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Originally published Monday, May 13, 2019 at 11:20a.m.

Returning from the Phoenix Improv Festival, Zenprov Comedy is back with an all-new lineup of games. From improvised story about pioneer Sedona Schnebly to ancient aliens, it’s all up for comedic examination in “How the West Was Fun!”

Zenprov performs Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m., at Mary D. Fisher Theatre in Sedona. Tickets are $12 advanced purchase, or $15 the day of the show.

“Zenprov is the best comedy troupe in Arizona,” said Patrick Schweiss, executive director of the Sedona International Film Festival. “People were laughing so hard their cheeks were hurting.”

During the Phoenix Improv Festival, Zenprov hired a professional coach from Second City in Los Angeles for two days of intensive training to help the troupe take their play to the new levels of authenticity and hilarity. Moving forward, the troupe will add more Chicago-style, long-form sets to their shows.

For more than decade, the troupe has tapped into the rich source material that comes from living in a community steeped in spiritual seeking, UFOs, vortexes, self-help gurus, psychics, and radical vegans.

While Zenprov Comedy’s may start in the woo-woo culture of Sedona, their conceptual otherworldly performances are grounded in fundamentals of rock-solid improv, inventive satire, and their constant search for the big truths hidden within the great Cosmic Giggle.

If you’ve never attended one of their live performances before, Zenprov Comedy is similar to the popular improvised TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

The troupe performs fast-paced games and scenes created in the moment -- always based on audience suggestions. Unlike sketch or standup comedy, nothing is rehearsed or scripted ahead of time. Best of all, it’s never the same show twice. 

The Zenprov Comedy players embrace the Del Close method of improv acting, which emphasizes the “group mind” that mysteriously develops during a performance. Miraculously, the player’s minds fuse together to create a “super mind” where they practically finish each other’s sentences -- and often do. Laughter ensues.

The super minds of Zenprov Comedy are Derek Dujardin, Shaeri Richards, Chris Redish, Tom Shoemaker, Shaunn Cochran, Betty Testa, Linda Roemer and Mary Carder.

Tickets are $12 pre-sale and $15 the day of the show. Tickets can be purchased online at www.zenprovcomedy.com, or in person at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre box office or by phone at 928-282-1177.

The Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located across the street from Harkins Movie Theatre at 2030 St. Rt. 89A. Doors open at 7 p.m. Shows are rated PG-13 and run approximately 90 minutes. VisitZenprovComedy.com to learn more.

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