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Popzilla, created by UCBTLA's Kevin Pedersen, picked up for series by MTV

Mar 9, 2015

Popzilla, an animated sketch comedy series created by UCBTLA's Kevin Pedersen, has been picked up for 8 episodes by MTV.

UCBTLA's Allan McLeod, Angela Trimbur, Jackie Clarke, Dannah Feinglass, Ben Siemon, Jeff Sloniker, Andie Bolt, and Kevin Pedersen all provided voices for the pilot.

Kevin Pedersen can next be seen performing on Harold Night as a member of Panama, and on Maude Night April 9th as a member of Paddington.
LA General

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Ann Carr: USE IT Reviewed in The Apiary

Mar 9, 2015

Ann Carr: Use It @ UCBT - 3.12.9

And the Oscar goes to ... not you. Probably not ever. But maybe the secret to your success is watching instead of winning. Enter Ann Carr, actress and comedian, who feels your pain and tells you what to do with it in her latest one-woman show, Use It.

Employing an unconventionally limited number of characters, Carr offers a glimpse inside the world of struggling actors and explores what hinders and motivates them. From your seat, you take part in the show, enduring the (day job) office drone, 'My son's bar mitzvah theme is TMZ...' and waiting to audition with an overrated seven-year-old coached by his mega-mouth mother. As an Academy Award-winner who blanks on stage and forgets her husband's name, Ann Carr becomes both a stereotype and someone convincing. As a weepy Starbucks patron who is at the end of her auditioning rope, Carr creates a sympathetic reflection of every starving artist who has hit rock bottom. You get more than one version of this tearful despair in the show, which is a testament to both Carr's range and the fickleness of show business.

The strength of this show lies in Carr's energy and chops, though continuity and blocking kudos go to director (and fellow UCB darling) Eliza Skinner, who ties the vignettes with good music, well-timed fade-outs and staged call-backs through physicality and costume, in addition to dialogue. The show has had an extended run, paired with Jill Donnelly's Amnesia and Attempted Murder. And another sign of the show's success since its February debut was the number of notable comedians it drew in the crowd: Andres du Bouchet, Mike Dobbins, Adira Amram, Vicki Ferentinos and Seth Herzog. The show could leave you feeling just as jaded about fame as you already are, but no less inspired by the journey. --Abbi Crutchfield is a standup comic and co-producer of The Living Room.

NY Shows

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UCBT's Ann Carr Profiled in Backstage

Mar 7, 2015

Ann Carr Is Playin' a Dude

'I love losers,' says the joyously upbeat solo performer, Ann Carr. 'I love them. I don't know why. Maybe because they're lonely, they break your heart a little and we are all afraid of being them. And we all have been them!'

The Iowa-born performer is a mainstay of the downtown scene. A self-described 'character maven,' she's performed her coterie of lovable oddballs like 'Janey,' 'Chris Cuttler,' and 'Hickory Thicket' in venues as diverse as the Bowery Poetry Club, The People's Improv Theatre, and Upright Citizens Brigade.  Past hit shows include The Winner's Circle and There is Only One You (which was nominated for a 2008 ECNY Award). Time Out NY said Carr is 'what most comics aren't: a fine actor.'

Carr is a devotee of all things online video.  She has a well-trafficked YouTube page. In 2007, Carr starred in the Comedy Central web series Honesty, which was nominated for an Emmy and won a Webby Award. And last summer she shot her first feature film role.

In her new solo show 'Use It' (directed by Eliza Skinner), Carr draws on her host of experiences as an actress in New York by making fun of the industry and the people who fuel it. 
In our exclusive interview, she talks about open mics, playing a dude, and 'making' Marilyn.  

In 'Use It,' you make fun of the industry a bit. Do you think actors take themselves too seriously?

Sometimes. It really bothers me when I see someone who can't let go and see the humor in a situation. Or who is so afraid to allow for the unexpected that they go around with a blase look on their face all the time. Get over yourself and enjoy something, you know? Go for a walk, eat an orange, pet a cat, you might like it.
There's a certain part of us actors that needs to have the capacity for self-awareness and self-observation. Yet it's equally important to be a sponge and open your palm to the world around you. And laugh.

When you create a new character, what comes first?

My first character, Janey, was born from a child-like voice I would use when I would joke with my boyfriend Warren in our early courtship. Suspecting this was more than just a silly voice, he encouraged me to see what lay behind the voice.

My newest character, Marilyn, is based on a woman who came up to me in Bed Bath & Beyond and advised me on which I should purchase, then proceeded to tell me all about the digestive problems of her cat Daisy Mae. So sometimes a character is waiting inside of me, like Janey, and sometimes they are living in the outside world, like Marilyn-but they don't become their own full flesh person until I find the voice.

I love my characters, and I respect them. And every one of them has a different path when she/he comes to me. Once I get their essence and find the voice, the body naturally follows, then I work on the material. Usually I begin by writing a monologue, then I'll take it to a stage and improvise around it and find a ton of stuff.

But sometimes I don't go that route: I'll 'write' a monologue by making a video (which is really fun), then transcribe that and take it to a stage and work it out. That's how I 'made' Marilyn.
The technique I use really depends on whatever I feel like and usually that's whatever makes me feel the most open to the character at the time.

How are open mics helpful in developing a character?

The 'mics' were essential to me in learning how to just leap out of my fear and get on the stage and make a bold choice and do it. My characters may be sad, they may be losers, but calla lilies they aren't. (Neither am I.)

So, when I got on stage I had to commit. I got really comfortable with committing to my characters in a (usually) welcoming environment, so that when I went into environments that weren't as welcoming, I was prepared.

That doesn't mean that bombing doesn't hurt-it hurts bad, but it makes you better. You have to bomb to get better, that's just the way it works. It toughens you up and you'll get to a place where you can sense the audience and learn how to play with them.

Sometimes people shout stuff out at you and if the setting permits (if you're not doing a stage show like I am right now) you can yell back at them in character. I guarantee you it will get a laugh. No one really likes hecklers anyway and when you respond with wit and in character, it is the best feeling.
NY Shows

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