Photo by Jim Kozyra

Photo by Jim Kozyra

Natural Gas, the house improv team of The Gift Theatre, begins its open run at The Second City this Sunday, April 21 at 8 p.m.  The first installment, Natural Gas: Thornes, will be an entirely improvised two-man set starring The Gift Theatre artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and Natural Gas Artistic Director Kyle Zornes (currently starring in Vigils at The Gift, directed by Erica Weiss). 

“Even though we’ve improvised together for five years, we’ve never done a two-person show,” said Thornton. “More interestingly, perhaps:

we’re going to donate 100% of the profits to Fischman’s ‘Kegs For Kidneys’ event, a fundraiser benefitting the National Kidney Foundation.”

Natural Gas: Thornes

Sunday, April 21, 8 p.m.

The Second City de Maat Studio Theater, 1608 N. Wells Street

Tickets: $10 general admission; $8 Students; $5 Training Center Students

Natural Gas will perform monthly shows Sundays, 8 p.m., in the de Maat Studio Theater at The Second City, indefinitely.  In addition, Natural Gas continues to perform every Wednesday, as it has for the past five years, at The Gift Theatre, two blocks from the Jefferson Park Blue Line stop at Milwaukee and Lawrence.

About Natural Gas

Natural Gas is the house improv team of The Gift Theatre that takes one suggestion from the audience to create an entirely improvised world of comedy that is wild, randy and appropriately inappropriate! Every Wednesday, 8 p.m. at The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave (at Lawrence) in Chicago. Tickets are always $5 in advance or at the door.

Kyle Zornes is the artistic director of Natural Gas, the house improv ensemble at The Gift Theatre. He has co-written and co-starred in all four Santa Shows as well as performed in Stop/KissTalk RadioAlmost, Maine and both Ten productions… all on the Gift stage.

Artistic director and co-founder of The Gift, Michael Patrick Thornton was most recently seen onstage in the Kennedy Center workshop of fellow Gift ensemble member Andrew Hinderaker’s Colossal and at The Gift in the world premiere of Hinderaker’s Dirty. A Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor, Michael was most honored with a Jeff Nomination for his performance in The Gift’s World Premiere of Hinderaker’s Suicide, Incorporated. A graduate of The School at Steppenwolf, The Second City Conservatory and The Second City Directing Program, Michael has trained at the iO Improv Program and under Mick Napier at Annoyance Theatre and occasionally teaches at Second City, The School at Steppenwolf and Columbia College. He regularly improvises with Natural Gas, with Susan Messing inMessing With A Friend / Thornton & Messing (seen at Steppenwolf and at The Annoyance via the TBS Just For Laughs Comedy Festival) and with Kirby Longbrake in Mike And Kirby: No Suggestions, Pleaseand Jillian Burfete in Thornton & Burfete at The Second City. Michael has played Dr. Gabriel Fife on ABC’sPrivate Practice & appeared in FOX’s The Chicago Code and Ron Howard’s The Dilemma. He lives blissfully in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, Lindsey Barlag Thornton.

About The Gift Theatre

The Gift Theatre is dedicated to telling great stories on stage with honesty and simplicity. Previous productions include: TEN 2013; Natural Gas’ Jugband Christmas; Dirty; Oh, The Humanity (and other exclamations); Fact & Fiction; Absolute Hell; TEN; Cloud 9; Northwest Highway; Night and Her Stars; Get Behind Me, Santa!; Lonesome West; Suicide, Inc.; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestAlmost, Maine; Santa’s Great American Depression Holiday Show! (2009 & 2010); Summer People; The Ruby Sunrise; Talk Radio; Stop/Kiss; Natural Gas; Streamers; Wit ;The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; White People; Three Sisters; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Blithe Spirit; 365 Days/365 Plays; The Halloween Show; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; The Glass Menagerie (Remount: Theatre on the Lake); The Good Thief; The Clearing; Hurlyburly; The Glass Menagerie; The Pavilion; A Young Man In Pieces; Language of Angels; 6; County Fair; The Countess; Alcatraz (Abbie Hoffman Festival); Orestes 2.0; Boys’ Life. The theater also sponsors the giftED Ensemble, a rigorous two-year afterschool course for creative and motivated high school students on Chicago’s Northwest side, and the literary program/Salon Series giftLIT.

The Gift’s 2013 Season opened in January with TEN, its annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by Gift Co-Founder Michael Patrick Thornton. Later this summer, The Gift dramatically shifts tone with the Chicago premiere of dark thriller Mine by Laura Marks, June 13-August 11. The final production of the 2013 Season is the Chicago premiere of Broadsword by Sons of Anarchy staff writer Marco Ramirez, September 26 (first preview)-November 17. Subscriptions for the entire 2013 season, which includes two Chicago premieres, are available for as little as $65. The Gift subscribers (“Gifters”) receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and an invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or call 773-283-7071.

The Gift Theatre is conveniently located at 4802 N. Milwaukee in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, and is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, the Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenue buses and the Kennedy Expressway. For more information about The Gift Theatre’s productions and programs, visit

About Fishman Liquors & Tavern

Jefferson Park’s friendly neighborhood bar – named one of Chicago’s top six craft beer havens in Chicagomagazine’s “The 100 Best Bars in Chicago” 2013 roundup – offers cold beer, a great selection of crafts and micros, eight flat screen TV’s, live music, trivia, weekly food truck gatherings, tastings, Jammin in the Lot and more. The second annual “Kegs for Kidneys: Raising a Glass & Raising Funds” beer-tasting showcase takes place May 31 in an outdoor tent. Proceeds help the National Kidney Foundation continue improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave.