City Theater Company Announces 2nd Annual Tax Free Comedy Festival

City Theater Company presents the 2nd Annual Tax Free Comedy Festival, the First State's annual showcase featuring the best and funniest from Delaware and beyond performing stand-up, musical, and improv comedy completely...TAX FREE! For two nights, audiences and participants will enjoy comedy-stand-up, improv, and musical acts-by night, and a workshop led by top professionals in the field by day.

The Tax Free Comedy Festival will take place May 10 & 11 at 7pm in Studio One of The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. Tickets are $25 for one night or $45 for two-nights, and are available for purchase at, or by calling the box office at 302.652.5577. An "Improv for Stress" workshop will also be available Saturday, May 11 from 1-3pm. Registration is $25 and must be made one day in advance at

The annual Festival is once again produced by CTC's Fearless Improv Director, Jana Savini, and former Better Than Bacon Director, Dan Staub. "I am so incredibly honored to help bring the Tax Free Comedy Festival to Downtown Wilmington for the second straight year," says Staub. "We are beyond fortunate to be able to showcase such incredible comedic talent from the worlds of stand-up, improv, and musical comedy. I can't wait for our audiences to experience this special weekend of smart, diverse, and hilarious comedy from all over the country."

The Festival is hosted by Guy Schiavi, of Delaware, and Alyssa Truszkowski. Schiavi is a Delaware captive who performs comedy everywhere: basements, attics, bars, in front of a gelato freezer, he's done it all! Truszkowski is a comedian and writer based in Delaware. She is the co-host of the true scary stories podcast, Real Chills, and a producer of the Bechdel Test Fest comedy festival which features women and non-binary performers. Her sketch comedy team, Cups & A Half is the winner and reigning champion of Philly's Dirtiest Sketch.

Festival acts included hail largely from D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Delaware, plus two from West Coast. The Festival is headlined by CTC's own Fearless Improv.

The Festival also includes a daytime workshop, "Improv for Stress," on Saturday, May 11 from 1pm to 3pm at the Delaware History Museum. This workshop will dive into how improv can help counteract stress and anxiety in everyday life. It is instructed by Tessa Ricci, Executive Director at Liberty Improv Theater in Philadelphia. With an educational background in Psychological Services and her personal journey through mindfulness-based stress reduction, Tessa combines her studies and previous experiences to apply improv specifically to stress and anxiety.


Friday, May 10

Dr. Volcano - improve duo (Philadelphia, PA)

Dr. Volcano features Jake Pritchard and Mack Smith. Every show they perform high energy and insane long form improv and try their best to make you laugh.

Groundhog and Butler - improv duo (Philadelphia, PA)

Groundhog and Butler (Steph Masucci and Mike Butler) adhere to the creed "Hungry Improvisors Run Faster." They are an aggressive independent duo from Philadelphia who jump from character to character, scene to scene, and back again with their fast-paced and exhausting two-person performance.

Mean Wendy Band - musical comedy group (Philadelphia, PA)

The Mean Wendy Band (Wendy Lenhart, Ryan T. Barlow, Brian Kelly, Dan Kristie, and Zachary Wiseley) and their Philly-grown musical comedy casually spans the gap between traditional music venues and more comedy-oriented shows through relatable humor and catchy songs. Despite the implication of their name, they are really quite nice people.

Aaron Bell - stand-up comedian (Philadelphia, PA)

Aaron has been a regular in the Philadelphia comedy scene and has performed on numerous shows in the Philadelphia, Delaware, and Central Pennsylvania areas. This past December, he performed at Punchline as part of his Philadelphia Comedy College Graduation Showcase. Aaron is known for his deadpan delivery and draws his inspiration from his unique upbringing in Bucks County.

Donna Ottena - stand-up comedian (Pennsburg, PA)

Donna is female comedian that shares her own personal life experiences in a very funny outlook.

Tony Sykowski - stand-up comic (Brooklyn, NY)

Tony is has been writing, performing, and producing shows for over 10 years. After graduating from Umass-Amherst, Tony moved to Chicago, where he studied and performed with Second City's House Co, iO Chicago, and the Annoyance Theater. During this time he worked for Second City Theatricals aboard the NCL Breakaway, had his written work has been featured on Second City Network, co-created the sketch/improv group Brand New Toys (which produced two full sketch reviews in addition to performing at Sketchfest, Chicago Improv Fest, and Detroit Improv Festival), and staged his acclaimed solo show I Killed Peter Rabbit at the Annoyance Theater. He's also a stand up who's performed at The Comedy Bar, Zanies, Q.E.D., Westside Comedy Club, Greenwich Village Comedy Club, Grisly Pear, and in the back rooms of too many bars. Outside of comedy, Tony has hand modeled for Jim Beam, Canadian Club, and Sauza Tequila. He loves to brag about this to anyone who will listen.

TreVor Wade - comedian (Sacramento, CA)

TreVor (they/them;The Moth StorySlam winner) mixes tales of misguided affection and botched romance with cutting observations about this divide we've erected between "man" and "woman".

Saturday, May 11

Fearless Improv - improv group (Wilmington, DE)

Wilmington's ONLY improv team, produced by City Theater Company, delivers a unique blend of unpredictable sketches, interactive games, some compromising positions and a bit of bawdiness for the fun-loving folks of Wilmington and beyond.

Keepsake - comedy duo (San Jose, CA)

After spending nine days together in a Volkswagen Golf, the only natural next step was to form a duo. Cara Schmidt has been performing for nearly a decade. Alex Fierro is newer to the stage. Their pun game is strong.

#puppies - improve duo (Washington, DC and South Jersey)

#Puppies is comprised of the wild dogs known as Sue Taney and Rachel Garmon. An improv duo with all the spunk of puppies and none of the butt sniffing.

Betty Smithsonian - stand-up comedian (Philadelphia, PA)

Betty is a comic, producer, musician, clown, improviser, and creator of many thangs. You can find her creating spaces, stages and the like for LGBTQIA as well as female and non-binary comics around town. She performs regularly in Philadelphia and the outskirts.

Matt Hyams - stand-up comedian (Philadelphia, PA)

Matt is a Philly-based comedian/comedy writer, the creator of and the world's leading online PDF business coach.

Megan Chialastri - stand-up comedian (Philadelphia, PA)

Megan is a nonbinary comedian from Philadelphia. They're always thinking about gay stuff and what murder documentary to watch next.

Robert Leon - stand-up comic, writer and podcaster (Brooklyn, NY)

As a comic, Robby has performed all over the country, from dive bars in the south to alt rooms and clubs in NYC. His weekly Manhattan show "Monday Night Slob" was featured in the New York Comedy Festival. He has also been featured in the Asheville Comedy Festival, the Finger Lakes Comedy Festival and the Hoboken Comedy Festival.

Shane O'Connor - stand-up comedian (Philadelphia, PA)

Shane is young-ish comedian who spends an inordinate amount of time trying to make people relate to his thoughts on Ratatouille. He's a regular host at the Good Good Comedy Theater in Philadelphia and also produces his own show there.

TICKET DETAILS: The Tax Free Comedy Festival runs Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11 at Studio One at The Grand Opera House, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington. Tickets are $25/night. $45 two-night pass. The "Improv for Stress" workshop is Saturday, may 10 at The Delaware Historical Society, 505 North Market Street, Wilmington. For more info and tickets visit

City Theater Company, founded in 1993, performs contemporary comedies, new works, and classic musicals to critical acclaim in an intimate black box theater on the Wilmington waterfront. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on

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