The N Crowd Seven Year Anniversary: BJ Ellis

The N Crowd has somewhat of a long history. Shows begin to blur together after seven years. It's hard to keep track of who was where and when things happen. It's also hard to pin down one great story or highlights. I've been with The N Crowd since the very beginning, so maybe that's the best place to start.

(As a side note, parts of this should be read with old timey 1920's music on a train car.)

Feb. 26th 2005 was my first audition for The N Crowd at 213 New Street. I remember getting there entirely too early (a trademark of mine) and just walking around Old City. I don't remember being nervous or anxious. I was excited to get in there and do some improv. I had done some in college and had met Jessica Snow and Greg Maughan a few months earlier to try and do something, but nothing really panned out.

The thing that stands out in my mind the most was how many people were there. There were alot. I remember everyone having headshots, resumes, ect. I had a college acting resume of sorts, although in retrospect it wasn't much to look at. I was a bit concerned that I didn't have a headshot. I think I even needed the term "headshot" explained to me as the term only applied to N64 Goldeneye in my mind. So, I flipped my paper over and drew a stick figure version of me and submitted that. I do specifically recall some sarcastic comments from some people that I should have come more prepared. Thinking about that now, I can't help but smirk as I write this reflecting on the past seven years.

I don't remember auditioning, other than it was a lot of fun. I recall huddling with Brandon, Mike, Akshay, and Jessica during breaks as I felt I had great chemistry with them. Auditions were Feb 26th and March 5th. So I don't know the order I met people. Some were at the first and not the second. Others at the second but not the first. Some, like me, came to both.

On March 6th, at around 7:20pm I got a email from Emily Dufton (Ray Reese's Managing Director) saying I was in. I still have the email thanks to the wonderful world of Gmail. I was excited and immediately told my parents and all of my friends on Myspace. This was before the opening of Facebook mind you.

The rest I suppose they say is history. We started at 213 New Street for 6 months... bounced over to the Society Hill Playhouse for 8 months... and then finally settled at the Actors Center in September of 2006. We've been all over the East Coast from Toronto to North Carolina.

I believe the last time I sat down and wrote it out, 40 people have been part of The N Crowd. Some, such as myself, have been here since the very beginning. I've gone through several pair of black shoes, black pants, and black shirts over the years. Some have come and gone. Steve Cohen was in the original cast, left for college, came back, left for college again, came back, left for 3 years, and then came back again.

I love The N Crowd and the people who are in it. I like saying that I am the Executive Director of a professional improv troupe. Looking back, I can honestly say I do not have any regrets. Looking forward, I am as equally excited for the future as I was on March 6th, 2005.

Long Live The N Crowd.

The N Crowd: Seven Year Anniversary Series

Later this month, Philadelphia short form improv group The N Crowd will celebrate its' seventh anniversary. We've asked some members of the group to share some stories about the history of the group in celebration.

Mike Conner - Location, Location, Libation

The N Crowd is an all-star drinking team formed in April of two thousand something or other... whenever seven years ago was.  We first performed short-form improv comedy in an unairconditioned building that functioned as a Karate Dojo by day and a big stuffy brick oven at night: really the ideal locale for the performing arts.  After the forging of the Dufton Trail (a sticky residue of dried piss coating the venue's sole toilet seat), the N Crowd decided it needed to branch out by moving to the Society Hill Playhouse.

 The Society Hill Playhouse differed from the Karate Dojo mainly in that they didn't appreciate the performers taking massive gravity bong rips on the premises.  The core of N Crowd debauchery now migrated to a North Philly shithole known as 353 West Master (cut cut cut faster).  Fueled by Captain Morgan and ginger brandy, the Master Street house became a place for N Crowders to socialize, play foosball, and incur concussions.
Over the next few years, various members of the N Crowd got jobs/had kids/got arrested/went to rehab/began abiding by the teachings of the honorable prophet Elijah Muhammad.  The party times died down, then roared back, then died down again, then elevated to crazy meth-orgies, and finally leveled off to a respectable whir.  Around this time, the N Crowd made a final move to the Actor's Center in Old City, their current home base.
The Actor's Center is a great place with a wonderful landlord (who I don't want to piss off by writing something snarky here).  It has been our home for a few years now.  Our cast has never been funnier; our audiences have never smelled lovelier; and our drinking, though not as prolific, has never been honed into such an unadulterated form of turpitude.
The N Crowd performs every Friday at The Actor's Center (257 N 3rd St. Philadelphia). Their seven year anniversary show will be held on April 27. You can purchase tickets for the event online.