Sunday, June 19, 2005

Second City

I've seen Second City perform several times, in Toronto, Vancouver, and DC, but never in their home theatre in Chicago -- until this weekend, when my wife and I went to see their 91st show, "Red Scare."

I was very impressed. While many people think of Second City as a troupe of improvisational comedians, their stage shows are fully scripted -- some of the scenes may have been created as improvisations, but the final product seen on their mainstage is a fast flowing sketch revue.

And it works. "Red Scare" is funny, biting, clever, and very well performed.

The night we were there, several seats in the center of the audience were being reserved for VIPs. My wife guessed that they might be family and friends of the cast, but when we saw that the VIPs were given folders with 8x10's of the performers, I surmised that these must be talent scouts. After all, Second City (along with the Groundlings in LA) has long been the place from which the stars of numerous late-night and primetime shows have been plucked.

Sure enough, the next day, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels was in town looking for "fresh faces" and checking out the talent.

While all six members of this Second City revue were excellent, keep an eye out for three of them -- Brian Gallivan, Maribeth Monroe, and Antoine McKay -- to be called upon to make the leap to TV very soon.

When it happens, remember that you read it here first.