Alex Fendrich picks his words carefully. The Second City performer is tentative when discussing the ensemble's place within the canon of comedy's greatest troupes. After all, the Chicago-based Second City launched the careers of John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, and dozens of others. "We're all influenced by the work Second City has done in the past," says Fendrich. "We certainly aspire to do similar work."
Fendrich is part of the venerable theater's Second City 45th Anniversary Show, which stops at the Ohio Theatre on Sunday. "We tip our hat to Second City's history by performing some archival scenes," he points out. "We look into our history and are inspired by it to create new work."
And while the tour does pay tribute to some of Second City's greatest hits, Fendrich is quick to add that the skit-and-improv mix is mostly an original production, one that plays out differently each night. "It's live theater," he says. "So there are definitely spontaneous moments throughout the show. That's how we keep it fresh." The Second City 45th Anniversary Show is at the Ohio Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 and $26, available by calling 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci
One Right Stand
Sheryl's got a thing for W.
Comedian Sheryl Underwood's favorite air-travel memory is a bittersweet one. "We flew into Cleveland right after September 11," she recalls. "Some people on the plane were kind of concerned, but I really wasn't. America is a great nation, and I can go anywhere I want to. And I'm not gonna let no terrorists tell me where I can go." Underwood's passion for all things patriotic is in perfect step with her Republican Party membership -- not what you'd expect from a black female comic. "Entertainers whine about the environment, but then they jump on a private jet," she says. "I love the president. As a matter of fact, the love I have for the president usually warrants a visit from the Secret Service." She's at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) Thursday through Sunday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $21; call 216-696-4677. -- P.F. Wilson
DJs defend Cleveland's honor on Tuesday nights.
When Matt Chernus isn't fronting garage rockers Amps II Eleven, he's armed with CDs to Defend Cleveland. As DJ Churntables, he pairs with DJ Pizza Party every week to spin rock discs ranging from Thin Lizzy to the Hives. "There's something to do every night in Cleveland except on Tuesdays, when there's nowhere to hang out with your friends and get loaded," notes Chernus. To amplify the buzz, he pops in a Johnny Cash or Hank Williams CD right before last call. "People in rock appreciate country," says Chernus, "because it's the outlaw, hard-drinking kind." Defend Cleveland is from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Garage, 1859 West 25th Street. Admission is free; call 216-696-7772. -- Cris Glaser
It's that time of year again -- when teens' thoughts turn to dancing cheek to cheek with their sweeties, as Mario croons gooey love songs over their high school's tiny, tinny speakers. At Sunday's Prom-A-Palooza, kids can sidestep the possibility of looking like a total tool at this year's dance by checking out the latest gowns, tuxes, accessories, and limos. It happens noon to 6 p.m. at Tower City Center, 50 Public Square. Tickets are $5; call 440-871-6979. -- Michael Gallucci