Improv Comedy Troupe Coming to Youngstown Playhouse

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Scriptless in Seattle – an improv comedy troupe that takes cues from the audience and turns them into skits, songs and even scenes from a musical – will come to The Youngstown Playhouse on Saturday, March 16, for a 7:30 p.m. performance.

Much like the hit show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?,” every show is different and created on the spot, said Justin Folger, a troupe member who also serves as emcee.

“We like to say that the show that audiences will see is one that has never been performed before and will never be performed again – and we mean it,” he said. “The guys always have something new based around the audience in the room that evening in that city, wherever it may be.”

A Cleveland native, Folger helped launch the troupe seven years ago. Scriptless now has two troupes – one based in Cleveland and the other in Pittsburgh – and Folger serves as emcee and tour manager for both.

Coming from a family of entertainers, he launched his career while young.

“I was always on stage when I was growing up, and I have a huge theater background,” he said. “I joined the improv group in my high school, and we didn’t want it to end.”

After graduating, Folger and two others from his high school improv troupe entered a talent show.

The trio hadn’t come up with a name for their act, and when they were put on the spot before a show, one of the members suggested Scriptless in Seattle.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

“A couple months later we got a message from a coffee shop owner to see if we wanted to do another show,” Folger said. “Then the owner of another coffee shop who was there asked us, and we did his place as well.”

After a while, it turned into a touring comedy troupe, and the name became permanent.

The Scriptless in Seattle comedy troupe in a recent performance.

The show has borrowed some elements from “Whose Line,” said Folger, who once met the show’s star, Collin Mochrie, at an event and got into a backstage discussion with him.

“Colin told me, ‘Anything you see me doing that you like, take it,’” he said. “And I did.”

During a Scriptless show, the troupe might ask a few questions of an audience member and then write a song about them based on the answers.

“We will also do film noir and make up musicals with multiple songs,” he said. There is also a bit where they get the audience to help them make sound effects.

One thing that sets Scriptless apart is that its sketches tend to go on longer than “Whose Line,” and can have a theatrical bent. The theater setting lends itself to that, Folger said.

He stressed that they use only willing participants from the audience.

Scriptless in Seattle is a family-friendly show, Folger said, even if the topics and the humor are typically adult in nature.

The Youngstown appearance has some extra meaning for Folger, as he has family here and has visited the area many times over the years.

Joining him at The Playhouse will be five other troupe members: Charlie Hubbell, Ben Smith, David Olinger, James Trombka and Randy Johr.

Tickets for the show range from $27 to $17 and are on sale now at or by calling 330 788 8739.

Pictured at top: Justin Folger serves as emcee at a Scriptless in Seattle show.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.