Lakendra Tookes and Amber Ruffin to write for NBC shows!
Big news! Two iO alumns – Lakendra Tookes and Amber Ruffin just landed big writing jobs at NBC!
Lakendra will be joining the writing staff at SNL (alongside another recent hire/iO alumnus in Katie Rich). Lakendra has been an iO West feature for years, and we’re thrilled for her!
Amber Ruffin is a veteran of iO’s Chicago theater, and has been added to the staff of NBC’s new late night venture, The Seth Meyers Show. Congratulations Amber!
Los Angeles's Best Weekly Mag Gives Our Hollywood Theater Some Love
“The link between Hollywood’s iO West and Chicago’s Improv Olympic — one of American comedy’s great meccas — isn’t just in name only. Just try walking into the front bar any time the Cubs are playing; pitch after pitch, performers and bartenders will cheer the good and bemoan the bad, while the faces of luminary Chicago comedians hang from the walls. iO (pronounced “eye-oh”) has helped push the world of sketch and improv into the mainstream, mostly under the on-and-off guidance of improvisational guru Del Close. You can actually buy a t-shirt with his face on the front from the box office, or step through the black curtains to the theater in the back to see what the man is responsible for. Seven nights a week, iO plays host to long-running improv house teams, sketch comedy performers currently working through the curriculum levels, and old standby shows featuring the links of David Koechner, Bob Dassie and beyond. For students within the iO education stream, there are two black box theater spaces in the back, where a lot of the real experimentation goes down."
Soft opening underway!
We’ve passed all our inspections and are opening to the public TONIGHT, Wednesday August 13th. We will have shows in all four theaters tonight.
Tickets are on sale right now through our box office (312-929-2401) or online at TicketWeb.
Thanks so much to all of you for bearing with us during this transition. We can’t wait to share the new space with you!
We're moving to Old Town in the Summer of 2014!
iO is thrilled to announce that we will be moving into a new space in the summer of 2014.
After months of grueling searching and negotiation, Charna Halpern closed on our new 33,000 square foot playspace at 1501 Kingsbury in Chicago’s Clybourne Corridor.
Our new home will boast FOUR cutting edge performance spaces, a massive expansion in classroom space, a beer garden, and more! We’ll post photos as the buildout gets underway, and are planning an insane grand opening celebration.
Although we’ll be sad to see the Wrigleyville location close, we couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store!
We’re excited to introduce you to the two newest additions to our Harold Team lineup!
Los Santos Claus
Peter Kim, TC Matherne, Brian Byrne, Brian Holden, Cristy von Rautenkranz, Nick Gertonson, Chris Woolsey, Jamie Burns, Willie Myers, and Shira Wilson
Tim Joyce, Mike Finn, Alex Bellisle, Patrick McDonald, Derek Cox, Damian White, Maura Foley, Elise Jordan, Michael Warner, and Matt Visconage
Flattering profile of latest iO alum to make it big on SNL
The New York Post has released a lovely profile of iO alum and rising SNL star Cecily Strong. Cecily was just announced as the new co-anchor of Weekend Update (alongside fellow iO alum Seth Meyers), and has rocketed to fame on the strength of her incredible stock of characters.
The article also describes how iO Artistic Director Charna Halpern helped get Cecily started on the path to superstardom:
But as she walked past the red glow of the ticket sign in the box office, she spotted Cecily Strong — and realized the 28-year-old had skipped out on the auditions.
“You didn’t audition for me,” Halpern said. “We’re getting ready for Lorne Michaels!”
“Yeah, I know,” Strong replied from behind the wooden half-door at the box-office counter, where she sold tickets for the twice-nightly improv shows.
“I have some ideas, but I wanted to make sure it was really a great audition before I did it.”
“That’s crazy,” Halpern countered. “You’re one of my best people. Let me see what you have.”
Follow The Fear!
Check out these brand new Del Close tees, available for purchase in our box office for the low, low price of 15 smackers! Stop in and get yours today, OR buy online RIGHT NOW by emailing email@example.com! * – Online orders will add a shipping and handling charge. *