Monday, June 13, 2011


The Cast of Second City

If there is a school for comedy, then Chicago’s The Second City is the Phi Beta Kappa university and has earned its title over more than five decades.  With illustrious alumni like Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd and members from the Canada campus like Martin Short, John Candy and Rick Moranis, the Second City has forged its boasting rights.

This quirky and experimental comedy mill keeps churning out new members and you are invited to mix and mingle with the latest troupe when The Second City invades Long Wharf Theatre from Wednesday, June 15, to Sunday, June 19.

With nothing sacred and political humor their forte, you can expect timely, topical and creative takes on the latest headlines delivered with spark and sparkle, with the added spice of being improvisational and off the comedy cuff.

This year’s kings and queens of comedy include Warren Phynix Johnson, Kevin Sciretta, Derek Shipman, Cecily Strong and Natalie Sullivan.  These sketch artists have no limitations on their material and pride themselves on innovation and creativity.  The Second City studios in Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto offer summer camp for kids 11-18 as well as classes for adults of all experience levels.

To Tina Fey, whose career was launched at The Second City in Chicago, she credits the group for preparing her for her stint on Saturday Night Live as well as for introducing her to her future husband Jeff Richmond and her good friend Amy Poehler.  She called it “a cult – people ate, slept and definitely drank improv.”  Having her fellow performers toss wild statements at her – “murders, Spanish vampires, hamster police” – taught her to make the situations work or let the scenes die.  At The Second City, she learned that “your focus should be entirely on your partner.  You take what they’re giving you and use it to build a scene.”

For tickets ($40), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at  Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m.

Let the newest crop of comics from that funny farm known as The Second City tickle your fancy and funny bones.  Laugh on!

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