SOURCE: National Comedy Theatre

May 03, 2006 09:00 ET

National Comedy Theatre Returns From Iraq Tour

Some Shows Re-scheduled Due to Operation Swarmer

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2006 -- The National Comedy Theatre, one of the leading improv comedy companies in the country, has returned from their four-week tour visiting troops in Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Djibouti, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Regularly performing weekly in their theatres in New York and San Diego, this is the fourth time that the NCT has performed for the Armed Forces overseas.

"We were scheduled to fly between the Iraq bases in Blackhawk helicopters, but were informed that the helicopters were suddenly needed," quotes Artistic Director, Gary Kramer "They wouldn't tell us why until we saw Operation Swarmer on CNN the next day. It was actually being conducted from the base where we were staying and performing. That was an eerie feeling."

The troupe performed one to two shows a day on military bases throughout the Persian Gulf. "We performed in tents, rec halls, even outside in the sand," said Producer Kim Chase, "Our audiences were as large as 1000 troops at a time, and were enormously appreciative."

Although the troupe was performing in a dangerous corner of the world, Kramer says that they felt relatively safe. "We were well protected, and traveled with an armed escort through any questionable areas. It was a little disconcerting having to wear body armor during our stay in Iraq, but we never strayed from the base. The only scary moment was when there was a mortar attack on our base one evening before the show. That got the heart pumping a bit."

The Tour lasted 26 days and according to Chase was life-changing. "We met and chatted with troops in hospitals, as well as every corner of each base. The irony was when an injured soldier would thank us for being there. They are deployed there up to 12 months, we're just passing through, and yet they thanked US. It really demonstrated how difficult things are over there."

According to Kramer, the most surreal moment came when flying aboard a C130 plane from Iraq. When the troupe thanked the crew for flying them, one of the crew replied, "We loved bringing you guys. We're used to flying coffins."

For more information, contact the National Comedy Theatre at 212-629-5202 or

Contact Information

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    Gary Kramer