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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
Your Price: $30.00 CDN
Limited Quantities
Author: Jeffrey Sweet
Publisher: Limelight Editions
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 386
Pub. Date: 1987
ISBN-10: 0879100737
ISBN-13: 9780879100735
About the Book:

HARD TO FIND BOOK, only a very limited number of copies are still available.

Recommended by The Second City school of improv and sketch comedy!

Jeffrey Sweet wrote the book on Chicago theatre. No, really, he wrote the book: Something Wonderful Right Away. Subtitled An Oral History of The Second City & The Compass Players, this is considered the definitive book on the history of improv theater in the Windy City. The Second City troupe has influenced and inspired everyone from Steppenwolf Theatre to playwright David Mamet, as well as affecting Jeffrey Sweet's own playwriting.

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. 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, by playwright and Chicago theater fan Jeffrey Sweet, captures all the craziness on-stage and off through the interviews with prominent alumni, among them: Alan Alda, Paul Mazursky, Valerie Harper, Jerry Stiller and Anne 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.

What people say:

"An important book about the most important American theatrical endeavor since the Group Theatre. Plus, it's fun to read." — David Mamet

About the Author:

Jeffrey Sweet is an American writer, journalist, theatre historian, and teacher. He divides his time between New York and Chicago, where he has been constant presence since the beginning of that city's theatrical renaissance in the 1970s. His plays have been presented off-Broadway, internationally, and in a variety of regional and developmental theatres. A popular teacher and author of many newspaper and magazine articles, he currently teaches at Wagner College, and has taught or guest lectured at dozens of universities and professional schools. He also wrote Something Wonderful Right Away, an oral history of Chicago's Second City company (a book which in turn inspired the creation of two other Chicago theaters).