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The 11th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon in Metro

Mar 3, 2015

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The Del Close Marathon, hosted by the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, is three nights of nonstop, onstage improv madness. The performances on four different stages promise to range from the absurd and insane to thought-provoking and genuinely touching.

When the founders of the UCB Theatre - Amy Pohler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh - moved to New York 15 years ago to try to get a comedy show, they had no idea what they would create. "We wanted to have an improv show, so we got a theater and just did a free show," Walsh remembers. "No one had really seen long-form improvisation in New York. We were sort of a small success right away." 

This is the 11th year hosting the Del Close Marathon, which is named after one of the primary influences of modern improvised theater. "We had a special bond with him through classes and such," says Walsh. "When he passed away, we wanted to remember him." The first year of the marathon helped pay tribute to Del Close, but it has developed into something all of its own. "What it's become is a tremendous party," says Walsh.

Among the performances is a group called Scheer-McBrayer, not surprisingly made up of comedians Paul Scheer and Jack McBrayer. "I met Jack when he first moved out to New York from Chicago," explains Scheer. McBrayer now stars on NBC's 30 Rock and Scheer is best known for his work on the MTV show Human Giant. "We normally perform together like once or twice a year," says Scheer.

Also performing, straight off their film's debut at Comic-Con, is DERRICK. The five members of DERRICK are best known for their online sketch videos, which have been viewed more than 100 million times. And this saturday marks a special performance of the SWARM, one of UCB's premiere groups since the theater's founding.

"We were the first real house team at UCB," says member Michael Delaney. They've been selling out shows since their founding, which member Andy Secunda credits to "an artistic joining of like minds." 

Although the improvisors have since developed separate careers, "we're all still members, we're just split up on different coasts," says Delaney.

Both Secunda and Delaney are part of the Stepfathers, which is also performing at the Marathon.
The 11th Annual Del Close Marathon
Friday, 4:30 p.m. through Sunday, 8 p.m.
UCB Theatre
Hudson Guild Theatre
Urban Stages
FIT Kate Murphy

NY Shows

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Ben Schwartz book "Why is Daddy in a Dress?" now available

Mar 3, 2015

UCBT performer Ben Schwartz co-authored the new book Why is Daddy in a Dress?: Asking Awkward Questions with Baby Animals. Release is the follow-up to Ben's popular first book, Grandma's Dead: Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals, which has already sold over 50,000 copies.

Why face the embarrassment of dealing with life's most awkward questions when adorable baby animals can do it for you? Amanda McCall and Ben Schwartz, the creators of the wickedly lovable Grandma's Dead, return with Why is Daddy in a Dress?, another invaluable aid to avoiding sticky situations. A book of postcards featuring cuddly kittens, playful puppies, fuzzy ducklings, and hoppity baby bunnies broaching sensitive subjects like "Are you a hooker?" or "Can we stop cuddling?," Why is Daddy in a Dress? is the perfect cure for foot-in-mouth disease.

LA General