Something Wonderful Right Away

Front Cover
Jeffrey Sweet
Hal Leonard Corporation, 1987 - Performing Arts - 383 pages
In 1955, in the back room of a Chicago bar, a group of people began improvising satiric scenes of American life. The name of the group was the Compass Players, and their ranks included Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Shelley Berman, and Barbara Harris. A few years later, another comedy theatre based on the same principle of spontaneity was opened -- the legendary Second City. This company, too, has produced dozens of major talents who have gone on to apply their experience of being funny on the spot to theatre, television and film.

"SOMETHING WONDERFUL RIGHT AWAY" captures all the craziness on-stage and off through the interviews with prominent alumni, among them: Alan Alda, Paul Mazursky, Valarie Harper, Stiller and Meara, Alan Arkin, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, Gilda Radner, and Joan Rivers. In between the routines and anecdotes are observations on the relationship of the popular stage to the community it serves and reflects and, most important, on the art of theatrical improvisation, which this book brings to rich, vivid life.

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