FOR THE NEW CITY'S DREAM UP FESTIVAL PRESENTS
NEW YORK, July 14 -- "The League of Extraordinary Blondes" features members of Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble (IRTE) in an action-packed comedy adventure created and directed by Robert Baumgardner. The world of the play is a gripping adventure movie where the most famous blondes in the world lead different glamorous lives until a crisis strikes. Like the Avengers, they are then called together to find and defeat the evil villain behind the crisis. The show is stylized and cartoon-ish, incorporating white foam board cut-outs, plastic sheets and streamers, as well as a musical intermezzo. It will be presented by Theater for the New City's Dream Up Festival September 16 to 20.
Audience members fill out slips of paper before the show, listing a big problem that's happening in the world and an exotic location. Shortly after the show starts, the four blondes receive phone calls, drawing out slips of paper and coming together to handle these crises. The piece is playful and inventive, not taking itself too seriously and creating a fun improv experience in which the actors feed off of the audience's energy. Self-aware and clever, it toys with the well-known superhero and action movie genres, adding a comedic flair.
The cast features members of the Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble including Nannette Deasy, Bill Berg, Curt Dixon, Melissa Cole, Brianna Lee, Jamie Maloney, Brian Michael, and David E. Johnston. "The League of Extraordinary Blondes" was originally conceived, directed and designed by Robert Baumgardner and then developed by the members of IRTE. Lighting design and tech by Anne Carlton.
Robert Baumgardner (director and original concept) helped found IRTE and has appeared with IRTE at improv festivals in NYC, Tampa, Philadelphia, Portland and New Orleans. This year he performed in IRTE's "Adrift," "Late Night News," "Camp Fitness," "Calamity!" and directed the ensemble's little girl robot adventure "Wow Wee." He is a former main company member of Gotham City Improv. Robert studied comedy improv at the PIT and Gotham City Improv and sketch at UCB. He received a degree in acting and directing from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In New York City, he has acted in the productions of the Eagle Project, the Immigrants Theatre Project, Pan Asian Rep, Ma-Yi Theatre and the National Asian American Theatre Company. He has performed scripted work in theaters around the world including the McCarter Theatre, Indiana Rep and the Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan, Italy. Plus, he is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.
A musical interlude is played by David E. Johnston, an artist whose work moves between performance, motion graphics and original music. His solo shows have included "Gone Dollywood," and "The Hustler." His videos have been selected for festivals in the US & Europe. He has appeared in the "Va Va Voom Room" revue, at SF's New Langton Arts in the musical performance "Velvet," and in Philip Horvitz's "Faith." Johnston's alter-ego, Mr. David "Oy Vey" Jay, serves as musical director for the play.
Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble (IRTE), is a New York City-based company of comedy actors and writers who work collaboratively to develop, produce and perform original theatrically-staged and character-driven improv shows. IRTE's goal is to elevate the art of improvisational theater while opening it up to a broader audience of theatergoers. They do this by bringing together the best elements of both theatrical mediums- the creativity, humor and spontaneity of live comedy improvisation; and the traditions, values and professionalism of American repertory theater. IRTE seeks to take what has long been considered in Manhattan to be a "niche" form of entertainment, seen only in comedy clubs, and expose it to a wider New York Off-Broadway and Fringe theater audience.
The sixth Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) will be presented by Theater for the New City (TNC) from August 30 to September 20, 2015, offering a lineup of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, musicals, improv, aerial and more. This year, owing to growing popularity, the festival has expanded beyond its primary venue. Previously, all productions were presented at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. This year, 19 productions will be presented at TNC and seven will be presented at an outside venue, The Producers Club Theaters at 358 West 44th Street.
The festival is dedicated to new works. TNC feels this festival is especially needed now in a time of declining donations to the arts, when grants are not being awarded due to market conditions and arts funding is being cut across the country and abroad. The festival aims to push ideas to the forefront through imaginative presentations so as to challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of the way art illuminates the world around us.
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