My long running iO Harold team, Rattlesnake High School, will reunite for one day only at the Playground Theater in Chicago on Saturday, April 24th @ 7:30 pm. The upcoming show was called “especially intriguing” by the Chicago Sun-Times. I was on this team for four glorious years before I moved to Los Angeles. Our style was uniquely physical and many Rattlesnake shows ended in sex, fights or a mash-up of the two. I’m excited to see what this wonderful night of play will bring. Half the original players on RHS now live in Los Angeles and play on USS Rock N Roll but several of them are flying back to play. Whether you’ve never seen this group before or if you’ve just been jonesing for some physical snake pits… you won’t want to miss this show! Tickets for the festival will go on sale April 1 at www.chicagoimprovfestival.org. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chicago Improv Festival announces lineup March 9, 2010 4:15 PM | Cook County Social Club will be one of many local acts at this year’s fest. The beauty of improv is its unpredictability — but sometimes, you want to have at least a little information before jumping in. This week’s announcement about the lineup for the 13th Annual Chicago Improv Festival (April 19-25) offers just that. Some key numbers: 65. The number of acts performing at this year’s fest. Our favorite at first glance is Dusk: Improvised Tween Erotica (from Austin, TX). See the full schedule here. 38. That’s how many Chicago ensembles are included in that number. Especially intriguing: the Rattlesnake High School reunion show. 24 and 8. The number of different cities and countries, respectively, that the rest of the acts hail from. Boom Chicago All-Stars! 12. The number of locations for this year’s events, including Apollo Theatre, Annoyance Theater, the Athenaeum, Chemically Imbalanced Theater, ComedySportz, Gorilla Tango, IO Comedy Theater, Laugh Out Loud, Martyrs, The Playground and The Second City. 3. The number of recipients of the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. Harold Ramis, Dick Schaal and Severn Darden will be honored at 7 p.m. on April 21 at the Second City ETC theater. Susan Messing (Improviser of the Year) and Improvised Shakespeare Co. (Ensemble of the Year) will also be getting awards.
From the New York Times! From the CT Post! From the North County News! Even this lady liked us! Read the full articles below. Playing a Game of ‘Who’s the Adult Here?’ By ANITA GATES Published: March 11, 2010 One question has to be going through audience’s minds during “Kimberly Akimbo” at the Schoolhouse Theater: How old is Ruth Reid? Ron Marotta (IM)MATURITY The cast of “Kimberly Akimbo” includes Ruth Reid, Israel Gutierrez and Brian Hotaling. For once, this is a question an actress would want you to ask — or at least wonder about. Ms. Reid plays Kimberly, a typical teenager in many ways. She pouts when her father is late to pick her up. She kind of likes Jeff (Israel Gutierrez), the shy classmate who works at Zippy Burger. Playing Dungeons and Dragons, she adores the gore. (“They tore out my throat. Cool!”) Kimberly’s problem is that she has the body of a 60- or 70-year-old woman. The cause is not a wacky brain transfer like the one in “Freaky Friday” or in “Prelude to a Kiss.” It’s not a child’s wish granted too soon like the one in “Big.” It’s an honest-to-goodness disease similar to progeria, one that causes children to age at four and a half times the normal rate. Average life expectancy is 16, and Kimberly has just reached that birthday. Would that the shadow of death were her only problem. David Lindsay-Abaire, who wrote “Kimberly Akimbo,” which was presented by the Manhattan Theater Club in New York in 2003, knows that no one’s life is simple and that human beings aren’t always that nice. (Consider his other work, like the Pulitzer Prize-winner “Rabbit Hole,” which focused on parental grief over a little boy’s death.) This simultaneously sweet and biting production, ably directed by Raymond Munro, keeps the comedy coming, but it never lets us forget that Kimberly’s parents are seriously deranged. Or maybe they’re just painfully immature. Pattie (Molly Hale) and Buddy (Brian Hotaling), with their cutest-senior-class-couple names, are probably about half their daughter’s apparent age. Buddy drinks too much and spends a lot of time reflecting on how much excitement he has missed, like seeing the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, by becoming a husband and father. But at least he tries to grasp the nobility of adult life: “Most guys are just guys who work, right?” he says, speaking into a tape recorder to his second, unborn child. “There’s no shame in that.” Yes, Pattie is pregnant, and she callously predicts, “This one is going to be perfect.” Pattie also has bandaged hands because of carpal-tunnel surgery, Thorazine in the medicine cabinet and, by Act II, a broken leg in a huge cast. She carelessly announces that she’s sure she has cancer and is going to drop dead at any moment, when it’s really Kimberly who isn’t long for this world. By comparison, Pattie’s sister, Debra (Mollie O’Mara), a black-sheep type who has been secretly living in the local library,…
The Peapod Squad, the improv troupe I started in college, is still going strong. So strong in fact that there’s now a second troupe on campus. This year the Peapod Squad won it’s third Beanpod title, a coveted college improv title. I’m so proud of these guys. I’ve been back to teach improv there many times over the years and I am always impressed with how smart, funny and ready to learn they are. It does not surprise me that they won again. See the official Clark bulletin below or read here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Peapod Squad wins 3rd Beanpot improv title Thursday, March 4, 2010 he Clark University Peapod Squad took first place at the 2010 College Beanpot Improv Tournament, held Feb. 24-27 at ImprovBoston. Peapod competed against eight other area college improv teams to win first place, the third Beanpot title for the squad. Members of the Peapod Squad are Andrew Ninnemann ‘10, Kaylie Curran ‘10, Sarah Jette ‘10, Milo MacPhail ‘11, John Nolan ‘11, Danny Zeliger ‘11, Ian Michaels ‘11, Julian Kronick ‘12 (of Leominster), Laura Flynn ‘12, and Vicki Grogan ‘10. Individually, MacPhail won the Breakout Player award. The tournament is conducted in a Theater Sports-style competition, with teams going head-to-head, being scored individually according to Story, Skill, and Entertainment. This year’s tournament featured a “Goon” judge, who was allotted 15 points per round to give out as they saw fit, according to things they liked about the scenes. Peapod won the competition in the final round against Fairfield by playing a long-form version of a game (with the working title of “The Morality Game”) created by the Squad, in which the team went through the scenario of the way a character’s life would pan out if they made one moral decision over another. The team received a perfect score for this final game, bringing in the win. Peapod was coached at this year’s tournament by Impro Boston cast member Jenna O’Brien of Flaming Awesome, an IB house team. This year’s other contestants included Fairfield University; Northeastern University; MIT; WPI; Brandeis University; Boston University; Boston College; and Gordon College.
I helped Rich Fulcher make this promotional video for his new book Tiny Acts of Rebellion. A couple of guys from Boing Boing did all the shooting and it looks amazing. If you look closely you can see me in the video… and Phillip Mottaz‘s baby Henry.
In August, USS Rock N Roll walked away with the award for “Best Harold Team of 2009” at the Del Awards Ceremony at iO West. Not bad! I would personally like to thank everyone who voted for us, came to a USS show in the past year, or bought me a beer. You’re great!
USS Rock N Roll wins iO West’s annual Harold competition. It took half a dozen brackets and some very tough competition, but USS walks away with the trophy and bragging rights to… something. I’m sure. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us!