About: Players

The Improvised Shakespeare Company



Joey Bland

Joey Bland moved to Chicago from Virginia, where he attended the College of William and Mary. Outside The Improvised Shakespeare Company, he has performed with ComedySportz, the iO Theater, and The Second City. For two years, Joey traveled the world with The Second City Touring Company, and in 2009, he played the title role in The Second City's hit, original musical, Rod Blagojevich, Superstar. Joey is a two-time Jeopardy champion.


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Ross Bryant

Ross Bryant is from coastal North Carolina, and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and Appalachian State University. Previously, he has performed in comedy festivals all over America with the hip-hop improv show The Beatbox, in Maine with Improv Acadia, and in the Mediterranean with Second City aboard the Norwegian Jade. In addition to The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Ross is an ensemble member of The Second City National Touring Company, the critically acclaimed Baby Wants Candy, and the iO house team Bullet Lounge. Time Out Chicago magazine recently named him one of “10 things that made us laugh this year.” Ross is beyond grateful for the love and support of his family and friends.


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Joe Burton

Joe Burton has been improvising in Chicago since graduating from N.C. State University in 1999.  In Chicago, he has performed with various ensembles such as Otis, American New Year, The Fowler Family Radio Hour, as well as The Improvised Shakespeare Company.  He has taught improvisation at The Second City.  He has also taught at high schools and theaters throught the country, and internationally.  He is the founder of Bughouse Theater in Chicago.  He would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support, especially his wife, Shelby and son, Crash.


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Andy Carey

Andy Carey performed, toured, and taught for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and the Boise Contemporary Theater after receiving his B.F.A. from the University of Idaho.  Since moving to Chicago he has trained with the iO Theater, The Second City Conservatory and the Annoyance.  In addition to The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Andy is a member of Baby Wants Candy (Chicago), Willie Nelson Slept Here (iO Theater) and A Crew of Patches theater company. Much love to his wife Christy and son Keagan. 


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Brendan Dowling

Brendan Dowling is a Massachusetts native and a graduate of the College of William and Mary.  In Chicago, he has toured with The Second City's National Touring Company and has been a member of ComedySportz.  He also performed in The Second City Denver's inaugural production of Red Scare, as well as writing and performing The Second City Denver's How I Lost My Denverginity.  Brendan can also be seen creating improvised musicals with Baby Wants Candy. He would like to thank his family for being so great.


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Randall Harr

Randall Harr spent two years in Amsterdam performing with the comedy theatre Boom Chicago.  In addition to this, Randall wrote and performed in the Second City Cleveland reviews Who's yer Baghdadi? and No Shirt, No Shoes, No WMDs. His other Second City credits include Sex and the Second City, Rod Blagojevich Super Star (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), and Peach, Drop, Stop and Roll (Atlanta's Alliance Theatre).  Randall has also performed for the Second City on the high seas aboard the Norwegian Dawn.  Randall would like to thank his family for their continued support and love.


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Greg Hess

Greg Hess is an actor and writer currently living in Los Angeles. He can be seen performing at the Upright Citizen's Brigade and iO West theaters, and is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Cook County Social Club. Past credits include the TBS Just For Laughs Festival, The Second City National Touring Co, Key & Peele, Soul Man, CollegeHumor Originals, Funny or Die Exclusives, and My Mans. He co-created Schlub Life a Comedy Central pilot, and is a contributing writer for the Onion News Network. Greg is a graduate of William & Mary, and has trained at iO Chicago, the Second City and the School at Steppenwolf. Follow him @heygreghess or www.greghess.me.



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Thomas Middleditch

Thomas Middleditch joined The ISC during it's birth back in 2005. Now residing in Los Angeles, he can be seen in shows like Diamond Lion, Gravid Water, and Baby Wants Candy. You may also see him doing his various characters at various variety/standup shows and in College Humor videos. He was the lead in the indie feature, Splinterheads, and can be seen for about two seconds in Catherine Zeta-Jones' The Rebound. You can also see him in the upcoming feature films Road To Nardo and Fun Size.  He is a big tough man-guy and made his own website with his BARE HANDS. www.thomasmiddleditch.com.
 


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Blaine Swen

Blaine Swen is the creator and director of The Improvised Shakespeare Company.  He can also be seen at iO Chicago performing in the two-person group Blessing with Susan Messing.  His other iO credits include the house team Bullet Lounge, the one-man improvised musical, BASH!, The Armando Diaz Experience, The Deltones, and Challenger. He has also performed in Chicago with The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pegasus Players Theatre, The Second City Education Company, and The Backroom Shakespeare Project. He has toured the country with The ISC, the iO Road Show, and The Second City's BizCo.    He recently shot a comedy sketch pilot for NBC.  His other television credits include Crisis (NBC) and Odd Couple (CBS). The Chicago Reader has named him the "Best Improviser in Chicago." Blaine has a PhD in philosophy from Loyola University, Chicago.  Find him on Twitter @BlaineSwen.


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Ric Walker

Ric Walker is an actor, director, and teacher who has toured extensively for Wavelength, an education based comedy troupe and for The Second City in BizCo and BoatCo, where he toured the Mediterranean and European ports. In addition to The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Ric can be seen performing locally with the Serendipity Theatre Collective in Second Story.


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Steve Waltien

Steve Waltien originally hails from Vermont. He performs regularly all over the world with The Improvised Shakespeare Company and on Tuesday nights at iO in a two-person improv show with Rush Howell.  Steve has written and performed three revues on The Second City Mainstage as well as two critically acclaimed sketch shows at iO and UCB with his writing partner, Daily Show corespondent Jordan Klepper. Their first show was named 'the best sketch show of the year' by the Chicago Tribune. Steve also created and performed the Del Close award-winning solo show ‘Scenes With Ghosts.’ Steve was lucky to be a part of the Mr. Show Reunion with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross at the Just For Laughs Festival in Chicago in 2009. TV credits include Chicago PD, BTN's Friday Night Tailgate and The Second CIty Project- a new sketch comedy show from The Second City. Steve is a member of the teaching faculty at iO and The Second City. Love to Mom, Dad, Ali, Kate and Thomas.


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Martin Wilson

Martin Wilson grew up in Washington DC, and is an alum of the College of William & Mary, where he served as co-director of Improvisational Theatre (aka 'I.T.') for three years. Outside of The Improvised Shakespeare Company, he is an emeritus ensemble member at ComedySportz, and a part of the exclusive Billionaire Boys Club, having performed in their productions Concept Album: Shuffle and Toast at iO, as well as The People in Your Neighborhood at ComedySportz. He has taught all ages and skill levels as a CSz faculty member, in addition to running workshops and trainings for corporate and other groups through The Corporate Learning Institute, Dave & Co, and others. Last but certainly not least, he loves and thanks his beautiful wife Marianna.


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Matt Young

Matt Young is an actor, writer, improv coach, teacher, and proud member of the Improvised Shakespeare Company. He is a founding member of Whirled News Tonight, the long-running improvised satire at iO Chicago. Matt leads the inept crew of the U.S.S. Sisyphus as Captain Baxter in Improvised Star Trek (sometimes a live show, but always available as a podcast on iTunes). In addition to this, he has appeared in other improvised shows such as The Welcome to Your 30s Boys and Concept Album. He has also appeared in commercials for companies such as Long John Silvers, YouTube, Honda, and Comcast.





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"staggeringly brilliant"

TimeOut Chicago

"Smart, sophisticated, downright hilarious"

TimeOut Chicago

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