Men of many faces

January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

In preparation for their role in a play, actors put lots of careful thought and time into developing their character. But what if you were asked to develop not one, but 10 different characters for one play? Quite the challenge!

Thankfully for us, veteran Metropolis actor Andrew Pond and Metropolis newcomer Matthias Austin were up for the challenge for their roles in our upcoming production of Greater Tuna. They play 10 and 11 characters, respectively, for this spoof on small town life in Tuna, Texas. The photos below show them becoming just a few of their characters, using rehearsal costumes and props to help set the scene.


Matthias as Stanley, Andrew as Bertha


Andrew as Elmer


Matthias as Chad, Andrew as Bertha


Matthias as Vera, Andrew as Rev

It’s amazing to watch these men put on different dialects, along with wigs, high heels, robes and more, to create so many unique characters. In one scene, Matthias enters as a young child, leaves, returns as a surly teen, leaves, and returns once more as a reporter.

Here’s the complete who’s who of Greater Tuna:

Andrew Pond plays: Thurston, Elmer, Bertha, Yippy, Leonard, Pearl, RR, Rev, Sheriff and Hank.

Matthias Austin plays: Arles, Didi, Harold, Petey, Jody, Stanley, Charlene, Chad, Phinas, Vera and Coach.

Wow! Don’t miss these men of many faces in Greater Tuna at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, running January 16 – February 16. Click here for show dates, times and more info.

Q & A with Kelsey Kinney of Second City

December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Kinney, Kelsey_2013_smMetropolis: Holidays in the Heights celebrates both the highs and lows of the holiday season. What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) things about this time of year?

Kelsey: There’s plenty to love about this time of year, but some of my seasonal favorites include singing Lou Monte’s “Dominick the Donkey” as loudly and as often as possible, blaming all of my recent weight gain on “the holidays,” and of course, scoring some free change when CTA do-gooders mistakenly equate my diligent coat-layering with homelessness.

Metropolis: Without giving too much away, what is your favorite sketch from Holidays in the Heights?

Kelsey: There’s a scene in act two that takes a look back on a very special Thanksgiving. It warms my heart and funny bone every time.

Metropolis: That famous New York sketch show has some pretty memorable holiday scenes as well. Are there any that stand out in your mind as favorites or that inspired you in any way?

Kelsey: Too many to choose from, but I have a very vivid memory of watching a holiday sketch of Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood. He was conning children into buying dolls with actual heads of cabbage in place of real heads. I never wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid so much in my life.

Metropolis: And, of course, what we all really want to know… egg nog or hot chocolate?

Kelsey: Hot schnapplate: 3 parts hot chocolate, 2 parts peppermint schnapps… Unless the holidays are really stressing you out; then your booze-pouring hand should know no bounds.

Catch Kelsey in The Second City’s Holidays in the Heights at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre – playing through December 31st. Click here for more info, show times and tickets.


Q & A with Alex DiGiacinto of Second City

August 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

DiGiacinto_Alex_05-2011 smMetropolis: Where did you grow up?

Alex: New Hampshire, in a town called Hollis, about an hour from Boston.

Metropolis: What brought you to Chicago?

Alex: I moved to Chicago to finish my academic studies and to study sketch and improv. I graduated from Columbia College, here in Chicago, with a degree in Cultural Studies/Social Anthropology.

Metropolis: How did you get started in acting and improv?

Alex: I started in high school. I dabbled with stand-up and improv a lot in between high school and college and then eventually took a more “full time” approach when I moved here.

Metropolis: When did you join Second City?

Alex: I started my employment at Second City as a bartender and host in 2008. I worked just as an employee of the theater, not an actor, for a year about. Then I left for a while and made my way back into the employment ranks as an actor somewhere around 2010.

Metropolis: What are some highlights of working with Second City?

Alex: Getting this job was certainly a highlight, as it was a long term goal of mine. The day I was offered a touring company spot will stay in my memory for a while. Also, just all the great people I’ve met studying comedy and working for SC specifically. As a person who loves to laugh as much as he loves to make people laugh, being in the presence of hilarious people daily is a blessing.

Metropolis: Do you have a favorite moment in Happily Ever Laughter?

Alex: Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but our director, the talented and amazing Jen Ellison, has really worked on incorporating some interesting themes into the show that speak to the modern times, dealing with technology, etc., so working on that aspect was really fun and interesting for me.

Metropolis: What’s your next project after Happily Ever Laughter closes?

Alex: A full fall season of touring America with the Second City. This is a busy time for those of us on the road, so a lot of travel. I’m looking forward to seeing some interesting places and some warm audiences. Maybe Second City will send us to some tropical locales as the temperature drops here in Illinois!


Q & A with Chelsea Devantez of Second City

August 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Devantez, Chelsea_01.2012_cMetropolis: Where did you grow up?

Chelsea: I grew up all over the Southwest. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up, but my family has been planted in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the past eight years.

Metropolis: What brought you to Chicago?

Chelsea: During college, I did a “semester abroad” in Chicago in an amazing program called Comedy Studies through Second City and Columbia College – you study comedy non-stop for five months. After that, I knew I had to come back. And the semester long program has now expanded into a college major – it’s the first of its kind in the country!

Metropolis: How did you get started in acting and improv?

Chelsea: I’ve been doing theater my whole life, and I went to NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts for dramatic acting. I was always the “weird, funny girl” but when I discovered improv, I realized that was where I was meant to be all along.

Metropolis: When did you join Second City?

Chelsea: I was hired by Second City to perform on a cruise ship two years ago and I’ve been working with them ever since.

Metropolis: Do you have a favorite moment in Happily Ever Laughter?

Chelsea: There’s a sketch in the show where I dance in the background with Neal and Alex. We’ll whisper bits to each other to try and make each other break – it’s impossible not to laugh.

Metropolis: What’s your next project after Happily Ever Laughter closes?

Chelsea: Our touring company will be back to Metropolis this winter with an entirely new holiday show that we’re currently creating – we are all crazy excited!

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