Boxcar Theatre Announces Partnership With SF SKETCHFEST In 2019

Boxcar Theatre is proud to announce a partnership with SF Sketchfest next year, titled SF Sketchfest at The Speakeasy: An Immersive Comedy Experience. The nationally recognized festival celebrates its 18th season, January 10 - 27, 2019, and for the first time Boxcar will co-produce six SF Sketchfest shows while its immersive hit, The Speakeasy, remains on hiatus. The Speakeasy will close for the holidays after the matinee on Sunday, December 2, with new shows starting on Thursday, January 31, 2019. The complete schedule for SF Sketchfest will be announced on November 16, and tickets will go on sale November 18 at boxcartheatre.org/sketchfest.

By partnering with Boxcar, SF Sketchfest embarks on an ambitious new concept in stand-up comedy and variety entertainment. With its warren of connected rooms of various sizes, Boxcar's Palace Theatre is designed to accommodate an evening of immersive theater. Among its amenities are two bars, a casino and a two-story cabaret. Once inside, audiences are free to move from room to room taking in performances in every area.

For SF Sketchfest, the cabaret will feature national headline acts at 8 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. each night, while local favorites and up-and-coming names will perform simultaneously throughout the rest of the Theatre. With a nod to the Prohibition era, The Palace Theatre includes disguised entrances and secret passageways, and SF Sketchfest will activate these spaces, as well, with private showings for audiences as small as one to a handful of people.

"What SF Sketchfest and Boxcar are offering audiences next year is 'immersive comedy,'" said Nick A. Olivero, creator of The Speakeasy. "It's the chance to experience comedy in a way that's less scripted, and more intimate and interactive. We're giving audiences the opportunity to craft their own unique experience."

"Imagine sitting at a bar side by side your favorite comic while she performs an informal set, or getting pulled into a small room with two other audience members for an impromptu mini-performance. Or eavesdropping on comics 'offstage' behind a two-way mirror where they can't even see who's watching! For the comedians, this is an opportunity to experiment with material and form. This is neither precisely stand-up comedy nor improv nor a play, but something totally new."

"We're very excited to be partnering with Boxcar on these six special nights," added SF Sketchfest Co-Founder David Owen. "Last year we partnered on private festival after-parties in the Theatre, and the space has a really incredible vibe to it. Seeing so many comedians having such a great time at these parties inspired us all to want to recreate that experience for the public. It's a unique creative playground for artists and we're excited to see where this leads."

Upon the conclusion of SF Sketchfest, The Speakeasy will open its 2019 season with a set of new characters and storylines. This new chapter in the immersive entertainment is titled The Speakeasy: Age of Scofflaws. Previews will begin on January 31. Opening night is scheduled for Thursday, February 21. Tickets, between $80 and $120, will go on sale at thespeakeasysf.com/reservations on November 27.

With the opening this fall of a new themed retail store, The Dressing Room, located at 748 Broadway in San Francisco, The Speakeasy will also feature more opportunities for individuals to enjoy the show in the guise of a costumed character. Costumes for men and women are available for rent as well as for purchase. For more information visit thedressingroomsf.com.

SF Sketchfest was founded in 2001 by David Owen, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney as a way to showcase the talents of six Bay Area sketch comedy groups: The Fresh Robots, Kasper Hauser, The Meehan Brothers, Please Leave the Bronx, Totally False People and White Noise Radio Theatre. The festival debuted in January of 2002 at the Shelton Theatre in downtown San Francisco and has grown rapidly into a nationally recognized comedy event that mixes national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy. A favorite with audiences, critics, and performers alike, the festival has grown substantially to become a highly anticipated showcase that consistently delivers top quality comedic performances, tributes and panel discussions.

Boxcar Theatre was co-founded in 2005 by Nick A. Olivero, and has produced over 60 plays and musicals including Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Little Shop of Horrors, Clue, three Tennessee Williams plays in repertory and four Sam Shepard plays in repertory. It has also been the home for such companies as Crowded Fire and the Neo-Futurists as well as dozens of other emerging groups over the years. In 2007 the company opened its first venue, the Boxcar Playhouse in San Francisco's SoMa district, and in 2010 their second space, the Boxcar Studios in the Tenderloin. The company is currently located in The Palace Theatre, a multimillion-dollar space designed and built for Boxcar Theatre, which opened in 2016.

Boxcar's marquee show, The Speakeasy, reopened in its current form in fall 2016. "An intoxicating delight," (San Francisco Chronicle), "Period perfect," (San Francisco Examiner), "A voyeur's playland" (San Francisco magazine), and "An extraordinary night out," (Frommer's) are among the rave reviews it has received. For more information visit thespeakeasysf.com.


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