Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This Weekend and Next: 1st Annual Story Arc Sketch Comedy Festival at Stage 773 June 1 – 10, 2017

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Vienna Juvenile to Produce

1st Annual Story Arc Sketch 
Comedy Festival

at Stage 773
June 1 – 10, 2017

After three and a half years of producing sketch comedy in Chicago and across the country,Vienna Juvenile is proud to announce the launch of their innovative, groundbreaking new comedy event, the Story Arc Sketch Comedy Festival—a two-week long sketch comedy festival combining the worlds of sketch and theater to form a new wave of storytelling. The festival will take place from June 1 - 10 in the Box Theater at Stage 773 (1225 W Belmont Ave, Chicago), and will feature performances by Chicago comedy ensembles Vienna Juvenile, OPIE, Spooky Dookie,Handsome, and Marc Ranucci’s innovative new show, Hot Reads. Tickets are available at or by calling (773) 327-5252. Chicago-based real estate firm, Spaces Real Estate, will serve as the festival’s presenting sponsor.

In addition to performing, Vienna Juvenile co-founders and ensemble members Layne Dixon, Hank Greene, and Anthony Smith will serve as Co-Artistic Directors and producers for the festival, which will highlight new forms of Chicago sketch comedy—blending high level theatricality, polish, and storytelling with humor and commentary from some of the comedy scene’s most exciting up and coming talent.

“We’re thrilled to be announcing the Story Arc Sketch Comedy Festival’s debut run,” says Greene. “To have such a talented lineup of artists pushing the boundaries of sketch comedy is truly a dream for us as producers, and audiences will be floored at what they’re going to see. It’s a group of sketch comedians that I think are truly going to start taking this city by storm.”

The concept for the festival arose when Dixon, Greene, and Smith began seeing a new wave of independent comedians committing themselves to a more theatrically-inspired sketch comedy style. The trio felt, however, that there was no place presenting it under one roof.

“One of the things that makes Chicago such an amazing place to perform comedy is that there are so many stages filled with people doing incredible work—it allows for innovation to happen simultaneously across different groups and professional circles,” says Dixon. “We wanted to take what we were already seeing and put it in one place to encourage more artistic growth.” 

“There’s plenty of that already happening in the improv world,” adds Smith. “But it’s much harder to find it among independent sketch performers regularly.”

Though there are many festivals across the country showcasing upstart sketch comedy groups, Vienna Juvenile is the first to challenge each group to create written material surrounding a single, open-ended prompt: use sketch comedy to tell a story.This will allow audiences to see how five different comedy groups, each with their own style and humor, interpret a single idea.

Dixon, Greene, and Smith strive to ultimately create a community of independent sketch performers that can be difficult to find outside of major all-city events like Chicago Sketchfest. In this way, the festival’s producers hope to create a more focused artistic vision for the festival, as well as to inspire knowledge sharing amongst its performers.

For more information on Story Arc Sketch Comedy Festival and the groups involved, visit, or check out the festival’s Facebook or Twitter accounts.


First Weekend:

Thursday, June 1 – 8:00pm: Handsome

Friday, June 2 – 8:00pm: Spooky Dookie

Friday, June 2 – 10:00pm: OPIE

Saturday, June 3 – 8:00pm: Vienna Juvenile

Saturday, June 3 – 10:00pm: Hot Reads

Second Weekend:

Thursday, June 8 – 8:00pm: Handsome

Friday, June 9 – 8:00pm: Spooky Dookie

Friday, June 9 – 10:00pm: OPIE

Saturday, June 10 – 8:00pm: Vienna Juvenile

Saturday, June 10 – 10:00pm: Hot Reads

The Story Arc Sketch Comedy Festival is a two-week long sketch comedy festival combining the worlds of sketch and theater to form a new wave of storytelling. Artists will push the boundaries of sketch comedy past what was previously thought theatrically possible to create fully-formed, emotionally resonant pieces of theater unlike anything seen before in Chicago's independent comedy community. The festival will explore the wide range of sketch comedy to establish sketch not just as a comedic medium, but as a contemporary theatrical art form, and through effective artistic collaboration it will create a home and a community for this new art form amongst the festival's participants and audience members.

Vienna Juvenile has been performing their unique and wholly original brand of sketch comedy on stages across the country for the past three and a half years. Their revues as an ensemble include Who Do I Give This Money To, Journey Into Hindsight, Orbit, The Adventures of Reginald Sampson (and the consequence of bliss) and All the Hits You've Never Heard Of. Heralded as “a little wacky, a little absurdist, a little sincere” (The Sketch Review) and “excellent and heartfelt” (Chicago Reader), they have performed at Chicago Sketchfest, the legendary iO Theater, have been featured on The Paper Machete and Second Wind Collective podcasts, and as headliners at the Indiana University Campus Comedy Festival.

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