Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicagoans amuse Atlantans; Alliance extends Second City

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 2:04 PM

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When it comes to laughing with Atlanta -- or is that laughing at? -- Chicagoans know what they're doing. The Alliance Theatre is extending The Second City: Too Busy to Hate... Too Hard to Commute, a sketch-based revue spoofing Atlanta, developed by the Alliance and Chicago's famed comedy troupe, The Second City. Co-writer and Second City veteran T.J. Shanoff explained that he and Ed Furman visited Atlanta for June 5-8 to soak up local color as comedic material for the show. As Shanoff says:

About 60 percent was written expressly for the show, the other 40 percent is classic Second City material retrofitted for Atlanta, or strong enough to stand on its own. There's about five songs in the show. For the most part, it's stayed pretty much the same since we submitted the material. We had Atlanta natives verify and validate the decisions we made.

Could out-of-towners get to know our city well enough in a weekend to crack jokes that Atlantans would laugh at? The answer turns out to be "Yes, pretty much." A few sketches seem out of date or too obvious: A spoof that tailors the "When You're a Jet" song from West Side Story to University of Georgia football fans could be rewritten for any team from any city. But the show has much more hits than misses, particularly the R&B-style "sexy lady" song about Shirley Franklin, in which Ric Davis puts soul behind such lyrics as "You're the first black female mayor in a major Southern city!"

The Second City: Too Busy to Hate... Too Hard to Commute plays through Nov. 2.

Speaking of extensions, Dad's Garage Theatre is holding over Cannibal! The Musical through Nov. 11, suggesting that Atlantans like their cannibalism, too.

Photo of Anthony Irons and Amy Roeder by Greg Mooney.

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