The Second City
|The Second City|
|Date of premiere||1959|
|Location||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
The Second City is an improvisational comedy enterprise, best known as the first ever on-going improvisational theater troupe based in Chicago. It also has programs that run out of Toronto and Los Angeles. The Second City Theatre opened on December 16, 1959 and has since become one of the most influential and prolific comedy theatres in the world.
The Second City has produced television programs in both the United States and Canada including SCTV, Second City Presents, and Next Comedy Legend. Since its debut, the Second City has consistently been a starting point for comedians, award winning actors, directors, and others in show business such as Bill Murray, Tina Fey, and John Candy among many others.
The Second City chose its self-mocking name from the title of an article about Chicago by A. J. Liebling that appeared in The New Yorker in 1952. In 1959, the first Second City revue show premiered at 1842 North Wells Street, and the company moved a few blocks south, to 1616 North Wells, in 1967. Bernard Sahlins, Howard Alk and Paul Sills, son of teacher Viola Spolin, founded the theater as a place where scenes and story were created improvisationally, using techniques that grew out of the innovative techniques Spolin developed and taught, later known as Theater Games, with Sills as its director. The cabaret theater, comedy style of the Second City tended towards satire and commentary of current social norms and political figures and events.
In 1961, the theater sent a cast to Broadway with the musical revue, From the Second City, directed by Sills and earning a Tony nomination for ensemble member Severn Darden. Eventually, the theater expanded to include three touring companies and a second resident company, and now fosters a company devoted to outreach and diversity. The style of comedy has changed with time, but the format has remained constant. Second City revues feature a mix of semi-improvised and scripted scenes with new material developed during unscripted improv sessions after the second act, where scenes are created based on audience suggestions.
A number of well-known performers began careers as part of the historic troupe and later moved to television and film. In 1973, Second City opened a theater in Toronto. By the mid-1970s, both venues became a source of cast members for Saturday Night Live and SCTV, which borrowed many of the writing and performing techniques pioneered by Second City and other improv groups. In 1983, the adjoining e.t.c. theater became the second resident stage in Old Town, Chicago location, handling overflow crowds and increasing the number of resident company members. Co-founder Bernard Sahlins owned the theater company until 1985, before selling it to Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart.
Along with its theaters, training centers, and television shows, Second City also produces improv and sketch shows for Norwegian Cruise Line. In the 2000s, Second City began producing "theatrical" shows, bringing their brand of social and political satire to regional theaters around the country in revues that featured sketches written for and about each location, including Phoenix, Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, and Louisville.
The basic premise of SCTV was modeled on a television station in the fictional city of Melonville. Rather than broadcast the usual TV rerun fare, the business, run by the greedy Guy Caballero (Joe Flaherty) sitting in a wheelchair only to gain sympathy and leverage in business and staff negotiations, operates a bizarre and humorously incompetent range of cheap local programming. The range included a soap opera called "The Days of the Week"; game shows such as "Shoot the Stars", in which celebrities literally are shot at in similar fashion to targets in a shooting gallery; and movie spoofs such as "Play it Again, Bob" in which Woody Allen (Rick Moranis) attempts to entice Bob Hope (Dave Thomas) to star in his next film. In-house media melodrama also was satirized by John Candy's vain, bloated variety star character Johnny La Rue, Thomas's acerbic critic Bill Needle and Andrea Martin's flamboyant, leopard-skin clad station manager Mrs. Edith Prickley, Catherine O'Hara's washed-up, alcoholic, narcissist former leading-lady Lola Heatherton, and Flaherty's overly effusive talk show host, Sammy Maudlin. Martin Short originated his dorky Ed Grimley character here, which he later brought to Saturday Night Live.
Andrew Alexander took the reins of Second City Toronto in 1974 and formed a partnership with Len Stuart in 1976, starting The Second City Entertainment Company. Its first television production was SCTV. Alexander co-developed and executive produced over 185 half-hour shows for the award-winning comedy series, and produced over 150 hours of award-winning television comedy. Alexander has had co-production deals with MGM Television, Imagine Films, Disney Studios and United Artists, and has developed television programming for CBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, and A&E. He has produced movies and television with such notable talents as John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Bonnie Hunt, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Harold Ramis, Dave Thomas, James Belushi, George Wendt, Edward Asner, Andrea Martin, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey.
In 1985, Alexander and Stuart became owners of Chicago's Second City. He has produced or executive produced over 200 Second City revues in Canada and the United States. Most recently, Alexander has expanded The Second City TV & Film Division with offices in Los Angeles and Toronto and was executive producer on the recently released feature film Intern Academy.
Alexander has received numerous awards including The Canadian Comedy Awards’ Chairman’s Award, Gilda’s Magic Award from Gilda’s Club, The League of Chicago Theater’s 2009 Artistic Leadership Award and named 2009 Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Tribune.
As of 2014, the Second City has been awarded thirty-seven Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards, which have recognized them for Best Revue five times, the first being Paradigm Lost (1997). The revue’s director, Mick Napier, is one of several directors recognized by the Jeffs, a list that includes founder Bernard Sahlins (for 1983’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear) and improv guru Del Close (1981’s Miro, Miro on the Wall). Sixteen alumni have received Jeff Awards for their performances in Second City revues, including David Pasquesi (The Gods Must Be Lazy, 1989), Scott Adsit (Paradigm Lost, 1997), Jackie Hoffman (Disgruntled Employee Picnic, 1993), Shelley Long (Wellsapoppin, 1977), and Nia Vardalos (Whitewater for Chocolate, 1994), with Rachel Dratch and Keegan-Michael Key each being honored twice.
In 2009, as the company was celebrating its 50th year, the Second City was awarded an honorary Jeff for the milestone, as well as three awards for the e.t.c.' s 33rd revue Studs Terkel's Not Working, recognizing director Matt Hovde and actress Amanda Blake Davis and naming it Best Revue. In 2011, the e.t.c.'s 35th revue Sky's the Limit (Weather Permitting) won the Jeff for Best New Work (Musical or Revue), as well Best Revue and Best Actor, for ensemble member Tim Baltz. The following year, the e.t.c.'s 36th revue We're All In This (Room) Together won for Best Revue and Best Director of a Revue (Ryan Bernier), while ensemble member Edgar Blackman took home the Jeff for Best Actor/Actress in a Revue for his work in Who Do We Think We Are? on the Second City mainstage. In 2013, the Jeff Awards awarded Best Production: Revue to a Second City show not housed at the venue on Wells Street, The Second City Guide to Opera, a collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago that had been initiated by soprano and Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming, with Best Director: Revue going to Billy Bungeroth.
Toronto's Second City mainstage troupe has won ten Canadian Comedy Awards: Best Improv Troupe (2001), Best Sketch Troupe (2001, 2006 and 2009), and Best Comedic Play winners Family Circus Maximus (2002), Psychedelicatessen (2003), Facebook of Revelations, Barack to the Future (2009), 0% Down, 100% Screwed (2010) and Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes (2011).
The Second City on film
- Goldstein (1964) – The directing debut of Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) featured several members including Severn Darden, Jack Burns, and Del Close, as well as teacher Viola Spolin. A modern-day interpretation of the story of Elijah, it won the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique at the Cannes Film Festival, and Jean Renoir called it the best American film he'd seen in twenty years.
- The Monitors (1969) – A satirical alien invasion film in which earth's invaders run the planet as though they were 1950s hallway monitors, featuring members Avery Schreiber, Alan Arkin, Fred Kaz, and Peter Boyle.
- Second to None (2001) – A documentary by Matt Hoffman and Scott Silberstein about the process of writing Paradigm Lost, following the cast and director Napier from the initial rehearsal through opening night. Originally narrated by alum Jim Belushi, the film was reworked, with rehearsal footage added, ten years after its initial release.
- The Second City: First Family of Comedy (2006) – A documentary by Sharon Bartlett and alum Dave Thomas in three parts, focusing on the origins of The Second City in Chicago, the life of SCTV, and the success of notable alumni, including Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Ryan Stiles, Patrick McKenna, and Martin Short.
- I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2006) – An independent film starring, written, directed and produced by Jeff Garlin, himself a former Second City actor, features scenes shot within The Second City's Chicago theater, and features several of its alumni, including Mina Kolb, David Pasquesi, Amy Sedaris, Richard Kind, Dan Castellaneta, Tim Kazurinsky, and Bonnie Hunt.
Resident stage alumni
- 1959 – Howard Alk, Roger Bowen, Severn Darden, Andrew Duncan, Barbara Harris, Mina Kolb, William Mathieu, Sheldon Patinkin, Bernard Sahlins, Paul Sills, Eugene Troobnick
- 1960 – Alan Arkin, Paul Sand, Joyce Sloane
- 1961 – Bill Alton, John Brent, Hamilton Camp, Del Close, Melinda Dillon, Anthony Holland, Zohra Lampert, Alan Myerson, Irene Riordan, Joan Rivers, Avery Schreiber
- 1962 – Mona Burr, Dennis Cunningham, Dick Schaal
- 1963 – Jack Burns, MacIntyre Dixon, Ann Elder, Judy Elder, Melissa 'Sally' Hart, Richard Libertini, Omar Shapli
- 1964 – Ian Davidson, Eugene Kadish, Fred Kaz, Harv Robbin, David Steinberg
- 1965 – Joan Bassie, Robert Benedetti, Alex Canaan, Sondra Caron, Josephine Forsberg, Judy Graubart, Robert Klein, David Paulsen, Fred Willard
- 1966 – Bob Curry, Sid Grossfeld, Sandy Holt, Jon Shank, David Walsh, Penny White
- 1967 – J.J. Barry, Peter Boyle, Martin Harvey Friedberg, Burt Heyman, Lynne Lipton, Ira Miller
- 1968 – Murphy Dunne, Michael Miller, Carol Robinson
- 1969 – David Blum, Martin de Maat, Jim Fisher, Joe Flaherty, Nate Herman, Pamela Hoffman, Roberta Maguire, Judy Morgan, Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, Eric Ross, Cyril Simon, Paul Taylor
- 1971 – John Belushi, Eugene Ross-Leming, Dan Ziskie
- 1972 – Dave Rasche, Ann Ryerson
- 1973 – John Candy, Stephanie Cotsirilos, Tino Insana, Bill Murray, Jim Staahl, Betty Thomas
- 1974 – Dan Aykroyd, Cassandra Danz, Don DePollo, Michael J. Gellman, Allan Guttman, Deborah Harmon, Richard Kurtzman, Eugene Levy, Raul Moncada, Rosemary Radcliffe, Gilda Radner, Mert Rich, Doug Steckler, Dave Thomas, Paul Zegler
- 1975 – Bernadette Birkett, Miriam Flynn, George Wendt
- 1976 – Will Aldis, Eric Boardman, Steven Kampmann, Shelley Long, Jim Sherman
- 1977 – Cynthia Cavalenes, Larry Coven
- 1978 – James Belushi, Tim Kazurinsky, Audrie Neenan, Lawrence J. Perkins, Maria Ricossa
- 1979 – Danny Breen, Mary Gross, Bruce Jarchow, Nancy McCabe-Kelly
- 1980 – Meagen Fay, Lance Kinsey, Rob Riley
- 1981 – Susan Bugg, John Kapelos, Rick Thomas
- 1982 – Nonie Newton-Breen, Cheryl Sloane, Craig Taylor
- 1983 – Bekka Eaton, Ed Greenberg, Michael Hagerty, Isabella Hofmann, Richard Kind
- 1985 – Andrew Alexander, Mindy Bell, Jim Fay, Mona Lyden, Len Stuart
- 1986 – Dan Castellaneta, Rick Hall, Bonnie Hunt, Maureen Kelly, Harry Murphy
- 1987 – Steve Assad, Kevin Crowley, Aaron Freeman, Ruby Streak, Barbara Wallace, Ron West
- 1988 – Joe Liss, Mike Myers
- 1989 – Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Joel Murray, David Pasquesi, Judith Scott, Holly Wortell
- 1990 – Tom Gianas, Bob Odenkirk, Tim O'Malley, Jill Talley
- 1991 – Fran Adams, Cynthia Caponera, Steve Carell, Michael McCarthy, John Rubano
- 1992 – Paul Dinello, Kelly Leonard, Ruth Rudnick, Amy Sedaris
- 1993 – Stephen Colbert, David Razowsky
- 1994 – Scott Adsit, Scott Allman, Jackie Hoffman
- 1995 – Rachel Dratch, Jon Glaser, Jenna Jolovitz, Adam McKay
- 1996 – Kevin Dorff, Tina Fey, Mick Napier
- 1997 – Jim Zulevic
- 1998 – Rachel Hamilton, T. J. Jagodowski, Jane Lynch, Susan Messing, Jeff Richmond, Tami Sagher, Rich Talarico, Stephnie Weir
- 1999 – Ed Furman, Beth Kligerman
- 2000 – Craig Cackowski, Sue Gillan, Angela Shelton
- 2001 – Debra Downing, Nyima Funk, Martin Garcia, Michael Kennard, David Pompeii
- 2002 – Brian Boland, Josh Funk, Robin Hammond, Alison Riley, Al Samuels, Abby Sher
- 2003 – Dan Bakkedahl, Lisa Brooke, Liz Cackowski, Antoine McKay, Jean Villepique
- 2004 – Brian Gallivan, Maribeth Monroe, Claudia Michelle Wallace
- 2005 – Matt Craig, Molly Erdman
- 2006 – Joe Canale, Ithamar Enriquez, Kirk Hanley, Marc Warzecha, Tom Yorton
- 2007 – Matt Hovde, Brad Morris, Amber Ruffin
- 2008 – Lauren Ash, Jim Carlson, Shelly Gossman, Anthony LeBlanc, Michael Patrick O'Brien, Emily Wilson
- 2009 – Andy St. Clair, Diana Martinez, Steven Yeun
- 2010 – Allison Bills, Timothy Edward Mason, Julie Nichols, Sam Richardson, Tim Robinson, Monica Wilson
- 2011 – Edgar Blackmon, Billy Bungeroth, Holly Laurent, Katie Rich, Jeremy Smith, Meghan Teal
- 2012 – Tim Baltz, Mary Sohn, Steve Waltien
- 2013 – Ross Bryant, Tawny Newsome
- 2014 – Ryan Bernier, Jesse Case, Chelsea Devantez, John Hartman, Paul Jurewicz, Mike Kosinski, Jacob Shuda, Daniel Strauss, Christine Tawfik, Emily Walker
- 2015 – Rashawn Nadine Scott, Sarah Shook, Jamison Webb
- 2016 – Shantira Jackson, Kelsey Kinney, Martin Morrow, Vinnie Pillarella, Lesley Stone
- 1973 – Dan Aykroyd, Andrew Alexander, Valri Bromfield, Jayne Eastwood, Gino Empry, Joe Flaherty, Fred Kaz, Brian Doyle-Murray, Gilda Radner, Bernard Sahlins, Gerry Salsberg, Sam Shopsowitz, Joyce Sloane
- 1974 – John Candy, Suzette Couture, Todd Jeffrey Ellis, Piers Gilson, Allan Guttman, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Sheldon Patinkin, Jim Patry, Rosemary Radcliffe, Whitney S. Smith
- 1975 – Carol Cassis, Ben Gordon, Andrea Martin, John Monteith, Sharon H. Smith, Dave Thomas
- 1976 – Peter Aykroyd, Brenda Donohue
- 1977 – Del Close, Robin Duke, Steven Kampmann, Robin McCullouch, Martin Short, Dave Thompson, Peter Torokvei
- 1978 – Scott Baker, Sally Cochrane, Cathy Gallant, Len Stuart
- 1979 – Maggie Butterfield, Don DePollo, Don Dickinson, Melissa Ellis, Derek McGrath, Tony Rosato, Kim Sisson, Mary Charlotte Wilcox
- 1980 – Tom Baker, Gabe Cohen, Steve Ehrlick, John Hemphill, Kathleen Laskey, Denise Pidgeon, Wendy Slutsky
- 1981 – Ken Innes, Jerrold Karch, Deborah Kimmett, Jan Randall
- 1982 – Michael J. Gellman, Don Lake
- 1983 – Donald Adams, Bob Derkach, June Graham, Bruce Hunter, Ron James, Madelyn Keane, Debra McGrath, Lyn Okkerse, Bruce Pirrie, Jane Schoettle, Blaine Slekirk, Adrian Truss
- 1984 – Sandra Balcovske, Karen Poce
- 1985 – Dana Andersen, Bob Bainborough, Kevin Frank, Linda Kash, Dorothy Tenute
- 1986 – David Huband, Jeff Michalski, Mike Myers, Deborah Theaker, Mark Wilson
- 1987 – Tamar Malic, Ryan Stiles, Audrey Webb
- 1988 – Neil Crone, Wendy Hopkins, Lindsay Leese, Colin Mochrie, Alana Shields, Tim Sims
- 1989 – Patrick McKenna
- 1990 – Kathryn Greenwood, Karen Hines, Gary Pearson, Ed Sahely
- 1991 – Christopher Earle, Nick Johne, Tara Charendoff, Jenny Parsons, Judith Scott, Peter Sherk, Brian Smith
- 1993 – Andrew Currie, Jackie Harris, Steve Morel, Paul O'Sullivan, Jonathan Wilson
- 1994 – Lori Nasso, Janet van de Graaf
- 1995 – Tamara Bick, Kerry Garnier, Albert Howell, Nancy Marino, Teresa Pavlinek
- 1996 – Jennifer Irwin, Mollie Jacques, Bob Martin, Jack Mosshammer, Constantine Paraskevopoulos
- 1997 – James Carroll, Marc Hickox, Melody Johnson, Arnold Pinnock, Angela V. Shelton
- 1998 – Gavin Crawford, Tracy Dawson, Andrew Dollar, Marypat Farrell, Jerry C. Minor, Doug Morency, Lee Smart, Gina Sorell, Jennifer Whalen
- 1999 – Paul Bates, Lisa Brooke, Kevin Dorff, K. McPherson Jones
- 2000 – Geri Hall, Carolyn Taylor, Sandy Jobin-Bevans
- 2001 – Aurora Browne, Jennifer Goodhue, Paul Constable, Nathan David Shore
- 2002 – Pat Kelly, Matt Baram
- 2003 – Jamillah Ross, Naomi Snieckus
- 2004 – Derek Flores, Rebecca Northan
- 2005 – Anand Rajaram, Lauren Ash, Steven DelBalso, Mick Napier
- 2006 – Jim Annan, Scott Montgomery, Matthew Reid
- 2007 – Marty Adams, Darryl Hinds, Karen Parker, Leslie Seiler
- 2008 – Ashley Botting, Kerry Griffin, Reid Janisse
- 2009 – Rob Baker, Dale Boyer, Adam Cawley, Caitlin Howden
- 2010 – Inessa Frantowski, Kris Siddiqi
- 2011 – Ashley Comeau, Jason DeRosse, Nigel Downer, Alastair Forbes, Carly Heffernan
- 2012 – Christina Cicko, Stacey McGunnigle
- 2013 – Craig Brown, Jan Caruana, Allison Price, Connor Thompson, Kevin Vidal
- 2014 – Sarah Hillier, Etan Muskat, Kevin Whalen
- 2015 – Leigh Cameron, Kyle Dooley, Becky Johnson, Meg Maguire, Kirsten Rasmussen
- 2016 – Roger Bainbridge, Brandon Hackett, Lindsay Mullen, Ann Pornel
- 1983 – Bill Applebaum, Rob Bronstein, Don DePollo, Jim Fay, Susan Gauthier, Carey Goldenberg, Jeff Michalski, Jane Morris, Bernard Sahlins, Joyce Sloane, Ruby Streak
- 1984 – Steve Assad, Dan Castellaneta, Isabella Hofmann, Maureen Kelly, Harry Murphy
- 1985 – Andrew Alexander, Len Stuart
- 1986 – Mark Belden, Mindy Bell, Kevin Crowley, Kevin Doyle, Joe Keefe, Barbara Wallace
- 1987 – Chris Barnes, Madeline Belden, Joe Liss, Ron West
- 1988 – Laura Hall, Judith Scott, Jill Talley, Holly Wortell
- 1989 – Mark Beltzman, Dan Gillogly, Nate Herman, Michael McCarthy, Ruth Rudnick
- 1990 – Fran Adams, Steve Carell, Tom Gianas, John Rubano
- 1991 – Rose Abdoo, Megan Moore Burns, Peter Burns, Ken Hudson Campbell, David Razowsky
- 1992 – Scott Allman, Stephen Colbert, Ian Gomez, Jackie Hoffman, Jenna Jolovitz, Kelly Leonard
- 1993 – Scott Adsit, Michael Broh, Jimmy Doyle, Norm Holly, Nia Vardalos
- 1994 – John Hildreth
- 1995 – Adam McKay, Jeff Richmond, Aaron Rhodes, Dee Ryan, Brian Stack, Miriam Tolan, Jim Zulevic
- 1996 – Neil Flynn, Laura Krafft, Jerry C. Minor, Horatio Sanz, Peter Zahradnick
- 1997 – Aaron Carney, Matt Dwyer, Rachel Hamilton, Mick Napier, Rebecca Sohn, Rich Talarico
- 1998 – Craig Cackowski, Kristin Ford, Noah Gregoropoulos, Tami Sagher
- 1999 – Ali Farahnakian, Martin Garcia, Sue Gillan, Beth Kligerman, Jack McBrayer, David Pompeii, Lyn Pusztai, Klaus Peter Schuller, Angela V. Shelton, Trey Stone, Michael Thomas
- 2000 – Andy Cobb, Debra Downing, Abby Sher
- 2001 – Sam Albert, Joshua Funk, T. J. Jagodowski, Keegan-Michael Key
- 2002 – Peter Grosz, Nyima Funk
- 2003 – Jeremy Wilcox
- 2004 – Lee Brackett, Jen Bills, Rebecca Drysdale, Ithamar Enriquez, Robin Hammond, Frank Caeti, Matt Craig, Alison Riley
- 2005 – Rebecca Sage Allen, Jim Carlson, Alex Fendrich, Robert Janas, Chad Krueger, Niki Lindgren, Nicky Margolis
- 2006 – Amanda Blake Davis, Kirk Hanley, Andy St. Clair
- 2007 – W. Shane Oman, Marc Warzecha
- 2008 – Christina Anthony, Michael Descoteaux, Tom Flanigan, Megan Grano, Laura Grey, Matt Hovde, Timothy Edward Mason, Bruce Pirrie, Joseph Ruffner
- 2009 – Beth Melewski
- 2010 – Tim Baltz, Billy Bungeroth, Jesse Case, Brendan Jennings, Mary Sohn, Monica Wilson
- 2011 – Kyle Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer, Jeremy Smith
- 2012 – Ryan Bernier, Mike Kosinski, Tawny Newsome, Andĕl Sudik, Chris Witaske
- 2013 – Carisa Barreca, Brooke Breit, Alex Kliner, Punam Patel
- 2014 – Jen Ellison, Eddie Mujica, Asher Perlman, Tim Ryder
- 2015 – Lisa Beasley, Anthony LeBlanc, Scott Morehead, Rashawn Nadine Scott
- 2016 – Aasia Lashay Bullock, Laura Hum, Sayjal Joshi, Peter Kim, Katie Klein, Andrew Knox, Alan Linic, Julie Marchiano, Jasbir Singh, Jacob Shuda, Tien Tran
The Second City Touring Company
Created in 1967 as a way to increase the talent pool, the initial Touring Company, featuring Ramis, Doyle-Murray and Flaherty, was tested on the road for two years before taking the stage as The Next Generation after the mainstage ensemble was sent to perform in New York. The Touring Company continued to perform greatest hit shows on the road, and in 1982, with the assistance of producer Joyce Sloane (and without Sahlins's knowledge) they staged an original revue in what would become the theater's second stage, the Second City e.t.c.
In December 2009, the theater celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a weekend of panels and performance which featured many prominent alumni, including an SCTV reunion show starring Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short, and Dave Thomas. Other notable alumni returning to participate included Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Jeff Garlin, Jack McBrayer, James Belushi, Dan Castellaneta, Amy Sedaris, Ian Gomez, Richard Kind, Robert Klein, Fred Willard, David Rasche, Betty Thomas, and George Wendt, as well as original cast member Mina Kolb, Compass Player Shelley Berman, and founders Bernard Sahlins and Sheldon Patinkin.
Notable alumni of the Second City
The Second City Training Center
The Second City Training Center was founded in the mid-1980s to facilitate the growing demand for workshops and instruction from the world famous Second City theatre. Training Centers are located in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles. The Training Centers have grown substantially since the Second City Conservatory was established in the mid-1980s under the tutelage of longtime Chicago improv instructors and mentors Martin de Maat and Sheldon Patinkin. The Chicago Training Center has over 5,000 students in several disciplines, including improvisation and comedy writing. Former Training Center students include Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Bonnie Hunt, Stephen Colbert, Halle Berry, Sean Hayes, Amy Sedaris, Jon Favreau, Hinton Battle, Jack McBrayer, Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald. Classes are taught by working professionals, many of whom are current and former Second City performers. In 2007, the Comedy Studies program was created, as a collaboration with Chicago's Columbia College, which provides students with an immersion in "all aspects of the study of comedy and improvisation" The Second City Training Centers currently operate under the leadership of Kerry Sheehan, President, The Second City Training Centers and Education Programs.
The Parents School
In the early years of the Second City and Game Theater, several parents and Lincoln Park community members—including Carol and Paul Sills and Mona and Dennis Cunningham—started a progressive school for their children, based on Viola Spolin's Theater Games techniques and philosophy with her son Paul Sills' refinements. Theater Games were gaining recognition and are now incorporated in Drama Therapy, Play Therapy and are used as an educational tool. Early Second City and Game Theater members, as well as some Old Town and Lincoln Park community members, were closely involved, including the Sillses and Cunninghams, Viola Spolin, Joyce and Byrne Piven, John Schultz, Mel Spiegel, and Beverly Gold. The highly progressive curriculum included daily theater games, and some students went on to careers in entertainment. Briefly at the original Old Town theater site at the intersection of Clark, Wells, and Lincoln Avenue, the school moved to several locations in Lincoln Park before it closed in the mid-1970s.
In 1971, The Players Workshop was Chicago's only official school of Improvisation for over a decade. Although it was never officially a part of The Second City cabaret theater, The Players Workshop was often referred to as Players Workshop Of The Second City, due to the school's close affiliation with the famous sketch comedy stage.
- Annoyance Theater
- List of museums and cultural institutions in Chicago
- Theatre in Chicago
- The Groundlings
- Under the Gun Theater
- Upright Citizens Brigade
- Christiansen, Richard (2004). Grossman, James R.; Keating, Ann Durkin; Reiff, Janice L., eds. Second City Theatre. The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. p. 744. ISBN 0-226-31015-9. Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Robertson, Campbell (June 4, 2008). "Paul Sills, a Guru of Improv Theater, Dies at 80". New York Times. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Robrt L. Pela. "The Second City Does Arizona, Or Close But No Saguaro Proves There's Plenty of AZ to Poke Fun at Outside of SB 1070". Phoenix New Times.
- Anderman, Joan (April 19, 2010). "From Chicago, joke's on Hub". The Boston Globe.
- Smith, Tim. "Charm City gets Second City treatment". Baltimore Sun.
- "The Second City Does Dallas: outsiders making astute observations". Star-Telegram. September 14, 2012.
- Keane, Erin (January 2, 2011). "Second City seeks coup with Ville!'". The Courier-Journal.
- "Jeff Awards List of Nominees and Recipients".
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- "Chinglish, Chicago Shakes, Candide, Porgy and Bess, Mike Nussbaum Among Jeff Award Winners". Playbill.com. 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "'Iceman Cometh,' 'Follies' big Jeff Award winners". The Chicago Tribune. 2012.
- "'Lyric Opera of Chicago & The Second City Take Home Two Jeff Awards for THE SECOND CITY GUIDE TO THE OPERA". Broadway World. 2013.
- Doll, Susan. "Turner Class Movies Film Article: Goldstein". TCM.com.
- Murray, Noel. "Goldstein/DVD". A.V. Club.
- "Inside the Improv Process at Second City". The Chicago Sun Times.
- Thomas, Mike (2009). The Second City Unscripted. Villard Books. pp. 34,41,146–150. ISBN 978-0-345-51422-6.
- "Second City 50th Anniversary, SCTV Reunion: Live review". Time Out NY. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "What's in a Ticket". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
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- Winchell, Stephen. "Inside the Second City's Comedy Studies Program". Splitsider.
- The Second City
- The Second City Toronto
- Audio interview with Anne Libera, author of The Second City Almanac of Improvisation, on The Sound of Young America
- "StensonsNewDigs" blog review of the "Benefit of Laughter" show and SCTV reunion and after-party
- "Pye in the Face" blog review of the "Benefit of Laughter" show and SCTV reunion and after party