Interview with Michael Jastroch of Victrola

Victrola is a weekly comedy podcast produced by ColdTowne founder and senior faculty member, Michael Jastroch, who recently appeared in the 2017 SxSW comedy lineup. In this post, we discuss Victrola’s start, the cast and their selection as finalists in the first annual Improv4humans/Earwolf competition.

How did you get started with Victrola?

Funny. I just had a facebook memory come up for this. Bryan Roberts posted in 2013 the phrase “Car Bits, Seriously.” It refers to a road trip we took to OKC along with Josh Krilov and Steve Donovan to perform sketch. The way there and back, we improvised dumb audio bits for seven straight hours – basically pretending to prank call us and it was maybe the hardest I’ve ever laughed.

Josh, Bryan and I started getting together to record audio bits from time to time with the intention of turning it into something –  a podcast or a stage show – but nothing ever came from it. Mostly because of lack of know how and proper equipment.

I have a few recordings from that time, and I may release some of them someday as curios. There’s a bit – unedited – we did that I eventually cut up into an audio add for ColdTowne. I can’t find the finished version, but the unedited clip is pretty solid.

A few years ago, I got fed up with doing shows and having no record of my work or “product” to sell. A decade of shows, and the only thing to point to was some vague memories. The kicker was one night doing a show one night with Irene White that may have been the best thing I’ve ever been involved with and realizing that even though 50 people saw it, it’d be forgotten in two months.

Film is challenging, because you need a lot of people to make it happen and having relied on goodwill and favors for most of my creative life, I knew it’d be difficult to put stuff out consistently. With podcasting, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t happen, I’ve only myself to blame.

So I bit the bullet, dropped $500 on audio equipment and podcast hosting, taught myself some basics, and made myself a rule. I’d never miss a deadline, even if I put out crap, I’d put something out. Recording sessions are deliberately kept fun and casual, so people never have to feel like a dick for not making it  – although everyone in the cast makes 9 out of 10 sessions. And here we are.

My only regret is Krilov moved so he can’t bit out with us.

Bryan Roberts, Jericho Thorp, Dalton Allen

Recording: Bryan Roberts, Jericho Thorp, Dalton Allen

What do you think each of the cast members brings?

I casted the thing mostly based on a history of hanging out and doing bits. How easy does this person play and get what makes something funny? So they all have that in common. Plus, they all have a few voices up their sleeve. We all make each other laugh, and that’s important.

Lance Gilstrap – the perfect straight man. Very few people can maintain that much anger on stage and keep the ball rolling. It’s a skill I envy.

Molly Moore – such great character work. You never know what’s going to come out of her mouth, completely sincerely, as whatever nutball she’s playing.

Bryan Roberts – perfect timing and delivery. He could make a phone book funny. He’s also great at constructing actual jokes on the spot.

Bob McNichol – plays three dimensional chess while the rest of us are playing checkers. He doesn’t say the most, but everything that comes out of his mouth is funny on another level. Plus, he’s got that amazing dry delivery that sounds so sweet on podcast.

Cortnie Jones – is such a great character actress and she swings for the fences with

Molly Moore

Recording over a weekend retreat in west Texas: Molly Moore (foreground). Michael Jastroch and Bob McNichol (background).

whatever she’s doing. If Molly plays the affable loons, Cortnie plays all the sociopaths.

Jericho Thorp – One of the best character improvisers in the city. Such a great listener and so wonderful at making even the nuttiest stuff grounded in truth.

Me – I don’t know anymore.

Also, Dalton Allen, who helps with the editing and is unofficially now in the cast has a wonderful dry wit.

What do you think is the biggest deal about Victrola as a comedy podcast?

The great thing about podcasts is they are so easy to start. The horrible thing is they are so easy to start. Meaning, it’s real easy to assume you’re charming enough to carry on unscripted comedy – scenic or banter. But the truth is, that’s not only difficult to do, if you’re not a known quantity, no one gives a shit.

I didn’t want to do another four dudes talking around a microphone podcast. That niche is filled. So what makes us a big deal is when we put stuff out, the extra effort has been put in to make it as funny as it can be every time. Otherwise there’s literally no point in us existing.

If you could have one special guest superstar, who would it be?

All of Superego, who are huge inspirations. We were doing these bits and thinking about releasing this before we heard Superego, but they showed us the way forward.

What’s up with Improv4Humans and Earwolf?

Yeah! We are among the top three finalists in the Improv4Humans Contest4Humans. Which is awesome, because locally and nationally we were up against some heavy hitters. It’s a real honor and very validating to make it this far.

We’re recording a set on Tuesday the 28th. If we win, we get flown to the Del Close Marathon in NYC to record with Matt Besser. Which, given that we’re laboring in obscurity far away from industry or celebrity, would be very validating and hopefully expose us to a wider audience.  We don’t do this to be famous, but so much work goes into the thing, audience is nice.

How many sandwiches have you eaten at once.

More than 2, less than 6.

What do you have strong opinions about?

Everything. It makes me a better teacher and director, but occasionally paralyses me as a performer.

On the podcasting tip, one thing I hear all the time is how awesome Victrola sounds. Which to me is nuts, because I literally have no idea what I am doing and basically watched two youtube videos.

Which means if your podcast sounds like shit, you don’t care enough to watch two youtube videos. If you’re going to phone it in, isn’t there a better way for you to spend your time?

Recording: Lance Gilstrap and Molly Moore.

Recording: Lance Gilstrap and Molly Moore.

ALSO – I support crowd funding thing as a concept, but I think we’ve gone too far. What happened to – you know – paying your dues. I’m annoyed by people who have never made anything asking for handouts for friends and family. Make a few things on your own dime before you start begging for funds. You’ll learn more.

If Victrola wins and gets to go to DCM, what are you going to do to celebrate?

Go to New York on Matt Besser’s dime is all the improv reward I need. Maybe finally get one of those fancy VIP DCM wristbands so I don’t have to wait in line 6 hours to watch shows I used to be able to just pop into back in 2005.

Victrola records for the Improv4Humans finals tonight at ColdTowne at 10pm.  Check out the Facebook event here. Even better, subscribe to the podcast for weekly goodness.

Interview with Keith “Keebler” Horvath, Director of This is (Not) the Gayest Sketch Show You’ll Ever See

Keith “Keebler” Horvath is a veteran of the Chicago Comedy and Theatre scene. Keith has nearly twenty years of theatrical training and experience, and has devised and directed over three dozen original sketch revues, plays, musicals, and solo shows, and has coached dozens more improv groups. He is a former director of Sketch Cast and Coached Ensembles in The Second City Training Center, and was AD for BlueCo, one of The Second City’s National Touring Companies. Also: He lights up the room.

Director, Keith Horvath

Director, Keith Horvath

In this interview, we chatted him up about his newest hit machine “This is (Not) the Gayest Sketch Show You’ll Ever See” (which is like fourteen of those little fireball emojis, according to everyone who has seen it).

Hi, how are you?

Sleepy, as I’m sure everyone is. Everyone is hustling to make their dreams a reality and therefore sacrifice sleep most of the time. Right?

Absolutely, same here, but it’s all good stuff, right?

Without a doubt. I’ve fallen in love with Austin, and I’m so happy I moved here to continue pursuing my art.

Can you tell us a bit about the show?

Sure! This is an original sketch comedy revue that’s inspired by the LGBTQ community. We have been in process since December of last year, and we’re very excited to share what we’ve created with the Austin community. You will see sketches that have been written by the actors performing in the show, and I facilitated the process along the way. It is a very organic process that yields a lot of material, so it was difficult for me to whittle down to the running order we have. There was simply too much good material because I am fortunate to have such amazing writer/performers and crew. Luckily on April 29th, which is our last performance, we will be showcasing some of the material that did not make it into the final running order. Some of those scenes may end up in our next revue!

What motivated you to focus on the LGBTQ community?

I really wanted to showcase the LGBTQ community because there’s a lot the general population doesn’t understand about us. Even within our own community, there are so many different aspects of what it means to be LGBTQ that we are all constantly learning, evolving, and growing each day. With that in mind, our goal was to encompass as much of the community as possible and to give a voice to those who may not otherwise have the chance to express themselves. While we have a lot of scenes that focus on queer issues, you’ll also see scenes about our political climate, scenes about family dynamic, and scenes that poke fun at the status quo of our communities. The purpose of a revue is to showcase variety, and I think we accomplished that quite successfully.

So the show isn’t completely improvised? What is the difference between improvisation and sketch comedy?

Cast of Not the Gayest: Ashley Blom, Laura de la Fuente, Luke Wallens, Mason Kerwick, Javier Ungo. Not pictured: Katie Stone

Cast of (Not) the Gayest from L: Katie Stone, Ashley Blom, Laura de la Fuente, Luke Wallens, Mason Kerwick, Jake Garrison, Javier Ungo.

No, the show has scripts the actors improvised and wrote themselves. Sketch comedy differs from improvisation in that sketch comedy is almost always written, whereas improvisation is made up on the spot. Sometimes sketch comedy revues have improvisational scenes, or utilize improvisation in some way, but not always. Sometimes people create premises before the show, then improvise with or without audience suggestion – we call this ‘sketchprov’. For (Not) the Gayest, we mostly brought in ideas for scenes, or a ‘pitch,’ and would improvise around that premise in rehearsal. From there we would test out scenes in front of an audience and reimprovise in rehearsals to find the structure that worked best for that particular scene – very much so in that Chicago/Second City style.

Why was it important for you to utilize Second City’s sketch comedy techniques/methods?

Growing up I had always wanted to be the next Jim Carrey or Robin Williams. As I got older, I discovered that a lot of my comedic heroes, especially those on SNL, had come from Second City. When I officially moved to Chicago – I grew up in the south suburbs, but no one knows where “Mokena” is –  I learned SO much about not only theater and acting, but comedy, and even life. I was immersed in this satiric lifestyle that was allowing me to challenge myself to get to the heart of what I wanted to communicate with the audience.

(Not) the Gayest cast members: Laura de la Fuente, Ashley Blom and Katie Stone

(Not) the Gayest cast members: Laura de la Fuente, Ashley Blom and Katie Stone

This is such an important part of comedy, in my opinion, the heart. Without it, the audience can’t connect with the scene or the actors; we would be saying jokes that didn’t make sense, or lacked a point. The power then, of improvisation, is it takes away the impulse to be funny, and instead focuses on people, relationships, and emotion. Improvisation forces you to connect with another person on a deeper level, and react in an organic way. This honest connection creates a visceral, empathetic response in the audience, allowing them to go on the journey with us. So, by using improvisation, we cut through the BS of trying to be funny, and instead become real people. The in-the-moment reactions to the situations within the scenes generate a heartier laugh, one that comes from deep within and is uncontrollable – a genuine laugh. Once we have this in place, we are then able to structure our scenes and our comedy within a framework that helps us organize our comedy. Within sketch, we generally have an average of 4 minutes before the lights go out and we move on, so there isn’t much room to (for lack of better terms) “half-ass” it.

Did I go off on a tangent? Sorry.

That’s ok, it was relevant. 

Oh, good.

What do you hope the show will accomplish?

I hope when people see the show, particularly those who are not directly part of the queer and trans community, they recognize and appreciate how much depth we all have as humans. It is easy for us to lump an entire group of people into one category, so this show invites the audience to take a step back and realize that everyone has depth, everyone is three-dimensional, everyone is complicated.

I think a key takeaway is that people are more than just their orientation or gender identity. For instance, I am an avid video gamer, and I am also bisexual. My husband and I like to watch TV, take our dog for a walk, go on hikes, and we enjoy trying new wines. When put together, we see that my orientation is a very minor (but important) part of who I am as a person. There’s so much more to me than who I am married to, and I want more people to see and understand that.

Remember: “Ogres have LAYERS” – Shrek

Did I sound like Shrek?

Close enough?

I’ll take it.

How has the rehearsal process differed from when you were in Chicago?

It’s been surprisingly similar to how I ran rehearsals in Chicago; the only difference is that I’m not struggling to find a place to put up a show, find rehearsal space, or procure actors dedicated to a show. I have not seen as much overbooking down here as I did in Chicago. There are a LOT of people in Chicago who are interested in doing work, then show up late, don’t show up at all, miss several rehearsals, all because they are doing too much at once. I have heard through the grapevine that this happens in Austin, but if that’s the case, I’m impressed with how hard the actors work down here to make all of their obligations a priority!

What’s been the best part of working with ColdTowne on this show?

People who know me know I am not one who tends to be sappy unless I am being sarcastic…however, the people at ColdTowne have truly changed me for the better. The pure love for this work has reinvigorated my passion for creating comedy, and the support from the ColdTowne community is overwhelming in the most wonderful way possible. ColdTowne is a theater that embraces diversity and inclusion, is open to new ideas, and most of all, is a fun place where people hang out, exchange creative philosophies, and create amazing art. I came from Chicago, considered the “mecca” of improvisation and sketch comedy, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the level of professionalism and aptitude the artists at this theater showcase day in and day out. We may not be millionaires, but we are creating theatre GOLD! There are several performers I’ve encountered already that could easily rival the talents of the many-many-many-many proficient improvisers in Chicago. I can say with authority that Austin, and ColdTowne in particular, is a really special place doing amazing things. I will always be loyal to ColdTowne because of the opportunities I’ve been given, and the warmth and passion of this community that looks out for each other.

That’s great to hear! Anything else?

Go see the show, and I have great hair! Ask to touch it the next time you see me*, it’s soft as FUG!

*I will decline if I have not showered that day.

You can ask to touch Keith’s hair and get the full experience of ColdTowne’s latest sketch show run every Saturday at 7pm through April 29th. Tix recommended at least one week in advance, as presales are already high for upcoming shows. Get em here.

 

ColdTownies Doing Cool Sh*t: “Beach Day” Director Dalton Allen

Dalton Allen is a student and performer at ColdTowne Theater, and graduate of the University of Texas Film Program. “Beach Day”, a piece he wrote, performed and directed (with collaborator Matt Stryker) was recently selected for the SxSW Film Festival, wrapping up this weekend. We asked him about the film in this brief chit chat.

Dalton and Matt in Beach Day. From the SxSW 2017 Film website.

Dalton and Matt in Beach Day. From the SxSW 2017 Film website.

Tell us about the short.
The film’s a short, absurdist comedy about my friend and I, who go to the beach on a slow day. It doesn’t go as planned.

What was your inspiration for making it?
My co-director and co-star Matt had the initial premise. We hadn’t made anything for ourselves for a long while so we just wanted to dust the cobwebs off. It was all found on the day. There was no script; we would shoot something and then talk through the beats of what comes next and then shoot that. It very much mirrored improv that way – we worked purely on instinct and discovery.

Who inspires you as a film maker or comedian?
This is a tough question for me because I always want to get comprehensive, but that’s impossible. At least for Beach Day, and I think I can speak for Matt too here, we’re big fans of recontextualizing things that wouldn’t themselves be funny but the situation they’re happening in makes it so it is. Also, playing something that’s deeply silly as straight as possible.

Edgar Wright comes up a fair bit between us. Wright has such a mastery of using the medium of film itself to help frame and tell a joke and he doesn’t waste a frame doing it (in much the same way, I’m a huge fan of Satoshi Kon). That efficiency really appeals to us. We’re both filmmakers first and comedians, or anything else, second, so we’re very concerned about using the camera dynamically to help us be efficient and dense with our comedy.

Beyond SxSW Film, where else can people catch your short?
We’re considering right now if we want to continue with a festival run or move on to something else. However that bears out, the short I’m sure will appear on YouTube at some point in the near future. It seems the natural home for something so silly. If anyone wants though, you can always contact me and I can send you a private link.

Heavy Metal Drummer: Michael Dolan of Rezuranger

Michael Dolan is a Level 2 student at ColdTowne and currently featured in our MainStage show, Rezuranger. He shared with us how he happened into classes, and–eventually–his role in our Saturday MainStage production.

On July 22, 2016 I visited ColdTowne Theater to see my friend, Lisa Williams (Family Meeting), perform with her troupe The High Five at a CageMatch (now Throwdowne) show vs. Rezurangur. That was the first time I got to see Chris Baldenhofer and Delaney Jo Hernandez perform. I was so impressed that night by Chris and Delaney to make two person scenes much fun! I didn’t realize it then, but Delaney and I had actually been camp counselors in 2008 for a youth retreat, and it was awesome to reconnect with her. I also remember thinking Kevin killed it that night during the performance with The High Five.

That show made me realize I wanted to do improv and couldn’t keep putting it off. I was still unsure about signing up for classes. I remember the two reasons I went ahead and did it: 1) I met Michael Jastroch during the 10 year anniversary weekend and remember thinking he was super witty and his characters were amazing. He’s a great teacher. 2) Kara King told me I wasn’t that funny in the ping pong/domino room at the Grand, so I had to prove her wrong. I signed up for Level 1 in the Fall 2016 class start.

16832200_10212277343117613_1273433287085986516_n

Dolan in Rezurangur press photo.

Towards the end of my Level 1 class, I saw that Rezurangur: An Improvised Heavy Metal Odyssee was looking for improvers and musicians with a specific request for a good drummer. It was the perfect show for me since I’ve been a drummer for almost twenty years and played in a metal band called Uglytwin for almost 3 years. I knew it was my destiny.

After a very nerve-wracking audition with Kristin Henn and company, I was very unsure about getting into the show because I didn’t talk much during my multiple person scenes. Like everyone, I’m my own worst critic. On top of that, I saw a ton of excellent performers at that audition.

About a week later I remember getting the e-mail from Kristin announcing that I had been cast for the show. I was so ecstatic that I immediately started to send friend requests to every member of the show on Facebook, just to see who all was in the show with me. When I saw Chris, Delaney and Kevin, I was super excited to work with all of them, since they were all part of the reason I invested in classes at ColdTowne. I had the chance to see a lot other cast members in Rezurangur perform at ColdTowne, and now—having had a chance to work with them—I’m certain this is one of the best groups of people I’ve ever had the chance to share a stage with.

Now, as a Level 2 student, and about to move into Level 3, I am so excited to keep going through classes, and eventually graduate. I love this community of people and always enjoy watching every show especially Missed Connections ATX, Loverboy, and Damn Gina. Come see Rezurangur: An Improvised Heavy Metal Odyssee!

Michael Dolan is an Austin native and has been a student at ColdTowne since 2016. He’s a drummer with 20 years’ experience of many different genres. He’s a beauty school dropout, graduate of Texas Bible Institute and doesn’t use any of that knowledge at his job doing Software Quality Assurance.

He’s performed in the Bit Show and now with Rezurangur: An Improvised Heavy Metal Odyssee Sat. nights at 8:30pm only at Coldtowne Theater from March 4th through April 8th. $10 online, $12 at the door. Buy tickets here.

Don’t Let the Night Catch You: NightWatch Producers, Damn Gina

Damn Gina has been filling houses and winning audiences since the five founding members (Cené Hale, Maggie Maye, Ronnita Miller, Tauri Laws-Phillips and Xaria Coleman) met and started the troupe at ColdTowne in 2015. Quickly establishing themselves as audience and scene favorites, they have played all over Austin and recently won the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Improv Troupe, 2016.

Our interview with Damn Gina’s Ronnita Miller and NightWatch director Erica Lies follows. You can also check out their recent interview with the Daily Texan.

Damn Gina's Maggie Maye and Ronnita Miller in NightWatch. Photography by Steve Rogers Photography.

Damn Gina’s Maggie Maye and Ronnita Miller in NightWatch. Photography by Steve Rogers Photography.

What inspired you when creating NightWatch?
Ronnita L. Miller – This show was inspired by a show we put up in December 2015 where the members of Damn Gina did monologues and scenes based on our own interactions with police officers. In these stories, we shared insight as to how people of color are treated in routine situations such as traffic stops and how our treatment may differ from our white counterparts.

Drew Wesley is rumored to play the investigator/detective and the whole cast is a super solid crew. Can you tell us about the cast and what they bring to the show?
Ronnita L. Miller- The whole cast is encouraged to play investigator/detectives and suspects. We have a great cast of very strong improvisors. We all get along very well. The cast is looking for interesting points of view that are presented at the top of the show when we profile the type of suspects that might commit the crime that we are investigating.

Erica: The cast is amazing. I don’t know how we got this lucky, but every person brings so much both in terms of character work and bringing great details and premises to scenes. They all make me laugh til my stomach hurts.

Ha, Drew is wonderful, but whoever heard that rumor must get their news from Donald Trump. I wanted to be conscious of whether what we’re making onstage just recreates the power dynamics of wider society, and the last thing we need is another story where a white dude has power over women of color. So instead everyone switches roles.

The members of Damn Gina play the lead detectives and the rest of the cast plays everyone else, including sometimes other investigators, the police commissioner, the  DA. Sometimes that’s Drew with his sweetly bungling detectives, and other times it’s Linzy Beltran as a cop that gets too close to her cases, or Rachel Austin as a Doogie Howser teen cop.

Maggie Maye, Laura de la Fuente and Frank Netscher in NightWatch. Photo by Steve Rogers Photography.

Maggie Maye, Laura de la Fuente and Frank Netscher in NightWatch. Photo by Steve Rogers Photography.

Is this a police procedural? What was your inspiration for the show?
Ronnita L. Miller – I would say it is a procedural. We tried to watch as many detective and procedural television shows to get a sense of the lingo and the tone. We didn’t want to repeat what we did in December 2015 because we each only have a finite number of stories and didn’t want to repeat those stories as they may lose impact. We thought it would be fun to use stories from the audience on times in which they were falsely accused to illustrate how personal bias and other factors can come into play when investigating a crime.

Erica: I see it as a procedural because the “crime” is wrapped up by the end. Even if the person caught and arrested isn’t actually the guilty party, the case is closed. Even so, I also wanted it to have elements like more modern crime shows that also delve more into the cops’ lives and their motivations. But here we’re twisting the procedural a bit, too. In cop shows, the crimes are always high stakes — murdered women, organized crime syndicates, so many serial killers — and the police almost always get the right people. We wanted to use the suggestion to both treat something small and ridiculous as high stakes, but also to look at a story that isn’t quite tied up as neat and pat as a procedural. We also wanted to mess with the tropes of crime shows. They’re so common you could make a bingo card out of them — masculine hero with a dead wife, excessively tough lady cop, “the DA’s breathing down my neck!”, the renegade who dares wear jeans, the captain saying “turn in your gun and badge.” Even just the mood and the deadly seriousness of those shows, it’s all ripe for mockery.

NightWatch with Xaria Coleman, Maggie Maye, Ronnita Miller and Laura de la Fuente

NightWatch with Xaria Coleman, Maggie Maye, Ronnita Miller and Laura de la Fuente. Photography by Steve Rogers Photography.

Why NightWatch?
Ronnita L. Miller – NightWatch came from a few different places. I think all the members of Damn Gina grew up hearing their parents say something along the lines of “Don’t let the night catch you…” which was meant to be a warning not to be running around at night where you could be mistaken for someone up to no good. If we think about Trayvon Martin, you can understand why this warning is so important. My parents had a rule that I could not be out after the streetlights came on or I would be in trouble.

If you think about police or neighborhood watch patrols, they usually take place at night when the streets are empty and danger is more pronounced. So we took those inspirations and combined it with the Game of Thrones Night’s Watch and it became NightWatch.

What else should we know about the show?

Erica: It’s raucous and fun and the whole cast is just so insanely funny. So, come prepared for an ab workout.

Damn Gina’s NightWatch plays the ColdTowne Main Stage through the end of February, every Saturday night at 8:30pm.  Advance tickets are recommended.

  • IMG_1187
  • IMG_1192
  • IMG_1194

ColdTowne Theater’s newest main stage show, Missed Connections ATX explores the sentimental, fantastical, and downright raunchy nature of austin’s most impersonal personal ads. We sat down to talk to show’s director, Chelsea Bunn, who handpicked a list of her favorite ads that aren’t going to make it into this run of shows.

Chelsea Bunn, Director of Missed Connections

Director of Missed Connections

First of all, tell us a little about the show?

The show has a five act structure and marries short- and long-form improv. Each act is inspired by ads from Craigslist’s Missed Connections section, which the cast has never seen before!

Over the course of collecting ads for the show, how many ads do you think you’ve read?

Probably over 1,000! The show spans Central Texas, so in addition to Austin, I’ve also been pulling ads placed in Round Rock, Georgetown, San Marcos, and San Antonio.

Wow, that’s a lot of personal ads! Have you noticed any trends?

I’ve seen plenty of dick pics (reader beware! lol). A lot of Missed Connections seem to occur in gyms, barber shops, and grocery stores– where it’s generally expected that you mind your own business. I will say that I have no interest in entering a 24-Hour Fitness or Gold’s Gym locker room or sauna ever again… Some Central Texans are very free sexually!

Missed Connections cast member reads a Craigslist post during the show

Missed Connections cast member reads a Craigslist post during the show

OK, tell us about this list you’ve prepared for us…

Alas, we could only cram so many wonderful ads into our six week run. So, I curated a list of some personal favorites that aren’t making the run of shows. I hope you enjoy– and come see the show!

Ladies & Gentlemen, without any further adieu, Chelsea’s list:

I saw you on the game show this past week!!! – m4w (Austin)
I saw you on The Price Is Right this past week (I think it aired 1/11/17). You are gorgeous!!! Bubbly personality too! That’s a rare combo. Are you single? This is the weirdest way to meet, but my whole life has been full of really cool, yet weird stories. Hopefully this will be an ongoing story!!! Your first name starts with a “C.” If you see this, please reply with your full first name as the subject of your email. Also, please tell me more about yourself and send me a picture of you. I’m a great guy who will dispel all of the Craigslist stereotypes! I’ll send a picture with my reply to you along with more about myself. Thanks!!!

Your Name is Joe & Your Wife Works in Leander (Leander)
I don’t really know you but i know & work with your wife at a doctors office. Since i work with her, i don’t want to create work related drama, because i need my job. So i’m hoping someone on here knows you and can relate the message back that your wife is having an affair with someone here.

I don’t want to create unneeded issues for anyone else for my lack of detail on who & where. So if you think this is you, and want me to verify. Reply with your wife’s first name and if it’s her, i’ll reply back with her last name & vehicle she drives in.

Missed Connections cast during the opening weekend.

Missed Connections cast during the opening weekend.

Early morning..I need to learn basic vehicle maintenance – w4m (Southwest Pkwy)
Thank you to the man that changed my tire in the cold this morning. I don’t know who you are, and doubt you will see this. I was scared and cannot thank you enough! You were gone before I had a chance to stop and pay you because I had my mom on the phone. I feel so bad because it was freezing cold, still dark and you still helped. Thank you so much, I was really worried when you first stopped..(too many horror movies I guess)

Guy eating potato – w4m
I’m sorry for staring at you while you enjoyed your potato.

It looked really good. I’m going to get a hot plain jane potato soon.

that was some party. sad it had to end. – m4ww (my Dr. office)
The dr said everything would be fine in a few weeks. I should have known better. you guys are too tempting.

Lastly, and not for the squeamish…

farting in my mouth – m4w (my bed)
age: 35

I miss the way you hold your ass open and held your stinky farts in till I put my lips around your puckered asshole and then push out a hot steaming bomb in my mouth and I’d lick the inside of your ass while you blow out.

For more Missed Connections entertainment, check out Missed Connections ATX Saturdays, February 4 – March 11 starting at 7:00pm. Tickets are $12 at the door and $10 online.

Improv encourages, and is elevated by those of completely different backgrounds, race, age, gender identification, sexual orientation... Through improvising and learning improv, we get to discover what we have in common with each other, and how different our perspectives are.

Teacher Spotlight: Nathan Sowell#

How do you call your Loverboy? On Friday nights, starting Jan 2017.

After Wednesday favorites Patio Talk moved to NYC to further their comedy careers in 2014, audiences wondered: who will move into the Wednesday night slot? Who could deliver that much energy, talent and delight week after week? Given the long shadow and packed houses that Patio Talk had built over the course of their residency, the expectations were sky high.

Enter Loverboy, a troupe of six graduates from ColdTowne (Cené Hale, Kim Lowery, Maria Pond, Chelsea Bunn, Stephanie Thoreson and Taylor Stewart). Deftly taking the baton from Patio Talk, they’ve proven their mettle week after week, with hilarious shows centered around the dating stories of a guest monologist. Beginning in January 2017, they will move to Friday nights at 8:30pm, taking over from the beloved and critically acclaimed Bad Boys.

We chatted Loverboy up over the internets about their origin story (hint: there was no nuclear accident), favorite show moments and what comes next.

How did Loverboy form?

13886400_538428136362960_7522862779991966209_n

Original cast of Loverboy (from left Cené, Kim, Stephanie, Taylor, Maria and Chelsea)

I formed Loverboy because nobody had asked me to be in a troupe yet and the people had had the most fun with in class just happened to be ladies! – TS

I’m actually not an original member. I had been asked by Taylor if I was interested in being in a troupe that she was forming but I was so green and shy and intimidated, I didn’t even get back to her at the time. Then I sat in with them on maybe their second or third show and afterwards all I could think was, “Please ask me to join, please ask me to join, please ask me to join”, and luckily, they did. It was love at first show for me. -ST

Where is the name from?

I came up with the name Loverboy because it seemed to fit in with our format (dating and relationship stories) and I liked the nod to the 80s Canadian rock band. I think both groups are lovably dorky but still really fun and good at what they do! – TS

How did you come up with your form? How would you describe it?

14231346_550026578536449_1714932070195830796_o

Loverboy performs at Out of Bounds in the State Theater, 2016.

The format is our variation on “The Armando.” We discovered through rehearsals that we like a rapid-fire pace and we’ve tried to play to that strength. Our format starts with short “vignettes” after each story, then we revisit the scenes/ideas that we liked the most, and end our show with a fast-paced, no-holds-barred run-out. -CB

I wanted the hook of hearing a different monologist’s story every week. It brings a new energy to every single show, which keeps things fresh for us and for the audience. We refined our version of The Armando over time. Several quick, unrelated 3-5 line scenes, followed by longer scenes and a second story. The last half of the show takes inspiration from the new story as well as everything that has happened since the show began, increasing the speed and blending worlds, revisiting characters, playing those games hard and looking for that killer “blackout joke”. – TS

What are some memorable show moments?

People have shared some amazing stories with us. One of my favorites was a guy who was asked to impregnate his date– it was their first date. He escaped by crawling out of the restaurant’s bathroom window. It was just like a sitcom! I’ve also enjoyed learning more about ethical polyamory, pansexuality, asexuality and other lifestyles. Love is love! -CB

We’ve had the full spectrum of memorable stories, from touching, to heartbreaking, to oh-my-god-I-can’t-breathe-because-I’m-laughing-so-hard. My favorite was when our long-time teacher and ColdTowne Theater co-owner Dave Buckman told stories from his time at BOOM Chicago in Amsterdam for our 4/20 performance. In Amsterdam he directed some now-famous comedians like Seth Meyers and Jordan Peele and he showed the audience a slideshow of photos from that time. It’s extra special now because orginal Loverboy cast member Cene Hale is now performing with BOOM Chicago. Full circle! – TS

My most memorable Loverboy moments usually happen before the show. Like when we had a sing off which ended in Cené down on one knee proposing to Maria, or the first time we performed together, we promised we wouldn’t let anyone “cook” onstage. I didn’t know what that meant in improv terms, and I thought, “Oh cool, yeah. Cause we’re women… so we don’t want to do a bunch of stereotypical cooking scenes…..” They corrected me. – KL

Many of my favorite show memories are more visceral, like the memory of the way a moment on stage made me feel as opposed to the actual specifics of said moment. For example, there was this one time Taylor and I came out on stage together and it was clear neither of us had an initiation so we just mirrored each other acting like wrestlers and found the game organically, together.  I can’t remember what in the world the scene evolved into, but I remember feeling so connected to her. I was buzzing. Because when you’re really in the moment with someone(s) and it’s working, it feels like magic. -ST

It’s hard to think of one moment, but I enjoy most when we make each other laugh. – MP

If you could have one local celebrity as a monologist, who would it be?

Wendy Davis. -CB

Elijah Wood, but I want the DJ version. – TS

Wendy Davis. (Amy Poehler would be my ultimate choice if we expand beyond local, and I hear she likes Austin!) – KL

13501614_521779844694456_8322735504247139400_n

Loverboy with monologist Kyle Houston Moore.

Joss Whedon! “Shocking.” – said no one ever. -ST

Is it cliché to say Matthew McConaughey? – MP

You guys have this incredible playful energy. Where do you think that comes from?

We’re friends IRL and I think that plays into it a lot. Also, we know how to make each other laugh and we don’t hold back! -CB

Yes, we’re definitely real life BFFs! To get us going, we start our pre-show warm ups with a high energy check in, and we try to keep that up throughout the show. Truth be told, sometimes those warm ups are even more special to me than the show itself!  – KL

Our sincere love for each other. And yes, we work hard to check in with one another. – MP

Tell us about the tattoos.

Some of us had been considering a Loverboy tattoo for a while, and when we were in NYC for the Del Close Marathon, Stephanie drew up a concept that represents what we chant each week before our shows, “Less Fear, More Love”.  This sincerely stands for what I’ve learned from working with these women, and it has changed my life in incredible ways. – KL

I took this workshop with the amazing Rachel Madorsky called “Let the Love In” and the underlying theme boiled down to less fear, more love (also that improv will certainly make you cry and feel feelings and examine your existential thoughts on existence and humanism, like a lot, but anyways, haha).This idea really struck a chord with me. It was such a succinct way to think about being in the moment on stage with yourself and other people that you care for and trust. It’s also just a great way to think about being, like in the world, period.  Eventually it became our mantra. Less fear! More love! -ST

Give us a sneak peek of Fridays in 2017. What should an audience expect? Why would they come?

Our fast-paced improv show will continue to be inspired by your love stories, but expect to see some changes to our programming (and lineup) in the next year… -CB

There’s obviously no replacing Cene. But, who is replacing Cene?

We agree that Cene is irreplaceable, which is why we aren’t replacing her. If and when we add new member(s), they will be asked based on their skills and talents. -CB

Psh, she’s easily replaced. I mean all we gotta do is find somebody who is as amazing, talented, funny, smart, kind, caring, sings like an angel….wait…hold on, I’m crying… – TS

Wait, Cené is just on vacation right. She’s coming back right?!? -KL

I’ll be the one in the corner, weeping. Please excuse. -ST

I don’t get it. Cené said she was going to the store to grab milk. – MP

11696430_411676299038145_4302982171689695807_o

It’s a tongue, duh.

Your logo: Is it a tongue or a wang?

NOT A WANG!!! We worked with a female artist who helped us establish our logo/brand. We were drawn to lips because they are playful, feminine, and play to the fact that people are telling stories. Plus they’re sexy. (There, I said it.) -CB

I sort of love that people think it’s a wang. I never saw it that way until someone was asked to take our poster down at work because it was inappropriate. – KL

Ew. – MP

 

What troupes or players are coming up that you are fans of?

Lady Parts, for sure. I’ve also really enjoyed the QueerTowne jam– lots of talent within that community! I think I speak for all of us when I say that we adore Kenah Benefield, who is a wonderful performer AND we are #blessed to have him running our tech every week. KENAH IF YOU’RE READING THIS, NEVER LEAVE US! -CB

Basketball Dog is so dang funny. – TS

Lady Parts on and off stage all the way! I’m a huge fan of Will Dwyer’s and Michael Perkins’ writing and improv, and even though they’re not exactly “coming up”, I’m a nut for Damn Gina.-KL

Yes! Agreed on all accounts! We’re gonna need a deeper bench! -ST  

Groundhog Indicates: It’s a Good Year for Improv!

Wondering if you or your loved one will enjoy taking classes at ColdTowne? Check out this blog post from Megan Mowry from this past March: she started in our free 101 class (every other Monday at the theater) and hasn’t looked back since.

Want to go ahead and snag that holiday class pass?

 Purchase the pass!

By Megan Mowry

Groundhogs Day 2015: Me, my birthday, and a free improv class at ColdTowne Theater. It didn’t feel significant at the time, but in retrospect, it was honestly the best gift I have ever given myself. I sat down next to Laura de la Fuente  (now a fellow SHESHESHESHE troupe member and BFF) and I remember us being like two chihuahuas in a handbag, both extremely excited and kind of neurotic nervous, but happy to be in the same purse. Flash forward one year later, and we’ve done countless shows together, both performed in mainstages at ColdTowne,  and most importantly, we’ve met so many amazing people in the improv community!

ShePoster-Frank-Mills-optAfter graduating from college over a year ago, I felt like everyone I knew had left Austin, and I was determined to find new friends. I tried intramural kickball, but I don’t really enjoy group sports. I tried a doodle meet up, but it turns out all we had in common was the fact that we all loved our dogs. And then there was improv! Improv class is this magical place filled with humans that come from many different background, yet are somehow all kind, open, honest, and creative individuals playing make believe together. Seriously, what is more fun that that? 

ColdTowne should rename Improv Level 1 to Therapy Level 1. Nat Miller was an amazing teacher. He cultivated a safe and trusting environment for my class to express ourselves in ways that most of us had never done before. I’m not sure about most of you, but I sit at a desk all day in my head, in a car for an hour in my head, even at a workout or yoga still in my head. Improv class feels like the first big stretch after being in a confined space all day. It’s the off leash dog park for humans, it’s standing on a chair in front of room full of people and throwing a full on temper tantrum because it’s  “your character”. Happy freaking birthday to me, it’s been a damn good year!


Megan Mowry performs with her all female Cagematch champion troupe  SHESHESHESHE.  She is in the cast of Fuck This Week, exploring your shit ass week every Monday night at The New Movement. She recently the  joined resident cast of Tarantula, an organic, odd, vibrant web of collective consciousness type of improv, happening the second Saturday of every month at The Institution Theater. Outside of the comedy world, Megan enjoys Karaoke, tiny coffees, and watching improv.

Don’t forget to book your holiday event or team building this year!

 

ct_q4adv4
The holiday season is upon us! ‘Tis the season for our favorite traditions – spreading good will and cheer to mankind, gathering with the family around the hearth, and burning through that Q4 discretionary budget before 2017!

That’s right: you’ve got a team, and they deserve a reward for all their hard work over the last year. And what better way to blow off some steam than with a fully interactive afternoon improv comedy team building or performance?

The best thing about hosting an improv event – aside from it being the most fun HR will let you have in the workplace – is that it’s a great bonding experience that will set the perfect tone for the New Year. Our customized improv workshops foster positivity, trust, listening and help to create a positive workplace environment. Our shows are hilarious,  interactive and definitely SFW.

Don’t take our word for it? Read what Forbes, CNN, and Slate have to say about improv in the workplace, and then hit us up by emailing corporate@coldtownetheater.com or calling 512-814-TOWN.

Private Shows and Classes start at $500 for the holiday season. Read more about our programs here and check out this interview with ColdTowne’s leading team build consultant and facilitator, Michael Jastroch.

B. Iden Payne Announces Winners: Three ColdTowne Troupe/Show Awards

biden_winners

From clockwise: Cast of Dinner for Six, Damn Gina, Joseph Dailey. Photos by Steve Rogers.

Last night, the B. Iden Payne committee announced the winners for the 2016 awards in theater and improvisation. We are delighted to announce that several ColdTowne shows, troupes and performers were given awards.

Kudos to the casts, troupes and

    • Joseph Dailey
      Outstanding Direction of Improvisational Theater
    • Aly Dixon, Abby Lincoln, John Ratliff, Sanjay Rao, Kristen Samuelsen, Nathan Sowell
      Outstanding Cast Performance (Improv)
    • Damn Gina (Xaria Coleman, Cené Hale, Maggie Maye, Tauri Laws-Phillips, Ronnita Miller)
      Rudy Klopnik Award for Outstanding Improvisational Troupe

We’d also like to congratulate several performers, students and friends for their awards in non-ColdTowne productions, including:

Cené Hale
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
as Multiple Roles in Love Me Tinder (Heckle Her)

Amber Quick
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Drama
as Stella in Streetcar Named Desire (Austin Shakespeare)

Kim Stacy
Outstanding Ensemble Performance
Spiker and Sponge in James and the Giant Peach (ZACH)

Adrienne Dawes, Scott Hearne, Ronnita Miller, Kenah Benefield, Chelsea Bunn, Megan Mowry, Maggie Maye
Outstanding Production of a Comedy
for Doper Than Dope (Heckle Her)

Congratulations to all our friends and artists receiving nominations and awards! Keep doing great work!

 

ColdTowne 10th Anniversary: Weekend Line Up (Oct 20th-23rd)

Celebrating 10 years of the next big thing in comedy with four days of sketch, improv and standup from favorite performers past and present.

Evenings sponsored by our friends at 4th Tap Brewing Co-opCrystal Creek DistilleryShiner Beer and Tito’s.

2006: There was no iPhone, W. was president and the only comedy clubs in town had a two drink minimum. After a series of test runs, five comedy nerds opened a theater in a dusty store room in the back of a video store. It was put together with salvaged lumber, chairs and $400 they had pooled from the FEMA payouts they received after Katrina. Ten years later, ColdTowne has graduated over 455 students and performers, runs more than 21 shows Monday thru Sunday and welcomes over 800 audience members per week. this weekend, ColdTowne will turn ten years old, celebrating with a specially curated line-up of best-of and reunion shows.

See you here!

Get your all-weekend badges here (includes limited edition, commemorative t-shirt with art from Carlos LaRotta).

coldtowne10_weekend-schedule

SHOWS: DAY 1 – Thursday, October 20th (ColdTowne)

8:30pm: Parallelogramophonograph (Hideout – ATX), The Knuckleball Now (ATX), Opposites (TNM – ATX)
buy-tickets
10pm: All-Time Greatest Sketch, hosted by Bryan “Lubu” Roberts (ATX/NY)
buy-tickets
11:30pm: The Roast of Steve Scott, from “What’s the Story Steve?” (ATX)
buy-tickets

SHOWS: DAY 2 – Friday, October 21st (ColdTowne)

7:00pm: Movie Riot (LA/ATX), Glamping Trip (LA/ATX), Toxic Chakra (ATX/CHI)
buy-tickets
8:30pm: Bad Boys (ATX/PORT), Elevator Action (LA/ATX), Big Beautiful Warlock (ATX)
buy-tickets
10pm: Live at ColdTowne with Carina Magyar: Erik Krug, LaShonda Lester, Matt Bearden & Chris Cubas (Standup)
buy-tickets

11:30pm – 9:30am Saturday: 10 Hour Comedy Lock-in (See Calendar for shows)

SHOWS: DAY 3 – Saturday, October 22nd (ColdTowne)

7:00pm: Nice Astronaut (ATX/HOU), Oh, Science! (LA/ATX), After Midnight (ATX)
buy-tickets
8:30pm: The Frank Mills (CHI/ATX), Control-Alt-Delete (NYC/ATX), Sugar, Water, Purple (ATX)
buy-tickets
10pm: Midnight Society (NYC/ATX/LA), ColdTowne (ATX/NOLA)
buy-tickets

SHOWS: DAY 4 – Sunday, October 23rd (Spiderhouse Ballroom)

7:00pm: All-Star Stool Pigeon with monologist Patrick Terry of P. Terry’s. Hosted by Mac Blake (ATX/NYC/LA)
buy-tickets

9pm: ColdTownie Awards (Open to the public) – With ticket to All-Star Stool Pigeon at 7pm

Congratulations B. Iden Payne Nominees

Today, the B. Iden Payne committee announced their nominees for theater and improvisation. We are delighted to announce that several ColdTowne shows, troupes and performers have received nominations.

Our July/August 2016 Main Stage production, “Dinner for Six” received several nominations, including:

    • Kristen Samuelsen, Producer
      Outstanding Improv Production
    • Joseph Dailey
      Outstanding Direction of Improvisational Theater
    • Aly Dixon, Abby Lincoln, John Ratliff, Sanjay Rao, Kristen Samuelsen, Nathan Sowell
      Outstanding Cast Performance (Improv)

For the production of “familLIES”, Bryan ‘Lubu’ Roberts received a nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Comedy.

Several ColdTowne troupes also received nods and were nominated for the Rudy Klopnik Award for Outstanding Improvisational Troupe. They are:

Loverboy
Chelsea Bun, Cené Hale, Kim Lowery, Maria Pond, Taylor Stewart, Stephanie Thoreson

Damn Gina
Xaria Coleman, Cené Hale, Maggie Maye, Tauri Laws-Phillips, Ronnita Miller

Sugar Water Purple
Tosin Awofeso, Kenah Benefield, Ryan Darbonne, Derek Fields, Jarret King, Chris Villafano

High-fives to the troupes above for the well-deserved recognition. We regularly brag on the #deepbench ColdTowne has, and these three troupes are a prime example of the continued talent that graces the stage here.

We’d also like to congratulate several performers, students and friends for their nominations in non-ColdTowne productions, including:

Ben Bazan
Outstanding Actor in a Play for Youth
as Tomas in Tomas and the Library Lady (ZACH)

Cené Hale
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
as Multiple Roles in Love Me Tinder (Heckle Her)

Jarrett King
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
as Lincoln in Topdog/Underdog (Viceroys)

Amber Quick
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Drama
as Stella in Streetcar Named Desire (Austin Shakespeare)

Kim Stacy
Outstanding Ensemble Performance
Spiker and Sponge in James and the Giant Peach (ZACH)

Ammon Taylor
Outstanding Score
for Love Me Tinder (Heckle Her)

Adrienne Dawes, Scott Hearne, Ronnita Miller, Kenah Benefield, Chelsea Bunn, Megan Mowry, Maggie Maye
Outstanding Production of a Comedy
for Doper Than Dope (Heckle Her)

Adrienne Dawes, Cene Hale, Jared Robertson, Ammon Taylor
Outstanding Production of a Musical

Katie Kohler
with 11 nominations as part of her comedy collective The Back Pack
Outstanding Direction of a Comedy
Outstanding Production of a Comedy
Outstanding Cast Performance (Scripted)
Outstanding Featured Movement
Outstanding Sound Design
Outstanding Puppetry

Isto Barton
Shit Faced Shakespeare

Other Nominated Friends of ColdTowne
Kaci Beeler, Curtis Luiciani, Asaf Ronen, Michael Ferstenfeld, Da’Shae Moonbeam, Laura Freeman, Taji Senior, Mike Carreon, Sarah Marie Curry, Beth Burns, Jay Byrd, Adrienne Dawes, Peter Rogers, Sara Farr, Cascade, Something for Nothing Theater, En Route Productions and Fuck This Week

 

Congratulations to all our friends and artists receiving nominations, even those not listed here.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 24th.

 

Congrats Cené, Danny and Dave!

ColdTowne Alumna/Alumnus Get Hired
We are late to the party, but are incredibly excited to announce that Loverboy’s Cené Hale was recently hired as a cast member for Boom! Chicago – Amsterdam, joining them in August. She follows in the footscene-300x200teps of former cast members such as Jordan Peele, Becky Drysdale and Seth Myers, to name a few. If you’ve seen Cené, you know what a talent she is. She’s already performing in the cast at Boom! and we enjoy living vicariously through her photos of thcatlow_dannye city.

Just recently, former student and Bad Boys founding member Danny Catlow was added to the cast of the Second City – Chicago tourco. Since arriving in Chicago a few years ago, he’s been seen all over Chicago and performs regularly at the revered Annoyance Theater.  We couldn’t be more excited for Danny and the recognition of his talent in a city filled with the good stuff.

Thank You Out of Bounds!
Closer to home, ColdTowne Executive Producer Dave Buckman recently wrapped up another hella successful Out of Bounds. We hope you made it to a show during the festival because it was boss for anyone with a propensity to laugh. Bringing Austin some of the finest acts from all over the world to your from doorstep for a jam-packed week might seem like magic, but that magic takes a lot of work, and along with a team of committed staff and volunteers, the producing team is responsible for pulling it all together.

Dave is a long-time member of the producing team along with Jon Bolden (Bad Boys, noted director), Roy Janik (Hideout Artistic Director) and leader Ruby Willman (LA-based producer and teacher). He has been key in booking many of the headliners that wow Austin-audiences each year and keeps the students and performers at ColdTowne supplied with inspiration and audiences supplied with good times. Thank you Dave and team!

Late Night TV Writing Lecture with Rich Talarico (LA)

The ColdTowne Visiting Lecturer Series continues with veteran TV writer Rich Talarico.

Rich will lead a 3 hour workshop/seminar that discusses writing and creating techniques from improv-based Second City and comedic play famiLIES, to late night shows like Key & Peele, MADtv, SNL and The Tonight Show to high concept shows like Review and The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show . This will be a seminar where some participants will be asked to help demonstrate ideas and concepts and Rich will spend a lot of time answering your writing and showbiz related questions.

This event will include a few audience volunteers to illustrate theories discussed, but will follow a lecture format (not a workshop). Limited to 25 people.

SUNDAY, JUNE 26th
11am-2pm
ColdTowne Conservatory
6929 Airport Blvd.

Cost: $40

To register, go here.

ColdTowne Theater Summer Improv Intensives, July 25th-July 31st

They’re baaaaack!

Get ready for a week or weekend long immersion in the principles and training methods that make ColdTowne the home of the next big thing.  After almost ten years of helping performers and graduates hone their craft and realize their potential, we’ve built a national r12045718_962224210466930_968500777405351776_o copy (1)eputation for training the best and brightest long-form, improv comedy talent. Soak it all up in our week-long or weekend intensive this Summer!

What should students expect?

 

In the mornings, we’ll focus on the acting skills we believe reliably create quality scene work: deep listening, honesty, character-driven relationships. In the afternoons, we’ll hone our comedy skills, working on games and heightening, as well as explore organic forms that encourage fast thinking and unconditional support of our ensemble.

Who are the instructors?

The intensives will be taught by a cross-section of our seasoned, award-winning faculty, including:

Dave Buckman (Second City, Boom Chicago!, ColdTowne Executive Director)
Erika May-McNichol (iO Chicago, ComedySportz – Chicago)
Will Cleveland (UCB, ColdTowne Artistic Director)
Cody Dearing (ColdTowne, Dallas Comedy Theater)
Michael Jastroch (ColdTowne founder, touring teacher and lecturer)
John Ratliff (Best Improv Instructor, 2011, ColdTowne Conservatory Director) and more!

Class enrollment will be limited to maximize individual instruction and stage time.  Each intensive will conclude with a final class performance.

Ssocial CTocial stuff? Yes’m!

In addition to the rigorously fun classes, we’ve got a full docket of social outings planned, as well as a specially curated show lineup to give you the full ColdTowne experience.

All students will receive a free pass to all shows during their intensive enrollment.

Is it for me?

Whether you’re relatively new to the game, or looking to brush up on years of experience, you’ll walk away with new tools for your tool belt, a sharpened comedic sense and fun memories to spare.

We’ve built a national reputation for training the best and brightest improvisers in the South and our Summer intensives provide a great opportunity to hang in Austin, swim in Barton Springs and uplevel your improv skills by learning the ColdTowne approach.  A minimum of one year of performance or training experience is required, and graduates of other programs are welcome.

How much does it cost?

Week-long intensive (July 25th through July 29th) – $425
Weekend intensive (July 29th through July 31st)- $199

Ready to sign up? Register here!

Questions?

Contact Michael Jastroch at jastroch@coldtownetheater.com.

Boy Band Takes the Stage Saturdays in February

In “Behind the Music” documentary style, this completely improvised show chronicles the rise to fame and tribulations ofM*Pulse, a fictionalized boy band from the early 2000’s.

The cast features five boy band archetypes – the bad boy, the cute one, the talent, the older one and the weird one (why was he in the band, anyway?). Each show concludes with a live, choreographed performance of a pop song with lyrics improvised by the cast.