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Making a scene

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Photo: Shannon Cornman

OKC Improv kicks off a six-week run of themed shows, March Madness with a Side of Comedy, this Saturday. The series again takes up residency at Reduxion Theatre, now at its new location in Automobile Alley.

Villain: The Musical will return to the OKC Improv stage after almost a yearlong hiatus with new cast members. Founded in 2010 as OKC’s first troupe dedicated solely to musical improv, Villain creates a full mini-musical in which the bad guy or gal is always the main character.

“After some time away developing other projects, we decided to bring the project back because it is a crowd favorite,” said Villain cofounder Clint Vrazel, who also serves as OKC Improv’s artistic director.

A change for this run is a third, late-night show on Saturdays through March. Kyle Gossett, director of OKC Improv Main stage and Ballpark Theatre Company, said that the additional show allowed for more performance opportunities for local comedy troupes and more variety for audiences. Plus, the late show is free with a ticket to the 7:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. performances. 

The returning cast
includes Vrazel and his brother, Buck, both of Twinprov; much-lauded
actress and singer Cristela Carrizales; and musical accompanist Gossett,
playing keyboards, guitar and accordion.

Clint
Vrazel is excited about working with his new castmates, he said. 

“Kendon Lacy has a velvet-Elvis voice, Sue Ellen Reiman combines evil
and sweet in frightening proportions, Kristy Boone always has the rhyme
and Mike Roberts has a lethally fast wit,” he said. “We are looking
forward to being romanced, slain or both by all of them.”

Musicians Aaron Bushong and Noah Taylor will join Gosset as accompanists on violin and drums.

Two
troupes performing in March, ZOOM! and Heel Turn, were invited to
perform later this month at the prestigious Chicago Improv Festival,
making them the third and fourth Oklahoma groups to ever have that
distinction.

Clint Vrazel said that Heel Turn is made up of four longtime friends.

“Their shows have the cleverness and polish of sketch comedy with the energy and seat-of-your-pants thrill of improv,” he said.

ZOOM! is one of the few troupes in the U.S. that works exclusively with mime and sound effects.

“We
show stories with characters people can root for and connect with, and
we know this because we hear every gasp and laugh the audience makes,”
Clint Vrazel said.

“Going to Chicago is one of the highest honors in our business,” said Heel Turn’s Tim Huckeby.

Added
Clint Vrazel, “There are over 110 groups, but only about 35 are not
from New York, LA or Chicago. Most of the rest are from international
cities like Toronto, Rio, Lima [and] Warsaw, and then us.”

OKC Improv also will hold a free Intro to Improv workshop on March 16, and the next class session begins on April 12.

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