May 15, 2008

A History: Improv-Abilities

Since 2000, Improv-Abilities has had continued growth and success. Recently, they were invited to the Chicago Improv Festival. Here is their brief history as written by Keith:

I am not in charge of this group, nor have I ever been. However, I am one of the first members. So, I will do my best!

I met Mr. Jim Montemeyer at Sylvester Powell Junior Community Center. We were playing basketball and my friend who was working with him at the time told me to talk to him about improv. This was around the time that I stopped taking the classes at Comedy Sportz which was still in the Deleware location. So, my friend knew that I was interested.

Me and Jim talked and he said to me that he was going to hold auditions for a group and the name would be Improv-Abilities, hyphen and all. Months had passed and I had never heard from him, so I began to bug him......monthly. I would call him and ask him how the process was going and he would say slow, and that he would call me. (Clearly I was beginning to annoy him)

More months passed and he finally called me and told me that auditions were being held in Feb. of 2000.

When I arrived, there were a total of 5 people. Jim, his wife Karen, myself, Aron (who is still in the group), and a guy named Matt.

I-A was born. We began rehearsing Tuesday nights and Jim would teach us everything he knew about improv. A good 9 months passed and we had our first show. At this point we expanded in group size and our show was in the basement of a church that Jim and Karen attended. It was sold out, and it was exciting.

The format for our show was a game show, but pretty much the same thing as comedy sportz. Two teams, lots of short form games, and a host.

Soon Karen got pregnant, and Jim had to quit. This was the summer of 03 I think. Tim Marks, and Aron Carlson took over as owners of the group and things began to take off. Immediately we had monthly shows at The Lucky Brewgrille.

In the summer of 05 we did our first Comedy Festival in Dallas, TX. We learned a lot there! Around that same time The Improv in Zona Rosa booked us for a few test shows, and then suddenly we had 2-3 shows a month with a bunch of private gigs in between.

The private gigs kept pouring in, and our cast is up to the even number of 12 members who are all very funny and talented. During 06 we started venturing into guerrilla improv, much like Improv Everywhere.

I have no idea what is in store for us as a group, because we have been flying by the seat of our pants for the past 2 years as things continue to take off.

If anyone from I-A wants to add anything feel free, I did the best I could. Can't wait for Chicago!

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