Summer Is Coming.

With apologies to my friends in Winterfell, “Summer is coming.” And that means Summer Improv Classes in Chicago! I wrote about this topic last year (check it out here) but I wanted to add some things for 2012. If you’re coming to Chicago for improv classes this summer here are some tips n tricks:


I cannot stress the wonder of all the improvisation to see in Chicago. DO go see shows at theaters beyond your school. There are free shows, half-price shows and sometimes discounts for students (of all theaters.) Check them out.

DO take a day or two off a week.

DO be a tourist. Visit the corny, cheesy, fun side of Chicago.

DO be a Chicagoan and just wander around. Stroll the neighborhoods near your residence and your school.

As I write this, it is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but by the time you get here, it will be VERY HOT. And Chicago tends to get hot and sunny. DON’T overdo it. Hydrate. Plan ahead. Lift with your legs.

DO make new friends. Especially if you’re coming here with a group… learn from others. Who knows, you might meet your new group this summer!

DON’T feel like you HAVE to try deep-dish pizza. It’s not that great (I’m originally from NY and I’m not a big fan.)

DO visit some of our amazing street festivals! Here’s a list of them!

DON’T be careless! Keep an eye on your belongings. Keep your head about you; just like any large city, there is crime here and you need to be careful.

DON’T drink too much. It may seem that alcohol is a centerpiece to many functions but don’t feel pressured to join in. Keep in mind that not everyone drinks (or may even be able to) when planning class excursions.

DO take pictures!

DO take notes! If you plan on improvising when you return home you’ll need the references! I still have my notes from more than a decade ago and I treasure them.

DO use Google. Use the internet and check out shows, restaurants and events you may be interested in. Ask Chicagoans their opinions. Then, go with your gut.

DO take advantage! Many schools will offer free workshops, q&a’s and more! Ask your teachers!


Do you live in Chicago? Have some more advice? Let’s hear it!



10 comments on “Summer Is Coming.

  1. Thanks Jason!

    I am moving to Chicago in July and am actually up here right now looking for an apartment in the lakeview area. Any suggestions on best areas or streets to live on, or those to avoid?

    I am signed up for the 5 week iO intensive. Looking forward to it!

    • Lakeview is a great area. The Chicago Reader posts listings online on Tuesday even though its print edition comes out on Wednesday/Thursday. Get a jump on the non-interneted! See you soon, John!

  2. Do ignore Jason’s NY Pizza bias. Chicago style pizza is far superior and you must experience it. It’s wonderful and there are so many different kinds to try.

    • great post! I would be remiss, of course, if I did not recommend my OWN book… “Longform Improvisation and the Art of Zen” is very good book that I enjoy. Also, Whirled News Tonight (Saturdays, 8pm @ iO) is the best improvised show in Chicago.

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