THE SPOLIN PLAYERS Present AN EVENING OF SPOLIN GAMES at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, 6/9


If you see only one Comedy Improv show during The Hollywood Fringe Festival, go to the source, The Spolin Players, touted by the LA Times as presenting "Improv as pure and unpredictable as you will find it."

Members of The Spolin Players were the last group to be directed by Viola Spolin who taught them how to play her games. Casey Campbell, Donna Du Bain, Danny Mann, John Mariano, Anna Mathias, Gail Matthius, David McCharen, Edie McClurg, Pat Musick, Gary Schwartz and Jim Staahl want to make sure Spolin's amazing Improv theater games are experienced and played by a whole new generation, celebrating the art of being present, in the moment, and trusting your instincts, transporting live theater to a magical place. Let them take you there!

The Improvisational troupe is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Viola Spolin (known as "The High Priestess of Improv") by performing her theatre games at The Hollywood Fringe Festival, with brilliant musical accompaniment by Fred Kaz, the legendary Second City improv pianist for 25 years, who has just released an album of his original jazz tunes at He will accompany The Spolin Players on June 9 and 22. Jake Anthony, regular accompanist for the UCB-Upright Citizens Brigade, will accompany the troupe on June 28 and 30.

The Spolin Players hour-long completely improvised shows, based solely on audience suggestion, are differentiated by their use of music, space objects, physicality, and amazing vocal sound effects. Every show is completely different and original. There are no sets, no props, no costumes, and yet you see and hear all three. Bring your imagination and suggestions. And get ready to laugh a lot!

"AN EVENING OF SPOLIN GAMES" takes place at Theatre Asylum Elephant Space, located at 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038, on the following dates:

Sunday, June 9 at 4:00pm - PRESS PERFORMANCE

Thursday, June 13 at 10:00pm

Saturday, June 22 at 8:30pm

Friday, June 28 at 7:00pm

Sunday, June 30 at 4:00pm

Show running time: 60 minutes

ADMISSION: $5 on June 9, other shows $10

Online ticketing:


Viola Spolin

Viola Spolin preferred the word player to actor, because she felt the spirit of play (that children possess naturally) is vital to this work. Her classic theatre games bring us into the moment - which is that sought after state in acting. So her games have been useful in theatre in general and are always fascinating to watch as they are created from moment to moment, often touching as well as hilarious. Spolin started developing theater workshop exercises to nurture spontaneity and encourage intuition in her students. Fifty years later that MAGIC is still known as SPOLIN GAMES. These games became the foundation for an improvisational theater boom, which spawned such groups as Chicago's Second City, Sills & Company, and Story Theater, and is now well into its third generation with hundreds of "improv" groups all across North America.

Spolin's legacy is embodied in the innovative improvisation games and acting exercises that she invented to unleash creativity and that were codified in "Improvisation for the Theater" published in 1963 by Northwestern University Press. The book became an omnipresent text in acting classes and influenced generations of actors, directors and teachers. "Ensemble comedy TV shows like '30 Rock' and improvisational theaters around the country build on the groundbreaking work of Viola Spolin," says University Library digital media specialist Dan Zellner.

Now the legendary drama teacher is the subject of a new exhibition at Northwestern University coinciding with The Spolin Players shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, as well as the launch of the Chicago Improv Festival which is free and open to the public. Titled "Viola Spolin: Improvisation and Intuition," the Spolin exhibition runs from April 1 through Aug. 16 at the Northwestern University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, on the Evanston, IL campus. It draws from an extraordinary collection of Spolin's papers that are housed at Northwestern. More information may be found at


The Spolin Players is comprised of more than a dozen seasoned professionals who work regularly in theater, television, film and radio, and who consider themselves fans, students and friends of Viola Spolin! This talented ensemble of professionals was the last group to have been directed by the legendary godmother of improvisational theater games herself and have been "playing along and passing it on" for over 25 years. Cast credits include SNL, SECOND CITY, THE SIMPSONS, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, REAL TIME WITH Bill Maher and so many more.




"What sets this feisty, quick-witted group apart is the exuberance, speed, off-the-cuff brilliance, and dazzling interaction of its players. Riding perilously close to the edge of chaos, they overcome any skepticism with the hilarity, and often amazingly adept interplay they bring to their work. The vicarious thrill for the audience is the excitement of being won over by a trapeze act performed without a net, by an outstanding ensemble of players."


"Exhilarating and brilliant."


"What real improv looks like -- in the moment."


"Wonderful show... you dazzled us with your extraordinary instant instinctual, imaginative gifts... sensational."

And who better to close off with than quote from Viola Spolin herself:

"Improvisation is not an exchange of information between players -- it is a communion."

high res photos

THE SPOLIN PLAYERS Present AN EVENING OF SPOLIN GAMES at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, 6/9
The Spolin Players

Front row from left: Donna Du Bain, Anna Mathias, John Mariano
Back row from left: Gail Matthius, Edie McClurg, Danny Mann, David McCharen,
Jonathan Schmock, Pat Musick
Not pictured: Jim Staahl, Casey Campbell and Gary Schwartz

high res photos

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