Improv Troupe doubles with new members


Photos by Kennedy Lum

The Improv Troupe’s introduction scene was about welcoming its five new members.

Kennedy Lum, Reporter

The California Lutheran University Improv Troupe recently added five new members to the team after holding auditions on Sunday, Sept. 11. This year, tryouts were especially significant; eight out of the 11 troupe members graduated last spring.

In order to advertise for auditions, the troupe did an Instagram takeover on Cal Lutheran’s social media. In addition to their promotions online, Cal Lutheran’s Improv Troupe Presidents Cassie Washburn and Nick Desmond, secured a table at the university’s Involvement Fair to publicize tryouts.

The Improv Troupe’s public relations efforts amassed 30 people for auditions.

“Our criteria changes every year,” Washburn said. “In the auditions, our hope was to find people that were enjoying what they were doing, people we would want to get up on stage and play with, that were grounded, and capable of quickly getting in the show.”

Of the 30 participants, 12 made it to callbacks, and five were able to gain a spot on the team.

“It was pretty unanimous. In previous years, we would talk for hours discussing the nitty gritty stuff about each person, but deliberations only took about an hour and a half this year,” Desmond said.

First-year student Logan Smoot was part of the exclusive few selected for the troupe.

“At the auditions, we did a lot of different games, and everyone was having fun…the troupe members from last year were taking notes on us and it was pretty intimidating,” Smoot said.

In addition to Smoot, Cal Lutheran junior Dani Pickard and junior Art Portillo were invited to be a part of the troupe. Pickard and Portillo were impressive in auditions because of their groundedness, Washburn said.

“We videoed all the new members on FaceTime to congratulate them on making it on the troupe…Logan was like a little giddy child and Dani was the most surprised,” Washburn said.

Junior Sydney Steinberg and senior Kristian Bakken, previously musicians on Cal Lutheran’s improv band, have taken on new roles this year by opting to be in the Improv Troupe as well.

“We were really impressed by all our new members,” Desmond said. “Sydney and Kristian both came from the band so we’ve had experience improving with them in the past, it’s really great now they’re in the troupe.”

Since the initial vetting process, the troupe has been bonding and creating camaraderie with late-night In-N-Out runs and weekly improv practices.

“Everyone who auditioned was incredible, it was really hard to narrow it down,” Washburn said. “The five new troupe members that we added are just little gems of Cal Lutheran that we were lucky enough to find.”

The Improv Troupe held their first show with the new recruits on Sept. 22, the auditorium completely filled with spectators.

The new members got the opportunity to illustrate their talents, only having had one formal practice prior to the opening show. The crowd responded well to the humor and different comedy sketches played by the troupe. By the time the last act came to a close, the audience rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation.

The Cal Lutheran Improv Troupe typically performs every other Thursday night at 11 p.m. Likewise, the Improv Club hosts meetings from 5:45-7 p.m. on Thursday and is open to anyone who wants to practice their improv skills.

Any upcoming events or performances hosted by Cal Lutheran’s Improv Troupe are posted on The Hub or Instagram @cluimprov. To learn more about the troupe members, check out their introductions on the highlighted story posts on their Instagram page.