The Second City That Never Sleeps: Letters to Santa | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Second City That Never Sleeps: Letters to Santa

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During last year's edition of this 24-hour improvised marathon, T.J. Jagodowski reportedly capped off a burst of wild late-night improv by throwing cold cuts at his fellow performers backstage and passing out from exhaustion. At hour 22, Keegan-Michael Key started hallucinating but finished his set. Yet both jumped at the opportunity to repeat the feat this year. "Sleep deprivation does really weird things to you," says Andy Cobb, a Second City E.T.C. mainstay who's performing and helping organize the event. "But it can also be incredibly revealing." A group of ten performers--including current Second City member Peter Grosz and alumnus Rebecca Sohn--will attempt to stay on their toes for the entire 24 hours with a free-flowing program of games and scenes; the show also features monologues by a dozen surprise guests and musical performances by Billy Corgan, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and Sally Timms and Jon Langford of the Mekons. The admission fee allows you to come and go at will, and 100 percent of the show's proceeds benefit Letters to Santa, which provides Christmas presents to needy children. Cobb, for his part, is interested in seeing who's dedicated--and crazy--enough to go the distance with the cast this year. "One of the audience members decided to stay up and fast for all 24 hours last year," he says. "We called him out throughout the show, but avoided questioning his logic." The Second City E.T.C., Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells, 312-337-3992 or 877-778-4707. Tuesday, December 9, 8:30 PM, to Wednesday, December 10, 8:30 PM. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Grosz.

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