Page One is Back!

After a two year break from the PHIT stage, Page One is back! This monthly show combines the world of theater with improv for a truly unique experience. Every show, a local playwright is invited to bring the first page of an unpublished script. Then the cast of Page One reads the first page and improvises the rest of the play.

The show was originally developed by Will Luera at ImprovBoston and brought to PHIT Comedy led under the direction of Steve Kleinedler. The reinstallment of Page One is directed by Lizzie Spellman, who was a member of the originals cast at PHIT. She said about the show, “Page One is so important to me. From the very beginning, as a former cast member, the show has been the most rewarding project I’ve ever been a part of. Being able to create an entire piece of theatrical work from just one page in front of a live audience is incredible.” The cast of Page One includes Gab Bottoni, Robyn Cartlidge, Rob Cutler, David Donnella (who returns from the original cast), Shannon Fahey, Jon Plester, and Cecilia Watson.

Lizzie Spellman (right) pictured with the original cast

We wanted to learn more about the new cast of Page One, so we asked them a few questions.

What makes you excited about being a part of Page One?
Rob Cutler: I get to work with talented improvisers, a great director, and fantastic playwrights. Being able to utilize skills carried over from my work with scripted theatre into an improvised environment certainly made the project appealing, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

David Donnella: Page One has always been the project that scares me the most. It’s outside my comfort zone as a performer and that feeling pushes me to do it.

Gab Bottoni: This cast, for starters. I feel really #blessed to be among all these talented people, some of whom I’ve admired and have been wanting the chance to play with. So, I’m jazzed that’s actually happening now. Also, any chance to do narrative, grounded improv excites me. And knowing that the writer of the first page of our play is in the audience makes the experience of performing this show feel a little personal, and definitely more important. I’m excited to show the writer’s every month our interpretation of [the first page of] their work.

Robyn Cartlidge: I used to go to the shows back in the day when Page One was around and I absolutely loved it. I’ve also never had the opportunity to work with Lizzie, so that was an added bonus in the whole process.

Shannon Fahey: I’m most excited about getting to cross two of my favorite things (improv and playwrighting) together in one show!

Jon Plester: I’m a latecomer to the cast, only recently having been added. So the fact that I’m coming into something that’s already in motion, something that is already working incredibly well, is very exciting to me.

What are your favorite things about your teammates?
Rob Cutler: We all bring something different into the room, but are able to play at a really intelligent and interesting level. There’s a willingness from everyone involved to eschew the cheap laugh and get deeper into characters, plot, and themes, without becoming maudlin and over the top.

David Donnella: How quickly everyone was willing to get messy with each other. Shows like this require a great deal of trust and everyone on this team is comfortable taking risks and looking silly.

Gab Bottoni: Every single one of my teammates has the ability to play it real on stage. I think that’s what I love most about this cast. Lizzie made it clear in the audition process how crucial real, human emotions, relationships, and reactions are to this kind of show. The comedy kind of takes care of itself when you’re reacting honestly to each other, and I think everyone on Page One gets that.

Robyn Cartlidge: The trust in this team is unreal. We have only been working together for a few months but we all come together so well for the performances. It’s just a very fun group of people who love to dance and make up weird songs 🙂

Shannon Fahey: My teammates are all very vulnerable, honest and incredible character performers. I am lucky to work with them.

Jon Plester: Everyone in the Page One cast is someone who I’ve wanted to play with for a very long time. They’re all performers who have done something on stage that has pushed the limitations of what I thought could be done in improv.

Why should someone come see a Page One show?
Rob Cutler: It’s cheaper than a movie! I think the format allows us to go deeper than most long form shows. Not knocking the Harold or anything, but Page One gives us an opportunity to flesh out grounded characters in real ways, and tell really unique stories.

David Donnella: Someone should come see a Page One show if they’re interested in seeing a format of theater that really highlights how small the difference between comedy and drama really is.

Gab Bottoni: You should see Page One because you want to see the first page of a play enacted, then promptly crumpled up and thrown away to make room for the unscripted. This is probably your only chance to discover an entire one-act play at the same exact time we do.

Robyn Cartlidge: I guess because it’s something different. That’s my favorite part of the Dynamite Series – it offers a different spin on the improv world.

Shannon Fahey: Someone should see a Page One show because it’s so unpredictably fun. Life is always fun, but in unpredictable ways!

Jon Plester: There’s nothing else like it happening in Philadelphia.

What would you like to hear an audience member say after seeing Page One?
Rob Cutler: “Can I buy you a drink?”

David Donnella: “If that were a play I’d see it again”

Gab Bottoni: “Wow, that show was great! What’s Greg Maughan’s number? I wanna tell him that it should never be cut from the theater’s programming again!!!”

Robyn Cartlidge: “Boy oh boy, that was great” or “anyone have a tissue I can’t stop crying tears of joy”

Shannon Fahey: “Wow, who wrote this??”

Jon Plester: “That the show is not only funny, but an engaging theatrical experience.”

 

You can see Page One every fourth Friday of the month. Their next show is on April 22nd!

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Finders Keepers: A Family Friendly Show

Finders Keepers is PHIT Comedy’s first family friendly show! Every Saturday evening you can bring your kids to a show the whole family will love. The cast is comprised of teachers in PHIT’s Kids & Teens program and experienced improvisers. The show is suitable for kids ages 10 and up and if you know a funny kid, PHIT offers classes for kids in kindergarten up through high school.

Sarah Clemency, who teaches Beginner Improv Skills for grades 2-3, said, “I think it’s going to be great for young kids to be able to watch improv especially if they are part of our PHIT Kids & Teens program.” The rest of the cast includes Brett Rader, Danielle Klaiman, Derrick Houck, Geoff Hartmann, Kristofer Hodge, Kate Fruhman, Kristen Schier, Kyle Hancock, Mary Collins, Melissa Widhson, Neil Bardhan, Nick Gillette, Rachel Semigran, Renna Wirchin, Sam Abrams, Sue Jay, and Susan LaPalombara. The cast is directed by Joe Tuzzi who is also the TA for Intermediate Short Form Improv for grades 6-8. To learn more about Finders Keepers, we asked Joe a few questions!

Photo by Sam Abrams Photography

How did you get involved with this show?

I starting out as a TA in the Kid and Teens program when Rachel Semigran, who was the director of the program at the time, told us they would be starting a family friendly show and from there I reached out and asked if I could help. A bunch of meetings and planning sessions later and we have our show!

Why do you think parents should take their kids to see Finders Keepers?

The biggest reason is that it’s fun! The kids have a chance to watch long form improv and laugh without worrying about any not family friendly situations.

Photo By Erin Pitts Photography

What makes you excited about getting to work with this cast?

There are just so many amazingly talented people on this cast and seeing them mixed up in so many different ways has been great.

You can see Finders Keepers every Saturday at 5 pm!

Follow PHIT’s Kids & Teens Program!

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ENROLL IN PERSON SUNDAY, APRIL 9TH! SAVE $50, GET A FREE PHIT WATER BOTTLE, AND STUDENT PASS EARLY!

On Sunday, April 9th, 2017 from 12:30pm – 5:30pm you can walk up to the box office and enroll in a class right then and there. Typically all enrollment is handled online, but thanks to a change in our enrollment system we can now offer in person sales. This gives you a chance to talk through the classes, instructors, and schedule with a live human being.

Enrolling in a 101-401 class in person on this date will have a couple extra perks too! In addition to securing your spot in class and saving $50 off the full enrollment cost, you will receive both a free PHIT water bottle for those hot summer months AND your Session 3 2017 PHIT student pass early! That alone will give you a couple weeks of shows for FREE.

If you’ve already enrolled in a class you can still stop by to grab your water bottle and student pass. If you want to enroll in an April workshop or an elective such as Improvised Scene Study with Nick Gillette, this also an opportunity for your to do so. If this test goes well we will consider doing in person sales times more often.

If you’d like a peek at what Session 3 has to offer you can CLICK HERE to view all our upcoming classes. You can use the filter options to narrow down your search. There’s a lot of great stuff coming for Session 3!

Can’t make it to PHIT on or before April 9th? Don’t worry! You can still take advantage of the FREE water bottle offer online, though you won’t get that or your pass until class starts in June. If you can’t get in a class until after the 9th, it’s worth noting that the $50 off sale runs through Sunday, April 16th, 2017 sans hydration unit. Please email classes@phitcomedy.com with any questions. Hope to see you here on Sunday!

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Black History Monthly

Black History Monthly is a new diversity-focused variety show at PHIT Comedy. Every second Friday of the month, they create a space for stand-up comedians, sketch comedy, improv, visual artists, and dance, which you can see below. The show was created and is hosted by Leticia Viloria, Ronald Metellus, Brandon Mitchell, and Keane Cobb. With their next show approaching on April 14th, we had to know more about Black History Monthly.

We spoke with the show’s hosts to learn more about their thoughts and dreams.

What sparked you to start this series?
Keane Cobb: I wanted to produce and host a show from scratch. As I was thinking about how to go about it, I was approached by Ronald and Leticia and I jumped at the opportunity.
Leticia Viloria: The lack of places where you can see a wide variety of comedy.  Not just stand up and improv (although I love those as well).
Ronald Metellus: There are a lot of talented POCs who don’t get booked enough. I wanted to stop complaining about it and find a way to get people quality stage time. I also wanted to work with Brandon, Leticia, and Keane.
Brandon Mitchell: Ronald, Keane, and Leticia already had a super fire idea and when I was asked to be apart of it, I couldn’t turn it down.

How do you prepare for a show?
Brandon: When I was a year into stand up, whenever I told my mom I had a show she would tell me “Get rich or die tryin”, so now I listen to 50 Cent before every show.
Keane: Stretch, drink a lot of water, take a deep breath and remember how dope I am
Ronald: I try to find a good shirt to wear. Once, I’ve picked something presentable, I jump around backstage to work out my nerves.
Leticia: Squats

What do you want to get out of this project or where do you see it going?
Brandon: I try not to think too far ahead about where I want this show to go. I’m just hoping that it can me in a position where I could buy a fur coat.
Leticia: Encouraging different types of comedy and hopefully inspiring others to think outside the box.
Keane: I want to be able to show as many different forms of performance arts to the general public as possible. I also want to introduce artists to other artists that may not cross paths. The dream scenario would be for Black History Monthly to get to a national level where stars got their first big break, or just the other hosts and myself become well known and wealthy because of the show. Whichever comes sooner
Ronald: It’d be interesting to do the show in different cities.

Who are your dream guests?
Brandon: Dave Chappelle
Ronald: Saul Williams and Kevin Hart and my grandma.
Keane: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza
Leticia: Reggie Watts

What makes you feel passionate about this show and comedy?
Brandon: Comedy is dope, my friends are dope, and this show is dope. I know that every second Friday we are going to do super fly shit and that right there keeps me going.
Keane: Making people laugh is my best skill. I love how much making someone laugh can change so much for their day. Any way I can provide that, I am more than happy and willing to do so
Leticia: Variety! In New York  (where I’m from) there were so many different types of comedy that labels couldn’t catch up with them! This was good and bad. Burlesque and comedy are great, but watching someone take a nap on stage is not.
Ronald: When I tell people about the show, they’ll sometimes use the word “necessary.” So far, the audiences have been great, so it feels necessary. I’m always excited for them to see the acts we brought together.

You can see the next Black History Monthly show on Friday, April 14th at 9:00 pm!
Follow Black History Monthly on Facebook!

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Just One More Chance to Catch Just Right!

After 27 shows it’s time for the final line-up for Aaron Abramowitz and Mekki Leeper’s Just Right. We’re sad to see the show go, and hope you’ll grab a ticket to help us celebrate the end of it’s run at 9:00 p.m.  on March 27th (that’s next Monday)! You can get tickets for the final show here.

Mekki and Aaron have done an amazing job since the show’s inception bringing top-notch stand-up comics to PHIT Comedy’s stage – and mixing local performers with great out of town guests. The show really did become a destination for visiting stand-ups who were passing through or wanted to make a day-trip over to Philly.

“I was always impressed with how dedicated Mekki and Aaron were: not just to improving as performers, but also as show runners,” said PHIT Comedy founder Greg Maughan. “They really out-hustled anyone when it came to getting talent on the show, and they were serious about only having people perform who could really hold an audiences attention and keep them laughing.”

Although Just Right is ending we hope we’ll continue to see Mekki and Aaron on our stages and shows, and they’ll also be producing and performing all over Philly. PHIT will be continuing our commitment to stand-up comedy as well.

If you’re a comic looking to start booking a showcase or running a mic, you can always reach out to us via email (contact@phitcomedy.com). If you’ve got weird offbeat ideas that mix stand-up and other comedy you can also send it to our variety producer Joe Moore using our variety show pitch form.

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Introducing The Codename: Bacchus Actors!

The writers for our newest sketch house team, Codename: Bacchus, directed by Kathryn codenamebacchusAmrhein, have been hard at work getting ready for the team’s premiere, so we’ve cast the actors that will help bring their sketches to life.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to come out and audition. There were far more talented performers than we could cast at this time, which is very exciting for future projects. We hope to see all of these talented people, and others interested in performing in sketch comedy, get involved by bringing material to PHIT’s sketch open-mic Sketch Up or Shut Up, performing on a show like Theme Show or Monologues, participating in Up All Night (our Improv-to-Sketch 24-Hour Cram), or producing their own independent sketch show at PHIT. Opportunities to grow as a comedian are on the rise in Philadelphia: we look forward to seeing what talented people will assemble the next time we hold performer auditions.

Several Codename: Bacchss writers will act in the team’s shows, and joining them onstage will be:

CODENAME: BACCHUS ACTORS

Nathaniel Biagiotti

Derrick Houck

Jenna Kuerzi

Wendy Lenhart

Brooke McCarthy

Chuong Pham

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PHIT Seeking Pitches & Partners For Our 2017 FringeArts Shows!

PHIT Comedy’s transfer of The Cambridge Footlights “Canada” from the Edinburgh Fringe. (Pictured from left to right: Jason Forbes, George Fouracres, Emma Powell, and Phil Wang).

PHIT is proud to be returning to the FringeArts Festival and is excited to work with members of the theater community with new comedic show ideas. PHIT’s experience in successfully producing shows at the Philly Fringe Festival and FringeArts stretches back over a decade and includes 50+ productions, including: improvised soap operas, live podcast recordings, sketch comedy, storytelling showcases, full-fledged variety shows (complete with dancers and a live band), an original musical, and multiple transfers from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We’re excited to hear what you’d like to do and see if we can help!

Ralph Andracchio in PHIT Comedy’s “The Grimacchio Variety Hour” at the 2012 Philly Fringe Festival.

Use the form linked here to submit your idea for a 2017 FringeArts show to be performed at PHIT Comedy and we will consider your pitch for possible inclusion in our slate of shows this September. On the application you will be asked to provide information about yourself and your collaborators; your pitch, your needs for cast, crew, and production; ideas you have for marketing of your show; and any other artistic support you feel it will require. The pitch form can be edited at any time after you submit up until the deadline for submissions on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Rich Lee and Harry Watermeier (as part of the cast of nationally recongized sketch comedy group The Flat Earth) in a PHIT sketch comedy revue at the Philly Fringe Festival.

All pitches will be reviewed by PHIT’s artistic team and administrative staff and receive a response. If your pitch is selected for inclusion in PHIT’s programming for the 2017 FringeArts Festival, you will receive:

  • A run of performances on one of PHIT’s two stages during the dates of the festival.
  • Help developing a budget for your festival show, with PHIT covering all budgeted festival show costs.
  • Assistance in casting your festival show, if needed.
  • Rehearsal space to prepare for your festival show.
  • Marketing and public relations assistance for your festival show.
  • Box office, house management, and backstage support for your festival show.
  • Archival video and photo recording of performances of your festival show.
  • Compensation for your show based on its commercial success.

“Reasonable Doubt” – an improvised homage to Law & Order, which premiered on PHIT’s stage as part of the Philly Fringe Festival and went on to perform at New York City’s Upright Citizens’ Brigade Theatre. (Pictured left to right: R.J. Payne, Scott Hinners, Quinton Alexander)

We expect many more great pitches than we will be able to produce. If your pitch is not accepted as part of our Fringe run, you are free to submit the idea to PHIT for production at another time throughout the year or you to take it (and the feedback you receive) elsewhere to produce with another organization or on your own. Chosen submissions will be notified by Monday May 1, 2017.

Thank you for considering PHIT Comedy as a partner in producing your show at the 2017 FringeArts Festival, now send us your ideas!

Kristy Goldy and Aaron Hertzog in Goat Rodeo’s “Cart Before The Horse” – an original sketch comedy revue PHIT Comedy produced for the 2013 FringeArts festival.

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New York’s Annoyance Theater Coming to PHIT for April Residency!

Continuing our longstanding record of bringing the best emerging comedic talent in the country straight to Philadelphia audiences, PHIT Comedy is excited to be partnering with the famous Chicago/Brooklyn based Annoyance Theater in April for a series of eight performances spread across every weekend of the month. PHIT and Annoyance have worked together bringing shows to Philadelphia since 2007 and this special month-long residency is a celebration of our decade of collaboration.

Annoyance company alumni include Saturday Night Live cast members and household names such as Vanessa Bayer, Stephen Colbert, Jon Favreau, Jane Lynch, and Andy Richter. Annoyance is best known for its absurdist and outrageous brand of comedy made famous in shows like Co-Ed Prison Sluts (the longest running musical in Chicago theatre history), The Real Live Brady Bunch (which starred a young Jane Lynch as Mrs. Brady), and the controversy-stirring You Darn Antichrist!

“Annoyance has been the bleeding edge of bizarre emerging comedy in the United States for almost thirty years, and we’re excited to be bringing the best of their NYC work to Philly audiences again this spring,” said PHIT founder and executive director Greg Maughan.

Jessica Snow, PHIT’s Artistic Director, described her excitement. “When I graduated from college and thought it unlikely I’d improvise again, someone gave me Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier, who founded Annoyance in Chicago, and I was pulled in harder than ever before. I became obsessed with Napier and his theater. I was excited to see them start doing things in New York because Chicago is far, so having Annoyance shows visit PHIT is awesome for me. I can walk to Annoyance shows in April without leaving Philadelphia; I love that.”

The Annoyance Residency Performance Calendar:

  • Friday, April 7th, 10:30 p.m. – Bleech. A one-man sketch comedy show from Anthony Oberbeck, a regular at the famous Just for Laughs comedy festival.
  • Saturday, April 8th, 9:00 p.m. – Postmen. An unrelenting sketch comedy show from the creators of the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour, featuring a line-up of comedic heavy hitters that includes Matt Barats (Just for Laughs Fresh Face – 2015), Carmen Christopher (Chris Gethard’s The Special Without Brett Davis), and Anthony Oberbeck (multiple Just for Laughs appearances).

 

  • Friday, April 14th, 10:30 p.m. – Nervosa: The Musical. An original sock-puppet musical comedy about body image, featuring book and music created by an all-female creative team.
  • Saturday, April 15th, 9:00 p.m. – Disco Demolition. A comedic recreation of the most infamous baseball game promotion in history, which caused the Chicago White Sox to forfeit a game against the Detroit Tigers on July 12, 1979 after a crate of disco records was detonated on the field, sparking a riot.

 

  • Friday, April 21st, 10:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 22nd, 9:00 p.m. – Secret Shows!
    If we can’t tell you about it yet, you know it has to be something special.

 

  • Friday, April 28th, 10:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 29th 9:00 p.m. – Moon Crew.The Moon Crew answers an S.O.S. distress signal from Dr. Shelley and her crew of AmazonSky scientists stranded on Mars. It was supposed to be an easy shoot-and-scoop job, but the mysterious Dr. Shelley forgot to mention one thing: The musclebound, vodka Red Bull-chugging, shirt ripping…MEATHEADS ON MARS! The stakes launch into the stratosphere when one of the Moon Crew starts lifting… a lot.There’s a sandstorm brewing on Mars, y’all. Strap in.

 

“We’re very excited to take Philadelphia to the Moooooon (and Mars),” says Riley Taggart of Moon Crew.  Charlie Walden of Disco Demolition Night added, “We’re pumped as hell to bring Disco Demolition Night to PHIT. The show takes place mostly at a baseball stadium in 1979 and involves a live organist.

Annoyance’s residency also includes a set of workshops for Philadelphia performers. PHIT Education director Mike Marbach said “We are excited to offer five workshops throughout the month of April covering both improv and sketch comedy. It will be the first time time most of the instructors have set foot here. This is a great opportunity to get a taste of what makes the Annoyance Theater so special.”

 

The Annoyance Residency Workshop & Master Class Calendar:

So there it is – another amazing opportunity for comedy fans and comedy students right here at PHIT Comedy next month. We hope you are as excited as are!

 

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EVENTS AT PHIT FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 14TH ARE CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER

PHIT has decided to close this evening and will not be having any events. Although the snow appears to have stopped in Center City at this time, the fact that much of the accumulation downtown was sleet and freezing rain means that local authorities are discouraging travel, and most of SEPTA’s non-subway routes are shut down. We don’t think it is worth the risk for performers, staff, volunteers, students and audiences to travel under these conditions. Relax, stay warm and stay safe!

If you’re bored and thinking about comedy today, you can always check out our list enrolling classes starting this weekend!

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Thank You, Places: An Improvised Musical

Thank You, Places is PHIT’s premiere musical improv team. Every 1st and 3rd Friday they create an hour-long musical on the spot that you’ll never be able to see again. Thank You, Places was cast in the Fall of 2016 by their director Dave Sucharski. Each show, Music Director, Kevin Mucchetti accompanies the cast on the keyboard bringing their songs to life.

We wanted to know more about the cast of Thank You, Places. So we asked them a few questions to get to know more about this multi-talented team.

What have you guys liked about playing with each other so far?
“It’s so fun to collaborate and write songs together on the spot. Everyone is super talented, so it’s so fun to be in scenes and also to watch and listen from the sidelines.” Steve Holland

“Everyone brings a unique angle! Some people have more background in improv while others are musical theater experts. We have trained opera singers, dancers, and word-slingers. Every rehearsal is full of surprising, hilarious and dramatic moments!” Claire Halberstadt

“The team is a force of fresh, positive energy which makes practice and shows incredibly fun.” Scott Hinners

“Holy cats, these folks are talented! Each member has multiple skills, like Angelina who is both a beautifully poetic lyricist and can sing like a bird or Rob who has a bass voice that sounds like butter and creates so many hilarious characters. Together we make one hell of a well-rounded team.” Sue Taney

“Not only is everyone an extremely kind, funny, and gifted improviser, but I adore how our shared love of music, musicals, and the accompanying tropes makes it super easy for us to just read each other’s minds. I was first super intimidated by the idea of doing a 45-minute improvised show with multiple musical numbers, but with my teammates, it feels so easy and seamless.” Angelina Meehan

“Is everything a valid answer? Everything. This group never ceases to amaze me with their talent and wit.” Rob Alesiani

What is your background in musical theater or music? 
“I was briefly in the Philadelphia Boys Choir at the same time Rob Alesiani was in ’95, but we didn’t find that out until we met at PHIT a few years ago. Other than that I sang in a punk-ska band in college. This will be the first musical I’ve ever been in!” Steve Holland

“I have been a life-long musical theatre nerd from age ten on. I saw my first musical (Titanic) on Broadway when I was 7, and was sold. For most of my high school career I was involved in a wonderful children’s theatre in Wilmington, DE, where I had the chance to play a lot of chickens and plates and turtles. Today I’m happy when I’m doing anything related to music or musicals- whether it’s improv, being part of an a cappella troupe, or rage tweeting during an NBC Live musical.” Alanna Shaffer

“Let’s just say that I didn’t listen to “normal music” until I left for college and learned to branch out from strictly original broadway cast albums… I was a typical musical theater child- tap shoes, jazz squares, gay boyfriends, the whole package. I spent every summer doing musicals at Upper Darby Summer Stage (where we do, in fact, have magic up our sleeve). There’s no bad day that a musical-theater-power-ballads-playlist can’t turn around.” Claire Halberstadt

“My mom was a punk rock musician in the 80s and I was singing with her both on stage and off as long as I can remember. I also loved performing in the musicals and chorus in high school and got my bachelor’s degree in theatre. Music is something that has always brought me great joy.” Sue Taney

“I went to my first Broadway show when I was 3 (Phantom of the Opera!) and stayed obsessed with musical theater ever since (theater camps, school plays, college theater, the whole nine). I play a few instruments, have sung in a cappella groups, arranged and written music, directed, choreographed, and co-written musicals. Before coming to Philadelphia I worked in theater professionally and was in the Broadway tour of Wicked as the standby to Elphaba. Now I have an online business where I teach singing.” Felicia Ricci

“I did a lot of theater throughout middle school, high school, and college, on top with being an excruciating musical theater nerd on top of it. I also play the French horn, badly.” Angelina Meehan

“Member of high school chorus and did a few musicals as well, typically one-line characters (but very important lines!).” Scott Hinners

“I started singing in the Philadelphia Boys Choir when I was in 5th grade. Since then I’ve never really stopped singing. In college I was a classical vocal major at Mason Gross School of Music at Rutgers University.” Rob Alesiani

What is a musical or musical soundtrack you can’t live without?
“I love The Book of Mormon and sing it with my fiancé in the car all of the time! I sang the beginning of ‘All-American Prophet’ at my audition.” Steve Holland

“Pretty much all of them. But if I have to pick one, I will say that one the most important shows to me is Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. I don’t even think that it is necessarily the best musical or even my favorite, but it was one of the first shows I fell in love with as I discovered everything that musical theatre could be. No matter where I’ve been in my life, since I discovered it at age 12, there has been a line or a moment that spoke to me. When I made my boyfriend watch the 1987 taped production and he didn’t like it, I nearly ended the relationship. That show will always be a huge part of my life.” Alanna Shaffer

“I’m pretty into Hamilton. Whenever the Bruce Springsteen jukebox musical comes out I’ll probably be really into that too.” Rob Alesiani

“I hate to be basic but Les Misérables is 💯🔥(fire emoji)” Sue Taney

“Les Miserables. It is so epic and every song makes me cry.” Felicia Ricci

What would you like to hear someone say after seeing a Thank You, Places show?
“I can’t wait to get my old buddy Stephen Sondheim down here to see this show! I think he’d like it!” Angelina Meehan

“The first time I saw musical improv, I thought it must be something close to magic. Now, of course, I know all of the mechanics and techniques that we practice to pull it off, but I hope that each time we perform there are a few people who still walk out saying “how did they do that?!” I want it to feel magical.” Alanna Shaffer

“I forgot they were making it up on the spot!” Felicia Ricci

“Thank You Thank You, Places. Really it’s great to hear anytime someone really enjoyed themselves.” Scott Hinners

“Hot Damn!” Claire Halberstadt

 

You can see Thank You, Places on Friday, March 17th at 7:30!
Check them out on Facebook!

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I’m Ok, Are You Ok? A One-Woman Show

Molly Scullion performs her one-woman show I’m Ok, Are You Ok?  this week at PHIT. In this show, Molly tells us about going to therapy and the ups and downs that surround her experiences. This is her second run of the show after it premiered last month. We wanted to learn more about the work behind I’m Ok, Are You Ok? so we asked Molly a few questions.

Why did you want to create I’m Ok, Are You Ok?

“I wrote this show because my outlet is comedy. Comedy is my best therapy and the thing that makes me happiest, and I loved the idea of finding a way to merge that world with my unhappiest moments.”

This show is about a topic that is very personal for you, did you find it difficult to write the show? 

“It is definitely hard to write such personal material, but it’s also the most rewarding. I’ve really loved the process. You certainly relive some less fun moments, but it is such a cathartic feeling to find humor in those darker moments.”

What do you like about performing a one-woman show? 

“What I like about a writing a one-woman show is just being alone with my brain. I talk out loud to myself a lot. I work on it in the car while driving, which I am certain looks crazy to other drivers because I’m just talking to myself non-stop. It’s nice to have the freedom to work on it wherever and whenever since it’s just me. What I don’t like is the lonelier aspect of it. I really like collaborating and pitching ideas back and forth with somebody, and I can’t really do that with this show. That being said, I love the challenge of a one woman show so much. It’s terrifying, but really exciting at the same time.”

You can see I’m Ok, Are You Ok? on Thursday, March 9th and Friday, March 10th at 8:30.

Please note that this show has a trigger warning but it is also funny.

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Andrew Makes a Case Podcast

The podcast Andrew Makes a Case is hosted by Andrew Nealis and Tom Hannigan. As described by Tom, Andrew Makes a Case is about “me hate watching a terrible movie while Andrew Nealis bends over backward to explain why things we just watched were good.” This podcast is produced through PHIT Comedy’s Rocket Podcast Network. Last fall, people had the opportunity to pitch podcast pilots to the Rocket Podcast Network and Andrew Makes a Case was one of the eight chosen to be produced.

Andrew and Tom joined forces to create this podcast after they had tossed around the idea of creating what became Andrew Makes a Case. Tom said they would joke around about terrible movies they love and hate at Oh! Shea’s, which is a pub one block away from PHIT Comedy. Andrew felt that he is better at expressing his thoughts through talking than writing and can “ramble all day.” So the podcast format was perfect for him.

When asked about what they want to do with their podcast, Andrew said “I hope to make a very funny show that appeals to bad movie lovers. With the show, I hope I can get my voice out there and share my opinions about dumb things I love.” Tom said this is a project he is excited about and hopes everyone who listens will enjoy it as much as he did.

You can listen to Andrew Makes a Case on Itunes and Google Play!
In this episode Andrew has to watch the movie Bewitched that was released in 2005, staring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.

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PHIT SKETCH TEAM ACTOR AUDITION SIGN-UPS OPEN NOW! MARCH 12TH!

The writers of PHIT’s newest live sketch team, Codename: Bacchus, are cooking up a hot batch of fresh sketches for their debut show– and as Jane Austen once almost wrote, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sketch team in possession of good sketches must be in want of actors.” That means it’s time for another round of Sketch House Team Actor Auditions!

PHIT will be holding open-call auditions in search of actors for our newest Sketch House Team on Sunday, March 12th from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Auditions will be held in the PHIT’s Rehearsal Room B, located in the basement of The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Auditioners do not need to have prior improv, sketch or even acting experience (although none of these things will hurt!), and auditioners who have taken classes at PHIT will not be given special preference over those who have studied elsewhere (although we will have had more time to see you perform which may help).

Actors for our new Sketch House Team will need to be available for all shows in the debut run of Codename: Bacchus shows (These dates are: May 11th, 12th, 18th, and 19th), as well as as-of-yet-unscheduled rehearsals and read-throughs. You must be available for the audition time to be considered. No other audition times are available.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR AN AUDITION:
 Sign-ups begin immediately. To secure an audition time please fill out PHIT’s “Codename: Bacchus” Acting Auditions Submission Form, linked here.
You will receive a confirmation message within two (2) business days – for example, if you contact us on Monday you’ll hear from us by Wednesday, or if you contact us on Friday, you’ll hear from us by the following Tuesday.

We will accept sign-ups until no audition times remain. All specific audition times are first-come-first-served. There are no alternate times. If you are not available for these audition dates and times, please do not email or call to ask for an exception – you simply will not be able to audition. If you are interested in auditioning, you must sign-up for one of our announced timeslots.

ON THE DAY OF THE AUDITION:
 PLEASE ARRIVE AT LEAST FIFTEEN (15) MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED AUDITION TIME. You will be handed scripts from pre-written sketches from which you will be asked to read. After you’ve checked in, we encourage you to take this time to go over the script. Auditioners should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Resumes are not required but will gladly be accepted. Please bring a headshot with you.

Auditioners will be seen individually for 5 minutes each. You will be expected to perform 2 – 2 1/2 minutes of a comedic monologue. It can be anything you would like, as long as it’s funny! We recommend doing something that showcases your strengths as a performer and brings plenty of laughs out of the present director and producers. After this, you’ll read/perform some of the material that you receive at check in.

Everyone who auditions will receive a reply letting them know whether or not they have been cast.

Still have questions?
 Send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Improv Everything Podcast

In the Improv Everything podcast, the worlds of improv and business come together. This podcast teaches its listeners how to take the concepts in improv and apply them to business. The masterminds behind the Improv Everything podcast are Rob Alesiani, an instructor and performer at PHIT, and Jon Hansen who is the CEO of the Deleware River Port Authority and an improviser.

Last year PHIT’s Rocket Comedy Podcast Network opened their doors for podcast submissions and John wanted to do a podcast about improv and business. He said that from what he sees when people want to apply the concepts of improv into the business world, they are usually improvisers first. But John wanted a different viewpoint on it, “the view from the business side with a businessman and a comedian who are each translating other’s ideas into their own language and worldview.”  So John asked Rob to join him in this podcast adventure and Rob was more than happy to get on board. Rob is a big fan of podcasting and has been a contributor on the Game of Thrones podcast “Stark Raven Mad” which was created and produced by Mike Marbach.

When asked what they hope to do with the Improv Everything podcast, John said, “I want to help people apply improv principles in business and personal relationships in a way that makes them more productive, enjoyable, and fulfilling. I believe that leadership is a collective art form, just like improv, theater, and orchestra. Leadership is truly an act of self-discovery. Done properly, they allow creative expression of the product of the “group mind” as well creative self-expression. In improv, relationships and any type of leadership, there are common tools like listening, conceiving and conveying ideas, interpersonal and group dynamics and status.  When things go well, leaders (and improvisers) work together to create something of value. This act of creation is the act self-expression and collective expression.” And Rob had a similar vision stating, “I hope that we can show folks that the core concepts and practices of good improv can help everyone in many different aspects of their lives.  A huge amount of people find their way into the world of improv for a completely different reason besides wanting to be professional comedians.”

As one of the pilots chosen to be a Rocket Comedy Podcast, John and Rob are excited to be a part of this project. Rob said, “PHIT has been my home for a tenth of my life, and the Rocket Comedy Network is just the next step in showing the world what comedy and content creators in Philadelphia can do.  It’s a very exciting place to be.”

You can listen to Improv Everything on Itunes and Google Play. In their first episode, John and Rob talk with Camden County College President Don Borden.

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Snow Day Schmoday! We’re Open Tonight!

After The Great Snowpocalypse of 2017 turned out to be more of a Snow Scam, we’ve decided that all our shows and classes tonight are on! Please come out and enjoy the night with us (you can laugh while you try to forget it was almost 70 degrees out yesterday).

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Mainstage Improv: Favorite Moments

Every Saturday night a group of experienced improvisers take the PHIT stage. The Mainstage Improv cast is made up of 13 comedians and the show’s cast rotates, which means every week there are different players. With a group of comedians this funny, you never know what could happen when you come to a show.

This made us think that the cast must have had some fun moments together over their months of performing. So we asked some of the Mainstage cast what their favorite moments have been together.

Kristen Schier
“I recently have enjoyed the bold choices a cast of this level of talent and experience makes on a regular basis. Pim played a snake eating people at an office.”

Robyn Cartlidge
“Two shows ago, Erin made this awesome move and named Dan’s character Tim Allen. He was auditioning to be a super hero’s (Lali & Shelia) sidekick and Erin came in like his assistant telling him he was late for the show. He spent the rest of the show doing walk-ons and just grunting like Tim “Toolman” Taylor. It was brilliant!”

Caitlin Weigel
‘There are some hula hoops in the green room and we’ve all gotten SO GOOD at doing tricks with them. Like a group of very impressive seals! That’s us!”

Jessica Snow
“My favorite moment from a Mainstage show so far was Pim’s snake. Kristen and Sheila started a scene with Kristen announcing that her snake was loose in the office. Pim immediately started slithering on the ground way upstage behind them. Throughout the show I think that snake ate three people on stage and a bunch of people and cows offstage. It didn’t look terribly fun to do physically, but Pim committed and everyone jumped on board, sacrificing themselves to be eaten by this snake. I imagine it looked really ridiculous from the audience; it felt ridiculous doing it.”

That’s one of the best parts about Mainstage. Everyone is so good, but they have their own specialties. I also really enjoy any time Marcely sings.”

Marcely Jean-Pierre
“My favorite part of being on the mainstage cast is being able to play with so many people I have looked up to and admired as performers. A favorite moment of mine was during a rehearsal when a bunch of us were making goofy noises as sideline support to a scene and we all made one another laugh a whole lot. Robyn cried from laughing so hard.”

Photograph by Michael Marotta

Reading about how much fun the cast has probably made you want to see their show and you can! Every Saturday night at 7:00 the Mainstage Improv cast brings the laughs.

The current full cast features Caitilin Weigel, Dan Corkery, David Donnella, Erin Pitts, Hasreet Gill, Jacob Todd, Jess Snow, Kristen Schier, Marcely Jean-Pierre, Pim Van Huijkelom, Robyn Cartlidge, Sheila Master, and Whitney Harris. 

You can get tickets for Mainstage Improv and check out all our shows on PHIT’s website!

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Podcast Spotlight: Sarah & Andrea Should Smile

Sarah Carter and Andrea Duffy have created the podcast “Sarah & Andrea Should Smile” through the Rocket Comedy Network. Andrea is a local radio personality on 101.1 more FM. Sarah works in higher-ed as a diversity, social justice, and inclusion expert. Together they combine their awesomeness and expertise to create this podcast about women in comedy.

We wanted to know this dynamic duo got started, so we asked them a few questions on what inspired their podcast.

What made you two want to join forces in creating this podcast?

    When we were developing the pitch for the podcast, I really wanted to ensure that the podcast represented all types of women and perspectives on feminism.  Andrea and I disagree on as many things as we agree, and I think that that is a beautiful thing.  We come from different places in our feminism, our comedy, yet it’s all geared to the same goal.  I think our styles complement each other well so I reached out to her to be a part of the podcast.

Why did you want to make a podcast about women in comedy? What is it about that topic that makes you passionate about it? 

    We wanted to take the conversations that we have as women in our friend groups, our improv teams, online in secret all-women Facebook groups, into the public sphere and connect women of all backgrounds and in all types of comedy as well as let women in comedy know that they are not alone.  Additionally, we wanted to give women a chance to dialogue about what to do next so that we’re taking risks on and off stage, making on and off stage better for us.  While it’s about women in comedy, we hope men listen and learn something to make both their relationships and comedy with women better experiences.

Why did you title the podcast Sarah & Andrea Should Smile?

    We named the podcast Sarah & Andrea Should Smile to reclaim the age old catcall “Hey Baby, you should smile.”  Because we smile when we want to smile.  Also, we smile at good comedy

You can listen to Sarah & Andrea Should Smile on

iTunes and GooglePlay

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A Fond Farewell to Two Late

This month we will bid farewell to the late night talk show, Two Late with Rob and Joe. The Two Late crew are hanging up their hats after two and a half years of fun. We have had the pleasure to see them host local interesting guests and entertain audiences with their jokes and bits.

Since the show is coming to it’s close on December 30th, we asked Rob and Joe what Two Late has meant to them.

twolate2

Joe (right) and Rob (center) with guest, WMMR’s Pierre Robert

Rob Alesiani

Philadelphia is a place where so much is possible. Two weirdos who are the best of friends but are very different comedians could come together to make something that was greater than they are. Something special and fun.

There were those early on, that told us we could never really depend on anyone other than each other to make the show work. We’ve found that time and time again, that wasn’t the case. There have been those who have been with us the whole journey who we couldn’t have done this without. There were those who were only with us for part of the journey, either early on, or later on, and those people were equally indispensable in making the show run successfully. Two Late was always about the team and wtwolate1hat they brought to the table. We never once found ourselves without help when we asked for it.

So if anyone is reading this and wants to create something here, do it. Take the leap and get a group together and get to work.

This isn’t the ending, just the end of this chapter. We’ll see you guys at the next Two Late.

Joe Tuzzi

Two Late has made me happy. It was the first risky thing I tried in the city and it has taught me more about who I am as a comedian than anything else. More importantly than that though the show gave me a chance to work with so many amazing people. The group of writers we had on the show over the last 2.5 years have been wonderful people. Without a good group of people behind us I don’t know if two late would have been what it was so I want to just say thank you to every single person who helped.

I’m going to miss this show because damn it, I loved it all.

You can see the final Two Late show on Friday, December 30th at 10:30 pm!

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Podcast Spotlight: Should Have Gone Home

Rocket Comedy Podcast Network is live and ready for your ears to enjoy those podcasts! With the launch of eight brand new podcast pilots, we wanted to learn more about what inspired these podcasts and the people who created them. This week we spoke with the brains behind the podcast Should Have Gone Home, Robyn Cartlidge and Sean Sullivan.  We asked them a few questions to learn more about what inspired them and discovered some very interesting things.

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

How did you come up with the idea for this podcast, Should Have Gone Home?
Robyn and I were tailgating for a Tibetan soccer match that ended up being canceled due to the lack of adequate dancing, our bad Tibet, our bad. We fell into it with a couple of merchant marines, that took offense to Robyn’s ability to slide perfectly down the stadium railing. They called it show boating, I call it gravitas. So, I told them to go back to the boat showing, then came the lols. Eventually they embraced us as their own, and before we knew it, we’re docked in Calcutta at a spice market looking for some damned rare flower. I said, “From now on, we’re recording the rest of our conversations, forever, and we have to have another person there as a buffer.”

What makes you passionate about this project?
Education people! Education is failing us! We feel anyone we can reach with such sage wisdom as, adding maple syrup to your Rumple Minz (take THAT, mixology) can be freed up to solve the world’s bigger problems. We got this one science nerds, just kidding, please pay attention to scientists and teachers* (not all).

Have either of you worked on or been on podcasts before?
We used to tour with a Grateful Dead podcast, but we both hated the music so much, we figured out we were just into sitting in a room with microphones, talking to people with horrific or inspirational stories involving a whole spectrum of drunken or equally idiotic failures and or triumphs. And neither of us have the stomach or brain power to spare for a strict diet of nitrous oxide.

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

How do you know when you should go home?
If you have a responsibility, not a task. A responsibility is feeding your pet, or being a concerned global citizen. A task is washing out the drink you just spilled on your shirt. Take your shirt off, you’re a citizen of the world! That stain is a memory.

Why should people listen to your podcast?
The same reason you listen to any podcast. You want to take part in a conversation, but refuse to engage the 1000’s of physical people around you. RUN AWAY! We can learn you, and maybe save your life.

What podcasts would you recommend and why?
Too many, probably everything except for rap or country podcasts. I’m sure there’s a child-podcast savant about to be born that’s had a pair of Bose headphones around it’s womb apartment, piping in NPR. Save us Podcastina! Until then, speed through the hot pods on our network. There’s something for all of you!

Anything else you want the public to know?
We’re going to turn this into a live show and bring a keg of Non-alcoholic beer so we can see who’s totally faking, ignore the pink elephants guys they’re a distracting cliché, we scooby doo’d you fam! The penalty is to subscribe to SHOULD HAVE GONE PODCAST on iTunes or Google Play.

You can listen to the first episode of Should Have Gone Home where they interview Philadelphia comedian, Caitlin Weigel, on iTunes and Google Play!

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Introducing Codename: Bacchus

For the second time in 2016, myself and a few select readers had the pleasure of pouring over 40 submitted packets for the latest PHIT Sketch House team – and for the second time in 2016, putting together this team proved to be a challenging process given the sheer amount of talent present in Philadelphia. Despite the difficult process of narrowing 40 great packets down to a six-person writing team, Director Kathryn Amrhein has assembled a formidable collection of strong, varied writers that will be taking the to the PHIT stage in May 2017.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a sketch packet. The amount of talent in Philadelphia is growing every day, and I look forward to seeing everyone who submitted a packet continue their relationship with sketch writing at PHIT – whether through our sketch open-mic Sketch Up or Shut Up, performance opportunities with Theme Show and Monologues, participating in Up All Night (our Improv-To-Sketch 24-Hour Cram), or producing their own independent sketch show at PHIT. There have never been more opportunities for up-and-coming sketch comedians to grow their talents in Philadelphia, and I look forward to seeing every writer who submitted growing and continuing to produce great comedy.

– Jack O’Keeffe, Sketch Producer

CODENAME: BACCHUS

codenamebacchus

Director – Kathryn Amrhein
Head Writer: Andrea Duffy
Writers:
Alexis Howland
Alyssa Truszkowski
Ian Thomas Fletcher
Kristofer W. Hodge
Patric Ciervo

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