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UNT hosts Second City improv stars
The Winspear Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center filled up quickly Monday night as five actors from the Second City improv-based sketch comedy theatre got ready to take the stage. UNT’s Fine Arts Series brought the Denton community a full hour of constant laughter, audience involvement and a live improv pianist with the Second City Improv All Stars show.
Free to all students, the show consisted of five renowned Second City actors: Kellen Alexander, Rachel Laforce, Kate Lambert, Chris Redd and Daniel Strauss hailing from a theatre with the reputation of developing the finest comedic voices of each generation. Each actor has at least three years of acting experience.
With back-to-back acts ranging from topics like a silver avocado named Bill to performing a play about stepping on Kate’s cat Mr. Darcy, the crew stayed on their toes and even had volunteers from the audience help tie the skits together.
“This year we didn’t have a lot of theater because it can be hard to find theater space, so we decided Second City would be a great act to bring in,” said Nicole Newland, graduate assistant of the College of Visual Arts and Design. “They just happened to be passing through this area so it worked out.”
With the Fine Arts Series’ goal to educate and entertain, the improv actors not only performed but also attended a few acting fundamentals classes to inspire and play improv games with the UNT theater students.
“They were really great, really supportive and positive, and a lot of fun,” theatre sophomore Katherine Rusadick said. “I’m looking forward to laughing a lot. I’ve never seen them perform before so it’s going to be fun.”
After the Second City troupe wrapped up their acts, they decided to do an encore with a little help from UNT’s own improv group called Leslie Manley.
“Improv is so fun and totally freeing. You get to goof off and have fun on stage,” Second City actor Daniel Strauss said. “It’s different from any other play because we have a completely different show every time we perform.”
Usually doing a scripted show with improv segments, the troupe did a purely improvised show for the UNT audience.
“I loved the show,” radio, TV and film sophomore Joseph Jones said. “The great thing about it was that no parts stood out. It was perfectly balanced in humor.”
The Second City troupe’s next stop is Austin, Texas next for its third performance at the Austin Improv Festival.
“The best advice I ever got was ‘every time you get on stage you get better’,” Strauss said.