Come celebrate the holidays at The Second City with a festive, all-new holiday movie parody, Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original. Under the direction of Annelise Toft, the ensemble members getting you into the spirit this season include Henrik Blix, Jess DeBacco, George Elrod, Bri Fitzpatrick, Rob Grabowski, and Shelby Plummer. Elise Wattman will step behind the keys as music director and Abby Beggs will create the lighting design and stage manage. Deck the Hallmark officially hits the UP Comedy Club stage on November 19, 2019.
Deck the Hallmark lovingly lampoons all the things we know and love about made-for-TV holiday flicks. The countdown to Christmas. The threat of losing one’s Christmas spirit. And of course, the impossibly schmaltzy small town. Deck the Hallmark follows the story of Holly Sweetberry, who has just been promoted at her high-pressure job and gotten engaged to her big-city boyfriend. Her air-tight, uptight plans are upended when she must deliver a devastating message to the mayor of her long-left-behind hometown. Will songs be sung? Will a winter festival be thrown? Will the cookie-cutter characters be missing any semblance of a backstory? Find out in this holly, jolly, hilariously original new two-act show written for The Second City by Anneliese Toft with Carisa Barecca, Kelsey Kinney, and Adam Schrek.
Deck the Hallmark runs November 19-December 31, Tuesdays-Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets start at $31 and are available at The Second City Box Office (230 W. North Ave, First Floor, Piper’s Alley), by phone at 312-337-3992, or online at www.secondcity.com.
About The Artists
HENRIK BLIX (Ensemble) is a writer, actor, and improviser from Kalamazoo, MI. He performs with the iO improv team “Mothership,” his sketch duo, “Henrik and George,” and anyone else who wants to. He is a headline contributor for The Onion and a two-time winner of the Chicago Laugh Battle as a solo performer. He is represented by Paonessa Talent, and it would make his day if you followed him on Twitter @henrikontheweb, but it’s your life, so do whatever you want!
JESS DEBACCO (Ensemble) is a Chicago-based comedian born and raised in Carson City, NV. She is an alumna of the Second City Training Center’s Severn Darden Graduate Program, a former understudy for She the People at UP Comedy Club, former member of The Second City Training Center’s musical house team “Infinite Sundaes,” and co-creator of the show Everybody But Oliver!, a two-person version of the musical Oliver! Jess is unrepresented but can be found writing and directing various projects, improvising with iO Harold team “DIG,” and doing stand-up around the city. Follow her on Instagram @jd_nv for show and performance updates.
GEORGE ELROD (Ensemble) is a native Arkansan who wrote and performed in The Second City's first original LGBTQ sketch revue, Salute to Pride: Not Safe for Werk. He is a 2018 NBC Universal/Second City Bob Curry Fellow and performs regularly on the iO Harold team “Comet.” Other Chicago sketch/improv comedy credits include Trigger Happy (Annoyance Theatre), Legendary Laughs (The Second City), Let's Make it Perfectly Queer (The Second City), and Guppie (iO Chicago). George is an alumni of DePaul University and represented by Grossman & Jack Talent. Follow him on Instagram @gel_rod or Twitter @XOGossipGeorge.
BRI FITZPATRICK (Ensemble) could not have a fuller (holiday) heart to be a part of Deck The Hallmark! Originally from Seattle, WA, Bri holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Recent credits include Hot Date (Pop TV) and Trinity in The One: The Matrix Parody Musical (The Den Theatre). She can be seen improvising regularly in Chicago with Hitch*Cocktails, Baby Wants Candy: The Improvised Musical, Anarchy: An Improvised Rock Opera, and her iO Harold Team, 2Bed3Bath. Bri teaches in The Second City Training Center's Kid & Teen Program. Special winter wishes go out to her family, her husband, Jack, and her pug-son, Rodney. Bri is represented by Paonessa Talent.
ROB GRABOWSKI (Ensemble) is a Michigan native but has called Chicago his home for several years. He has previously worked with the The Second City onboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Rob has also worked with Victory Gardens Theatre, The New Colony, Annoyance Theatre, iO Chicago, City Lit, and is an ensemble member at ComedySportz Chicago. He also produces the monthly movie reading series REDACTED at the Music Box Theatre. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ robgrabo
SHELBY PLUMMER (Ensemble) is a Chicago-based writer and performer. She is very excited to be joining The Second City for their 2019 holiday show Deck the Hallmark. Shelby is a member of “Comet” and “Your Fuc*ed Up Relationship” at iO Theater and a performer in Burlesque Is More at The Annoyance. She is also the president of the James Conklin Memorial Scholarship, where each year, two aspiring comedians are awarded $3,000 to come to Chicago and take classes. If you're interested in learning more or donating to the scholarship, please visit www.jamesconklinmemorialscholarship.com.
ANNELIESE TOFT (Director)’s recent projects include The Second City e.t.c.’s 43rd revue Grinning from Fear to Fear, The Second City e.t.c.’s 42nd revue Gaslight District, Fast, Loud, & Funny at UP Comedy Club, The Second City’s collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Longer! Louder! Wagner! and a four-year tenure with The Second City Touring Company. She also directs sketch comedy in venues all over Chicago, including the Annoyance, Theater Wit, Stage 773, The Public House Theatre, and iO.
ELISE WATTMAN (Music Director) is a Minnesota native who ventured to Texas to get expensive music degrees from UNT, then fell in love with Chicago. At age four, she arranged The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for piano and decided to make a living out of it. Outside of The Second City, Elise scores music for dance companies and film projects, performs with the bands Audio Ghost and Ivory Ovaries, serves as creative director of Bathroom Tapes Inc., and mentors young musicians through her program Artist Ignite. Instagram: @elisenavidadity
ABBY BEGGS (Lighting Designer, Stage Manager) is excited to be working with The Second City on Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original. Previously, she's worked with Second City as a designer on She the People and Gaslight District and as a stage manager on various productions. When she's not at The Second City, Abby works around town as a production manager and designer. For a full list of her credits, visit her website www.abbybeggs.com.
About The Second City
Since opening its doors in 1959, The Second City has grown to become the world’s premier comedy club, theater, and school of improvisation, entertaining 1 million theatergoers a year around the globe. Alumni of The Second City’s resident stages, touring companies, and theatrical divisions include some of the biggest names in entertainment, and in addition to the sold-out shows playing nightly on resident stages in Chicago and Toronto, the comedy empire has staged productions with a wide range of illustrious creative partners and theatre companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, Center Theater Group Los Angeles, Portland Center Stage, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and even the Chicago Bulls.
2019 Year of Chicago Theatre
The Second City is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.