Leaving them laughing from Patchogue to the high seas

Story By: LOREN CHRISTIE
4/12/2013


The road to achieving a dream began with a brochure and a suggestion made by a mentor who saw great potential.

Stacey Smith grew up in Patchogue and loved her hometown so much that she opted to pursue higher education there, too. However, after graduating in 2009 from St. Joseph’s College, where she majored in speech communication and minored in music, Smith did the unexpected. At the prompting of her teacher Sister Grace Rowland, who handed her a brochure for Second City Training Center and urged her to check it out, she moved to Chicago to enroll in classes there, following her dream of becoming a comedian.

“I never thought I would ever leave Patchogue,” Smith said.

Tonight and tomorrow night, April 11 and 12, Smith will perform her comedic chops again at The Clare Rose Playhouse to perform with Pat Ivansek, an acting buddy from the Harold Team at iO theater (formerly Improv Olympic), in “Smith & I: An Evening Of Comedy.” Smith describes the show as an hour-long set featuring a comedy duo.

“Half is improvised and half is ‘Saturday Night Live’-type skits and sketches, including a little bit of song and dance,” she explained.

The Patchogue native has been performing since age 9. Her comedic style began to emerge in grade school. Smith recalled playing Mrs. Peterson in Patchogue-Medford High School’s production of “Bye, Bye Birdie,” a role that still is one of her most memorable.

“In every show that I did, I played the comedic relief part,” Smith said, describing her sense of humor as “just goofing around.”

Influenced by years of watching Lucille Ball in “I love Lucy” and “The Carol Burnett Show,” Smith said her comedic style includes a vintage slapstick composed of “huge movements and [dramatic] faces.”  

“I started improv because I would do all these shows and once I knew my lines I would play — making up lines to make people laugh in the character voices,” she explained. At first, Smith didn’t realize that what she was doing was improv. However, it was through this style of performance that her comedic voice emerged. “This is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” she said.

The show on both nights begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10; $5 for St. Joseph’s College students. 

Smith took home the “Clare Rose Shining Star Award” at the Playhouse’s 25th anniversary and performed a one-woman show there two years ago — an act she wrote herself and has played throughout the United States.

“Stacey is an extremely talented young woman,” said Rowland, who is thrilled to have her former student perform at Clare Rose Theater. “She has worked so hard to get where she is and has really earned the success she’s achieving,” she added.

Currently, Stacey can be seen at world famous iO Theater in Chicago with her Harold Team “Big Dumb Sleepy Bears,” or on Saturday mornings improvising children’s musicals with “Storytown.”  This busy comedian also performs weekly with her all-female musical improv troupe Stacked, with her comedy duo Smith & I and her two-women sketch and improvised puppet musicals.

She also finds time to work as an assistant producer for both the Chicago Improv Festival and Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. In addition, Smith fills the role of hospitality coordinator for the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival.

All this hard work is beginning to pay off. This July, Smith is excited to perform on the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship until November.

“This cruise ship thing is [the first step to] being hired by Second City, which is a dream of mine,” Smith said.  “We’ll do 15 shows per week for four months and I’ll finally get paid for what I love to do!” she added.  

View Smith’s shows online like her biggest fans (her parents) do constantly, at www.staceysmithcomedy.com