Troika Returns for a New Season at Sideshow


For Immediate Release
Troika Contact: Matt Nelson 267-441-4780

Troika Returns for a New Season at Sideshow​
Hit Improv Competition Partners with Indie Showcase Sensation to Create Original Programming That Challenges Performers & Entertains Audiences in New Ways​

PHILADELPHIA— The hit improv competition serial TROIKA is back in 2012 for another season of threeway comedic showdowns, this time partnering with SIDESHOW, a popular recurring showcase on the Avenue of the Arts that has become rite of passage for new, experimental theater and a requisite stop for established talent on the indie comedy circuit.

Created in 2007 by comedian and producer MATT NELSON, Troika was developed as an experiment to get improvisers out of their comfort zones and creating new, high-concept work. “When you work with a comedy ensemble, rehearsing and performing week-in, week-out, people tend to develop habits. You get comfortable with fellow cast mates and their playing style, as well as your place in the group. And because you know them well and your schedules align, it’s easy to create a pretty insular circle when undertaking new side projects as well.” Nelson, who also serves as the host of the show, says Troika’s chief aim is to break those habits. “Let’s take them out of those little circles and group them with two other people they don’t perform with. See how a new dynamic can shake things up and push people indifferent ways.”

At the beginning of February, 27 names will be drawn at random from a pool of improvisers who have submitted to participate in the competition. Throughout February, the teams of each round will be announced at Sideshow – giving each team roughly four weeks to meet one another, adopt a showconcept, and continue to practice it as little or much as they deem fit. Then one month later, three teams will meet to perform, and vie for audience votes. If they garner the most, they advance.

Since its inception, Troika teams have challenged themselves year-after-year to create a large assortment of unique, original concept shows in order to delight audiences for their votes. With their sights on the title, previous contestants have developed sweeping musicals, staged rock band reunions, held teenage sleepovers and welcomed crowds to tune in to Spanish language soap operas. Past shows have featured a colorful cast of characters including clowns, story time librarians, puppets and even witness protection relocatees.

Sideshow creator MIKE MARBACH has first-hand experience in this process and what it takes to advance through the Troika brackets, as his team Passiones de Passiones took home the title in 2010, and continues to hold it to this day. As the producer of Sideshow, the partnership seemed like just the right fit to Marbach. “Sideshow is the perfect venue. This community has grown at least double since the last Troika, and I think it will serve one of Sideshow’s missions to grow the community from within. This is going to be faaaaantastic!”

“When he approached me, it’s like a light went off; it made so much sense.” Nelson had been looking for a venue when Marbach reached out with the idea of bringing Troika to Sideshow. “It hadn’t occurred to me – Sideshow is getting really popular and Troika takes up a lot of stage time. But we’re trying to do a lot of the same things… grow the community, showcase talent and put on professional, quality shows.”

The winning team from each of the three rounds will receive a cash prize and advance to the Grand Championship on March 25th, where they will then challenge the winners from the other two rounds. The audience will cast their votes, and one team will be named Troika – securing the 2012 title, a cash prize and an upcoming run at Sideshow. Many teams from seasons past have continued on to become regular groups, several still performing to this day.

All shows will take place at The Arts Parlor, 1170 S Broad St in Philadelphia, PA. Admission is $5 at the door.

Comedians interested in participating in Troika should send an email to with their name, contact info and a list of groups they perform with. Submissions will be accepted until 2/3/12 at 11:59PM EST

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Schedule of Events for Troika at Sideshow

Friday, February 3rd, 11:59PM – Comedian Contestant Submissions Close
Friday, February 10th, 8PM – Round One Teams Announced
Friday, February 17th, 8PM – Round Two Teams Announced
Saturday, February 25th, 8PM – Round Three Teams Announced

Friday, March 9th, 8PM – Troika: Round One
Friday, March 16th, 8PM – Troika: Round Two
Friday, March 23rd, 9PM – Troika: Round Three
Saturday, March 24th, 8PM – Troika: Grand Championship