New Second City e.t.c. cast puts diversity in spotlight


Courtesy Robin Hammond

Lisa Beasley, Peter Kim and Aasia LaShay Bullock make up part of e.t.c.’s diverse new cast for the theater’s 40th residential stage revue, set to open in April. Katie Klein, Julie Marchiano and Scott Morehead complete the six-person cast.


The sketch comedy community breaks the gender ratio norms in the newly announced cast for Second City’s 40th revue in its e.t.c. theater. The revue opens in mid-April.

The currently untitled production—directed by Second City creative director Matt Hovde—marks the first time since 1988 a Second City cast will include more women than men in a residential show. 

Returning cast members Lisa Beasley and Scott Morehead, from the current e.t.c. revue, “Soul Brother, Where Art Thou,” are joined by Aasia LaShay Bullock, Peter Kim, Katie Klein and Julie Marchiano for the new show.

Most of Second City’s shows have featured an equal number of men and women, but the revue’s cast will include four women and only two men. The cast is composed of two black women, two white women, one white man and Kim, the first gay Asian man to be on a Second City residency stage. 

Kim, a writer and actor touring with Second City’s Touring Company with Marchiano before being cast in the e.t.c. show, said the casting choice is a game changer for the comedy company because it refashions the usual casting procedures for Second City. 

“Feminism is at the forefront of entertainment right now—as is diversity—especially after all the Oscar news,” Kim said, adding that this casting announcement comes at a pivotal time for the industry. 

Kim said Second City is changing the theater community by opening new doors and avenues  for more diverse actors.

“What Second City is really good at is not shying away from what is hard,” Kim said. “They take on the challenge and they are the consummate leader of the industry.”

He said being the first Asian male cast in a residential show will be challenging, but he is excited to share a new perspective that will resonate with other gay Asian men.

Marchiano, who said she is more than just the “goofy white girl,” said her role is a dream she has worked toward since moving to Chicago in 2011. 

“I have a lot to say, but I also am excited to be a vehicle for other people’s voices who have things to say, too,” she said. 

Katie Mae Weber, a sophomore theatre major, said she frequently attends Second City shows and is excited to see new perspectives on stories about women.

“I want to see a comedy show that I haven’t seen before,” Weber said. “With brand new people and a brand new dynamic, how can that not be incredibly exciting?”

Kim said he is ready for the challenges, and Marchiano hopes the show will bring people together.

“I am excited for people to be affected emotionally—hopefully physiologically—and leave a little perturbed,” Kim said. “My personal goal as a contributor and ensemble member is to disrupt.”