Second City brings 55th anniversary tour to R.I.

Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014, 12:25 pm
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By Jonathan Turner,
If it's the start of another school year, that means Augustana College will again host the leading brand in improvisation-based sketch comedy, The Second City.

The Second City's 55th anniversary tour will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. in Centennial Hall, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island.

Known as "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times, The Second City gives audiences a peek behind the curtain as the superstars of tomorrow present the legendary theater's best skits created by some of the biggest names in the business, according to its news release.

Based in Chicago, The Second City continues to produce the leading voices in adult comedy while touring the globe. It is celebrated for delivering comic talent in the industry, and its long list of famed alumni include Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, Joan Rivers, Tina Fey and many others.

Second City opened its doors on a snowy Chicago night in December of 1959 -- experimental and unconventional in its approach to both theater and comedy, according to the company history at "At a time when mother-in-law jokes were more the fashion, The Second City railed against the conformist culture with scenes that spoke to a younger generation," it says.

Alumni of The Second City began to cement the theater's reputation for developing the finest comedic voices of each generation, according to the company. With the debut of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," with Second City alums John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner, the theater became internationally known.

Second City's sister theater in Toronto, Canada developed its own sketch comedy series, "SCTV," hailed as one of the greatest comedy series of all time and featuring an all-star cast that included Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty and Rick Moranis.

Today, The Second City continues to produce the premier comic talent in the industry and has grown beyond a single stage to become a diversified entertainment company. Training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles teach thousands of students every week, and four touring companies perform Second City revues all over North America and abroad.

Tickets to the Augustana show are $10, available at 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island, during regular business hours, or they can be charged by phone at 309-794-7306. Tickets also can be purchased online at Admission for Augustana faculty, staff and students is free by showing an I.D. at the door.

The show includes adult humor and is not appropriate for children.


Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)