Columbus, OH

‘TBD: The Improvised Musical!’ brings joy and laughter to Columbus

The Lantern
“TBD: The Improvised Musical!” performs at Natalie’s Music Hall and Kitchen the last Wednesday of each month. Credit: AJ Hymiller

In improv, there are no mistakes, only opportunities. For those seeking an opportunity to share laughs with others, “TBD: The Improvised Musical!” is no mistake.

“TBD: The Improvised Musical!” is a full-length, improvised musical that features a rotating cast of local musical improvisers from Central Ohio. Before each show begins, audience members submit their own musical titles for the cast’s consideration. Once the cast chooses their top three titles, the audience’s noise level ultimately determines the musical they will be seeing. Previous show titles include “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Giddy Up” and “You’re a Good Team, Cleveland Browns.”

“TBD: The Improvised Musical!” was created in 2016 by The Hashtag Comedy Company, based in Columbus. Chris Heiberger, co-owner of Hashtag Comedy, said music and improvisation have often been combined over the years.

“TBD was a collaborative creation between Sarah J. Storer and Alex Dodge,” Heiberger said. “The idea of creating an actual story with characters, a storyline and music to drive the plot felt fresh and unique.”

According to The Hashtag Comedy Company website , Storer is the creator of “TBD: The Improvised Musical!” and Dodge is a founding cast member.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused TBD to move from ShadowBox Live to Natalie’s Music Hall and Kitchen, located at 945 King Ave., Heiberger said. Currently, TBD is scheduled to perform there the last Wednesday of each month.

“Hashtag had been pursuing its own space,” Heiberger said. “Once COVID-19 eased up, our good friend and local artist Counterfeit Madison introduced us to the folks at Natalie’s.”

Heiberger said Hashtag Comedy started with 10 members, but new members continue to join.

“There are 26 cast members right now between our three main shows,” Heiberger said. “Only three cast members remain from the original 10 members.”

Beyond just watching improv, those interested can also get involved in the art themselves. Hashtag Comedy provides improv classes and workshops for all levels of experience, with summer classes beginning in June according to their website .

“We have a studio for our class,” Heiberger said. “Students are given a chance to take their newfound skills to the stage, as most classes end with a performance at Woodlands Tavern in Grandview.”

Hannah Romich, co-owner of Hashtag Comedy and marketer for TBD, said she got involved with improv during her college career.

“Improv introduced me to so many wonderful opportunities and people,” Romich said. “Improv has helped me connect with people better, improve my public speaking and increase creativity.”

Romich, also a 2019 Ohio State graduate, said the Columbus improv scene is vibrant and growing in popularity.

“I am so happy it’s getting attention,” Romich said. “We strive to have our shows and experience be a reflection of Columbus’ own artistic, creative and friendly spirit.”

Hashtag Comedy is always looking for more people, Romich said.

“We have big plans to grow in the next year,” Romich said. “If you want to get involved in comedy, we’d love to talk to you.”

The next performance of “TBD: The Improvised Musical!” will be on May 31. Tickets are limited and can be purchased for $20 each via ShowClix . Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and beverages are available before and during the show for an additional cost.

More information about Hashtag Comedy’s classes and workshops can be found on its website .

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