Vice President of Communications for The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory Lisa Condit spoke with comedian Tony V, who will be performing in Comedy Night at the BrickBox on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Then tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Lisa: Hi Tony V, welcome to the program!
Tony: How’s everybody doing?
Lisa: We’re living the dream. How about you?
Tony: Oh, couldn’t be better, and might I say, you both look lovely today!
Lisa: It’s easy to look lovely on the radio, isn’t it?
Tony: Yes, yes, I really have to say, I thank you all for going to such lengths just for this call.
New Pandemic Fitness Routine: Laughter
Tony: Let me say this about Worcester: Outside of Boston, it has the most running comedy.
Since we started doing comedy around here, there’s always been some kind of a show in Worcester, and the BrickBox is keeping that going, and The Hanover Theatre is great.
We’ve done many shows there, some fundraisers and stuff like that and it’s really cool. It’s very cool.
Lisa: We like to laugh in Worcester!
Tony: Yeah, the audience is terrific, and, let’s be honest, we need laughter right now. Comedians need to perform as much as people need to come out and see something because we’re all going a little squirrelly with this pandemic thing. Enough already.
Lisa: It’s absolutely true, but at the same time, you must have gotten some really good material from the pandemic that you’re going to share with us.
Tony: Oh, I’ve been having a great pandemic. Mine’s been fantastic. I’ve had more sourdough bread than I care to think about. Everybody all of a sudden became a baker.
Lisa: Well, it seems like people have gone in one of two directions. Either people have become a fitness fanatic in their home gyms and outdoors, or we’ve just thrown all caution to the wind and it’s all about the cookies, and the cakes and the pastries.
Improv: A Life Skill
Tony: Wait a second, what do you do in the conservatory, what is that? Is that music?
Lisa: We have music, we have singing, we have acting, we have stand up, we have technical theatre, we have light design, sound, costume design. So, it’s really a full service. We have just been really fortunate in having an education team that has been very nimble and has been able to pivot, that word, the power tool word, pivot on a dime and we were able to offer online classes immediately and then into a hybrid model. Our conservatory has been a very bright shining star for us, and part of that is the students. We have students from about six months all the way up to 96 who are part of these programs because we have professional programs for all ages.
One of the very popular classes is improv, Tony. It’s one of the ones we suggest to people right off the bat.
Tony: Of course. Got to get out of your shell.
Lisa: Yes, and let’s face it, we all could use some practice on how to respond to people in a positive way, and really, professionals are dealing with improv for their whole careers, so improv is popular. For the people who might like to make a career out of this, do you have any advice? Because we do have students at home.
Tony: It’s really stick-to-itiveness. I have a son, and he’s sort of, you know, trying to follow in the family footsteps. He called me with an opportunity that may arise for him yesterday. I said to him, which is my mantra, “the only power in our business we have is to say no, and never say “no,” which is the first rule of improv, you never negate. It’s a very positive experience and you push forward through all of it.
When you think of it, life is an improv, you have no idea what’s coming down the pike. So, it gets you ready for everything in life, it just makes you think on your feet and makes you a more well-rounded person.
So, what I tell people is, I can’t remember who told me this, so I don’t want to take credit for it, but many years ago, oh, it was Marsha Warfield as a matter of fact, it came to me. She said, “Never quit, because if you do it will get better tomorrow.”