interaction more than any one else, so I proposed the idea of using improv comedy in order to access them, seeing that no props were necessary and it greatly lowered the risk of infection.
    The more I researched it, the more I realized comedy should absolutely be a form of therapy in all hospitals. To me it was a no-brainer. I just kept thinking, why is this not a thing? We all know laughter is the best medicine.
    I pitched my idea to a few hospitals and at a global health care conference at Yale and got resounding feedback. Thus began Humor for Hope

    What has been the most gratifying thing to you at an event so far?
    In the very beginning, I came across a toddler that was deaf, blind, and alone. My heart broke for this child. All I knew to do was hold him close and sing so he would feel the vibrations through my chest. I began to chuckle because I didn't know the words to the song I was singing so I improvised it. He felt my laughter and let out his own little laugh. That moment changed my life. The power of comedy and laughter is so real.

    Was there an eye-opening experience that shifted your point of view as a person and made you want to help others?
    After my 3 month long stint soul searching, I began to realize that all we have is now. This very moment. All of us. That the second we are born we begin to die. When it comes to death and dying you really begin to question the meaning of life and why you are here. Especially when it comes to ill children and death. I watched nurses, patients, and parents, persevere through some of the most unimaginable circumstances.
    As human beings we crave and need connection. Sometimes all we need is someone there beside us when we are helpless and sometimes that's all you can do for someone - just be there. I witnessed this many times at the hospital and on my solo journey across the country. We need each other. The people that helped me and the ones that I saw help others inspired me to try to do whatever I can to help others and make the world a better place.

    What can people do to help your organization touch more lives?
    There's so much. Because we are so brand-spanking-new and have gotten so much feedback and attention so quickly, we are in need of a lot of help. We are currently looking for an awesome web designer that's willing to do some pro bono work and we are also in need of some killer grant writers if you are out there. We are in the midst of talks of expanding all over to different organizations and hospitals, so very soon we will need a lot of volunteers for various things.  For now just spreading the word and offering feedback via our contact page on our website would be tremendously helpful. http://www.humorforhope.com/ Also, feel free to share  inspirational stories of how humor and comedy changed your life on our Facebook page or just stay up to date on our happenings and volunteer needs. https://www.facebook.com/Humor4Hope

    Anyone you would like to make a shout out to? 
    I would like to make a shout of to all the people that have supported me on this crazy journey. That includes all of my family at The Second City and in the comedy realm, my parents, friends, and people I've met along the way that believed in this vision and supported me no matter what. Without you this wouldn't be possible. 
    It's amazing what good things come out of being supportive, kind, and saying Yes AND :)

    Humor heals, let's do what we can while we can.



    5/13/2014 Comments (0)
  • May 6 2014

    Student Amalia Gonazalez Finalist in US Champions of Care - Your Vote Helps!

    Second City student and volunteer, Amalia Gonzalez, has been selected as a finalist in Johnson & Johnson’s US Champions of Care program. Beginning Monday, the public began voting to select the grand prize winner who will attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ final match in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. Johnson & Johnson is the Official Healthcare Sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and created the program to shine a spotlight on people who go above and beyond to do extraordinary things in caring for others. The Champions of Care program invited individuals across the country to celebrate the most caring people in their lives and share their inspirational stories. From these stories, six finalists – Amalia included – were selected and are profiled at www.careinspirescare.com (English).

    At 24 years old, Amalia has dedicated her life to caring for her sister with cerebral palsy. This commitment not only involves being a full-time caregiver, but also volunteering in her community to make her sister proud. While attending college and now as she pursues her professional career while studying sketch comedy at Second City, Amalia has remained committed to her sister’s care, and also devotes countless hours to make a lasting impact in her community.

    http://www.careinspirescare.com/en/home

    The public can vote once per day for their favorite finalist from May 5-25, 2014.

    5/6/2014 Comments (0)