During its 31 years, the Orange County Crazies has become an enviable institution as it remains the longest and most prominent organization of its kind in the county of Orange. Based in Santa Ana, California, the O.C. Crazies school is unmatched and its performances always crowd-pleasing. Over the years, it has garnered stellar reviews and awards for its original and creative works, as well as for its unparalleled school of comedy. it now offers a screening room, as well, for fledgling filmmakers to show their works.
To date, the highly-acclaimed comedy organization has offered occasional revues and improv shows, but its main focus is currently on its school and workshop series events. It also recently launched its last Saturday series—“Crazie-Killer-Comedy”—a program which offers monthly shows featuring stand-up comedy performers. Those accepted into the program can take to the stage for 10-minutes or 1 hour. Comics who wish to be part of the program must audition to become a resident comic. The Crazies is soon to sponsor children, teen and senior stand-up comic performers in stand-up comedy shows. Its thriving “Little Crazies” program will also be ongoing.
Weeknight 6-week programs and one-day Saturday workshops offer superb training in improvisational comedy, standup comedy, sketch comedy, and original character development. Students are also able to study writing in all formats—including sketch and stand-up. Most classes culminate in a graduation show before a live audience at the conclusion of the performance course they take.
The “Lil Crazies,” which has been a staple of the school for more than 20 years, offers a seven-session workshop series throughout the year. A summer camp is also offered. Classes enroll students from eight-years-old to 18. They, too, perform before friends and family after completing their course of study.
The OC Crazies also perform for corporate “industrials” through its sister company, ExecuProv (www.execuprov.com). These show are either held on-site at the De Pietro or at a client’s location, where the actors spoof company executives and customs, or perform good old fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants improv pieces. Such shows are always custom-tailored.
The OC Crazies many instructors include Founder and Artistic Director, Cherie Kerr and various former O.C. Crazies Main Company players. Guest teachers also include former L.A. Groundlings and a handful of former Second City alum, including Michael Gellman. Some of the performing groups at the Crazies over the years have included the Main Company, the Mixed Nuts, Crazies Plus, Crazies-in-Training, The Little Crazies. and the Crazie Beez.
Guest performers, directors and comedy judges have included a wide range of highly-skilled comedy actors including: Fellow Groundlings alumni and SNL player, Julia Sweeney; Jim Jackman, Jim Doughan, George McGrath, Bill Steinkellner (creator of “Cheers.); Mary Jo Smith. Shirley Prestia, Tracy Newman, and Phil LaMar, to name but a few. L.A. Groundlings founder, the late Gary Austin, also served as a guest host and teacher at the De Pietro, Tracy Newman, producer (“Ellen” and other shows) along with Michael Gellman, Senior Director at The Second City in Chicago and Toronto. Those who have gained impressive roles in major film and television projects who have also performed on the Crazies stage or in its film projects include: Maz Jobrani (“Curb Your Entusiasm”), Jay Abdo (“Queen of the Desert” and “Criminal Minds,”), Mylia Pyles (“Baskets”), Mikey Day (SNL), Kylie Rogers (“Gray’s Anatomy”), and Drake Doremus, an award-winning filmmaker.
The Orange County Crazies offers its many programs and shows at its resident theater, The De Pietro Performance Center, an intimate and well-appointed 78-seat theater facility in mid-town Santa Ana. The facility sits in the midst of the city’s burgeoning arts district.
In addition to the comedy shows at the De Pietro, guests enjoy plays, musical concerts, film screenings, and other events produced by those who rent the De Pietro.