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Chicago Stage Style

November 2011 Review by Sally Jo Osborne

The Second City's Holiday in the Heights

Not your average Christmas show, no holiday reindeer ears, no Christmas trees, but plenty of laughs and lots of talent.  Second City has been entertaining audiences for over 50 years and now in Arlington Heights no less.  The Second City's "Holidays in the Heights" returns to the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights.  The show starts out as many holidays do, with two couples driving in the car to celebrate Christmas.  Two very different couples with very different values in which they believe.  One couple eats turkey and the other is vegetarian, one goes to church the others don't "believe".  One plays monopoly but the other will have no part of it since purchasing real estate is big business and they will have no part of it because they would rather build houses for the less fortunate.  So what do you get?  A pagan and a vegan couple vs. the Bush lovers.  Makes for a long day!

The cast then involves the audience with creating stories with the suggestions from the audience which is always fun.  The cast worked together well and had great energy.  The importance of having a good girlfriend when you are lonely and your boyfriend breaks up with you and devising a plan to throw acid on his face to make him unrecognizable.

The Thanksgiving skit was especially funny when the Pilgrims invite the neighbors they don't like very much over for dinner because they feel very strongly it is a date to be spent with people we can barely tolerate.  One of the neighbors' date was an Indian girl (Pilgrims and Indians) that went over well---not.  The show incorporated the tolerant workplace by having a non-denominational holiday because of the one Jewish guy in the office and then the street musician was in competition with the Salvation Army girl for public space but in the end they compromise to help those in need.

As all Second City shows do, they incorporate a couple of serious yet thought provoking scenes like the guy with extreme anxiety disorder on a first date and the kid in the hospital who wasn't vaccinated and suffering from the measles.  Why in the world is everyone listening to Jenny McCartney, who has a 7th grade education, about the dangers of having vaccinations when we have educated doctors that have warned us about the dangers of not having vaccinations and the possible serious implications for our kids?  Santa is drunk again at his job telling all the kids what they want to hear.  Photos taken at the Sears studio with the two photographers who really want to say the two words that are on their mind...plastic surgery! 

The beauty of Second City is that they say what most of us are thinking during the crazy holiday season and puts it in a humorous and sometimes outrageous context.  So, for the holidays let's all act nice and then when it is over we will treat each other like crap (though that was not the word used).  There is a lot of the "F" word during the show, funny at first but could be toned down a bit.  Although I know Second City is about using an empty stage for its set a little more festive wear/holiday décor/props could have added to enhance the holiday mood.  It was a fun night out to forget about (or remember) our own holiday dramas.  For more information on this show, please visit the Theatre In Chicago The Second City's Holidays in the Heights page.

 

About Sally Jo Osborne

Sally Jo OsborneSally is a native Chicagoan who has appeared at various Chicago theatres throughout the years.  She has performed at Circle Theatre in Forest Park with roles in "Evita," "Hair," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Shrubtown".  She performed with The Malibusch Players in "Little Shop of Horrors" and played her favorite role of Sheila in their production of "A Chorus Line".  She fell in love with live theatre at the age of 12 when she saw her first play, "Grease" at the Mill Run Theatre.

Sally graduated from The Players Workshop at Second City in Chicago and has completed coursework within Second City Writer's Workshop.  She particularly enjoyed the challenge of writing and performing her own material.  A financial planner by day, Sally resides in the North Shore area and she is very passionate about theatre.  She plans to share the magic of the performing arts with her young daughter with hopes that Ella will teach her how to play "Angry Bird" on her phone.  Chicago Stage Style is excited to share her enthusiasm and unique point of view with audiences of all ages and to make the performing arts a valuable and important asset to generations both present and future.