‘Lost’ star Terry O’Quinn dabbles in improv — sort of

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Terry O’Quinn | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) has been in Chicago filming episodes for the upcoming Amazon TV thriller “Patriot,” the veteran actor has become quite the fan of an entertainment art form for which O’Quinn rightly called Chicago “the mecca.”

The actor was referring to Chicago’s important role in the world of improv comedy. Because of his girlfriend’s deep interest in improv, O’Quinn will serve as the guest narrator for the “Musical Armando” show on Aug. 28 as part of the 2nd annual Chicago Musical Improv Festival.

“This is all something new for me,” said O’Quinn. “My girlfriend, Kate Baldwin, who came to Chicago with me, has been dabbling in improv back East and having a great time with it. She thought she’d take this opportunity to study at Second City and iO, and she’s been taking a lot of courses.”

O’Quinn also got hooked — as an observer, not as a performer. His exposure to the improv community led to the request for him to guest narrate the “Armando” show, where the actor will “tell a story or a few stories that they can riff off of — and do improv on them,” he said.

‘MUSICAL ARMANDO’ When: 8:30 p.m. Aug. 28 Where: iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury Tickets: $14 Info: www.chicagomusicalimprovfestival.com

“I want to make it clear, I’m not doing any improv — which, frankly, is a great relief to me,” said the actor, who won an Emmy for playing John Locke on ABC’s “Lost” and also is known for “The X-Files” and the horror film “The Stepfather.”

“If you’ve been doing scripted work for as long as I have been, the idea of simply getting up and doing improv is a little bit terrifying! … However, I guess, if I could summon the courage to do it and not worry that I’d fall flat on my face, it might be fun to try something new.”

Though having now watched a fair number of improv performances in Chicago, O’Quinn noted that “I have become increasingly appreciative of the skill that it takes to do it well. However, there are now so many people doing it, I think the chances of people making it to ‘Saturday Night Live’ are about equal to the chances of people becoming an NFL quarterback!”

The show is the closing event of the Chicago Musical Improv Festival, which begins Thursday at the iO Theater. It features a variety of local acts as well as visiting troupes from Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and San Francisco. At 10:30 p.m. Aug. 27, the cast of “Opening Night” from iO’s L.A. theater will share the stage with the Deltones team from Chicago in a one-time-only musical mashup.

Contributing: Darel Jevens

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