Black Box Improv Theater has been entertaining local comedy fans with unique weekend shows for nearly two years. Later this month, the downtown company’s Womit 2.0 cast will be showcasing its talents to an international audience at the prestigious Del Close Marathon in New York on June 28.
BBIT founder Justin Howard recently discussed the honor and the current state of the theater, which offers four shows per week. This weekend’s offerings are Womit 2.0 at 8 p.m. and She Said, She Said at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Justin and Friend at 8 p.m. and Gestation Period at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Q: Congrats on being accepted in the Del Close Marathon. What was your first thought when you found out?
A: “It was pretty nuts. They had over 1,500 groups submit worldwide. They selected 390 and we’re one of them. We’re just shy of two years old in our existence and everybody performing in our theater is local. We don’t pay anyone to fly in to perform. Everybody has been through our classes and has worked up to that point. The fact that everybody started there, I think the level of what we’ve been able to accomplish is pretty nuts. It’s not just local affirmation, which we get week in and week out, but this is really the comedy world kind of affirming we’re doing something right.”
Q: Black Box Improv Theater is closing in on its two-year anniversary. How is it going programming live improv in downtown Dayton?
A: “Owning a business in downtown Dayton is hard but we’ve more than survived. Since we opened we’ve had well over 200 students take classes. We have four shows every weekend and that’s been good. The audiences have been consistently growing. We get lots of good feedback. I don’t think I’ve gotten any real negative feedback since the day we opened. All our online feedback is really good so I think we’re doing good things.”
Q: What has been the most surprising thing about BBIT?
A: “The talent that exists. Very few people walk into improv good at it from Day 1, but after taking classes over a period six or eight months and working on things, you really start to see people take off. That has been really unexpected. Our talent pool is just ever-growing. We have some people in our theater that could rival some of the talent in Chicago and New York, as crazy as that is to say.”