As our theater changes and grows, our House Teams change and grow along with us. It’s always a fascinating experience to see a team through its entire lifespan: from the excitement of the audition and casting process, to the team debut, through amazing shows on our stage as well as stages across the country. These teams aren’t just teams. They are ensembles that become families.
But in every House Team’s lifespan, there also comes the time when a team is ready to be retired. And this month, the time has come to say goodbye to a spectacular team – Dr. Sleepover. Ever since they formed, this ensemble has shown a level of energy and drive that has garnered them a huge fan base and made their shows a must-see experience.
As we reach their final performance, we’ve asked the cast to share their thoughts about this great team.
I will always consider Dr. Sleepover to be that first opportunity to seriously pursue my passion of performing. From our sexy Tuesdays at the Shubin Theater and the hours spent rehearsing in that sweltering hot church on South 8th St, we are lucky to have witnessed firsthand the growth of PHIT and this comedy scene here in Philadelphia. I am forever grateful to everyone who came to our shows. One thing is for certain; I can feel the love tonight. Doctors out! – Bobby Lang
One of the things that will always stick with me about Dr. Sleepover is that we were always cranking on all cylinders even in practice. There were times when we would do a set in practice that was so good that I would get kind of mad that there was no audience. There are so many of those sets that I still think about to this day and that I wish we recorded.
I’m going to miss playing with everyone every week. I remember one of the most common notes we would get is that too many of our two person scenes would turn into group games. We just always wanted to play with each other. If there was a fun scene happening, sooner or later we’d all just pile into it. And somehow it worked. We just had immediate chemistry.
I’ve been archiving all of Dr. Sleepover’s shows and the thing that struck me the most going back through them is that this chemistry is apparent even in our very first show. We just gelled so quickly. I give all the credit in the world to Rob. He is a genius. He had such a great vision for the team and everyone he cast was so perfect and added so much to the mix. The fact that I fit into that vision and that I could contribute to Dr. Sleepover is such an overwhelming feeling that it’s beyond description. I am incredibly proud and incredibly humbled.
I want to thank R.J., Tara, Katie, Dave, Bobby, Addie, and Josh for being the best team ever and thanks to Rob and Kristen for being amazing directors. Dr. Sleepover will always be one of the highest points of my life. – Ryan T. Barlow
Dave changed my whole perception on letting a crowd influence your set. Whether it’s 1 or 100 ppl, whether they are laughing at everything or nothing, Dave told me after a set with a light crowd one night he doesn’t care if there’s 1 person in the audience, he’s going to do everything he can to make that person laugh.
Bobby’s energy and positivity is contagious. You can literally not be in a bad mood around that guy. Also he picks up girls on trains which is pretty smooth.
Rob’s mind fascinates me. He is always seemingly inventing new ways to play, new games to try and new ways to look at things. Rob is the vision behind Dr. Sleepover.
Tara is a wildcard and I say that with the highest of praise and no negative connotation. She always surprises me with the choices she makes and playing with her is an absolute pleasure.
Katie is an improv sniper. She sits back, bides her time and when the moment is right, she strikes with lethal precision, ie a great improv move. Rob always told her to get in the set more, and she took that note to heart, but even in sets where she wasn’t featured a lot, she’d always make a couple of strong moves that really helped the set.
Addie! What can I say about this overachieving teen that hasn’t already been said? Straight A’s – check. Black belt in martial arts - check. Imorov house team member before college admission – check. She is everything I hope my kids are at that age. Playing with her was always rewarding. She is very mature for her age but not yet jaded (ie officially an adult with adult responsibilities) which gives her this sense of freedom which makes her scenes innovative and fresh.
Josh is one of the best listeners I’ve ever worked with. He has this innate ability to not get consumed with what his next move is, and truly listen to what’s going on in the scene. This allows his to respond honestly, truthfully and 100% in the moment, marking some of the purest improv I’ve ever witnessed.
Ryan “T-Bar” Barlow is such a quick and witty player. Sometimes I don’t even get his jokes or pulls until the audience erupts and I realize wow there was something there! Playing with Ryan makes you a batter improviser as his style forces you too look for the connections.. always.
And last but not least Kristen! Kristen is so amazing. She was my first improv director ever on Bed Savage and I was delighted to have her back on Dr. Sleepover. She has so much knowledge to impart it’s mind blowing (excuse the pun). She has very high standards for herself (I’ve seen her after numerous sets she was in that I thought were amazing, self -critiquing) which forces the team to step up their game. The stuff she worked on with us over the last few months made me not just a better improviser, but a better actor as well. First round draft pick on anything improv related, ever. – R.J. Payne
Two moments stand out for me when thinking about Dr. Sleepover. During one of our practices while working on group games, someone entered the scene snapping and speaking in a sing-song voice about a restaurant. Everyone jumped in immediately with such amazing commitment — our group mind was really on point. My other stand-out moment was during a show where we had two scenes set in stadium-style observation rooms (one overlooking a surgery and the other at a sausage factory). We were able to get the entire audience to do the wave with us. It was a really great view from the stage and one of my favorite moments as an improviser. – Katie Skrzek
I have been incredibly privileged to work with this team and these talented improvisers and to see their shows over the years. They put other teams on notice with how good they are and their contribution to PHIT is legendary. Hall of Fame worthy. – Kristen Schier
I left Dr. Sleepover for 8-months to study in Italy and for every show I missed Dr.Sleepover filmed a pre-show warm-up that consisted of saying a phrase where each word began with the letters of my name (Ex. Tyrannosauruses Are Really Aggressive (Katie) or Torn Acls Really Ache (Ryan)). They did this for every show and posted the video to my Facebook wall. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me, when school was difficult or if I was feeling lonely, I’d watch these videos and laugh — thinking of my improv family back in Philly. – Tara Demmy
I’m not sure where to begin with Dr. Sleepover. I love everyone on the team so much and it
is hard for me to pick one memory. I feel unbelievably lucky. I got to work with some of the most talented, dedicated, and high energy performers in Philadelphia. I could not ask for a better group of friends. – Rob Gentile
Dr. Sleepover has been so incredibly important in my life. The team was my introduction to the family at PHIT, and they made me feel so at home and welcome instead of an awkward 16 year old who didn’t belong. They came to my house and let my mom feed them. They hugged me and cheered me when I got into NYU. They helped me prompose and then came to pre prom for pictures. They always knew how to make me laugh or feel better when being a “teen” felt realll horrible. They are a family to me that will not go away once our stage time does. I want to thank each and every member of the team,Bobby Lang, Dave Piccinetti, Tara Demmy, Katie Skrzek, Ryan T. Barlow,R.J. Payne, Joshua James, new mom Kristen Schier, and of course, our most beloved Dad, Robert Walker. For loving to say “YEAH”, for always sticking together, for being the family I didn’t know I needed. Not a day goes by without me thinking of you all. I love you so much it makes me cry.
I will always have your back and touch your pants. – Addie Weyrich
Catch Dr. Sleepover’s final show this Saturday January 10th in our 9PM block. Tickets available here.