Comedy powerhouse Coldtowne Theater expands lineup and appoints new artisticdirector
As stand ups flock to Austin in search of stage time and comedy shows begin to pop up in the most unlikely places, there seems to be a central figure in this expanding creative community: ColdTowne.
ColdTowne Theater was founded in 2005, when the original five members of NOLA-based comedy troupe ColdTowne resettled in Austin after Hurricane Katrina. Six years later, the theater is selling out shows so consistently they've had to expand their lineup to keep up. And that's not enough; they're also adding staff members to accomodate the flood of students and performers eager to get involved with the theater. They're not just getting bigger, they're getting better, refining the conservatory's curriculum and restructuring show formats.
It's no surprise that, when the theater needed a new artistic director, they turned to the person who has been setting new standards of excellence onstage for years: Josh Krilov. An instructor and host of "The Night Show with Josh Krilov," a monthly scripted variety show, he's no stranger to a heavy workload.
"I'm in several troupes, I coach several other troupes," he explains. "I teach, I have another part-time job doing a murder mystery show, and I do a program called Story Wranglers, out of the Paramount Theater, where we teach third grade classes creative writing then turn their writing into a sketch revue show; it's one of the most rewarding things I do, I feel very lucky."
How will the transition to Artistic Director change his schedule? "I'm taking a thousand new projects," he says. "I'm taking on what is essentially, to me, The Night Show times one thousand."
And that's partly because of ColdTowne's other new addition: an expanded calendar. The new show schedule will have ColdTowne open for business seven nights a week, making them the only comedy theater in town to run a full roster of shows.
"We're developing [new Mainstage sketch revues], these marquee shows that will run on Friday and Saturday at 8:30, so we have several of those in production at all times," says Krilov. In addition to these specialty shows (like the upcoming "After School Special Victims Unit"), the theater is adding more slots for their most successful shows.
Sunday through Wednesday nights will be pay what you want, and signature shows are getting shuffled around a bit; on the new lineup, long-running show "Stool Pigeon" moves to Tuesday nights at 8:30 pm. Open mic "Live at ColdTowne," hosted by Ramin Nazer, will stay in its Friday night slot, but gets a little competition in the form of a new Monday night mic; starting this week, stand ups can sign up for a slot on the 10 pm show.
While all these additions seem like a huge step for such a relatively small theater, Krilov isn't worried about attracting an audience. "I think one of the most amazing things about Austin is that it's such a culturally rich and smart city, it's such a fun city to live in. Any night of the week you can see an amazing band or, now with the new lineup, you can see an awesome funny comedy show. There's so much to see and do," he explains, "and what's so great is there's such a huge audience, there's enough people interested who appreciate good comedy and good entertainment that we could have all the theaters in town full, there's no reason why we can't."
What are you waiting for? There's a comedy show going on at ColdTowne tonight! Stay tuned for more info on the changes at the theater, and don't miss the debut of "After School Special Victims Unit" this September.