Monthly Archives: August 2013

Update: 5/15/11 CIF Does Outreach With Prairie Arts Council



On Friday, May 13th, CIF Productions teamed up with the Prairie Arts Council located in Princeton, IL to do a full day of education outreach. The day began with 5 CIF improvisers performing a 30 minute set for the 12 teen improvisers, some of whom had traveled an hour to Princeton to participate. The 5 CIF improvisers then split the teens into two teams and taught them in a 75 minute improv workshop. After a dinner break, the 5 CIF improvisers guided the two teen teams in a 30 minute improv performance that was seen by a full house of Princeton citizens. Even when the final lights turned out, the teens some of whom started the day as strangers, were still improvising games amongst themselves on the steps of the Prairie Arts Council theatre. Linda Gustafason the co-director of the Prairie Arts Council said, “this whole day has exceeded our expectations and was truly wonderful”.

Linda Gustafson also said, “As an educator of over 33 years, I understand the meaning of the concept of the ‘teachable moment’ and from the moment your actors took the stage, it was non-stop teachable moments!” She and the Prairie Arts Council have already requested a return trip from CIF Productions for another day of performances and workshops.

Performing and teaching for CIF Productions was Emily Dugan, Keith Habersberger, Adam Higgins, Lisa Ridarelli and Jay Sukow. The event was produced by CIF Productions Executive Director Jonathan Pitts, who also was the stage manager/light board operator for the shows.

Update: 4/4/11 All-State Improv Team to Perform at ComedySportz Chicago

CIF’s Illinois All-State Improv Team is going to perform on Sunday, April 10th, 7pm @ ComedySportz Chicago, 929 W. Belmont Ave., as part of CSz’High School League Championship 2011.

The IASIT will be the opening act for the championship match. This will be the first time since the Illinois High School Theatre Fest in January of this year, that the team will perform together again. They will be directed by Caleb George.

This performance also serves as a warm-up for the IASTIT’s upcoming performance as the headliners at CIF’s Teen Comedy Fest which takes place on Saturday, May 7, @ Chicago Cultural Center.

Tickets for their performance at CSz are $5 and can be bought online at ComedySportz or over the phone at (773)549-8080

Update: 1/17/11 CIF’s Ridge Park Theatre Camp’s Sketchfest Show Rocks


The kids onstage in their first scene at Chicago Sketchfest.

CIF’s theatre camp featuring 16 boys and girls, age 8-13, from Chicago’s south-side, performed their own original 20 minute sketch show at Chicago Sketchfest, the nation’s largest sketch festval. Their show went over very well to a full house of family, friends and other audience members.


The kids onstage in a scene with narrator Jameeleh Shelo.

It was interesting to hear and see which scenes played better on the north side vs. the south side and vice versa. The kids were proud of themselves to see that they can make an audience of north siders laugh and to play to people they didn’t know.


The kids onstage in a scene called “Grandma’s Hands.”

They travelled 126 blocks in a bus donated by the theatre camp’s co-producers the Chicago Park District to get to the theatre, Stage 773. Chicago Sketchfest’s founder and producer Brian Posen said after their show, “It was really wonderful to have the kids there.”


Most of the Ridge Park Theatre Camp kids and director Jonathan Pitts, after the kids had performed their show at Chicago Sketchfest.

Update: 1/11/11 CIF’s Ridge Park Theatre Camp Ready To Play At Sketchfest



A veteran theatre camp cast of 16 boys and girls, ages 8-13, rehearsed for 4 1/2 hours this past Saturday in preparation for their upcoming Chicago Sketchfest show.

They will perform a 35 minute version of the same show they performed last August as part of CIF’s Ridge Park Summer Theatre Camp. The show features sketch comedy, dancing, poetry and singing. Everything in the show was written by the kids themselves.

On-stage narration will be provided by Jameeleh Shelo and the remount is directed by Jonathan Pitts, with assistant direction from Lakesha Ratliffeand Jeremy Schaefer. The musical director is Matt Herzau and the stage manager is Dujuan Pritchett.

To see the schedule please click: Chicago Sketchfest
To purchase tickets, please click: Tickets

Update: 1/8/11 2011 All-State Team Played To 600 Peers



After a 4 hour rehearsal, the CIF 2011 All-State Improv Team performed a hilarious 75 minute set yesterday to an audience of 600 peers at the Illinois High School Theatre Fest. They did a 50 minute games set by themselves and then they played a 25 minute contest versus ComedySportz Chicago. Much to the surprise of the CSz players, the All-State Improv Team won the match over the improv pros.

ASIT co-director Emily Dugan (also the producer of CIF’s Teen Comedy Fest) said about the kids’ show, “I’ve been directing the ASIT for 4 years, and this was the ASIT best show so far!” She also went on to say that it really helped to have so many other talented improvisers sharing the teaching and directing process with her. ComedySportz Chicago’s Chris DeRose said, “Those guys ROCKED!”.

Lauren Matthews said about her first time in the ASIT, “That was probably the most fun I’ve had on stage. It ended much too abruptly but it makes the anticipation of May 7th (when they perform at Teen Comedy Fest) that much sweeter. OPRF-HS theatre teacher Patricia Cheney said, “FUN show last night! I know that the students who auditioned, performed and attended the show HAD a blast!!”

3 of the team’s players are returning veterans from previous years. Of those, this is the third year in a row for Eric Iannelli (’09-’11), as he now ties the record of most ASIT appearances with Robert Leahy (’08-’10).

Update: 1/7/11 CIF’s 2011 All-State Improv Team Players Selected



Congrats to CIF’s 2011 All-State Improv Team, featuring Dylan Doetch, Lauren Frost, Eric Iannelli, Natasha Laws, Lauren Mathews, Tommy McCarthy, Brady Richter, Spencer Rose, Emma Smith, Emma Squier, Samuel Watchel, and Will Weckhorst. They were chosen from a field of 60 high school improvisers.

The CIF’s 2011 All-State Improv Team is being co-directed by Teen Comedy Fest producer Emily Dugan and ComedySportz Chicago‘s Jamie Campbell, with assistance from CIF Production‘s Jonathan Pitts and Lisa Ridarelli as well as CSz‘s Chris DeRose, Caleb George, and Kristi Parker-Barnhart.

They will perform a 90 minute set tonight, 10pm-11:30pm, at the Great Hallof the Kranert Center on the University of Illinois campus as part of the 2011 Illinois High School Theatre Fest. The All-State Improv Team will play a 45 minute set by themselves, and then they will play an improv match against special guests ComedySportz Chicago in an improv battle royale.

Update: 12/20/10 Tickets On-Sale For STC’s Show @ Chicago Sketchfest



Summer Theatre Camp in performance at Ridge Park (8/5/10).

Tickets went on sale for CIF’s Summer Theatre Camp‘s upcoming performance in Chicago Sketchfest. The performance will feature a 35 minute remounted version of the show that they did this last summer. The show takes place on Saturday, January 15, 2011, 1pm, at Stage 773‘s North Stage. Stage 773 is located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave, in Chicago.

The show is written by 38 south-side children, ages 8-12 who also act, dance, do poetry, rap, and sing in the show, is narrated by Jameeleh Shelo. The show is co-directed by Jonathan Pitts & Tawny Newsome, musical directed by Matt Herzau, stage managed by Dujuan Pritchett, and production assistance by Lakesha Ratliff & Jeremy Schaefer.

Update: 12/14/10 “The Make ‘Em Ups” Debuts @ Chicago South Side School

Marquee and curtain


CIF Productions new educational outreach show, The Make ‘Em Ups debuted today with two performances at Chicago’s Sutherland Elementary and thus introduced improv to over 800 southside kids (K-8). One of the boys who watched it said, “this show is teaching me how to be a better actor”. Another boy said, “this is a really cool show!”

The touring show features a 4 person improv group that teach kids the history of improv, as well as the main principles of improv, and gives examples of how and how not to do improv. After demonstrating some games, the kids get to play on-stage with the improv group.

The Make ‘Em Ups was created and directed by CIF Executive DirectorJonathan Pitts. The debut was performed by Brittany Davis, Mike Norris, Lisa Ridarelli and Alex Young.

For more info or to book a show, please click: The Make ‘Em Ups

Update: 12/6/10 4th Annual All-State Improv Team Scheduled For IHSTF

The Illinois High School Theatre Fest has officially confirmed that CIF Productions will produce the 4th annual All-State Improv Team on Friday, January 7, 2011. Auditions will take place in the morning, rehearsals in the afternoon and the 2011 edition will perform in the evening.

CIF Executive Director Jonathan Pitts will produce the audition/rehearsal/performance, and TCF’s Director Emily Dugan will direct it. The performance will take place at University of Illinois‘s Great Hall in the Krannert Center.