Art of improv takes centerstage at Strings with “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical”
Steamboat Springs — From a red carpet arrival to an awards show followed by a full musical production, Friday night’s “Broadway’s Next H!t Musical” gives audience members a chance to participate in the creative process.
“It’s an ideal combination of live music, short-form improv, long-form improv, emceeing and stand-up,” said Greg Triggs, the New York City-based show’s co-producer and emcee.
Hosted for the second year by the Strings Music Festival, the show starts at 7 p.m. Friday, March 3.
Each production is entirely unique, with the talented and versatile cast turning suggestions from the audience into performances of a handful of songs at “The Phony’s,” a parodied awards show.
From those, one is selected to expand into a fully improvised musical comedy.
Based only on a song title, the cast creates the rest on the spot — lyrics, music, harmony and choreography.
Triggs calls his team “one of the smartest, funniest, most talented casts I’ve ever worked with.”
A cross between “The Tony Awards and Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” Strings Marketing Director Kristine Kilbourne describes the production as “funny, contemporary, participatory and hilarious.”
The show allows Strings to fulfill its commitment to bringing talented, high caliber musicians to Steamboat, Kilbourne said, while also bringing a show that’s family friendly and funny to their winter programming.
Triggs has been doing improv for more than 20 years and is always finding new sources of inspiration.
From Arkansas to North Dakota, every stop on the tour gives way to a singular show, reflective of “the vibe of the city,” Triggs said.
Steamboat is a favorite stop, he added, because it’s “so naturally beautiful, so different than New York City, with an audience that is smart and informed — it’s such a unique community.”
One of Triggs’ favorite elements of the show is that it’s audience-centric. The cast is always asking, “What is it this audience finds most interesting?”
In addition to the wide-ranging destinations, Triggs also described his own personal evolution in the art of improv.
“As your interests change, as you change, improv changes with you,” he said.
Improv is a skill like any other that gets easier with practice, Triggs said.
“Improv is a muscle — the more you exercise it the stronger it gets.”
There’s also the team aspect, he said, which is crucial with an art form demanding so much thinking on your feet.
“You aren’t alone — if you aren’t feeling it in that moment, you can pull back and let your castmates pull the weight.”
And with a cast as strong as Triggs works with on this tour, they know each other’s strengths and can set each other up like a volleyball spike.
Kilbourne noted the art of improv is gaining momentum in Steamboat, with performances at the Chief Theater similar to the free variety show “Super Fun Steamboat Show,” on Saturday, March 4 and February’s “An Evening of Improv” series.
Tickets for “Broadway’s Next H!t Musical” are available at tickets.stringsmusicfestival.com. The show is at 7 p.m. Friday, March 3 at the Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road.
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