Thursday, June 29, 2017

Laughing Stock: From the Top Summits Unscrewed

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 6:00 PM

click to enlarge bigstock-comic-bubble-head-laughter-ha-112346177.jpg
From the improv class that brought them together just a few years ago, the musical improv group From the Top has climbed to prime time at Unscrewed Theatre. This week, they begin performing as a house team in the theater’s top slot, 9:30 pm, the first Saturday of every month.

From the Top uses audience suggestions to create scenes that mimic Broadway shows; characters may burst into song at any moment. Players make up lyrics in real time to fit both the scene and a music track chosen by teammates according to the scene’s mood.

The lyrical improv ensemble earned a monthly show last year through a series of head-to-head events on Unscrewed’s Free Form Fridays. That show, the second Friday every month, features competing teams from throughout Tucson.

Of the group’s humble beginnings, organizer Cynthia “Cy” Barlow says, “When that (improv) class finished, we liked each other enough that we wanted to keep playing together. We were trying out different formats and then one day, we all were like, ‘I've always wanted to try musical improv.’ ‘Hey, me too!’ ‘Hey me too!’” And we kind of went ‘Oh! Well, that's doable.’”

The consensus was perhaps inevitable given that all the group members have musical backgrounds. Barlow has three music degrees including a master’s in music theory. Still, the fledgling project was not without challenges.

“The challenges for musical improv are coming up with a way to accompany yourself,” Barlow says. Musicians weren’t eager to offer free accompaniment, but the team found a solution in Laura Hall’s Improv Karaoke, two CDs of backing tracks in a range of genres.

“For a while we used those, then I started making my own accompaniment tracks.” Barlow says. “Now the challenge is to keep that fresh. We don't want to get too familiar with them.

“That's been our biggest challenge,” Barlow says, but she adds, “The biggest challenge is really getting over the fear of singing in front of people!”

Unscrewed Theatre is at 3244 E Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $5 at the door or at unscrewedtheatre.org.

Fat Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Kevin Smith wrote and directed lots of films including Dogma, created AMC’s Comic Book Men, contributes daily to Smodcast.com and has written two books, including one whose name inspired this subhead. See him at 8 p.m., Friday, June 30 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.; $28 to $48.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by Linda Ray

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Meditation and Buddhist study

Meditation and Buddhist study @ Sky Island Zen

Tuesdays, Saturdays

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

Hypnotic Clean Comedy of Jim Kellner

Drawing on his background in stand-up comedy, Jim's comedy hypnosis show has become a wildly successful evening… More

@ Coyote Trail Stage Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30-9 p.m. 8000 N. Silverbell Road

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. 21 Great Things to Do in Tucson This Weekend: Dec. 14-16 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. TUSD Rejects Freedom Center's High School Course (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Pac-12 College Football Bowl Projections: Arizona State knocks off Fresno State, Rose Bowl upset? (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Claytoon of the Day: Nancy's Wall (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Thursday, Dec. 13 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation