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The Second City And Hubbard Street Dance Show Us 'The Art Of Falling'

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 15, 2014 6:00PM

Clockwise from top left: Tim Mason, Jonathan Fredrickson, Tawny Newsome, David Schultz, Travis Turner, center, and Jessica Tong. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

What started out as a comical guide to dance has evolved into a true collaboration between The Second City and Hubbard Street Dance. When we were first introduced to the project in February, it was modeled after The Second City Guide to the Opera: a straight-forward, humorous look inside the world of opera. Once the two sides got together in workshops, though, they were surprised at how much improvisation they both used in their creative processes.

So what exactly has it turned into? “Everyone’s asked me to define this collaboration,” says Hubbard Street Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton, “and my answer is, quite simply, ‘You have to see the premiere.’” Basically, The Art of Falling is three stories of falling…. in love, out of love and on your face.

Directed by Jeff Award-winner Billy Bungeroth, The Art of Falling brings together the biggest creative team in Hubbard Street’s history. There are five choreographers (Alejandro Cerrudo, Lucas Crandall, Jonathan Fredrickson, Terence Marling and Robyn Mineko Williams), four writers (Tim Mason, Carisa Barreca, T.J. Jagodowski, Kate James and Chris Redd) and a cast of more than thirty actors and dancers. Second City Executive Vice President Kelly Leonard calls the collaboration “a Quintessential Chicago thing.” With tons of hard working, talented people right here in the city, they kept the search local when filling out the rest of the crew for costuming (Branimira Ivanova), lighting (Michael Korsch), set design (Martin Andrew) and even sound (The Second City’s own Julie B. Nichols).

In case there’s any doubt, you will laugh, but you might even feel a little something in your eye as these two teams bring the characters to life. There’s an overarching theme of risk taking—that thing that pushes you out of your comfort zone and all the fear and reward that comes with it. As Edgerton says, “It’ll have some touching moments, some profound moments, and some truth, which underlies all humor.”

The Art of Falling opens Thursday evening, Oct. 16, at Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph) and runs through the weekend only. Tickets start at $25. Recommended for audiences ages 14 and up.