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The ensemble


Dave Sinker

David Sinker graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Broadcast Communications. Dave is the Emmy Award winning founder and Artistic Director of THE COMEDY SHRINE THEATER, and is also the founder and producer/director of the SINKERSWIM COMEDY TROUPE. This troupe performs custom-made comedy skits for corporations. Dave is currently the voice and comedy writer for several video productions: STINKY SHOE, COACH LAROO, and Sun Microsystem’s INSIDE JACK series. Dave has written comedy for several television shows: M.S.I. SCIENCE ZONE, THE JENNY JONES SHOW, TOTALLY HIDDEN VIDEO and HAYWIRE. He served as Creative Consultant for the animated television show CREEPY CRAWLERS, co-wrote the feature film CAMP TANGLEFOOT, and developed several other projects: CAMP CANDY, LITTLE SHOP, SCORCH! and THE BALLOONATIKS. Dave is especially proud to have written for the GOOD VIBES theater troupe and its executive director BEN VEREEN. He has written several plays, INSIDE THE GOLDFISH BOWL, FOOD,FUN & DEAD RELATIVES, and THE BLOB-THE MUSICAL, and was Executive Producer of MUSICAL-THE MUSICAL. He was an actor with THE NATIONAL TOURING COMPANY OF THE SECOND CITY, the Associate Artistic Director for the CHICAGO PLAYWRIGHTS CENTER, and is formerly the director of THE SECOND CITY CHILDREN’S THEATER.

Mary Olivieri

Actor’s Equity Candidate, Director of Marketing, has taught improv and induced professional hilarity from New York (as an ensemble member in It’s Knot Theater at The Knitting Factory) to Chicago. Credits: Molly/Peggy in Damage Control, Tina Baritone/Janie in The Baritones, Scarey Bradshaw in Sex in the Suburbs, Marion Hollander in Don’t Drink The Water – all with Noble Fool, Cast on a Hot Tin Roof at Royal George, As We Like It, B.S.(hit spoof of E.R.) and many others – with The Free Associates, and Mock The Vote at Theater Building Chicago. Look for her as Susan the Therapist in the movie Stash, directed by NY Times best-selling author Jay Bonansinga, premiering in 2007.

Randy G. Craig

Randy G. Craig (SAG/AFTRA) has appeared as Sheriff Marty Holt in the horror film “Carnivore” and on Chicago stages in Cast on a Hot tin Roof at the Royal George, Damage Control at the Noble Fool, the Mayor in The Government Inspector, Bruce in Beyond Therapy, Rev. Toop in See How They Run, Major Powell in Corpse!, with the country’s first 2 act completely improvised Broadway style musical, MUSICAL! the musical, with the long form improv troupe The Free Associates in Cast…Roof, BS, Blithering Heights, The Greatest Story Never Told, The Real Darren Stephens, toured nationally with Call To Action and Novel Ideas Children’s Theatre, and has written and appeared in numerous industrial films, voiceovers, and TV commercials. Randy also is an accomplished guitarist, songwriter, and has occasionally acted as Musical Director for MUSICAL! the musical. He is a graduate from The Second City Training Center, Players Workshop (where he also taught), and has a BA in Music Theory from Trinity College in Deerfield, IL (Trinity International University).

Jack Bronis

Jack Bronis (SAG/AFTRA/AEA) most recently directed Brain Humor at Second City’s Donny’s Skybox. Jack is a proud to be a founder of the Noble Fool Theater. As an actor, he portrayed Klinglehoff in Noble Fool’s productions of Steve Martin’s adaptation of The Underpants , both downtown and at Pheasant Run. He has worked with many improv and theater troupes, including the Character Assassins, the Improv Institute, the Free Associates, and Steppenwolf Theater. He originated the role of moody mob boss Tony Baritone in Noble Fool’s improvised HBO spoof The Baritones . He conceived and is the original director as well as a co-writer and original cast member of the long-running Flanagan’s Wake . Jack wrote book and lyrics for Noble Fool’s award-winning world premiere, Vikings! A Musical in Two Axe . Other directing credits include the improvised corporate spoof Corporation, Inc, Nolen & Nolen in The Science of Love , and Rick Almada’s one-man tour de farce, The Paradox of Insanity… I Mean, Humanity , which was critically acclaimed in Chicago and at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Jack has also directed Flanagan’s Wake in Minneapolis and Rochester, New York. He has had various film and television roles, including that of Vucko in the recently-released indie film Dirty Work . Jack has taught at the Second City Training Center and The Audition Studio since the last millennium.

Erica Elam

Erica Elam has studied improvisation at The Second City, Annoyance Theatre, and Comedy Sportz Chicago and currently teaches at The Second City Training Center. She is an ensemble member of the critically acclaimed musical improv group, Baby Wants Candy, and also performs with The Second City’s Musical Improv House Ensemble. When not improvising, she has performed at Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight, Apple Tree, Piven, Remy Bumppo, About Face and The Noble Fool.

Mark Czoske

Gifted in working with spit-takes in Nigeria. Spent high school summers managing bathtub gin in Atlantic City, NJ. Spent 2001-2007 lecturing about wool with no outside help. Developed several new methods for writing about toy soldiers in Suffolk, NY. Spent a year investing in wieners in Prescott, AZ. Had a brief career developing weebles in Jacksonville, FL.

Rich Baker

Rich Baker began performing improv in 2002 when he co-founded TCU’s first improv troupe Senseless Acts of Comedy. Rich performed all around Dallas/Fort Worth in stand up clubs, improv theatres, and independent films. Having never lived anywhere outside of Fort Worth, Rich packed up his life and moved to Chicago in June of 2005. Since then, Rich has performed in many shows such as Genre (James Honey’s Second City Director’s Project), Cutlass Supreme (a Harold team at the iO theatre), Alpha Dog Omega (the indy troupe that invented fratprov), and WNEP’s Dream A Little Dream at the Rhino Festival. Rich can also be seen giving tours of Chicago’s 1920?s hotspots on the Untouchable Gangster Tour Bus and performing at ComedySportz Chicago (where he also teaches), and, of course, at The Comedy Shrine, where he is proud to be a member and teacher. He would like to thank his mom and dad and friends for their amazing support.

Melvin Kim

Melvin Kim is privileged to be a part of the Comedy Shrine. He graduated from the Second City Conservatory program where he got the opportunity to study under the likes of Michael Gellman, Norm Holly, Keegan-Michael Key, and the Timothy O’Malley. He has also received training from Victory Gardens Theater and The Annoyance Productions. He helped found and direct Constant Wedgie, a high school improv troupe out of Oak Brook, IL. Other performances include “Enter the Wang” at the Second City etc. and various shows with Stir-Friday Night!, Chicago’s premiere Asian American sketch comedy troupe. He would like thank his two favorite people, Kimberly and Julian, for their support.

Luciana Bonifazi

Luciana Bonifazi started her improv career with the premiere and longest-running improv group at Washington University (in St. Louis): Mama’s Pot Roast. She graduated from Wash U in May of 2007 and headed back home to Chicago to start making her way in the Chicagoland improv scene. Outside of the wonderful Comedy Shrine, she has performed with the Infinite Sundaes (Second City’s Musical Improv House Ensemble), Genre (a Second City Director’s Project), Battle-Prov at ComedySportz, ImprovAcadia in Bar Harbor, Maine, and many more, and is finishing up her Master’s Degree in Arts, Entertainment and Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. She would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support.

Annie Rijks

Annie Rijks has studied improvisation at The Second City Conservatory, The Second City Musical Improv Conservatory, IO, and Comedy Sportz Chicago. She is currently performing with Battleprov at ComedySportz and Master Sancho at The Playground Theatre. When not performing around town she is making short videos with Cornman Productions. You can see the videos (and her dog) at Annie is thrilled to be performing at The Comedy Shrine.

Jeff Kier (music)

In addition to being a music director at the Comedy Shrine, Jeff is currently a jazz pianist, composer and arranger for the Grilly Brothers Quintet who perform concerts mainly inthe U.S. Jeff has also led his own band – The Jeff Kier Quartet featuring Mike Hershenson. The group has been featured in many local clubs over the years such as Oz, Orphans and The Bulls. Jeff is also co-owner of Orchestra Hall Recording Studio, which serves the classical, jazz and acoustic musical markets. Jeff earned his B.A. degree as a Liberal Arts music major at the University of Illinois.

Kristin Farmer

Kristin Farmer was 24" long at birth so her future was destined for basketbal or comedy. So she started her improv career at Miami University of Ohio in their first, best and only improvisation troup, The Tower Players, then came back to her Chicago roots in 2003. She studied improv at IP Chicago and comedy writing at The Second City. She has performed with Cul-de-sac Justice at The Playground Theater, and is proud to make you laugh as a member of the Comedy Shrine ensemble. She's the tall one.

Patrick Newson

Patrick is a proud member of The Comedy Shrine family. With a background in theater, he's most at home on the stage. A student of College of Dupage and American Musical Dramatics Academy.With a background in Improv, Stand-up, classical works, and direction. Patrick is former Executive Director of The Players Please Theatre. Has been seen on Fox's Prison Break and ER. Currently producing multiple shows such as The Bar Show, and My Roommate The Puppet.

Jeffrey L. Shivar (music)

Jeffrey L. Shivar (music) has been with The Comedy Shrine since July 2006. He has accompanied improv theater in Chicago since 1988. This includes working with The Second City Touring Company and Second City Conservatory, IO (formallyThe ImprovOlympics), Noble Fool, “Musical, The Musical”, and The Annoyance Theater. He was with ComedySportz Chicago from 1993 – 2006, acting as Musical Director for 1996 – 2005. He has worked with various production companies, including Dave & Co., Caribeaner and Live Marketing. Mr Shivar is currently the Composer-in-Residence for WNEP Theater, creating scores for many productions including The Armageddon Radio Hour, the musical The Wicked and The Sexed, and Cross Current. He also works with children’s theaters including The Addison Children’s Theatre, Gaia Theatre and Emerald City Theatre Company. Mr. Shivar comes from Cincinnati, Ohio, where he studied both theater and music.





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