Brave New Workshop bringing improv to Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2003

Improvisational comedy and satire are coming to Albert Lea.

In a historic partnership with Albert Lea Community Theatre, the Brave New Workshop, founded by Dudley Riggs in 1958, will present two performances of &uot;Albert Lea Summer Vacation,&uot; featuring two hours of &uot;best-of&uot; sketches, songs, and world-famous improvisation on Friday at the Albert Lea Civic Theatre. The Brave New Workshop has not toured before except to colleges.

The matinee at 2 p.m. costs $10 for adults and $7 for students (high school and younger). The 7:30 p.m. show is $15 for adults and $10 for students. All seats are general admission.

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The Civic Theatre box office will be open from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The telephone number is 377-4371.

&uot;A lot of people ask me what this is, and if they’ve ever watched Drew Carey’s ‘Whose Line Is It, Anyway?’ that’s what it’s like,&uot; said Patrick Rasmussen, Civic Theatre manager.

&uot;This is one of the premier improv groups around,&uot; Rasmussen added. &uot;This show they’re presenting here is very family-oriented.&uot;

During their stay in Albert Lea, the BNW’s actors and staff will teach workshops in improvisation and acting for local youth, ages 9 to adult, from 10 a.m. to noon Friday. Cost for the classes is $10, and to register, people should call Rasmussen at 377-4372.

The Brave New Workshop is the longest running satirical comedy theatre in the country, and the third-oldest theatre of any kind in the Twin Cities. The BNW has exposed more than three million people to its world-famous satirical comedy and improvisation through main stage shows in Minneapolis, the Brave New Institute (BNW’s improv training school), corporate entertainment and training workshops.

On tour, the Brave New Workshop has performed at over 400 colleges in 40 states, and has traveled to Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe on USO tours.

Additionally, the Brave New Workshop recently competed a three-year contract as the official sketch and improv comedy provider for the Disney Cruise Line.

The Brave New Institute is one of the leading schools for improvisation on the planet, offering instruction to more than 250 students weekly, and participating in dozens of outreach and community programs. Thousands of students of all ages, skills and backgrounds have studied with BNW-style improvisation over the past 44 years.

The workshop also has a long list of successful alumni, including Louie Anderson, Pat Proft, the Flying Karamazow Brothers and Franken and Davis.

(Contact Geri McShane at or 379-3436.)