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At Last the 1948 Show–Live!

1948 Show poster

I’ve been waiting a long time to make this announcement, and at last I can tell you what I’ve been working on lately.

Have you ever wondered what sort of comedy show John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman would be writing if they had been born 50 years later in Chicago with ovaries? Well, wonder no more.

Coming soon to Chicago’s iO Theatre is the first-ever stage production of At Last the 1948 Show, fully authorized by John Cleese, and directed by yours truly. It will star Camilla Cleese and a cast of Chicago’s finest sketch actors, along with yours truly.

I’ll be writing more soon about this once-in-a-lunchtime production, but if you want more information or a link, here’s a link, or just keep reading:

 

After 50 years of preparation, rare sketches from one of British television’s silliest shows are being presented in America for the very first time for two weeks only.

At Last the 1948 Show—Live” is written by John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman, and the cast is headed by Camilla Cleese (who is no relation to Chapman, Brooke-Taylor, or Feldman), with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell, although they are also in the cast).

The live show is produced and directed by Johnson in association with Wing Commander Muriel Volestrangler, F.R.H.S. and Bar, and the iO Chicago.

At Last the 1948 Show” aired on British television in 1967. Afterward, the network realized they could save a little money by recording over these comedic masterworks, and it was only through the tireless efforts of Wing Commander Volestrangler and others that copies have been found and scripts reconstructed. While a few of these sketches were later re-recorded by Monty Python, and others can be found in the darkest corners of the internet, many simply don’t exist anymore. But now, Chicago audiences can experience them live on stage for the first time ever.

Camilla Cleese, with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell)

Call 312 929-2401 to purchase tickets or purchase them online.

 

Happy Birthday Michael!

Palin globesA ridiculously Happy 74th to Arthur Putey, Mr. Gumby, the It’s Man, Cardinal Ximenez, Heinrich Bimmler, Mr. Pither, Sir Galahad the Pure, Ex-Leper, Ken Pile, Luigi Vercotti, Debbie Katzenberg. And so many more…

 

At Last Absolutely Anything!

U.S. Fans of Terry Jones, Monty Python and Robin Williams have been waiting a while to hear this news: at last there is a U.S. release scheduled for Absolutely Anything, written and directed by Terry. Here are the details.

TJ

 

Happy Birthday Del

Del Book coverDel BlobDel Close would have been 83 years old today.

I think he’d be pretty happy.

The new iO theatre building is attracting students and audiences from all over the world, and Charna is continuing to carry on his work.

Long form improvisation is still growing in popularity every year, and has become accepted as a legitimate entertainment in its own right, and more than just a way to develop sketches (which was always his goal).

There’s even a movie under way loosely based on his life.

So happy birthday, my friend. You are indeed a gift that keeps on giving.

 

School’s In…

If you’ve been putting off taking classes at the iO Chicago, wait no further. A new session is starting, and if you’re not careful, you may even find yourself in one of my classes. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30, I’ll be teaching Talk Show Packet (part of Michael McCarthy’s writing program), in which, if you put in the time and the work, you’ll find yourself with a packet of material to submit to your favorite TV talk show!

But that’s not all. Next Sunday will be the first session of both of my Monty Python-inspired classes, The Python Process and PythonProv. The former will show you how to use the same writing techniques utilized by the members of Monty Python to improve your own sketch writing. It’s a great adjunct to Michael’s SNL Sketch class, and we’ll present a show at the end of the eight-week session! And let’s not forget PythonProv, a brand new type of long form improvisation in which you’ll learn how to perform Python-influenced improv.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to contact the iO very soon to sign up, and please let me know if you have any questions.

 io Old sign

 

Terry Jones’ Three Quarters of a Century!

tj-hj-selfieBirthdays are always worth celebrating, but especially so when it’s a milestone birthday like Terry Jones turning 75 years old today!
Terry has withdrawn from public life recently, and he made his health issues with dementia public last September. He appreciates all the well-wishers on line, and I can tell you that he is absolutely enjoying life.
But Terry has given us so much wonderful entertainment over the years, we can always pop in a DVD or download documentary or open up one of his books, and enjoy him all over again. That’s what I’ll be doing tonight, and if you’re a fan of Terry’s, it’s not a bad way to spend an evening.
So in the meantime–happy birthday old chum, and thank you for everything.

On the Road Again…

img_7125In the midst of another John Cleese tour seeing huge, enthusiastic crowds from Boston to Green Bay, from St. Louis to Baltimore. This leg of the tour is coming to a close this weekend, but there are still a few places to see John present Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and discuss it afterward.
Friday night (January 27), Washington DC area fans can catch John at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, but you’ll have to move quickly–this is nearly sold out!
Still some tickets left for Saturday night (January 28) to see John Cleese and the Holy Grail at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
And the grand finale of the current tour will be Sunday, January 29, at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey–and this one will undoubtedly sell out before Sunday night, so make your move soon if you’re thinking of ordering tickets.
And remember, if you’re going, you’ll have an opportunity to ask @johncleese a question–and there have been some great questions along the way!
#johncleese

RIP Andrew Sachs

I would be remiss if I didn’t pause to note the passing of the wonderful Andrew Sachs, known best to the world as Manuel in “Fawlty Towers.”

I’d like to write about what a talented actor he was, but that’s obvious to anyone who has ever seen an episode of Fawlty Towers. I can’t tell you all what a great person he was, because I was never lucky enough to actually meet him. But I do know the high regard in which John held him, and I know that his comic portrayal will live forever. And that’s a pretty great legacy, isn’t it?

#johncleese #fawltytowers