Performers Blog

All the HUGE news that is fit to blog

As I keep working on assembling everything we wanted to post from – and since – the Happy Hour with the Board, it became very clear that parts of the content were a little more “inside baseball” than the general public would be interested in and should be posted here so we could best address them to the intended audience.

Some of this may overlap the public summary of the Happy Hour as well – in case you’re tuning in on all frequencies – but I’ve tried my best to focus on the issues and information that most affect performers on our stage here.

Topics included in this post :  

  • Auditions and Casting
  • Show Proposals
  • Casting Paying Shows/Change to show pay
  • Upcoming schedule announcements

AUDITIONS and CASTING:  The least fun thing that we are going to do a LOT more of!

This was the big production announcement from the Happy Hour and it means there are many changes coming for shows, some big and some small – but the short version is that every HUGE show will hold auditions for the entire cast, every time.

This is a change from the past when we’ve had casts carry over from year to year and only needed to replace or supplement a couple of people in the cast – which is sometimes not worth holding wider auditions for, or just means really really poor odds for anyone that does audition.

The question that was asked several times was “what about shows like Star Trek?”  
Yes. Every show that HUGE produces will re-audition the entire cast in open auditions every time it is put up going forward – it should not only help our casts keep pace with the changing group of improvisers in the Twin Cities* but will also improve commitment and engagement in those shows by addressing instances in which we have people holding a place in a cast, only to perform in two shows.

* I am posting the Happy Hour answers to the questions separately but this was part of a question on diversity as well – it’s impossible for our shows to reflect a more diverse performer population if we’re only changing 1-2 faces in each show every year.  We need to do better about opening the door wider and more often…this is a start.

This will also mean some procedural changes for casts in some less-visible areas – like a slightly more formalized packet of information we can give to producers when shows are officially booked, the creation and deletion of Facebook groups for casts at the beginning and end of productions and a feedback form link that will go out at the end of the run.

SHOW PROPOSALS:  We have been trying to find a way to help guide show proposals in terms of what we need to know and what we’re looking for – and what we are not looking for – at any given time in the process, as well as trying to do better about response times and clear response language.

** Everyone that had an open proposal in the system when we closed the form was promised a reply and 80% of the backlog has been addressed – which sometimes meant replying to groups that no longer exist, some people that had moved, etc. Some have lead to longer conversations about updating proposals.  We promised something and want to make sure we’re delivering on it, even though it is very late **

We’ve taken a sharp turn away from genre proposals as a general rule – we had gotten a number of “an improvised version of my favorite show/movie” proposals and we are currently not putting more on our stage in the upcoming season – which doesn’t mean that we won’t ever accept genre submissions.

We love a genre framework to support and push great, fun improvisation from the performers, we are far less interested in simply using improv to try and replicate or create “wouldn’t it be cool if there was an episode of _____ that went like this?”

One uses the genre to push the improv, one uses improv in service of the genre….which can be a fine line to try and find with producers.

We’re far more interested in how it pushes the improvisation, the “what it brings out on stage” or “what is the meat of it” questions – using the Attenborough example, the idea of “a very physically inspired, sometimes abstract, performance” is unique in our lineup and far more interesting than simply trying to replicate or extend a popular tv show or movie without writing it.

What to focus your proposal on would be something like this – using BASSPROV as an example – knowing “there are two guys that are fishing” is helpful for us to get a feel of the tone, but really what we need to know is “will be a patient monoscene, focusing conversation between two characters that have a long history and learn about one another by deconstructing the ideas and concepts in the suggestions”

We don’t need to know about the fishing, we want to know about the improvising.

!! If you EVER have any questions about the process or your proposal at all – please email me and I am happy to clarify anything I can to help you put together your proposal !!

CASTING PAYING SHOWS/CHANGE TO SHOW PAY:  We have made some more invisible changes over the last year that are worth posting just to let everyone know that they have happened, if nothing else. We are constantly making small adjustments that aren’t individually newsworthy but are all part of a daily effort to improve things for artists.

To that end we lowered the paying threshold of tickets sold for the 10:30pm shows earlier this year when we received our Operating Support grant – more support for the operations of the theater itself means less overhead weight borne by the artists and we can refocus some of that revenue back to the producers and performers.

We also made a rule some time ago about diversity of any cast that HUGE Theater sends out for a paid show, private event or corporate entertainment – these shows have typically been an area that we’ve lacked the capacity to produce ourselves so we’ve handed them off to groups that are ready, willing and able.

As we’ve gotten more systems in place to handle logistics, casting and the like, we are more able to assemble casts to send – those casts will default to being as diverse as possible as much as possible, meaning an all-white, all-male cast would only ever be sent out as a last resort so we are opening the door to (the small number of) paying opportunities to be an improviser as much as possible.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: The November/December weekend shows at HUGE will feature Family Dinner on both nights again this year – produced and directed by Michael Ritchie

Fridays at 9:30pm will be Troubadour

Fridays at 10:30pm will be the Bearded Men with Up North

Saturdays at 9:30 The Mess returns

Saturdays at 10:30 is Blackout 

We are very excited for the January opening of Throwback Night 2017 as well as the Saturday night 8pm return of OMG: Before We Got Our Ladybits!

KINGS will begin an extended run on Fridays at 9:30pm beginning in January

AND – we are very excited to announce that The Mustache Rangers are confirmed to return to HUGE on Friday nights at 10:30 this January and February!


 

Thank you so much for your patience – more will be coming very soon

Don’t forget to check the Performer Pages for news, updates and announcements.

See you in the spotlight!

Auditions at HUGE

:: As with all policy posts you will find on this site – if we are making reference to something that has actually happened, the people involved will be notified first but problems we face are often a good indicator that we need to post something for everyone’s information ::

Auditions at HUGE Theater :  If You Sign Up, Show Up

As we continue to grow, the nature of things like auditions continues to change – one important change is that we often have far more people interested in auditioning than we have time and space for.  This means people signing up for a space they don’t use are a much bigger problem since they aren’t just deciding not to use it for themselves, they’re still taking that space away from someone else and a person away from their scheduled group.

We absolutely understand that things happen outside of your control and things come up – even at the last second – If you sign up for a space and your schedule changes or something will prevent you from being there, the minimum expectation is that you let someone know.  

But there are things that many people signing up for auditions might not be aware of and might want to consider – and check your calendar – before you fill out the form.

  • Even if you call/email/text to let us know, doesn’t mean we are able to open the registration form or get ahold of someone to make use of your spot. Often that spot remains empty**
  • You should STILL let someone know if you’re not going to make it
  • Many auditions are structured with an ideal group size, which leaves the whole group you were scheduled to audition with short a person.
  • Again – this is important enough to mention again – when you leave your space empty, you’re still taking a space away from someone that probably would have used it.

Everyone that failed to show up for auditions for Throwback Night that we did not hear from was sent an email outlining why it was a problem –  because there are often more people that want to register for than we have space for, people with a pattern of not showing up for auditions may not be given a space when they try to register for HUGE auditions in the future.

** this is the same phenomenon we see around TCIF workshops (especially on Sunday mornings) when people call 15 minutes before the start of the class to let us know they won’t be there and we can “give their spot to someone else”  so they don’t feel bad about bailing.

That isn’t how that works. The space you took remains empty….which is why the nature of this problem is worth explaining to everyone we can so we can all adapt and grow and avoid perfectly avoidable problems in the future.

Thank you all.

Throwback Night 2017 Cast Announced

We are extremely excited to announce the cast of the upcoming season of our annual Throwback Night shows – this year the casts are 2/3 performers that are new to Throwback Night!

Close Quarters – directed by Mike Fotis

Adam Iverson
Elizabeth Council
Erik Nielsen
Gretchen Grunzke
Jeff Gyllen
John Eisenrich
Justin Betancourt
Michael Larson
Molly chase
Wells Farnham
Anna Tobin

Deconstruction – directed by Hannah Wydeven

Andrea Ravich
Gubby Kubik
Nate Morse
Susannah Eckberg
Erica Solomon
Jeff Kaisershot
Mark Jelinek
Karina Strom
Breanna Cecile
Isabel Johnson
Kevin Albertson

La Ronde – directed by Jill Bernard

Max Besner
Bobby Gardner
Heather Meyer
Andy Katzung
Ben Wagner
Bette Bentley
Kristi Battarbee
Chris Barth
Katie Novak
Sally Foster
Drew Kersten

Throwback Night casts begin working in October and the show opens January 6th!

Throwback Night 2017 Audition Schedule – Saturday

Saturday – September 17th

Noon
Emily Townswick
Greg Eiden
Nathan Rouse
Davis Steen
Sarah Maxwell
Sarah Busch

12:30 PM
Anna Bergreen
Justin Betancourt
Alec Johnson
Elizabeth Council
Sally Foster
Erik Nielsen

1:00 PM
Erin Kennedy
Jeremy Barta
Karina Strom
Ned Heckman
Chris Harrington
Kelly Sheehy

1:30 PM
Graham Gilson
Christian Unser
Eric Brown
Leah Issacson
Frank Kolasch
Brad Van Regenmorter

2:00 PM
Amy Zajack
Danny Sussman
Douglas Cox
Mike Merino
Matt Peiken
Andy Katzung

2:30 PM
Anna Tobin
Bobby Gardner
Ricky Noren
Carl Olson
Kevin Albertson
Gavin Nachtigall

3:00 PM
Gubby Kubik
Maureen Tubbs
Michael Renner
Ryan Vanasse
Abe Vanderbent
Cicely Robin Laing
Nate Morse

3:30 PM
Michael Dallavalle
Kristi Battarbee
Lizzie Gardner
Gurayn Sylte
Jacob Fate
Matthew Arriola
Bryan pierce

4:00 PM
Ingrid Nuttall
Sarah Arnold
Jacob Olson
Peter Emmett Cowen
Lindsay St. Clair
Tessa Hilpipre
Courtney Miller

4:30 PM
Molly Chase
Sam Beeson
Rachel Sear
Philip Skretvedt
Ian Welch
Heather Meyer

5:00 PM
Ben Wagner
Lauren Chestnut
Anna Larranaga
Bette Bentley
Erica Solomon
Isabel Johnson

Throwback Night 2017 Audition Schedule – Thursday

** There are still times remaining on Saturday, September 17th **
Link to the signup form at the bottom of this post.


Schedule for Thursday, September 15th auditions – held in the HUGE Annex:

7:00 PM
Adam Iverson
Gretchen Grunzke
Phil Peterson
Kathleen Zabinski
Phil Schramm
John Eisenrich
Andy Sedivy
Anthony Neuman

7:30 PM
Richard Ralston
John Bickford
Sarah Turner
Jessica Ostendorf
Paul King
Joe Mcgowan
Tommy Caravello
Mike Koscielny

8:00 PM
Katie Novak
Clayton Anderson
Elyse Moretti
Spencer Rettelle
Heather Baldwin
Mary Ruebel
Josh Krauskopf
Jeff Kaisershot

8:30 PM
Sophie Brossard
Bradley Machov
Mark Jelinek
Max Besner
Wells Farnham
Joanna Nachtigall
Breanna Cecile
Dan Ruby

9:00 PM
Greg Klimowicz
Miranda Hoeferson
Jay Kistler
Michael Larson
Jeff Gyllen
Gavin Nachtigall
Chris Barth

9:30 PM
Matt Axelson
Andrea Ravich
Drew Kersten
Jackson Collins
Shea Roberts
Susannah Eckberg


 

 

Throwback Night 2017 Auditions

Signup for an audition time to be part of our annual showcase of classic long form improv structures with directors Mike Fotis, Jill Bernard and Hannah Wydeven! No familiarity with the forms is required.

Everyone is welcome to audition, even if you’ve been part of Throwback Night before!

If you cannot see the form below click HERE

 

IAGG Lottery : August 1st at Noon

The next IAGG Lottery happens tomorrow at noon – just a friendly reminder that it will take some time before the results of this lottery are published, please be patient.

Not only will we be starting the new confirmation process for all groups selected in the lottery, I will be traveling over that time so the exchange of emails for that confirmation process will be slower than normal for me.

Expect the IAGG schedule to be posted NO SOONER than August 15th.

Fringe Madness and More

HUGE is closed for Fringe.  No entry. No exceptions.

Despite several posts about the date of the shutdown, the no-exceptions nature of the shutdown and many many tweets and posts leading up to the shutdown…we started getting messages the very next day asking about stopping by to get things, videos, etc.

This is exactly what will drive me over the edge one day.

This is why we put a great deal of effort into communicating important information to everyone and trying to make sure it’s available in the formats and locations that can be most readily found and most widely accessible … but it still requires active participation on the part of the reader to check for updates, read them and take note of their meaning and impact.

We cannot do that for you.

Which is a good reminder that these performer pages are the primary source for official information – the posts here will still be linked on Facebook group until the end of 2016 – as these are publicly viewable and shareable pages (rather than a Facebook group that requires us to control and monitor membership and access) and there’s a handy search function built in to find whatever you are looking for.

For the sake of all our sanity – and more efficient communication – The search for any/all answers to common questions should begin here, not with “I’ll just message someone and ask them real quick” and don’t be shocked if the only answer you get back is “CHECK THE PERFORMER PAGES”

 

 

Thank you

 

 

 

Notes On The Fringe

Fringe Festival is almost upon us – always a nice break and a weird time of year!

FINAL NIGHT OF SHOWS:  JULY 29TH
Butch will be unreachable:  August 1st – August 12th
HAPPY HOUR WITH THE BOARD: AUGUST 18TH, 5-7PM
HUGE SHOWS RESUME: AUGUST 19TH

Fringe means a few things – most seriously and importantly is this one thing:
The building is not ours during the Fringe rental. 

The terms of the rental, for the sake of Fringe security and insurance, are such that they take full control of the building – and Fringe staff will be the only people with access to the space – no exceptions.

The Fringe are great to work with and we want to make sure we are not only keeping to the terms of our rental but also making sure they aren’t dealing with hassles – the same way they tell Fringe acts they aren’t allowed to contact the venue to see if they can “just sneak in to see the space” and we are expected to report anyone that does – the Fringe shouldn’t have to deal with anyone coming by HUGE to “sneak in to grab something” and will report to us anyone that does so.

It doesn’t matter if you have keys, it doesn’t matter if nobody from Fringe is there – after next Friday, please stay out of the building – No exceptions. Thank you.

Once Fringe is open – Please remember that Fringe staff do not know who all our people are and have no way of verifying anyone’s claim that they work here, are a student or anything else!  Keep that in mind. Be respectful and courteous.

Do not ask Fringe staff if you can go into the green room or anywhere else that the public does not have access to (and for god sake, do not sneak in or they will respond the same way we would if we caught a random person sneaking backstage!). If you have props, water bottles, phone chargers, whatever in the backstage – either remove it before Fringe or consider it off limits until August 18th.

I’m sorry if this seems harsh and/or repetitive but every year I post these rules and every year I get a text or email or something from someone saying “I think I left my _____ in the green room, is it ok if I come by and look for it?” or something similar.  The answer is not only “NO” but also “you were warned” and stories of how quick you’ll be or how important that thing is will not matter.

 

— NOTES FOR STAFF —

We only staff the bar for Fringe – Please remember to identify yourself as the bartender to the Fringe staff when you arrive to work your shift, clock in and everything else as normal.

Paychecks will be in the blue folder, which will be moved behind the bar for the Fringe – if you need to pick up your paycheck over the Fringe, you’ll have to stop by during open hours but BEFORE OR BETWEEN SHOWS since the Fringe has strict rules about late entry – let the Fringe staff know you’re there to pick up your paycheck and they will let you know when you can go in to get it from the bartender.

— ANNEX MEMBERS —

 

The Annex space is unaffected by the Fringe rental and all rehearsals proceed as normal

It’s worth noting that Fringe staff have no idea who belongs in the Annex, and therefore might be parking in the lot, so it is best to park in the remote lot for any Annex times over the Fringe – please pass this on to anyone in your group or anyone that might be attending your Annex times!

 

 

Casting Announced – Election Show

We are stoked to announce the cast of ELECTION! We had just under seventy people audition, and we had an absolute blast seeing the incredible talent and enthusiasm that runs rampant in the Twin Cities improv community. It was extremely difficult to finalize this cast, and we are exceedingly thankful to everyone who took the time to audition. See you in September!
–Bradley and Dan

 

The Cast:

 

 Aaron Cook
Tane Danger
Greg Eiden
Lizzie Gardner
Sami Haeli
Ellen Jaquette
AlysshaRose Jordan
Anna Tobin
Maureen Tubbs
Abe vanderBent