A FOND FAREWELL TO TRASH ISLAND

 

11249166_1122294801131617_642442264749470938_nAs PHIT continues to transform and grow in the coming months we must give a loving goodbye to the extremely talented team that is Trash Island. Over the past year Trash Island has evolved into an amazing ensemble of supportive, witty, unique players that have brought remarkable shows to the PHIT stage.

As it so happens in the lifespan of every team – from auditions, to casting, to practicing, to performing – Trash Island will be retiring at the end of this month.

As we reach their final performance (December 12th 9:00 P.M.) we’ve asked the cast to share their thoughts about this great team.


Performing every week with these weirdo goofballs was an experience I’ll never forget.  Being on Trash Island helped me grow tremendously, as an improvisor and as a human being.  Big thanks to PHIT and Jess Snow for letting us be as strange as we wanted to be for so long. – Mallory Rhodes


I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play with Trash Island on the PHIT stage.  It’s really wonderful to reflect on the journey the team has taken as well as the tremendous growth I’ve been able to witness in each performer individually.  I recall very vividly on the first day of rehearsal, Jess asked us who knew of or had performed a Harold.  Less than half of our nine members raised their hands, but over time I think we found something really wonderful about how we took that form and gave it our own unique point of view.  Its hard for me to put into words what Trash Island is or how we played, but I can’t help but think of us like a bunch of young kids on the playground.  Timid, shy, and scared, but fiercely loyal, tremendously supportive of each other, and always with a sense of wonder, innocence, and excitement.  So often, Jess would caution us to start our scene work small and grounded, but so often, we’d find a way of cramming 4, 5, or 6 people into our first scene.  We just loved each other and we loved being on stage with each other.

As a teammate, scene partner, and side-line audience member, I’ve gotten the ability to watch a group of really talented people grow into some really special actors to the Philly comedy community and beyond.

Stephanie – A Trash Island original member who brought such a wonderful point of view to all of her scene work.  She was the queen of dead pan and straight manning and playing with her provided a opportunities to discover layers, deep worlds, and grounded commentary.

Stuart – Stuart brought very unique, absurd, and richly detailed characters into all of his scene work.  He created characters and drama out of nothing more than simply sitting and eating a clementine.  He challenged his scene partners to live and enjoy the tension and was a mental work out any time I had the opportunity to straight man for him.

Kevin Murphy – Kevin brought such joy and excitement to all of his improv.  He was fearless and unapologetic, often starting scenes with nothing more than a physical twitch, a bounce in his step, or an odd vocal choice and within seconds found a way to weave it into a fully formed person.  He does an amazing John Travolta impression and playing against him in a scene was always a pure joy because there wasn’t anything I could offer him that he wouldn’t gladly take and turn into comedy and instant laughs.

Mallory – In many ways Mallory was the Harry Potter of our group 🙂 She came onto our team as a meek, young, but excited raw talent and I am so lucky to have had a front row seat to watching her grow into an incredible risk taker, polished technical improviser, and a strong and dedicated leader for our team.  I never had any fear or uncertainly playing with Mallory.  Playing with her was pure excitement and wonder, knowing that whatever turn we took or curve ball she threw would be an adventure but I was safe by her side.  I’m touched to have been her Sirius Black.

Ned – Ned evolved tremendously as an improviser and actor during our time.  Ned is so, so smart and so passionate about life and learning it was always wonderful to see the amazing details he managed to seamlessly weave into his characters and scenes.  I’ll always be impressed with his intelligence and his dedication to the craft of improv.  He worked hard and played hard and made every scene and character beautifully real and he made me a better performer for it.

Ricky – I had an acting teacher once tell me that we should approach acting and improv like a child.  Children are fearless and unapologetic. They create worlds and play with reckless abandon and innocence.  Ricky personifies everything that is good about “playing like a child.”  Watching Ricky improv is like watching a puppy on Christmas morning.  Everything is new and shiny.  He has so much fun in the worlds that he creates and I always loved watching the moments when he got so wrapped up in his scenes that his excitement would bubble over into laughter.  Plus he was able to offer so many brilliant button lines for our shows.

Kim – Kim was a grounding force for our team.  In a world of absurd characters and bizarre choices, she brought emotional intelligence and weight to every scene she was in.  Kim did not only care about us as scene partners, she cared about us as people.  Her warmth and kindness radiated out of every scene she did and playing with her was always a reminder that relationships are key to any solid scene

Jamie – Jamie impresses me so much as an improviser and I am so lucky to performed with him.  He has the rare ability to take the shape of whatever a particular scene or show needs.  He thinks on multiple levels and is so smart about the choices he makes.  Jamie is a selfless gifter who has left me speechless at his brilliance and a smart justifier, who can hit anything you throw at him for a home run.  He makes bold character choices, yet surprises you with a grounded, emotional, real character that is wonderfully funny yet tragically heartbreaking.  He’s a tremendous actor and I cant wait to continue to watch him perform at PHIT.

Kevin Ruth – Kevin makes such strong, detailed choices and his skills as a writer have helped to shape and craft many a scene. Countless times, we found ourselves starting a group game and out of the corner of my eye, I’d find Kevin driving with a brilliant physical choice or solid object work.  His scene work is nuanced and the worlds he creates are always perfectly painted.   He responds without hesitation as if his dialogue is a memorized script and is always finding ways to heighten and explore.  Hoffman is lucky to have him join their ranks. – Dave Sucharski


I moved to New York a month into rehearsing. I didn’t even perform in front of an audience with them. Then I moved back, saw a couple of their shows, enjoyed them, and moved away again.

However, I can say that I met some great people. Also, Trash Island. I was so proud of that name. It wasn’t even my idea. I was just very proud to be a part of something named Trash Island. I didn’t even get to be proud out loud! The revealing was after I moved.
Anyways, things come to an end and better thing come about.

Enjoy your new projects, Trash Islanders! – Stephanie Drejerwski


I am incredibly thankful to Jess and the theater for the opportunity to be a part of Trash Island.  While I had taken improv classes in St. Louis and Philly, Trash Island was my first official team and it played a huge role in making Philly feel like home to me.  I had only been in the city for a few months when I joined the team and my teammates made me feel like family from day one.  We grew to love playing together so much that we often ended up with a million people in our scenes, even during first beats. At some point, we decided to embrace our undying love for group scenes and we haven’t looked back since.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing our growth over time, both as individuals and as a team.  Each person brought something special to the team – Dave’s initiations and amazing sideline support, Kevin Ruth’s beautiful attention to detail, Jamie’s ability to up the stakes in every scene, Stuart’s unique characters, Kevin Murphy’s enthusiasm, Ricky’s creative worlds with endless possibilities, Ned’s character voices and brilliant pulls, and Mallory’s fearlessness and ability to “yes, and” anything… and so much more. I was also lucky enough to work with Stephanie in class and on an indie team – her expressions and clever choices will always make me smile.  My improv journey has been richer because of every person on this team and every adventure we had, whether it was during practices, on our home stage at PHIT, or at festivals in Bethlehem, North Carolina, and New York.

Many of my favorite Trash Island memories involve warmups… singing at the top of our lungs about how a certain teammate needs a good man each time we conquer a mind meld, turning over every chair in sight, and creating all sorts of chaos.  I wish every day could start with a warmup and so much joy.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Finding time to play make-believe with people you love is worth it.  Thank you to everyone who came out to see us play together onstage.  I hope you had fun and enjoyed seeing your suggestions turn into Trash Island originals.  And thank you to Greg, Jess, Kristin, Ralph, the theater’s many volunteers, and each of my teammates for making this an amazing journey. – Kim Dahl


Survivors journal, day 479:

If you had told me 479 days ago that I  would be shipwrecked only to be saved by the floating garbage mass located somewhere in the pacific know as the Trash Island and that the other survivors I would meet there would become a loyal, goofy, comfortable, and endlessly ambitious ragtag family I would’ve said “Like and environmentally conscious update on Gilligan’s Island?” But more importantly, if you had told me back then that these people and the experiences we would share would go on to become more important that coming up with a zany (if derivative) sitcom premise I would have been shocked. To use a simile, living on this island has been like if, I don’t know, maybe you’d been learning improv and thought you knew what you were doing only to find out that the only way you learn improv is by doing it for audiences with a group of people you’ve fallen a little bit in love with. But of course that’s just a for-instance, we’re on a floating island of trash, for god sakes! And I’ve become better at surviving on an island because I’ve had the distinct honor to truly learn how to survive from survival geniuses: Dave, Ruthie, Kim, Ricky, Mal, Ned, Murph, Stuart, and Jess. Thanks a milli– A BOAT! OH GOD, WE’RE SAVED! – Jamie Glasheen


The thing I will take with me from watching Trash Island was how playful they were as a team. They masterfully constructed chaos and always seemed to be a little more off the leash than some other teams. I will miss them. – Kristen Schier


I remember sitting in on Trash Island rehearsals and seeing them warm up for shows and thinking how in love they all are with each other. And that feeling translated to the stage. There shows were always so much fun to watch. I’ll miss you all! – Ralph Andracchio


You can purchase tickets for the Dec. 12th show here!

 

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WELCOME OUR DECEMBER LAUNCH PAD TEAM: ROBOBRO

ROBOBROPOSTCARD-3RoboBro, a brand new independent team that formed out of improv classes at PHIT is taking the stage this month as part of Launch Pad! From class together to the stage together, from an opening through the show, RoboBro says their goal is to “keep the fun going.”
PHIT company member Tom Hannigan (Improv House Team Outside Voices) has been working with the team as their Launch Pad coach. The Launch Pad program is an opportunity for local improv teams to participate in a three-month intensive development, coaching, and performance period with PHIT.

You can connect with Launch Pad on Facebook for more information!

Come out to see RoboBro in a one-month run of weekly shows opening House Team Harold Nights starting Wednesday, December 2nd.

Wednesday, December 2 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, December 9 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, December 16 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, December 23 – 7:30PM

Learn more about our Launch Pad program and apply by clicking here!

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15 SHOWS TO SEE AT BFCM2015

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  1. FRI 10:10 A.M. TAFT (IMPROV)
    TAFT’s his name. TAFT’s his game. Hailing from the 1910 Progressive Era, brother man TAFT is a Philadelphian Improv team that likes to get stuck in the tub and ‘Yes And’ their way out. TAFT features Chris McGee, Matthew Jay, Walker Green, Laura Boss, Julia Celley, John Hanson, Biz Harnish, and Matt Merin. TAFT is coached by Rob Alesiani.
  2. FRI. 11:25 A.M. SAD TROMBONE (IMPROV)
    SAD TROMBONE is the comedy duo of Steve Kleinedler and Ralph Andracchio, seasoned performers and instructors at PHIT. SAD TROMBONE absorbs the audience’s sad and disappointing experiences and molds them into something wonderful and glorious losing themselves in engaging characters and stories that will have the audience forgetting why they were even sad in the first place.
  3. FRI. 12:45 P.M.  HANNAH TRAV (STAND UP)
    Hannah Trav is a nice lady and a funny stand up comedian with very high self esteem. Trav tackles tough topics like Tinder, alliteration, interracial dating, politics, and more!
  4. FRI. 2:30 P.M. MATT SCHMID (STAND UP)
    Matthew Schmid, sketch writer for The Flat Earth and The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie, explores his inadequacies and insecurities in a blend of storytelling and observational comedy. Matthew Schmid’s monologues have appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and this year he appeared on and won Nerdist’s Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction Podcast.

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  5. FRI. 3:15 P.M. FJORD (IMPROV)
    Direct quote: “We do fun, character based improv, so we thought we’d throw a funeral!” FJORD features: Kathryn Amrhein, Ryan Birchmeier, Gab Bottoni, Scott Campbell, Sarah Clemency, Alex Coffey, Casey Hogan, Shawna Stoltzfoos and Joe Tuzzi and is directed by Adam Siry.
  6. FRI. 10:40 P.M. MATT TSANG (STORYTELLING)
    What’s the definition of selective memory? It’s whatever you want it to be. Matthew’s story is full of gains and losses but the audience will walk away a winner.

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  7. FRI. 7:45 P.M. HOUSE OF SOLITUDE (IMPROV)

    HOUSE OF SOLITUTDE is a Philly comedy duo featuring Caitlin Weigel and Dan Corkery. Though they mostly stick to sketch, in the spirit of BFCM they return to their roots and offer up a steaming pile of improv.
  8. SAT. 2:20 A.M. PROPER DODGY MAKEOVER (IMPROV)
    PROPER DODGY (Rachel Semigran and Lizzie Spellman) are just two fit chavettes here to vamp up your style and your outlook on life. Learn the ins and outs of british banter and how to rock out your wild side.
  9. SAT. 6:35 A.M. CHICKEN BURLESQUE (SKETCH)
    What better way to start your day than with the mysterious Chicken Patty (Sam Abrams) as she dazzles you with her fine feathers, even finer dipping sauces, and her words directly “maybe even see her chicken nuggets!”
  10. SAT. 10:14 AM ONE ACT (SKETCH)
    The folks (Jack O’Keefe, Jolie Darrow, Courtney Painter, Andrew Coppola, Pim Van HuŸkelom, and Jon Plester) behind the frighteningly delight ‘Toy Testing’ at Five Dollar Comedy Week will be doing something a little different with a suggestion than what they’re used to — They’re making a script out of it!
  11. SAT. 1:15 P.M. DADDY BULLDOG (IMPROV)
    “DADDY BULLDOG is my favorite improv team” – Taylor Swift. DADDY BULLDOG features Chris Berg, Eric Everwine, Lali Gill, Earl Harris, Cara McGuffin, Diana Petrovich, Brett Rader, and Tim Rapp. Directed by Alex Gross.
  12. SAT. 3:45 P.M. BROUGHT TO YOU BY (SKETCH) 
    “We hope you like memorial videos, because we made a lot of them.” Casey Hogan, Peter Danger (Szekeres)Alex Coffey, Julia Hudson, Drew Klemens, Dan McClory and Kristopher Hodge bring you BROUGHT TO YOU BY…a showcase of top notch, one might say “quite funny” video sketches!
  13. SAT. 4:45 P.M. CECILY ALEXANDRIA (STAND UP)
    Cecily Alexandria is a comedian from the Philadelphia, PA area. Her comedy is based on her own life experiences and observations. She’s not black enough, skinny enough but she is funny enough and you’ll want to ask her for directions. Cecily Alexandria uses her own life to relate and create a funny and relatable experiences.
  14. SAT. 10:00 P.M. THE FUTURE11096_815609481821271_6328098785097247494_n
    THE FUTURE is scheduled to perform on Saturday night at 10:00 P.M., which is pretty much when they normally perform at PHIT. To break from this monotony, they’ll be hosting a spelling bee instead. What can go wrong? THE FUTURE is composed of Fred Brown, David Donella, Molly Scullion, Kristen Schier, and Caitlin Weigel and is directed by Mike Marbach.
  15. SAT. 11:00 P.M. BARBARA BUSH (SKETCH)
    Now that the self-proclaimed “First Ladies of Comedy” BARBARA BUSHED (featuring Kathryn Amrhein, Jolie Darrow, Julia Hudson, Sue Nelson, Courtney Painter, Shawna Stoltzfoos, Nicole Zeits and directed by Jacquie Baker) has been writing and performing sketch together for nearly a year they will be entertaining your special eyes with a “Best of Barbara Bush” show. Be prepared to be dazzled by some oldies, but goodies along with with some shiny new sketches!

A $10 pass will grant you admission into any show (based on seating availability) during the marathon. Wristbands will be available at the box office starting 30 minutes before the first show of the marathon on Friday, November 28th at 9:30 a.m.

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BLACK FRIDAY SALE! ALL IMPROV 101 & SKETCH 101 CLASSES ONLY $199 NOW THROUGH 11/30/15!

PHIT Sale BF-2015
Just in time for the holiday gift giving season comes a PHIT intro class sale! Now through November 30th, 2015 Improv 101 and Sketch 101 classes at PHIT are only $199! That’s $100 off the regular price! You can take one of our full 8 week intro classes and you’ll still get all the awesome perks:

  • Student pass that gets you into all PHIT shows for FREE!
  • Access to improv practice groups that double your class time!
  • Script reading & pizza party for sketch writing classes!
  • Graduation shows for friend and family for improv classes!
  • Lots of new friends!

It’s a Black Friday sale you don’t have to worry about getting trampled at to get the class you want and you don’t have to skip out on Thanksgiving dinner to camp outside the theater for hours. Simply look go to the ENROLL NOW page of the PHIT website, find the 101 class that you want and register for it!

Giving the gift of a PHIT class to yourself or a friend or family member goes a lot further than the 8 weeks of class and the student pass. The benefits of improv stretch far beyond the classroom. Are you looking to start the new year doing breaking your normal routine and doing something fun and different? Just move to town and want to meet some new people? Want to improve your listening skills? Trying to overcome social anxiety, stage fright, or just being in front of crowds? Want to explore a more creative side of yourself? WE CAN HELP!

Unsure if you’re ready to jump right in? Check out our FREE Intro classes enrolling now! The big sale ends November 30th, so don’t wait too long!

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SPOTLIGHT: KATHRYN AMRHEIN & SARAH CLEMENCY

11082623_10152596103392504_1301139245195093427_nTonight at 9:00 P.M. catch KATHRYN AMRHEIN & SARAH CLEMENCY’S riveting show as they open for PHIT Sketch House Team THE FLAT EARTH.

What is Kathryn Amrhein (Fjord, Barbara Bush) and Sarah Clemency’s (Fjord, Fleeksquad) show even gonna be like? Let these Six Super Stoked Sweet questions answered by Sarah lure you in:

What is the format of your show?
It is a musical sketch show with a through line that follows one character.

What was the catalyst / inspiration for making this show?
Kathryn came to me asking if I would want to work on a musical sketch show. I admire Kathryn’s performing and writing so much that I’d be dumb to say no. Also, musical theater is a big part of my background so I was very pumped to work on a show where music was very heavily involved.

What do you hope audience members will take away from this performance?
I hope the audience will take away that dating in any capacity can be extremely awkward. It isn’t like it is in the movies.

Can you name a few of your favorite sketches?
“Mighty Mouse” by Andy Kaufman, I guess it’s not a full sketch, but it makes me crack up every single time I watch it. Also, Amy Schumer’s “Milk Milk Lemonade “, I’m always on board for a good poop joke.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers and comedians?
DO IT! If you have an idea just go for it!! If you put it off or think it’s not good enough you will never see what you can actually accomplish!

If this show were any musician (and I’m using this word loosely) from the 90’s who would it be?
N’SYNC because we are coming out with puppet versions of ourselves very soon.

Get tickets here!

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Flat Earth’s Favorite On Stage Deaths

Since their first show over three years ago, Flat Earth has gained a reputation as being one of Philadelphia’s goofiest, most whimsical sketch teams. They have also developed a reputation for having a pretty high kill count for their characters. To ring in their brand new show Sorry For Your Loss, we’re counting down our top five favorite Flat Earth deaths.

5. SPY STUFF

Flat Earth - Spy StuffOur hero, an international spy, is captured by a nefarious super villain. The only thing standing in the way of the villain’s plan for world domination is a secret code that only our hero knows. The villain decides to use some “advance interrogation” tactics and calls in his henchman, a temp from the henchmen temp agency, who accidentally shoots our hero in the head.

 

 

 

 

4. DEER HUNTER

Flat Earth - Deer Hunter​A hunter struggles with his own humanity as he comes face to face with a deer. He realizes that he doesn’t have the heart to shoot the deer, so he smothers it with a pillow.

 

3. 80’s BULLY

Flat Earth - 80's BullyNot all the deaths on this list are funny, some are tragic. Such is the case with 80’s Bully, as our hero, a bully from the 80’s, sacrifices himself during an act of sheer heroism and dies in a horrible BMX biking accident.

 

 

2. THE MAESTRO

Flat Earth - MaestroThe Flat Earth’s high concept show “The Flat Earth’s 9th” was off to a good start when we had our favorite new-age music composer perform at the top of our show. After a few moments without any chord changes, we realized that this wasn’t just some dreamy soundscape, but the composer had died of a heart attack on stage.

 

 

1. COME SEE…

Flat Earth - Come and SeeWhat’s our number one, favorite Flat Earth death? You’ll have to stop in to see it live at Philly Improv Theater during our upcoming run of shows: November 12, 13, 19, & 20th at 9pm!

Get tickets here.

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PHIT Launches Diversity Program!

The Philly Improv Theater, in seeking to create an environment which is supportive and welcoming to all people, and reflective of the experiences of the greater community in which we live is proud to announce the commencement of our diversity program, which will work to increase the representation of persons of color, women, persons 40 years of age or older, members of the LGBTQ community, differently-abled persons, and active duty U.S. military service members and U.S. military veterans in our audiences, in our classrooms, and on our stages.

Our current offerings include a Scholarship Program, regular shows and jams, monthly practice groups, and monthly meet-ups. For more information on the program, please head over to our Diversity Program webpage.

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PLEASE WELCOME PHIT’S NEW IMPROV HOUSE TEAMS

Last weekend PHIT saw over 100 awesome improvisers at our Fall auditions and this past Monday we called close to 50 of them back for a second look. Everyone was super impressed – there is a deep pool of talent in Philly when it comes to improv – and it was challenging for our two new directors, Rob O’Neill and Corin Wells, to cast Codename Frankfurt and Codename Gotham. Please welcome these new teams to the PHIT community as they begin the hard work of preparing for Wednesday night shows at the beginning of next year. As always, we will find out the teams’ real names at their premieres.

I would like to thank each and every person who came out to vie for a spot on the teams. The audition process is tough, and was made that much tougher for the directors by all of the really skilled individuals that participated. I have no doubt you will have more opportunities to enjoy the work of scores of wonderful performers that did not get cast this time through their participation in special short-run shows, in Dynamite series shows, on Launch Pad teams and through independent projects. The comedy scene in Philadelphia keeps getting stronger because of the dedication and talent of everyone who steps on stage to perform improv, sketch, stand-up or in a variety show. These auditions proved that the group of amazing performers sharing our stage is still growing larger and stronger all of the time.

Jessica Snow. Interim Artistic Director

 

Codename Frankfurtroemerberg460x250
Directed by Rob O’Neill

Sam Abrams
Kristin Firth
Jamie Glasheen
Kristofer Hodge
Marcely Jean-Pierre
Jack O’Keeffe
Annie Paradis
Vito Salerno
Lizzie Spellman

 
gothamCodename Gotham
Directed by Corin Wells

Katie Cwirko
Brian Donnelly
Lauren Dowling
Lali Gill
AJ Horan
Andrew Nealis
Lauren Rodgers
Dave Sucharski
Joe Wendrychowicz

 

 

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Stay Dead!! An Improvised Horror Comedy Returns to PHIT!

Stay Dead FB AdSTAY DEAD!!: An Improvised Horror Comedy returns to PHIT this week for a run of eight shows! Through the use of various horror film tropes  the cast creates an entirely improvised horror/comedy show based on your suggestion! Ghosts, ancient curses, machete wielding maniacs, zombies, demonic possession… it’s all on the table in STAY DEAD!!

This is the latest in a five-year tradition of frightfully funny improvised horror/comedy shows produced by PHIT and directed by our Education Director, Mike Marbach. The talented cast this year includes members from across the Philly Comedy Community including Andrew Coppola, Tara Demmy, Lali Gill, Derrick Hackett, Tom Hannigan, Rick Helpa, Brendan Kingston, Courtney Painter, Kevin Ruth and Molly Scullion with technical direction by Jack O’Keefe.

Each show has never been seen before and, like many of its characters, will never be seen again. Come to PHIT this week or next and laugh through the fear.

LOCATION
Philly Improv Theater (inside the Adrienne Theater)
2030 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Click For Map

SHOW DATES / TIMES:
Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 23rd, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 24th, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 29th, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 30th, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 30th, 2015 @ Midnight
Saturday, October 31st, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 31st, 2015 @ Midnight

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WELCOME OUR OCTOBER LAUNCH PAD TEAM: LOVESEAT

Logo Idea 16-3Cozy up with our October Launch Pad Team, Loveseat!

Be warned that you may fall in love with this “silly, smart and charming as all get out” group. The team starts its one-month run of weekly shows opening House Team Harold Night on Wednesday, October 7th.

The theater is excited to have David Donnella (The Future, Dirty Laundry) as Loveseat’s Launch Pad coach in this three-month intensive development and performance period with PHIT. You can connect with Launch Pad on Facebook for more information!

Look for the team to have their run of shows Wednesdays in October!

Wednesday, October 7 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, October 14 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, October 21 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, October 28 – 7:30PM

Learn more about our Launch Pad program and apply by clicking here!

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SAVE THE DATE: PHIT IMPROV HOUSE TEAM AUDITIONS OCTOBER 24, 2015!

PHIT will once again be looking for Philly’s best and brightest improvisers this fall, as we expand performance opportunities on our stage by casting two new PHIT House Teams which will premiere in PHIT’s in January 2016! Further details on auditions are below. First round auditions will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 10am – 5pm. Callbacks will be held on Monday, October 26th from 7pm – 10pm. Please hold both of these dates if you are interested in being cast!

Auditions will be held at Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Auditioners should have taken and completed at least Improv Level 301 in the PHIT curriculum within the last calendar year. Those auditioning who have completed PHIT Improv Level 301 longer than a calendar year ago, or have come from another city where they completed a similar course of study, will be considered on an individual basis and should submit an audition time request using the same procedure outlined below, and also ask for an exemption from the requirement.

You must be available for the audition times to be considered. No other audition times are available.

 ON THE DAY OF THE AUDITION:
Auditioners will be seen every 30 minutes in groups of 6-10. Auditioners do not need to prepare anything in advance. The audition will be entirely improvised. You will be asked to participate in a few short group exercises and will then perform two short scenes.

Auditioners should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Resumes are not required but will gladly be accepted. Please bring a headshot with you. If you don’t have headshots, a recent snapshot will suffice.

PLEASE ARRIVE AT LEAST FIFTEEN (15) MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED AUDITION TIME. There will be a short questionnaire for you to complete prior to your scheduled audition time.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR AN AUDITION:
Sign-ups begin immediately. To secure an audition time please email 1) your name, 2) best phone number to reach you on the day of the audition, 3) details of your improv training (classes, instructor), 4) a preferred time on audition day (if any), and 5) optional self-identification as part of one or more of the diversity groups mentioned below to:
contact@phillyimprovtheater.com

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.

DIVERSITY
If you would like to identify yourself as a member of a group that is currently part of PHIT’s diversity program you may optionally do so in your audition request email. If you give no response regarding diversity a PHIT staff member may send a follow-up question with your audition confirmation, but providing an answer remains optional. The current groups included in PHIT’s diversity program are:

  1. persons of color
  2. women
  3. persons over age 40
  4. members of the LGBTQ community
  5. U.S. military service members and veterans.

It is the policy of Philly Improv Theater to provide equal opportunity to all persons regardless of sex (gender), race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, age, genetic information, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, education status, ability, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, Philly Improv Theater will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities who notify us of their need for accommodation in advance of audition day.

Philly Improv Theater’s goal is to increase representation of persons of color, women, persons over age 40, members of the LGBTQ community and U.S. military service members and veterans. To learn more about PHIT’s diversity initiatives please visit our website’s diversity program page.

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 time slots.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
Send us an email (get our email address from the contact page of the site or the paragraphs above).

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PHIT is Closed This Week – Enjoy Popeapalooza!

With most people downtown in Philly proceeding to their doomsday bunkers and the police, FBI, and Secret Service preparing a security perimeter that has us convinced Pope Francis will actually be summoning and fighting the devil instead of celebrating mass on the art museum steps PHIT has decided to close up shop for the week. We won’t be holding any classes, workshops or shows from Monday, September 21st through Sunday, September 27th, 2015. Classes will resume on Monday, September 28th and shows will return with Harold Night on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:30 p.m.

In the meantime, if you are missing us this week we’ve got a few great opportunities for you catch some live comedy around town:

  • Tuesday night you could catch the Open Mic at Helium Comedy Club right across the street from us at 2131 Sansom Street.
  • Wednesday night our friends at CSz Philadelphia (who play on The Playground stage right inside our home at The Adrienne Theatre), are having a special ComedySportz match for the World Meeting of Families at 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday you can catch the open mic at The Philly Comedy Attic at Raven Lounge (1718 Sanom Street) starting at 9:00 p.m.
  • Also Thursday night, our Dynamite Series show (Untitled) is giving a special performance at Indy Hall (22 North 3rd Street) in Old City at 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, Helium Comedy Club is inviting back three former Philly’s Phunniest winners for a showcase. If you’ve been around PHIT for many years you’ll recognize the names of James Hesky, Doogie Horner and David James – all of whom have appeared on our stage at one time or another as well!
  • Sunday there are no jokes, just a catholic mass on the parkway that includes a pre-show hosted by Markey Mark (without The Funky Bunch).

Of course, if you’ve already shacked up for the week with you food, water and rosary beads you can also catch some comedy online. Last week our own sketch house team Goat Rodeo did a brilliant sketch on stage, and they went to the Parkway this weekend to film it. So enjoy “Unofficial Papal Welcoming Committee” anytime this week when you are missing us!

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Session 5 Classes Now Enrolling + FREE Intro Workshops!

PHIT Student TransparentOur Fifth and final class session of 2015 is now online and ready to enroll! If you’re interested in a 201 – 401 class you won’t want to wait too long. Our higher level classes have been selling out earlier with each passing session. Enrolling early also means you can take advantage of the early registration discount which saves $50 off the full enrollment cost! In addition to our awesome core classes, we’re also offering the electives Musical Improv 101 and Acting & Improv: A Tour of Theatrical Styles and the Fall section of the PHIT Improv Conservatory Program. Each offer an experience you can’t get from our core classes as well as really cool class shows.

Haven’t taken and improv or sketch class at PHIT yet? We got your back! There is a slew of Improv 101 and Sketch Writing 101 classes being offered. Unsure if you want to commit to a full eight week class? No worries! We also have a bunch of FREE Intro to Improv and Sketch Writing classes you can register for right now. So, jump into one of our free workshops, meet some new people, and get a taste of what fun taking a full class at PHIT can be!

FREE INTRO TO IMPROV WORKSHOP WITH KEVIN PETTIT- WORKSHOP FULL!
Sunday, 9/6/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

FREE INTRO TO IMPROV WORKSHOP WITH RACHEL SEMIGRAN- WORKSHOP FULL!
Wednesday, 9/9/2015
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

FREE INTRO TO SKETCH WRITING WITH JACQUIE BAKER
Thursday, 9/10/2015
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

FREE INTRO TO IMPROV WORKSHOP WITH ALEX GROSS
Saturday, 9/12/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

FREE INTRO TO IMPROV WORKSHOP WITH MEREDITH WEIR
Sunday, 9/13/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

FREE INTRO TO SKETCH WRITING WITH MATTHEW SCHMID
Sunday, 9/13/2015
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

FREE INTRO TO IMPROV WORKSHOP WITH DAVID DONNELLA
Monday, 9/14/2015
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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Welcome Our September Launch Pad Team: Kevin

Kevin Logo - For General WebLaunch Pad is taking off again! Independent team Kevin is the next to take advantage of this opportunity for local improv teams to participate in a three-month intensive development, coaching, and performance period with PHIT.


Kevindescribed as “a scrappy indie team of improvisors from the hardscrabble loft district of Philadelphia,” starts its one-month run of weekly shows opening House Team Harold Night on Wednesday, September 2nd.

The theater has chosen PHIT company member Rob O’Neill (PHIT House Team Outside Voices) as their Launch Pad coach to help the team achieve their goals. You can connect with Launch Pad on Facebook for more information!

Look for the team to have their run of shows Wednesdays in September!

Wednesday, September 2 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, September 9 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, September 16 – 7:30PM
Wednesday, September 30 – 7:30PM

Learn more about our Launch Pad program and apply by clicking here!

 

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PHIT Kids & Teens Spotlight – Sue Jahani

PHIT Kids & Teens — PHIT’s improv comedy education program for grades K-12 — is gearing up for our Fall term and the fun is already in full swing. On September 12th, we are hosting a FREE Open Houses from 10-11 AM. Interested students are invited to try out improv comedy in an hour-long workshop while parents are welcomed to an info session complete with coffee, bagels, and doughnuts. Our fall classes begin on September 19th and we hope you’ll join us because our program is only as fantastic as the kids who join it.

SueJahani_smallTo get to know what PHIT Kids & Teens is all about, we want you to get to know our instructors. They’re all brilliant, hilarious and enthusiastic teachers, but don’t take our word for it. Take a look at just how great they are. Here’s our Nine Crazy Awesome Questions with Sue Jahani who teaches Grades 4-5 Intermediate Improv Skills.

What is your favorite thing about improv comedy?
I have three. Can I have three? I say, yes! 1) The great people. 2) Being able to have as much fun as a kid while still being an adult. 3) That “Whoa” moment when amazing things like the perfect detail or a connection just some how flow out of your mouth and you have no idea where they came from.

What’s your favorite memory from teaching a PHIT Kids & Teens class?
Sausage. In the Grade 4-5 class right before we start to plan for the class show Joe and I taught them a game that is centered around not breaking. Basically, there are two improvisors: The Statement Maker and The Sausage Sayer (who can only respond with the word, “sausage”). The goal is to keep a straight face. Welp, this class was so talented and were able to put so much emotion into their one word response that the game became some of their strongest scenes. It was hilarious and insanely memorable. Silly won the day that day.

What makes kids such natural comedians?
Improvising is playing with your imagination while making discoveries. Kids are awesome at this.

What are the most valuable tools that improv teaches?
Confidence, connections, teamwork, helping others, taking chances, imagination, reflecting, growing, timing, listening, and being accepting of any possibility.

SueJahaniPHITKids&Teens

What’s the silliest character you’ve ever played on stage?
Once I played a grandma that kept a large jarful of toe nails clippings and each nail clipping help a specific memory. As I told each memory my teammates would play out flashbacks. Needless to say, we went on a pretty fun adventure.

Describe your sense of humor in one word:
Ridiculous .

What’s the funniest sound ever?
A State Fair-sized pumpkin plopping into a vat of pistachio pudding.

What’s the coolest animal on the planet?
I’d have to go with the three-toed-sloth. Master chilaxer that loves to hang out. I also think they can be super cute.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?
It is funny you should ask. I wrote a thesis on this very subject in grad school. My final conclusion using scientific data is yes. You see, it is meat between bread. Take for example a meatball sandwich. Meat between bread. Meatball sandwich. Is a hot dog so different that it can not be recognized as a sandwich if it chooses? Hot dogs are sandwiches.

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SPOTLIGHT ON: This Is Your Life

ThisIsYourLifeJoeTuzzi

“This is Your Life” is a host Joe Tuzzi very own version of the classic television show! At each performnace one lucky audience member get the full interview treatment from Joe (from Two Late with Rob and Joe), and then PHIT’s amazing cast play their friends and family as we reveal the truth behind their answers! Joe answered a few questions about the show, which premieres this Thurdsday, August 20th, 2015 at 9:00 p.m..

What is the format of the show?
The format of the show is simple. I take an audience member out of the crowd and interview them about their life. From here improvisers will come out from backstage as people from the audience members past. They will interact with each other as well as the audience and me, the host.

How did you come up with the idea for “This is Your Life”?
I came up with this idea while at DCM in New York. I went to see Nick Kroll and he did something very similar to this. It gave me the idea to try something like it in Philly since we have so many funny and talented performers here.

Why did you want to do a show like this?
I have always loved old television shows, game shows, and reveal shows like the original This is Your Life. I also really enjoy getting the audience involved in my comedy. This show is the perfect marriage of those two things.

What do you think will be some unique challenges for the improvisers in the show?
Picking a character. After the first few obvious characters form the audiences past are chosen it is going to become difficult for the rest of the performers to come up with bigger and stronger characters. This is when the show gets weird in a great way.

If there was one sentence to sum up your own life so far, what would it be?
I never know what’s next but I’m always excited to find out.

Don’t miss “This is Your Life” hosted by Joe Tuzzi, this Thursday August 20th at 9:00 p.m.!

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PHIT Kids & Teens Spotlight – Sam Abrams

PHIT Kids & Teens — PHIT’s improv comedy education program for grades K-12 — is gearing up for our Fall term and the fun is already in full swing. This summer we are hosting two FREE Open Houses on August 15th and September 12th from 10-11 AM. Interested students are invited to try out improv comedy in an hour-long workshop while parents are welcomed to an info session complete with coffee and doughnuts. Our fall classes begin on September 19th and we hope you’ll join us because our program is only as fantastic as the kids who join it.

SamAbrams_smallTo get to know what PHIT Kids & Teens is all about, we want you to get to know our instructors. They’re all brilliant, hilarious and enthusiastic teachers, but don’t take our word for it. Take a look at just how great they are. First up, here’s our Nine Crazy Awesome Questions with Sam Abrams who teaches Grades 6-8 (Beginner Short Form):

What is your favorite thing about improv comedy?
My favorite thing about improv comedy is just getting to play with my friends- even if the person isn’t a friend of mine, after a little while doing improv together, we are! I usually overthink things a lot, so when I get onstage and just get to play, I’m in my happy place.

What’s your favorite memory from teaching a PHIT Kids & Teens class?
I had a lot of fun with my class last session, and there were a lot of great moments, but the best was the final show. I knew in class the students were funny and really smart, but getting to see them make their families and friends laugh was amazing- they were so funny!

What makes kids such natural comedians?
Kids know what’s funny- they haven’t learned to over-think, over-explain, or doubt what’s funny- so what they come up with on the fly is to-the-point and clear. Plus, most of improv is about listening to and playing with your friends- that’s what kids do naturally!

SamAbramsPHITKids&Teens

What are the most valuable tools that improv teaches?
Improv teaches you how to really listen and work together to build something together. It also celebrates mistakes, so you become confident onstage easily- if you make a mistake, it ends up being a fantastic gift to the improvisation!

What’s the silliest character you’ve ever played on stage?
I played a trapeze artist in a show once, so I had a vague and strange accent, and ran around a lot doing “tricks” that were more like awkward dance moves than anything else. When I actually did the somersault, the audience cheered- that was a lot of fun.

Describe your sense of humor in one word:
Dorky.

What’s the funniest sound ever?
Wet shoes squishing as you walk.

What’s the coolest animal on the planet?
I just learned platypuses have poisonous stingers, so I guess the platypus- silly-looking and deadly!

Is a hot dog a sandwich?
No, it only has one piece of bread.

Want to learn more? Check out our enrolling classes page and sign up for a FREE Open House!

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Music Show – Thursday, July 16th @ 10:30 p.m.

MusicShowImage

Do you like music?  Do you like Philadelphia?  Do you like panel shows featuring local Philadelphia musicians?  If so, PHIT has a show for you.  This Thursday, catch the premiere of Music Show, a new show hosted by Jack O’Keeffe and Jon Plester.

Jon and Jack met at PHIT and were immediately drawn to each other through a mutual style of humor.  “I met Jack some time in March after shows,” said Jon. “For some reason our paths had not crossed at that point, but we immediately clicked creatively. We really began to form a friendship over our love of all things pop culture, music specifically.”  Jack elaborated, saying “When I first decided I wanted to pitch and develop a panel show about music, he was the first collaborator that came to mind. Working with him took the show from a half-idea to this mad, wonderful flower of frenetic energy that Music Show has become.”

Together, Jon and Jack are a complimentary pair of friends who love each other and what they create together. “Jon is straight-up one of the most talented, easy-to-work-with people I have ever met,” Jack said. “I think what Jon brings to the show is his absolute fearlessness to take a project into a wild, unexpected direction while still making it fun and accessible for everyone involved, including the audience. I laugh harder working on music show than any other comedic project, and I owe that 90% to Jon (the additional 10% I owe to our lovely Music Show intern Pim Van Huykelom). Jon said regarding Jack, “he’s a very funny, wonderful, creative human being who isn’t afraid to double down on an insane, crazy, weird thought that I have. We both aim for a similar sensibility but arrive at it from different routes.”

So, what is Music Show really about? “Jon and I attempted to make the show as unpredictable and fun for the audience as possible while also highlighting cool local musicians. It’s formatted very much like a traditional discussion panel show, but we hope that it feel as untraditional as possible,” Jack explained. “That being said, I cannot stress enough just how much this show is about Music. That is the primary topic and mission of the show: Talking about music.” Jon echoed this. “Me and Jack, throughout the process, were almost entirely working towards what we thought we would want to see on stage. Whether that may or may not be what other people want to see was not of our concern, as terrible as that may sound. Essentially, we wanted to put up a show that we were happy with. The show is about music, and only music. A panel show that is definitely a panel show. With hosts who exist most definitely in the reality that we exist in.”

Their show is unlike anything else at PHIT right now, and they are very thankful for the opportunity to do a show together. “I wanted to do a project with my friends, and PHIT has a wonderful structure in place for helping shows develop and grow. Putting this show together allowed me to surround myself with some of the funniest and most creative people I know, and take the things that crack each other up and put them on a stage for an audience,” said Jack. Jon also said, “It’s amazing how many opportunities there are at PHIT to put up shows that may or may not work. It’s a great place to explore and play with the format of a comedy show, whether it be improv, sketch, or anything else. From what I’ve heard from friends in other cities, it isn’t like this anywhere else. The Philly scene is amazingly supportive, not only within the community but with people in charge of putting up shows like ours. Joe Moore (PHIT Variety Producer), for one, was very supportive throughout this whole process.”

Don’t miss Music Show, Thursday, July 16th at 10:30 p.m.!

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A Class To PHIT Every Schedule!

We are very happy to announce that starting in August 2015 we will be offering an improv 101 class every day of the week! You’ll be able to choose from classes on weeknights, weekends and now each day of the week in the afternoon! We’ve also squeezed in a summer intensive that runs August 11th through August 14th. The whole Improv 101 level condensed into 4 awesome days with the fantastic Caitlin Weigel! So now there really should be a class to PHIT every schedule!

PHIT Student TransparentWe are also excited to announce our first class specifically for seniors! “Keep Laughing: Improv 101 for Seniors” will be a version of our Improv 101 class adapted specifically for people 55 and over. As Greg says, “All of the seniors who take our classes are great and we are always trying to make sure classes are diverse in all ways, but many of the seniors in classes have expressed a desire to take a class with more people around their own age. A lot of comedy, especially improv, is about references to other culture, slang, etc. and for older students that can sometimes make their jokes fall flat because young students don’t get the reference (and vice versa). We are pleased to offer this option, but people over the age of 55 should know that they are welcome to enroll in any improv 101 class listed.

Enroll in a class before August 2nd and get our Early Registration Discount! Save $50 off the full enrollment cost and still get the following awesome perks:

  • A Student Pass that gets you into all shows at PHIT for FREE!
  • Access to improv practice groups that double your improv training time for FREE!
  • A graduation show you can invite friends, family and even strangers to see!
    Opportunities to perform as soon as your first week in class!
  • Access to exclusive PHIT workshops and electives.
  • Lots and lots of new friends!*

IMPROV 101 INTENSIVE (1 LEVEL IN 4 DAYS) WITH CAITLIN WEIGEL – ENROLL NOW!
Tuesday, 8/17/2015 through Friday, 8/21/2015
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch: 2:30pm – 3:00pm)

IMPROV 101 (DAYTIME) WITH DAVID DONNELLA – ENROLL NOW!
Mondays, 8/17/2015 – 10/5/2015
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

IMPROV 101 (DAYTIME) WITH JESSICA SNOW – ENROLL NOW!
Tuesdays, 8/18/2015 – 10/6/2015
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

KEEP LAUGHING: IMPROV 101 FOR SENIORS WITH GREG MAUGHAN – ENROLL NOW!
Wednesdays, 8/19/2015 – 10/7/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

IMPROV 101 (DAYTIME) WITH MIKE MARBACH – ENROLL NOW!
Thursdays, 8/20/2015 – 10/8/2015
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

IMPROV 101 (DAYTIME) WITH KRISTEN SCHIER – ENROLL NOW!
Fridays, 8/21/2015 – 10/9/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

*Individual results may vary. At least 1 (one) new friend is guaranteed by Greg Maughan.

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FREE PHIT Kids & Teens Open Houses This Summer!

PHIT Kids & Teens is excited to announce that it will be hosting three FREE Open Houses for prospective parents and students this summer. On July 18, August 8, and September 12, Grades K-12 students are welcome to enjoy a FREE hour-long improv comedy workshop with PHIT Kids & Teens highly-talented faculty while parents will be treated to coffee and light fare along with a presentation about our program.

Philly Improv Theater is committed to growing the next generation of great comedic performers. Our stage and classroom are open to all, from the smallest of aspiring comedians to high schoolers hoping to prepare for our adult classes and beyond. Our Kids & Teens classes create a safe and inclusive space for young people to develop their innate curiosity, creativity and ability to work to with others. Our professionally-trained instructors – many of whom are current or former full-time K-12 educators and PHIT company members- are focused on each student’s success as a comedian and a person.

Here’s what some parents have to say about our program:

“The girls loved their teachers and had a blast. Such warm, enthusiastic, and fun-loving instructors!”

“The experience was great…. They loved it.”

Whether students are looking to take their first, tentative steps into the world of performing, hope to develop already existing skills and reach a new level, or are simply seeking a place to form new friendships, PHIT’s Kids & Teens program has something for everyone.

You can learn more about the program on the PHIT website, and register for the FREE open houses by visiting the PHIT Kids & Teens Enrolling Classes page.

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