Rich Howells

NEPA SCENE PODCAST: New Vintage Ensemble takes on sketch comedy at the Scranton Cultural Center

NEPA SCENE PODCAST: New Vintage Ensemble takes on sketch comedy at the Scranton Cultural Center
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Professionally recorded on Mondays at The Stude in TwentyFiveEight Studios in Scranton and released exclusively on on Tuesdays, the NEPA Scene Podcast is a free supplement to the website, expanding on the arts and entertainment stories covered on the site and going beyond them to discuss other news and entertainment topics.

Each week, the unedited and uncensored podcast features Rich Howells, NEPA Scene founder and editor, and Mark Dennebaum, president and owner of TwentyFiveEight Studios. Every episode streams on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and

In Episode 60, we sit down with Conor O’Brien and Simone Daniel of the local theatre group New Vintage Ensemble to talk about the professional troupe and their upcoming original production, “The Trouble with Sketch Shows,” at the Scranton Cultural Center on June 24 and June 25.

We discuss how they both got into theatre, including funny stories about being an underage clown in a shady nightclub and why #sluttyclownbaby should be trending right now; the history of the New Vintage Ensemble and its connection to the former Vintage Theater; how the group “reinvents the familiar” in their own distinctive style and follows their mission statement; working with comedians and others outside the group in this upcoming production; how the “writers’ room” environment and different senses of humor shaped the show; directing and performing in sketches as opposed to a typical linear play; crafting jokes about Northeastern Pennsylvania without being predictable; partnering with the Scranton Cultural Center as well as The Cooperage Project in Honesdale; scheduling a late-night performance to begin establishing a downtown theatre culture and cultivating a regular audience; Conor and Simone’s weird relationship; and Conor’s response to being made fun of on Episode 45 of the podcast, when we had other members of the NVE on to talk about their previous production, “Hamlet.”

In The Last Word segment, we briefly touch upon our thoughts and feelings after the tragic mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida over the weekend before we leave to attend a vigil in Scranton to remember the victims that evening.

Directed by Conor O’Brien and written by O’Brien, Simone Daniel, Timothy McDermott, Matt Serniak, Sarah Regan, and Kathleen Barrett, “The Trouble with Sketch Shows” runs Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Saturday, June 25 at 8 p.m. in the Junior Ballroom at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton). Tickets are $10 and can be reserved online at or purchased at the door. Read more about the show here.

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Photo by Mark Dennebaum/TwentyFiveEight Studios