SF SKETCHFEST At The Speakeasy Announces Headliners

Boxcar Theatre and SF Sketchfest today announced the lineup for SF SKETCHFEST AT THE SPEAKEASY: An Immersive Comedy Experience. For this special set of six shows within the nationally recognized festival, headliners include Michael Ian Black with Tom Kenny, the Hi-Seas and Ryan Stout; David Cross; Janeane Garofalo with Jen Kirkman and Sabrina Jalee; Dana Gould with Blaine Capatch, Caitlin Gill & more; John Hodgman and Paul F. Tompkins; and "Improv All-Stars" featuring Second City alumni Scott Adsit (30 Rock) and Tami Sagher (Inside Amy Schumer).

SF Sketchfest at The Speakeasy runs for three consecutive weekends, Fridays and Saturdays from January 11 to 26. Tickets, $125, will go on sale Sunday, November 18 at 10 a.m. at boxcartheatre.org/sketchfest. For information and to purchase tickets for the festival as a whole, please visit sfsketchfest.com.

SF Sketchfest, the nationally recognized comedy festival, celebrates its 18th year, January 10 - 27, 2019, and for the first time Boxcar Theatre will co-produce six 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.

By partnering with Boxcar Theatre, SF Sketchfest embarks on an ambitious new concept in stand-up comedy and variety entertainment. With its warren of subterranean rooms of various sizes, Boxcar's Palace Theatre (the venue of The Speakeasy) is designed to accommodate an evening of immersive theater. Among its amenities are two bars, a casino and a two-story cabaret. With a nod to the Prohibition era, The Palace Theatre also includes disguised entrances and secret passageways, and SF Sketchfest will activate all of these spaces.

The cabaret will feature national headline acts at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. each night, while local favorites and up-and-coming names will perform simultaneously throughout the rest of the Theatre. In addition to these performances, audience members will have the opportunity to take the stage in "Joke-e-oke," using a karaoke style machine to perform material from established comics, to observe comedians backstage through a two-way mirror and to engage in impromptu performances and intimate comedic sets with as few as three audience members.

"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.

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