New York – Big City, Strong Communities

On a recent trip to New York, I decided to see what a few of our producers were up to, and was able to sit down with Jeff Lepine from the People’s Improv Theater (the PIT) and Larisa Fuchs from Gemini and Scorpio. They put on different types of events–the PIT is an improv theater branched off from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and Gemini and Scorpio throw awesome parties–but their goals are similar. They both emphasize supporting, nurturing and welcoming newcomers into their respective communities.

Jeff has been involved for two of the PIT’s eight-year history, after being involved in the theatre and improv scenes from Seattle to LA to Manhattan. When he came aboard, the PIT was located in a tiny, second-floor Manhattan theater, but in January was able to move to a ground-floor space with a coffee shop, offices and two separate theaters for different kinds of events.

After the founders’ experience with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, they knew their community well, and knew they had a niche to fill, one with an open philosophy. They work within the ethos of “Craft, Community, Career” – people come to the PIT to work on their craft. In the process, they become involved in a larger community. Ideally, the combination of building craft and fostering community helps the participant’s career. Their programming is a combination of classes and performance, and their house improv teams draw from their classes.
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