on June 12, 2009
Second City is now more than just a theater, but it originated in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood in 1959. The enterprise has expanded to several other cities, including Toronto and Los Angeles, has produced television programs in both the United States and Canada including SCTV, Second City Presents, and Next Comedy Legend. Second City has been a starting point for numerous well know comedians, award winning actors, directors, and others in show business. The program lists notable alumni including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and more recently, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.A trip to watch a Second City performance seemed like a great opportunity for a fun night and perhaps a chance to watch a future show business star.We ordered our tickets online (www.secondcity.com/?id=theatres/chicago/mainstage) for "America: All Better" on the main stage, described as a revue for post-Obama America. The tickets seemed like a steal at $20. We arrived about 45 minutes before the show was to start in order to pick up our tickets and get seats. There is only general admission, no reserved seats. The website and ticket information explained that the show was cabaret style with four to six people seated at a table. It turns out that is not entirely correct. The two of us were seated with a small table between us. Some others were seated at bigger tables of six but those who arrived later had no table at all. The seats are close together, not quite like a dinner theater set up. As we wanted to take advantage of the alcohol and appetizer menu, we were glad we arrived early enough to get a table. The theater has servers to take orders for alcohol and food. We had eaten a late lunch so the menu of appetizers, pizza and paninis suited us for a light supper.The venue is rather small which made it feel more intimate and casual. We were seated two rows from the stage so got a very good view of the performers. The show itself was very entertaining as it contrasted the optimism of the new presidential era with the problems of the economy and the environment. The mix of song and skits was funny, even the inside jokes about Chicago’s transit system and skewering of the mayor were delivered so that visitors like us could get the humour. One sketch involved a cast member as a Russian gymnast, doing an actual balance routine around the cocktails on the rail in the middle of the audience. At one point, a patron pours a drink into her upside-down mouth. The improv pieces as the encore were more of a mixed success but still fun to watch. A few bits had sexual content so not what every parent would want to watch with their children, but we saw no children in the audience. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our evening.
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