Posted inPerforming Arts Feature

Something Wonderful once again

First published in 1978, Jeffrey Sweet’s Something Wonderful Right Away, an oral history of the Second City, and its precursor, the Compass Players, has inspired generations of comic actors and improvisors to try to become part of the Second City or to create their own theater to rival Second City—or both. Ask any prominent contemporary […]

Posted inTheater Review

Daydream believers

The less political Second City tries to be, the more effective they are. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to after seeing last year’s stellar mainstage revue, Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not, followed by their latest, Don’t Quit Your Daydream. Don’t Quit Your Daydream Open run: Tue-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 7 […]

Posted inTheater Review

Army tales

Jonah Saesan and LanDis Frederick are veterans of two different branches of the U.S. armed forces. After being discharged in 2015, they started processing their experiences in the military through sketch comedy, which has culminated in their first two-person show. Lasting 60 minutes, the program covers topics such as the difficulty of forming meaningful friendships […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The strength of community

At the end of September 2020, I wrote a piece for the Reader titled “Black artistic leaders take charge at several Chicago theaters,” which framed the influx of new (and preexisting) Black leadership in Chicago theater against the backdrop of a historic disruption in the industry. That disruption was powered in part by COVID-19 leading […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chagall’s Camelot

James Sherman began his career as an actor; he joined the Second City in the 70s, while he was still a student at Illinois State, appearing in the shows Once More With Fooling and East of Edens with the likes of George Wendt, Tim Kazurinsky, and Miriam Flynn. But starting with his 1982 backstage play, […]

Posted inTheater Review

The political is personal

Like the rest of the world, Second City has been through its share of upheavals in the past two years. Longtime owner, CEO, and executive producer Andrew Alexander stepped down in June 2020 in the wake of increasing public allegations about institutional racism at the comedy powerhouse. Anthony LeBlanc stepped in as interim executive director, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Musical makeover

If you spend any time breathing, you may have noticed polarities everywhere these days, most emanating from a belief gulf that is exponentially widening between conservatives and liberals with every Twitter post. One polarity being heightened not just in social media, but also in government chambers and around dinner tables, is the divide between LGBTQ+ […]