Promo trailer for Stage Fright – closing this weekend

04/26/2011

Using clips from the show on Saturday, 4/23 (a show inspired by a library and spiders), here’s a promo trailer for STAGE FRIGHT: AN IMPROVISED HOMAGE TO HITCHCOCK – giving you a taste of what the shows have been like. The show closes this Sunday, so you only have three chances to see a new Hitchcockian story improvised just for you.

STAGE FRIGHT: AN IMPROVISED HOMAGE TO HITCHCOCK
FRI – SUN THROUGH MAY 1 @ 8PM (BAR OPENS AT 7PM
LATVIAN SOCIETY (7TH & SPRING GARDEN)

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Little Plates, Big Tapas premieres this Friday

02/10/2011

Building on the success of last year’s Fringe show, HOW TO SOLVE A BEAR, The GROUNDSWELL PLAYERS – (aka LEO CALLAHAN) are mounting a new production this weekend in cooperation with the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE entitled LITTLE PLATES, BIG TAPAS. Billed as a ‘darkly comic offering’ – the show is a scripted play, workshopped from improvisation, and then subsequently fine-tuned under the direction of DAN PLEHAL.

L to R: Scott Sheppard, Jack Meaney

 

Set in a pasta joint, newly handed down to a culinary trained son – the show explores the comedic clash between big city dreams and small town realities as he attempts to turn the little establishment into a high profile tapas eatery.

SCOTT SHEPPARD, JESSE PAULSEN, JACK MEANEY and ALISON KING brought their previous experiences from How To Solve a Bear into the production, this time joined by long time Leo Callahan collaborators NICHOLAS MIRRA and NICK KERR. Kerr’s character even sets the mood with some piano playing.

While improvisation is a tool utilized by many writers during the development process, for theatrical newcomers like Mirra, the experience of honing and performing that material is something very different indeed. “I came to (the show) with the perspective of an improviser and writer, not an actor… it’s been an exhilarating and challenging process.”

For Mirra, the work has evolved from something familiar yet fleeting, to a body of work with real sustainability. “We tend to appreciate and then forget, because it’s improv and inherently transient… trying to capture, define and repeat is not something I’m accustomed to worrying about.” And it’s in that repeated execution that the reward becomes evident. “Everything we do on stage is imbued with intention and forethought.”

And just what can we expect from this little labor of love? I think Mirra sums it up best… “(the show) is a small-town comedy located at the intersection of food, family, love, loss, ambition, and Himalayan fungi.”

Little Plates, Big Tapas runs just four nights, Feb. 11-14 at the LATVIAN SOCIETY (541 N 7th St). But if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of this limited engagement, you’d best move quickly. Friday and Saturday shows are already sold out. Tickets are available at the Philadelphia Joke Initiative’s website.


Comedy for the Weekend Warrior

05/28/2010

Here’s the comedy that’s happening around you this weekend:

FRIDAY

• 8PM – The N Crowd | Actors Center | $15
• 8PM – Epsilon Faction & Friends | PHIT @ The Shubin | $10
• 8PM – Rodgers & Hammerstein Are Dead | Latvian Society | $20
• 8PM – Keith Robinson | Helium Comedy Club | $20-$25
• 8:30PM – Corey “Zooman” Miller | Laff House | $15
• 9:30PM – King Friday | PHIT @ The Shubin | $10
• 10:30PM – Keith Robinson | Helium Comedy Club | $20-$25
• 10:45PM – Corey “Zooman” Miller | Laff House | $15

SATURDAY

• 7:30PM – ComedySportz Philadelphia | Playground @ Adrienne | $15
• 8PM – Screening: Love Is A Battlefield | PHIT @ The Shubin | $10
• 8PM – PJI & Camp Woods: 11 Years of Space Docking | Connie’s | $10
• 8PM – Rodgers & Hammerstein Are Dead | Latvian Society | $20
• 8PM – Keith Robinson | Helium Comedy Club | $20-$25
• 8PM – Corey “Zooman” Miller | Laff House | $15
• 9:30PM – Activity Book & Friends | PHIT @ The Shubin | $10
• 10PM – ComedySportz Philadelphia | Playground @ Adrienne | $15
• 10PM – Corey “Zooman” Miller | Laff House | $15
• 10:30PM – Keith Robinson | Helium Comedy Club | $20-$25
• 11PM – Flying Leap Improv Jam | PHIT @ The Shubin | FREE
• 11:55PM – Corey “Zooman” Miller | Laff House | $15

SUNDAY

• 6PM – PHIT Level 3 Class Show | PHIT @ The Shubin | FREE
• 7PM – Rock*u*bator | Community Education Center | DONATIONS


Comedy for the Weekend Warrior

05/21/2010

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY


Comedy for the Weekend Warrior

05/14/2010

It’s a weekend packed full of shows, so let’s get to it…

FRIDAY
8:00PM – The N Crowd @ The Actor’s Center | $10-$15
8:00PM – Rogers & Hammerstein Are Dead @ The Latvian Society | $15
8:00PM – Adsit & Gausas w/ Activity Book @ The Adrienne | $20
10:00PM – Amie & Kristen Show w/ King Friday @ The Adrienne | $10

SATURDAY
7:30PM – ComedySportz @ The Playground | $12-$15
8:00PM – Rogers & Hammerstein Are Dead @ The Latvian Society | $15
8:00PM – Adsit & Gausas w/ Fletcher @ The Adrienne | $20
10:00PM – ComedySportz @ The Playground | $12-$15
10:00PM – Blind Troika @ The Adrienne | $10

SUNDAY
7:00PM – Incubator @ The CEC | Donations accepted


Opening Tonight: Rogers and Hammerstein Are Dead

05/13/2010

Tonight marks the long-awaited opening night of Ladies & Gentlemen: Rogers & Hammerstein Are Dead, presented by the Philadelphia Joke Initiative.

Ladies & Gentlemen aims to create full-length completely improvised musicals, with each new run of shows paying homage to noted composers and songwriters of musical theatre. Future runs may well be inspired by the songs and lyrics of Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber or Gilbert & Sullivan.

First up however, are the darlings of the golden age, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein – known for such Broadway classics as Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King & I, Carousel and The Sound of Music.

Over the last few months, the cast (under the direction of Jason Stockdale) has been completely immersed in the world of the famed songwriting duo, studying everything from song structure to character archetypes to dance styles – making sure that what they belt out is not only on key, but also on point. Every night will be a different musical, yet the goal is to have each one ring true to the musical tropes that R&H became so famed for throughout the 40s and 50s.

Ladies & Gentlemen features: Kennedy Allen, Mark Bringhurst, Olivia Brubaker, Olwyn Conway, Rob Cutler, Apple Milkshake, Joe Sabatino, Kristen Schier, Kelly Vrooman & Alan Williams.

The show opens tonight (May 13th) with a grand reception, and continues through May 29th.

LADIES & GENTLEMEN: ROGERS & HAMMERSTEIN ARE DEAD
PRESENTED BY THE PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE
OPENS MAY 13 (w/ OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION)
THU-SAT @ 8PM, SUN @ 7PM –  THROUGH MAY 29TH
THE LATVIAN SOCIETY | 531 N 7TH ST | TICKETS: $12-$20


PJIs Cecily and Gwendolyn run begins tonight

01/13/2010

Over the past few months, the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE has presented a number of single night showcases, including the Mike Connor Travelogues and a fundraiser featuring music from the Hopper Brothers. Beginning tonight, this small production company launches its largest endeavor to date, and plans to do so with a little Victorian class.

CECILY & GWENDOLYN’S FANTASTICAL BALLOON RIDE opens tonight and runs through January 31st at the Latvian Society in Northern Liberties.

The show, featuring KELLY JENNINGS and KAREN GETZ in the eponymous roles of Cecily and Gwendolyn, is a fully improvised imagining of two slightly mad Victorian ladies who fancy themselves anthropologists. When all is said and done and chronometers have been synced, each evening explores the notion that these time traveling ladies find themselves 175 years through space and time via their hot air balloon in present day Philadelphia – where each night’s audience will serve as lab rats of sorts… from whom they’ll extract their conclusions about the “modern” society in which we live.

I was fortunate enough to attend a private performance this past weekend, and can honestly say that I’ve never been quite so excited to see how audiences will react to a show. Karen and Kelly (as pictured L to R above) have taken the idea of audience participation, and replaced it with complete audience immersion. The entire show is an evening that we’re all invited to take part in. Everything from the set to the seating, the costumes to the conversation, all welcome the audience member in, begging to be engaged, hoping to engross. Sitting there with only a handful of people, I’ve never felt so unconscious of my contribution. Getz and Jennings do a remarkable job of captivating with ease. Something that while I know from talking to them has taken years to develop, comes across as simple and organic.

As you can tell, I’m really excited about how it all drew me in and am excited to hear how audiences respond to this level of participatory immersion.

If you’re interested in reading  more about the show, more can be found in this recent writeup in the CityPaper. You can also get to know these ladies by watching their YouTube videos or by joining them on Facebook.

During its three week run (Thursdays through Sundays, excepting tonight’s opening) the show will play host to a myriad of comedy guests, including local talent the likes of Chip Chantry, Cubed, Rare Bird Show, BWP, Leo Callahan, the N Crowd, Real Housewives of Philadelphia and ComedySportz Improvised Shakespeare as well as Hello Laser from the Magnet Theater in NYC.

CECILY & GWENDOLYN’S FANTASTICAL BALLOON RIDE
THE LATVIAN SOCIETY | 531 N 7TH ST
JANUARY 13-31, 2010 | 7PM
PRESENTED BY PJI WITH SUPPORT FROM FREEFALL PRODUCTIONS