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Local improv theater Unscrewed celebrates 9 years of laughter

Local improv theater Unscrewed celebrates 9 years of laughter

  • Unscrewed Theater celebrates nine years with a weekend celebration.
    John ScanlonUnscrewed Theater celebrates nine years with a weekend celebration.

Unscrewed Theater, a nonprofit volunteer-led group dedicated to improv comedy in Tucson, is celebrating nine years of laughter from performers and audiences at their East Speedway home with shows this weekend.

A ninth anniversary performance with players from all of the theater's comic ensembles on Friday is suitable for all ages, while Saturday will see two performances, with a late-night show featuring "uncensored" adult-oriented themes.

It all began when the troupe Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed began doing shows in 2002. They would perform in several venues regularly but they were missing something — a home base, a building where they could host shows.

Now, they're able to not only do their improv shows, they have space to teach improv workshops.

"No one is getting rich here doing this," said Chris Seidman, the theater's executive director. "We're here doing this because we just love making people laugh."

A deep sense of community has accompanied them through the years. Show after show, troupe members began to notice they would see regular audience members come back time and time again. Their support is something Seidman feels grateful for.

"As donations kept coming in, we set that money aside and we were able to rent our own space," Seidman said. "Then we were able to have our weekly rehearsals and teach classes."

The celebration's theme is "We're on Cloud 9 and Feelin' Fine." Seidman said earlier this week that while some guests were still to be confirmed, he is excited about the performers they have lined up. On Friday, Jan. 27, Unscrewed will host a family-friendly show including the four house teams that make up the theater: Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed, From the Top, Comic Chaos and the Big Daddies.

From the Top specializes in improvised musicals. The audience picks a topic at the very beginning of the show and the performers go from there, accompanied by a pianist. Comic Chaos is comic-book oriented while Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed performs "Whose Line is it Anyways?"-style shows. They will be joined by Arizona Daily Star columnist and cartoonist David Fitzsimmons and Tina Giuliano from KGUN9.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, Ken Carr, who is a host for KDRI 107.1FM, will join NBUJU for another family-friendly event. He will also participate during the 9 p.m. uncensored event (for ages 17 and up), which will feature not only NBUJU but also the Big Daddies.

"The Big Daddies is a duo and their show is basically about the best or worst advice you've ever received from a father figure," Seidman said.

Bianca Morales is’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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