Loyola Phoenix

Student Comedy Sketch Group Plays Off Nostalgia

Performers Mike Lake (left), Grace Roushdi and Claire Alafita rehearse and bring a St. Andrew's Boys Choir sketch to life.

Fans of hit shows from the 2000s such as “iCarly,” “Drake & Josh” and “Wizards of Waverly Place” are in for a treat throughout April.

“Tween TV” comedy sketches written by a new sketch writing team called St. Andrew’s Boys Choir will be performed April 4 at the Crowd Theater (3935 N. Broadway St.). The performance will include sketches that play off episodes of well-loved, young adult television shows.

The PHOENIX talked with members Kevin Strader and Moira Kelly to learn more about the group’s origins and potential future. Strader said the idea for the group’s first script came out of an impromptu writing session with teammate and friend Sophie Krueger.

“Sophie and I have been writing together since we first met,” Strader, a sophomore English and creative writing major, said. “We were in the [Information Commons] at three in the morning one night and we both had to write papers. And we were like, ‘What if we didn’t write these papers and we wrote a sketch script of iCarly instead?’”

The inspiration for the student group came about that night. Strader and Krueger soon reached out to their similarly comedic friends, and a year later, the new writing group was officially formed.

Strader said picking the organization’s bizarre name was a fun process.

“We really liked names like The Upright Citizens Brigade … I’ve always liked names like those because it sounds like a legitimate organization, but it’s not,” Strader said. “So we basically went with the opposite of what we are, which is a boys choir from a private school. The name has a nice ring to it, we think.”

Kelly, a junior creative writing and film production major, said St. Andrew’s Boys Choir called its sketches “Tween TV” because of their subject matter — mature scripts featuring characters from beloved Nickelodeon and Disney Channel television shows. She said each performance will consist of four “episodes,” two pairs from two shows, separated by creative recreations of commercials for old products, such as the Rainbow Sponge.

“It’s incredible. We’ve been revisiting our childhoods, but then we make it into this adult-themed episode,” Kelly said. “We thought, ‘If we were to watch those shows now and it was targeted at [college students], what would it be like?’”

Strader said he’s always enjoyed doing sketch comedy in front of live audiences, and is proud of what developed out of his late night at the IC last year.

“It was sort of a very wild thought that ended up developing into something we thought was really fun, which was parodying these shows with characters people already know,” Strader said. “You’ll see all your favorites out there, like [the ‘Drake & Josh’ characters] Drake, Josh, Crazy Steve and Megan in weird, manipulated ways. They all have this unique gag … in the shows they’re in, but in our scripts even more so.”

After forming, St. Andrew’s Boys Choir began applying to have its sketches performed at local theaters and was offered time slots from a number of theaters, according to Kelly. She said the Crowd Theater was the group’s first offer, which is why there will be performances there every Wednesday night in April at 10 p.m. Kelly said the first performance will feature episodes that play off of “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Drake & Josh.”

“We’re excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on. We’ve been working really hard,” Kelly said. “We’ll be doing different things coming soon, in the summer. We hope to take advantage of those other offers from other theaters. We won’t just be doing the ‘Tween TV’ stuff — we’ll be branching out into other ventures.”

Strader said he’s excited for the first show and can’t wait to see how St. Andrew’s Boys Choir evolves during his remaining two years at Loyola.

“It’s really something to watch a bunch of college kids pretending to be a bunch of Disney stars,” Strader said. “We encourage [students] to see more than one show, because each one will be a different thing.”

Tickets for St. Andrew’s Boys Choir’s performances can be purchased at the Crowd Theater box office for $5 the day of the event. For more information about upcoming shows, visit the group’s Facebook page, follow @StAndrewsBoysChoir on Twitter or email standrewsboyschoir@gmail.com.

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