Saturday, August 28, 2010

End of a Season – Great new one starting

WOW! We are wrapping up our busiest year yet!!!

Mostly because of the Off-Broadway run of LMAO returning us to our public shows schedule of years past. Up until November 2009, we were cutting back NYC shows left and right in favor of paying gigs on the road. Very few conflicted with the public shows schedule, but we could only do so much. LMAO allowed us to attract an all-new audience of avid theatergoers thanks to TKTS and similar discount Broadway ticket outlets online. It also allowed us to attract an all-new level of talent, or more so retain those folks. An Improv show is only as good as the cast. As we expand it is important to keep the levels up. Especially as we take on more and more double and triple bookings. The combination of Laurice, Spero and I put us on the map. Proud to say that every time we do auditions, we attract better and better folks. NOTE – not to detract from previous cast members as we have almost always found great folks for our show needs but we are getting less and less wannabes to sift through each time out.

Secondly we are booking more and more gigs more often. All winter I said, why don’t you come in May, our slower month. As a result, March thru August have been non-stop. And now the colleges and corporate events are booking again. A special thanks to all of our regulars. Schools, camps, corporations and of course families tahat patron the public shows. You are the back bone of our success. Many NYC area teachers are now on their 4th & 5th years leading K-12 class field trips to our theater in Times Square for IMPROV 4 KIDS and EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH shows and/or workshops. Quite a few made their first trip this year. More and more are doing the show, workshop and pizza party program for just $27. Very exciting to show growth in these trying times.

Well if we can show growth in 2008, 2009 and so far in 2010, I can only be optimistic for the coming months and years.

We have our new program via the COMEDY HALL of FAME – teaching at NYC schools weekly to students and once and while doing professional development for teachers.

We are starting to get calls from colleges and corporate events again. These gigs pay 2-3 times as well as the K-12 world. With the crash in September 2008, very few of these gigs came our way. And not just the Improv show events. Our production company that does publicity/promo work, novelty bookings and holiday parties all took dives in the corporate sector.

Our saving grace was the K-12 program. Still being the new guy and far superior to our competitors (Clients’ sentiments, not mine), more and more schools discover us one by one. The word is out that no one delivers this level of talent and entertainment at these rates. My only fear – schools and other non-profits – those that budget 1-2 years in advanced will be showing signs of recession blues now. Of course, I have been fearing this since early 2009 and … so far so good.

Another key to our recent successes – we stopped throwing money at the wind trying to grow faster. We wasted many 1000s of dollars 2006-2008 on PR firms and advertising that did little to nothing for us. We got aggressive again in house. We made this business on sweat reaching out grass roots style. Personally handing out 1000s of flyers on the streets weekly. We send out average of 100 post cards weekly to school and theaters. We spend hours on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and back in the day – MYSPACE. I miss Tom. Sometime working on blog posts, emails and mailings at 3am when we can’t sleep. Actually that is when most of our best PR ideas come. When you are awake and bored and not really a bar type, you really get a lot of great work done in those witching hours. Although sloppy and in need of serious proof reading, the creativity flows. Insomnia works for me the way most “artists” are when doped up I guess.

For a while we found when we focused on the art, the business slipped - and vice versa. LMAO forced us to focus on both and finally find the balance. A huge part of this is realizing the need for more support behind the scenes. A special thanks goes out to all those that have stepped up in these areas. Every theater company is dependant on the rare few that really love behind the scenes work. Being a performer first, foremost and nothing but, I always assumed I would need to attract intern types with an empty promise of possible stage time. This never works really. Never worked for me anyway. As with better and better talent, as we grow we attract better and better behind the scenes types. Part of this is the pay now associated of course, but more so folks love a winner. And very few in the theater world grow as fast as we have without major financial support in the way of investors or grants. In fact, name me one company started in the past 10 years that is showing even break even status with out financial injections. The typical “Professional” - and/or not-for-profit - theater model, has you raising tons of money to pay for a production whether or not you have an audience. These investments have far worse odds than Vegas casinos. Better off investing in scratch offs. Perhaps they are great as the allow a number of new works to get a chance.

come be a part of the show  FALL 2010

Left Lane Under Speed Limit #%*!?!?!?

I find myself asking the little voice more and more “Is this guy a moron or an A$$hole?” On a daily basis I find my self running into folks that because of ignorance, lack of care, or in some cases to be blantantly A DICK, doing things that are just rude or even moral or ethically or legally wrong. I am not being preachy here. I am talking about simple common sense theorem items that help us keep society from getting to chaotic. I am talking about the activities that make the cynics say “It’s a Dog East Dog World” and “It is all going to sh!t!” This is just one in a new series of blogs – ARE YOU A MORON OR AND A$$HOLE?

Seriously, it is 2010 - going on 2011. How can anyone out there not know how to drive on a two-lane highway?

We can’t all be leaders. I gladly give the road to speed demons. That is not who I am. I am the guy that just likes to go a bit faster than posted. Only as I get bored and fall asleep with the Cruise Control on BLAH BLAH BLAH mode. Driving at the speed that I feel, “anymore I am out of control” For me that is 70-80mph. 50-60on curvy roads. Hate tight curves downhill. I mostly like to push it just ever so slightly as I play a game with myself. NO not that type of game with MYSELF. I watch the GPS and love to see the ETA roll back in time. Closest thing I will ever get to time travel, I figure.

I just drove round trip to Cleveland on route 80 in under 24 hours. Well, Spero drove 2 hours going there. I drove the first and last three there – all the way back. By Mapquest and Google maps and our GPS that is 7.5 hours each way. We made each trip in exactly 8hours with one plus hours of pee/snack breaks. Great show at Ursaline College by the way from the cast of EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH / LMAO.

Today I am driving to Boston via rt15, The Merrit Parkway, and the whole way there was a chain of “Lets go for a nice relaxing drive” folks in the left lane. Now I hate to be THAT GUY. You know, the guy that obnoxiously tailgates and flashes lights. Trust me when I am behind you slowpokes, I am getting that from my peers behind. One guy just did not get it. Well not at first. I was getting close but not quite tailgating.

If you are fifteen years old - ish - and about to get your DL for the first time, the most important rule you need to know is… drive on the right – pass on the left.
If you are 16-105+ year old and still do not get it…. drive on the right – pass on the left.
OK that is a little to simple. Drive in the right lane unless…
A) There is merging traffic – which usually requires about 10-15 seconds of moving over to be polite.
B) Construction crews, police or other folks in the shoulder for whatever reason. Again requires about 10-15 seconds of moving over to be polite.
C) You really want to pass the guy in front of you. But the best way is to speed up a little time to minimize the amount of time you are right next to the other car anyway.

NO matter how fast you drive do not stay in the left lane.
A) This is the safest way to go, especially around curves in the mountains of PA.
B) In everything in life there is always some one smarter, more talented and yes faster. So get over the ego trip.
C) Only exception of course when there is bad traffic. At this point I ask the a$$holes – the ones that feel the need to weave in and out to save a matter of 30 second over the course of 5 miles - to chill

I think the real problem, most folks are never taught how to drive. Drivers Ed is mostly about watching bad videos on the effects of drugs and alcohol. Sure they will tell you about turn signals, looking both ways and the dreaded parallel parking. But slow drivers in the right lane are the biggest source of road rage. Sure I hate traffic but that’s life. It happens along with all the other Sh!t you can’t control. We need to fix highways. People need to get to work. Population is growing faster than we can build highways - Especially now with 3rd graders having sex.

Forcing me to pass you on the right is just asking for is just adding to both of our anxiety. Then we will get cramps in the bird finger. No good can come of it. Why are you evening the left lane. Even worse passing someone going 65 because you just HAVE to go 67 makes you a very piss poor Type A. Either get more impatient - OR less. Or perhaps you are just lazy. You do not want to drive in the right lane with merging traffic every few miles. Driving in an activity.

So I propose new international legislation. Separate speed limits for left and right lane. New Signs should be posted “Mandatory 5 mph over posted limit in left lane” I would prefer 15 but we need to take baby steps. Besides at 4am we can go along with a sharpie and add the ONE to make it read 15.

So next time you are in the left lane and a long line of cars are building up behind you ask your self “Am I a moron or asshole?” in other words “Am I ignorant or being a dick?”

We can all agree if you have read this blog, now enlightened to the greatest truth in roadway etiquette, it is the latter.
AFTER THOUGHT – In matters of survival, I am the first to say, I would rather be an asshole than a moron – The aggressor not the victim. But if we all play along like a team, we will find our selves in far less LIFE OR DEATH survival moments. So you are forced into making the choice, be the asshole and live on. Don’t be either.PLEASE. I AM BEGGING YOU. Because either way will we hate you and throw up the BIRD!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time Out New York Feature

Both LMAO and Improv 4 Kids are featured as great destinations for the family in this Month's TONY Kids


Now on newsstands, find picture of Walt Frasier and Spero Chumas at the Times Square Arts Center. TIME OUT NEW YORK KIDS September 2010 pg 58.

Small correction... LMAO tickets run $42-50. We do offer a number of discounts. Click this link for the $20 tickets

This is not the first time TONY KIDS has featured us.  Check out this older article that led to the ABC NEWS feature (See Video Below)

Professional Improv Comedy
Improv 4 Kids
from the cast of EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH

ABC NEW from Summer 2007 - I am told this has rerun on many occasions. THANK YOU TIME OUT NEW YORK and ABC NEWS for putting us on the map in a major way!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank you from MA Library

Dear Walt, Laurice, and crew,

Thank you so much for your visit to Mendon this past week Thursday! It was a great way to put a cap on our Summer Reading program for 2010! We really appreciate you coming all this way and, of course, for your energy and enthusiasm.
Taft Public Library

18 Main Street

Mendon, MA 01756

Young African-American Men Open Call for Broadway Show

September 7, 2010
Click link for full details.

The casting office contacted us because of our work in the NYC schools. Feel free to pass on to all you know.

NYC FRINGE 2010 & around the world!!!

NEWS ALERT!!!! Former EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH cast members making waves at the Fringes in NYC & around the world!!!

Go see Michael Hirstreet in MY BROKEN BRAIN Sad to say Michael was only with us briefly. This amazing young talent was way to busy with some great projects for us to hold him down. Now playing at the The Players Loft @ 115 MacDougal St. 3rd Fl., New York N.Y. 10012
Show Times Remaining: 8/27 Friday 5:45 PM & 8/28 Saturday 10:00 PM. The revies so far have been great

Today (8/23/10) is opening night for former EIGHT member Killy Dwyer in GIRL BALLS FREE at the Edinburgh Fringe. Killy was a valuable member of the cast for over a year in our early days at the Laugh Factory. If you are over seas anywhere in Europe, jet set over to see this amazing show that has already taken NYC by storm.

Know any other former cast members at the festivals let us know!
I was never impressed with the idea of THE FRINGE festivals until I participated last year. Well, to be fair I did not have a huge respect for showcases in general. Moved to NYC in 1997 already with a couple paid jobs under my belt. Mostly DT and church gigs, but I have always been anti-non-paid gigs. But it was just recently that I realized how good and innovative and artistic the theater becomes in many of these situations. Or perhaps, although fun, I discovered how non-artistic working on a TV or commercial set can be. I think every artist defines "Living the Dream" in their own way. I used to think it would be being on Broadway or at the MET Opera. Now I realize being able to create real characters and experiencing the world thru fresh eyes while not having to work in restaurants is pretty much a dream come true. Bway and the MET would be a bonus right now.

Anyway, if you have not had the pleasure of checking out the NYC Fringe or others, please do. If you are an up and coming artist, this is a must check out festival. Going on last summer - LAST MINUTE - as an understudy I received more critical acclaim than anything else in 10+ years of professional work. And I was just there as a back up for an ailing talent. Plus the chances I would otherwise get to work on a stage like the Minetta Lane are slim to none.
FROM 2009 International Fringe Festival, New York City

Minetta Lane Theater
"Walt Frasier ... gave the best-sung and most assured performance to be found in the show.... His supple baritone and confident manner gave the show an anchoring dramatic weight."

Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre   
Adelaide Fringe Festival Australia
Amsterdam Fringe Festival
Athens Fringe Festival
Atlantic Fringe Festival Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Bath Fringe Festival
Berkshire Fringe
Brighton Festival Fringe
Budapest Fringe Festival
Buxton Fringe Festival
Calgary Fringe Festival
Capital Fringe Festival (Washington, DC)
Couch Soup Fringe Festival (New Zealand)
Curitiba Fringe
Cincinnati Fringe Festival
Dublin Fringe Festival
Dunedin Fringe Festival
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edmonton International Fringe Festival
Fringe Wilmington(Wilmington, DE)
FronteraFest - Austin Texas
Hamilton Fringe Festival - Hamilton Ontario Canada
Hamilton Fringe Festival - Hamilton New Zealand
Houston Fringe Festival (produced by BooTown)
Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival
Kansas City Fringe Festival
Llangollen Fringe Festival
London Fringe (produced by London Bridge Festival 2010)
London Fringe Theatre Festival (Ontario)
Malvern Fringe Festival
Singapore Fringe Festival
Melbourne Fringe Festival
Minnesota Fringe Festival
Montreal Festival Fringe
National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa)
New Orleans Fringe Festival
New York International Fringe Festival
Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival
Ottawa Fringe Festival
Piggyback Fringe Wakefield Quebec
Prague Fringe
Rogue Performance Festival
Saskatoon Fringe Theatre Festival
San Francisco Fringe Festival
Time-Based Art Festival (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art)
Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival
Stroud Fringe Festival
Sydney Fringe
Tokyo Fringe Festival
Toronto Fringe Festival
Vancouver Fringe Festival
Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival
Wellington Fringe
Windsor International Fringe Festival
Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival
Woodstock Fringe Festival

See you in Times Square
L. M. A. Off-Broadway