Hiram College

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Aside from their shared profession, what do actors Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer have in common? These comedians, along with many “Saturday Night Live” cast members, all got started with improvisational comedy troupe, The Second City. The troupe, based in Chicago, is coming to Hiram College this Thursday, Sept. 24 for two free shows and a panel discussion at the College’s Renner Theater in the Frohring Performing Arts Building at 11762 Dean St.

The shows, “Fully Loaded” and “Improv All Stars,” are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively; and the panel discussion, “Comedy is Hard,” is at noon. While all events are free and open to the public, tickets (one per person) are required for the shows and must be picked up in person at the College’s Frohring Performing Arts Building at starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Hiram alumnus Joe Ruffner ’94 is a producer for The Second City and will take part in the panel discussion.

“I have known Joe since he was a student here and we have been trying to work something out for students. This is the ‘granddaddy’ of all comedy improv groups and I think our students will enjoy it,” said Professor of Theater Arts, Richard Hyde, M.F.A. “It’s a pretty rare opportunity for a group like this to be here at Hiram. This is probably one of the oldest and most respected improv troupes in the world,” he added.

The entire series is presented by the Howard Seymour Bissell and The Robert Kenyon Bissell Symposium.

About the Second City

The Second City opened its doors on a snowy Chicago night in December of 1959. No one could have guessed that this small cabaret theatre would become the most influential and prolific comedy theatre in the world. With its roots in the improvisational games of Viola Spolin, The Second City developed an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Today, The Second City has locations in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, has touring shows in the United States and Canada and offers classes and workshops for aspiring actors and comedians. The business-to-business branch of the organization, called The Second City Works, provides unique improv-based training opportunities to companies.