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Article posted: 3/29/2013 6:00 AM

Suburban venue, talents gear up for Chicago Improv Festival

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Stacked Music -- Erin Goldsmith, left, Jenna Steege, Katie Yore and Stacey Smith -- performs four-part musical improv during the 16th Annual Chicago Improv Festival.

Cultural differences inform the work of The Tokens, made up of Ronke Soyode, left, Natasha Bhamia and Amy Haeussler.

An example of a previous "Shadow Puppet Conspiracy" improv from Glen Ellyn's Sea Beast Puppet Company.

Scott Adsit, of NBC's "30 Rock," is among the veterans headlining the 16th annual Chicago Improv Festival running Monday through Sunday, April 1-7.

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Continuing the family business, Rob Belushi, of Spike TV's "The Joe Schmo Show," performs at this year's Chicago Improv Festival. His father is Wheaton native and famed comedian Jim Belushi, and his uncle was the late John Belushi.

The Glen Ellyn-based The Sea Beast Puppet company recently put together the scripted shadow play "Snow Day."

A trio of dogs and the cat they cornered in The Sea Beast Puppet Company's scripted shadow play "Tailypo."

A crab navigates the reef in a scripted production of "The History of Light" from Glen Ellyn's Sea Beast Puppet Company, which is making its first appearance at the Chicago Improv Festival.

About this Article

When it comes to improv, Chicago is Mecca. But it wasn't until 1998 that the improv community began showcasing itself during an annual Chicago Improv Festival. Fifteen years later, the festival -- running April 1-7 -- is a major event with more than 700 performers and 20 city and suburban venues. It's also attracting big-name talent, including Scott Adsit, Kay Cannon and John Lutz of NBC's "30 Rock," as well as Rob Belushi of Spike TV's "The Joe Schmo Show."
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    • Stacked Music — Erin Goldsmith, left, Jenna Steege, Katie Yore and Stacey Smith — performs four-part musical improv during the 16th Annual Chicago Improv Festival.
    • Cultural differences inform the work of The Tokens, made up of Ronke Soyode, left, Natasha Bhamia and Amy Haeussler.
    • An example of a previous "Shadow Puppet Conspiracy" improv from Glen Ellyn's Sea Beast Puppet Company.
    • Scott Adsit, of NBC’s “30 Rock,” is among the veterans headlining the 16th annual Chicago Improv Festival running Monday through Sunday, April 1-7.
    • Continuing the family business, Rob Belushi, of Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show,” performs at this year’s Chicago Improv Festival. His father is Wheaton native and famed comedian Jim Belushi, and his uncle was the late John Belushi.
    • The Glen Ellyn-based The Sea Beast Puppet company recently put together the scripted shadow play “Snow Day.”
    • A trio of dogs and the cat they cornered in The Sea Beast Puppet Company’s scripted shadow play “Tailypo.”
    • A crab navigates the reef in a scripted production of “The History of Light” from Glen Ellyn’s Sea Beast Puppet Company, which is making its first appearance at the Chicago Improv Festival.
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