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Laugh it up: Columbus to host Chicago's famed Second City

 

Second City members perform a skit. The comedy troupe performs March 1 in Columbus.

Second City members perform a skit. The comedy troupe performs March 1 in Columbus. Photo by: Provided photo

 

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The Columbus Arts Council presents The Second City March 1 at Trotter Convention Center. Second City is famous for its comedy and alumni, many of whom went on to become household names via Saturday Night Live. Ensemble members pictured are Shad Kunkle, Katie Rich, Mark Piebenga, Tim Stoltenberg and Kate Duffy.

The Columbus Arts Council presents The Second City March 1 at Trotter Convention Center. Second City is famous for its comedy and alumni, many of whom went on to become household names via Saturday Night Live. Ensemble members pictured are Shad Kunkle, Katie Rich, Mark Piebenga, Tim Stoltenberg and Kate Duffy.
Photo by: Provided photo

 

Lyndsay Hailey

Lyndsay Hailey
Photo by: Provided photo

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

Shades of Saturday Night Live. Comic spirits will be flying high Tuesday, March 1, when Chicago''s legendary improv and sketch comedy theater, The Second City, comes to Columbus'' Trotter Convention Center. The Columbus Arts Council Concert and Artist Series presentation at 7 p.m. will offer a hilarious and cutting-edge ride through present day America. 

 

In "Fair and Unbalanced," The Second City''s actors take unbridled pleasure in the foibles of our politicians, celebrities and even our significant others. No institution escapes their satiric eye -- from the blowhards of the Beltway to the Hollywood elite. 

 

"We''re so fortunate to have a world-class comedy-improv group appearing in Columbus," said Ralph Null, acting president of the arts council Board of Directors. "The show provides an up-close and personal opportunity to see tomorrow''s top stars of comedy and theater." 

 

Indeed, Second City alumni is a who''s who of levity -- Martin Short, Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Peter Boyle, John Candy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mike Myers, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and countless others. 

 

 

 

''One laugh after another'' 

 

With scripted and improvisational elements, the actors visiting the Golden Triangle plan an uproarious evening, drawing from some of the best sketches and songs from The Second City''s more than 50-year history. 

 

"It''s really one laugh after another," said Second City actor Lyndsay Hailey by phone Tuesday from Chicago. "I feel so fortunate, because we have so much fun together."  

 

Hailey, who is fairly new to this troupe, wrote, directed and produced her critically-acclaimed one-woman show, "30 Percent Chance of Hailey," in 2009. Among her TV credits are "One Tree Hill" and MTV''s "I Bet You Will." She looks forward to her visit to the Deep South. 

 

"It''s roughly a two-hour show, with about 20 to 30 sketches," the native Virginian explained.  

 

A portion of the performance is pure improvisation. "It''s awesome, and we love it; it may be our favorite part of the show," Hailey said. Many of The Second City''s sketches have emerged from improv comedy. "We get a group together and during improvisation, if something sticks, you start writing dialogues to it." 

 

No topic or subject is off limits for the ensemble. If your parents asked you not to speak about it at the dinner table, chances are it will be made fun of in an evening with The Second City, their publicity promises. 

 

 

 

Improv Workshop 

 

The Columbus Arts Council and Second City will offer an Improv Workshop Wednesday, March 2, from 10 a.m to noon at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. in downtown Columbus.  

 

Conducted by Second City''s Kate Duffy and Tim Stoltenberg, the improv and sketch comedy workshop will focus on helping college level improvisers or actors who want to learn or enhance their improvisational techniques. It will teach scenic improvisation with an emphasis on connection and relationship. William "Peppy" Biddy, head of the Mississippi University for Women Department of Music and Theatre, will facilitate the workshop. 

 

What are some useful traits to bring to the table? 

 

"To be extremely open-minded would be the first thing," Hailey said. Many think it''s the more outlandish types that end up in comedy, she continued, but it''s sometimes people who simply want to be more outgoing. 

 

"Open-minded and agreeable, and very positive, with a willing-to-do-anything type of energy," the actor added to her list. "Intellect doesn''t hurt anything either; the more you know, the more you read the paper, the better." 

 

Elizabeth Johnson, arts council interim director, said, "We''re thrilled to be able to offer the workshop. This is a really unique chance to work with some of the best nationally-touring improv and comedy actors on stage today." 

 

Cost for the workshop is $75; class size is limited to 15. Reservations are necessary. For information or to reserve a spot, contact the arts council at 662-328-2787. 

 

 

 

How to go 

 

Tickets for "Fair and Unbalanced" March 1 are $25 for general admission and $50 for VIP admission, which includes stage-side seating, light refreshments and a private wine and cheese reception with the actors at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, just across the street from Trotter, after the performance. 

 

A cash bar will be available during the performance. 

 

Tickets may be ordered online at www.columbus-arts.com, or buy them in person at the arts center. For more information, contact the Columbus Arts Council at 662-328-ARTS (2787), or e-mail columbus.ms.arts@gmail.com. 

 

"We had such great success with The Second City''s previous appearance here," said CAC board member Beverly Norris, referring to a Columbus performance in the late ''90s. "The troupe gave an uproarious performance and made a real connection with the audience. Everyone left wanting more -- now''s their chance to see them in action again." 

 

 

 

The Second City 

 

Who: Renowned Chicago-based comedy theater 

 

What: Night of sketch comedy, improv (Improv workshop the following day) 

 

When: Tuesday, March 1, 7 p.m. 

 

Where: Trotter Convention Center, 402 Second Ave. N., Columbus 

 

Tickets: $25 general admission; $50 VIP (includes stage-side table seating and reception with actors following the performance). Available at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St.; 662-328-2787. Or order online at www.columbus-arts.com.

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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