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.

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

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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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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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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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!

Sunday, 9/6/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 9/9/2015
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, 9/10/2015
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 9/12/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, 9/13/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, 9/13/2015
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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.


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


“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!


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:

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.


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!*

Tuesday, 8/17/2015 through Friday, 8/21/2015
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch: 2:30pm – 3:00pm)

Mondays, 8/17/2015 – 10/5/2015
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Tuesdays, 8/18/2015 – 10/6/2015
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Wednesdays, 8/19/2015 – 10/7/2015
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Thursdays, 8/20/2015 – 10/8/2015
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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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SPOTLIGHT ON: Barbara Bush Presents: BBTV – June 25th-26th @ 9:00 p.m.

In 2014, a group of a bunch of cuties came together to start an all-female improv team, and named themselves Barbara Bush.  Much like the actual Barbara Bush, they are both the wife and mother of a president, and by president, I mean making you laugh your socks off (but I don’t mean Socks the cat… wrong president.).  In late 2014 they decided to delve into the world of sketch comedy as well. This Thursday and Friday, you can see them at 9:00 with their debut of their newest show, BBTV. They will be opening for The Incredible Shrinking Matt and Jacquie.  Jacquie Baker also happens to be Barbara Bush’s sketch director.

Jacquie was brought in after their first show; “When I saw Barbara Bush’s first sketch show at PHIT last December, I was really impressed with their creativity and energy. Coming into the BB fold, my main objectives as a director were to guide the writing process and help them focus their voice, since every member of this group has a totally unique sense of humor and writing style. During one meeting, I was asked to define the group’s voice, and the words “whimsy and despair” popped out of my mouth. I think you’ll find both in this show,” said Jacquie.

When asked how they decided to do sketch in addition to improv, Katheryn Amrhein explained, “One day after improv practice we are all sitting around and said let’s write sketches, so we did. And it was magical.”  Jolie Darrow added, “We were all newish to the scene and kinda starting to get involved with separate sketch projects. One day we were hanging out after practice and thought, “we already love and enjoy improvising/spending time together why not just consolidate the worlds”, and immediately dove head first into planning our first show that day.”  Sue Nelson said the sketch aspirations came from “realizing other sketch projects weren’t taking off because it was a challenge to meet, but. we’re always together.”  Julia Hudson summed it up as a “natural, expected, and insane impulse” for Barbara Bush.

Jacquie adds, “When we actually can get everyone together, it’s magic. There are a lot of rewrites and suggestions for ideas and jokes – it’s a very open group. Usually the person who writes a sketch takes the lead on rewrites, however sometimes people pair up to bounce things off of each other. Fun fact: all members of Barbara Bush are made of rubber, not glue. When we get scripts up on their feet, I have a lot of fun seeing how physical and ridiculous we can make the staging. There’s one sketch in particular in this show which was super fun to block. You’ll have to come to see what I’m talking about….”

The group enjoys working together because they are already close friends.  “Kathryn is dark, Nicole is honest, Jolie is observational, Courtney is introspective, Julia is brave, Sue is smart. I am Baby Beyonce”, said Shawna Stoltzfoos.  Katheryn stated “We are able to be so weird and goofy together which makes it super easy to be creative. Also, we all have very different things that make us laugh and all of those weird perspectives mixed together makes for really fun sketches full of whimsy and despair…which has kind of become our calling card.”  Julia also remarked “Because snapchat is better in real life.”  Indeed, the ladies of Barbara Bush have an enviable snap game.

Jacquie loves Barbara Bush. “One thing that is pretty cool about this group is that they have an extensive improv background, which makes them pretty fearless performers and writers. The other is that they’re really good friends and Snapchat each other all the ding dang time. We just had a tech rehearsal last night, and when they weren’t on stage, they were cracking each other (and me) up constantly. They are so much fun to work with.”

Thier show is, as Sue puts it, “As if Barbara Bush took over your television and was the cast of every show.”  Jolie said, “It’s a bit of a commentary on pop culture and what we as a world like to laugh at. We’ve teased some of the weird out of mainstream media.”   Julia describes it as “That weird channel you find on your hotel tv and you can’t not watch.”  Katheryn added, “BBTV is whimsical and desperate in the best way possible. Oh, and if you sit in the front row, bring a poncho.”

Get tickets now for BBTV, opening for The Incredible Shrinking Matt and Jacquie, this Thursday June 25th and Friday June 26th, both at 9:00 p.m.

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Intro Classes Only $199 through June 21st! + Win $50 Training Center Class Credit!

Phit Class Summer Sale-01Is this deal hot enough for ya? Starting June 15th, 2015 and going through June 21st, 2015 all Improv 101 and Sketch Writing 101 classes are only $199! That’s $100 off the full enrollment cost.  If you’ve been thinking about jumping into a sketch or improv class then now is the time! In addition to training with the best instructors in the Philadelphia area and meeting new people, you’ll get a pass that gets you into all PHIT shows for FREE! There are also improv practice groups, social events, special shows, opportunities to perform and much more! If you haven’t taken a comedy class at PHIT yet, consider this opportunity knocking.

Already enrolled in a class? Looking to get back involved? You can still take advantage of our early registration discount and save $50 off the full enrollment cost of any 201 – 401 level class. That special ends August 2nd, 2015, so don’t wait too long, because higher level classes sell out pretty quickly.

What’s more, PHIT’s also holding a contest on Twitter! Everyone who follows @PHITComedy on Twitter and re-tweets the above sale graphic from the @PHITComedy account will be entered to win a $50 PHIT Training Center credit! You can apply this $50 credit to any 201 level class or higher, or any PHIT workshop. You can also combine this credit with the early registration discount, potentially allowing the winner to deduct $100 from a 201-401 level class! If you’re entering a 101 class, you could save the $50 credit for your next class. The credit is not exchangeable for cash and cannot be used for show tickets. This contest is open to everyone.

So, if you are a current student, tell your family and friends on Twitter to RT the graphic for you and increase your chances to save $50 on your next class! Just make sure they also follow @PHITComedy as anyone chosen will also need to be a follower on Twitter. A winner will be chosen randomly on June 22nd, 2015. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Let’s Hear It For The Boys! PHIT Welcomes Susan Messing & Rachael Mason in July!

It’s time to take out whatever you use to track your days and put big asterisks on July 25th and 26th! Improv superstars Susan Messing and Rachael Mason, The Boys, will be at PHIT for the entire weekend. Their visit consists of no less than four improv workshops and a Saturday night show!

SusanSusan Messing is a Philly favorite and we are honored to have her visit us again. Each time she comes we secretly (and not so secretly) hope that she decides to stay. Alas, come Sunday afternoon her bags are packed and she’s headed back to Chicago to where she performs and teaches at its legendary comedy theaters iO, The Second City and The Annoyance Theatre. If you find yourself in Chicago then you can catch her with Blaine Swen in Blessing @ the iO, and Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance. Her improv workshops this visit include “Protecting the Freak” and “Killing Ambiguity“. Workshops are open to students that have completed improv 201.

RachaelRachael Mason will be making her first visit to PHIT and we couldn’t be more excited about it! She comes packing an amazing teaching background as the head of Advanced Improvisation at the Second City and the creator of its Scenic Improv and Dramatic Improv programs. She’s performed with Baby Wants Candy, The Annoyance, ComedySportz, iO, The Second City National Touring Company, and is currently in the cast of The Second City Improv All-Stars. Rachael’s workshops for this visit include “6 Ways to Create Sustainable Characters” and “The Initiation“. Workshops are open to students that have completed improv 201.

On Saturday, July 25th at 10:30 p.m. Susan and Rachael become “The Boys”. As they describe it, “The Boys are what’s left of Chicago Improv supergroups, Children of a Lesser God and The Playboys. This show is improvised, unfettered dumb. We make it worse.” This is a weekend at PHIT that is not to be missed. Workshops are enrolling now. Tickets for The Boys will be available soon.

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Düofest 2015 is Finally HERE!!!

Philly Improv Theater is proud to present Düofest! This festival is the only one of its kind…DuoFestSquareLogo2015Vers2-02 a 4-day celebration of comedy duos. 30 teams from around the world will converge on Philly from June 3rd through June 6th to perform, teach, and play. A few of our duos will even be running some killer workshops! Check out the festival website for a complete schedule and team bios. You can also follow the festival on Twitter and friend us on Facebook. Festival passes will be $22 and good for entry to ALL SHOWS!

See you at Düofest!

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The Dynamite Series @ PHIT Retires Page One This April

Since its launch back in February 2014, The Dynamite Series @ PHIT has been focused on merging comedy with interesting art forms and diverse casts to create amazing work exclusive to the PHIT stage. And no other Dynamite project encapsulates everything the Series is about better than Page One.

This show premiered as one of Philly Improv Theater’s Fringe Fest offerings in 2013, andFringe2013Page4x6Front tapped local playwrights to share the first page of an unpublished play to become the basis for an hour long improvised show. Immediately after its debut, the show became something the theater wanted as a regularly scheduled offering. It also ignited a spark in the mind of PHIT Artistic Director Ralph Andracchio. “What if there was a series of shows dedicated to the idea of art and comedy merging into shows that showcase the best of both worlds?”.

The Dynamite Series @ PHIT was born, and Page One became the first show to kick off the series, debuting Saturday, February 8th. In its time on the PHIT stage, Page One has worked with 19 local playwrights bringing their ideas to life for audiences who may not have been exposed to their work previously. And the cast has impressed these audiences and playwrights alike with their talent, commitment, and professionalism.

As the show is coming to the end of its run, we asked the cast to share something they will be taking away from the show as they move on to other projects. Here’s some of what they had to say:

 I L.O.V.E. Page One. It forced me with a gentle push to become a strong improvisor. It taught me to ground myself, to slow down, to listen to everyone. I would not be anywhere as confident if it wasn’t for [Page One director] Steve [Kleinedler], the Page One cast, and the Page One format.
-Sue Jahani

Working with Steve Kleinedler and the cast of Page One taught me so many invaluable things about improv and acting. It taught me how to react truthfully, from a real place and how to juggle plot and game. I wouldn’t be the improviser I am today without on Page One, so thank you!
-Jen Curcio

Page One kept me in improv and made me a better improviser.  I learned a lot about being patient, not being unnerved by silence, and answering the question “What is needed?”  I’m proud to say I did some of my best improv as part of Page One.
-Mike Butler

Page One is by far my favorite project that I have ever worked on. Improv and theatre are both so important to each other. I feel like any performer would benefit from being a part of a show like this. I’m going to miss it so much!
-Lizzie Spellman

I was a late addition to a team that had already been performing knockout shows. Page One had a dynamic different from anything I’d ever been involved in. Even from the audience, it was clear that it demanded a level of emotional commitment, alertness, and trust that seems rare in improv. As such, I was nervous. Luckily, I joined a group of fearless, interested players and a director who had a knack for pushing people into narrative and tonic cohesion without ever micromanaging. Page One was a form that never got easier. It was thrilling. I will miss it dearly.
-David Donnella

This project has been enormously rewarding. I’ve always been a big proponent of theatricality and improv, and the theatricality of Page One makes for a very rich viewing experience. It’s been an absolute blast working with the cast on different styles of playing, and they’ve expertly maneuvered every genre and style thrown at them. It’s been a magnificent run!
-Steve Kleinedler (director)

Catch the final performance of Page One this Saturday night at 7:30PM. Tickets are available here.

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SPRING SALE! Save $100 on Improv 101 and Sketch 101 Classes!

Phit Class Spring Sale B-01

This is no April Fool’s Day joke. It’s a Spring Sale! Save $100 off the full enrollment cost of an improv 101 or sketch writing 101 class now through Monday, April 6th! See all those beautiful, fun looking people lined up on the right? They’re all teaching classes next session. As you can see there’s lots of classes to choose from. Unsure if you want to plunk down that hard earned cash for a full class just yet? We have two FREE Intro to Improv workshops this weekend. So you can take the workshop for free and if you like what you see you can save $100 on the full class! Don’t delay, those workshops are filling up fast.

Enrolling in a class not only gives you invaluable improv experience, but those concepts are applicable in many professions and your daily life. Plus, you’ll make lots of new friend AND get into our shows for FREE for the length of your class. You’ll make the money back in saved ticket costs alone!

Already in a class? You can save $50 off any 201 – 401 level class now through May 25th, 2015. Don’t keep this sale to yourself! Sharing this post is encouraged and appreciated! There are so many great things happening at PHIT all the time. Come have fun with us!

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Announcing Our Brand New Dynamite Series Project Cast!

After an amazing audition process with many outstanding performers and a long week of deliberation, we are finally ready to formally announce our newest PHIT cast! Please welcome to the Dynamite Series family:

Samantha AbramsPHITLogo2014BigTop7DynamiteSeriesSquare
Ralph Andracchio
Ryan T. Barlow
Karen Coleman
Kate Fruhman
Whitney Harris
Sue Jahani
Andrew Nealis
Zachary Uzupis
Joe Wendrychowicz

And our newest director Rachel Semigran!

We would also like to thank all of the wonderful performers that came out to these auditions. The comedy community is growing by leaps and bounds in Philly, and we are always blown away by the level of dedication and artistry everyone brings to the table. Each audition process gets tougher and tougher, but as a result each team that is cast is stronger. Please continue to grow and challenge yourselves as artists!

This new Dynamite Series project will blend visual arts and improv comedy into a hybrid show unlike anything else in the city. We’re looking forward to their debut Saturday, May 9th!

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