Second City, ‘SNL’ announce scholarship recipients

(clockwise: Alexi Bolden, Gabriela “Gabi” Castillo, Kaili Y. Turner, Morgan Van Dyne)

Legendary comedy institution The Second City announces the recipients of a new scholarship for diverse comedic talent in partnership with Saturday Night Live.

The creation of the SNL Scholarship, announced in October, was designed to grant comedians at varying levels of experience the opportunity to further their professional development at The Second City. In addition to receiving performance and writing training at The Second City, recipients will be connected directly with SNL talent executives and have direct entry to submit an audition tape or sketch packet to SNL for the landmark show. 

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After reviewing nearly 1,300 applications, the following four scholarship recipients began training with The Second City this week:

  • Alexi Bolden (she, her, hers) is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in theatre and African American studies. 
  • Gabriela “Gabi” Castillo (she, her, hers) is an actor and teaching artist living in Chicago. Born in Havana, Cuba, she immigrated to the United States in 1998. Castillo graduated with an MFA in acting from the Professional Actors Training Program at the University of South Carolina. 
  • Kaili Turner (she, her, hers) is a Black Indian member of the Nipmuc nation, as well as a comedian, actress, writer, producer, and puppeteer. She graduated from UMass Boston with a B.A in Theater Arts and a minor in dance. She is currently based in New York.
  • Morgan Van Dyne (they, them, theirs) is a Chicago-based comedian who enjoys using their platform to speak about queer identities, mental health, and disabilities. 

“We were blown away by the incredible submissions we received for the inaugural SNL Scholarship. We’re incredibly grateful to our friends at SNL for their shared commitment to discovering and developing bold new talent, and we know this is just the beginning for our work together,” says Jon Carr, executive producer of The Second City.

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Long before SNL made history by becoming the most Emmy Award–winning show in TV history, Second City alumni Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Gilda Radner were members of the very first group of “not ready for primetime players” in 1975. Over the course of the show’s historic run, dozens of Second City–bred performers and writers have found a home at SNL.

SOURCE: Second City