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How improv can change your life: Civic hosts workshop on Saturday

Michael Glatzmaier will teach an improv workshop on Saturday at Spokane Civic Theatre.
Michael Glatzmaier will teach an improv workshop on Saturday at Spokane Civic Theatre.
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

Improv was the key to the lock that helped Spokane’s Michael Glatzmaier move forward while attending Rogers High School.

The 2009 alum languished in special education classes while passing up most opportunities.

“When I discovered improv, everything changed for me,” Glatzmaier said. “My problem was that I said no to everything. I had no confidence. I came out of my shell. I ended up in regular classes and I graduated, and my life is great and I have improv to thank for it.”

Glatzmaier, 32, is the CEO of his company MG (Motivating Great) Teams, which travels around the country, helping those in the corporate world and students unlock their potential through improv. He also performs at the Blue Door Theatre in the Garland District.

Kearney Jordan, the director of education at Spokane Civic Theater, hired Glatzmaier to hold court for intro to improv classes slated for Saturday at the Civic.

“I wanted to have these classes for a while since they are so valuable,” Jordan said. “Improv is about controlling the chaos as opposed to the chaos controlling you. It’s a great skill to possess. We’re expanding our programming here and when I asked what I would like to add, it was automatic. It was improv. I know what improv can do for you.”

Jordan has taken improv classes and is engaged to an improv performer, Tom Olson.

“Improv is not my forte, but I know what the benefits are,” Jordan said. “The perfect guy to bring in here is Michael Glatzmaier. He’s great at improv and he’s from Spokane.”

After Glatzmaier became confident courtesy of improv, he started making up songs on the fly while attending Rogers.

“People would come up to me and say ‘Make up a song about the school lunch,’ ” Glatzmaier said. “I did and then people would ask me to roast people. After I became confident, I was told that I should be in theater. I wanted to be an athlete, but I’m just 5-(foot)-6.” It all worked out since I fell in love with performance. But I’m most excited about using improv as a tool to help people, particularly children. When children take an improv class, they learn so much. It will help them with public speaking. It gets them up in front of an audience. It helped me so much in terms of exploring. I discovered that we improv our entire lives. We have the chance to say yes, and it’s so much better going through life being open.”

Glatzmaier will present an improv showcase Saturday night at the Civic with his MG team. “It’ll be fun and loose,” Glatzmaier said.

Jordan plans to add more improv classes at Civic.

“Improv is huge in a lot of cities around the country,” Jordan said. “There’s room here for more improv in Spokane. It’s so valuable on so many levels. Improv helps open up communication. Improv is great for solving problems in the moment. It teaches you how to recover quickly and create on the spot. There’s no negatives with improv. There’s a safety net when you work with a group of people in improv. You don’t have to worry about feeling like a fool when you’re up there since you have support. And there’s another aspect, which is so important. Improv is fun. It’s fun to do and it’s so much fun to watch.”

It’s not surprising that Jordan will catch “Whose Line Is It Anyway” performers Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood on Jan. 13 at the Bing.

“I already have my tickets,” Jordan said. “Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are amazing improv players.”

The week after the performance by Mochrie and Sherwood, Jordan will get married. What will happen after her wedding?

“Who knows?” Jordan said. “I’ll improv my way through the rest of the year. I’m not worried. Twenty-three is my lucky number and we’re finally in 2023. Good things are ahead. I can feel it.”

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