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‘Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast,’ Astronomy Club & More Highlight 6th Annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival

Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast

More than 60 improv acts from across U.S. to perform Jan. 25-26 at ArtsQuest Center; tickets for festival are on sale now

Comedy Central’s Astronomy Club and comedy duo Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna of “Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast” headline the 6th Annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival Jan. 25-26 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. The festival will also feature Magnet Theater house team Kittyhawk, which performs an improv rock opera, and Milk Money, a Boston-based troupe that combines long-form improv comedy with freestyle rap, as well as 60 other improv comedy groups. Hours are 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday.

Catch the stars of Comedy Central’s “best new digital series” when New York-based improv and sketch comedy group Astronomy Club takes the stage Jan. 25, 9:30 p.m. With improv shows like “Let’s Talk About Race, Baby!” and “A Journey Thru Black History” at Upright Citizens Brigade theatres in New York and Los Angeles, Astronomy Club was acclaimed by The New York Times as “surprising,” as “insightful” and “clear an example as any of the beauty of improv.” The team, comprised of Shawtane Bowen, Jonathan Braylock, Ray Cordova, Caroline Martin, Jerah Milligan, Monique Moses, James III and Keisha Zollar, was named NYCF/Comedy Central Sketch Comics to Watch 2016. Members of Astronomy Club have been featured on NBC, HBO, TBS, SyFy, IFC, TruTV, MTV, VH1, Funny Or Die, Above Average, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Orange Is The New Black.” The group’s self-titled Comedy Central digital series premiered earlier this year.

On Jan. 26, 9:30 p.m., SteelStacks welcomes “Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast” with Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna. Every week McKenna and Reino sit down and record a completely improvised musical to combat the notion that musicals should be “carefully crafted” or “thought out at all.” Join them at the festival for a live performance of their show accompanied by Scott Passarella on keyboard and produced by Earwolf. Hailed by The AV Club as “awe-inspiring and totally delightful,” the duo’s podcast has been praised by various online publications including Indie Wire, USA Today, Parade, Splitsider and more. Live performances of the Los Angeles-based podcast include the renowned Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival and Comedy Central’s Clusterfest Festival in San Francisco. Reino and McKenna are better known as the musical sketch duo The Zach and The Jess. They’ve written musical sketches for Party Over Here, Buzzfeed, FunnyOrDie, Nickelodeon and created and starred in “Serious Music,” a digital series for ABC.

In addition to the headlining performances, the improv festival will showcase improv groups from New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Austin, Baltimore and San Francisco, as well as 15 teams from the Lehigh Valley.

Among the many highlights are The Code Switch, an improv “exploring how we communicate” performed by an all-person of color group; DMXX, an all-female hip-hop troupe; and a ¿Que?, a team of all Spanish speaking improvisers, except for one who attempts to figure out what’s going on.

SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival Friday tickets are $18 in advance and $21 day of show; Saturday tickets are $27 in advance and $31 day of show. Tickets are on sale now at www.steelstacks.org/comedy and 610-332-3378.

The complete schedule of performances is:

Friday, Jan. 25

6:25 p.m. | Ceremonial Yes & And

6:30 p.m. | The Fourtets (Lehigh Valley, PA)

6:45 p.m. | Cat Sweaters (Lehigh Valley, PA)

7 p.m. | Slug Teeth (Hartford, CT)

7:15 p.m. | Good Catch (New York, NY)

7:35 p.m. | Spitfire (Lehigh Valley, PA)

7:50 p.m. | Whiplash (Philadelphia, PA)

8:10 p.m. | CHUCHO (New York, NY)

8:30 p.m. | We’re Good, You’re Great (Lehigh Valley, PA)

8:50 p.m. | Gym Crush (Brooklyn, NY)

9:10 p.m. | Big Bang (Boston, MA/Sarasota, FL/ New York, NY)

9:30 p.m. | Astronomy Club (New York, NY)

10:30 p.m. | The Blue Barracudas (Lehigh Valley, PA)

10:45 p.m. | Kittyhawk (New York, NY)

11:15 p.m. | Staycation (Lehigh Valley, PA)

11:30 p.m. | LumberCon (Brooklyn, NY)

11:45 p.m. | Shatwood (Lehigh Valley, PA)

12 a.m. | Akimbo (Baltimore, MD)

12:15 a.m. | One Last Thing (Lehigh Valley, PA)

12:30 a.m. | BITS

 

Saturday, Jan. 26

11 a.m. | Underground Improv Project (Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA)

11:20 a.m. | No Parking Players (Pittsburgh, PA)

11:40 a.m. | The Breakfast Boys (Brooklyn, NY)

11:55 a.m. | Improvised Wikipedia Podcast (Lehigh Valley, PA)

12:10 p.m. | Old City (Baltimore, MD)

12:30 p.m. | Average Age 50 (Hartford, CT)

12:45 p.m. | OLGA (Baltimore, MD)

1 p.m. | Bad People (New York, NY)

1:20 p.m. | The Wrasslers (New York, NY)

1:40 p.m. | Time Bandits (Philadelphia, PA)

1:55 p.m. | Judy Big Mouth (New York, NY)

2:15 p.m. | Rancy Neagan (Washington, D.C.)

2:30 p.m. | My Momma’s Biscuits (New York, NY)

2:50 p.m. | Dalby Spook (Los Angeles, CA)

3:10 p.m. | Sloppy Seconds (Austin, TX)

3:25 p.m. | Honey (Brooklyn, NY)

3:55 p.m. | Actually Banksy (Boston, MA)

4:15 p.m. | Four Eyes (Lehigh Valley, PA)

4:35 p.m. | Elizabeth (Pittsburgh, PA)

4:50 p.m. | Captain PhD (Washington, D.C.)

5:10 p.m. | The Code Switch (New York, NY)

5:30 p.m. | Synced Up (Lehigh Valley, PA)

5:45 p.m. | Bird & Friends (New York, NY)

6:05 p.m. | History of the Future (Hartford, CT)

6:25 p.m. | Straight White Men (New York, NY)

6:45 p.m. | Milk Money (Boston, MA)

7:15 p.m. | The Great Old Ones (Lehigh Valley, PA)

7:30 p.m. | Neighbors (Boston, MA)

7:50 p.m. | Stevedore (Los Angeles, CA/New York, NY)

8:10 p.m. | DMXX (New York, NY)

8:30 p.m. | Mini Dungeon (Pittsburgh, PA)

8:50 p.m. |¿Que? (Philadelphia, PA)

9:10 p.m. | My Privacy (New York, NY)

9:30 p.m. | Off Book (Los Angeles, CA)

10:30 p.m. | The Flumplenarfs (Lehigh Valley, PA)

10:50 p.m. | We Should Be Happy (Lehigh Valley, PA)

11:10 p.m. | Top Shelf (New York, NY)

11:30 p.m. | Dark Sneak Love Action (New York, NY)

11:45 p.m. | Topiary (Baltimore, MD)

12 a.m. | King Crab (New York, NY)

12:15 a.m. | Playground (New York, NY)

12:30 a.m. | Period Drama (Lehigh Valley, PA)

12:45 a.m. | Lancaster Improv Players (Lancaster, PA)

1 a.m. | Physically Bold Comedy (New York, NY)

1:15 a.m. | Extra Chowder (Hoboken, NJ)

For more information on the festival, visit www.steelstacks.org/comedy.