Kaleidoscope Celebrates Community!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

If you’re ever feeling like you’re stuck in a creative rut, The Playground’s own Kaleidoscope is the perfect show to pull you out of that funk. Kaleidoscope features three different teams of improvisers who have never performed together before, all inspired by a guest monologist. Each week, three captains are selected to put together a brand-spanking new team for the show. I asked Jonathan Lee-Rey, the host, to tell me a bit more about it.

Q: How did you come up with the name/concept?

A: I actually didn’t! Kaleidoscope was created around ten years ago in New York City by Alan Starzinski. Since then it’s been a staple of the New York indie comedy scene and has expanded to Baltimore, LA, and now Chicago! One of the things I enjoyed the most about Kaleidoscope (NY) is the fact that it brought people from all over the comedy community together. It’s one of the few indie shows I saw back home where improv teachers, weekend performers, and students would play together in an environment that wasn’t a jam.

Q: What is your best memory from this show?

A: I recently had my mom as the guest monologist for the show. It was her first time ever performing on a stage! Everyone from the audience to the performers were super supportive of her and we had an awesome show. That and my mom was super funny, obviously.

Q: What are you most proud of about this show?

A: Each week I’m blown away by the level of talent in this city and discover someone new in the community I never would’ve met otherwise. That’s always been a goal of the show for me. Each week I try and pull captains from different parts of the community so performers can meet people outside of their normal circles and hopefully work with one another in the future! That and I invite people to hang out afterwards, so people have a space to drink and get to know one another.

I was lucky enough to catch this show twice over the last couple weeks and each time it was an absolute delight. It’s exciting and revitalizing to see people who haven’t played together before immediately creating a hilarious rapport and chemistry. This format creates a supportive environment where improvisers celebrate, expand, and deepen each other’s ideas in order to make a hilarious, welcoming performance. You can catch Kaleidoscope every Sunday evening at The Playground Theater at 9:15pm!


-Lizzie Kaniecki, The Playground Theater’s performance and special events blogger.