Second City hijinks still pack holiday punch
“Second City’s Holidays in the Heights” features, (from left), Daniel Strauss, Michael Kosinski, Eileen Montelione, Tim Ryder and Tawny Newsome.
‘The Second City’s
Holidays in the Heights’
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights
Contains adult content and language; not recommended for children or young teens
9:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16; 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 17 and 23; 7 p.m. Dec. 11; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 20-22 and 27-30; and 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Dec. 31
$29.50; $34.50 for stage table seats
Special New Year’s Eve performances at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Dec. 31. Ticket includes a complimentary glass of champagne and party favors, and the 10 p.m. show includes a countdown and balloon drop. Tickets are $50; $60 for stage table seating
Visit www.MetropolisArts.com or call (847) 577-2121
Updated: December 6, 2011 8:53PM
In what’s becoming a seasonal tradition, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre has made its stage available for another rendition of “The Second City’s Holidays in the Heights.”
The latest production, directed by Ryan Bernier, brings five new faces to town to satirize some of the zaniness that always seems to take root this time of year. Each member of the lively cast — Daniel Strauss, Eileen Montelione, Tawny Newsome, Tim Ryder and Michael Kosinski — has
had prior experience performing with the Second City National Touring Company.
While the current show fares especially well with its comedic improvisation sequences and maintains a fresh edge with topical references to the likes of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, its material is largely reprised from the company’s earlier revues.
Regular attendees who wouldn’t dream of missing any of Second City’s highly-rated revues will recognize these golden oldies.
With a few exceptions, however, the retreads still pack a punch, and the laughs they engender are genuine. One such example is a familiar sketch involving two couples who get together after a 14-year gap only to find out that they no longer have much of anything in common — from religion and politics to the foods they eat and their attitude toward environmental issues.
Another classic skit involves a couple at a restaurant on a blind date. To facilitate conversation, the tongue-tied male turns desperately to cue cards he has prepared in advance, as he frantically reads leading questions or stilted canned responses — including when and how to laugh. Further inhibiting communication between the pair is an intrusive waiter who directs increasingly suggestive remarks at the man’s date.
Other hilarious sketches include one in which a woman gets hopelessly tangled up over religious and commercial aspects of Yuletide traditions as she tries to explain to an immigrant from an unnamed country how the holiday is observed in America.
Then there’s the bit about a scrupulous office manager who bans secret Santa gift-giving, candy canes and holiday lights to avoid offending a Jewish employee in the department who, it turns out, happens to enjoy all three.
Probably the most spirited sketch involves a condensed riff on “A Christmas Carol” in which an audience member is recruited to come onstage and, as the miserly Scrooge, allows himself to be guided to redemption by three well-intentioned specters, including the Ghost of Non-Denominational Holidays Yet to Come.
Meanwhile, music director Alex Kliner’s deft work adds punch in all the right places to the two-hour show.