‘SNL’ star Cecily Strong to fill Lily Tomlin’s shoes in off-Broadway show

The former Chicago improviser takes on the multiple roles of Tomlin’s comedy ‘The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.’

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Cecily Strong is in her 10th season on “Saturday Night Live.”


Cecily Strong, who was a child actress and then an improviser in Chicago before finding fame on “Saturday Night Live,” is set to make her New York stage debut this winter.

The off-Broadway theater The Shed announced Tuesday that Strong will star in a new production of Jane Wagner’s “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.” The show’s multiple comic roles first were played by Wagner’s longtime partner, Lily Tomlin, when it debuted in 1977.

A film version came out in 1991.

Strong is no stranger to quick character changes, having inhabited an array of people real and imagined during her long run — nine seasons and counting — on “SNL.” The two-time Emmy nominee has made several appearances as Cathy Anne, Michael Che’s opinionated neighbor, and Gemma, the British arm-candy of various dirtbag boyfriends.

Her roster of impersonations includes Judge Jeanine Pirro, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Melania Trump.

“The Search” is scheduled to run Dec. 21-Feb. 6. “SNL” typically is on hiatus during most but not all of that period.

Before being hired on “SNL,” Strong was a regular at Chicago’s iO Theatre and an understudy at Second City. She grew up in Oak Park.

Two projects close to her heart were released last summer: her book “This Will All Be Over Soon” and the Apple TV+ series “Schmigadoon!,” on which she was a lead actor as well as a producer.

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