Please Welcome PHIT’s New Improv House Teams for 2014!

PHIT’s most recent audition process took place May 17 and May 19 to cast for two new RalphSmallWednesday House Teams that will premier in August. The talented performers that took part in the process were once again amazing, and both of our new directors had their work cut out for them deciding who would be cast on these teams. After some spirited deliberation and days of meetings and emails, we are thrilled to announce our new line ups. Please welcome Codename Amsterdam and Codename Barcelona to the PHIT family! There will be a lot of hard work for them between now and August, and we are all looking forward to the amazing shows I know these teams will put on. And as always we will find out their real team names at the premiere.

I would also like to thank each and every performer who came out to vie for a spot on the teams and didn’t get a call back. Please know that the audition process is tough, and was made that much tougher for the directors by all of the really talented performers that participated. Philadelphia has become such a vibrant comedy scene in the past few years, due in no small part to everyone who has stepped on stage to perform improv, sketch, or stand-up. You are what make not only the comedy scene in this city great, but make the city as a whole that much more wonderful. Remember Philly Improv Theater has many opportunities for performances, so keep an eye out for upcoming auditions and special projects that will need the support and participation of talented performers like you!

Ralph Andracchio, Artistic Director

Codename Amsterdam – Directed by Jessica Snow
Stuart Draper
Stephanie Drejerwski
Jamie Glasheen
Kevin Murphy
Ned Redmond
Mallory Rhodes
Kevin Ruth
Dave Sucharski
Richard Werner

Codename Barcelona – Directed by Bobby Lang
Whitney Harris
Cole Johnston
Sean Landis
Kayleigh Leggitt
Megan Marron
Max Scholnick
Andrew Sigwart
Peter Szekeres
Jacob Todd

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DUOFEST 2014 is Almost Here!

PHIT is extremely proud to present DUOFEST 2014! Since 2010, our theater has been DuoFestFacebookPhoto2014Vers4hosting the ONLY FESTIVAL in the country that is dedicated to comedic duos, and this year is going to be even bigger and better. Over 4 days (June 5th through 8th) we will be hosting duos from across North America who will play on our stage, present workshops, and most importantly have fun in the great city of Philadelphia!

The DUOFEST 2014 website is a great place to read more about all of this year’s participating duos, see workshop offerings, and purchase tickets. Our theater is also offering a great deal for comedy fans with our WEEKEND PASS! These passes will get you access to all of the shows in the festival at an unbelievable savings. But hurry! There is a limited quantity of Weekend Passes, and when they’re gone they’re GONE!

We hope everyone will join us for what’s going to be a fun and exciting weekend this June!

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Please Welcome Brian Rumble to the PHIT Directing Team!

PHIT is excited to announce Brian Rumble as our newest House Team director! Brian will BrianRumble_colorsmallbe stepping in to take the helm of Sabotage, one of our popular Wednesday Harold Teams. Sabotage was cast and previously directed by PHIT alum Jessica Ross, who has relocated to sunny Los Angeles to continue her comedy career.

Brian comes to our theater with a wealth of improv experience, most notably as a former member of PHIT House Team Davenger, current member of local improv duo Due Diligence, and director of the Figment Theater production “Note to Self”. Both Brian and Sabotage are excited about hitting the ground running and continuing to build on the solid foundation Jess and the team has built.

Please join us in giving Brian a warm welcome!

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PHIT Announces New Improv Producer

KristenSchier_smallPHIT is excited to welcome Kristen Schier to the role of Improv Producer on the Artistic Team! Kristen was formerly PHIT’s Season Producer, helming the theater’s longer run projects like this spring’s Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn. Her move to Improv Producer will open up many more opportunities for Kristen to shape the theater’s improv offerings as well as oversee PHIT’s improv house teams, helping make sure they have everything they need to succeed on our stage.

Kristen is a director, instructor, and house team member here at PHIT. She is also the Artistic Director and a performer with The N Crowd, a popular short form theater group that performs weekly to packed houses at The Actor’s Center. In addition has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts – where she is also an adjunct professor in improv and acting – and has been working in Philly as a professional actress, improviser and teacher for several years. She currently performs as a part of PHIT house team The Future and as one half of the immensely popular duo The Kristen & Amie Show (The Amie & Kristen Show).

“Kristen is one of the most amazing performers and instructors I’ve ever met. Her command of the nuance of performing comedy is mind-blowing, and her insights into what works and what doesn’t on stage are spot on. Her process is informed by her years of training and performances, and I know that the improv facet of the theater is in good hands with her. I’m really excited about the future!” – Ralph Andracchio, Artistic Director

Kristen will begin in the Improv Producer role immediately. Please join us in giving Kristen a warm welcome to the position!

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PHIT Announces New Improv House Team Directors for Spring 2014

Philly Improv Theater is excited to announce our directors for the new house teams ahead of auditions on May 17th. Please help us welcome Jessica Snow and Bobby Lang to the directing family! These two were our first choices to direct new house teams and we think that those lucky few who are chosen for new teams will benefit tremendously from the experience, training and talent both bring to new teams. Of course, it’s an added bonus that Jess and Bobby are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet or work with as well.

JessicaSnow_color(small)You probably already know Jess as a PHIT instructor who has performed in the past house teams Activity Book, Davenger, and INDUSTRIAL (the unofficial “first house team” at PHIT). Jessica started improvising in high school, she was captain of a short-form group in college – where she also performed in a Commedia Dell’Arte ensemble – and is a founding member of Philly short-form group The N Crowd.

Jess is a real student of improv too – she’s trained at PHIT, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (NYC) and workshopped with a list of wonderful instructors including: Betsy Stover, Asaf Ronen, Keith Johnstone, Ari Voukydis, Jeff Griggs, Douglas Sarine, Seth Morris, Billy Merritt, Chris Gethard, Eliza Skinner, Kevin McDonald, Karen Wight, Dave Warick, Jill Bernard, Alexis Simpson, Kelly Jennings, Ed Nevraumont and Scott Greer.

BobbyLang_smallBobby is a current member of the house team Dr. Sleepover and was previously  part of the indie group, Deleted Scenes (six Bucks County Community College students that utilized suggestions to create movies with the help of puppets). Deleted Scenes the first team from a community college to ever advance to the finals of the National College Improv Tournament.

Bobby has studied at PHIT under Mike Marbach, Jason Grimley, and Steve Kleinedler. He has also studied at the Magnet Theater in New York under Rick Andrews, Elana Fishbein, and Armando Diaz and at the Peoples’ Improv Theater in New York under Leslie Collins and Kevin Cragg. Bobby began his improv journey in 2010 studying both short form and longform improvisation under Bill McLaughlin at Bucks County Community College.

Those performers interested in auditioning for one of these new teams still have time to register for a slot! Auditions will be held Saturday May 17th between 10AM – 5PM with callbacks happening Monday May 19th between 7PM – 10PM. Read our audition post for more info and how to register. There are only a few spaces left!

Congrats to Jessica and Bobby! We’re all looking forward to the amazing work these two dedicated performers will no doubt display when they turn to directing and their teams premiere later this summer!

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A Fond Farewell to Mayor Karen

528459_502864123094428_462683889_nThe time has come to say goodbye to our longest running House Team, Mayor Karen. Over the last four years, MK has grown into one of the most fun and flawless teams on the Philly comedy scene. In addition, her cast members have grown individually and have become  wonderful performers, instructors, and directors in their own rights. And now that these formidable players are taking different paths in life (to move to other cities, move to other projects, or even start families) we wanted to take a moment and share a brief oral history of the team, comprised of their best memories from this long run, in their own words…

Nathan Edmondson (director, 2010-2012): “PHIT had recently cast a new team or two (in May 2010) and Greg thought there was enough talent left over from the auditions to put together an additional team.  So these performers had already been through and overlooked for two callbacks when I brought them back for a third.  It was my luck that they hadn’t been scooped up already.  I had the privilege of watching them rehearse every week, grow as performers and have them as good friends.  You’re already missed Mayor Karen!  Our holiday parties were the best!”

Rachel Semigran (cast, 2010-2012): Whenever Nathan would sass us in rehearsal for talking or dicking around we’d call him ‘Mad Dad.’ So like a bunch of weirdos, we bought him a Father’s Day card and sent it to his home. Also, before I left to study in London, during my last show, Nick Gilette, being the mad genius that he is, managed to make my very last scene about me transforming into David Bowie and made it so that, ‘The only thing left to do…is go to England.’ Then everyone hugged me on stage and I cried a lot. The one scene that has stuck out in my brain as one of my all-time favorite improv moments was when Nick sat backwards on a chair, very seductively, and without missing a beat, Nora said with a lusty voice, ‘I love it when you babysit me.’ And then the scene was wiped. Perfection. Once a Mayor, always a Mayor.”

Alan Kaufmann (cast 2010-2014): “It’s really hard to choose, but one of my favorite MK moments was in one rehearsal Nathan told us to do a run of scenes but play in the style of another team member, so we all had a lot of fun twirling around and pretending to eat sandwiches.”

Steve Swan (cast 2011-2014): “We were in Toronto for an improv festival and hurricane Sandy was hitting and all transportation was being shut down.  We were on one of the last buses out.  Our driver was a barrel chested man standing six feet twenty, who defiantly cursed the storm as the rain pounded against him.  Throughout the harrowing journey, he sang of a love, long ago lost…  Also, Nora snuck on without a ticket, so I’m pretty sure she can be legally deported.”

Michael Tomasetti (cast, 2010-2012): “The Mayors were all warming up behind the curtain at The Shubin before we went on. We were doing a ‘pumped up’ warm-up and grabbing each other on the shoulders and shaking each other. Hochman and I took it to another level, I got caught up in the moment and ended up headbutting him really hard in the head. We both sort of held each others’ heads, hoped we didn’t have a minor concussion and did a show.”

Jen Curcio (cast, 2013-2014): “I loved all of the combat scenes Mayor Karen ever did, but especially the one I had with Lizzie Spellman. We were lotion wrestling at Victoria’s Secret and it was magical.”

Lizzie Spellman (cast, 2013-2014): “I really trust these guys when we’re on stage. Mayor Karen is the only team that I will do actual improvised stage combat with, and not have to worry that I might get mortally wounded.”

Nathan: “One time Hochman almost killed Alan.”

Michael Hochman (cast, 2010-2014): “I once almost killed Alan Kaufmann. We were doing the Philly Improv Festival, playing a scene in which I was Alan’s ballet director at a company for large performers. When he insisted he wasn’t too puny for the company, I challenged him to catch me, and we went right into an committed attempt at a jump / lift. When we hit the ground instead, (half off the edge of the stage) the crowd audibly gasped in concern for Alan’s well being. Then Alan bounced back up, and continued the scene without missing a beat.”

Becca Trabin (cast, 2010-2014): “Some of my all-time favorite scenes where when Hochman put his arm between Nora’s legs as an improv dick and she didn’t  bat an eye, she played a guy with a hand on the end of his penis amazingly for the whole show. Tomasetti initiated actual making-out in a few scenes. Jen Curcio has told several monologues that BEGIN with someone from her home town dying mysteriously. When we first put on Page One at the Fringe Festival, I was astounded by all of my teammate’s abilities to create and sustain grounded, hilarious characters who you root for even though they’re terrible. Those shows were on fire.”

Rob Gentile (cast, 2011-2014): “There was a time Jason told us that we shouldn’t be afraid to be blunt. Becca steps out mid show and to the crowd says, ‘ORIGIN STORY’ and we see a scene from a character’s history, genius. I love that move. It was so simple and I was dying on the side of the stage.  Also, birds. With out Mayor Karen I would not have realized that birds are the funniest animal on the planet. Thank guys!”

Nathan: “At one point we thought Greg was going to kill all of us.”

Nick Gillette (cast, 2010-2012): “It’s the moments between shows I remember most. Burgers at the POPE making dirty jokes with Tomasetti. The after party of Alan’s wedding. We raffled Mayor Nutter’s Phillies box seat tickets to support our trip to the Chicago Improv Festival in 2011 and toasted MK in the tallest building in the Western hemisphere. I submit this photo instead of 1000 words.”


You can catch Mayor Karen’s last show Saturday, May 3 2014 at 10:30PM. Tickets available online.

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Save the Date: PHIT Improv House Team Auditions May 17, 2014!

RalphSmallPHIT is once again looking for Philly’s best and brightest improvisers for our newest house teams! House teams are ensembles cast and managed by the theater who are given regular rehearsal and performance times along with a bunch of other cool benefits.

First round auditions will take place on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 between 10am – 5pm. Callbacks will be held on Monday, May 19th from 7pm – 10pm. Please hold both of these dates if you are interested in being cast!

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

Auditioners should have taken and completed at least Improv Level 201 in the PHIT curriculum within the last calendar year. Those auditioning who have completed PHIT Improv Level 201 longer than a calendar year ago will be considered on an individual basis.

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 your name, phone number, prior class experience and instructors, along with any preferred time (if available) 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.

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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A Few Questions for – Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn

PHIT’s all new upcoming Spring Theatrical Run – Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn – is WarpJawnV3gearing up for its April 16 premiere, and our AD Ralph Andracchio had a few questions for director Michael Hochman and producer Kristen Schier. Here’s what they had to say about the theater boldly going where the theater has never gone before.

Ralph Andracchio: So, where did the idea of mounting an improvised sci-fi show come from?
Kristen Schier: In case you haven’t noticed, and I mean this in the nicest way – there is a lot of overlap on the venn diagram that is nerds and improvisers. Trek was a natural fit.
Michael Hochman: When the theater first approach me about directing my first thought was a genre show. And I grew up watching and reading every bit of sci fi I could absorb, from Lucas and Roddenberry to Asimov and Heinlein. So it seemed the obvious choice.

RA: Why Star Trek? And specifically, The Original Series?
KS: The original series is camper making it more ripe with comedic opportunity.
MH: Star Trek: The Next Generation is what I grew up with. And I love it, but I feel like paying homage to TOS just feels right. Who knows, maybe at some point, we’ll do Warp Jawn: Next Gen.

RA: How did Mike come to be the project’s director?
KS: Mike is a talented performer and instructor at the theater, and has been for sometime. I had him in mind as a director for a project, and when I discovered his love of Star Trek we had the show.
MH: Kristen asked, and I’m an Improv addict who was excited by the chance to do something fin and unique.

RA: Tell us a little bit about the cast. Are they falling into the sci-fi vibe easily?
KS: Mike…?
MH: These guys get it. Some were more familiar with the source material than others. But they’ve all done their homework and have fully committed.

RA: What can the audience expect to see in the show? Will there be costumes, sets, alien worlds?
KS: All that and more, while the set and costumes will help bring the world of each episode to the fore it will really be the improvised nature of the piece that is likely to transport the audience more than anything else.
MH: You betcha. Light and sound design by Rob Caso. Video designed by rob Gentile. Costume design by Erin Pitts. Our logo and uniform and emblem designed by Chris Calletta. And set design by me. Its a full experience.

RA: Any final thoughts about the project?
KS: I am proud of the quality of work the design team the director and the cast have put into this show. Everyone is clearly talented. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew.
MH: Directing this show has been and is a blast, and I’m psyched for everyone to be able to see it.

RA: Final question: If you could go on a date with any character from Star Trek: The Original Series, which character would you go out with and why?
KS: Kirk. He’d be good in bed (to much?)
MH: I’m gonna cheat and say Dax from DS9’s “crossover” episode – “Trials and Tribble-ations”. Dax is one of my favorite characters on any of the series, plus that episode is such a great, playful homage to TOS.

Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn runs from April 16 through May 3 2014 at Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia PA 19103. Tickets are on sale now!

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April Fool’s Day Flash Sale is ON! (101 Classes Only $199)

April Fool’s Day is sort of like the comedy equivalent of New Year’s, Christmas, Easter, Hannukah, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. It’s the day everyone wants to kid around, pull pranks and generally goof off. So we’re celebrating with a sale that we promise is no joke: all our introductory classes (101’s) are just $199 from now until the end of the day on April 6th! Get in there and grab one – we promise you won’t regret it. You can look at all our upcoming improv classes and sketch writing classes on their respective sections of the site!


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Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn Teaser Trailer is Here!

Check out the amazing teaser trailer for our upcoming Spring Theatrical Run – Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn! Big thanks to Rob Gentile for all of his hard work on the video. The show will run April 16 through May 3. Tickets are on sale now!

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PHIT Roasts Ignite Philly @ Johnny Brenda’s

You know who doesn’t like balloons? Everyone who flew on the Hindenburg! That’s probably a statement of fact, though it would be difficult to verify. We could track down the last 2 living survivors and ask them but come on, let’s not waste people’s time.

What can be verified is that the team from the Philly Improv Theater had a fantastic time at the Ignite Philly event at Johnny Brenda’s on March 13th, 2014. The task was no simple one: Listen to every Ignite talk and, as it’s happening, write jokes roasting the talk. If that wasn’t daunting enough, at the end of the evening, go up and deliver all these jokes to the crowd (many of whom wrote these presentations).

For the uninitiated, Ignite Philly is part of a worldwide network that entertains and educates people in short 5 minute bursts (live presentations). At the events, each presenter is on stage for a total of 5 minutes (20 slides, at 15 seconds each slide). These talks are a ‘spark’ if you will; they are lightning fast and leave people with a new idea to mull over and talk about.

And talk we did! If you consider 5 people cramming themselves in a booth with laptops, and writing jokes as fast as they can for 3 straight hours, “talking.”


In the coming days you’ll be able to see full videos of all the talks, including a 5 minute one by Executive Director of PHIT Greg Maughan on the history of improv, plus our roast of every talk – including Greg’s – on the Ignite Philly site. But for now, read on to catch a synopsis of every talk, and the jokes the team came up with. PS we weren’t able to get all of these out on stage, so even if you were in attendance, you’ll enjoy the read!


Author’s Note: It was truly a pleasure to participate in this, and work with such talented people. Robert Alesiani, Lizzie Burrows, Ryan T. Barlow and Katrina Halkidis (who was on the team but couldn’t make the event due to illness) are remarkable comedians and I can’t wait to work with them again. And I’d be remised if I didn’t mention how in awe I was at the comedic talents and presence of one Mr. Greg Maughan. Greg doesn’t get to perform nearly as much as he’d like to, he’s a bit busy you know, running the amazing theatre we all love. But when he does you should JUMP at the opportunity to see the show, or be in it if you’re lucky enough. You will not be disappointed!


Meg Wise – Smith Playground and the Importance of Play

Synopsis: Smith Playground, a free park in Fairmount Park supporting unstructured play for kids.


  • Smith playground… where kids play without structure… it’s pretty much lord of the flies
  • Kids designed and built the newest edition to Smith playground.  It’s a giant butt that farts “let it go” from Frozen.
  • Admission is free.  Just like literally every other playground.
  • We partner with cool organizations like ‘spark truck’.  Which is a truck that is on fire.


Bill Mauchly – Bring Back ENIAC

Synopsis: The first general purpose electronic computer, now in pieces in museums and warehouses scattered across the country, should be brought back to Philly.

  • Most of ENIAC is sitting next to the Ark of the Covenant in a warehouse somewhere.
  • ENIAC is so nerdy (how nerdy is it), it’s so nerdy the Franklin Institute won’t even touch it.
  • Philly is finally going to get a huge tech upgrade… with a 67 year old computer.
  • Please help me carry this 500 ton computer back to Philadelphia. I can offer hoagies?


Jesse vanWestrienen – BioMeme

Synopsis:  Biomeme, enabling anyone to do real-time mobile DNA analysis on their smartphone.

  • What’s the stat they said, over a billion smartphones in the world and Biomeme can turn every one of them into a mobile lab – so SkyNet yall, SkyNet is officially becoming self-aware and it’s calling itself Biomeme. Look out for Terminators.
  • BioMeme, we take pictures of picture of plants, and make them into meme’s on Facebook – we’re filing for Chapter 11 soon
  • Because when you think BioGenetics, you think Panama
  • I want to show you the most expensive app ever in order to find out about your sisters baby daddy…so effectively putting Maury Povich out of business, thanks BioMeme!


Michelle Schmitt & Sean McGinnis – Balloon Mapping

Synopsis: The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science is a global community formed to hold government and industry accountable through the use of citizen collected data – photos taken through balloons and kites.

  • (ReMEMber, when I’M exCITed i TALK like THIS!)
  • I’m a geonerd…I went on three dates with granite…she makes me so harrrrd.
  • Balloons are also great for high-altitude selfies.
  • Who doesn’t fucking love a balloon? Everyone who took the Hindenburg.
  • Think the NSA isn’t spying on you enough… let’s start doing it ourselves! All the time! From space balloons!
  • Yeah, your balloons are cool – but did you jump out of one from space like Felix Baumgartner?


Sarah Joseph – West Philadelphia Alliance for Children

Synopsis: How to build a school library in 11 steps

  • Let’s open up a library…I’m pretty sure there’s an app for that.
  • This is how to build a school library in 11 steps.  That’s one less step than getting sober.
  • Step 12 stop the kids from taking out the National Geographic’s that have boobs in them.
  • 17 libraries open. 17 books shelved.
  • I didn’t see “hire sexy librarian” in your talk.. Oh wait, is this not a porn?


Deva Watson – Palates to Palettes

Synopsis: Food is art, and everyone, regardless of income level, should get to experience it in all its greatest forms.

  • So full disclosure, i was writing jokes for half this presentation waiting for Pilates to come up.
  • With a name like Deva you might think I’m high maintenance, but I’m actually pretty down to Earth. Moving on.. all you mother fuckers better call me chef!!!
  • If restaurants are art forms, subway has to be paint by numbers… if paint by the numbers tasted like a shitty hoagie.
  • as we all know, Behind any great chef is a team of great people… who are addicted to cocaine.
  • We take kids to eat in restaurants they’ll never be able to afford to eat in again until they’ve sold their souls to corporate america.
  • Craig LaBan only gave these kids two bells.
  • I brought a bunch of underprivileged kids to Le Bec Fin and it closed forever.


Yowel Shaw – Really Good Elevator Music

Synopsis: The history of elevator music, and different approaches to change it to promote community in public space.

  • Elevator music founded by Satan in the middle ages.
  • So, Comcast plays music to make me even angrier?
  • Muzak will make everyone happier, I will now start playing it… I AM NOW IN CONTROL. YOU ARE NOW MY SLAVES.
  • Oh good the songs were actually ambient noises while people said creepy things to you… so, exactly how I ride in an elevator.


Greg Maughan – Philly Improv Theater

Synopsis: What’s improv, where’d it come from and why do I care?

  • Thank you guys for acting like you know what the Philly Improv Theater is so now Greg won’t kill himself tonight.
  • There’s actually a bit of a feud between improv and stand up in Philly. It’s like the Jets & the Sharks if the Jets & the Sharks never got laid.
  • “Yes, And” does work everywhere, like when I’m on a date and the woman asks if I’m enjoying my dinner I say Yes, and you should fuck me later.
  • Improved has arrived… it just hasn’t made me cum… EVER
  • UCB in the house? Philly Improv Theater in the house?? Uh Oh, Improv Fight – which is even gayer than it sounds
  • Oh and here’s an ad for PHIT, that’s the only reason I really came here tonight


Jim MacMillan – Gun Crisis News

Synopsis: Exactly what it sounds like, an overview of the gun crisis in Philadelphia presented by, a team of people seeking solutions to end the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in our city.

  • And no, we did not touch this one.


Jen Devor & Megan Rosenbach – Building Communities in Newbold

Synopsis: presented tips on connecting, engaging and supporting neighborhood schools.

  • We went to art school…. sooo we opened our own non-profit so we could eat.
  • Yeah, we have a full time librarian.  OH SNAP!!! It’s a library throw down, West Philly Alliance for Children?
  • We became very familiar with the dewey decimal system because you know, we’re all about useable 21st century skills
  • We started going into the school uninvited. We got chased out a lot by the police.
  • Get to know someone in the building.  Just in case you get locked out.
  • Yup.  Attractive white girls are preeeeety good at solving the problems of inner city schools.  we learned this from ‘Dangerous Minds’


Hillary Rea – Spoken word/comedian

Synopsis: Philly gets a bad rap a lot of the time, here’s why it’s great.

  • Everyone who isn’t from Philly can eat a dick.
  • Some people bring fans to shows to cheer. We bring people to heckle. It’s the nicest we can muster. WE LOVE YOU JT!!! (everyone give the finger)
  • No, seriously, I slipped my boyfriend a finger last night and he gave me a fist.
  • I just learned the official hasgtag for this is #IgnitePhilly, I’ve been using #VeggieWingBowl all night!!


Martin Brown – Buzzwords of Modern Life

Synopsis: Honestly we’re still trying to figure out what this one was about, but it was presented by the co-owner of Little Baby’s Ice Cream on Frankford Ave

  • Honestly, guys it’s time to get honest.  I really hate ice-cream and I’m lactose intolerant.
  • This is about the 10th time I’ve been on this stage, and in honor of that I really decided to phone this one in.
  • I have some zines for you guys (throw piles of notebook paper at audience).
  • Wanna talk to me about ice cream? Buy me a beer! Want get into these pants? Buy me some Pizza Brain.


(13) Kristyn Stewart – Philadelphia Center for Arts & Technology

Synopsis: The crisis of adult literacy in Philadelphia, and how it has far-reaching impacts on children, the economy, poverty and crime.

  • Philadelphia: Where you’ll have nightmares about Philadelphians heckling you about your statistics.
  • Seriously, when is someone going to just come up here on stage and say “FUCK TOM CORBETT!”?
  • Guys, please don’t poop in the urinal in an effort to impress Kristyn. I really have to pee.
  • To be fair, our 3 year olds are texting at a 12th grade level.


James Yoakum – Cooper River Distillery

Synopsis: James Yoakum, Founder and Chief Distiller of Cooper River Distillers in Camden, NJ, presents on craft/artisan/micro-distilling and craft/artisan/micro-spirits

  • A distillery in Camden… because ya know, law school didn’t work out
  • A distillery in Camden bc we all know what Camden needs more of.. Alcoholism
  • Quinoa whiskey, because your vegan cousin also likes to do the walk of shame.
  • I actually prefer to get my alcohol from the guy in the suit, because I already get my weed from that douchebag in a flannel shirt.


Jennifer Bogoni – Spark

Synopsis: Awkward is the new cool, why the middle (school) matters in improving drop-out rates in Philadelphia and elsewhere

  • True story: all the pictures in my presentation were just family photographs.
  • I also want a sturdy bridge to jump off after hearing those dropout stats – thanks for nothing!
  • The real question: how did this talk relate to spaghetti bridges you make in middle school science class?
  • Jenni bogoni do you like macaroni?
  • I know what my focus was in high school. The girls who wouldn’t go out with me.

See you next time, if not sooner! If you’d like to learn the skills that helped us do what we did at this Ignite event, you can. Just enroll in an improv, sketch or stand-up class today at PHIT!

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PHIT is Looking for a New Variety Producer!

In some exciting news Jessica Ross, PHIT’s Variety Producer, has made plans to leave us and move to LA in the spring. Those of you who have been to our theater and enjoyed any of our variety show offerings (DTF, Atomic Cinema Vault, People of Interest, House of Black, etc.) have seen the unique and popular projects that Jess has helped bring to our stage through her own connections and the great work she did last year in creating Sweeps Weeks – PHIT’s program to help comics develop variety show ideas.

With Jess’ departure, PHIT will look to fill her position on the Artistic Team and bring on board a new Variety Producer. The Variety Producer reports to the Artistic Director and supervises any show hosts or one-off shows that do not fall under the category of sketch or improv comedy. They are responsible for selecting the unusual, highly alternative programming to fill space on the calendar as directed by the Artistic Director, sending performance offers and tracking acceptance of those offers and seeing the shows they book to offer feedback to actors and crew of the performances. The Variety Booker consults with the Artistic Director, other Producers (improv & sketch), Executive Director, and performers. A more detailed explanation of the position is available in the Variety Producer Job Description.

Submissions for the new variety producer are being accepted beginning immediately through Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.. We ask that any interested applicants send the following in an email to contact<at> with the subject line “Variety Producer”:

  • a resume
  • a one-page letter explaining your comedy philosophy and why you would be a great Variety Producer for PHIT

Interviews for qualified candidates will take place during day and evening on Friday, March 28th and Saturday, March 30th. A final decision will be announced on April 1st (no joke).

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PHIT StudentThe last of the winter session classes takes place this week and Spring classes are hot on its heels. Below you’ll find some highlights of the Spring 2014 Session as well as some more great news for students!

Early discount period ends Friday, 3/7! Sign up before then to save $50 off the full registration price!

For you beginners we have several Improv 101 classes starting, so hopefully one of them fits your schedule. Great new instructors like Mayor Karen’s Rob Gentile are joining the instructor ranks and PHIT favorites like Jessica Snow return after a session off. Hopefully there’s a class that fits your schedule. Sign up before Friday and you’ll save $50 off the full enrollment cost!

Our Winter 2014 Session students have been super eager to continue and we, of course, are happy to oblige! We love knowledge hungry students. We’ve had to add a daytime Improv 201 to our three already sold-out 201 classes as well as added another Improv 301 due to demand. The talent coming up through the PHIT training center right now is fantastic.

New sketch instructor, Sean Landis, received a great welcome for his first class: It’s SOLD OUT! Have no fear prospective sketch writing students, there are still spots available in two sketch writing classes. One taught by Dog Mountain Head Writer, Joe Moore and one with PHIT Sketch Producer Brian Kelly.

Comedian, Aaron Hertzog will be leading this workshop that will help you get started in the world of stand-up comedy from absolute beginner advice on stage presence to helping you craft your act. If you’ve been looking to get into stand-up, or already do it and are looking to hone your craft a bit more, this workshop is for you.

Two fantastic electives with two of the best improvisers in Philadelphia! Jess Ross will go through many different scene techniques and help you loosen up and have more fun on stage in her Improvised Scene Study elective. Kristen Schier’s Clowning elective has been talked about for a while, so I’m bumping it up to the Spring session. As she puts it, “It is not essential to have previous experience of this particular way of working but it is necessary to come prepared to fail, make mistakes and laugh at yourself…for it is only by accepting our ridiculousness that we will find and enjoy performing our clowns! All students will receive a complimentary red nose.” A red nose!

On May 10th-11th Kevin McDonald of Kids In the Hall fame will return to PHIT to teach his very popular Improv to Sketch Master Class. The class will be run over two days and will teach you the process through which he and his KITH brethren created the iconic show. Another bit of good news- the aforementioned payment plan is available for this weekend workshop! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

With the special guest just announced (and the possibility of more), returning workshops, new electives, practice groups and of course comedy shows now happening at the theater 5 days a week(!) there really is something for everyone at PHIT this Spring. Head on over to our enroll now page and see all that we have to offer. Hope to see you around the theater soon!

Have questions? Send an email to

Mike Marbach
PHIT Education Director

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A Fond Farewell To Davenger

DavengerGroupIt’s always sad when a team comes to the end of their run, and after 2 years of spectacular performances, the time has come to say goodbye to one of our Improv House Teams – Davenger. Ever since they formed, this ensemble has consistently showed their prowess on stage with engaging scene work that has raised the bar for other teams in Philly.

As we reach their final performance, we’ve asked a few of the people involved since Davenger’s inception to share their thoughts about this great team.

“Davenger was a great team because they were also great friends and it showed on stage in the way they were so in tune with each other.

It’s great to know that so many of them are already staying involved at PHIT: Nick Gillette, Jessi, and Kevin as instructors for our spring session, and Nick Mirra as the director for This Is Your Captain, Alex Newman with The SHAM. It’s exciting to see other members striking out with their own projects as well. And it’s cool to know that former Davengers will be living in NYC and LA  soon – spreading Philly comedy scene talent throughout the country.”
-Greg Maughan, Philly Improv Theater Executive Director

Davenger is a special team. I think you can see that both on-stage and whenever you see two or more of them gathered together. They just enjoy each other. In thinking back to when I first cast them one of my major goals with Davenger was that aside from teaching them the Harold and helping them grow as individual performers I wanted them come away from this experience knowing what it felt like to be part of a team so that in future creative experiences they would know what good creative collaboration feels like.  And I think that’s what you see when they are on-stage. A group of talented, funny, intelligent, committed, good-hearted people who enjoy working together and making each other laugh. They care about each other and the work they do together. And that’s what makes their work so strong. And why it was a real honor to be their coach. I look forward to tonight and to their next steps as artists. It will be exciting to watch.
– Maggy Keegan, Davenger director and Artistic Director of Figment Theater

Davenger is the most robust ensemble I’ve ever seen. I came to them to coach six months ago, and this is the first thing I noticed. Beyond the commitment to the craft in rehearsals, beyond the countless hilarious moments of support on stage, I noticed that this team had taken the time to become a team. They became more than cast mates, they became friends. Today, on the day of their final show, I’d like to point this out to other improvisers, young and old, here in Philadelphia. The cast of Davenger all have astounding talent, they have the finest training, but I believe the simple secret of their success after two years of brave and humble improv is seen in their moments of play together off stage. This is a group that risked giving a damn about one another as people. I’ll miss the team, and particularly those whose lives are taking them elsewhere, but the bonds they formed aren’t going anywhere.
– Nick Gillette, Davenger director

From the entire PHIT family, we wish all of these great performers well and look forward to their continued success!

Davenger’s final show will be Saturday, Feb 22 @ 9:00PM. Tickets available online.

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Because We Love You: A Valentine’s Weekend Discount On Classes!

We’re not quite sure how to say this. I know that it may feel like we don’t hang out that much, or you haven’t seen us around a lot lately, but well… the thing is – we get nervous around you sometimes and we really want you to like us.

No! No!, Not, like, *LIKE US* like us. Unless you do? Do you? Oh heck, this is getting pretty awkward now, isn’t it? Sorry…

I guess we should just come out and ask: Will you be our Valentine? We got you a PRESENT!(Although maybe you want to share it with someone else).



We love comedy so much that seeing it and sharing it isn’t enough. We want to teach you to how do it too! So for the next 72 hours – from 12:00 p.m. Friday, February 14th (that’s right now!) until 12:00 p.m. Monday, February 17th – we are offering you the chance to fall in love with us even more by taking an introductory class at the nostalgic *original* PHIT class price of $199… just visit our ENROLL NOW page to see what’s being offered in the Spring Session starting March 17th!

That’s $50 extra dollars on top of the early registration discount for a total of $100 savings (30% off) of the current regular registration price. We’re also offering a small gift to returning students. If you enroll in a 201 class or higher during the same time period we’ll have a fancy PHIT t-shirt for you on the first day of class that you can show off to all the other students.

Maybe you know a friend or have a special someone you’d love to have start classes at the theater? Sign them up and just indicate their name as the student name in the appropriate field when you are making your payment.

I hope you’ll take advantage of these deals if you were planning to sign up for another class. We do have 10 different 101 classes starting in March, and a similar number of higher level classes – so there should be something that fits your schedule. Remember, the full schedule of upcoming classes is available right on the ENROLL NOW page of our website.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, maybe come catch a show!

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PHIT is Closed Due to Snow Thursday, February 13th!

Due to the snowstorm affecting the Philadelphia region, all performances, classes and rehearsals at PHIT are cancelled for the evening of Thursday, February 13, 2014. Stay safe and warm everyone!

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“Millennium Quest: Warp Jawn” Cast Annuonced!

PHIT is excited to announce the cast of our Spring Theatrical Run, Millennium Quest: KristenSchier_smallWarp Jawn. A send up of classic sci-fi tropes from movies and television, Warp Jawn is a spontaneously created comedy performance in the vain of the original Star Trek television series. With original sets, costumes and make-up, and audio and video elements, this will definitely be a show not to be missed.

PHIT had a pool of very talented performers audition making the casting process a difficult one. The end result is a cast of PHIT regulars, up-and-comers and even a few “where-did-they-come-from?” surprises:

Quinton Alexander
Jim Burns
Andrew Coppola
Stuart Draper
Jimi Haak
Katrina Halkidis
Sofya Piro
Raja Rajanathan
Vito Salerno
Andrew Sigwart

Directed by Michael Hochman and produced by Kristen Schier, Millenium Quest: Warp Jawn runs from Thursday, April 17th through Saturday, May 3rd. Congrats to the cast!

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Philly Improv Theater Launches the “Dynamite Series @ PHIT”

PHIT is proud to announce the Dynamite Series @ PHIT. Curated by Ralph Andracchio, RalphSmallPHIT’s Artistic Director, this ambitious new series provides an open, creative platform that showcases both proven and brand new projects. Shows in this series will encompass many comedic disciplines, strengthen our connections to other communities in Philadelphia, and demonstrate boundary pushing comedy.

“This project will expand ideas, connections, and conversations. We’re creating this wonderful opportunity where performers can ask ‘What is Comedy?’ and ‘How can it connect us to the larger Philadelphia community?'” says Andracchio. “Our goal is to pair comedy with different disciplines, such as the academic and the playwrighting communities to create engaging  productions that will ignite conversations and reach new audiences. Hence the tagline for the series: “Connect. Ignite. Explode.”

Two successful 2013 FRINGE projects are being relaunched as part of this series: Page One directed by Steve Kleinedler, and Study Hall directed by Mike Marbach. In the pipeline are completely new conceptual shows that will debut later this year. Dynamite Series @ PHIT shows run Saturdays at 7:30PM. Tickets for these shows can be purchased online at the PHIT website or through their Facebook page.

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MarbachSmallIt is official: The Philly Improv Theater now has a home! Not only is this great for performers and the comedy loving public, but it’s great for students! Students enrolled in winter session classes will be able to see more shows than they can probably squeeze into their schedule. All within feet of where their class takes place. Thank you to anyone and everyone that came out to our opening weekend or helped out in any way. Also a huge thank you to all students enrolled in winter session classes. You’re already proving to be such a great bunch of people. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet many of you both in person and through the PHIT Training Center Facebook group.

The last of the winter session classes just started Sunday and already it’s time to look ahead to the Spring. With a foot of snow still on the ground that’s not something I mind doing. Just like any sequel there is more of your old favorites as well as some new characters to change things up a bit. Below you’ll find some highlights of the Spring 2014 Session as well as some more great news for students!

We know that putting out money for a class is not an easy thing for everyone to do, so we’re looking to help you out. Starting with the Spring 2014 Session core classes and select electives and workshops will be eligible for a split payments. You will be able to hold a spot in a class during the first several weeks of enrollment with a non-refundable 50% deposit, then you’ll have several more weeks to pay the balance of the regular registration price and secure your space.

When split payments are available this will be indicated next to the price on the class description page and you will see a drop-down menu before the PayPal “Buy Now” button where you’ll have have the option of choosing to pay the full early registration price (saving $50) or making a split payment for the regular registration price for the class. For Spring 2014 classes the payment plan option will only be available until 2/7/2014 and the 2nd payment must be made by 3/7/2014 (once your deposit is received you will be emailed an invoice for your balance that you can pay anytime before the 2nd payment deadline). Please remember, if you choose the split-payment option the first payment is non-refundable should you fail to make the second payment – we will be holding that spot for you and turning other students away should a class become sold-out when we include spots which are being held.

On May 10th-11th Kevin McDonald of Kids In the Hall fame will return to PHIT to teach his very popular Improv to Sketch Master Class. The class will be run over two days and will teach you the process through which he and his KITH brethren created the iconic show. Another bit of good news- the aforementioned payment plan is available for this weekend workshop! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!


Several classes in the winter session had wait lists, so we’re trying to accommodate people by adding a date to Improv 101, Sketch 101, Improv 201 and Improv 301. And yes, that payment plan option is available for core classes! This will most likely ensure that the Dean’s List Student ID bowl will need to be upgraded.

We can also now welcome to the Improv Instructor team, Rob Gentile and to the sketch instructor team, Sean Landis! Rob has been active with PHIT for years now on Mayor Karen and has directed Dr. Sleepover, which you can now catch on Saturday Nights. Sean Landis can be seen on sketch team American Breakfast as well as a writer/performer on PHIT Sketch House Team, The Flat Earth. Whether you are an improv or sketch person you’re in for a treat with either of these guys. Welcome, Rob & Sean!

Comedian, Aaron Hertzog will be leading this workshop that will help you get started in the world of stand-up comedy from absolute beginner advice on stage presence to helping you craft your act. If you’ve been looking to get into stand-up, or already do it and are looking to hone your craft a bit more, this workshop is for you.

Two fantastic electives with two of the best improvisers in Philadelphia! Jess Ross will go through many different scene techniques and help you loosen up and have more fun on stage in her Improvised Scene Study elective. Kristen Schier’s Clowning elective has been talked about for a while, so I’m bumping it up to the Spring session. As she puts it, “It is not essential to have previous experience of this particular way of working but it is necessary to come prepared to fail, make mistakes and laugh at yourself…for it is only by accepting our ridiculousness that we will find and enjoy performing our clowns! All students will receive a complimentary red nose.” A red nose!

With the special guest just announced (and the possibility of more), returning workshops, new electives, practice groups and of course comedy shows now happening at the theater 5 days a week(!) there really is something for everyone at PHIT this Spring. Head on over to our enroll now page and see all that we have to offer. Hope to see you around the theater soon!

Have questions? Send an email to

Mike Marbach
PHIT Education Director

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Classes and Rehearsals Cancelled for Tuesday, 1/21/2014

Due to the snowstorm affecting the Philadelphia region, all classes and rehearsals at PHIT are cancelled for the evening of Tuesday, January 21, 2014. Stay safe and warm everyone!

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