Cinema 2.0

left to right: Homer Marrs, Andrea Swanson, Dan Izzo, Emily Dugan, Michael Starcevich, Trish Conlon
not pictured: Phillip Mottaz

Trish Conlon studied vocal music and theatre at the University of Michigan. She is a founding member of the Playground ensemble Mr. Fancypants and played a bevy of bizarre characters in their improvised horror movie spoof Terrorslide! this past summer. Trish has appeared in numerous productions around Chicago including Angry White Guy Reads the Paper at WNEP Theater and The Phantom Tollbooth at ComedySportz. Cinema 2.0 is her second Directors Series show, her first was A Day in the Life directed by Cholley Kuhaneck.

Emily Dugan is pleased and frightened to be returning to the world of improv performance after a two-year hiatus. In the meantime she's been stage managing, directing, dancing, teaching, acting, and generally skulking around Chicago. She is a company member at WNEP Theater where she recently directed the moderately scandalous Dirty Bible Stories, and is hopping-up-and-down pleased to be performing at the Playground for the first time.

Dan Izzo has taught improvisation at Columbia College, the Second City and at the Annoyance Theater. Dan coaches the Playground Theater's member ensemble Mr. Fancypants and has directed Mr. Fancypants in Terrorslide! an improvised horror movie spoof, which the Chicago Reader described "as intelligent as the horror-flick and improv-comedy genres allow." Dan directed the Conspiracy Theater Company's second play Cubicle Rats, which the Chicago Reader praised for its "uniformly excellent technique and sly, perceptive conceits."

Homer Marrs loves the Playground because of its good people and proximity to Tavern 33 (which just got a Pac-Man machine--woo hoo!). He had his Chicago improv debut right here in the first Improv Challenge and now performs with Umlaut, the theater's most typographical ensemble. Homer writes a lot and is opening his first full-length show this summer at WNEP Theater. Stay tuned!

Phillip Mottaz - Since graduating with a writing degree from Knox College, Phillip Mottaz has thown himself into the Chicago comedy scene. A graduate of ImprovOlympic's training center regiment and ComedySportz, he has played with 5 different Chicago-based improv groups, with the Playground Theater member team Mr. Fancypants being called his home base team. Phillip has worked with Fuzzy Gerdes before in FuzzyCo's Armando Diaz' Eventé and The Neutrino Project. As one half of the sketch group Superpunk, he has performed most of the major comedy theaters in Chicago. Thanks to Rachel, Mr. Gerdes, and to the creators of all the crappy movies we've had to watch. You'll all, appropriately, get yours.

Michael D. Starcevich, a graduate of Second City and ImprovOlympic, and a mainstay at WNEP Theater, has been writing, directing, and performing improv theater and film for the past ten years. Michael's directing credits include Beer Batter Haddock, Pop Psychology and the critically acclaimed 55 Minutes of Malice. He appeared in the long-running Postmortem, and starred in Phobia, which earned frighteningly positive reviews. His claymation Who Shot J.F.Klay? made it to the final round of the Telluride Film Festival. Michael also brought Dolly Parton lunch every day on the set of that movie Straight Talk.

Andrea Swanson loves movies. She also loves talking. As a result, Andrea adores Cinema 2.0. In addition to talking and going to movies, Andrea performs with the improv groups KOKO, The Mighty, Playground member team Black Sheep, has appeared in FuzzyCo's The Neutrino Project, is a brand spankin' new member of Chicago ComedySportz, eats something chocolate everyday and digs a guy named Marc. Her performance is dedicated to those who don't believe in dinosaurs.


Ben Taylor is a recovering bass player from the East Coast. After several productive years in Boston, he packed up his bass clarinet in 2000 and moved to Chicago in search of better weather, pizza, and music. 1 out of 3 ain't bad. He's recorded with the Beat Down Sound, Chiyoko, and Cameron McGill, and is currently performing with the Who Needs Dave? Jazz Ensemble.

Todd Leibov is a multi-instrumentalist from Chicago. Using a wide assortment of acoustic, electronic, and invented instruments, he creates breezy, melodic music built out of improvised loops. The style reflects a strong influence of 60's/70's art-pop and film scores. Todd is currently working on several recording projects at his studio in Pilsen.


Fuzzy Gerdes (director) has been improvising since 1990. He is delighted to be directing a show for the Playground's Directors Series after participating in three previous productions as an actor (A Day in the Life, 1000 Monkeys, and Sybilization). His last project as a director was the super-duper smash hit The Neutrino Project.

Noah Ginex (technical director) -This is Noah's second time running tech for the Directors Series at the Playground. He is pleased to be back, and is blissfully confused by the improvements to the tech booth. In his spare time, he likes to repeatedly hit himself in the head with a foam hammer and then watch the sun dance. He would like to thank Fuzzy and Megan for giving him this opporotunity to misspell opportunity. Quit looking around trying to find me, you'll miss the show.

Megan Pedersen (producer) - Megan produces the Directors Series for the Playground.

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