Becoming disabled is not funny, but for Ted Waltmire, dealing with his new challenges required him to have a good sense of humor, which is showcased in "The Mighty Ted: An Unexpected Journey."
Waltmire was 56 when he had his stroke.
"I had to relearn how to walk. I had slurred speech, and so I worked with a speech therapist," he said. "The occupation therapy taught me how to dress myself again, bathe, all of the things that everybody takes for granted that you're able to do."
Forced to retire from his librarian job due to his physical limitations, he started taking improvisation classes at Second City.
"I needed to be creative because I was a pianist, music director as a part time gig, and I missed being able to express myself," he said.
After three years of putting together "The Mighty Ted," it opened September 1.
"I realize that I couldn't do a one man show and be interesting for an hour to an audience, so we've got a wonderful cast that plays various therapists. One actress plays my wife Michelle," he said.
"When I first met him he was walking with a cane, and he doesn't walk with a cane anymore. And I knew that he was a funny guy, very interesting, and he had a story that he wanted to tell," said director Jay Sukow.
"I wanted to create a piece that explored what it was like to be disabled and hopefully enlighten the audience and realize that just because you're disabled it doesn't mean that you can't live as fully as you can," Waltmire said.
"The Mighty Ted" is playing at Second City in the Skybox Theatre every Saturday night during the month of September at 9 p.m. More information at http://www.secondcity.com/training/chicago/performances/