On Sept. 16 and 17, Chicago’s legendary improv comedy group The Second City will visit Ann Arbor, performing at The Ark for the seventh consecutive year.
Formerly the home of well-known comedians such as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, The Second City’s touring cast is currently made up of six performers: Mark Campbell, Ross Taylor, Danny Catlow, Jo Scott, Andrew Bolduc and Claudia Wallace.
“Expect SNL-type comedy, usually around political and social current issues,” said Barb Chaffer-Authier, The Ark’s marketing director. “This isn’t the typical kind of event The Ark presents, since we normally present music, but we’ve really enjoyed having the troupe every year. It’s always popular with people.”
Since The Second City is an improv comedy group, each show is inherently different, playing off the given theme for the season. This season’s show is titled “Free Speech! (While Supplies Last),” based on American politics and the current election cycle. A press release from The Second City calls it “an irreverent look at America’s electoral insanity.”
The Ark is a small, intimate performance venue, usually hosting solo artists and small bands, so the seats sell out quickly. Chaffer-Authier estimates the show’s capacity at about 380 and said the small theater space makes The Ark an ideal setting for this kind of performance.
“It’s a nice-sized audience, there’s a lot of room for interaction between the performers and the audience,” she said. “No seat is more than about 40 feet from the stage. It’s a really popular event, both with students and the community who come out for it.”
Campus groups and residence halls often buy group tickets for performances like this one. LSA sophomore Caleb Kaczmarek attended the Second City performance last year with the LSA Honors Program.
“Second City’s impressive stage presence comes not only from the pride of their progenies such as Bill Murray and Tina Fey, but also their confidence that their live audience is waiting breathlessly for every next laugh,” Kaczmarek said.
In past years, all of these performances have sold out, and the Ark hopes to continue that trend this year, according to Chaffer-Authier. She encourages those interested to buy tickets in advance for the popular event. There are a limited number of tickets available at the student price for each night.
“The Second City is really an icon for comedy and improv, so it’s an opportunity for people to see this famous troupe in person without having to go to Chicago or Toronto,” she said. “They always are really on point with current topics, and it’s always a really fun evening.”