At the opening performance tonight of this year's almost sold-out Kansas City Improv Festival, comedy fans should be primed for more than just the unexpected. They're being promised the unconceived. "We're going to put on a show that's never been seen before and will never be seen again," says Tim Marks, the "Chief Improvisational Officer" of Improv-Abilities, the local comedy troupe presenting this year's festival. That's the nature of the art, of course, in which nimble comic minds make it new each time out. That doesn't mean much is changing from last year's sell-out shows. Again, over two weekends, the festival presents a wide variety of local and national acts at the City Stage in the basement of Union Station (18 West Pershing). This weekend, the out-of-towners take the stage. At 7 tonight and Saturday, it's Der Monkenpickel (featuring Saturday Night Live's Jason Sudeikis), Jill Bernard's fantastic Drum Machine, Monkey 13 and the Masked Menace (from Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Bother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show (which includes Kay Cannon, a writer on the excellent 30 Rock). Local performers storm Union Station next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's impossible to predict exactly what they'll be up to, but Marks believes that the big audiences the fest draws bode well for the shows themselves. "An improv show's often as good as the crowd is," he says. "So you'll probably see these local groups give their best performances." For tickets and information, call 816-460-2020.
Fri., Sept. 5; Sat., Sept. 6; Fri., Sept. 12; Sat., Sept. 13; Sun., Sept. 14, 2008