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Santa Monica College's Broad Stage Presents Old-fashioned Holiday TV Special
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By Lookout Staff

November 18, 2016 -- This holiday season, Impro Theatre will seek its inspiration not from the style of classic authors such as Shakespeare and Dickens but from the improvised TV specials of the 1960s, the company's promoters announced this week.

Impro Theatre's new show, "1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza," at The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College (SMC) Thursday, December 15, through Saturday, December 17, will reinvent the old Holiday Variety Special, including a five piece swinging 60’s jazz band.

"We’ve all felt a bit taxed by the events of the fall," said Dan O’Connor, the company's producing artistic director. "Now more than ever, we think it’s important to unite on some level. What better way to unite than by laughing together during the holidays.”

Iro Theatre Holiday Show
Cast of Impro Theatre Holiday Show (Courtesy of Impro Theatre)

The variety shows, aired when households used antennas to tune in to a handful of competing networks, featured such major acts as Bob Hope and the Korean Kittens, Andy Williams and the Youth Figures Skaters of America, Bing Crosby and David Bowie.

"Anything can happen on a Holiday Variety Special, which is why this medium is so perfect for Impro Theatre’s style of performance," the show's promoters said.

For ten years, Impro Theatre has created "completely improvised, full-length plays in the styles of the world’s greatest playwrights, authors and composers," promoters said.

In addition to Shakespeare and Dickens, they have included 19th century novelist Jane Austen, 20th century playwright Tennessee Williams and musical theater composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

"Without pre-planning or prepared scenarios, the performers combine verbal dexterity and robust physicality to bring character and plot to life in an instant, making each Impro Theatre show unique and unlike any other theatrical experience," organizers said.

Impro Theatre has received numerous Ovation Recommended honors, Ovation Award nominations and Critics’ Picks in Los Angeles Times, Backstage and L.A. Weekly.

“These were serious professional actors, classically trained, who could write on their feet better than many writers can type at a desk,” wrote American Theatre Magazine.

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