Shadowbox Live's Sketch Comedy Festival Announces Lineup
Shadowbox Live, America's largest resident theatre company, is gearing up to host some of the best sketch comedy troupes in the country. Next week, five troupes go head to head in competition at the 3rd annual Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival, showing at The Easton Town Center on July 19th and 20th!
The two-night comedy festival will feature a panel of celebrity judges including Shadowbox Live metaperformer, Julie Klein, Fox 28's Good Day Columbus host Johnny DiLorretto, and original Saturday Night Live cast member Garrett Morris!
"It's unbelievably exciting to have Garrett Morris back for the third year straight," says Shadowbox Live head writer Jimmy Mak. "As an original member of Saturday Night Live, he's one of the people responsible for bringing sketch comedy into the mainstream. He's a true pioneer of the craft."
On night one of the festival, troupes will be allotted 15 minutes to showcase their best sketches. After their performance, each group will receive constructive criticism and often hilarious commentary from the panel of judges. The evening becomes interactive as the audience then votes for their favorite sketch, determining by popular demand what the troupes will perform for night two.
Night two features "The Best of Fest!" The highest scoring sketch from each troupe will be performed back to back in Act I, as the judges score each troupe. While the scores are being tallied during Act II, Shadowbox Live treats the audience to a sketch comedy and rock ‘n' roll show, featuring several surprise guest appearances by Garrett Morris himself! The 2011 winning troupe will be announced at the end of the evening!
The 2011 participating troupes are:
Sketch By Number from Columbus, Ohio *Winner of the 2010 Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival
The Don't We Boys from Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Riot from West Toronto, Canada
The Laughter League from Cleveland, Ohio
The Feral Chihuahuas from Asheville, North Carolina
Sketch By Number began performing together four years ago when members met at OSU's department of theatre. Since then, they have begun to carve a name for themselves in the local sketch comedy scene, appearing in Wild Goose Creative's Columbus Comedy Festival 2, as well as winning last year's Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival. Their shows feature a variety of different methods and in the past have included puppet shows, singing, dancing, special effects, video, slide shows, and more. "All to give our audiences a better, well rounded, and, of course, funny experience," says troupe member, Liam Cronin. Along with Cronin, participating members include Danny Prater, Nickey Winkelman, and Kiley Morgan.
The Grand Rapids based troupe, The Don't We Boys, makes their very first comedy festival appearance with the Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival. A year ago, Joe Anderson, Dave Lyzenga, and Matt Sterenberg all met while performing different improve acts at a blackbox theater and joined forces as The Don't We Boys. When asked what makes their shows unique, Matt Sterenberg replied, "We place the characters in high peril. We perform sketch comedy the only way we know how: with a foot in the grave."
The Riot is the first-ever Canadian troupe to perform in the Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival. Since forming in 2007, the troupe has appeared at Toronto International Sketch Comedy Festival for the last four years, and won the Sketch ComAgeddon in both 2008 and 2009. Comprising of ChristIan Smith, Joe Bucci, Matt Karzis, Greg Calderone, Katie Strain, and Stephanie Tonietto, The Riot performs high energy, fun loving comedy. "Also, we're Canadian," says Karzis. "That's cool, right?"
The Laughter League returns to the Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival for the third year in a row! The Cleveland based troupe has been performing together for six years, has appeared in multiple venues all over Cleveland, and won Best Comedy Troupe by Cleveland's Fox 28 "Best of Cleveland." This year, the previously all male troupe, consisting of Patrick Ciamacco, Joe Kenderes, Noah Hrbek, Seth Hrbek, Joe Ciamacco, and Luke Scattergood, also added their first female cast member, Debbie Lenarz. Additionally, the troupe has big plans back home. "We would love to have a performing space of our own," says Patrick Ciamacco, "and we're working towards making that dream come true."
Also returning for their third year is the Ashville, NC troupe, The Feral Chihuahuas. Initially forming in 2003, the troupe recently began touring aggressively, appearing in the 2010 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the 2010 Black Box Comedy Festival in Atlanta, GA, and the 2010 Cape Fear Comedy Festival in Wilmington, NC. Also in 2010, they were voted Western North Carolina's Best Comedy Troupe. Participating in the Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival are Tommy Calloway (who also acts as the troupe's Executive Producer), Adam Meier, George "The Bastard" Heard, Drew McDermott, Wyman Tannehill, and Andrew McCammon. The Feral Chihuahuas brand of sketch comedy continues to push the envelope with a "nothing is sacred" attitude. Calloway says, "American Culture is absurd and we had no choice but to make fun of it. All of it."
"These five troupes were chosen from a large field," says Mak. "In fact, we had more applicants this year than the last two years combined!"
To that end, plans are already underway for 2012. Shadowbox Live plans to expand the festival to include more varieties of comedy and performance. Since the company will then be settled into their new home, there are also plans to invite some of their new neighbors in the Brewery District to participate, making the 2012 version of the festival an event for the entire community.
The 3rd annual Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival takes place on July 19th and 20th at Shadowbox Live in The Easton Town Center. Night one is scheduled for Tuesday, July 19th at 7:00 PM. The Best of the Fest will be performed on Wednesday, July 20th at 7:30 PM. One-day passes are $25 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, and Two-day passes are $40 for adults and $30 for students and seniors. To make reservations, or for more information, call the Shadowbox Live Box Office at 416-ROCK or visit www.shadowboxlive.org.