The EDGE Improv
The EDGE Improv's riotous antics have inspired rave reviews from shrewd onlookers since the dawn of time. The troupe performs to sell-out crowds regularly at BPA where their shenanigans have earned a devoted community of followers seeking respite from life’s wearisome details. For nearly a quarter century, The EDGE Improv has ingeniously improvised facts of all persuasion. Their promise of "imagination on demand" routinely relies on audience suggestions. You won’t want to miss their first-Saturday performances, which troupe member Ken Ballenger likens to therapy (but cheaper!).
“Only onstage with The EDGE is there an amusement park where you pay to sit in a hole, an elevator full of people taking a shower, and an exotic dancing car repair shop. All totally believable.” – Cynthia Lair
“The EDGE hopes the audience remembers…when we are on stage, the stage adds 70 to 80 pounds.” – Matty Whitman
“The Edge is like therapy, but cheaper.” - Ken Ballenger, troupe member
“The Edge Improv is milk-through-the-nose funny. Really, I'm laughing right now.” – Rebecca Farwell, audience member
KEN BALLENGER – Ken has been performing in the Seattle area for over 30 years. You may have seen him on stage, in commercials, and if you were alert at a few low budget movies, you may have spotted him. He is one of the founding members of The EDGE. In addition to performing he has taught workshops, practices karate, and, now retired, is enjoying life and carving things with a chain saw.
JOHN KENYON ELLIS – John is happy to be back for season ??24?? of The EDGE. “Thanks Bainbridge for supporting The EDGE for all these years!!” Besides Improv, John has appeared on this stage in Noises Off, Annie, Born Yesterday, Guys and Dolls, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, ‘Art’ and Sylvia, most recently as Falstaff in Merry Wives at Bloedel. John was awarded the Island Treasure in 2018 for his years in The EDGE and on stage at BPA. “Miss you Frank! ONWARD!”
TODD ERLER – Todd is very lucky. He had the good fortune of being trained in the art of improv in the early nineties by some of the Chicagoans who were pioneers in that field. Since then Todd has led two and a half improv groups, taught improv classes, worked with Unexpected Productions in Seattle and now gets to perform with The EDGE. Todd teaches in the amazing Odyssey program for the Bainbridge Island School District and plays Irish pub tunes locally as one half of the duo Rye and Barley. Sometimes Todd is cast in shows at BPA or with Island Theater's library plays. He even gets to direct a show every now and then. At one time Todd was the artistic director of the Jewel Box Theater in Poulsbo and wrote an improv blog called “Improvmantra,” but now he enjoys spending the bulk of his non-working time being Samantha's dad. He is also blessed with an amazing and supportive wife, Alice, whose support allows him to be able to do all these fun and creative things.
CYNTHIA LAIR – Cynthia has authored two cookbooks, Feeding the Whole Family (currently in its fourth edition) and Feeding the Young Athlete. There’s a third book about sourdough breads on the way. She’s been a professor at Bastyr University since Forrest Gump was released (look it up). Visit Cookus Interruptus www.cookus.tv where over 175 short videos feature good food and improvised antics. Or find out “How to Cut an Onion” via her Tedx Rainier talk on YouTube. Improv has become her new occupation as she is also a company member and teacher for Unexpected Productions at the Market Theater. She claims, “Doing improv balances real and imaginary life for me. With the real part being what happens on stage.”
SUSAN MACPHERSON – Susan started taking Improv classes in the early 1980's as a way to bypass the “Seattle Freeze” (the phenomenon where it is very hard to make friends when new to the city). She improvized her way right past that and went on the be one of the first founding women in Seattle TheatreSports as well as performing with None of The Above, Seattle Improv, and Unexpected Productions for many years before joining The EDGE. For money, she has managed retail stores, had her own line of jewelry for 10 years at Pike Market, been a breakfast chef at an all-treehouse resort owned by the Treehouse Master (Pete Nelson), and finally settled on work she absolutely loves for the last 18 years helping new families as a Postpartum Doula and Certified Baby Sleep Consultant. (Yes, she can get babies to sleep.) Susan is the proud mother of Geo- scientist, Carson, who is going for her Ph.D. in Geo-Hazard Mitigation. In Susan’s non-existent spare time, she can be seen camping in “Primrose”, her 1970-vintage, British caravan.
BHAMA ROGET – Bhama started doing Improv at age 16 when she joined the Improv Troupe at Booker T Washington School of the Arts in Dallas, TX. She moved to Seattle in 1997, and joined BPA’s own troupe, The EDGE in 1999. In addition to Improv, Bhama has been seen in many local and regional theatre productions, on the hit web shows Cookus Interruptus (along with fellow Edgers Cynthia Lair and Frank Buxton) and WRECKED, for which she received an Indie Series Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. In Los Angeles, Bhama has performed at the Hollywood Improv, MBar, and El Cid, as well as appearing in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Bhama now splits her time between Seattle and Los Angeles, where she can been seen around town doing Standup Comedy.
ANDREW SHIELDS – Andrew has been called “a musical genius,” “phenomenal,” “immensely talented,” and “an unending source of irritation.” During his Wonder Bread years Andrew was fortunate to study piano under someone who studied under someone who studied under Liszt who studied under Beethoven who studied under Mozart. Andrew has a BA in Music from Stanford, where he won the Undergraduate Prize in Composition. More recently, he wrote the music, lyrics, and script for the original Reefer Madness: The Musical, as well as music, lyrics, and (with fellow EDGE member John Ellis) script for the musical Harry Tracy: A Bainbridge Bandit. He has music-directed shows at BPA, ACT, Village Theater, Tacoma Actors’ Guild, the Bathhouse Theater, and Second Story Repertory, among others, and played Harold Hill in The Music Man and Tito Merelli in Lend Me a Tenor at BPA. In his spare time Andrew practices medicine and spends time with his phenomenal wife and two immensely talented daughters.
CHRIS SOLDEVILLA – Chris has done Improv in Boston, L.A. as well as here on Bainbridge and teaches improvisors young and old at his acting/improv workshop The Studio Bainbridge. He has appeared on screens big and small and locally in BPA’s productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Twelve Angry Men, True West, and The Tempest. He got acclaim for his roles in Swinging Hammer’s American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross. Chris approaches life like he does improv: he makes it up on the spot…and asks complete strangers for suggestions. Visit him at www.thestudiobainbridge.com.
MATTY WHITMAN – A Seattle native, Matty has been performing on stage and doing Improv for over 28 years. He had the pleasure of working with Dina Martina in many of her shows at the ReBar, and other shows there too, including Pirates of Lesbos and Deflowered in the Attic. He was also a member of Seattle’s Annex Theater (The Women) and worked with Alice B Theatre (The Holiday Survival Game Show). He’s been with The EDGE since the year TWO, and offers up the most outlandish characters and situations to our proceedings, because he is ODD! Matty is also a voiceover talent and has done many character voices for video games. Matty works at the Lake Burien campus of Navos in early childhood development, and says, “I get work with kids all day. I get to pick up Legos, print out coloring pages, and basically do improv with them. Really!? It’s kind of a dream job.” Matty would like to dedicate this show to his mom, Ann Whitman, who is turning 92 this year. She is a true poet in her own writings, and taught Matty to always be creative. “Thanks Mom! Ok, let’s make up something weird!”
Adults - $16.00 USD
Discount - $12.00 USD
1st Saturday Teen Tickets: $5 per teen at the door once the BPA Box Office opens. Tickets cannot be pre-booked and are subject to availability.