Improvisation and sketch comedy as theater probably goes back to the times of togas, but it's only in the past half-century or so that the forms have been used, together or separately, for a full-evening's entertainment.
Much of the credit for this, along with the explosion of television, goes to The Second City enterprise in Chicago for its study of the use of improvisation and sketch as theatrical forms. The Blue Group, one of Second City's traveling companies, will perform at Livermore's Bankhead Theater Feb. 23.
Starting with acts like Nichols and May, Alan Arkin and a number of other comic performers now in their 70s or 80s, and moving through the latest casts of "Saturday Night Live," Second City has been responsible for training much of the comic talent in TV sketch shows and comedy films.
None of this famous talent will perform with the show in Livermore. Instead, as the company's publicity says, you will have a chance to see the next generation who will set the comic agenda for the future.
Not that they are raw rookies. Most of the six cast members, Scott Morehead, Adam Peacock, Asher Perlman, Liz Reuss, Marlena Rodriguez and Sarah Shook, have been trained by Second City or graduated from the company's conservatory.
Half the group has been part of Second City at Sea, a number of the seagoing performances that entertain nightly on Norwegian Cruise Lines. And everyone in the group has experience performing with other sketch and improv companies.
Members of the Blue Group will present some classic Second City routines, some newer ones and demonstrate how the company members assemble a successful improvisation, then perform from audience suggestions.
The group performs 8 p.m. at the Bankhead, 2400 First St. in Livermore. Tickets, at $25 to $45, can be reserved at 925-373-6800 or www.livermoreperformingarts.org.
"I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE!:" Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre's smash hit from 2010, returns with the same cast, this time to the Village Theatre in Danville, where the company is now staging its smaller musicals.
The show reminds us that the road to happily-ever-after is strewed with rocks and potholes, but, despite all the pothole-pitfalls, it is worth it if you survive. This is a series of songs and skits about the mating game, seen from a variety of ages and viewpoints. It takes a look at dating, marriage, the good and bad of in-laws, newborns, trips in the family car and dating tips for the geriatric set.
And it's a funny show, provided you haven't been whacked on the noggin by one of those rocks in the road to romance in the past couple of weeks. The show starts March 1 and runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through March 16. The Village Theatre is at 233 Front St. in Danville.
Tickets, at $15 to $30, may be reserved at 925-314-3400 or.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?w=3a0ca3e53f750551634f79423b949301&t=tix. Tri-Valley Theater has suggested the play is not suitable for young audiences due to adult language and situations.
Contact Pat Craig at email@example.com.