REACH Report: ‘The Second City and Kennedy Center’s Jazz Comedy Experiment’ at The REACH at The Kennedy Center

The Opening Festival of the new REACH complex at The Kennedy Center featured a plethora of live performances and films, including the laugh-until-you-break-your-funnybone The Second City and Kennedy Center’s Jazz Comedy Experiment.

The Second City and Kennedy Center’s Jazz Comedy Experiment in Studio J. Photo by Jati Lindsay.

The REACH complex, which opened September 7th, is a campus-style string of ultra-modern buildings, painted stark white, on the south side of the Kennedy Center. The $250-million, 4.6-acre complex is an immersive experience, perfect for experimental artistic performances.

Many of the opening-day performances were first-come, first-served and wait times to see many of them were 90 minutes to two hours. Even after performance spaces filled, many die-hard attendees waited in standby lines.

The Second City and Kennedy Center’s Jazz Comedy Experiment featured a long-form improv story focused on the mundane lives of suburbanites featuring Ed Herbstein, Kate James, Carley Mosely, John Thibodeux, and Steve Waltein. The players were backed by a jazz ensemble, featuring Jason Moran, Savannah Harris, Donvonte McCoy, Sarah Hanahan, and Zwe.

At many parts of the show, histrionic jazz music punctuated the improvisational chaos on stage. The long-form improv on display enabled the players to not only tell a story, but make the audience laugh.

The performance space for The Second City and Kennedy Center’s Jazz Comedy Experiment is a dance studio. It featured a two-story-high ceiling and good acoustics. Through the house-left window, one could see the Potomac River.

The REACH is a breathtaking and picturesque place to see everything from performance workshops, live music, films, and improv. Plan to visit soon and see it for yourself.

Note: You can take a 360-degree virtual reality tour of The Reach, to do so click here.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.

The Second City and Kennedy Center’s Jazz Comedy Experiment ran for one performance only at The REACH Opening Festival, which runs through September 22, 2019, at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC. The complete schedule is here. Free timed passes are available at the box office, by phone at (202) 467-4600, or online.

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William Powell
William Powell is a Ruby Griffith Award Winner for Assistant Direction, and has written and directed three short films for the 48 Hour Film Project, which earned several cast nominations. He has appeared in a one-man show for the U.S. Army "Small Steps Save Lives," and the stage plays "A Raisin in the Sun," “Barefoot in the Park,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” He is host of the "Inside Acting!" radio show. William has appeared in principal roles in the independent films “Angels Within" and “The Red Effect." He has appeared in commercials for the likes of Car Max, GEICO and in TV shows like HBO’s “VEEP.”


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