Friday, February 24, 2012

Secret City : Origins Story

Fans have wondered about Secret City and how it came into existence. I thought I would share with you that story.

My name is Alan Ng and I'm the creative director and co-founder of SCCS. In 1992, I discovered the art form of improvisational comedy. It was something I thought I could do and soon realized that it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

As a result I sought training. My training consisted of South Coast Repertory with Greg Atkins, a short stint at Improv Olympic in Hollywood. But my greatest influence was my first teacher Pat Dade, who now teaches at Stella Adler in Hollywood. She's still teaching improv there today and I highly recommend her class. Pat showed me that improv was more than just standing on stage and coming up with clever remarks, but it was working as a team to tell a story.

As with any improv class, I couldn't afford to continue to pay to perform improv. It was time to join a group. My first group was called Just Us. They were an already established group and I was fortunate to join them in the late 1990's. We performed at various bars and night clubs in Orange County and fortunate to perform regularly at the Irvine Improv.

In 2001, I auditioned and joined National Comedy Theater in San Diego. For the next ten years, I would become a senior performer as well as teach improv workshop. During my tenure there, NCT would open another theater in New York and a fellow cast mate would open a National Comedy Theater in Phoenix. In addition, NCT would consistently win fan appreciation surveys and soon become the longest running theater show in San Diego. They perform every weekend to packed audiences.

In 2009, my personal life changed with the addition of my youngest child. Traveling from Orange County to San Diego was becoming difficult. My business partner, Bryan Shigekawa, and I decided that now was the perfect time to open a theater in Orange County.

Our goal was to take the business model and show from San Diego and bring it to Orange County. The directors of both San Diego and Phoenix were invaluable in their advice for not only pulling together a team, but in the difficulties of starting a business.

They say that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." That's true for Secret City. I will be the first to admit that the format of the show you saw at opening was a direct copy of the shows I performed in San Diego for the last ten years. Why? Because it works. Because it's simple.

The reality is that show formats are just gimmicks. This show and every show like it is nothing if you don't have a cast that can make audiences laugh. My proudest achievement over the last year of Secret City's existence is the team now performing for you without them and their talent, we would have nothing.

Over the next few months, you'll see some minor changes to the show format. We plan on having some special events to break the monotony. But what won't change is our commitment to make you laugh; to take on the challenges that you, the audience, throws our way; and to create a safe place for you to laugh. In other words, clean shows for all ages.

With that, I'd like to personally invite you to come down to Secret City Comics Society for an evening of improvisational comedy. Bring your family, friends, social groups. It's a safe place to laugh.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recap of Last Night's Show

It's kind of fun when you find an iPhone app that you can actually use. We were able to produce a time lapse video of last night's 8:30 pm show. See if you can figure out what games we played. Free tickets to first person to identify 4 games in chronological order.

Stay tuned to this blog. We'll be announcing new changes to our show.