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.


News in Brief

12/17/2010

Keeping you up to date on what’s going on in comedy

  • The resignation of editor Brian Howard isn’t the only change over at CityPaper… RYAN CAREY of Critical Mass has started a new weekly look at Philadelphia’s comedy scene, LOL With It. And in his inaugural post, he chats with none other than CHIP CHANTRY.
  • Some exciting news from CHRIS COTTON and the gang at CENTER CITY COMEDY. LLC papers have been filed and they’ve made it official. Congratulations!
  • The schedule for NCCAF (North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival) has been posted. Seven Philadelphia improv groups have been slated to perform – Jessica Tandy, Rintersplit, Adrift, The Ones, N Crowd, Cubed & Rookie Card… as well as four sketch groups – Camp Woods, Bare Hug, Emily & Micah McGraw and Meg & Rob (with 2 shows!) and also stand up Aaron Hertzog. My apologies if I missed any locals while scanning the list.
  • And across the country on the same weekend, more Philly comedians will be tearing it up at SFIT (Seattle Festival of Improv Theater). Making their SFIT debuts will be the Amie & Kristen Show as well as MattAnd.

Be sure to keep up to date on Philly comedy happenings by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.


Last week of Comedy Month underway

11/16/2010

Posts have been lacking the last few weeks, as I’ve been otherwise occupied deep in the hilarity of the Philadelphia Comedy Collective’s COMEDY MONTH. Both the PHILADELPHIA IMPROV FESTIVAL and the PHILLY SKETCHFEST enjoyed incredible acts playing to record audiences. Recaps of those weeks will be coming soon.

Last night kicked of the final week of Comedy Month, with selections from the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE entitled These Guys Are Good Vol 1. We saw the comedic illusions and body manipulations of flexible comedian JONATHAN BURNS. THOMAS CHOINACKY gave audiences a taste of his obsession with an excerpt from his show Thomas is Titanic. Finally, UN Ambassador and Nobel Laureate BUDDY FELCH dropped jaws with tales of his experiences with Ghandi, the Dalai Lama and other high profile figures. The evening was hosted by the incredibly funny CHRIS COTTON.

The fun continues next with These Guys Are Good Vol 2. In the hopper for tonight are videos and sketches from I’D RATHER BE HERE PRODUCTIONS, the musical comedy stylings of TODD CHAPPELLE, and variety show comedy from 2 DUDES & A DUDE (featuring former 6th Borough sketchers COREY COHEN & JASON MESSINA).

Here’s a look at the rest of PJI Week:

TUESDAY
8PM: THESE GUYS ARE GOOD VOL 2

WEDNESDAY
8PM: NED TALKS

THURSDAY
8PM: THE N CROWD GOES LONG
10PM: COMEDY GONE BAD

FRIDAY
8PM: PREVIEW – A VERY LADIES & GENTLEMEN CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
10PM: COMEDYSPORTZ PRESENTS GAME, SET, MATCH GAME!

SATURDAY
CIF’S NATIONAL COLLEGE IMPROV TOURNAMENT
12PM, 2PM, 4PM & 6PM: EASTERN REGIONAL PRELIMINARIES
9PM: EASTERN REGIONAL FINALS

All shows are held at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom St in Center City Philadelphia.

Mixing sketch, stand-up, film, music, education, parody and a healthy dose of competition, this eclectic last week is the perfect topper to what has been an incredible Comedy Month. Come join us as PJI explores the bizarre and surreal corners of today’s comedy.

Tickets and additional information


Insomniac Alert: Get Dazed and Amused this weekend

08/26/2010

Ever get an itch for live comedy at 4AM? Then your insomnia-fueled dreams are about to come true my friend, as improvisers from both Philadelphia and Los Angeles take to the Adrienne’s Second Stage tomorrow for DAZED & AMUSED: THE 24 HOUR IMPROV MARATHON.

Produced by the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE and directed by MARY CARPENTER, the second year of this ambitious show runs from Friday at 10PM until Saturday at 10PM, featuring a full 24 consecutive hours of non-stop improv. Joining Carpenter on stage are Los Angelenos ALEXIS SIMPSON & THOMAS FOWLER (both former Philadelphians), in addition to local comedians MARIO FRABONINATHAN HOLT, KAREN GETZ, ALLI SOOWAL, JIM CARPENTER and DAVE DRITSAS.

The cast plans to keep a bit of variety in their games, performing both long and shortform formats. While they will remain on stage for the full marathon, cast members are allowed two 30 minute naps… however they must do so in full view of the audience, in one of two cots that will sit onstage. The only time anyone will be able to leave the stage is to use facilities, because according to cast member Simpson “hey, who wants to see that?”

In a world where the actors create everything, sleep-deprived hallucinations should pose no threat. “Not only did we survive,” recalls Carpenter of last year’s endeavor, “we put on a fantastic show.”

She adds, “Improv always makes people ask ‘How’d they do that?’ Doing it for 24 straight hours, well that’s ‘How’d they do that’ to the nth degree. For those final minutes, the entire audience was on its feet.”

All proceeds after production expenses benefit EDUCATIONWORKS, a non-profit organization that provides unique educational opportunities and academic enrichment for students in the Philadelphia area.

PJI has a variety of ticket options available… so if you want to just catch the opening or closing, want to come see middle of the night insanity or are brave enough to forge through the whole shebang, there’s an option to fit your both your wallet and your sleeping habits (or lack thereof).

DAZED & AMUSED
THE 24 HOUR IMPROV MARATHON

FRI 8/27 @ 10PM – SAT 8/28 @ 10PM
ADRIENNE SECOND STAGE | 2030 SANSOM ST
TICKETS: $7 – $24


Open Mic Sandwich tonight at Fergies

07/28/2010

Tonight at Fergies Pub, the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE presents OPEN MIC SANDWICH. For those who may be unfamiliar with the show, it features a regular open mic bookended by sets from two established comics. Performing sets tonight will be JOHN KENSIL and PAT HOUSE, with the whole evening hosted by TOMMY HIGHLAND.

PJI’S OPEN MIC SANDWICH
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28TH @ 8:30PM
OPEN MIC SIGNUP AT 8PM
UPSTAIRS @ FERGIES PUB | 1214 SANSOM ST


Announcing Philadelphia Comedy Collective and Comedy Month

06/10/2010

Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative Join Forces To Form Philadelphia Comedy Collective

New Collaborative Set to Present Month of Comedy in November

Three of the top forces in the local comedy scene are teaming up this year, becoming The Philadelphia Comedy Collective, and presenting Comedy Month. Forming the new collaborative are the Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative. Their first endeavor, Comedy Month, will run from November 1-21 at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom Street. The producers will announce the performance schedule later this summer.

The first week of the festival will be the now week-long Philadelphia Improv Festival featuring local longform and shortform improv acts and troupes from all over the country. Now in its sixth year, the Philadelphia Improv Festival has hosted top-notch local acts along with teams from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (NYC), iO West (LA), DSI Comedy Theater (NC), Second City (Chicago), the Magnet Theater (NYC), Washington Improv Theater (DC), and the People’s Improv Theater (NYC). The Philadelphia Improv Festival is produced by Matt Nelson, Alli Soowal, and Jason Stockdale.

Following the improv festival, Philly Sketchfest will present its third annual event, a full week dedicated to sketch comedy. Philly Sketchfest is the brainchild of sketch troupe Animosity Pierre’s manager Ben Maher and Pierre members Matt Lally and Dave Terruso; Jessica Ciaramella and Cathleen Collins are associate producers. As active members of the Philadelphia sketch scene, these comedians have experienced the growth of comedy in the city firsthand. In 2009, the festival grew to include over a dozen local and national sketch groups.

The Philadelphia Joke Initiative (PJI) will handle the final week of performances. The comedy advocacy organization recently completed a successful run of its improvised musical, “Rodgers and Hammerstein are Dead.” The group was founded in 2009 and is dedicated to supporting comedy and comedians in the greater Philadelphia area. PJI recognizes comedy has inherent cultural value, and will foster Philadelphia’s cultural community by regularly producing comedy events, nurturing local talent, encouraging that talent to remain in Philadelphia, and raising the profile of Philadelphia-based comedy on the national market. PJI is run by Alexis Simpson and Kate Sabato.

About The Philadelphia Comedy Collective

The Philadelphia Comedy Collective is a consortium of local producers, performers, and companies unified for the purpose of comedy advocacy, cultural vitality, and excellence in improvisation, sketch, stand up, theater, film, music, and other comedy media.


Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative Join Forces To Form Philadelphia Comedy Collective

New Collaborative Set to Present Month of Comedy in NovemberPhiladelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative Join Forces To Form Philadelphia Comedy Collective

New Collaborative Set to Present Month of Comedy in November