Following last year\u2019s success, three nights of Chicago-style, family-friendly improvisational comedy returns to the Wilton High School Little Theater stage, beginning Thursday, Feb. 5.Directed by Second City Conservatory alumna and English and theater arts teacher Heather DeLude, \u201cFreeplay: A Night of Improv Comedy\u201d \u2014 also called \u201cSaturday Night Live\u201d \u2014 features spontaneous scenes and games performed by freshmen, sophomores and juniors.Ms. DeLude worked at Chicago\u2019s Second City Conservatory in the late 90s alongside comedians like Jason Sudeikis, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch.\u201cBeing there in the late 90s was a really great time to be there,\u201d said Ms DeLude. \u201cI didn\u2019t realize how many people I was meeting and how they would end up shaping comedy.\u201d Last year Freeplay started after Ms. DeLude was approached by a group of about 10 students who were interested in her professional improvisation background and formed a club. Ms. DeLude said that \u201ca lot of people didn\u2019t really flock\u201d to the club, but she taught the group sophisticated improvisational skills she had learned at the Second City Conservatory. With improv, no two performances are the same because each show is guided by audience participation. Members of the audience help propel scenes forward by providing suggestions, which essentially create each show. Thirty or more students auditioned for last year\u2019s performances, said Ms. DeLude, and \u201call were cast in either the Mainstage \u2014 the main group \u2014 or understudy roles,\u201d said Ms. DeLude, adding the students showed much dedication during rehearsals. \u201cI had essentially taken them as far as I could in rehearsal without a live audience, and I was so proud of them,\u201d she said.\u201cThey were absolutely ready for an audience, and I can assure you tears of joy were shed in the lighting booth as they took their bows.\u201dLast year\u2019s performances attracted more students to participate this year, continued Ms. DeLude, who said students have told her improv\u00a0 \u201cseems like so much fun\u201d and expressed interest in participating this year.\u201cAfter the rehearsal process began, new cast members have also remarked to me that they had no idea \u2014 as audience members \u2014 how hard it was to make improv appear so easy,\u201d she said. This year More than 60 cast members, technicians and musicians began rehearsing after Thanksgiving break for this year\u2019s performances. \u201cIt takes many hours for the improvisation to appear as polished as it does opening night,\u201d Ms. DeLude said. This year\u2019s Freeplay will include favorite scenes and games from last year as well as many newly added items to the comedy set. \u201cIn addition, we added a matinee show on Saturday, which will be all ages, family-friendly in design and include a talk-back with the improvisers afterward. Our hope is to spread the enthusiasm for improvisation to middle and elementary school students,\u201d said Ms. DeLude. \u201cWe will have a live student jazz band \u2014 \u00e0 la The Late Show or Saturday Night Live, and the student band even wrote an original theme song for Freeplay to open the show.\u201d Ms. DeLude said sharing her passion for improvisation with her students has been \u201can amazing opportunity.\u201d\u201cYet, let me be clear, they give back to me as much as I give to them,\u201d she said. \u201cThe lessons we have all learned through improvisation \u2014 as an ensemble, as a family, as\u00a0 people \u2014 through our journey in this show have far extended past the boundaries of the classroom or stage.\u201dFreeplay: A Night of Improv Comedy will take place Thursday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 7, at 4 and 8 p.m.Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults, and may be purchased during the high school\u2019s lunch periods, as well as at the door prior to the shows.For more information, call 203-834-4844.