The legendary comedic stage is highlighted by spotlights, showcasing a sign that reads “Improv” sitting on a brick wall. The main showroom room mimics other improv clubs that have made their way into movies like “Funny People.” “On this Brea improv stage, careers like that of comedian Brad Williams were born.
Brea Improv has been a part of the community since 1989 when it was located inside the Brea Marketplace on Birch Street. Now, the club is looking forward to another face-lift, expansion and relocation just a few blocks away.
Robert Hartmann, one of the founding members of Levity Entertainment Group, which owns the improv brand, said the Brea location is particularly special to him.
“That was the first club I ever invested in at the beginning of my career. It (has) a lot of significance to me,” Hartmann said.
The new club will have 500 seats and allow for better sound, light and video systems. The new venue is brighter and the stage mirrors a theater more than a stage for comedy.
“This is like going from driving a 1978 Nissan to a Ferrari. It’s a completely different change that can accommodate really doing anything,” Hartmann said.
The new venue is scheduled to hold a variety of events, including shows like the upcoming “Broadway Princess Party,” which will feature the Disney characters Belle, Jasmine and Cinderella. Hartmann said the comedy club will also begin, inviting internet celebrities to perform.
Dan Kleinberg, the club’s general manager, has been at the Brea location for a year and said relocating will enhance the view of the club, making it more visible to the community.
“I think there are a lot of people that forgot about comedy in the community. But now we’re getting this fresh look, they’re all going to want to come back and check out the new location,” Kleinberg said.
The exterior of the building will don large brick walls. The back exterior wall of the improv will be lined with handcrafted art made by students from elementary schools in Brea. The Student Brick Art program sponsored by the comedy club asked students to write or draw the things they found funny on bricks which will be featured on the wall.
“I think it’s a fun way to acknowledge our history and support for the community,” Hartmann said.
The Brea Improv is also looking to continue working with fundraisers and community events.
“We want to make sure that the people understand we are here for everybody else around us,” Kleinberg said.
The new building is still under construction but is anticipated to be up and running by next month. The current location will still be open through the move, allowing for a smooth transition for the comedians and audiences as there will be no break from performances. However, closing the doors of the current club is still a difficult goodbye for Hartmann.
“Everytime I close a club, even when I’m opening up a new one, it’s kind of bittersweet,” Hartmann said. “There’s a lot of emotions attached especially with Brea being my first club that I owned, but it’s exciting.”