The N Crowd: Philly’s improv group

By Katie Clark
September 27, 2007

Submitted Photo by Ryan Galatti

Philadelphia concluded their 11th annual Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and the Philly Fringe Festival on Sept. 15. The festivals began on Aug. 31 and ran for three weeks.

According to Philadelphia’s official festival website, The Philadelphia Live Arts festival are events that are performed by successful contemporary artists. Some artists are local while others are from all around the world. They pick artists from all forms of art. This is because these artists provide the Philly Fringe’s artists with critiques and pointers.

The Philly Fringe festival, according to the live-art website, is where any artist can perform their own work. These artists are ones who choreograph, direct, design, produce and find venues for their own shows.

The festival allows them to perform their work for thousands around the Tri-State area. The main goal is to connect artists from all around to create new ideas and styles of art and it allows new artists a chance to shine in the spotlight.

One Philly Fringe performance was the N Crowd. This was just one of the thousands of performances that were put on during the Fringe. The N Crowd is a group of improv comedians. For those who do not know what this type of comedy is, just think of the show, “Who’s Line is it Anyway?”

During the Philly Fringe Festival the N Crowd participated every Friday night with some nights of double features. They performed at the Actor’s Center. This venue is located in Center Philadelphia on Third Street.

The N Crowd has been performing since 2005 weekly under the direction of Ray King Reese, who is the founder of the N Crowd. The N Crowd is also under the direction of Cabrini’s own, Jessica Snow. Snow is an alumnus from Cabrini and is now the artistic director of Philly’s N Crowd.

There are eight comedians on the cast. In the 14th show on Friday, only six performed. Matt Nelson was the host, like Drew Carey on “Who’s Line is it Anyway,” while Mike Connor, Brandon Libby, Natalie Sandone, Elizabeth Trepkowski, Akshay Sateesh and B.J. Ellis, missing Anthony Marsala and Anne Marie Trepkowski, were the crazy, no-shame cast.

Their shows are ninety minutes of complete laughter and participating. The whole purpose of improv is to get the audience involved. The audience makes up situations and events where the comedians perform skits of humor to demonstrate the subject. There are no props or script. Nelson introduced a list of games the cast participated in, as well as the audience. The games consisted of funny or awkward scenes.

The festivals had many sold out shows, including the N Crowd. Many of their Friday night shows were sold out, including last Friday. The festivals had great success this year, as it does every year. The N Crowd’s home is the Actor’s Center and performs there frequently; to get show times visit their website at, phillyncrowd.com.

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Katie Clark

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