Second City’s ‘Dèjá Vu’ pokes fun at millennials


© Todd Rosenberg Photography

Second City Main Company 104th Production: Fool Me Twice, Deja vu Jamison Webb surrounded by Rashawn Nadine Scott Daniel Strauss Sarah Shook Paul Jurewicz and Chelsea Devantez © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015


The power of intuition to guide people’s experiences and mistakes to make people grow is the driving theme of Second City’s 104th Mainstage Revue, “Fool Me Twice, Dèjá Vu,” which officially opened Dec. 2 at Second City’s MainStage Theater, 1616 N. Wells St. 

The comedy sketch show, directed by Jeff Award-winning Director Ryan Bernier, is written and performed by seasoned cast members Chelsea Devantez, Paul Jurewicz and Daniel Strauss, and newcomers Sarah Shook, Rashawn Nadine Scott and Jamison Webb. The six who comprise the ensemble welcomed many laughs from a capacity crowd at the show’s press preview on Dec. 1. 

Devantez, one of the creators and performers of “Fool Me Twice, Dèjá Vu,” said the production  stands out as a fast-paced show with mind tricks and political satire that pokes fun at millennials, although most of the cast members are millennials, including herself.

“All this crap of what millennials are like and if we are good or bad—it’s nonsense,” Devantez said.

Devantez said the show’s theme about intuition and regrets resonates with her own life. Despite her deja vu moments and thinking she  could always do better, she “lives happily with regrets” in the sense that it makes people grow from their mistakes.

“I’ve never grown from a standing ovation—you grow from crickets,” she said.

Sarah Shook, also part of the ensemble, said the scenes are relatable to her life. She said the cast used personal experiences to create mini stories in two acts.

“Our own life influences a lot of what we do [onstage],” Shook said. “It may not be word for word what we experienced, but it’s definitely exaggerations of things that happened in our lives.”

“Fool Me Twice, Dèjá Vu” is Shook’s first mainstage show at Second City and she said creating the show with the cast was a valuable experience.

“Everyone there is so funny [and] strong improvisers,” she said. “There are a lot of pieces we all workshopped together and helped write.”

Preston Cropp, a Chicago resident, complimented the cast for working seamlessly together, which was clear to him when he attended the opening performance Dec. 2. 

Cropp said he loved the concepts of time travel and how the second act repeated scenes from the first act but with different jokes, showing how dèjá vu moments can affect the decisions people make—tying back to the show’s theme. 

“I thought they were spot on [with] the perception of millennials,” Cropp said, but added that they were not necessarily accurate, like a sketch that joked about millennials being all about “me, me, me.”

Shook said the second act deconstructs the first act, which director Ryan Bernier said is an important metaphor representing the feeling of devastation and displacement the cast felt when the Second City’s theater went ablaze on Aug. 27.

Bernier said the cast wanted to allude to greater themes that could encompass the fire and speak to something bigger. He said he received mixed reviews from the audience about the metaphor. 

“Some people were like, ‘You burnt down the second act and then rebuilt it from scratch,’” Bernier said. “That metaphor could be as on-the-nose as you want to take it.”

He said he is lucky to be working with performers he considers to be the best people in the city.

“When Second City puts an ensemble together, it’s like an embarrassment of riches in talent,” Bernier said. “I’m directing the show, but they are generating the material—it’s kind of like a nice dance that way.”

Shook said the chance to be part of the show was a sign she should stay in Chicago.

“I was actually planning to move to [Los Angeles], and then they offered me this job,” Shook said.

She added that the show has made her evaluate the decisions affecting her life’s direction, which she said everyone can relate to.

“It’s crazy—thinking how my reality would have changed if I had picked a different road,” she said.

Devantez said the cast started working on the show the day after the fire, and she remembers thinking they might lose the theater as they watched it from across the street.

“Second City has changed my life—it has been everything to me,” Devantez said. “Once we started creating the show, I felt really lucky to be back. This theater is something special for a lot of people in the city, and having a show—having a theater—is everything right now.”

“Fool Me Twice, Dèjá Vu” has an open run and plays eight times a week. For showtimes and tickets, visit