Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Local Improv Troupe Invades Del Close Marathon BY Chelsea Cummins

In every profession, there is an event that signifies achievement. Actors want Oscars and musicians crave Grammys. For improv troupes, it’s being selected for the Del Close Marathon in New York City. Each year, thousands of groups enter for a chance to perform, but only 200 are chosen. Taking place June 29 to July 2, the marathon will host four groups from Pittsburgh and they have a common denominator—they’re all from the Steel City Improv Theater.

Opened in January 2011, SCIT hosts improv shows and classes throughout the week. Located at 808 Tripoli Street on the Northside, SCIT is led by dedicated instructors who studied at the same comedy school as Will Ferrell and Tina Fey

Founders Kasey Daley and Justin Zell cultivated their improv skill while living in New York City. A Pittsburgh native, Daley studied at the Magnet Theater, People’s Improv Theater and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Her husband, Zell, learned, taught, and performed at the People’s Improv Theater. Originally from New York, his additional studies include the Upright Citizens Brigade and The Second City.

During the three day event, there will be more than 390 shows on seven different stages. Groups will gather from Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and London, among others. Created in honor of improv legend Del Close, the Upright Citizens Brigade began the marathon to remember their mentor in an event that houses some of the best comedy talent from around the world. Close is known for developing long-form improvisation into what it is today, as well as training comedy legends such as John Belushi, John Candy, and Bill Murray.

The LuPones, a musical improv group from SCIT, will perform Friday at the Upright Citizens Brigade east theater in the Lower East End in a coveted 9:30 p.m. slot. The next day, the all-female group Blue Stocking Babes, will take the stage at the Hudson Guild Theater at noon. Next, The Union, composed of SCIT instructors, will go on at 1:30 p.m. at the same theater. The final group, AKA, will perform at UCBeast Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
To learn more about SCIT, please visit www.steelcityimprov.com.

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