Category Archives: MNimprov

Joe Rapp

Know a Beard. Love a Beard: Joe

If anyone has had a conversation with Joe Rapp, there’s a good chance that he has mentioned poop or something poop-centric with or without you knowing it. However, there’s nothing poopy about him and you can take that to the bank.

Joe does so much for Bearded Men Improv from performing, directing the group, handling the group’s finances to creating the online marketing materials. I could continue to go on and on about what Joe does for the group from big things to every little small thing, but I’d rather tell you some things that he does so well that so few may know and what he means to his friends.

Joe is a fantastic writer. He has co-directed and co-produced a short film called The Debate this is in the Z-Fest Film Festival. Joe is a terrific actor with considerable range where he can drive you to tears either with his hilarious instincts or his dramatic prowess. He currently has a film debuting at the 2015 Fargo Film Festival called If Memory Serves in which he acts. Joe is also a spectacular director of theatre who pushes anyone involved to go that extra step. I know this from firsthand experience. He directed me and a scampish Matt Pitner in The Zoo Story a few years ago when I barely knew him. He is also an avid hockey fan and is my go-to-guy when it comes to anything regarding cars. Ask him about his sweet old Mitsubishi Gallant.

Joe Rapp

Along with an infectious laugh and an insatiable drive to be better at all he chooses to do, Joe is the kind of friend that everyone deserves to have. He’s caring, inspiring and kind. Personally, he makes me strive to be a better person. A very driven and determined individual, he taught himself how to use the many programs of the Adobe Creative Suite to further his professional career and to create a distinct brand for Bearded Men Improv. A definite trait that I admire.

I’ve always looked up to Joe. I routinely seek his advice for my personal and professional life. Without Joe, Bearded Men Improv probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as it has. Without him, Bearded Men would have likely imploded a few years ago and I’d be nowhere near who I am today as person. He is the coal that keeps The Bearded Locomotive going down the tracks and one of my best friends.

Stay poopy. Stay you, Joe.

Joe Rapp

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

 

Pinch Me.

Last night was HUGE Theater’s 4th Anniversary and it was celebrated by a show featuring performers from different groups. The house was packed from front to back with beaming smiles and an electricity that would make Ben Franklin blush. As I was sitting and enjoying the performances, I thought to myself “How lucky are we?” How lucky are we to have a community of artists that will bend over backwards for each other onstage and offstage with unflinching selflessness. How lucky are we to have such performance variation in style, form and creativity. How lucky are we to be able to blend everything together to create a unique brand that thrives within the Twin Cities.

We are living a dream. Together. In a community that works feverishly for all the right reasons. So, pinch me. I might be dreaming. If I wake up, at least I’ll know what it was like to be a part of something that we, as artists, strive for. If I don’t wake up, good.

How lucky are we?

Well, I don’t know if luck is the right word, but it sure is special to be a part of the ride.