Escape at OKC Improv's summer festival 

click to enlarge Dave Hill and Matt Jones
  • Dave Hill and Matt Jones

Wet Hot Improv Summer 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m. Saturday Through July 26 Broadway Theater 914 N. Broadway Ave. 456-9858 $5-$15

OKC Improv kicks off its Wet Hot Improv Summer run this weekend at Broadway Theater with its most ambitious lineup to date. In addition to expanding programming to also include Friday nights, the organization will hold the inaugural Oklahoma City Improv Festival during the second week of the run.

OKC Improv Program Director Kyle Gossett said the festival is a result of the organization seeking new and exciting ways to raise awareness about improv as an art form and viable entertainment option here in Oklahoma.

“With the festival,” Gossett said, “we get to bring in great national talent like L.A.-based duo Dave Hill and Matt Jones, plus our friends and peers from places like Dallas and Springfield (Missouri).”

In addition to performing at the famed iO West Theater in L.A., Hill has appeared on Reno 911, while Matt Jones is best known for his reoccurring role as Badger on Breaking Bad.

There will be three opportunities to catch Hill and Jones at the festival. On July 11, they will perform a special lottery show at 10:30 p.m. with local improvisers selected at random. They will return as a duo to headline the 9 p.m. show Saturday before guest starring with OKC’s own musical improv troupe Off-Book at 10:30 p.m. Hill and Jones will also teach four workshops during the festival.

Other featured groups performing during the festival include Manick, Dave & Terry, Dallas’ Kyle & Drew, Springfield’s The Jeff Show and OKC’s own Heel Turn and Twinprov.

For those ready to laugh sooner, the run opens Saturday with a special 20th Anniversary performance by OKC’s longest-running troupe, Everybody and Their Dog. Its founding members, all theater actors, were drawn together by a shared sense of play and the creative freedom that comes with improv, like the fact that typecasting doesn’t exist.

“You can play any person/animal/ mineral/vegetable at any age, of any sort, and often several in a single show,” said Dog cofounder and OKC Improv Managing Director Sue Ellen Reiman. “The limit is only your imagination.”

For the first 10 years, Everybody and Their Dog was pretty much the only improv game in town. Now, there are around 30 local groups active at any one time in OKC that have coalesced into a thriving community.

Reiman said that because they never perform the same show twice, every performance still elicits an adrenaline rush as she and her cast mates step onto the stage and into the unknown.

Print headline: Ad Hot: Escape the sweltering July heat with OKC Improv's inaugural summer festival.

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