In just two weeks Philly will play host to the only comedy festival dedicated to two-person acts in the entire world. 38 great pairs from across the United States and Canada will be in town June 7th-10th, 2012 for fantastic shows, great parties, and amazing workshops. All the info is on the special Duofest website at Duofest.com and workshops are also listed on our website (look at the right-hand side of this page for links)!
In the past we’ve had a meeting each year called “The State of PHIT” to talk about the current status of the theater and our plans for the future, but we decided that sounded way to self-important and/or political. Come on out for one of the dates we’ll be doing this presentation and hear what the theater has planned for 2012, where we need help, and how you can get involved:
Monday, February 27, 2012 @ 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ noon
You’ll be hearing from a variety of people running various aspects of the theater and important projects as well as PHIT Executive Director Greg Maughan. We think it’ll be information (if not totally exciting) and if it’s any extra incentive: there will be snacks. Complete details are available at the special event page for PHIT’s Year Ahead 2012.
After five years of training the best comedians in Philly with improv, sketch and storytelling classes PHIT has filled not only our stage, but the stages of countless other theatres, comedy clubs, and bar shows will fantastic performers. This is a great thing, but it’s also a challenge for people new to the comedy community: what happens when they have completed PHIT’s curriculum, want to continue studying and are not sure where they should go? Today we’re offering the answer to that question:
We are very excited to announce the creation of the PHIT Improv Conservatory. The goal of the conservatory is simple: create an offering that furthers the commitment PHIT has always had to create amazing performers out of everyday people and grow the comedy scene in Philly. Each conservatory class will take a small group from among a much larger pool of applicants (from graduates of PHIT’s Training Center to students who come to us with an extensive background at a comparable theater) and work with them to create an ensemble that has developed their own style of play. After eight weeks of work with one of our top instructors they will enjoy a one month run at PHIT for a paying audience, during which time they will continue to work with their instructor turned director to improve their show, review tape of their performance, and grow through the experience of working front of a crowd.
Our hope is that the Improv Conservatory will offer students a variety of different experiences and viewpoints each time they apply for and are accepted into a session, and that it will help bridge the gap between finishing our core curriculum and successfully auditioning for a highly-coveted spot in the cast of PHIT’s special projects or House Teams.
It’s a new year and we’re once again looking to cast two new improv House Teams for 2012. Previously we let potential auditioners know to save the dates 2/4, 2/7 & 2/8 so they wouldn’t miss out on the fun, and now we’re accepting requests for audition times. To make sure you have a spot and get your chance to be one of Philly newest improv stars, check out the full details on auditions right here.
For the first time, PHIT is offering college and university credit internships in our office starting in 2012. We are very excited to make a variey of opportunities available to anyone interested in learning more about how PHIT runs, working to build the comedy community, and having a great time for a few hours each week at our office. All are welcome to apply, but students in a degree granting program (undergrad or graduate) will be given preference for this opportunity. Complete details are available here.
PHIT will once again be looking for Philly’s best and brighest improvisers in the new year, as we expand our performance opportunities in the PHIT House Team program by adding two new ensembles of 8-10 players each. Further details on auditions will be available in January, but our dates are set. First round auditions will take place during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, February 4, 2012. Callbacks will be held on Tuesday, February 7 and Wednesday, February 8, 2012 in the evenings. Please hold all of these dates if you are interested in being cast!
PHIT’s tribute to trashy daytime talk TV, hosted by Alex Gross, is returning in January 2012 for a second year and plans to tweak the show’s format slightly for Season Two by taking on a staff of writer/performers to generate themes for each month and create the segments in the same style as those that entertained (and sometimes shocked) audiences in it’s first year. Full details on applying for a position with the show are available on the The Gross Show Writer Submission Info page.
This is the second straight year an alternate weekly paper has included PHIT on their “Best of” list and we couldn’t be more excited for the continued recognition of everything comedic that’s happening on our stage. If you still haven’t been down to the theater for a PHIT House Team Night and then stuck around for the jam you’ve been missing out… but the good news is you can easily correct the problem this coming Saturday!
Greg Maughan, PHIT’s founder and Executive Director, has been named a “creative connector” by Leadership Philadelphia, a list which sought to highlight “entrepreneurial professionals with an agenda for action” in Philadelphia’s art, culture, and design communities. The was developed starting this past summer when Leadership Philadelphia, the premier leadership development organization in Philadelphia, partnered with the Mayor’s Office on Creative Economy, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and WHYY/NewsWorks to identify the city’s “Creative Connectors” – people in the region’s cultural scene who seem to know everyone, connect for the common good, and had a track record of getting things done. After a broad effort to solicit nominations that included an online citizen survey, the 76 people (from over 1,500 nominations) most often cited by their peers for using art, culture, and design to build community and economic vitality were announced last Friday.
We are super thrilled to announce our third year in a row with Kevin Allison teaching “How to Write a Sketch Comedy Show” and “Storytelling for Stage” at the PHIT Training Center. Most people will recognize Kevin from MTV’s The State, but many of you will also know him as a creator of the podcast RISK! – where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share. This is an incredible opportunity for Philadelphians to work with an incredibly talented and nice guy who also has a wealth of real experience to draw on. Don’t delay – sign up by 6pm Friday or before the spots are all gone!
The Cambridge Footlights’ 2011 Tour Show – ‘Pretty Little Panic’ – has already played a string of prestigious London venues and granted much-coveted ‘sold-out’ status in its month-long run at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Festival. Thanks to this overwhelming success the Tour is transferring to America in Footlights’ first major tour of the States since the early 1960s. In addition to playing venues like The Second City, and UCB Theatre NY, Pretty Little Panic will be at PHIT for one night only on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available now!
Comedy nerds will appreciate that almost anyone famous in English comedy (including Mitchell & Webb, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, half of Monty Python, David Frost, Peter Cook, and Sacha Baron Cohen among others) has come from Cambridge Footlights – the comedy troupe at the famous University. Now, for the first time since the early 1960s, Footlights are publicly touring the United States and among stops at such historic venues at iO West, The Second City Chicago, and UCB New York… they will also be in Philadelphia with PHIT on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
After The Bully Pulpit host Luke Giordano was hired as the newest writer for CBS’ Two and Half Men last month and moved to the west coast we’re excited to bring a new Panel Comedy show to our schedule starting tonight with the incredibly talented Jim Grammond’s take on comedians shouting at each other while they try to discuss the news. We expect Jim will be hired to write the reboot of How I Met Your Mother by early next summer.
Thanks from the Duofest 2011 producing team (Rick A. Rick H.,Greg, Mike, Amie & Kristen) to all the performers who traveled from 13 cities to entertain on our stage, drink at O’Neals Pub, and teach our army of students. Extra special thanks to Susan Messing & Christina Gausas for a headline performance so crazy that they have requested we not post it online. All told, the second Duofest drew over 1,000 participants – which is astonishing and humbling. We’ll see you again next year!
Due to the greater than expected demand for workshops at this year’s fest, we’re excited to add a second workshop with Austin, Texas duo Rachel and Dave focused on relationship work in scenes. If anyone understands this, it’s probably a real-life husband and wife duo who are both Second City alums! Enrollment is already open over in the Workshops section of the Duofest site and is also available via www.phitcomedy.com as well. Duofest Performers will receive an email with a link to their secret discounted registration page shortly.
Philly is incredibly lucky to have two master classes coming up during Duofest, and now spaces in those workshops are finally available for the general public. First, on Saturday 6/4 we’ll have a master class with nationally renowned instructor Susan Messing (from Chicago’s Second City Mainstage, the iO Theater, and The Annoyance Theater). Then on Sunday 6/5 New York’s Christina Gausas returns to PHIT for an afternoon workshop. Get spaces now – links to registration are down the right-hand side of this page.
We’re back for our second year of Duofest, PHIT’s improv festival dedicated to comedic pairs. The full line-up is listed on our shows and tickets pages as of now. If you’d like more information about individual acts, or want to purchase day/weekend passes – please visit the Duofest website atwww.duofest.com.
We’re kicking off April with The Gross Show (new night!) and we’ve got a ton of great improv for you over the next two weeks. Among the highlights: a special Saturday night edition of The Hopper Brothers’ Happy Magic Fun-Time Show on 4/30, Legendary Wid on Chip Chantry’s One-Man Show (w/ Special Guests) next Monday 5/2, and a performance of Momprov – Andy Moskowitz and his real life Mom! – on Mother’s Day, 5/8.
We’re super-excited to say that casting decisions have finally been made for PHIT’s new House Teams directed by Matt Holmes and Kristen Schier. The talent this year was really amazing, we had our largest group of auditioners ever and felt strongly that everyone who made callbacks should be performing in the city, but just couldn’t accomodate them (over 100 peope were NOT cast, sheesh). Here are your new House Teams:
House Team Brandybuck (temporary name) directed by Matt Holmes: Aaron Hertzog, Alex Gross, Dennis Trafny, Jen Curcio, Lizzie Spellman, Mark Leopold, Rob Cutler, Scott Sheppard, & Tara Demmy
House Team Shadowfax (temporary name) directed by Kristen Schier: AJ Ortiz, Billy Thompson, Brian Ratcliffe, Claire Halberstadt, Erin Pitts, Karen Coleman, Matt Akana, Nathan Edmondson, & Scott Hinners
This week’s issue of the Philadelphia Weekly – available for free all over town in yellow honor boxes – has an awesome cover featuring PHIT performers/instructors/directors Kristen Schier and Amie Roe, and an even more awesome feature story inside (“Philly Comedienne’s of Comedy”) that includes quotes from and sections about other great female comedians around Philadelphia who have also appeared on PHIT’s stage, including: Meg Favreau, Carolyn Busa, Mary Radzinski, Mary Carpenter, and Karen Getz. If you have time to pick up a copy of the paper, do it. If you want to read the article online, it’s right here.