Happily Ever Laughter: The Second City

"Legendary" is an awfully lofty word to describe any comedy group, but when your alumni list includes the likes of Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carell, few other adjectives will do. With its home theater in Chicago, the Second City is an absolute institution in the world of performance comedy, revered for uproarious sketch work that can include absurdist improvisation, piercing parodies of popular figures, and cleverly subversive satire. The downside to such a lauded reputation, of course, is that each new Second City cast will inevitably be held to an intimidatingly high standard. Getting accepted into the Second City is only the first step; performers must earn their place in the spotlight every night. With this background in mind, the troupe's touring performance at the Fitzgerald Theater could be considered a proving ground for the ambitious, five-person cast (Kellen Alexander, Rachel Laforce, Kate Lambert, Chris Redd, and Nick Rees). Consisting largely of material culled from Second City's storied 53-year history, while incorporating fresh contemporary touches, the sketches themselves are all stamped with Second City's quality guarantee. But if the old expression, "It's the singer, not the song" is to be believed, then it's up to this aspiring quintet to uphold Second City's exalted reputation by earning the laughter on their own.
Sat., Sept. 7, 8 p.m., 2013

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