It Was 50 Years Ago Today
By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 5, 2005 5:20PM
Who knew that an unassuming ensemble show in the University of Chicago's Reynolds Club would spawn the most celebrated improv community in the world? On July 5, 1955, the Compass Players performed an improvisational revue skewering the day's headlines, the intensely serious nature of U of C students, and irresponsible spouses. Future celebrities on stage that night included Roger Bowen of M*A*S*H fame and Hollywood Golden Girls Elaine May (who envisioned Gene Hackman in drag for The Birdcage) and Barbara Harris. The talent behind Compass would launch Second City, which would feed prime time sitcoms, Saturday Night Live and countless movies.
That's certainly a lot to live up to, but the University's Off-Off Campus Players will pay tribute to this seminal performance with… an improvisational revue skewering the day's headlines, the intensely serious nature of U of C students, and irresponsible spouses. Apparently not much has changed in 50 years. Compass co-founder David Shepherd will be in the house to hand down the metaphorical torch, concurrent with the handing over of his life's papers to the Regenstein Library. Stick around for the post-show Q & A and ask Mr. Shepherd if there’s any truth to those rumors of a Compass Players reunion.
Tonight’s performance takes place at The Frances X. Kinahan Third Floor Theater, Reynolds Club, 5706. S. University Ave., University of Chicago. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by calling (773) 702-3414.
Image Courtesy of The Chicago Improv Festival