Chicago Improv Festival Announces 2012 Line-Up: April 23-29

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More than 75 improv groups from 16 U.S. cities and five foreign countries will take part in the 15th annual Chicago Improv Festival, taking place April 23-26. This year, more improv groups than ever before are coming from New York and bringing their signature, fast-paced style of comedy.

More than 75 improv groups from 16 U.S. cities and countries as far away as Russia and Norway will be descending on Chicago April 23-29 for the 15th annual Chicago Improv Festival!
Themed “Celebrating the Art of Play,” this year’s festival will once again delight audiences with dozens of performances at eight venues throughout Chicago.

New York Influence At Chicago Improv Festival
A total of 15 groups from New York are participating in this year’s festival — more than ever before! Now is your chance to experience the unique, fast-paced style of improvisation that New York theaters such as the Upright Citizens Brigade are known for.

All of New York’s three improv theaters were founded by people who got their start in Chicago: Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts founded the Upright Citizens Brigade; Ali Farahnakian started The Pit; and Amando Diaz started The Magnet. Today, those theaters are launching the careers of many successful improvisers.

“The New York improv scene is exploding,” says Jonathan Pitts, executive director of the Chicago Improv Festival. “Today, there are people making it big from New York who’ve never even studied in Chicago, so it’s so cool to see it come full circle and have those groups come back to the birthplace of improv.”

Some of the biggest New York acts coming to the 2012 Chicago Improv Festival include: Hello Laser, Magnet Theater Co., and Johnny Lunchpail. There’s also going to be an Indie Cage Match show where four New York teams will square off against each other in a demonstration of New York’s style.

"New York-style improv is fast and furious!" says Susan Messing, Chicago Improv Festival’s co-Artistic Director.

Don’t Miss Chicago Acts
Every year, the Chicago Improv Festival features some of the most respected names in Chicago’s improve scene, and this year is no exception. Some of the biggest local groups that will be performing include:

  •     The Playboys (Susan Messing, Rachel Mason and Kate Duffy)
  •     Almost ATLANTA (A powerhouse group featuring T.J. Jagodowski, Noah Gregoropoulos, Rebecca Sohn and more)
  •     Bassprov (Mark Sutton and Joe Bill)
  •     Dominizuelan (A latina group featuring Wendy Mateo and Lorena Diaz)

The Chicago Improv Festival was founded in 1998 to promote and teach improv as a true form of art. Over the last 15 years, the festival has featured some of the biggest names in comedy today: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers (SNL), Horatio Sanz, Neil Flynn (The Middle) and more. Come experience the best improv groups from around the world and see the stars of tomorrow at this year’s festival.

A complete list of groups and a schedule of performance dates and times will be released in a few weeks. Please visit or Chicago Improv Festival on Facebook for current list of acts and more information.

2012 Show Dates: April 23-April 29
Tickets: $10-$20

About The Chicago Improv Festival
The Chicago Improv Festival was co-founded by Jonathan Pitts and Frances Callier in 1998 as an educational forum. The festival teaches the art of improv, the history of and the potential for innovation within the art form to students of the craft, professional improv artists and the public. While other improv festivals exist around the world, the Chicago Improv Festival is the only festival that has been created solely for the purposes of documenting, promoting and teaching improv as an art form. The founding of the organization in Chicago, speaks to the organization's commitment to the legacy of improv and promoting that legacy to others.

CIF is now seen as the largest and most prestigious improv festival in the world, as well as a model for other improv fests. In 2012, CIF will be in its 15th year, and has already presented more than 850 acts and ensembles by improv artists from 15 nations and 45 cities; had improv workshops taught by more than 50 instructors; and given various awards to 45 improv artists.

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Lauren Heist
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