The art of teamwork

September 20, 2018

Second City to perform, teach improv at West Shore Community College

Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Jordan Peele.

These are just a few of the now-legendary comedians, filmmakers, actors and writers who cut their teeth at Second City, one of the nation’s oldest and longest-standing comedy and improvisational theater groups.

Now, the world-renowned Chicago institution is coming to Mason County.

“The Best of Second City,” a touring group featuring some of today’s Second City actors and writers will perform tonight and Friday at 7:30 p.m. West Shore Community College’s Center Stage Theater.

The Second City show will kick off the 2018-19 Performing Arts Series at the college, and WSCC Theater Director Michelle Kiessel said it promises to be something the community won’t want to miss.

The excitement goes both ways, and members of the storied sketch comedy troupe are looking forward to interacting with area audiences.

Director Cassie Ahiers, who has been involved with Second City for years and has been directing the “Best of” touring show since 2017, said she believes the group is in a unique position to engage audiences and make a positive impact — especially in the often tumultuous socio-political climate of the era.

“Comedy is important right now more than ever,” Ahiers said. “It is a stressful time and it seems kind of bleak. To just be at a comedy show with a roomful of people and to just laugh is nice.”

Ahiers curates and choosing material from the company’s 50-plus-year history and finds ways for it to fit into a specific show at a specific time.

While politics does factor in to both the group’s pre-written material and, frequently, the improv portion of the show during which actors take suggestions from audience members, Ahiers said it’s not always the focus. At the heart of Second City’s humor is a universally appealing brand of satire; one that strives to do more than just entertain.

“When we do talk about social events and current events, we do so with respect and try to play to the highest of our intelligence,” she said. “We think comedy is a tool for positive change, and that’s what we’re trying to do with our work.”

See The Scene in Thursday’s Ludington Daily News print and e-Edition for the full story.

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