Events | Inventing Improv: A Behind-the-Scenes Preview & Discussion

Inventing Improv: A Behind-the-Scenes Preview & Discussion


Thu, October 21, 2021
6:00 PM


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Join WTTW for a preview of Inventing Improv, the newest documentary and website in its CHICAGO STORIES series, which will explore the life and legacy of Viola Spolin, the social-worker-turned-theater guru who gave improvised theater to the world. Jude Leak, producer and writer of the film, will moderate a conversation featuring Aretha Sills, granddaughter of Viola Spolin and daughter of Second City co-founder Paul Sills; Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Alan Alda; Academy Award nominee Bob Balaban; actress, producer, writer, and comedian Frances Callier; comedian and actress Angela V. Shelton; and historian Mark Larson.

You’ll discover the largely unknown story of this unsung Chicago trailblazer, whose famous theater games were not initially developed for comedic purposes, through interviews with celebrity admirers including Alan Alda, Bob Balaban, George Wendt, and Tim Kazurinsky, and through rare archival performances by Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Stephen Colbert, and Steve Carell. The panel will offer a sneak peek at the documentary and discuss Spolin’s life and legacy, improv’s evolution, and its eventual ascendance to the national stage through movies and television.

Inventing Improv premieres on all WTTW platforms on Friday, October 22 at 8:00 pm.

Lead support for CHICAGO STORIES is provided by The Negaunee Foundation and the Jim and Kay Mabie Family. Additional support is provided by the Walter E. Heller Foundation. Major support for INVENTING IMPROV: A CHICAGO STORIES SPECIAL is provided by The Abra and Jim Wilkin Fund. Additional support is provided by Sonia T. Marschak (as of 10/6/21).

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