Northwestern Press

Sunday, April 5, 2020

City Holiday Revue

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 by EMILY THIEL Special to The Press in Focus

There's no better way to get a laugh during the holiday season than by coming out to see The Second City's "Dysfunctional Holiday Revue," 8 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, Musikfest Café, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

Second City is the Chicago-based improv group where many famous comedians like Tina Fey, Catherine O'Hara, Alan Alda, Eugene Levy and Gilda Radner got to expand their platform in comedy. Three Second City troupes are touring: the Green, Blue and Red Companies. Back in the Windy City, the troupes perform Monday nights and Saturday afternoons, and rotate performances among the three.

The Green Company performing in Bethlehem is made up of five actors, a music director and stage manager. The director for the show is Jess Mitolo. It's her job to focus the improv and steer the show in the right direction.

For Green Company actor Daniel Strauss, of Washington D.C., improv is a way of life.

Strauss says that his experience with improvisation helps tremendously in everyday life. The main guideline for improvisation is to say "yes, and," which equates to going with the flow, building from what the other actors throw out there on stage to work with.

"That's something that is so incredibly useful in everyday life and as a philosophy," Strauss believes.

Strauss studied four years of theater at the University of Michigan. "I got more into improv toward the end of being in college. It's a blast," says Strauss.

Each of the actors has a different background. Some have studied theater. Others have experience only with improv.

The majority of the holiday show is archived sketch material written during the 50 years of Second City. Certain slots of the show are improvised, which Strauss says is one of the most interesting parts of the revue.

The two-act show is 90 minutes.

The audience is asked to participate with suggestions. But do not fear, troupe members don't pull people up on stage during the holiday shows.