“I have one foot squarely rooted in Morehead, and the other foot rooted in Chicago,” says Morehead native Katie Gotsick.
Gotsick's family moved to Morehead when she was 3 years old. She attended Breckinridge School until it closed, and continued her education at Rowan County Senior High School.
Her parents, Jim and Priscilla, both retired from Morehead State University, and still reside in Morehead.
Priscilla is a studio artist at the Rowan County Arts Center.
Gotsick said she wanted to introduce friends from Morehead to friends from Chicago, and humanize each group for the other.
“We are taking politics out of it, and bringing two polar opposite communities together,” says Gotsick.
Gotsick is involved with Chicago Improv, a group of improv comedians who teach or perform in various improv systems in the Chicago area.
The group will be visiting Morehead Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8, hosting benefit performances for the RCSHS theatre department and the Rowan County Arts Center.
“When I was at RCSHS, there wasn't a theatre department. Cheerleading was a way for me to perform. Once I discovered theatre in college, I never left it,” Gotsick said. “Thirty years later, I get to do a theatre performance in Rowan County.”
Gotsick says she has been a student of theatre her entire life, growing up watching Carol Burnette and taking improv classes during the years she spent in Washington, D.C. after graduating from high school in 1984.
She has performed and taught at Second City, one of Chicago's improv systems. Others include ComedySportz Chicago and iO Chicago, among others.
Around 10 performers will be visiting Morehead for the benefit performances, some of who have turned improv into a full-time career.
Friday evening's performance at RCSHS will be short form improv, much like the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” and will include audience interaction. The show will take place at the Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.
Saturday's performance for the RCAC will be a fully improvised one act musical, which will last around 30 to 40 minutes and will take place at the Morehead Conference Center at 2 p.m.
“This is an art form people won't be able to see every day in Morehead. Laughter is a noble pursuit, and anymore who wants an opportunity to laugh should be able to,” says Gotsick.
There is not an admission fee to either show, however, all donations will benefit either the RCSHS theatre department or RCAC.
The suggested donation is $10.
“This is really about trying to create unity in such a weird time in history. People should come with an open heart and an open mind, remove themselves from issues in today's society, and enjoy time together,” says Gotsick.
“At the end of this, it will be a success if people come together instead of drift further apart,” she added.
Chicago Improv will also be doing workshops at MSU and RCSHS. During the performance at RCSHS, students will be involved in the show, and do a teaser for the production of “A Sound of Music,” with the first show scheduled for Thursday, April 27.
“We are so excited to host Ms. Gotsick and her troupe at RCSHS! We are thrilled to give our students an opportunity to work with professionals. We hope that the community will come out and support our young people at the benefit performance,” says Kayla Stafford, director of the RCSHS theatre department.
RCAC director Ashley Gilliam expressed similar excitement.
“I was thrilled when Katie reached out to me with this idea. We do several different fundraisers during the year but nothing like this. Having a chance to bring Chicago Improv to Morehead is an exciting and new experience you don't want to miss!” Gilliam says.
Along with doing improv, Gotsick is the executive director of the non-profit Main-Dempster Mile, which supports local small businesses in Evanston, Illinois.
For more information about the shows, contact Stafford at 784-8956 or Gilliam at 783-9857.
Megan Smedley can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.