Kevin Laibson Named New Artistic Director of The PIT
The People's Improv Theater (The PIT) has announced new Artistic Director Kevin Laibson, who formally began work in February.
"The PIT is in its 12th year in this experiment in Comedy Theater, and we are very excited for this perfect timing to have Kevin Laibson join to direct us in the theater department of what we do, to see what we can do to use Comedy Theater to add to the lives of the community and the individual," said Owner and Caretaker of The PIT, Ali Farahnakian, formerly of Saturday Night Live, who moved The PIT in 201o to its new multistage complex on East 24th Street.
"It's a tremendous honor to be given the opportunity to helm this ship," says Laibson. "I've been working in downtown theater and indie comedy for my entire career, mostly independently of each other. I'm of the mindset that improvisation and sketch comedy are nothing more or less than highly experimental forms of theater, and the associations attached to either shouldn't preclude the other. It's thrilling to be in a building with two gorgeous stages and a talent pool with some of New York's most sophisticated writers and performers, to get a chance to develop new and exciting work and continue to explore the intersection of improv, sketch, and traditional theater."
A Manhattan native, Laibson, 32, has a background in both theater and comedy. Most recently, he worked on The Public Theater's Mobile Shakespeare Unit production of Much Ado About Nothing. He co-founded and served as the Co-executive Artistic Director of Magic Futurebox (MFb), the experimental theater performance and development space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, from 2010-2012. While at MFb, he produced and presented over twenty productions, including Tommy Smith's Demon Dreams (Oni No Yume), which was nominated for three NYIT awards, including Outstanding Director for Laibson and Outstanding Premiere Production, and the world premiere of Katharine Clark Gray and The Minor Leagues' The Pestilence is Coming - A Super Fun New Musical about How You Will Probably Die. As a freelance producer and production manager, he's worked for HEREarts, the New York Musical Theater Festival, and Clubbed Thumb. As a director, his work has been seen all over the country, and at venues in NYC such as Joe's Pub, The Flea, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, and more. Faculty: New York Film Academy, TVI Studios. As an improv coach and sketch director, Laibson has worked with numerous indie teams, including rebecca AND ron (INNY Award Nominee, best twoprov, 2010 starring Rebecca Vigil and Ron Hill), and for 4 years has been the director of City Hall Comedy (INNY Award Nominee, best sketch group, 2010, 2011, 2012). Laibson studied improvisation at the New Actors Workshop, under esteemed teacher/directors Paul Sills, Mike Nichols, and George Morrison.
The PIT strives to entertain and educate the community about the comedic arts in a safe and nurturing environment. The PIT is composed of three elements: a school that focuses on the craft of improvisation, a variety of electives, and a professional writing program; a theater that presents original work seven nights a week; and a corporate and educational workshop program that offers team building, leadership, and business training.
Additionally, Laibson's first major contribution in his new role is bringing the critically acclaimed Women, by Chiara Atik, to The PIT for a four show run on Tuesdays at 9:30PM starting April 15th, which merges his background in both comedy and theater.