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LIVE COMEDY CREATION BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES

The SteelStacks Improv Festival returns for its 10th year

BETHLEHEM, Pa.— The 10th annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival (SSICF) returns live to the Fowler Blast Furnace Room Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28. The two-day marathon festival features national improv groups, solo acts and workshops taught by this year’s headliner Raaaatscraps. Tickets are now on sale for ArtsQuest Members and the general public.

“We’re thrilled to bring the 10th annual SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival back to its traditional format,” ArtsQuest Senior Programming Director Ryan Hill said. “The energy that performers from all over the country bring to Bethlehem to celebrate improv comedy -and each other- is truly what makes this festival so special.”

This year’s SSICF headliner is New York based Raaaatscraps. Led by former Upright Citizens’ Brigade Artistic Director Shannon O’Neill, Raaaatscraps, is a reimagining of UCB’s flagship show “ASSSSCAT” with a team of rotating players. For each performance a guest monologist shares their true-life stories used to inspire the cast who create fully improvised scenes on the spot. Former guest monologists include Gloria Steinem, Kevin Bacon, Ilana Glazer and so many more. The cast’s rotating members, Shannon O’Neill, Sebastian Conelli, Bridgette Rizkalla and Connor Ratliff can be found everywhere from “Broad City” to “Marvelous Ms. Maisel,” “Succession,” “Black Mirror” and multiple Marvel movies.

“We are so excited to headline this year’s festival,” Shannon O’Neill said. “We love to be around people who love improv and hopefully we will infect some noobs while we are at it.”

The two-day improv marathon begins its 2023 run with its classic, opening “Yes and…” ceremony Friday, Jan. 27. Teams hailing from Toronto, ON to New York City and our very own Lehigh Valley-based backyards will be featured in the 10th annual festival. A variety of comedic styles will entertain the crowds from the tarot inspired “Whatever Fate Decides” to the solo “I Am the Show.” Looking for something a bit meta, enjoy the art-inspired artform with comedian Torrey Shineman, performing spontaneously crafted poetry in “Mashed POET-atoes,” musically centered “Heavy Rotation” and famous works of visual art inspired team, “ART.”

In addition to closing the festival Saturday night Raaaatscraps will be hosting workshops throughout the weekend. For tickets and to view the full schedule visit steelstacks.org.

Raaaatscraps cast

Shannon O’Neill, host and founder of Raaaatscraps can be found on episodes of “Broad City,” “High Maintenance,” “Difficult People,” “The Chris Gethard Show,” and as the lead in the true-crime docu-series “How to Fix a Drug Scandal” on Netflix portraying Sonja Farak.

Sebastian Conelli is comedian from Staten Island and a “cawfee” from Dunkin’ kind of guy.  He has appeared as a blue-collar worker on TV shows such as “Search Party,” “The Last OG,” and “The Detour.” Conelli also hosts a podcast called “Loud About Nothing” from his mother’s basement.

Bridgette Rizkalla is a writer and comedian born and based in Brooklyn. Her standup has been featured on “Vulture,” “Elite Daily,” “HuffPost” and “Funny or Die.” If you text her in full sentences, she will think you are mad at her.

Connor Ratliff is an actor/comedian and can be seen in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Search Party,” “The Blacklist” and is the creator of the critically acclaimed podcast, “Dead Eyes.” He’s been doing comedy in NYC for more than 10 years, including “The George Lucas Talk Show,” the livestream version of which has been described as "The Internet's Coolest Talk Show" and "The Worst Podcast Ever Made.”