Talkin' BroadwayV.J.

Chicago City Limits

On Thursday, May 9, Chicago City Limits opened its 29th comedy revue, Chicago City Limits' Director's Cut, at their own Improvisational Theater on First Ave. The troupe's unique brand of "comedy without a net" has been entertaining New York audiences for nearly 22 years.

Chicago City Limits was founded in 1977 in Chicago by George Todisco and actors participating in the workshop program at The Second City. In 1979, Chicago City Limits relocated to New York, performing regularly at Catch a Rising Star, the Improvisation, the Duplex, and other noted clubs. It established its own theater in the summer of 1980 and began a continuous run of over 7,500 performances. The show, created on-the-spot from suggestions called out by the audience, is a roller-coaster ride of ever-changing locations, relationships, identities and genres.

The current New York cast includes Tara Copeland, Joe De Gise II, Rob Schiffmann, Victor Varnado and accompanist Frank Spitznagel (Musical Director). The show is directed by Paul Zuckerman (Artistic Director and Executive Producer). Jay Stern (Lighting Director and Producer) orchestrates the show's many elements on the fly each night.

Frank Spitznagel, Victor Varnado, Tara Copeland, Joe De Gise II
The new edition, Chicago City Limits' Director's Cut, introduces short comedy films and other video experiments created by cast members and guest filmmakers. Through the use of a giant projection screen, the CCL theater (formerly a movie house) is alternately transformed from comedy club to movie theater, TV set and computer terminal. This forges new ground for the group, and coincides with the launching of its first FirstSundays Film Festival. This project showcases independent comedy shorts to CCL audiences on the first Sunday of each mnoth.

In addition to the First Avenue company, the Chicago City Limits National Touring Company performs at colleges, corporate events and regional theatres throughout the country. There is also a Chicago City Limits Training Center, now in its 18th season, which offers New York City's most thorough improvisation training, with classes for beginners and seasoned performers. Besides comedy improvisation classes, Chicago CIty Limits offers workshops on topics such as musical improvisation, character development, improvisation for actors, sketch writing, physical comedy, and stand up. Chicago City Limits also teaches creativity and team-building seminars for corporations across the country. More information on all of these projects can be found on their website, www.ChicagoCityLimits.com.

Tickets for Chicago City Limits' Director's Cut are $20 at the Chicago City Limits Improvisational Theater, 1105 First Ave. (at 61 St.). CCL performs Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and 10:30pm. For information and reservations, call 212-888-5233 or visit www.ChicagoCityLimits.com

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