Whether you just want to break out of your shell or you’ve dreamed of being on the SNL stage, these five improv theaters are offering some of the best classes in the country. Sign up now and start having some fun. By Carly Petrone.
Upright Citizens Brigade
If you’ve always dreamed of becoming the next star of Saturday Night Live, then taking classes at UCB is the best way to make this happen. Started by SNL alum, Amy Poehler, as well as partners Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser, this go-to theatre has hosted many of your favorite comedians on its very stage. From learning basics of “yes, and” during Level 101 to performing the Harold Workshop in Level 401, each class ends with a performance on the coveted stage in front of a live audience. Choose from weekly, bi-weekly, or everyday intensive classes. They also offer sketch writing classes for those interested in behind the scenes work as well as musical improv and character workshops. The best part? You can watch an improvised show every night of the week for as little as $5 (with many famous names hitting the stage). In fact, the theatre has become so popular that a second location in the East Village recently opened a few years ago. Check website for class and show schedules. The cost of a class ranges from $150-$400.
Peoples Improv Theater
Whether you’re looking to break into the world of improv professionally or you just want to try out a class, the newly renovated Peoples Improv Theater is a great place to begin. Drop in a class for just $20 (cash only) and learn from members of the PIT house teams. From The Joy of Improv (Level 0) to Improv Performance Study (Level 5), this welcoming environment allows both novices and skilled improvisers the chance to try out new characters and grow as performers. The PIT also offers fun elective courses like The Late Night Writers’ Room, Extreme SNL, and how to put on a Solo Show. Don’t forget to check out their hilarious videos on PITtv. Weekly improv classes range from $99-$395. Please check website for availability.
The Magnet Theater is a great creative outlet for those who are on a budget. This theater offers free Intro to Improv as well as Intro to Storytelling classes from professional comedians. How can you pass that up? Sign up for Improv Fundamentals (Level One-Six) or try out Musical Improv or Sketch Writing courses. They even offer Hip Hop Improv as well as Improv for Teens (and Teen Improv Camp!). It’s also a great place to see and be in a live show – stop by their Magnet Mixer and get on stage with past and present improvisers for free. You’ll be making new friends you can jam and laugh with in no time. Check website for show times and class schedules.
Improv isn’t just for the aspiring actor or comedian. Sometimes business professionals and students want to learn how to communicate better or improve on their public speaking skills. Now you can do just this at the Brooklyn Brainery in Prospect Heights. Instructor Jen Oleniczak will teach you how improv can build confidence, enhance listening and responding skills, and encourage collaboration during her Improv for Professionals class. This 2-hour course is just $27 and is offered February 24th from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. and March 17th from 6 p.m. 8 p.m. Make sure to check their website for future classes.
Still nervous about diving into the world of improv? Try it out at Improvolution in the West Village. Sign up for a 3-Hour Drop-In Class from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. and learn some of the basics for $50. Former Groundlings member Holly Mandel offers a unique approach involving character-based improve, supportive and noncompetitive classes, where the motto is Improve for Everyone! Let go and trust yourself within this supportive environment and you’ll start having fun in no time. First drop-in class starts March 10th. See website for more details and upcoming spring classes.