Hawk & Wayne, Steve Byrne and more — improv and comedy thrive in the summer

Published August 2
Updated August 2


Improv keeps going in the summer when everyone else is dark. (They donít have the same demands as other theaters, and theyíre a free-spirited bunch.)

For the past nine years, Ricky Wayne, left, and Gavin Hawk, two of the areaís best known performers, have been teaming up the first Sunday of the month at American Stage. In Karaoke-Prov, Hawk & Wayne mine the audienceís favorite songs for hidden (read: nonexistent, until now) stories lurking within them. Hawk draws on experience in long-form improvisation and sketch comedy at Second City Theatre in Chicago, Wayne from his time with the Groundlings improv troupe in Los Angeles.

The pair also teach improv at American Stage, where you can see their students perform the second and third Sundays of each month. Karaoke-Prov starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Raymond James Theatre, second floor lobby, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org.


L.A. comic Steve Byrne, left, doesnít build his act around crude, but then heís not afraid to go there. Among his sharp jokes that get a lot of laughs: a fast-paced dissection of marriage. Catch him Thursday through Saturday at Tampa Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $17 to $20. (813) 864-4000. For showtimes, go to improvtampa.com.

Dan Cummins, right, got his start winning a talent show 15 years ago at Tampa Improv. The win earned Cummins, of Spokane, Wash., a yearís supply of Cinnabon rolls and a booking in New York. He has never looked back, taking his brand of smart and carefully constructed comedy to Showtime and Comedy Central, even reaching the semifinals of Last Comic Standing in Season 6. Catch him Thursday through Sunday at Side Splitters Comedy Club, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $18 to $20. (813) 960-1197. For showtimes, go to sidesplitterscomedy.com.


If you were planning to catch Jobsite Theaterís Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Aug. 17 to Sept. 9), now might be a good time to nail down plans. Opening week of the glam-rock musical had nearly sold out by mid-July. The Straz Centerís resident theater company kicks off its 20th season with a reprise of a 2013 hit, bringing back Spencer Meyers, right, and Amy Gray to play a gender-fluid aspiring rock singer and his bitter, codependent assistant.

"They were just sort of perfect, so why would you mess with that?" producing artistic director David Jenkins said.

A 2014 Broadway revival starring Neil Patrick Harris breathed new life into the show, which follows an East German rock goddess who has suffered a botched sexual reassignment surgery. The 2013 Jobsite show inspired some patrons to return with friends, sometimes on the same weekend, Jenkins said. Runs Aug. 17 to Sept. 9 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Shimberg Playhouse, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.50 and up. (813) 229-7827. For showtimes, go to jobsitetheater.org.


Bad Jews, Joshua Harmonís trenchant comedy, has been extended a week at American Stage. The show now runs through Aug. 12 at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $39 and up. (727) 823-7529. For showtimes, go to americanstage.org.