North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival Closes With Improv, Welcomes Legendary Improviser Susan Messing
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by BWW News Desk
This year the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival closes with six days of improv comedy. The festival began as an improv festival and the final weekend is always a highlight. This year the festival is welcoming legendary improviser Susan Messing and acts from all across the country. The improv block runs Tuesday, February 12-Sunday, February 17. Tickets to festival shows range $12 - $18 and are available online at www.nccomedyarts.com. Final shows will take place at DSI Comedy Theater, 200 N Greensboro St. and at the Arts Center 300-G East Main St.
Each year, the improv block of the festival brings improvisers for all over the country. This year is no exception. Legendary improviser Susan Messing is performing her show Messing With A Friend, Friday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arts Center Mainstage. Messing With a Friend features Susan Messing and an invited talented and funny improviser she calls Friend. The show is a collection of self-edited improvised scenes based on a single suggestion. At the festival, she will be performing with Chicago Powerhouse Rachael Mason from Baby Wants Candy and Second City.
A New Jersey native and graduate of the Theatre School at Northwestern University, Messing is an alumna of the iO, Second City Mainstage, and a founding member of Chicago's infamous Annoyance Theatre. She continues to teach and perform improvisational comedy at iO, The Annoyance Theatre, Second City. She is an adjunct instructor for DePaul University. Her standup act with her puppet, Jolly, was featured at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Late Fridays on NBC. Susan has been an improviser and comedian for over twenty four years. The Chicago Reader named her "Best Improviser" and Chicago Magazine called her the "Funniest Woman In Chicago".
The weekend will also feature a reunion of CHiPs (Chapel Hill Players) alumni. CHiPs have been entertaining audiences at UNC-Chapel Hill and around the country since 1995 with their signature blend of improv and sketch comedy. The company was founded by NCCAF executive producer Zach Ward and Megan Grano (Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre). The reunion cast includes: Mary Sasson (Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre), Kyle Chorpening (iO), Josh Sharp (Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre), John Reitz, Hillary Nicholas, Jeremy McDonald, Zach Ward and more. The show will take place Thursday, Feb 14 at 7:30 pm on the ArtsCenter Main Stage.
Other notable acts include: North Coast's (New York) improvised hip-hopera, Junior Varsity (New York), the Magnet Theatre Touring Company (New York), Popular Science (Los Angeles), Billyhawk (Los Angeles), ImprovBoston (Cambridge, MA), Rich Uncle (Cambridge, MA), slam poetry from the Sacrificial Poets (Chapel Hill, NC), Richmond Comedy Coalition (Richmond, VA), Mullaney Chain (Chicago), and more.
"I know it has become the theme this year - Lucky 13 - but I feel extremely lucky to be able to welcome so many old friends, former teachers and comedy students, and so much incredible new comedy talent to North Carolina every year," explains Executive Producer Zach Ward, "I'm humbled and especially excited to present one of my own improv instructors, Chicago Legend Susan Messing, in Messing With a Friend."