The producers of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival and Sketch 22 are very creative gentlemen. But they’re no gods. Maybe they’re working on it, but they can’t take a lump of clay or a rib or whatever to create talent. Besides, the talent they’re looking for already exists. They just need to meet it – or be reminded of it.
With that in mind, Matt Kemple and Patrick Schmitz and the producers of Bye Bye Liver: The Milwaukee Drinking Play, are inviting interested comedy performers – stand-ups, sketch actors and improvisers – to audition. They’re welcoming both individuals and groups.
Here are the details:
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15
- Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level
- Fill out this form to secure a time slot.
- Bring a relevant resume and a photo.
- Be prepared to provide a sample of one or more of your abilities: Up to 5 minutes performing a comedy sketch; Up to 5 minutes of original standup material; Up to 5 minutes of improv.
The producers are forming a talent pool to be considered for a variety of Milwaukee-based comedy productions, including such ongoing shows as Retro Comedy Night, Variety Hour Happy Hour, Stand Up Showcase, Sketch 22 and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival.
“We are looking for talented comedy and improv groups as well as individual actors, improvisers, comedians of all kinds and people that are looking to be a part of something fun and exciting!” says a Facebook post on the auditions.
Initial response to a similar post last month was so impressive that the producers added this Dec. 15 date.
Of the chief forms of comedy, the rarest in Milwaukee is sketch.
We’ve got plenty of standup and improv. But sketch shows have been less frequent. There’s been Sketch 22 twice a year, and Broadminded comedy with their latest production, “Jerks!” scheduled for the last two weekends of November.
Of course, sketch comedy is featured in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival and the Variety Hour Happy Hour and Retro Comedy Night.
More recently, Crouch Comedy has emerged, with a debut performance at a Comedy Arcade Show to kick off the 2013 Comedy Fest. Crouch has another show in the works for December.
Earlier this year, Scott Heaton, of Homegrown Electric Circus, better known for its improv, did a sketch show. Now, Sally Arenberg has tapped Scott and his Circus mates Josh Barto and Evan Koepnick as well as broadminded’s Megan McGee to present a whole new show, which Sally is directing, called ”It Was Embarrassing, So Don’t Ask.”
From Facebook: “Are they laughing with you? Or at you? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You’ll have to find out at an evening of sketch comedy among the talented cast.”
Weeks away from her bachelor’s degree in acting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Sally acknowledges that her show fills a bit of a void for sketch comedy. It also is a change of pace, she says from the acting program’s focus on classical theater.
“Comedy is also a big challenge for actors. I think it takes a really talented actor to have the ability to make an audience laugh,” Sally says, and adds, “It’s way different directing comedy. But it’s cool to have this opportunity for other actors too.”
Those actors include:
- Alissa Kluever
- Derrion Brown
- Courtney Howe
- Erika Kirkstein-Zastrow
- Kris Anton
- Keiandra Honeysucker and
- Jeremy Berson
The performances are at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 9, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10, at 1925 E. Kenilworth Place.
Allison Mcmahon is the assistant director, and the other writers are Dan Perlstein and Joey Sullivan.
General admission is $10. Click here for tickets.
With the end of August comes the last three nights of “The Burden of Being” a coming-of-age puppet musical, written by Robby McGhee.
You know Robby from the Tall Boys improv group and Sketch 22 improv and Greendale Community Theatre productions such as the recently completed “Les Miserables” and, of course, The Improvised Musical (T.I.M.).
Now Robby has created a musical – using puppets – performed by some of Milwaukee’s finest talent, including cast and band members from T.I.M.
Mike Fischer, in a review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, says, “we see the promise of a writer who combines a wonderfully offbeat sense of humor with a heartfelt awareness of what such humor often hides or deflects, in a world where a brave smile is often our only defense against the burden of being.”
Russ Bickerstaff, in the Shepherd Express, calls “The Burden of Being” “a light, quick musical” punctuated by “sparkling performances in the ensemble.”
The final performances are at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29-31, at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Click here for $17 tickets.
For years, Patrick Schmitz has made a reputation for himself in Milwaukee teaching improvisational comedy at such venues as ComedySportz and First Stage children’s theater. Now, he’s making a living for himself teaching drama at Brown Deer High School, which he discusses in the YouTube video above.
But, as most teachers, Patrick Schmitz is more than a teacher. He’s a performer. He’s a mentor. And he’s a presenter.
Because at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, Patrick Schmitz presents the 11th edition of his Sketch 22 show.
That’s the one where Milwaukee’s top comedy and theater talent get together and within a 22-hour period create a show featuring 10 genuinely original comedy sketches. Do the math. That’s less than a day.
Sketch 22 unfolds at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St. Bring $10 (or a friend with $20) so you can join in the fun. Don’t bring children younger than 14.