The Second City is just as befuddled as you are by the headlines that self-described “political prisoner” and “Trumpocrat” Rod Blagojevich has been released from prison and is back home in Chicago. To commemorate the former governor’s commuted sentence, The Second City will resurrect the show no one thought would see the light of day again. Rod Blagojevich Superstar! is set to be staged on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Following the rise and spectacularly bizarre fall of the disgraced former Illinois governor, the ripped-from-the-headlines rock opera will return for one night only as a special concert performance fundraiser for both The Second City Alumni Fund and Gilda’s Club Chicago.
This unforgettable evening will be hosted by New York Times bestselling author and New Yorker contributor Andy Borowitz. Creator of the online satirical humor column The Borowitz Report, the celebrated humorist has appeared on National Public Radio, VH1, and Comedy Central. Borowitz has been called a “Swiftian satirist” (Wall Street Journal), “America’s satire king” (The Daily Beast), and “one of the funniest people in America” (CBS Sunday Morning).
Rod Blagojevich Superstar! was written by Second City Mainstage alumnus Ed Furman (book) and T.J. Shanoff (music and lyrics), who will be adding updates to the original material based on the many twists and turns to Blago’s story that have unfolded over the last decade. The 2008/2009 cast included Joey Bland as “Rod Blagojevich” and Lori McClain as “Patti Blagojevich,” both of whom will reprise their roles in April. Additional casting will be announced next month.
The smash-hit show, which featured songs like the tender ballad “I Don’t Know How to F**king Love Him,” enjoyed multiple sold-out runs on the heels of Blagojevich’s impeachment. A 2009 Variety review asked, “With his craving for cash undiluted, and his need for attention so craven, is it really out of the realm of reality to imagine Blago deciding that maybe he’d like to play himself?” One epic night, shortly before beginning his prison sentence, the impeached governor famously attended a performance of the show, a story which is told with narcissistic new details in the new edition of The Second City: The Essentially Accurate History, available wherever books are sold.
“Of course, Mr. Blagojevich is once again more than welcome to attend this benefit concert performance,” says chairman and executive producer of The Second City, Andrew Alexander. “It is our privilege to have the opportunity to raise crucial funds to help Gilda’s Club Chicago offer free cancer support, as well as continue The Second City Alumni Fund’s mission to aid Second City alumni experiencing critical health and financial challenges. Rod, we’ll keep a spot in the front-row reserved for you, but this time, it’s your turn to pay for a seat.”
Tickets for Rod Blagojevich Superstar! are on sale now.
No political prisoners are expected to be taken during the performance.
About Gilda’s Club Chicago
Second City alumna and original SNL cast member Gilda Radner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1985, saying the diagnosis gave her membership in an elite club she’d rather not belong to. Radner passed away in 1989, but her legacy lived on when her husband, Gene Wilder, and friends established Gilda’s Club in 1995. Gilda’s Club Chicago’s mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. Gilda’s Club Chicago serves everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends. Their innovative program, including more than 300 free activities each month, is an essential complement to medical care and offers support and networking groups, educational lectures, healthy lifestyle workshops, resource referrals, and social opportunities. Gilda's Club Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is funded entirely through donations from individuals, businesses, foundations and special events. GCC is an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, which includes a network of over 50 local Clubs and 100 satellite locations, as well as online resources.
About The Second City Alumni Fund
In 2008, SCTV cast members Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, and Joe Flaherty reunited on stage in Toronto for The Benefit of Laughter, and event that brought the comedy legends together for the first time in 24 years to raise money for a former member of the SCTV production staff who was in need of financial assistance due to illness. The sold-out event raised an amount that greatly surpassed what was needed by the crew member, and the cast agreed to put the balance towards building The Second City Alumni Fund, a resource for performers, technicians, support staff and other members of the creative and production teams associated with The Second City theaters and SCTV experiencing critical health and financial challenges. With over $1 million raised since its inception, SCAF has had the privilege of helping dozens of members of the SCTV and Second City families. Over the last decade, the money has gone to alleviate the financial hardships of circumstances that include emergency surgery costs, cancer treatment and medication expenses, and addiction rehabilitation services.