The Second City Returns to Overture Hall

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Contact: Sarah Knab | 608.258.4438

Click here for images, video and list of alumni.

The Second City Returns to Overture Hall for One Night Only

Chicago-based Comedic Ensemble to Perform their ‘Summer Blockbuster’

Madison, Wis. – The Second City’s Summer Blockbuster will play in Overture Hall for one night only on Friday, June 2, 2017, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available in person at the Overture Center Ticket Office (201 State Street), online at or by phone at 608.258.4141.

This performance features:

Jul Kostelancik

Nick Gage

Ryan Asher

Emily Fightmaster

Laurel Krabacher

Carley Moseley

Jeff Murdoch

Scott Nelson

The Second City, which opened its doors in Chicago in 1959 as a small cabaret theater, has become the most influential and prolific comedy theater, turning out stars like Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler and Wisconsin’s own Chris Farley.

With its roots in the improvisational games of Viola Spolin, The Second City developed an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Founded by Spolin’s son, Paul Sills, along with Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, The Second City was experimental and unconventional in its approach to both theatre and comedy. 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.

The Broadway success of Mike Nichols and Elaine May – members of The Second City’s predecessor, The Compass Players – put attention on the fledgling company. Soon, alumni of The Second City – such as Alan Arkin, Barbara Harris, Robert Klein, David Steinberg and Fred Willard – began to cement the theater’s reputation for developing the finest comedic voices of each generation. With the debut of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, populated by Second City Alums John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner, the theatre became internationally known for its ever-increasing roster of comedy superstars.

Soon, Second City’s sister-theater in 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.

By the 1980’s, The Second City had become much more than a small cabaret theater on Chicago’s north side. In the middle of the decade, The Second City would begin a new era as Second City Toronto proprietors Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart would buy out Bernie Sahlins’ interest in The Second City Chicago and set in motion a new era of innovation for the company.

Today, The Second City continues to produce the premiere comic talent in the industry. From Mike Myers to Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert to Tina Fey – The Second City imprint is felt across every entertainment medium. Additionally, The Second City has grown well beyond a single stage to become a diversified entertainment company. Second City Training Centers in Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles teach thousands of students every week; four touring companies perform Second City revues all over North America and abroad; Second City Communications has become an industry leader in bringing improv-based methodologies to the corporate sector; and Second City continues to create unique media in television, film and the digital realm.

For $15, attendees can come early (6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2) for Overture’s Get Social program to expand upon their experience and receive a discounted performance ticket. A Get Social ticket activities, appetizers, themed-drinks and more. Overture’s Get Social is presented by Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

The Second City’s Summer Blockbuster is intended for mature audiences and is part of the Mirror34 Comedy Series, with additional support from Workloud by ScheduleSoft.

OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS in Madison, Wisconsin, features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year.  


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