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June 10, 2003

Cleveland's Second City Opens in Playhouse Square

When Randall Harr received his Equity card recently, he probably never imagined it would be for a job only miles from his childhood home. Mr. Harr is one of four new cast members in Cleveland's Second City improve troupe. Also new to the company is Lauren Dowden, Mr. Harr's fiancee.

The couple joins Katie Caussin, who, while new to Cleveland, has been touring with Second City shows over the past ten years, and Kiff Vanden Heuvel, a former member of Second City's mainstage show in Detroit.

The four new members join Cody Dove and Jack Hourigan, both of whom are celebrating their first year anniversaries with the troupe. All six of the members--with the assistance of director Dave Buckman, music director Chad Krueger and Equity stage manager Joseph Ruffner --have been performing and writing the new show for several months.

"In a unique process," reports the Cleveland Liaison Committee Newsletter, "Second City mainstage shows are written through a several-week process that begins in improvisation and is the result of a team of talented people bringing their best work to the table in order to conceive an entire show. While rehearsing four days a week, the cast is still responsible for seven weekly performances, and so the show takes its time, slowly evolving from one revue to the next. Patrons who see the show on Wednesday, might see something radically different than those who attend Friday night.

"In post-show improv sets, cast members take audience suggestions and form scenes on the spot. Scenes that work well are explored in rehearsal, eventually becoming scripted set pieces of the show. In addition, cast members conceive ideas that they bring to the table and try out as scenes within the nightly sets. These scenes, as well as archived scenes from prior Second City shows, are interspersed in a lineup that is adjusted daily."

The Cleveland Second City troupe joins the Mainstage (Chicago), ETC (the second stage in Chicago), the Detroit and Las Vegas companies.

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