For the performers of McMann and Tate Productions, the winter season brings forth their two favorite targets of their comedy: relationships and holidays.
According to co-founder Vance Edwards, it's good-natured and all-inclusive.
“When we make jokes about relationships, men think we're making fun of women and women think we're making fun of men,” says Edwards. “Everyone wins.”
McMann and Tate Productions will bring its brand of comedy back to the Cedarburg Cultural Center on Dec. 10 for its Holiday Improv Show as part of the CCC's Center Stage Series. The group has performed sketch comedy shows at the CCC during the holidays for the last 16 years. Why the change from sketches to improv? Edwards says that it's simply easier to perform given the lack of prep time and the busy schedules of the performers.
“Everyone has jobs and families to juggle, and it's especially hectic during the holidays,” said Edwards, a marketing director at MGIC in Milwaukee.
McMann and Tate allows its performers to come together from around the area to perform with their longtime friends. Among the core group of about 10 performers is Scott Mabie, who works as the Director of Outdoor Education at Camp Anokijig and is one of the founding members of the acting troupe.
“Acting troupe is a bit of a stretch for what we are,” jokes Mabie.
“From the beginning, our slogan has always been, 'We're not that kind of theatre company,'” said Edwards.
McMann and Tate typically runs two shows a year, with the second usually coinciding with another holiday that emphasizes relationships: Valentine's Day.
Because the emphasis is more on comedy and less on the overall production, the group is able to avoid costs like props and scenery and inject more into their fundraising efforts. This year's Christmas show will put funding back into the Cultural Center. Previous McMann and Tate shows have benefitted causes like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Returning to the improv format this year, the cast of McMann and Tate have facetiously seflish expectations for the show.
“Our main goal we do improv is to make each other laugh,” Edwards explains. “If we can do that, we can make anyone laugh.”