Our three-month-long celebration of 25 years proving that competition can be fun has just ended and what a great summer it was! The occasion of our 25th Anniversary gave the chance to reconnect with old friends and meet new people in our community. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights.
Jump to July - Competing
Jump to August - Celebrating
Jump to September - Giving Back
We hosted and won the biggest World ComedySportz Championship ever!
226 players from every one of the 22 ComedySportz clubs across the U.S. and Europe came to Chicago to perform in matches and study the art of improv. Fans packed the Athenaeum Theater for nine shows over four days. We faced Los Angeles in the Championship match and decisively won over that very tough team from Hollywood.
ComedySportz alumni Deanna Moffit, David Miller, Joey Bland, Pat Gallen, Scott Goodhart, Nina Leone, Natalie Sullivan and Paul Bianco all returned for performances in our Alumni Weekend, August 6-8th. After reliving the ‘80s – the decade of our birth – from August 13-15th, we made tons of new friends around the neighborhood for our Lakeview Weekend. We had a special ticket offer for residents of the neighborhood and met local business owners who helped us out by displaying our posters. The last weekend of the month, our friends from The Playground came over to join us for shows in our Comedy Theatre Challenge.
Each of the four weekends this month, we donated $5.00 per single full price ticket sold to a different charity. Together with donations made directly by our guests, we raised nearly $5,500.00 for these organizations. The beneficiaries were The Night Ministry, who provides supportive services to persons struggling with homelessness and poverty; FunnyBones Improv, a group of professional performers who donate their time to entertain children in hospitals; The Lymphoma Research Foundation, whose mission is to eradicate the cancer that takes lives of people at all ages.
Our donation to Lymphoma Research Foundation was made in the name of ComedySportz ensemble member Mike Enriquez, who fell to this disease in January of this year. Mike’s jersey was retired at a special show on September 20th. We wrapped up our month of “Giving Back” with fundraising for The Sam Thompson Foundation – a fund formed to raise money to defray the medical expenses of the late brother of our ensemble member Zach Thompson. Zach’s brother Sam passed in June of this year after a lifelong courageous battle against serious illnesses.
These three months were anything but business as usual, and were a great opportunity to look back and reflect on our mission of bringing laughter to our fellow citizens and to celebrate all the great people who have helped us in that cause over the past 25 years.
Wisconsin Badger and Fighting Illini fans are special guests October 4-6.
There’s nothing quite like a college football weekend. The game itself is great enough, but it’s the whole experience of celebrating with fellow fans and alumni before and after the game that makes it special. So this fall, if you can’t get out of Chicago to go back to campus for the big game, we’ve got a way to keep the fever going beyond just the few hours of watching the game on TV.
Each weekend between now and November 17th we’re making a special invitation to fans of two Big Ten schools facing each other on the field to put some comedy into their sports weekend. We’ll have drink specials themed for the two teams and recognition for their fans in the show.
If you can’t make it back to campus, the next best thing is to make it to our Lakeview neighborhood, home to official sports bars for each of the Big Ten schools. Watch the game on their big screen and then catch some comedy with fellow fans – all within a few blocks.
We just finished our first Big Ten Weekend, celebrating the Wisconsin-Illinois game.In upcoming weeks, we’ll be saluting…
October 11-13: Northwestern vs. Minnesota
October 18-20: Purdue vs. Ohio State
October 25-27: Michigan vs. Nebraska
November 1-3: Michigan State vs. Indiana
November 8-10: Purdue vs. Iowa
November 15-17: Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
(Games subject to change).
Sleeping Beauty to Open Saturday, September 8th
For The ComedySportz Crew Meets Sleeping Beauty, which opens Saturday, September 8th, the crew is taking a new slant on the tale – making it a story within a story. Director David Flora says, “It opens with a “real life” story in which two characters are at odds with each other because one was invited to a party and the other wasn’t. That conflict carries over to the story of Sleeping Beauty, where the evil fairy wasn’t invited to the birth of the princess and the two stories run parallel. It’s a different take from the Disney version which may be familiar to many families, but people are happy when they come out of here at what we do give them. We’re not just doing a story; we’re putting a story with it of our own. It’s a dual story that’s satisfying for kids and adults. It will definitely be fun for the kids and give them some experience to get up on stage and do stuff with us."
Flora gives a peek at some other upcoming shows as well. “For the holiday season, November to January, we are going to do The Snow Queen. And then for next season we are doing Beauty and the Beast, Arabian Nights, Robin Hood, and The Nutcracker and Winnie the pooh: Return to Pooh Corner. They are topping out at nine or ten weeks. We’re also doing a ComedySportz for kids show in between each run.”
Performances are every Saturday at 11 am from September 8 - November 3, 2012. Tickets are $10 for adults and To order, call 773-549-8080 or visit Ticketmaster.com
New Auditioning Workshop to be Held Saturday, September 8th
Auditioning 101: How to prepare for an improv audition (when you can't
In this new workshop, called "Auditioning 101: How to prepare for an improv audition when you can't prepare," participants will have the opportunity to experience an audition step-by-step, get in the mindset of the auditors, ask questions about auditions and plan ahead for improvised auditions. Auditioning as a skill set, rather than luck of the draw or something that "happens" will be the focus.
By the end of this workshop participants will: have a specific plan of attack for upcoming auditions, focused on an area of previous auditions that have caused them difficulty, begin to create a plan to reduce the amount of anxiety for auditions.
About the instructor – Lisa Linke
Lisa has been improvising for thirteen years, but performing her whole life. She moved to Chicago in 1999 and began studying at The Second City Training Center. Since then, she has completed training with Second City’s Beginning Program, Conservatory, Writing Program, iO (formerly Improv Olympic), and The Annoyance. She has studied with TJ Jagadowski, Mick Napier, Susan Messing, Norm Holly, Michael Gellman, Noah Gregoropolous, Liz Allen and Joe Bill.
She has performed with Mustang Repair, a Playground Theater member team since 2001 and was on a Harold team, Cougars, at iO for six years. She performed with the former Noble Fool Theater with the long-running hit Sex In The Suburbs and The Baritones. She co-wrote 2007’s Flawed As Rain with Roger Payton, and was on the writing staff and cast of both INK and Big News Chicago at iO. She’s an ensemble member at ComedySportz, and performs weekly with the long-running hit Big Yellow Bus and Critic’s Pick Out Of Character, and ensembles Mustang Repair and MORT at The Playground Theater. Recently she performed the Highly Recommended A Woman’s Path at The Annoyance, and was in the acclaimed remount of Close Quarters at iO. In 2012 she filmed an episode of Shameless for Showtime Networks.
Lisa teaches all levels of improvisation at iO, Sketch Comedy Writing at the Second City Training Center, and travels around the world facilitating corporate improv workshops with Second City Communications and other companies. She writes, directs, produces and performs in short films, sketch and improvised theater all around Chicago. Accomplishments include the 2011 Just For Laughs Festival and the Chicago Improv Festival, and in past years the San Francisco Improv Festival, Dccomedyfest, Sketchfest and the Del Close Marathon in NYC.
Nice Things People Say
The Close Quarters ensemble was called “awe-inspiring” by Time Out Chicago
Linke’s decent acting allows for “a unique impression: Linke is especially convincing as various insecure women bordering on crazy.” - Ryan Hubbard, Chicago Reader
“Lisa Linke was hilarious” – Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune
When: Saturday, September 8th from 2-5pm
Where: The ComedySportz Theatre (929 W. Belmont Ave.)