Posts by jrapp

Lend us a quote

Give us a word… or ten.

As we have performed, traveled and are hired more, the more important it is for us to get some solid quotes or testimonials from our fantastic fans and audiences. If you could take a moment to comment below with a quote about what you think of the Bearded Men and our shows, our beards would grow long with gratitude. It can be as short or as long as you like.

Examples:

“I laughed so hard I could barely breathe at times! I would definitely recommend anyone to hire you guys!”

“Watching the Bearded Men is like riding a great roller coaster: thrilling, exciting, unexpected and, even though you may be a little queasy at the end, you want to do it again and again!”

Thank you for all your continued support!

The Bearded Men

Tyler Michaels

Know a Beard. Love a Beard: Tyler Michaels

Week four of “Know a Beard. Love a Beard.” Not sure what I can say that countless others already haven’t already said, but I’m going to try.

Tyler MichaelsTyler Michaels. Probably the most recognizable of the Bearded Men, at least around Minneapolis. If you didn’t know it, Tyler is currently one of the most sought after scripted actors around the Twin Cities. As a person, Tyler is friendly, nutty, and creative. He’s always up to try something new or different. People like to be around someone who is willing to put themselves out there and Tyler does just that, time and time again. Tyler has always been the type of person that inspires you to jump in, full body, full heart, full passion, right along with him.

As an actor/improvisor…this is where I don’t know exactly what to say. So many people have written about Tyler in the past couple years that I’m not sure how else to say that he’s talented. The guy is just a burst of energy on stage. It’s an energy that fills everyone up, right there with him. He’s not trying to take the spotlight, he’s trying to make it bigger, so more people can fit within it. From his characters to his physicality to his emotional commitment, Tyler really has a presence on stage all his own. He’s always been an amazing support in creating our themed shows and I know I can always count on Tyler bringing his all to our shows.

Like I said, this guy is all over the Twin Cities theater scene. Beyond Bearded Men, he’s currently performing at the Guthrie and getting great reviews, not to mention the dynamite work he’s done with Theater Latté Da, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, 7th House Theater and the list goes on. He acts, sings, dances, directs, creates, I mean I am amazed at how he keeps this all going and still makes time for his friends, family and a board game from time to time.

Tyler Michaels and the Bearded Men

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————————–
Written by:
Joe Rapp
Managing Director

Photos: Ryan Haro

Know a Beard. Love a Beard: Lucas

Boom! Another Monday, another, “Know a Beard. Love a Beard.” This round, it’s the man with that slow walk and smooth, deep talk.

LucasLucas Vonasek. With his beautifully low and mellow voice, he’s the most recognizable of the group if you can only hear us talking. People are so drawn to that voice, but Lucas is so much more than that. The voice draws you in, but his delightfully goofy personality is what gets you in the end. He’s always got a joke up his sleeve, always ready to pick you up when you’re feeling down. He’s gifted at always being a good shoulder to lean on.

As an actor/improvisor, he’s unafraid to play characters with raw emotion and really take the audience on a personal journey. Many of his characters are remembered by audiences because of how real they were, and I don’t think there is a bigger compliment than that. That being said, I’ve laughed more than my fair share at the ridiculous characters he’s played as well. He’s extremely versatile. Lucas was cast in the Bearded Men in 2008-ish when we were still in Fargo. He’s one of my go-to guys whenever I need help with, well, anything. This is a guy I truly rely on.

He’s a poet and he does know it. Like Tyler Mills, Lucas is a writer, but he’s focused more on poetry. It’s what I believe really makes him a fantastic actor, he sees much more of the underlying meaning in everything. If I would read even half of the poetry books he’s recommended to me over the years, I’d probably be a better actor too. Aside from the Bearded Men and other HUGE Theater shows, he performs regularly in ComedySportz at CSz Twin Cities. I haven’t seen a type of performing this guy doesn’t do, scripted theater, unscripted theater, film and sketch. He’s the whole package.

Lucas is the type of person people always like to work with. He’s giving, understanding, but isn’t afraid to share his own opinion. People that haven’t seen this guy perform truly have no idea what they’re missing. Just another hidden treasure of the Twin Cities performing arts scene, but hopefully not for long. Bearded Men has come a long way with Lucas right there with us. Great friend. Great guy.

Lucas_group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————————–
Written by:
Joe Rapp
Managing Director

Photos: Ryan Haro

 

Tyler Mills

Know a Beard. Love a Beard: Tyler Mills

We’ve made it all the way to the second, “Know a Beard. Love a Beard.” I’m pretty excited about that, and not just because I really like Tyler…but I do.

MillsTyler Mills. One of our two Tylers, but generally the most “Honest Abe” like of the two. I don’t think I personally know anyone that is more competent on such a wide variety of subjects. From theater to sports to movies to video games to random crap on the internet. The list goes on. This guy is such a wealth of information, I’m constantly in awe. I think that’s one of the main reasons that people that know him, love him. He can talk with you about anything, with an amazing amount of depth and insightfulness.

As an actor/improvisor, he’s always there for you. His characters always make the scene more rich, even if they don’t say much or simply pull out a gun and kill you in the end. He’s a natural born storyteller. It’s how I know I can always count on Tyler to tie back to things in our stories that we or the audience may have forgotten. Mills always finds those little nuggets and polishes them into gold right before the audiences eyes. I credit a lot of those moments to when audience members think we’ve scripted things beforehand. He’s been a such a rock of support as we’ve built the group here in Minneapolis, from shows in coffee shops to advertising on the streets of Uptown with fake beards on, he’s been there.

Being a natural born storyteller, it’s no surprise that this guy is a playwright, and a damn good one at that. His writing is so unique and wonderful, you just can’t help but get wrapped up in it when you see his work on stage. Most recently, he wrote the book for “Jonah and the Whale”, produced by 7th House Theater, and played in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie. Amazing.

Tyler Mills is a quiet storm, in the best way possible. I feel like his already great talents are just on the edge of something bigger and are going to explode out into the world. The Twin Cities arts scene is lucky to have this guy. The praise he has gotten thus far is not even close to what I know he will get in the future. Having Mills as a part of the Bearded Men and as a friend is a privilege that I am fortunate to have.

Tyler Mills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————————–
Written by:
Joe Rapp
Managing Director

Photos: Ryan Haro

Know a Beard. Love a Beard: MJ

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I always appreciate the group getting exposure, but always think all of the Beards individually deserve some credit. So, here goes the first. Keep in mind, I’m no newspaper man, so I might not come off as eloquent or exciting as I’d like.

MJMJ Marsh. Arguably the most bearded of the group and probably the friendliest person I know. I don’t think I have ever seen him in a group of people where he hasn’t been able to make friends. He’s just got a magnetic presence. When he’s offstage you want to hang out and talk with him, when he’s onstage, you just have to watch him. We always think about MJ as kind of our ambassador with other groups and other people when we travel. All of us can make friends, but MJ just seems to make them faster and in greater quantity.

As an actor/improvisor, he’s supportive, quick on his feet and has the audience hanging on to every word he says. He’s always there to help create that snarky cop, befuddled child, strong-willed woman, or whatever else the show is calling for. I personally know I can always count on MJ to be right there with me, even if I throw out an idea that’s maybe not fully formed yet or somehow doesn’t make sense. MJ can always find a way to make sense of it, tie it together and bring the audience right along with him. He’s also been a big hand in creating some of our workshops, bringing ideas for our themed shows and keeping or short form improv running smoothly.

Looking at all he does, I’m amazed at how he can keep it all together. Aside from Bearded Men, he performs with in ComedySportz at CSz Twin Cities, shows at HUGE Theater including, “Star Trek: The Next Improvisation,” “Creature Feature,” “Cain & Ricks,” among many others, and not to mention his scripted stage and film work. Improvising, acting, teaching, bartending, being a friend. Always with a smile. I can basically never tell if he’s stressed.

MJ is a great collaborator and artist. The Twin Cities performing arts scene is all the better for having a person like this around, even if not that many people know him… yet. Talk about someone who deserves more credit than he’s ever given. I am proud that MJ is part of the Bearded Men, but more proud that I can count this guy as one of my best friends. I mean, who else would shave a jolly holiday message into the hair on his back?

 

Beards_hohoho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————————–
Written by:
Joe Rapp
Managing Director

Photos: Ryan Haro
Laura Posterick

Beards of a Feather

Tomorrow, the Bearded Men of Minneapolis and the Bearded Men of Los Angeles embark on 15 hour journeys to meet in Colorado. It marks the first, of hopefully many times, Bearded Men Improv and Bearded Men West team up for workshops, shows and a festival.

Because of this, Matt and I decided, why not call this a tour. Sure, it’s only two cities, and sure, it’s only a couple workshops and a few shows, but hey, we’re all driving 15 hours each way. We’re basically touring the country in the most basic sense, then getting to do what we love in an amazing state. Honestly, I sometimes have to stop and wonder how this is even real, but then I remember all the Beards, and how much time, passion and soul these guys have put into these groups. We’re such a unit that for the most part we get complimented as a group, but all of these guys are so talented individually it blows my mind and I just hope that people see that as well.

We are nothing if not a fairly clever group with all the weird crap we’ve done over the years, but I am so unbelievably excited to go on this ridiculous “Beards in the Mountains” mini-tour. I’m sure we’ll get a fair amount of people (we have already) that will remind us that this isn’t much of a tour, especially in comparison with the tour we did last year, but that doesn’t really matter. We get to see some cool places, teach some cool people and perform stories that we make up together and that is FUCKING AWESOME.

I can’t help but get a little choked up when I think about how far we’ve come. From a college group in Fargo, North Dakota making no money, to having a group in Minneapolis and Los Angeles and making very little money. I don’t care what people say, we have the most fun of anyone making very little money.

If you can, catch us on the road this week, or whenever we have shows here in Minneapolis or in LA.

All for one. All for Beards.

-Joe

 Beards in the Mountains Mini-Tour

Bearded Men Improv…Hairs of Growth

I’ve been wanted to write a little something to let people know exactly what Bearded Men has been up to lately and just how much has happened in the past year, but wasn’t sure when or how. So much has been going on and has happened, and sometimes I hate to talk excitedly about it for fear it would come off as bragging. I’m just so frickin’ proud…excited…scared. Proud of all we’ve accomplished. Excited for things we’re doing. Scared of what exactly the future holds. Sorry if it reads as a bit scatterbrained, but that’s just how it’s all stored up there, just kind of a big, awesome blur.

It’s hard to know where to start. Well, we hit quite a few festivals, a few even sent personal invites and helped pay our way there, which was a really fantastic first. I cannot describe what it’s like to go somewhere else far from home and have people tell you that they’ve heard about you and are excited to see your show or take your workshop, then to get a standing ovation, it really is amazing. We’ve made so many friends in all the places we’ve traveled and I don’t think there is anywhere that we wouldn’t jump at the chance to go back or want to move to for one reason or another. One of the most interesting connections we made was at the Twin Cities Improv Festival in 2013, when we met the guys from 3 for All, out of California.  I think all of the Beards would agree that they truly are a group that we can only hope to be like someday. We are truly surrounded by so many fantastic improvisors right here at home, but there really is something about these guys that’s just kind of unexplainable. We all took workshops from them while they were here and when we were on our tour, all awesome, and so much was learned.

Oh yeah, we went on our first cross-country tour, Beard by Beardwest. We’d been talking about doing a tour for, well, ever, and we finally did it. The reason for the tour was Bearded by Beardwest Tour Logo Horzactually a bit bittersweet, as it was partly just a more exciting way to help Matt move to Los Angeles. At least it got us to do it and we learned a lot. We started the initial planning around September or October and the tour kickoff show was on January 28th at HUGE. We made about twelve major stops over a fifteen day drive. Amazingly enough, we didn’t kill each other and to this day is one of the most fun experiences I’ve had, MJ even won a real Las Vegas poker tournament at MGM Grand one afternoon. We were shown so much hospitality everywhere we went that it made me know that our supporters and the overall improv community are the best. On a personal note, Matt and I have been close for a while and knowing that when I flew back to Minneapolis that he wouldn’t be there was tough, so I think I made even more of my experiences on the tour for that reason.

At home in Minneapolis, we put on some fantastic shows, if I do say so myself. Over the past twelve months or so we relaunched, “DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: the improvised campaign” for the third time,  launched “Beards on the High Seas,” and most recently launched, “the GOOD, the BAD, and the BEARDED.” I am continually proud of the work we do together. Beyond the themed shows, I think our regular narrative shows (which we call “epic adventures”) keep getting better over time. The kind of better that only happens when you work together for so long. We try as hard as we can to commit to good acting and real moments, really letting emotions build. Are we the best group? No, but we definitely love and trust each other and I’ll take that any day. To this day, the thing I still enjoy hearing most after a show is, “I can really tell you guys are close friends.”

Many great things happened in Minneapolis, but something that was a joke so many years ago also happened. Matt is at the helm of the new, Bearded Men West. We always joked that it would be great Beardwest_FB_Profile-04if someday we had Bearded Men groups all over the country. This is a start. Maybe this will be the only other one, but hell, I’m damn proud. It made perfect sense, Matt moved there and in the past five years, four of the original Beards moved out there. In just the past four months of being a group they’ve already had multiple shows and have started a regular show of their own, Bearded Men and Friends. I can’t wait for the many Bearded Men exchanges we will have with the guys from there traveling here and us traveling there. Again, I am proud.

And Now, the boring part, the business part. For some reason I thought this was important to have in here as well. As a business, we still basically don’t make any money (and I think I’ve come to terms with that, sort of). We’ve been a business since 2006 and we still don’t make a lot of “real” money. We do get hired out to do events like graduations, senior all-night parties, holiday parties, workshops (this has actually been one of our best years yet), but all that money generally gets funneled back to the group to pay for travel to festivals, tours, taking workshops and buying items for new themed shows we’re putting up. I feel it’s on me to really push for more paid work, so this year I plan to do just that, not sure how yet, but I’m scheming. I can never really say enough great things about the guys and how much they deserve to be paid more than the small stipend they get for those shows (which half the time they turn down). We’ve been fortunate to have fundraisers for different things that so many of our loyal fans have donated to time and again and we can’t thank them enough. Truly, THANK YOU. Of course, there is also no way I couldn’t thank HUGE Theater for paying their Friday and Saturday night shows if they get enough butts in the seats. Pretty awesome to get paid for the shows we love doing the most and awesome that HUGE can do that at all. Business isn’t booming, but it’s still a business and is making something and I am thankful for that.

Bearded Men has come so far, but I always feel like we are on the brink of something new and great. Like I said in the beginning, I’m excited, proud and scared. I hope those feelings never go away.

-Joe