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  • 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 Chicagotrainingcenter@secodcity.com

    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)
  • 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.

    TICKETS

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

    10/30/2014 Comments (0)
  • Sep 15 2014

    Wellness Week Schedule

    Click Here to Register for Wellness Week

    WHAT IS WELLNESS WEEK?
    Congress established National Mental Health Awareness Week 24 years ago in 1990 due to the efforts of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an organization we recently sponsored.

    During this week, October 5th-October 11th, mental health advocates and non health-based organizations (LIKE US!) across the U.S. join together to sponsor a variety of events to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illnesses such as anxiety. We are hosting events because of our growing Wellness Program which includes Improv for Anxiety (IFAX), Improv for ASD, and Humor Doesn’t Retire: Improv for Older Adults.

    We are providing opportunities to show what we are doing with our program and invite the public to participate in and learn about Improv! We hope that everyone will take this opportunities to simply connect, take risks, and try something new in an open, safe environment. Challenge yourself to "Yes, And" a new experience!
    The Second City Training Center is excited to share our unique philosophy centered on connecting with others and building ensemble. Come play with us!

    All events free and open to the public. Ages: High School and up

    10/5/2014, 5:00-6:30PM, Room 301
    Hannah Bailey
    Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) for Actors

    10/6/2014, 10am-1pm, Room 405

    Piero Procaccini
    Intro to Improvisation: Improv Basics for Beginners

    10/6/2014, 6pm-6:50pm, Room 403

    Becca Barish & Mark Pfeffer
    Intro to Improv for Anxiety

    10/7/2014, 5:00-6:50pm, Room 305

    Janna Sobel
    Storytelling & The Gift of the Truth

    10/8/2014, 12:00-2:00pm, Donny's Skybox
    Stephanie McCullough Vlcek
    Singing Against the Darkness

    10/8/2014, 4:00-6:00pm, DeMaat Theatre
    Rachael Mason & Jeff Bouthiette
    Self Discovery through Improvised Song

    10/8/2014, 6:00-6:50pm, DeMaat Theatre
    Aaron Graham
    Making & Faking Confident Choices in Music Improv

    10/8/2014, 6:00-6:50pm, Room 403
    Molly Fisher & Nick Johne
    Intro to Improv for Aspies and Individuals with
    Autism Spectrum & Similar Disorders
    10/9/2014, 5:00-6:50pm, Room 301
    Lynda Tourloukis
    Laughter Yoga Workshop

    10/10/2014, 9:00am-11am, Room 301
    Ruth Williams Hennessy
    Whole Body Voice Workshop

    10/10/2014, 10:00am-11am, Donny's Skybox
    Lauren Dowden
    Improv for Older Adults- Presentation & Play

    10/10/2014, 11:15am-12pm, Room 305
    Susan Messing & Rachael Mason
    I'Mprovising Right

    10/10/2014, 12:00pm-1:00pm, Room 305
    Ashley Nicole Black
    Getting Past Writer's Block
    Participants: Please bring a pen and a notebook
    10/10/2014, 1:00-3:00pm, Room 305
    John Hildreth
    Scenic Improv

    10/10/2014, 3:00-4:00pm, Donny's Skybox
    Jim Winter
    The "Sense" of Humor

    10/10/2014, 4:00-6pm, UP COMEDY CLUB Showcase and Reception
    WELLNESS WEEK SHOWCASE
    Director: Nick Johne

    Doors open at 4pm
    Lights up at 4:15pm
    Host: Ashley Nicole Black
    Sorry Bouts featuring Erin Lann & Brooke Montoya
    Therapy Players
    Wellness Program Ensemble

    5:00-6:00pm Reception: Free Appetizers and Beverages

    10/11/2014, 9:00-9:50am, Room 301
    Hannah Bailey
    Vinyasa Yoga Class
    Participants: Please feel free to bring your own yoga mat!

    9/15/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jul 22 2014

    The Second City Chicago Training Center to Double its Pipers Alley Footprint

    The Second City, Inc. announced today the signing of a lease with Old Town Development Associates, L.L.C., to expand into additional space at Pipers Alley (230 W. North Avenue) formerly occupied by the four-screen AMC movie theater. The new space will allow The Second City Training Center, the largest school of comedy in the world, to add an array of student-centered facilities including new classrooms, two student theaters, a screening room, a student resource center, a student lounge and bar, two large special events spaces and additional space for the companies’ growing businesses. The new lease adds 25,000 square feet to The Second City Training Center's current 20,300 square feet of space essentially doubling the school's current footprint. In total, The Second City will occupy nearly 75,000 square feet in Chicago's Old Town.

    Named one of “The 25 Best Drama Schools in 2014” alongside Yale School of Drama, The Juilliard School and Carnegie Mellon University by The Hollywood Reporter, The Second City continues to develop an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Last month, The Second City Training Center announced the launch of its TV, Film and Digital Program, under the direction of Jack C. Newell.  New classrooms will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology including voiceover studios, on-camera training studios and editing suites to accommodate the Digital Program launch.

    "We are very excited to enhance our students' experience with the development of this new space,” says Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc. “This will give the opportunity for more student performances in front of audiences, resources to enhance their education, places to work and collaborate, and program-specific materials and technology in classrooms. For our team, it's taking what's already a fantastic training institution and heightening it to the best experience possible for our students."

    The second-floor space at Pipers Alley first opened as a movie theater in 1991, and has been unoccupied since AMC went dark on May 26, 2011. The Training Center’s multi-million-dollar build-out begins immediately, with physical enhancements to include opening up the bricked-over 22-foot high window arches overlooking North Avenue and Wells Street.  The space is expected to be completed and serving students by spring of 2015.

    Long in the works, the expansion is in response to The Training Center’s desire to launch new and progressive programming while maintaining the high teacher to student ratio and enhancing the overall student experience. With the acquisition of the AMC space, the Second City Training Center can keep its educational programming under one roof – close to its history and next to its professional theaters. Students on a professional track can get even more stage time, and with the growth of the overall student body, additional theaters can accommodate end of term graduation performances. The new Student Resource Center will give students an actual on-site workspace.

    "For years we've been listening to student feedback and building this plan to fulfill their requests,” says Kerry Sheehan, President of the Second City Training Centers & Education Programs. “Not only will we be able to better accommodate our wait lists in core programs – such as improvisation and writing – but our newer initiatives into digital media and advanced classes for the professionally tracked student will have room to grow and thrive."

    The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theaters and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full-time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City Training Center has a current student body of 5,000 per week and is the largest school of comedy in the world.

    # # #

    More from the Chicago Tribune.


    7/22/2014 Comments (0)
  • 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)
  • Apr 25 2014

    Student Spotlight with Ricky Lee Barnes

    We talked with Level E grad and current 'The Reel Deal' contestant, Ricky Lee Barnes about his time at Second City and more. Help him become a finalist on 'The Reel Deal' by voting on his Finalist Page here: http://thereeldeal.tv/ricky-lee-barnes/


    Where are you from and what made you move to Chicago?
    I grew up in Moraine, Ohio which is a small suburb of Dayton. I knew I wanted a bigger life than I was living and when I was presented with a job opportunity in the city I packed up the Winnebago and took to the open road. …Which was actually a U-Haul and Highway 90.

    What did you think of Chicago when you first moved here?
    I thought it was beautiful and super big. I remember thinking, “This is a city and they have TREES too!?” I also couldn’t believe that I lived in a neighborhood where I could walk to a bar. The only thing you can walk to in my old neighborhood is an abandoned elementary school and a Pentecostal church.

    What do you love most about the city?
    The summer. There is a festival every weekend and people are always ready to let their hair down and celebrate.

    What do you hate most?
    The 9-month winter #SAD… Oh, and the smell of hot-pee on the redline round-about August 1st.

    Did you have a nickname as a child/teen (that you dont mind sharing?)
    My family is from Kentucky & Virginia so…Bubba. My parents actually still call me “Bub”. My grandpa used to call me "Pistol Pete with Stinkin’ Feet" but that one faded once I hit puberty.

    What made you want to be a performer?
    I always wanted to be but I was afraid to admit it. I wasted a ton of time getting a degree I’ll never use (wha, what Bachelors in Communications!?) and trying to live an idealistic, “successful” life. I knew when I moved to Chicago I would perform again but it wasn’t until I started classes at the Second City that the performer actually resurfaced.
    I love to talk and tell stories and make people laugh. I always have. Performing allows me to move people and entertain them using nothing but me. It’s powerful to know that I am the only tool I need.

    What Classes have you taken at the Second City?
    I have taken Improv A-E and performed in the Writing 6 show “Never Change”. I know that’s not a class but I learned so much that I have to count it.

    What is the coolest thing that happened to you in class so far?
    Learning that everyone fails. Also coming to the realization that usually we each perceive our own failure as catastrophic when, in reality, it wasn’t thatterrible.

    What is the silliest improv scene you have done in class so far?
    Once I was a metrosexual business man arguing with my manicurist about her attitude while reminding her that I basically pay her Comed bill. Also when I was a 19-year old Hollister employee who couldn’t let his hair down because it was so sexy it would distract all the other employees.

    If you had to give one piece of advice to someone just starting the Beginning Improv program, what would it be?
    Don’t try to be good - just be real. And expect to be scared the first time you ask for a suggestion.

    You are a semi-finalist on The Reel Deal! How has the experience been so far?
    You know, I never thought I’d be on reality tv but when I read the description of The Reel Deal I thought it would be a great experience for a few reasons: I'd be a part of the film-making process from beginning to end AND I’d be able to showcase my personality. I'd get to be Ricky and Ricky Lee Barnes in the same show.

    I made my personality video and so many people encouraged me and shared it and liked it on Youtube… It was moving. Coming to the realization that I have a support network that is willing to help me achieve a goal and pursue my passion is paramount. This process has shown me what I’m capable of and inspired me to continue to fight so that I can live the life I want rather than the life I thought I wanted.

    i.e. It’s been a really amazing ride so far

    Right now, The Reel Deal is collecting votes for each of the actors online - what can we do to help?
    Each contestant was challenged to create an initial audition/personality video as well as filmed, monologue callback videos. You can view my submissions on my personal finalist page and click the “Vote for Me” button under my headshot.

    Voting is done through Squerb and I am ranked in 6 categories: Person, Acting, Appearance, Life Story, Personality, and Social Media Savviness. This system is in place to allow a more comprehensive picture of each contestant rather than being a simple “like” contest. Words like “interesting”, “convincing”, “flawless” etc. are attached to each vote. It sounds confusing but just think of it as throwing darts at a dart board covered in opinions.

    Voting is open until May 15th so I have until then to get as many votes in as many categories as I can!
    Finalist Page: http://thereeldeal.tv/ricky-lee-barnes/

    4/25/2014 Comments (0)
  • Apr 17 2014

    Congrats to Conservatory Grad Allison Tolman on 'Fargo' Lead Role

    Allison Tolman is turning heads as the lead in FX's 'Fargo', Before landing blockbuster roles, Allison was taking classes at The Second City Training Center and working hard to get ahead. Check out the inspirational Sun Times article on Allison below to find out more.

    http://voices.suntimes.com/arts-entertainment/the-daily-sizzle/fargo-the-place-to-be-for-chicagos-allison-tolman/#.U1A7uVVdWNg

    4/17/2014 Comments (0)