UPDATE: Lincoln High School’s Theatre Arts Department presentation of Improvathon: A Comedy Throwdown raised $1,350 in support of Blank Children’s Hospital and NAMI of Iowa.
A comedy improvisation competition at Lincoln High School that students are calling “exciting, fun, goofy and humorous” will be a battle among students and alumni for the Comedy Cup, and they’re inviting the public to watch the sparring unfold. Admission is free, but donations and a silent auction will benefit two important charities in our community, Blank Children’s Hospital and NAMI of Iowa.
“Both Blank Children’s Hospital and NAMI of Iowa are vital to our community, especially in today’s world,” said LHS Theater Director Michael Williams. “Both groups provide valuable services to this community focused on health and well-being.”
It’s motivating for students, too.
“Not to sound cheesy, but it does mean a lot because I know it’s hard to ask for help,” said freshman Riley Young. “By helping out Team NAMI we’re hopefully helping someone who asked for help be proud that they did.”
Williams has a very personal connection to this night. In a news release, he describes a warm June day in 2021 when he found out his sister had been taken to the emergency room. She passed away a week later.
“While the sadness still remains, as it always will, reflecting on her life, he realized the many lessons she taught him,” reads the release. “Always the joker, she was always able to make everyone she was around laugh. The epitome of a kind heart, she always made sure that everyone around her was taken care of, philanthropy was a big part of who she was. He knew he needed to do something!”
Williams decided to tie together two of the most important parts of her life – her love of laughter and her sense of philanthropy.
“I feel like she would be proud,” Williams said. “She was one of Lincoln Theatre Arts biggest supporters and she would always ask about our latest productions and how things were going. She was always a sounding board for me, someone that I could go to when I needed advice or needed a laugh.”
Laughter is the gift Williams and his teams will give the audience on Friday night and he hopes in turn, the audience will gift the two great causes.
“I am beyond excited for the performance!” Williams said. “Improv is one of my favorite structures of theatre because there’s a built in element of surprise that exists because you never know what will happen.”
And he couldn’t be more proud of his students and their work on the project.
“I truly believe that I get the opportunity to work with some of the hardest working students in the state,” he said. “They have been absolute rock stars! The cool part as well is seeing their growth and their confidence as Improv performers.”
Admission is free for the event, but audience members are encouraged to bring money to donate as the audience donations will help determine which team will walk away with the illustrious Comedy Cup. Silent auction items will also be available to be bid on at the event. Masks are strongly encouraged for all those attending in person, there will also be livestream of the event for those unable to attend in person which will be available on the Lincoln Theatre Arts YouTube page.
Lincoln Theatre Arts is an extracurricular entity for Lincoln High School which serves around 45 students year round providing mainstage productions, Iowa High School Speech Association competitions, and other community outreach aligned with Lincoln High School’s Mission State of empowering all students by providing rigorous and relevant experiences in preparation for success in a global society.