The Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater is Sheldon Patinkin's tribute to the Chicago comedy club and it's performing troupe over the past 45 + years. The book offers a thorough historical look at the actors, directors, and producers who created the world's greatest stage for improvisational comedy from 1955 until 1999.
Opening in 1959, The Second City has been showcasing the talents of Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Robert Klein, Martin Short, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, David Steinberg, Rick Maranis, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Catherine O'Hara, Tim Meadows, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Alan Arkin, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Joan Rivers, Jim Belushi, Brian Doyle Murray, Betty Thomas, Harold Ramis, Horatio Sanz and hundreds of others. The Second City launched a classic television comedy series in SCTV and has been the unlimited pipeline for comedic talent on Saturday Night Live since it's debut in 1975.
The book gives a history of the different locations the theater has called home, the performers, the improvisational skits and the various spin off locations and productions in Toronto, Pasadena, etc. Patinkin recalls the successes and failures of various productions, the nature of improv performance, the romances and deaths of cast members and the enduring mission of the theater. It is a detailed book with dozens of pictures and endless inside stories by and about the actors and their craft.
This report prepared by David Fletcher