Arcade Academy



Arcade Comedy Theater offers workshops for beginner and advanced improvisers on a variety of subjects, inspiring performers to continue their education and approach the art of improv from different directions. Workshops have been taught by nationally-known improvisers and instructors, including Kevin McDonald, Laura Hall, Rick Hall, Jimmy Carrane, Paul Grondy, Chris Trew, Tami Nelson, Rob Belushi, Tim Stoltenberg, Susan Messing, Rachel Mason and more.


Workshop Schedule

  • October 28: Rick Hall & Laura Hall
  • November 18: Kevin McDonald
  • Every Third Thursday: Improv Pop-Up Night



Beginner’s Music Improv

Singing in public is hard enough even when you already know the words – Master Instructors Rick and Laura Hall bring their combined 50+ years of professional experience from The Second City, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and The Annoyance Theater, to teach this lively, engaging and fun musical improv workshop.


Over the years Rick & Laura have found that many improvisers, even pros, lack experience in musical improvisation, so they have constructed a one-day program designed to ease improvisers into this sometimes frightening world. The workshop builds confidence and teaches skills that can be used immediately in performance.


The Basic Workshop is designed for people who are new to song improv, even those who find it terrifying. We start with exercises to help students get comfortable, then move on to more advanced concepts as the day goes on. We will tailor the class to meet the needs of the group. All students should be prepared to stretch themselves.

Saturday, October 28

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Registration $55 ($45 before 10/16)
No prerequisites.

Sign Up
Laura and Rick Hall


Advanced Music Improv


The Advanced Workshop is a three-hour intensive for those who have at least one year of improv experience and have already done some musical improvisation, either in class or performance.

Tuition also includes a performance opportunity later in the evening. The class will open the 8pm show the same day as the class.

The aim of the workshop is to increase confidence and teach skills that can be used immediately in performance. “Improv Karaoke Jam Night” in the 8pm show not only puts these skills to use but also provides a fun way to round out the day.

The class will be tailored to meet the needs of the group. All students should be prepared to stretch themselves.

Saturday, October 28

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Registration $75 ($65 before 10/16)
No prerequisites
Includes your ticket to the 8PM show

Sign Up
Laura and Rick Hall


An Improvised Life: Lecture


This panel will be an informal discussion about the juggling act of work, family, career and a creative life.  For many musicians, actors, writers and improvisors it can be hard to strike a balance between paying the bills and living a creatively fulfilling life.  But it can be done!

This is not a workshop about how to break into the business or use social media to market yourself.  It’s about considering your priorities, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, setting goals and time frames for achieving those goals, all the while saying “yes and” to the unexpected opportunities and challenges that arise in life.

Sunday, October 29

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Registration $15 ($10 before 10/16)
No prerequisites
Includes coffee, refreshments, and bagels

Sign Up
Laura and Rick Hall
About Rick & Laura

Rick and Laura met in Chicago, driving in a crowded van with the touring company of The Second City. Laura broke all her dating rules by going out with an actor (worse yet, an improviser), but since then they’ve gotten married, had two kids, and moved to L.A., where they continue to perform, write and teach, both separately and together.

Rick & Laura lead music improv workshops at colleges, festivals and theaters around the country. They especially like helping people discover that song improv is really fun and accessible.

They also play together in the band, The Sweet Potatoes, performing their own unique blend of country, folk and homespun Americana, loaded with acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies.

About Laura Hall

Laura is best known as the improvisational pianist on the hit TV show, Whose Line is it Anyway, which is back after a 10 year hiatus, in its fifth season on the CW Network, with Aisha Tyler as the new host.

Laura was in the Drew Carey Show live episodes, and has toured the country with Drew Carey and the Improv All Stars. She has played with tons of improv groups in Chicago and L.A., including The Groundlings, iO and iO West (Improv Olympic), The Annoyance Theater, Theatresports, Improv Institute, and Opening Night: The Improvised Musical!

While at The Second City Laura wrote music for the Jeff Award winning E.T.C. revue, “Channel This!” She composed original musicals with The Annoyance Theater and Theater-A-Go-Go, including “Patty, Patty, Bang! Bang!” which won an L.A. Weekly award for Best New Musical.

Laura has written music for indie films, including “Slice of Pie”, written by and starring her husband. She scored two award winning documentaries about the holocaust, “After Auschwitz” and “Swimming in Auschwitz”, and romantic comedies, “Anatomy of a Breakup” and “Look at Me”.

About Rick Hall

After touring with The Second City, he opened two main stage shows, “John Paul Sartre & Ringo” and “Catch 27”. Rick Hall was a founding member of Chicago’s Improv Institute. Rick uses his improv skills as a host/presenter at meetings and corporate events, to help him handle whatever gets thrown at him.

Rick has been on improv-based TV shows Curb Your Enthusiasm and as a series regular on The Factory.  He’s been a host of films and television shows, including 28 episodes of KC Undercover, and guest spots on NCIS, 24, The Middle, According to Jim, and Seinfeld.  He has been seen in numerous commercials for AT&T, Centrum, Sabra Hummus, Volkswagen and many more.

Rick loves writing and telling stories. His one man show, “Pigboy”, focused on stories about growing up on a farm in Central Illinois. It was chosen for the “HBO Comedy Arts Festival” in Aspen, and enjoyed successful runs in L.A., Chicago, and across the midwest.  Rick has recorded a CD of several of his stories and turned one of them, “Slice of Pie”, into a short film, which has enjoyed a successful run of the film festival circuit, winning numerous awards.



How To Create a Sketch Show


Work with the legendary Kids in the Hall comedian Kevin McDonald in this two-day workshop that will have you crafting your own sketches into a full production. The weekend includes lectures on sketch comedy theory, both in the writing and production stages, spread throughout work sessions where you’ll receive notes and direction from Kevin. It’s a hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of experience that has you working alongside your friends and colleagues to put on a new sketch show that debuts Sunday night at the Arcade!

The workshop cost covers 12 hours of workshop time, with a break for lunch each day, as well as a ticket to both the Kevin McDonald Show on Saturday night and the Kevin McDonald Sketch Workshop Show on Sunday night.

Saturday & Sunday, Nov 19-20

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Saturday
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday + 7:00 PM Show
Registration $200 ($180 before 11/6)
No prerequisites — but some experience writing sketch comedy is encouraged

Laura and Rick Hall