When the world has you down- the economy, job pressures, troubles at home, you can always count on any of The Second City venues to take you away from all that, at least for two hours ( PLUS). While known primarily for their ad-lib comedy, improv a sit used to be called, today’s sharp new casts are more creative and put together a script of corts that has some “constants” in it, but uses the audience, and I mean USES the audience to generate a new show each time, using suggestions form the current audience and picking a member to participate in the show. This is what makes this theatrical experience so special; the show you see one night can be different on another visit. For over 50 years, Chicagoans ( and out of towners) have enjoyed the bright and talented people who make up The Second City Players.
The current show at E.T.C., located on the second floor in Piper’s Alley in Old Town ( where it truly began its growth) is called ” We’re All In This Room Together”, which in a way is more than just a title or name, but a reflection on how strangers, coming together in a cabaret setting, can laugh at the world around them and find themselves making new friends in the intimacy of a comedy club atmosphere. This show, as is the standard for Second City, is made up of many skits and sketches, with topics like current politics, high school reunions, daddy-daughter dances, gay marriage, disco bars and much much more.
Six powerful performers, all different in oh so many ways, blend together as a unit bringing us the most desired part of theater, true escape from reality and our pressures in life, for two solid hours of outrageous comedy. If you are not in pan from the laughter, you either did not listen to what they were saying or you are in deep pain. Even though this venue is a place to drink ( although they have improved the food served), you do nothave to be drunk to have the time of your life.
Directed by Ryan Bernier, with musical direction by Jesse Case( who also wrote the incidental music) it is the talent that makes this show work. They are the ones who come up with the ideas and put together the flexible script that allows them to “play the audience”. Comics work best with good audiences. In fact, their job is much easier when those entering the theater are truly there for a good time ( turning off that damn cell phone and certainly not texting or e-mailing during the show). The light from a cell phone illuminates your face and causes the performers to lose their concentration, so just because it is not an actual play and you didn’t pay $100 a ticket, understand that the quality o fte show is based on not just the audience having focus on the stage, but the actors as well. Can’t one live without being online for two hours of their lives? Ask yourself this when you attend live productions and the answer should be, Yes! we can!
Now , off of my soap box and back to this hilarious evening of comedy. As stated earlier, six energetic and talented actors/comic/singers/writers bring this show to life at Second City: All different is shape and size, but all talented and having as much fun as we did. Three females- Andel Sudik ( who can be as nerdy as possible ), Aidy Bryant ( who does a great “Dolly” bit with her band of ex-hubbys, a stitch) and the very glamorous Tawny Newsome , who many Chicago audiences have watched mature as a performer over the years- she is delightful to watch on stage. The guys, Michael Lehrere, Chris Witaske ( who does a clever song/poem about “being little”) is a very funny man and then the very tall ( and agile) Mike Kosinski ( a very funny guy).
This sharp group of people take on many of the news items that we face today, including a clever bit about a late night news show where there are constant “hot news items”, “late breaking news: items that keep a real newsperson ( played to the hilt by Ms Sudik) from reporting the actual news, of course the political scene, Gay Marriage- this is where an audience member is brought on stage to be the fiancee of Kosinski’s character and then they bring this man to his wedding vows- very clever and luckily for our audience, we had a man who was up to the task.High school reunions is another clever bit as is the pick-up at the disco where Kosinki takes Newsome for a ride in his Maserati convertible ( with full wind blowing added to truly make thus hysterical). The list goes on and on and even though this is a somewhat scripted show, with clever actors like this, wits of all shapes and sizes and an audience that has had a drink or two, you are in for a good time and a new show at each performance. As always, there is a lot of language so I would suggest not bringing younger people to this show. It is pure adult! And, audience members who request front row seast should be prepard to stay alert- you may be a part of the production,
“We’re All In This Rom together” is an open run show, which means as long as people buy tickets, the show will be open at Second City E.T.C. located on the second floor of Pipers Alley ( North and Wells) with performances as follows:
Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. ( with a late night show at 11 p.m. for the really big drinkers) and Sundays at 3 and 7 p.m.
Tickets are only $23-$28, so even a few drinks will keep you below the cost of a larger theater in the loop and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com
Noth Avenue and Wells aka Old Town is filled with great dining spots, fancy, fast food and my favorite, Wells On Wells where they have one of the best burgers in town, or for finger food, just enjoy the new menu at The Second City Theaters.
Parking is a little tense in the Old Town area, but Treasure Island, just north on Wells has park and lock for $10 ( which is far less than meters might cost) and public transportation is easy as pie.
To see what others have said, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, review round-up and punch We’re All In This Room Together