19-03-27 ARTS Second City 1

Jackie Southee, left, and Jordan Savusa, right, rake in the laughs performing “It’s Not You, It’s Me.”

Last year, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts hosted groundbreaking comedy troupe The Second City for two sold-out engagements. The troupe performed to much acclaim, so a return to the area quickly entered into the cards.

The 2018 performance, “Look Both Ways Before Talking,” demonstrated The Second City’s signature blend of rehearsed sketch comedy and off-the-cuff improvisation, generating enough variety to ensure the two evenings of comedy were not identical. This keeps the jokes fresh for the comedians, ensuring a lively program for the audiences.

“It’s possible that my stomach is still sore from the belly laughing at last year’s show,” said Kristine Bretall, director of performing arts at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.

The Second City’s upcoming return to Sun Valley is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 7, at 7 p.m. at the Sun Valley Opera House.

Titled “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” the new program takes a crack at the often messy and convoluted nature of dating, romance and love in modern society. The five-person troupe will continue the company’s tradition of mixing sketch comedy and improvisation in a two-act revue.

“They are simply the gold standard for improv,” Bretall said. “Be prepared to laugh and maybe even be a participant!”

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Alison Banowsky takes to the stage on The Second City’s touring comedy show.

Since its foundation in 1959, the Chicago-based comedy troupe has morphed into one of the world’s most prominent laugh-factories, launching countless careers, including those of Bill Murray, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Nia Vardalos, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Joan Rivers, Stephen Colbert, Rick Moranis, Mike Myers and Chris Farley, to name just a handful—the list does, in fact, go on.

Given the company’s track record, one can safely wager that some of The Second City’s current docket of performers, including those alighting in Sun Valley the first weekend in April, will become household names in the coming years.

The company has expanded dramatically in the past 60 years, with locations in Chicago, Hollywood and Toronto, as well as nearly 50 cast and crew members on the road touring the United States and Canada, plus the popular, multiple Emmy-winning Canadian television program SCTV, starring many of the above-named comedy stars. The New York Times perhaps put it most aptly, describing The Second City as “a comedy empire.”

Tickets are on sale fwrom The Center at a range of prices. Premium seating can be purchased by members of The Center for $60 and by nonmembers for $70. Regular seating is available for those groups at $40 and $50, respectively.

Unsurprisingly, given the group’s history and reputation, some of the content conveyed during the performance may not be suitable for younger audience members, and as such, The Center advises that only people 17 and older should attend.

The Second City’s previous Sun Valley performances have sold out well before the days of the shows, so those interested should book their tickets in advance.

Stop by The Center, at 191 Fifth St. E. in Ketchum, call 208-726-9491 or visit sunvalleycenter.org to buy tickets.

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