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Columbia College Chicago
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Our instructors do what they teach and provide the kind of entree to industry connections that support making a living as a comedian.


Anne Libera (Director of Comedy Studies, Coordinator of Comedy Writing and Performance) has worked with The Second City since 1986. She is Executive Artistic Director of The Second City Training Centers and Education Programs and currently heads the Directing Program.  Her directing credits for The Second City include The Madness of Curious George and Computer Chips and Salsa, The Second City Goes to War and The Second City Looks at The Windy City, and numerous touring company productions in United States, Edinburgh, Scotland, Vienna, Austria and on Norwegian Cruise Lines.  Her book, The Second City Almanac of Improvisation is published by Northwestern University Press.  Anne directed Stephen Colbert's one-man show Describing a Circle. She reviewed theater on WGN radio and has written for the NPR news quiz show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

Jen Ellison is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of DePaul’s Theatre Conservatory.  Jen has directed, written, and performed all over Chicago for Trap Door Theatre, The Mammals, ComedySportz, Theatre Seven, Collaboraction, WNEP, and The Neo-Futurists.  Most recently, she opened the newest revue at Benchco, a Second City sponsored ensemble that develops young talent. Jen teaches Ethics at DePaul and Writing for The Second City Training Center and is a graduate of Second City’s Directing Program.

Jet Eveleth is a member of The Reckoning, The Armando Diaz Experience and Adsit and Eveleth. She performed in The Andy Kaufman Awards and was listed as New City magazine's "Top 50 Players" in 2010 and 2012. Jet received her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago with a focus on physical comedy and improvisation to script. She is faculty at The Second City Conservatory, the iO Theater and is the former artistic director of the Chicago Improv Festival.

Michael Gellman was a Resident Company member of The Second City for three years, performing as well as directing several Second City productions before becoming Senior Faculty with The Second City Training Center. Michael was an Outstanding Director nominee for the national Dora Mavor Moore Award in Canada and the Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago, and he won the Detroit Free Press Award for Best Comedy. Michael was Artistic Director of Chicago TheatreWorks and Wavelength, and an Artistic Associate of Organic Theater. His book Process, co-written with Mary Scruggs, is published by Northwestern University Press.

Norm Holly is the Head of the Conservatory Program for The Second City Training Center. His directing credits include numerous revues for The Second City including Baby Richards Got Back and 40 Oz. and a Mule at The Second City ETC.  He was the Assistant Chairman of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department for eight years where directed productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Crucible and The Price, with The Second City founding member Sheldon Patinkin.

Sheldon Patinkin has directed hundreds of plays in his career. He is the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department Chair Emeritus; Artistic Consultant to The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre where he is one of the founders of the summer Ensemble Workshop; and author of The Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater and No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance: A History of the American Musical. He is a member of the Gift Theatre Ensemble, and a recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards (for directing and contributions to Chicago theatre). Writing credits include screenplays Loving, The Magician of Lublin, and My Bodyguard. Stage writing credits include adaptations of Bernstein's Candide, Ansky's The Dybbuk, Chekhov's Ivanov, and Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Good Person of Setzuan, Listen to My Song: An Evening of Kurt Weill Songs,.

Peter Gwinn is one of the original writers for The Colbert Report, for which he won two Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and three Writers’ Guild Awards.  He is a founding member of the musical improv troupe Baby Wants Candy, which has performed runs in Chicago, New York City, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Peter is a regular performer and teacher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, and iO and The Second City in Chicago. With Bobby Mort, he co-wrote the upcoming Second City’s A Christmas Carol for LA’s Center Theater Group.  He is also the author of the book Group Improvisation: The Manual of Ensemble Improv Games.

Brian Posen has been active in the Chicago theater scene for over 20 years.  PerformInk called him one of the most influential people in the Chicago theater scene. New City named him as one of the top 30 Players performing in Chicago. Brian is the Artistic Director of Stage 773, Street Tempo Theatre, and Liminality Theatre. He is the Executive Producer of The Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival acclaimed as "A raging Lakeview comedic beast" by the Chicago Tribune. He is also the director of The Cupid Players, hailed as Best Sketch Comedy Group in Chicago by the Chicago Reader 2008. Brian’s theater endeavors have received several awards including Jeff and After Dark awards. He is Head of Beginning Improvisation at The Second City Training Center, where he has been teaching improvisation since 1993. Brian received his MFA in Acting from the University of Illinois.

James Sherman earned an MFA degree in Acting and Playwriting Brandeis University and studied acting with Uta Hagen. He work with the Mainstage and Touring Companies of The Second City from 1974-1977 and was one of the first instructors at the Second City Training Center.   Jim was a founding member of Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble where 13 of his plays premiered.  He is the author of the plays Magic Time, The God of Isaac, Mr. 80%, The Escape Artist, Beau Jest, This Old Man Came Rolling Home, Jest A Second!, Romance in D, From Door to Door, The Old Man’s Friend, Affluenza!, Half and Half,  Relatively Close, and Jacob and Jack.  

John Hildreth is an alumnus of The Second City, performing at Second City Northwest in three revues including Casino Evil, and at The Second City, e.t.c. in three revues including Whitewater for Chocolate.  He was also resident director at The Second City, Detroit for three years, where he directed five consecutive revues among them Generation X-Files.  More recently, John directed three revues for The Second City Outreach & Diversity program including Wii the People, and Second City…In Color at Theatre on the Lake. Other Second City performance credits include Apparently Heaven Can’t Wait: The Best of Jim Zulevic at The Second City at Theatre on the Lake, Disgruntled Employee Handbook: A Musical at Northlight Theatre, and as Roland Burris in Rod Blagojevich Superstar!  John has been an adjunct instructor in the theater department at Columbia College since 2004, and an instructor for the Second City Training Center since the early 90s.

Lillian Frances began acting, improvising, and directing at Northwestern University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Theatre. She owns and operates Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg, Illinois as well as Chicago Comedy Company, the corporate entertainment and training division of the theater. She has performed with improv ensembles at iO (formerly Improvolympic) and other venues in Chicago, and assistant directed and performed at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. Her directing credits include The Second City National Touring Company, the all-women’s improv groups Jane and Sirens, the critically acclaimed sketch groups GayCo and Stir Friday Night, and various ensembles at iO and The Playground. She worked for several years as a lead facilitator for The Second City Business Communications where she designed and facilitated training programs for Fortune 500 companies and worked as a Core Faculty Member for The Second City Training Center.