When you see a Broke Gravy performance, expect to see over 100 combined years of dynamic energy. Each player originated from a distinct part of the US (Florida, Minnesota, Michigan), with their individual journeys around the world eventually landing them upon the streets of Portland, OR. They pride themselves on small details and big ideas—be they from their own upbringings or the unique experiences their audiences bring to each show. These Broke Gravy boys are grateful you have chosen to join with them for an evening of the unexpected. We hope you are grateful for the show that we are going to create together.
The Future (Philly Improv Theater) has been doing whatever it takes to make audiences laugh since 2013. Give them a suggestion and watch as it gets turned into a recreation of the past, a twisted sci-fi dystopia, or possibly a feat of physical strength. Comprised of some of Philadelphia’s top performers, The Future has built a reputation domestically and abroad as a group of weirdos who create comedy that is always more than the sum of their parts.
Little Mountain Improv is an all star ensemble of Vancouver based improvisers who perform a dynamic weekly show in the heart of East Vancouver. With a huge expanse of collective experience LMI brings their honed skills together to forge new and exciting forms.
Rougher. Tougher. Brutally spontaneous. In Rå Power, Joleen Ballendine and Amy Shostak, two of Rapid Fire Theatre’s senior performers, are focused on chasing joy and doing things that scare them. They will explore an every day action through scenes, songs, and whatever other ways they feel like.
Two Minneapolis based black males, Alsa Bruno and John Gebretatose who have been breaking the rules of audience engagement since June 19th, 1865. The format is centered in our experience which is largely based on our culture: we have a conversation with the audience, more importantly we have a conversation across cultural barriers, across differences. We do scenes that reflect our conversation. Whether funny or not, we move people and strive to do shows that audiences remember. Who are they, tho? The Unpronounceables are a dope duo of can-do friends with names people can not pronounce. They both have a commitment to improving the world through improv and connecting communities through laughter. Case in point -- our first meeting led to the creation of the Black & Funny Improv Festival.
Bruno is a Texas native actor and improviser. He has organized communities working in the nonprofit sector and has experience as a youth worker. Bruno is a founding member of the premiere improv group, Blackout. He is also a member of the Theater of Public Policy, a writer for a news comedy show Minnesota Tonight, and a cast member in Rated G, an improvised musical group directed by Jill Bernard. He is excited to engage his background in civic engagement and theater.
Amy Shostak Amy is an improvisor and creator from Vancouver, Canada. Amy's improv journey began with Edmonton's Rapid Fire Theatre in 2002, and she served as the company's Artistic Director for six years. At Rapid Fire, Amy appeared weekly in Theatresports, as well as Maestro and long form shows. In 2015, she was honoured with an Excellence in Artistic Direction Award from the Mayor’s Celebration for the Arts in Edmonton. Since moving to Vancouver, she appears regularly with The Vancouver Theatresports League, Instant Theatre, and Blind Tiger Comedy. She is passionate about civic engagement, and heavy metal. For more about Amy, check out: www.amyshostak.ca
Caitlin has been studying and performing improv for the last fourteen years. She has toured festivals across Canada, performing with some of improv’s ﬁnest including The Crumbs (Winnipeg), General Fools (Regina), Rapid Fire (Edmonton), Second City (Toronto and Chicago), Dad’s Garage (Atlanta), The Improfessionals (Paris) and Upfront (Seattle). Recently her teaching has brought her to multiple times to Poland and Paris. She is also the co creator of Ghost Jail Theatre (Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver).
Caitlin Weigel began performing in 2010 with Temple University’s improv team, Fowl Play. In May of 2010, she was cast on the Philly Improv Theater house team, Asteroid!, under the direction of Mike Marbach. Asteroid! was voted Best Improv Team by the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy and was also voted Best Short Run for their improvised horror and sci-fi B-Movie. She currently performs with the PHIT house team, The Future.
She has performed in the Del Close Marathon, F Harold, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the Philadelphia Improv Festival. Caitlin is also an avid list-maker and a frequent napper.
Eric Simons is a writer, improvisor, teacher, and producer from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. A proud pupil of Minneapolis’ Brave New Workshop (the United States’ oldest satirical theater) and HUGE Theater, Eric has been honing his brand of nonsensical tomfoolery since 2009. A relative newbie to the Portland improv scene, when he's not performing with Broke Gravy you can see him with groups Talls & Smalls, Weekend Dad, and Curious Comedy Theater's Battle Ax.
Dayna Bowers is a North Carolinian folk artist and comedian living in Los Angeles. She got her start in Chapel Hill writing and performing musicalized narratives with Ride Again Productions. She moved to New York for a few years where she had the pleasure of performing musical reviews on Broadway with the Irish Repertory Company. Dayna currently performs musical improv at UCB with her musical Mess Hall team, Bevel, and her independent team, Garage Band.
David began acting at Radnor High School where he played Mordcha the bartender in Fiddler on the Roof. He then moved to Hampshire College where he studied film, theater, and writing. After graduating in 2011, David began studying at the Philly Improv Theater with Jason Grimley and Mike Marbach. Nowadays, David performs weekly with PHIT's mainstage cast, PHIT house team The Future, and monthly with the Dynamite Series shows Study Hall and Page One. He also directs PHIT Harold team, PG-13 and runs PHIT's diversity program. A proud alumnus of the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Mens Chorale, David believes that a bold color choice is the first step to success. Outside of improv David can be found selling beer, supporting the Chicago Bulls, and arguing about Game of Thrones on the Stark Raven Mad Podcast. His three sisters are a constant source of strength.
Ify Chiwetelu is a comedian, improviser, and writer. She's performed in many festivals with her troupe Fake Cops, and was a member of the inaugural Bad Dog Featured Players. As a writer, Ify has contributed articles to CBC Comedy, and was a contributing writer for the upcoming season of The Baroness Von Sketch Show. Ify Currently resides in Winnipeg where she is the host of the CBC Radio show Now or Never, and owner of a yucca plant.
Jiavani Linayao is a Filipino/Black pansexual woman from Germany, Hawaii, Seattle and San Diego. (Air Force family.) Jiavani can be seen with the UCB musical Mess Hall team, Bevel, as well as musical teams Adele Dazeem and Garage Band. You can also see her with the monoscene team, Totally Heather. Jiavani has been a writer for the CBS Diversity Showcase and teaches improv workshops at colleges and theatres throughout California. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Coronado School of the Arts and the La Jolla Playhouse Conservatory. Jiavani loves cheesy carbs and super sad jokes. Her go-to karaoke song is "Pony" by Ginuwine.
Joleen has been improvising since 2007. As a high school student, she competed in Ottawa at the National Canadian Improv Games, and won Most Valuable Improvisor. Shortly after she was asked to join world renowned improv company Rapid Fire Theatre. Joleen is the associate director of Education with Rapid Fire and is a senior player performing weekly in Theatresports, Maestro and and Rapid Fire’s long form show Chimprov. She is also the creator and lead instructor for the At-Risk-Youth Project, and recently started a program for kids called the Kidprovisors. Teaching and performing has made a traveler of Joleen. She has been all over Canada, The US, and Europe. When Joleen is not improvising she can be found acting and writing. She just finished writing and starring in Edmonton’s award winning television show, Caution: May Contain Nuts. The show will be airing on APTN come spring of 2017. Joleen draws inspiration from Rock and Roll, dogs and high kicks, so watch out!
Gebretatose rose from the ranks of a HUGE Improv Theater student, to a HUGE Improv instructor. He trained and worked at Brave New Workshop. He has performed stand-up comedy in the Twin Cities for over nine years. He is currently part of one of the hottest new improv groups, Blackout, and also a member of the improv group Wonderful Wonderful. He is the director of the improv group With The Fur and teaches improv at HUGE Improv Theater. He is the founder and creator of the Black and Funny Improv Festival.
Kristen Schier is the Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd, which performs weekly shows at The Actor’s Center. Before coming to PHIT she taught improv for Delaware Theater Company, Drexel University, and The Actor’s Center. Kristen has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working in Philly as a professional actor, improviser and teacher for several years. She has worked with Commonwealth Classic Theater Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and Ego Po. She has appeared in many productions including the originally created Art of War, which received a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble. Kristen has studied clowning intensively with Giovanni Fusetti and has studied improv at The Second City and at the Annoyance in Chicago and the Magnet Theater in NYC. She has taken workshops and classes with such improv notables as Michael Gelman, Jill Bernard, Armando Diaz, Asaf Ronen, Mick Napier, Susan Messing, Jonathan Pitts Joe Bill and Mark Sutton and members of the UCB Theater in New York City. When she is not on stage, Kristen is incredibly absent minded and susceptible to fraud.
Leon Anderson likes to talk about himself in the third person. Leon has been performing improv comedy since 2003 in various forms. With bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from the University of Southern California, he solidified his training at the Second City Conservatory in Hollywood, CA. After a short break Leon rekindled his love affair with Improv in Portland, OR, where he has performed with groups such as Black by Popular Demand and Whiskey Tango, whom have been featured in many festivals around North America, including SF Sketchfest and the Vancouver International Improv Festival. Now, Leon is now proud to bring his animated and physical style, to the stage with Broke Gravy. For more information, find Leon, buy him a drink, and ask him whatever you want.
Marina Mastros is on the house team MAX at iO West, and performs with indie teams Sex Positive Science Kids, Count Gumdrop, and musical team Garage Band. She has been improvising since 2000 and is a graduate of UCB Los Angeles and iO Chicago. Previously, Marina was a mainstage performer and College Team Director at the National Comedy Theatre in San Diego. In 2011, she co-founded Sidestage Improv, which has since become Old Town Improv Co. She created their Inclusion Initiative in 2015. Marina was a speaker at last year's Our Cities on Our Stages symposium on diversity and inclusion in improv.
Molly is currently studying at Temple University where she’s double majoring in Media Studies and Production and Classics. She has been doing improvised comedy since she was 16 years old. She now performs on multiple teams, including the Saturday Night House Team, The Future and is a part of the running show in the Dynamite Series, Dirty Laundry. She is president of Temple’s Improv Club and directs Temple’s improv team, Fowl Play. She is also a part of Temple’s live sketch comedy production, Temple Smash. When she’s not making things up on stage, she can be found in the Classics department or tutoring in the Writing Center at Temple. She’s a frequenter of Brazilian Steakhouses and the Gap. In her spare time, she personalizes rap songs as birthday gifts for friends and watches far too many episodes of The Good Wife.
Oscar Montoya is an actor, comedian, and hip hop dancer living in Los Angeles. He was born in a small town in Colombia and lived in New York for a spell, where he was a performer and a faculty member in both the Magnet Theater and The People's Improv Theater. Oscar has appeared in several national commercials (Lowe's, Pizza Hut, Cheerios) and various videos for College Humor, MTVOther and Buzzfeed. Oscar currently performs at UCB with Skyjammer, a freestyle rap improv team, and on Harold night. He is also a performer and director for the arts education and media company Story Pirates.
Robert O'Neill-- Robert O’Neill is an instructor, director and performer at Philly Improv Theater. He currently performs with PHIT house team The Future and directs the Harold team Swan Year. He is also a member of the independent ensemble Playback and can be seen monthly in the Dynamite Series show Study Hall. Having studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center in New York City, Robert became a PHIT company member in 2013 when he was cast on the team Outside Voices, under the direction of Caitlin Weigel. In addition to his work at PHIT, Robert has appeared in numerous short-run shows around the city, including “The Bright N’ Bold Beauty Box Old-Time Radio Hour,” “SorkinCorp” and House of Solitude’s “A Galaxy Uncherished”.
One part improv powerhouses, one part the spirit of Rihanna walking out of a restaurant with a wine glass*, The Kweendom is an improv troupe that owns dat stage! Comprised of Yas Kween regulars + special guests, this all Women of Colour collective takes a twist on the Armando style and explores social, feminist, racial topics with unapologetic points of view. We also do super silly stuff. *Google this
Lebron Janes is an all female improv troupe that likes to get weird and follow the fun. Equal parts Kristie Gunter, Michelle Hart, Emily Richardson & Sam Adams, these ladies take the stage to always have fun and never say sorry. These basket ballers are a total slam dunk! They also know very little about basketball.
Fast paced, ridiculous and always entertaining, the cast creates an hour long musical from suggestions provided by the audience. Not only do they create the music and words from thin air, but they also create a world full of engaging characters and captivating stories you won’t soon forget (even though you will never be able to see them again).
YOUR KIDS is a group of best friends (although some are closer than others) who formed their improv troupe over brunch. YOUR KIDS is comprised of Kevin Vidal, Nadine Djoury, Liz Johnston & Christian Smith. They are all mainstays in the Toronto comedy community. As improvisers, they tow the line between irreverence, heartache and dumb fun. After watching YOUR KIDS play, we promise you'll leave the theatre giggling.