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Wild Parties

Fêtes from Second City to Theater for a New City.

The invitations are out, and it may be the funniest guest list ever assembled. Chicago’s Second City, the venerable comedy institution, will celebrate its 25th anniversary Dec. 6 with a birthday party for all its alumni.

That lengthy roster includes, of course, such stars as Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Barbara Harris, Edward Asner, Alan Arkin, the first and second generation of Saturday Night Live comics—and other performers whose names aren’t yet so familiar. The party will include a benefit for the John Belushi Scholarship Fund, honoring the late comedian.

Other parties in recent weeks were designed to raise money for good causes. A $100-per-person evening in October benefitted the American Place Theatre’s Women’s Project, designed to help develop women playwrights and directors. The New York event included a visit to Whoopi Goldberg’s one-woman Broadway show.

Also in New York, Theatreworks/USA celebrated its move to the Promenade Theatre with a champagne party and a performance of First Lady, a musical about Eleanor Roosevelt. The company, which does work for young and family audiences, will also mount productions based on the lives of Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Edison this season.

When it comes to wild parties, Manhattan’s Theater for the New City can’t be matched—it has had nine years’ experience staging the annual Village Halloween Costume Ball. This year’s event, emceed as usual by co-artistic director George Bartenieff, featured musical and theatrical entertainment by Jeff Weiss, Charles Busch, Stuart Sherman, Spiderwoman Theater, Bloolips and others, and a panel of celebrity judges handed out prizes for the funniest, scariest and most original costumes. Part of Second Avenue was closed to traffic and repopulated with three rock bands, circus acts and dancing celebrants. Proceeds go to the theatre’s building fund.

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