Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong, gave a shout-out to her old stomping grounds — Village Players in Oak Park. 

Consistent with local media’s tendency to turn any celebrity moment with a connection to Chicago and its environs into copy, the Sun-Times described the TV moment so we didn’t have to:  

“The final sketch of the night was a parody of testimonial commercials for the anti-smoking drug Chantix. Strong played Kelly, a customer fully satisfied with the product — until the announcer noted she was not an actress.

“‘Well, not anymore,’ said Kelly, who then tried to pivot the ad into a showcase for her talents. ‘Chantix was different,’ she said, ‘sort of like my take on Ophelia in the Village Players’ production of Hamlet.'” 

Village Players was the longtime community theater company that performed in what is now Madison Street Theater. Another notable also performed with their precursor once upon a time: comedian Bob Newhart.

Michael Romain  

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