By Doug George
10:51 AM CDT, May 22, 2013
The Second City will host an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Playwrights Theatre Club — reuniting original members of troupe, which was the precursor to The Compass Players and Second City.
Original members Ed Asner, Helen Axelrood, Rolf Forsberg, George Goritz, Zohra Lampert, Sheldon Patinkin, Bernie Sahlins, and David Shepherd — along with Joyce Piven, Carol Sills and Joann Shapiro — will speak on a panel moderated by the Tribune's Chris Jones. The free event will be 3 p.m. June 23 in the UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave.; reservations at 312-337-3992 or secondcity.com.
The Playwrights Theatre Club was started in Chicago in 1953, founded by David Shepherd, Paul Sills and Eugene Troobnick. Its first production was Bertolt Brecht’s "The Caucasian Chalk Circle." In two years, the company presented nearly 30 productions. In addition to show rehearsals, company members played "theater games" (now considered the basis of improvisational theater) created by Sills’ mother, Viola Spolin. The group was renamed The Compass Players in 1955 and moved to a new space, presenting improvisational theater shows. Roger Bowen, Elaine May and Barbara Harris were among the original Compass Players.
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