Making It Up As They Go Along: Pasadena's Red Door Theatre Company

In his farewell episode of The Office, Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott wondered aloud (as he was wont to do) if the credits for his improv classes would transfer to a new city. But it seemed like he was making things up out of thin air every day at his job. As bad as he was at it, he still had the skills April McEachem, managing director of the Pasadena-based Red Door Theatre Company, says are the trademarks of an improv master.

"A good improviser has a natural and easy comic timing and can think fast on their feet, and sustain an action, moment, or character that might be outlandish without losing the spontaneity," says April McEachern, managing director of the company, which has a show next weekend. "And, of course, feeding off the audience is a prerequisite."

McEachern adds that this is the troupe's second improv event and will follow a format based on the TV show Whose Line is It Anyway? Audience-favorite segments "Eulogy for a Superhero" and "Hip-Hop Masterpiece Theatre" also return.

The company's origins date back to 2002 when McEachern, Artistic Director Josh Jordan and Company Manager Tiffany Blair-Velez began working as an ad hoc production team for fashion shows highlighting Jordan's "FREEK" junior wear clothing line. They later began directing and producing senior musicals at Clear Lake High School, and now have five productions under their collective belts. In 2008, the group converted a former clothing store and transmission shop into a live theater space, and the Red Door opened its, well, doors the next year.

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"We want to entertain, energize, inspire, educate, represent and stimulate the diverse community from which we draw our strengths," McEachern continues, ticking off action verbs like an earnest motivational speaker. Sounds like a good idea for a sketch...

Saturday, May 14, 8 p.m. at the Red Door Theatre Company, 4513 Red Bluff Rd., Pasadena. $10, ages 17+. 281-542-0500 or www.thereddoortheatrecompany.com.


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