Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City Announce Joint Production

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City Announce Joint Production

Hubbard Street Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton and Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of The Second City, Inc. are delighted to announce a collaboratively devised production by the two performing arts organizations, to receive its world premiere October 16-19, 2014, kicking off Hubbard Street's 2014-15 season at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

Internationally renowned soprano Rene?e Fleming, creative consultant for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, initiated a similar collaboration in 2012 between Lyric Opera and The Second City. The resulting revue of comedic sketches and satirical vignettes, The Second City Guide to the Opera, premiered at Chicago's Civic Opera House in January 2013, emceed by Fleming and stage, film and television actor Patrick Stewart, in collaboration with Second City Theatricals. Its critical and popular success in cross-pollinating audiences and fostering appreciation for opera played a central role in inspiring Hubbard Street and The Second City's joint venture, in progress with director Billy Bungeroth, and writers Carisa Barreca, Kate James and Tim Mason. (Bungeroth received a 2013 Joseph Jefferson "Jeff" Award for directing The Second City Guide to the Opera.)

Says Glenn Edgerton: "All of us here at Hubbard Street are so excited about this project, for so many reasons. We have a deep commitment to innovation in contemporary dance, and many of our works created in-house, by company artists or guest choreographers, are devised in collaboration in ways quite similar to how The Second City's members create their shows. Improvisation is a key part of our DNA on both sides. So it's a natural fit for us to join forces and I'm thrilled to watch this project make its way to the stage."

Says Kelly Leonard: "Our project with Lyric Opera was so creatively inspiring - not to mention such a business success - that our team met to discuss what other artistic mash-ups might be similarly satisfying. The first idea proposed was that we collaborate with contemporary dancers, and Hubbard Street was the overwhelming choice for this partnership. The fact that Hubbard Street's team had the exact same idea at the same time only proves that some projects are meant to be."

Says Anthony Freud, General Director, the Lyric Opera of Chicago: "It was a thrill to work with The Second City both for our sold-out gala with Rene?e Fleming and Patrick Stewart, and for our on-stage cabaret. Rene?e was the one who originally suggested we pair up with the world-renowned comedy troupe to see what kinds of creative sparks might fly. We weren't quite sure what to expect, but it was a close and fruitful partnership that taught us that sometimes the least obvious collaborations can be the most exciting and productive. Lyric Opera is passionate about collaboration with a variety of organizations, to achieve together what would be impossible to achieve individually. I'm eager to see what comes of this new partnership between two great Chicago arts institutions."

Hubbard Street and The Second City's collaboration will involve performers from both companies, plus Hubbard Street 2, in the creative process as well as onstage. Further details about the creative team, pilot engagement and the remainder of Hubbard Street's 37th season will be announced at a later date.

CHICAGO - Hubbard Street Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton and Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of
The Second City, Inc. are delighted to announce a collaboratively devised production by the two performing arts organizations, to receive its world premiere October 16-19, 2014, kicking off Hubbard Street's 2014-15 season at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

About Hubbard Street

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, under the artistic leadership of Glenn Edgerton, celebrates its 37th season in 2014 and 2015. Among the world's top contemporary dance companies and a global cultural ambassador, Hubbard Street demonstrates fluency in a wide range of techniques and forms, and deep comprehension of abstract artistry and emotional nuance. The company is critically acclaimed for its exuberant and innovative repertoire, featuring works by master American and international choreographers. Hubbard Street's artists hail from four countries and 12 U.S. states, and comprise a superlative ensemble of virtuosity and versatility. Since its founding by Lou Conte in 1977, Hubbard Street has grown through the establishment of multiple platforms. Each is dedicated to the support and advancement of dance as an art form, as a practice, and as a method for generating and sustaining communities of all kinds.

Hubbard Street 2, directed by Terence Marling, cultivates young professional dancers, identifies next- generation choreographers, and performs domestically and abroad, in service of arts education, collaboration, experimentation and audience development.

Extensive Youth, Education and Community Programs, directed by Kathryn Humphreys, are models in the field of arts education, linking the performing company's creative mission to the lives of students and families. Hubbard Street also initiated the first dance-based program in the Midwest to help alleviate suffering caused by Parkinson's disease. Youth Dance Program classes at the Hubbard Street Dance Center include Creative Movement and progressive study of technique, open to young dancers ages 18 months to 16 years.

At the Lou Conte Dance Studio, directed by founding Hubbard Street Dancer Claire Bataille, workshops and master classes allow access to expertise, while a broad variety of weekly classes offer training at all levels in jazz, ballet, modern, tap, African, hip-hop, yoga, Pilates® and Zumba®.

About The Second City

Rooted in the improvisational games of Viola Spolin, The Second City opened in Chicago in December 1959 and began developing its entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Founded by Spolin's son, Paul Sills, along with Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, The Second City was experimental and unconventional in its approaches to both theater and comedy, railing against conformist culture with scenes that spoke to a younger generation.

Broadway successes for Mike Nichols and Elaine May - members of The Second City's predecessor, The Compass Players - put attention on the fledgling company. Alumni such as Alan Arkin, Barbara Harris, Robert Klein, David Steinberg and Fred Willard cemented the theater's reputation for developing multiple generations of comedic voices. The original October 1975 cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live included alumni John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner, and The Second City became internationally recognized.

The Second City's sister theater in Canada developed its own sketch comedy series, SCTV, hailed as one of the greatest of all time with an all-star cast including Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty and Rick Moranis. By the mid-1980s, The Second City began a new era as Second City Toronto proprietors Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart bought out Bernie Sahlins' interest in The Second City Chicago and set in motion a new era of innovation for the company.

Today, The Second City continues to produce premier comic talent, its imprint felt across the entertainment industry, as represented by alumni Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and many others. The organization has diversified as it's grown, launching Second City Training Centers in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles; four touring companies performing Second City revues across North America and abroad; Second City Communications, an industry leader in bringing improv-based methodologies to the corporate sector; and a growing commitment to producing innovative, original content for film, television and the digital realm.