My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

The Second City Guide to the Symphony

On Nov. 29 and 30, Second City is pairing with the TSO for The Second City Guide to the Symphony. Host Colin Mochrie, with TSO musical director Peter Oundjian on the podium, guide a Second City Ensemble of six performers through a series of sketches that include original music composed by The Second City musical director Matthew Reid as well as performance excerpts from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Bruckner. The sketches offer a hilarious look at the idiosyncrasies of a symphony orchestra - from the perspective of a couple on a blind date at the TSO, to Gustav Mahler writing a commercial jingle, to the sexual prowess of a flautist. [Insert ‘skin flute’ joke here.]

“I’ll be singing songs and styles that I’ve never really done before,” said cast member Kevin Vidal, a veteran of the last two Second City reviews Sixteen Scandals and We Can Be Heroes. “The show will bring two very different audiences together.” Indeed. It sounds like the wildest night at the symphony since Carl Stalling, who composed all the scores for Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Kevin told me that the idea originated in Chicago, where the Second City there teamed up with the Chicago Symphony for an evening of high-minded comedy. The crowds loved it, so doing it in Toronto seemed a natural progression. It’s a great pre-Christmas show and hopefully will become an annual tradition.