Second City Stage Manager Craig Taylor passes at 63

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(Craig Taylor 1957 – 2020)

“I guess I learned how to take the lights out at the right moment. You just have to always be looking for the right end.” –Craig Taylor

Not all of Second City’s stars appeared on stage. Some of the biggest ones were behind the scenes. This past weekend, Second City announced that longtime stage manager, Craig Taylor, had passed away Friday evening after several months of declining health. Taylor, who started with Second City Touring Company in 1978, became the longest consecutively employed member of the company, retiring in 2019.

The Second City posted this statement on its website:

“The Second City is heartbroken to share that our longtime stage manager–and invariably the funniest person in the room–Craig Taylor passed away Friday evening after several months of declining health. Craig joined the Second City Touring Company before taking over the Mainstage board for over 41 years, becoming the longest consecutively employed member of the company.

At his retirement celebration last August, he noted, “It’s not that I liked working here. I just hate job interviews.” Beyond his sublime mastery of comic timing, Craig was revered for his uncanny ability to stay calm under pressure, his backstage wit, and offering support and wisdom to dozens of ensembles. If you could make Craig laugh, you knew you were doing okay. 

A friend to all and a sage mentor to generations of talent, Craig’s contributions to our art and our community are immeasurable. “We are extremely saddened tonight by the passing of Craig Taylor. Craig was a mainstay at Second City for over four decades.

His dedication to his craft and to our theater will never be forgotten. Our deepest sympathies go out to his daughter Samantha,” said Second City executive producer and CEO Andrew Alexander. Craig’s beloved wife Natalie, whom he met at The Second City, passed away in 1987.”

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Craig Taylor (center, seated) and alumni of The Second City pictured on August 11, 2019. Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt.

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When Taylor retired in 2019, he shared some of his greatest memories: “Well, I once drove Chris Farley all the way home to Madison, Wisconsin.” “Tina Fey once came with me to my daughter’s third-grade play and loved it.” “I went to a Bears game with Mike Myers.”

The Reel Chicago family sends our heartfelt condolences to the Taylor family and Second City.

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