Sadly, an improv show has been canceled. We would like to take a moment to thank Rusty Petersen who hosted the THORprov (formerly Good Times) improv show for the past 4 years at the Horseshoe Pub. Anyone who has performed in Chicago knows about the Horseshoe because it was a place where you could regularly perform every Tuesday night. Finding a venue, securing a time slot, and maintaining that in Chicago is a pretty damn hard thing to do. For someone to do that for 4 years in a row is an amazing accomplishment. A lot of independent teams owe thanks and appreciation to Rusty for creating this show because this was where those teams got their start. We are one of those teams. This was where we had our first show. We remember the moment we first got there like it was yesterday. It was a dimly lit bar with shudders (literal shudders on the wall). There were album covers on the wall outside the bathroom, which of course was after you went through a ‘horseshoe door’ to get to them. There was a sick PBR/Chicken Tender combo deal that was a steal. There was a giant bar on the stage that provided a visible blockade between the performers and the audience (which was mainly the other performers and a few townsfolk at the bar). To us, though, it wasn’t a blockade….it was something to climb on. More importantly, it was an opportunity to perform. It was a chance to get on stage and play with one another for the first time ever. That night we had our first show and we loved it. So much that we stuck with it and came back to perform there regularly. This was where we got our start and we thank Rusty for providing us a place to perform and grow as a group. There are a variety of places to perform in Chicago, but this was a regular spot for us and one that we enjoyed playing at every single time.
Thoughts from the guys:
Collin: Rusty Petersen is one of the reasons groups better themselves in this community. I believe that becoming proficient at performing comes from taking classes, watching shows, and most importantly, doing shows. I was able to perform my first week in Chicago because of Rusty and independent show producers like Rusty. I’m very grateful for all he has done for so many, and all he continues to do.
David/Alan: The Horseshoe, the Underground Lounge, Upstairs Gallery, Bughouse, the Playground and more were not just “spaces” to perform in. They were homes. People like Rusty ran shows that welcomed and encouraged performers of all levels to come in and grow. Whether it was them asking us to perform or us asking them and always receiving a yes, knowing you had a place to perform consistently and with support is an incredible experience that is too easy to take for granted. We had 31 shows in April 2012, all of them booked through the independent theaters. If you want to perform, they will let you. They don’t give you an excuse, they give you the playing time and they help you by offering a nurturing environment. We are happy to have taken advantage of the huge opportunity Rusty and others provided, and will never forget where we came from.
Dave: The Horseshoe was where we got our first start performing as a group together, so I’m incredibly thankful for all Rusty has done. He’s worked incredibly hard to organize and host those shows, week after week, for four years. Rusty was always so accommodating for us, and we played there frequently while we were trying to figure out who we were as a team and to get our legs under us. And he’s just so incredibly nice and supportive.
Ryan: I remember the first night I stepped into this place. I was terrified yet so excited to perform. It was my first improv show in Chicago (I’d done improv in college, but never in Chicago). When I read the email from Rusty saying the show’s been canceled I said to myself, “well this sucks.” Why? Because I know the power this place has and how it has helped to fuel the independent community for years. I’ve done a ton of shows at this place because of what Rusty created and I’m sad that I won’t be able to do it again. This is where we had our first show. It was where Switch started. When I did 31 shows in January, Rusty was one of the people who helped me schedule some of my Tuesday nights. He has been an asset to the community and gave countless groups the possibility to hop on stage (for free) and play with their friends. Not to mention, he’s a damn nice guy and a joy to talk to. I’m grateful for everything he has done for not only me but the countless number of improv groups that have come and gone through the weekly independent show that he produced.
In the end…
Thank you Rusty. We’re sad the show has been canceled, but you’re awesome for putting it on for so long. It was a major accomplishment and springboard for a lot of people’s success. With every show, we grew closer together as a group and it is because of you and people like you that we are where we are today.