The Chicago Improv Festival opened on the same day, June 2, that improv pioneer Paul Sills died. Sills, cofounder of the Compass Players and later of Second City, was a transformative figure in both American theater and comedy, as a performer, director, and teacher. He was 80 years old.
Festival director Jonathan Pitts says that this year's festival has been dedicated to Sills, and at opening night at the Lakeshore Theater he talked to the audience about Sills's legacy. Then the theater dimmed the lights for a moment in memoriam.