If ever there was a year we need laughter, it’s 2020. Comedy provides connection and community — and laughs beget smiles. Award-winning stand up comedian, Christine O’Leary, and her team of local comics are ready to deliver. O’Leary is a professional host, corporate consultant, and coach to budding adult and teen comics and improv enthusiasts enrolled in her classes that began at The Ridgefield Playhouse and are now pulling people from across America. Her advanced stand up students are local and will take both the indoor stage — and perform via Zoom — at Christine O’Leary & Friends: LIVE and Streaming! on Saturday, November 14 at 4:00 p.m., while O’Leary hosts from the Ridgefield Playhouse. Tickets are currently on sale ($25 each) and can purchased via the phone (203) 438-5795 or online: https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/christine-oleary-friends-2/. Socially distanced seating in the theater is available, but limited. All in-house and online ticket purchasers will also receive a Zoom link and instructions the day of the show, should plans change. Audience members are invited to watch in person or virtually as Christine’s seasoned stand ups entertain with stellar sets. She’s the Artistic Director of the Comedy Series at The Ridgefield Playhouse and her two November graduation comedy shows (a different class performance takes place on November 11, 7:30 pm) will be the first live shows following the Playhouse’s comeback outdoor season — of which comedy played a large part.
O’Leary has taught over 55 sold-out comedy classes (194 graduates) at her post at the Playhouse, with many repeat students, who take an 8-week program to develop a tight, economized, 5-minute set -- the first increment of time given to new stand ups at comedy clubs. The students bring weekly material to “Rip and Read” in class to determine winning content, then video conference one-on-one with O’Leary to finalize their material and hone their set. After two months, they’re ready for an audience. Christine continues to make what she calls her “pandemic pivot,” producing socially distanced and live streamed shows — the adaptive stand up model. Hence, the November 14 format is flexible, welcoming both inside fans and at-home viewers to enjoy comedy from their couches. A true win-win.
“Comedy is a way to tell the truth, solve a problem and sell the material with a feeling. I love and live to share with people the greatest ‘high’ and joy I know -- standing up and getting paid in laughs! Anyone can do this; there’s enough for everyone. For me, stand up is liberation and freedom. You can ‘up your game’ in any career,” said O’Leary, Founder, Team Green Light Comedy.
“You’ll never see anything like it...they’ll be born as comics RIGHT before your eyes,” O’Leary added.
O’Leary’s stand up class has been a staple at The Ridgefield Playhouse since 2013. The July 22 lineup includes comedians: Dimitri Giatrakis, Laura Isler, Laurie Newkirk, Judy Eckert, Frankie Fuhrman, Stefanie Rosenberg, Jerry Kuyper, Michael Mast, Bill Greene, Laura Von Stein, Liz Fabian, Sue Ellen Landwehr, Barbara Miller, Lee Scharfstein, Mia Rella, and Aline Weiller. The exciting evening will feature surprise visits by celebrities, a Zoom “After Party” Q & A with the comedians, and door prizes.
“The benefits of Christine’s 8-week program are many: refined poise, sharpened presentation skills, enhanced confidence. Stand up comedy is an enviable craft she helped me hone — and own. I came away with these super powers, plus an unmatched kinship with peers who find the funny,” said Aline Weiller, Advanced Stand Up Student.
Christine O’Leary has worked with headlining comedians to include Gilbert Gottfried, Joy Behar, Chevy Chase, Sinbad, Tracey Morgan, Robert Klein, Margaret Cho, and Janeane Garofalo. She takes her Team Green Light Comedy comrades to area shows and also hosts and performs at companies, colleges, and charitable, club and pride events nearby and nationally. Christine recently appeared on the Bravo Network pilot, Camp Getaway in April.
The Ridgefield Playhouse is a not for profit 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to present a variety of performing arts to the community and the surrounding area that they can enjoy and experience at a varied price point. The Playhouse presents national and local acts and is the cultural hub for the town of Ridgefield. For details regarding the November 14 hybrid show Christine O’Leary & Friends: LIVE and Streaming! tickets, visit https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/christine-oleary-friends-2/.