Charna's Open Road


    Central Route


    Chicago, IL


    Public Television: Season 2

  • ON DVD:



“Don't think that's all you can do, whatever [career] you choose. You might find something else that you might like. You're going to see that all these things that you do are lessons along the way.”


Acting & Theatre Entrepreneurship


Fear Goals Hard Work Money & Financial Security Opportunity Planning Success Experience Passion Chance


Teaching / Mentoring


attitude, broadcasting, career, challenges, comedy, daydream, decisions, happiness, improv, interviewing, parents, paths, positivity, radio, say yes, school teacher, teacher, try things, trying new things, what defines you


Thanks to a combination of luck, chance, and talent, Charna Halpern discovered worlds she never would have imagined when she was a college student set on a teaching career. Although she did become a teacher, her fate changed at the grand opening of her father's McDonald's franchise in Dixon, Illinois. After playfully interviewing some people for a local radio show to celebrate the event, she received a job offer from the company that owned the radio station. The professionals she impressed believed she had natural talent. She accepted the offer and worked at the radio station for a year. During that time she got her broadcasting license and learned a whole new medium. While in Chicago looking for another radio broadcasting job, she reached a crossroads once again: She impressed a man at a party with her improvisational skills, even though at the time she didn't know what improvising was. As far as she was concerned, she had been merely goofing around and having fun. He urged her to audition at Second City for a role with the legendary comedy troupe. Resistant at first, since she considered herself a radio broadcaster by then, she decided to audition anyway. A novice with no comedic training, Charna 'bombed terribly' at Second City, yet the audition piqued her curiosity. She wanted to know what she had lost out on. She began working in improv, and never looked back. The secret, Charna suggests, involves finding what you love and getting good at it. Life, for her, is like improvisation.

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