Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Second City returns

Let out the laughs

Express Staff Writer

The Second City tour company, from left in the back standing, is Boaz Reisman, Joey Bland, Abby McEnany. In the middle seated is Anthony LeBlanc, Lilly Allison and Seth Weitberg, and sitting on the stage is Brooke Bagnall. Photo by

A January tradition, The Second City on tour, returns to the Liberty Theatre in Hailey for a weekend of hilarious social commentary. Company of Fools will present Chicago's legendary comedy theatre tour company on Thursday, Jan. 15, and Friday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m.

"We are beginning to understand and explore what an Obama U.S. is," said tour member Seth Weitberg. "There are some interesting race things with the political and social satire."

The Second City on tour features the next generation of comics performing a diverse selection of sketches and songs, as well as off-the-cuff improvisation. Born on Chicago's north side in 1959, The Second City has been the springboard for the world's best and brightest comedians. They include Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Peter Boyle, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Martin Short, George Wendt, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Chris Farley, Ryan Stiles, Mike Myers, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey and many more.

"I think when The Second City started before the Internet and blogs and even television was still new, people still relied on newsprint," Weitberg said. "The City was the place to come and see what the young hip, liberals were thinking about politics. Its political views were really progressive, and it was like watching a live 'Daily Show' or Stephen Colbert and serving a function in society."

Second City's comedy is hilarious, thought provoking, smart, silly, sophisticated and wild. Six actors augmented by a musical accompanist and a sound and lighting director perform a two-act revue featuring sketch comedy, songs and improvisation.

In addition, the troupe will perform a brief third act, which is usually entirely improvised. Drawing from the vast archives of material that Second City has created over 40-plus years, no topic or subject matter is off limits.

"We have an opportunity to have a captive audience and opine about the world," Weitberg said. "I keep asking myself what keeps me going, and it is the pure love of entertaining and jester mentality. Our goal is to inspire dialogue."

Tickets are $25 main floor reserved seating and $20 balcony reserved seating. Tickets can be charged by phone during box office hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 578-9122, or they can be purchased at the Liberty Theatre box office starting one hour prior to curtain.

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