This year, I spent part of spring break in Chicago, and I had the opportunity to attend a show at The Second City. Chicago’s famous comedy theater did not disappoint–I saw “Improv All-Stars” in the UP Comedy Club and was throughly entertained.
The “Improv All-Stars” show occurs every monday, and contains a variety of improv act types, including musical improv as well as “freeze tag”-style scenes where actors continually swap places with each other on stage. An article from newcitystage.com described some of the highlights of the routine: “clever song creation, [as well as] an outstanding improvised political debate between two actors who had to guess a rather challenging phrase concocted by the audience, aided only by miming actors who seemed to detour them as much as direct them.”
Chelsea Devantez and Rachael Mason, the two women in the group of five comedians, often stole the show. When assigned to speak only in “fortune cookie” form, Mason was challenged, but still brought the laughs with her brief inputs into a story told by the whole group. In addition to participating in most bits, Devantez was in charge of setting up and deciding when changes in many scenes would occur, directing the flow of certain skits and picking which audience suggestions would become scene ideas.
With improv acts that even included singing, they showed that you don’t have to have a script to perform a funny show.