Baltimore Musical Improv to Present Musical Comedy Improv Classes

Join classes on March 6 and March 16.

By: Feb. 21, 2024
Baltimore Musical Improv to Present Musical Comedy Improv Classes
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Nonprofit collective Baltimore Musical Improv will present classes teaching students how to create an improvised musical comedy complete with songs, characters, and stories.

While many improv shows aim to produce a spontaneous play or mimic stage or screen, "musical improv" creates musical theater. Performing arts groups such as the Magnet Theater in New York City offer musical improv training as well as theaters in Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin and elsewhere. Adult learners across the county take class to meet new people, build self-confidence, and even a career in theater and comedy.

Kim Scarfe, education director of the now 20-year-old Baltimore Improv Group (BIG), helps coordinate improv classes for their theater's adult performing arts education programs.

"I am so excited to be bringing this to BIG." said Scarfe, who began improvising in 2013 while living in Des Moines, and began teaching improv in 2016. "I love Musical Improv so much! I think this community will really enjoy it as well!"

A team of musical improv performers called Bad Karaoke Experience (BKE) - formed in 2016 - offers monthly beginner workshops as part of their meetup group. The meetup ultimately formed into the Baltimore Musical Improv nonprofit in Spring of 2023.

Improv artist Barry Wright co-founded Highwire Improv, a non-profit working to make improv more accessible. The theater hosts the aforementioned monthly musical improv workshop and one of the upcoming class sessions.

"It's been years since we've had a growing musical improv community in Baltimore, and I'm so excited to see it happening," said Wright, who started improvising in 2017. "Thanks to some wonderful grassroots community organizing and teaching, songs are being made up on the spot all over the city!"

Highwire Improv and Baltimore Improv Group independently host these classes, as facilitated by Baltimore Musical Improv's Casey Watts and Brian E Young. This four-week musical improv training is the first multi-week musical improv class in the Baltimore region since 2017.

Sparked by new classes, the nonprofit Baltimore Musical Improv wants to encourage more live improvised musical performances to emerge. In 2023, local improv shows included one improvised musical team every other month.

Two classes in March: Highwire Improv's Fundamentals of Musical Improv runs as a four-week two-hour class starting on Wednesday, March 6 from 7-9pm at Roland Park Community Center, 5802 Roland Avenue. Baltimore Improv Group's Intro to Musical Improv runs as a four-week three-hour class starting on Tuesday, March 16 from 6:30pm-9:30pm.

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