The Blago Show Must Go On….

Curtain goes up on Rod Blagojevich Superstar Tuesday

The piano strikes a familiar note. The house lights come up. Four actors begin singing and from the shadow emerges Illinois’ 40th Governor, Rod Blagojevich.  It is the latest satire from the folks at Second City, which officially opens Tuesday night.
The show combines 1970's rock operas Jesus Christ Super Star, Godspell and The Wiz, align with a wig, a profanity-laced First Lady and someone who just can't wait to get to Washington. The result is Second City's blistering satirical skit about Illinois 40th governor. 
It came in a flash to writer Ed Furman. A governor. An arrest. A scandal. A show. 
“They use a phrase a show writes itself, which I've never experienced, until now,” said Second City’s Vice President Kelly Leonard.
With a script written in one week, steps choreographed just days ago and lines not quite fresh in their minds, the five member cast, last week was working hard to turn a political tragedy into really big laughs.
“The real life characters are so big and huge and funny,” said Leonard, “you don't have to work that h ard to place them in a theatrical context. “
The back story is known around the world. The governor arrested. His wife's profanity laced diatribe caught on tape. A Senate seat to fill. A controversial appointment. Five actors in a 50-minute play will bring it to life twice a week.
Sam Richardson plays Senator Roland Burris.
Lauren Dowden is Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
MIke Bradecich is Alderman Dick Mell and U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Laurie McClain portrays former First Lady Patti Blagojevich and Joey Bland is the ex-governor.
And of course there is the wig and Blagojevich’s famous hair-do.
“You think after a thousand political cartoons he'd get a buzz cut or something, it's a running joke,” said Tim Kazurinksy.
Kazurinsky knows a lot about making people laugh. He sharpened his comedic skills at Second City, Saturday Night Live and in the movies.
So where do comics draw the line when it comes to politicians? Kazurinsky has an answer.
“Its more where do the politicians draw the line. Tom Daschle had the decency to say I got my you know what in a ringer, I' m gonna step down,” he said, “with Blagojevich there is no line.”
Last week, at the first preview, in the crowd were some who know Rod Blagojevich better than most. About 20 staffers from the Governor's office, including spokeman Lucio Guerrero and Chief of Staff Clayton Harris came to watch.
But there were moments when the staff couldn't laugh.
Former Chief of Staff Clayton Harris acknowledged it was hard. “Parts of it when you think about what its done to the state you know, and everything and I think people are really trying to put it behind them and move forward now.”
On the very night Blagojevich's character took center stage in Chicago the real deal was appearing on David Letterman's show in New York.
“I think tomorrow he's doing Antiques Road Show and Pimp My Ride. I mean how can you feel sorry for this guy. He's like the OJ of politics,” said Kazurinsky.
December marks Second City's 50th year in Chicago, lampooning the political and the powerful and now a Governor who exited the scene in Springfield for a grand stage for television appearances on the small screen, like The View, The Today Show and Larry King.
"I don't want to minimize how bad this has been for our city, our state for all that,” said Leonard of Second City. "You know, are you going to cry about it. I think our choice of laughing is maybe a better choice."

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