Improvised Sondheim Project is a Chicago based music improv ensemble dedicated to exploring and improvising in the style of the great Stephen Sondheim. The cast is made up of veteran improvisers who are Second City alumni, faculty, and teach and perform throughout the Chicago improv scene.
Their performances are not based on any specific show by Stephen Sondheim, nor do they use his lyrics, music, or dialogue. Rather, the ensemble asks for an original suggestion from its audience and immediately begins to improvise totally new songs and scenes based solely on that suggestion.Having studied Sondheim’s work, the ensemble creates a hilarious show that seems very much like a Sondheim musical, but is completely original, spontaneous, and – in fact – will only be performed once.
“Eerily like seeing a new, unfamiliar Sondheim musical” – John Olson, The Sondheim ReviewISP is excited about it’s upcoming 2015-16 season, which will include reimagining three major Sondheim works.
Paul W. Thompson
The Improvised Sondheim Project began in the spring of 2012 when a handful of faculty members from the Music Program at The Second City Training Center in Chicago came together to explore the challenge of improvising musicals in the specific style of Stephen Sondheim. The founding members were Jeff Bouthiette, Erica Elam, Aaron Graham, Amanda Murphy, and Matthew Van Colton.After several months of research and rehearsing, they hosted an invite-only workshop for other improvisers to experiment with the concepts and techniques they had discovered so far. From those participants, they chose a few new members for the ensemble and continued to explore the work together. The group’s first performance run was in December 2012 at Stage 773 in Chicago.The Improvised Sondheim Project continues to expand its ranks and explore this exciting artistic challenge. Be sure to visit the Shows page for upcoming performances and check out the Ensemble biographies to learn about the performers.