Something Wonderful Right Away: An Oral History of the Second City & the Compass Players

Something Wonderful Right Away An Oral History of the Second City the Compass Players In in the back room of a Chicago bar a group of people began improvising satiric scenes of American life The name of the group was the Compass Players and their ranks included Mike Nichols El

  • Title: Something Wonderful Right Away: An Oral History of the Second City & the Compass Players
  • Author: Jeffrey Sweet
  • ISBN: 0073999538403
  • Page: 330
  • Format: Paperback
  • Something Wonderful Right Away: An Oral History of the Second City & the Compass Players

    In 1955, in the back room of a Chicago bar, a group of people began improvising satiric scenes of American life The name of the group was the Compass Players, and their ranks included Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Shelley Berman, and Barbara Harris A few years later, another comedy theatre based on the same principle of spontaneity was opened the legendary Second City ThIn 1955, in the back room of a Chicago bar, a group of people began improvising satiric scenes of American life The name of the group was the Compass Players, and their ranks included Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Shelley Berman, and Barbara Harris A few years later, another comedy theatre based on the same principle of spontaneity was opened the legendary Second City This company, too, has produced dozens of major talents who have gone on to apply their experience of being funny on the spot to theatre, television and film SOMETHING WONDERFUL RIGHT AWAY captures all the craziness on stage and off through the interviews with prominent alumni, among them Alan Alda, Paul Mazursky, Valarie Harper, Stiller and Meara, Alan Arkin, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, Gilda Radner, and Joan Rivers In between the routines and anecdotes are observations on the relationship of the popular stage to the community it serves and reflects and, most important, on the art of theatrical improvisation, which this book brings to rich, vivid life.

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      Published :2020-04-04T07:17:18+00:00

    One thought on “Something Wonderful Right Away: An Oral History of the Second City & the Compass Players

    1. Dan Lalande

      It purports to be an oral history of the Second City, the small-time "peoples' theatre" that grew into an improvisational comedy institute, but this mile-high pile of interviews with distinguished alumni 1955-1978 is more interested in their quirks, clashes and camaraderie than the company's chronology or creed. It's big-cast backstage soap ; small wonder Sweet became a playwright.

    2. Barry

      I guess it was a good idea for someone to document the origins of improvisational theatre; but I was expecting more than this. It is a collection of interviews with the earlier members if the improv community in Chicago. What was lacking was an explanation for the huge success this type of comedy experienced. I suppose SNL helped a lot. But what were the social conditions that helped spawn this success.What is missing is an external analysis of the improv phenomenon and some of the influence it [...]

    3. David Wolinsky

      An insightful though sadly dated oral history of The Second City and its many forefather satellite theaters. Gilda Radner is the most recent alumn featured in the book, and many of the other people talked to boast credits that don't exactly rate nowadays. My favorite was someone who was cited as "loudly eating potato chips in a TV commercial." Nevertheless, it's interesting to see everyone's perspective on the pressures, jerky peers, and the distinct ways EVERYONE hated Bernie Sahlins. Someone s [...]

    4. Steph

      P 368 - Gilda RadnerIf I have become popular because I do an imitation of Barbara Walters, it’s because Barbara Walters has become popular. I say thank you to her. She’s made somebody worth parodying. I couldn’t get laughs if she hadn’t gotten into the news. So, things are changing. I actually believe there is going to be a turnover in comedy, that you’re going to see a larger number of women comics. Because women are where the social action is, and wherever the social action is is whe [...]

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