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The iO West (formerly known as the "ImprovOlympic West") is the Los Angeles branch of the iO in Chicago. The theater is located at 6366 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, California. In addition to presenting improv and sketch comedy shows every night, the iO West has improv training classes and is the home for the Los Angeles Improv Comedy Festival. iO West recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and has been performing in its Hollywood location since October 2001.
The iO was founded in the 1980s by Del Close and Charna Halpern in Chicago. The iO approaches improvisation as an art form in and of itself; this differs from the Second City approach, where improv is used as a tool in creating sketch comedy.
In 1997, Paul Vaillancourt opened a companion theater to the iO Chicago, then "ImprovOlympic West," now iO West, in Los Angeles, California, originally at The Complex Theater, 6470 Santa Monica Boulevard. iO West moved to the new purpose-built space on 6366 Hollywood Blvd in 2000.
iO West’s three theater spaces—the Main Stage, a two-level, 99-seat theatre, the Del Close Experimental Black Box 70-seat Theater, and the 40-seat Loft Space black box theatre—feature various stand-up, sketch, and improv shows nightly. iO West's training center offers long-form improv classes year-round. The iO West is also involved in the annual Los Angeles Improv Comedy Festival.
iO West's Artistic Director is James Grace.
iO West's Musical Director has been Andrew Melton since 2003.
- iO West - Official Site
- The iO - The Original Chicago Theater
- Opening Night: The Musical - iO West's Longest Running Musical Long-Form Improv Show
- Trophy Wife - The Official Site for Harold Team Masters, Trophy Wife
- Top Story! Weekly - iO West's award-winning sketch comedy show - brand new every Sunday night at 8 based on the events of the previous seven days