by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
Rockford Education Foundation (REF) Administrator Sue Arend and the gang at REF have gone outside the box and done themselves one better. In annually producing a mid-winter fundraising show, which featured mostly musical acts, this season REF has instead decided to bring a touring ensemble cast of Second City to Rockford.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, Second City will star at the REF’s 14th Annual Benefit Performance.
The iconic Second City bills itself as “a comedy powerhouse” and in celebration of 50 years of being recognized as America’s greatest comedy theater, they have taken their act on the road.
Second City had its beginnings in 1959 in a small cabaret theater on the corner of North Avenue and Well Street on Chicago’s north side. It has since grown to become a comedy empire with resident theaters and training facilities in Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto, currently enrolling over 3,000 students. Over the years, the cream of the crop have gone on to stardom on television and the big screen. Honing their comedic craft in Second City methodologies, recognizable superstars such as Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Gildna Radner, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Martin Short, John Candy, Bonnie Hunt, and more recently Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and many, many more have become household names.
Over the years, the popular late-night NBC program “Saturday Night Live” could not have survived without a steady stream of Second City graduates.
“Attendees at the Rockford show will see stars in the making as they perform a comedy review that satirizes politics, culture and news of the day,” said Arend.
Speaking for himself, the male half of the reporting team recalls attending Second City performances in Chicago during the ‘60s that were “side-splitting and hilarious comedy.” Remember the performance will be held in late January, and who isn’t looking for an evening of laughter to escape, if just for a couple of hours, from another bleak Michigan winter?!
Christmas is coming and if you are looking for a gift for someone who has everything or who is hard to please, why not surprise them—or indulge yourself—with a pair of tickets for the Rockford performance.
Arend, as always, extends the REF’s appreciation to Wolverine World Wide and United Bank for benevolently underwriting the Annual Benefit Performance. “Without their generous financial support, this important REF fundraiser would not be possible,”
Material for this very special performance should be considered PG-13. Tickets for the single 8 p.m. performance at the Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium are $35. For information or reserved seating ticket purchase, contact the REF at (616) 863-6317.