The Second City–Chicago Alumni

Improv may not have been born at Second City, but Second City is where it first learned to make a living. In December of last year this theater institution celebrated its 40th anniversary, and in recognition of that milestone the folks at the Chicago Improv Festival have invited Second City to put together a show of Chicago and Toronto alumni, the centerpiece of which features mainstays of two eras. A couple of the performers in this set will be familiar to anyone who followed Second City in the 90s–Tina Fey and Scott Adsit–but it also features two alums who haven’t graced the Second City stage in almost 40 years: Mina Kolb and Avery Schreiber. Kolb in particular may be unfamiliar to contemporary Chicagoans, but she was known as the elegant, sophisticated woman–as opposed to fresh-faced ingenue Barbara Harris–in the first Second City cast. Kolb’s characters were so striking that at one time ad agencies in Chicago regularly put out calls for Mina Kolb types. Like most of her cohorts, Kolb moved to the west coast years ago. But in December this spry, sharp woman delighted audiences at the Second City reunion. During a panel discussion, it often fell to her to finish many of the stories when her contemporaries were unable to find the right word or summon up the full event. No surprise, then, that Kolb still performs improv in LA, proving what aficionados have known for a long time–that improv is not just a discipline for the young. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500 or 773-394-3540. Friday, April 28, 8 PM. $20. –Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Davis Barber.