Improvised Shakespeare Company, Improvised David Mamet Play & More Highlight 4th Annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival

Improvised Shakespeare Company, Improvised David Mamet Play & More Highlight 4th Annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival

More than 50 improv acts from U.S. & Canada to perform Jan. 20-21


BETHLEHEM, PA—The Improvised Shakespeare Company and Hunter Nelson and Terry Withers’ “David Mamet’s ‘The New David Mamet Play’” headline the 4th annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival Jan. 20-21 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. The festival will also feature an improvised action movie, puppets and a live comic book creation, as well as 50 other improv comedy groups from across the U.S. and Canada doing short- and long-form improv comedy. Hours are 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday.

On Jan. 21, 9 p.m., the critically acclaimed Improvised Shakespeare Company takes the stage. Based on one audience suggestion (a title for a play that has yet to be written), this group creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes. Each of the players has brushed up on his “thee’s” and “thou’s” to bring you an evening of off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare. Nothing has been planned out, rehearsed or written; the night could reveal a tragedy, comedy or history.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company has been performing its show to sold-out audiences in Chicago since 2005 and continues to entertain audiences across the U.S. with its national touring company including performances at Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, San Francisco Sketchfest, The Upright Citizens Brigade’s Del Close Marathon and the prestigious Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and Chicago.

Catch Hunter Nelson and Terry Withers’ “David Mamet’s ‘The New David Mamet Play,’” Jan. 20, 9 p.m. Spoofing the works of Pulitzer Award winning playwright David Mamet, best known for “Glengarry Glen Ross,” comedians Hunter Nelson and Terry Withers present their hilarious improvised take on Mamet in “The New David Mamet Play.” Both Nelson and Withers are veteran performers and teachers at some of the most notable improv comedy institutions in the country, including the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Magnet Theatre, Baltimore Improv Group & Reckless Theatre.

“I’m personally very excited with the diverse lineup of improv at this year’s festival. From bringing in performers from around North America to being able to present theatrically-focused shows alongside improvised TV shows, musicals and more, this year’s festival is going to be a blast for performers and for those who may have never seen improv live before,” says ArtsQuest Marketing Director Jon Lunger.

In addition to the headlining performances, the festival will showcase improv groups from New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Rhode Island, Baltimore, Toronto and Thunder Bay, Ontario, as well as teams from throughout the Lehigh Valley. Among the many highlights are an improvised action movie by Bronson, of New York’s Reckless Theatre; a handheld puppet performance by Team Lopez; and an improvised origin story of a superhero in “Crisis: An Improvised Comic Book.”

“I’m continually blown away by the amount of talented teams that submit to the SSICF each year, and thrilled to have had so many Lehigh Valley teams to choose from this time around,” says ArtsQuest Programming Director Ryan Hill. “This festival was started in large part to highlight the great improv performers coming out of the Lehigh Valley, and the record number of submissions from our area really highlights the growth in our comedy scene over the past few years.”

SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival Friday tickets are $16 in advance and $19 day of show. Saturday tickets are $25 in advance and $29 day of show. Tickets are on sale now at and 610-332-3378.

The complete schedule of performances is:


6:00 p.m. |The Ceremonial First “Yes and” Ceremony

6:15 p.m. | #News (Lehigh Valley, PA)

6:30 p.m. | Kilimanjaro (Philadelphia, PA)

6:45 p.m. | Burritos and Mascara (Lehigh Valley, PA)

7:00 p.m. | Windows 98 (Philadelphia, PA)

7:20 p.m. | Dole Whip (New York, NY)

7:40 p.m. | Sad Trombone (Philadelphia, PA)

8:00 p.m. | Local Spot of the Baltimore Improv Group (Baltimore, MD)

8:15 p.m. | Trophy Wives (New York, NY)

8:30 p.m. | Cat Sweaters, a SteelStacks House Team (Lehigh Valley, PA)

9:00 p.m. | Hunter Nelson & Terry Withers’ “David Mamet’s ‘The New David Mamet Play’” (Baltimore, MD)

10:00 p.m. | The Associated Mess (Lehigh Valley, PA)

10:30 p.m. | Flumplenarfs (Lehigh Valley, PA)

10:50 p.m. | Clown Boy (New York, NY)

11:10 p.m. | The Quitters (Washington, D.C.)

11:25 p.m. | Cranks and Pulleys (Lehigh Valley, PA)

11:45 p.m. | Fux (New York, NY)

12:00 a.m. | Improv Jam!



11:30 a.m. | York High School (York, PA)

11:45 a.m. | UiP (Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA)

12:00 p.m. | A Spork in the Road (New York, NY)

12:15 p.m. | Cons & Pros (Lehigh Valley, PA)

12:30 p.m. | The Hobo Army (Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA)

12:45 p.m. | The No Parking Players (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA)

1:15 p.m. | Cast Party, a SteelStacks student team (Lehigh Valley, PA)

1:30 p.m. | Two Guys at a Bar (New York, NY)

1:45 p.m. | Jed & Dan (Lehigh Valley, PA)

2:00 p.m. | History of the Future (Manchester, CT)

2:20 p.m. | The Wrasslers (New York, NY)

2:40 p.m. | Classy and Relevant (Pittsburgh, PA)

3:00 p.m. | Just Us (Lehigh Valley, PA)

3:20 p.m. | Remote Possibilities (Baltimore, MD)

3:40 p.m. | Solo Sleepover, of the Harrisburg Improv Theatre (Harrisburg, PA)

4:00 p.m. | 4 Litres of Orange Juice (Toronto, ON)

4:20 p.m. | Playground (New York, NY)

4:40 p.m. | Madeline, of the Washington Improv Theater (Washington, D.C.)

5:00 p.m. | Crisis: An Improvised Comic Book (New York, NY)

5:15 p.m. | Aunt Merica (Lehigh Valley, PA)

5:30 p.m. | Metropolis, of the Philly Improv Theater (Philadelphia, PA)

5:50 p.m. | How Time Works (Boston, MA)

6:10 p.m. | PLUR (New York, NY)

6:30 p.m. | Mermaids, of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (New York, NY)

7:00 p.m. | Bitchezzz (Pronounced Girls) (Thunder Bay, ON)

7:20 p.m. | Dream Carnival, a SteelStacks House Team (Lehigh Valley, PA)

7:40 p.m. | Fancy Man, of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (New York, NY)

8:00 p.m. | My Privacy (New York, NY)

8:15 p.m. | The High Scores, of the Arcade Comedy Theater (Pittsburgh, PA)

8:30 p.m. | ManDudeBro (Lehigh Valley, PA)

9:00 p.m. | Improvised Shakespeare Company (Chicago, IL)

10:30 p.m. | Team Lopez (New York, NY)

11:00 p.m. | Stevedore (New York, NY)

11:30 p.m. | The Fourtets (Lehigh Valley, PA)

11:45 p.m. | DISTANCE (New York, NY)

12:00 a.m. | Aliens that are Ancient (Lehigh Valley, PA)

12:15 a.m. | Bronson, of the Reckless Theatre (New York, NY)

12:45 a.m. | Fresca (Philadelphia, PA)

1:00 a.m. | Dark Sneak Love Action, of the Reckless Theatre (New York, NY)

1:15 a.m. | Screwdriverz (New York, NY)

1:30 a.m. | Show TBD

1:45 a.m. | Show TBD

2:00 a.m. | Closing Improv Jam!

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