By Polly Keary, Editor
An unexpected offer from a Redmond comedy troupe will mean an entertainment opportunity for Monroe theater fans and some badly-needed funds for the theater itself.
Members of the Monroe Arts Council, who have begun a $1 million refurbishment project on Monroe’s historic Wagner Performing Arts Center on W. Main Street, got a pleasant surprise when the theater group contacted them about the fundraiser.
Split 2nd Improv, a group of actors who make up comedy on the spot, often involving the audience, have a history of doing fundraisers for various causes, but have no particular history with Monroe or with Monroe’s theater, formerly called Wagner Auditorium.
The 640-seat theater was built in 1939 as a gift to the community, but in recent years has fallen into some disrepair. The roof leaked, the walls had water damage, the seats were torn up and faded and the sound system was old.
Furthermore, the bathrooms weren’t suitable for wheelchairs, and there are no dressing rooms or orchestra pit.
But the Monroe Arts Council is working to address those issues, beginning with the bathrooms, which are currently under reconstruction. In order to do that, they are raising money a bit at a time. The offer from Split 2nd Improv was an unexpected boon.
“This guy called Robert Bow just contacted us and asked if they could use Wagner and they decided to do it as a benefit,” said MAC member Kim Hoover. “It was nice. It was out of the blue.”
Split 2nd Improv is associated with the SecondStory Repertory Theater in Redmond Town Center.
“If you are new to live improv or you’ve been coming to our shows for years, it doesn’t matter because you’ll never see the same show twice,” the theater group said.
That is because the audience helps come up with the scenes. Furthermore, each night is a contest, with two teams competing against each other. Winners are determined by audience applause.
The show will be Saturday, Jan. 18. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, and 6 for kids 2-12 and for seniors. All proceeds go to the Monroe Arts Council.