Sketches 11 to include comedy performances about ‘unlikely’ Civil War soldier, ‘disturbing’ elementary art class

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Long Beach Playhouse is teaming with improv-comedy program group Held2gether– Improv for Life next week for a production of Sketches 11, a collection of original comedy stories.

This is the sixth annual collaboration between the Long Beach theatrical entities, according to the cast. The sketch compilation will run from Thursday, Feb. 28, to Saturday, March 2, in the Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St. The all-new show boasts 11 robust sketches touching upon universal relationships, outrageous characters, music, pop culture and parodies of the time.

“Each of the original sketches were written by the performers themselves under a prompt from the director,” said Darren Held. the creator of Held2gether. “They have 30 minutes to create a sketch idea, and then I guide them through it, fleshing out the tone and comic timing. In a way, the creative process is like a reality show. It’s kept the show fresh and spontaneous for six years. Our fans really love it.”

The Sketches 11 cast includes Agnes Arnold, Chris Brennan, Richard Martinez and Sarah Slimmer. This year’s highlights include comedic and musical interludes between the scenes for the first time. Also included as the main-event sketches this season are an American Citizen Class, an unlikely soldier from the Civil War and a disturbing elementary art class.

The sketch show is part of the Held2gether improv comedy program that features classes in Long Beach, including all levels of improv comedy, sketch writing and performance.

“Our collaborative continues to strengthen each season, providing exposure for talented artists in a spectrum of genres across the board,” said Long Beach Playhouse Executive Director Madison Mooney. “Held2gether has been a huge cornerstone of that progress. Their shows are fresh, hilarious and support our ongoing mission here to celebrate the human experience [and encourage] the participation of artist and audience alike.”

Tickets for Sketches 11 are $15 Friday and Saturday and $10 for Preview Thursday night. They are now available through the box office of the Long Beach Playhouse– 562-494-1014 (press option 1)– or at lbplayhouse.org. Performances are 8pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday– Feb. 28 to March 2. The box office is open Wednesday through Saturday from 3pm to 8pm.