The phone was ringing off the hook at Second City on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal called, the Huffington Post called, and–most important for business–customers looking for tickets called. People want to know how Chicago’s house of satire will handle the Blagojevich scandal.
Second City E.T.C.’s latest sketch revue, Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?, opened last Sunday (see the Reader‘s review here), before the scandal broke; tonight will be the cast’s first chance to react, and see how the audience reacts to its reactions. The E.T.C. ensemble got an early start today workshopping ideas for the evening performance. Second City VP Kelly Leonard says the first act closes with a minimusical called “The Windy City Opera,” which rattles off Al Capone, Tony Rezko, and R. Kelly as Chicago’s leading lights of scandal. In tonight’s show the R & B crooner’s name will be replaced with “R. Blagojevich.”
Meanwhile, the new mainstage show, America: All Better!, opens this Sunday. According to Leonard and coproducer Robin Hammond, the mainstage cast are working on some new sketches and “visual bits” that will incorporate the scandal. Tuesday night they tried out a few scenes in the postshow improv set, including one in which future White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has a talk with the beleaguered governor. They’ll continue testing scenes and jokes through Saturday’s two preview performances.