Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk returns Saturday, Aug. 17

For Immediate Release
Austin, TX – May 28, 2019

Description:
Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk runs Saturdays at 7:00 pm August 17th through September 21st at ColdTowne Theater. Liz wants you to strap in… as she tells you the tale of a big ole country dyke. Starring Laura de la Fuente, a fan-favorite among Austin’s comedy obsessed, this solo sketch comedy show brings together elements from Laura’s own life – queer and latinx identity, absurdism, and family relationships – to create a show that is both uniquely Laura and universally relatable. With a cast and crew of Austin’s most talented sketch comedians and theater performers, this hour-long comedy program will include multimedia video content and live performances surrounding topics of sexuality, lesbian and queer identity, short fingernails, equality, and pop culture – all while being relatable, funny and queer as heck.

The show is written by and stars Laura de la Fuente of ColdTowne Theater’s improv house-team, Loverboy. She won the 2017 B. Iden Payne award as part of Prima Doñas for Outstanding Improvised Production Latinauts. She is part of queer sketch team, Martini Ranch, and has performed at San Francisco Sketchfest, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Austin Sketch Fest and the Del Close Marathon (NYC & LA). Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk is directed by Chris McKeever, UCB Alum and cast member in B. Iden Payne Winning F*ck This Week. The show is co-produced by Bonica Ayala, a queer artist, photographer, and producer. Her clients include Grammy Award winning artists, commercial and non-profit organizations, social advocates, filmmakers, and comics. Also co-producing is Linzy Beltran, a writer/performer/producer based in Austin, TX whose credits include SheSheSheShe Improv, Prima Doñas improv, Glam Fam – sketch comedy duo, and Jazz Kween, a jazz and comedy variety show.

Tickets:
www.eventbrite.com/e/liz-behan-one-woman-at-dusk-tickets-64473931264

Venue:
ColdTowne Theater
4803-B Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751
BYOB/Free parking

About ColdTowne Theater:
ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s center for Chicago-style, long-form improv, with shows
every night of the week. For phone reservations or more information, call (512)
817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com

ColdTowne Graduate Premieres Short Film Series

ColdTowne Graduate premieres short film series with the help of Issa Rae

Austin filmmaker and ColdTowne Graduate B.B. Araya moved to Austin about two years ago and immersed herself in the filmmaking, improv and comedy scenes. Shot over summer 2017, her six-part short film series We Are  is a genuine, humorous glimpse into the lives of seven young women of color navigating their way through friendships, self-doubt, and quarter-life crises. The series premiered last month to standing ovations at the North Door and was subsequently picked up by Issa Rae’s Youtube channel for distribution.

Araya is a member of several ColdTowne Theater improv troupes, including Best of Austin Nominee Loverboy (Fridays at 8:30) and the all-women cast of LadyParts. New episodes of We Are premiere on Sundays through November 5.  

We had a chance to talk with Araya about improv, the creative process and We Are.

Hey! We don’t know each other that well, so I have to ask some basic questions. Like, how and why did you get into filmmaking? What brought you to improv?

I’m really glad you ask about improv, because it is something so dear to me that I don’t get to talk about often enough. When I moved to Austin about two years ago, I was checking out I LUV VIDEO one Saturday night and thought the place next door looked tight. I went home and googled the shit out of it to learn it was a comedy theater. A few days later, I drew up the courage to come back for a free class (mind you, I had very severe social anxiety at the time – still do – but improv has helped tremendously) and then went on to sign up for Level 1. I had never planned on doing improv until I literally did improv – something just kept pulling me back. I’m so grateful because I ended up meeting some of my closest friends and collaborators at ColdTowne. Improv has also heavily informed my writing process – which is to just keep going – and is the reason I started writing comedy (everything I’d written before improv was melodramatic AF)! Improv has absolutely changed my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe.

Regarding filmmaking, I’ve always had an undying love for cinema. It stems from my dad who is a videographer and total movie junkie. He would take my sister and I to the movies every single Sunday and was always encouraging us to watch movies with intention and really immerse ourselves in the worlds created by filmmakers. People went to church; we went to the movies.  As I got older, I started wondering why there weren’t more narratives with women and POC. After doing a few years of solid research on filmmaking and writing, I decided to take a stab at it and made my first short in my actual backyard about three years ago. Then I made another one and another one and I couldn’t stop.

Tell me a little bit about the “We Are” Film Series. What was the genesis of this project? What was the collaborative process like?

The project was born out of me and [producer Tamar’s desire to make something aimed toward women who look like us in a city that – although very liberal/progressive – is not always reflective of us. We brought a team of wonderfully talented folks together, and it was a beautiful collaborative experience. Films were co-written with actors, so we built these characters together. I wanted everyone to feel like they were telling their version of the truth and a piece of them is in the work.

Any fun, amusing or weird “making of” stories from production?

On our last day of filming, we had about 30 extras and were shooting in a place with no AC. In June. In Texas. It was pretty hot to say the least. About halfway through the day, we tripped the breaker (whoops!) and the venue owner notified us that we we had to stop filming until it was fixed. Typically, that would stress me out, but the heat ate up my energy so I was like “Bet, we can take a break now”.

Everyone was like “what’s going on, what’s happening, why aren’t we shooting?” and Jess, Tamar, and I were just like “Oh, nothing!” Thankfully, it was fixed so we powered through the rest of the day. We were all pretty delirious by that point.

We Are is debuting on Issa Rae’s youtube channel this month. That’s exciting. How did that come about?

Earlier this year, I submitted a film I made called BETA (starring Ronnie Miller in her debut acting performance!) to a series they do called #shortfilmsundays in which they showcase films by creatives of color the first Sunday of each month. We were in the very early stages of working on We Are (I think we had just solidified our cast) when BETA was selected as a part of the series and that triumph definitely gave us a validating push. I went to LA this year and got to meet the team in person and told them about We Are, and they told me to send it when it’s done. They saw it and wanted to showcase it. It’s been a dream come true to be able to share all the work of our cast, crew, and artists/musicians here in ATX on such a large platform.

What was it like getting a standing ovation at the premiere?

I’m still processing that, to be honest. When it happened, I thought everyone just stood up because they had to pee after the film, but then they didn’t move. Then everyone turned around and looked at us (cast/crew) while clapping,and I was like “ohhh, i see what’s happening here.” At that point I left my body. It was deeply gratifying to receive a standing ovation because it validated that the project resonated with the people we made it for – which were the women in that room, particularly the women of color. It’s something I’ll never ever forget.

You perform with Loverboy. What was it like joining an already established troupe? How did they ask you? Are they all jerks?

Yes! They asked me and Laura de la Fuente to join the cast after Cené moved to Amsterdam to join the cast of Boom Chicago. It was pretty sweet; we had been sitting in with them for a few weeks prior to them asking, and then in December, they asked us to join them for drinks after the show and popped the question! It was the sweetest moment, and I had been a huge fan of Loverboy long before I joined the troupe, because of how inclusive and welcoming they were to me and my friends when we were new to the theater, plus the improv was always tight, not to mention Cené was literally my first muse and trusted me enough to work with me so early in my filmmaking journey. They also had me sit in with them when I was wee little Level 3 baby and it was quite the honor to bestow upon a newbie.

Loverboy got a bunch of Best of Austin and B. Idea Payne nominations. How does it feel to be crushing it? And can I have a job when you’re famous?

The recognition is honestly in my periphery. The true honor comes from getting to play with such brilliant women each week. Regarding the job, probably, sure.

Araya’s work features a number of ColdTowne Theater graduates and performers including Ronnita L. Miller of Damn Gina, Ryan Darbonne of Sugar, Water, Purple, Xaria J. Coleman of Damn Gina, Michael Jastroch of The Frank Mills and Cene Hale, formerly of Damn Gina and Loverboy. You can catch her latest project, the We Are Film Series premiering new episodes weekly as part of #ShortFilmSundasys at Issa Rae Productions on Youtube. Want to be part of #ShortFilmSundays? Submit your film to submit@issarae.com.

Take a look at ColdTowne Theater’s improv and sketch comedy classes. The new session begins mid-October, so sign up now.  

You Gave Me a Mountain (of a Show): An interview with Elvis’s director Will Cleveland

Will Cleveland is the Artistic Director of ColdTowne Theater, and has performed, produced and directed shows at the theater since moving to Austin from NYC in 2013. Prior to coming to ColdTowne, he managed UCB’s traveling team and was a producer for UCBComedy. He is a native of Arkansas and you can see him in Play by Play with Chris McKeever every month at ColdTowne.

Tell us about the show.

Elvis’ Rockin’ Nativity is a throwback variety show from TV shows like The Johnny Cash Show, The Dean Martin Show, Sonny & Cher, and The Smothers Brothers. It’s final conception asks what if Elvis had a Christmas Variety Television Special and things didn’t really go as planned. Elvis is the host of the show and his friends play different roles in the Nativity Christmas Pageant like Johnny Cash and June Carter who play Joseph and the Virgin Mary.

What inspired you when creating this show?

I grew up watching reruns of the Smothers Brothers, Sonny and Cher, and sketch shows like Laugh-In, and Carol Burnett. Also, I’ve always been a big Elvis fan. I wrote and directed a version of this show in 2012 at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater East in New York. I was on a video production team for UCBComedy and wrote it as a commercial parody first, but couldn’t really see us producing it as a short video, so I pitched it to the theatre as a full show. So, we put up a 25 minute version that was a lot of fun, but one night only, so it really left me wanting more.

Kim Lowery plays Elvis, and there are several other male characters played by females. Tell us about the thought process behind that casting decision.

Kim Lowery as Elvis.

Kim Lowery as Elvis.

Yeah! When I was in high school, I found a “lost” episode of Seinfeld online, and directed it as my senior project for theatre class. Jerry, Elaine, and George were no-brainers, but nobody in my class could play Kramer. Except Rachel Harding. She was taller than anybody and she was really funny. And then, of course, she crushed the role. After that, I never really questioned casting roles based on gender – especially for comedy. When casting Elvis for this show, I thought about some awesome dudes to play Elvis, but something was holding me back from asking or even holding auditions. I went to see a play at Vortex in the summer and Kim was there too. After the play, we were having drinks in the courtyard, and it just kind of hit me. I think it was something about Kim’s rock and roll style and her very open mind, but I thought she should play Elvis, so I just asked her right then and there. Once we started our writers meetings, all bets were off and every role that was written was on the table for anybody to play.

If someone isn’t familiar with Elvis, will they still enjoy the show?

No doubt about it. We have a short film intro to Elvis and who he was at the top of the show. And, even though it’s set in 1970-something, the sketches are very contemporary and satirical to issues we’re still talking about today. There’s something for everybody in this show.

Why Elvis?

There’s so much to explore with Elvis – Rock Star, Movie Star, Soldier, Karate Master, Spiritualist, “Government Agent”…all these things are ripe for parody. but Elvis is already such a big, larger than life character – almost a myth, like John Wayne, Teddy Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart. Of all the things Elvis accomplished in his career, he never made a Christmas movie or TV show. He made some Christmas albums, but of the 31 movies he starred in, there wasn’t a Christmas Movie or TV special, so it was just kind of up for grabs so to speak.

What else should we know about the show?

It’s about 70 minutes long. BYOB if you’re into that. We have a very merry atmosphere in the lobby before and after the show.

Elvis’s Rockin’ Nativity runs through December 17th, Saturdays at 8:30pm. Tickets are $10 advance and $12 at the door, with advance tickets strongly recommended due to the popularity of the show.  Pick up your tickets here, darlin’.

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.