Laughter is the Best Medicine

By Beacon Staff

It’s been a long, stressful election season, likely manifested in frowns, furrowed brows and exasperated sighs. But if laughter really is the best medicine, the Whitefish Theatre Company has the cure for what ails you.

The Second City, Chicago’s legendary sketch comedy theater, will once again take the stage in Whitefish on Nov. 9, and will have the crowd laughing from the get-go with its “Laughing Matters” act. The show takes place at the O’Shaughnessy Center, and is brought to the stage by the Whitefish Theatre Company.

Whitefish Theatre Company Executive Director Carolyn Pitman said the comedy group was so well received when it stopped by Whitefish two years ago that she had no qualms about inviting the group back.

“There was an instant energy and connection between the audience and the artists,” Pitman said of the 2010 show. “People here must have been ready for a good laugh because they laughed from beginning to end.”

The Second City is known as one of the preeminent comedy acts in the country, launching the careers of many famous comedians, including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, John Candy, Jim Belushi and many more.

Each show tends to follow the same format, according to The Second City, but the content is fresh. There are usually two acts of scripted comedy, followed by a third act of improvisation; the improv set is ripe for audience participation.

“They poke fun at everything and everybody,” Pitman said.
The Second City started up 52 years ago, and its touring groups and its stages in Chicago and Toronto entertain over a million people each year, according to the theater’s website.

It is also the largest training center for sketch comedy and improvisation, with its schools in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto receiving more than 20,000 applications per year.

Their satiric revues tend to keep audiences in stitches, and the groups continually take risks with their material. The material in scripted sets is usually generated in the improvised sets – if one piece is particularly strong, it gets refined in rehearsal the following day and eventually introduced to the script.

Then, every six to eight months, the actors start over once the show has run its course. This process keeps the material interesting and fresh for the audience, the company said, and makes it a treat to see the show no matter how many times an audience member has attended.
As of a week before the show, Pitman said she thought there were still some tickets available, but she was unsure because of the show’s popularity.

“It has sold very well. I’m not sure how many tickets we have left,” she said. “We would anticipate a sellout.”

The return of The Second City also highlights the Whitefish Theatre Company’s dedication to bringing top-notch acts to the Flathead Valley. This show is part of the theater company’s 2012-2013 season.

“(The public) should check our website all the time because we have great events coming in like The Second City,” Pitman said. “This year we’re bringing in eight professional touring events, either musical or theatrical.”

Upcoming music shows include blues guitarist and singer Matt Andersen; the popular International Guitar Night; Grammy-award winning Trout Fishing in America; and more.

Pitman said that tickets for these shows go on sale early, and many people tend to buy them in advance, so to ensure a spot in the crowd, she encouraged interested audience members to go online and purchase their tickets.

Tickets for The Second City are $30, and all seats are reserved. To buy tickets, call the Whitefish Theatre Company box office at 862-5371, or visit its location at 1 Central Ave. Online tickets are available at

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