One of our goals for 2013 is to perform a little more. After our Anniversary show on February 23rd, we’ll be performing at the very first Cabrillo Theater Festival on May 4th, and then will be back for another show at the Broadway Playhouse on May 18th. We plan to be iambic pentametering our little improvised buttocks off with spontaneous Shakespeare at the Scottish Ren Faire again in June and, of course, the annual Improv Fest—and maybe even the second Santa Cruz Fringe Festival!—over the summer. Wherever we may be, however, we pledge to continue in our quest to present quality, in-the-moment theater that involves, entertains and encourages our audience to share the joy of story and spontaneity. After all, let’s face it--nobody’s actually got a script for this crazy gig called life.
In honor of our 24th Anniversary, here’s a little bit of UGU history:
Way, way back in the pre-earthquake days of spring 1989, sixteen folks from Wilma Marcus’s Improv class at Cabrillo college got together to talk about forming a troupe. Eight of those people became the original Um...Gee...Um and began presenting improv and sketch comedy (yes, in those first days, some of the stuff WAS actually scripted) at the Cafe Chameleon on Front Street. Early in 1990, the group moved to the Front Street Pub (anyone remember it?) where they performed in the back room on Monday nights for almost 2 years. By 1992, the group had moved exclusively to improvisational theater and to the Actors’ Theater, making up spontaneous skits, songs, stories and even entire one-act plays at the space that is now called Center Stage. They performed there nearly every single Monday night for close to 6 years.
In the fall of 1997, the next generation of Um...Gee...Um was born, doing several shows throughout the year at Actors’ Theatre and the Broadway Playhouse. We even ventured out of our happy frog pond of Santa Cruz to do shows in San Francisco, Monterey and San Jose (where a show at a bar netted us the single suggestion of “beer” for every single scene). The troupe returned briefly to its pub roots on Front Street in 2006, performing the first Friday of each month at Club Caution for over a year. Since 2007, we’ve added gigs at the Scottish Renaissance Faire each year in June—doing spontaneous Shakespeare for patrons in period garb—and the annual Santa Cruz Improv Fest in July, which features the many fabulous troupes that reside and perform right here in our wacky and spontaneous home town.