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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Second City’s ‘Close but No Saguaro’ show to needle AZ

    From Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Scottsdale snobbery, there’s a lot to make fun of in Arizona.

    Luckily, the Second City, Chicago’s premier improv comedy company — and former stomping ground of stars like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell — is up for the job. The troupe will perform “”The Second City Does Arizona, or Close But No Saguaro,”” an original sketch comedy show that runs from Friday to April 24 at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. The show promises a hilarious send-up of all the odd, wonderful and not-so-wonderful aspects of our fair state.

    The Second City has traveled to places such as Atlanta, Ga., Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pa. to make fun of the regional idiosyncrasies for home audiences. At least 10 more such shows are currently in the works, said Matthew Loren Cohen, the show’s musical director.

    For the Arizona version, writers Ed Furman and Tom Flanigan spent a whirlwind five days in Tucson and Phoenix, soaking up the local culture. They ate Sonoran hot dogs, hobnobbed with politicians and even toured Sheriff Joe’s infamous Tent City Jail. Armed with plenty of material, Furman and Flanigan, along with a handful of other writers and the show’s six performers, composed “”Close but No Saguaro.””

    Cohen calls the show “”a blast.”” He wrote two of the five songs, including one about Sen. John McCain. Other Arizona characters featured will include Sheriff Joe, Gov. Jan Brewer, snowbirds and Scottsdalites.

    “”And yes,”” Cohen said, “”Alice Cooper does make an appearance.””

    The performances will consist of Arizona-specific and archive sketch comedy material, musical numbers and improv games. Cohen promises ample opportunity for audience participation. Some performances will also be followed by a free half hour “”Improv After Hours”” performance from the actors.

    The performers are all Second City veterans who promise to be sharp and entertaining. The troupe is excited to visit Arizona and see firsthand the raw material that shaped their comedy. “”There’s a lot to make fun of, but we’re totally excited to go there,”” Cohen said.

    Cohen says the writers and performers are aware of a certain amount of rivalry between the two cities in which they’ll perform — the show moves to the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix after its Tucson run. Because of the semi-improvisational nature of their comedy, the actors will work that rivalry into their material in each city.

    “”When we’re in one town, we’re going to make the other town look stupider,”” Cohen said.

    For all those who love Arizona, or love to hate it, this musical comedy is a must-see. Nothing, from illegal immigration to the “”dry heat,”” escapes the Second City performers and writers’ sharp wit.

    Cohen summed up the troupe’s attitude toward the state: “”(Arizona is) ripe for skewering.””


    If You Go:

    “”Close but No Saguaro””

    Temple of Music and Art

    330 S. Scott Ave.


    Tickets start at $26

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