By Alan Bresloff
For over 50 years, Second City has made people laugh. When entering any of the theaters that this company works in, we leave our social problems, work problems and even family problems at the doorstep. With the help of these brilliant comics, we get to look at problems very close to ours but in a comical nature. No matter what is hurting us, or those sitting around us, we will leave the theater with a smile on our face and a good feeling in our hearts–and after all, isn’t that what we need during these hard times!
98 Shows- that is the number that Second City has brought to its stages and while their talent goes on to other venues and arts, they still manage to find new talent to keep the spirit of what Bernie Sills started 50 years ago. Their new show, “Spoiler Alert, Everybody Dies” is a rip roaring two hours of solid comedy dealing with everyday life. From marriage to sex- from aging to losing one’s job- from a family that you are ashamed to be a part of to a marvelous little play within the show where audience members are chosen to be players, this is a two hour, entertaining revue that will take your mind off the economy, “Blago”, the Cubs, your job and possibly any other little thing that is slowing you down.
Directed by Matt Hovde, we are treated to lots of little skits/blackouts by a stellar cast of six marvelous players, some old timers and some new. One of the qualities of the Second City is its training program. They have the ability to find raw talent and mold these actors into what they want… true, imaginative comics who know how to play the audience. These six performers truly have it all. Timothy Edward Mason just keeps getting stronger, Allison Bills has just moved up to the “main stage” and deservedly so- she is a keeper! Shelly Gossman, a newcomer from Iowa is a stitch, Newcomer Tim Robinson has a great ability to become many characters and when he does his “play” using audience members, you will find yourself falling out of your seat, Sam Richardson, another newbie has some previous Second City experience, but in Detroit ( yes, the Second city goes to other cities as well to find raw talent to develop) and the lovely Emily Wilson is more experienced that one would think in looking at her youthful appearance. These six masters of comedy, do their thing the way it was meant to be done.
The main stage is not a large venue, so audience members, no matter where they sit get a great look at what these performers bring to the mix. The set design ( Amy Jackson)is functional, the lighting (Kyle Anderson and Craig Taylor and the props ( a very major part of a revue) by Erin McEvoy Mason along with music direction by Julie B. Nichols add to the magic of the evening, but the true stars of these productions are in fact the actors/performers who also write and possibly re-write the material they present. We all know that there is a script in these revues, but we also know that depending on the audience response (or lack of) these talented performers can turn on a dime and change their direction. They will not allow an audience to sit quietly. After all, even though the audience pays to have a great time, the actors also want to have a ball. They are up for a high, and certainly never want a “down” performance. That would be un-Second City-like and we would never want that to take place.
The run, as always is what is called an “open” run, which means as long as they sell tickets, they will run. The ticket prices are a mere $22-$27 each, which if you break it down is probably one of the best entertainment values you will find in any city, anytime. Second City is located in Old Town at 1616 N. Wells Street and the performance schedule is as follows:
Tuesday-Thursday 8 p.m.
Friday and saturday 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Sunday 7 p.m.
To purchase tickets call the box office at 312-337-3992 or visit www.secondcity.com