Down in the dumps, she started a comedy group

March 20, 2017

Friendswood resident Teri Muse helped found Hot Shotz, a comedy improvisational group, last year as a way to fight back against depression.

Muse, who graduated from Baytown Lee High School, began acting in community theater last year following the breakup of her 30-year marriage.

“I was playing the mistress in ‘Hot Bed Hotel,’?” she said, when a fellow actor mentioned how it’s not uncommon for actors to get depressed in the “dead time” between shows.

“I was battling severe depression at the time, and did not want anyone, ever, to experience what I was experiencing,” Muse said.

She envisioned the Hot Shotz as an opportunity to keep the laughter going even after the curtain falls on a show.

Charlotte Jackson of Santa Fe, along with Steve and Bev Forgus of La Marque, joined Muse as founding charter members of Hot Shotz, and restauranteur Franca Pignataro gave the group a shot by providing a space to perform.

The result was a live variety show, “A Night of Comedy!” that debuted Feb. 25 in the main dining area at Franca’s Real Italian Restaurant, 1101 E. NASA Parkway, in Webster. The group previously had performed several Tuesday nights in a room at the restaurant.

The group’s faithful following catapulted them into the bigger, better “Night of Comedy!” production that adds Broadway show tunes and comedic monologues to the Hot Shotz improv laughs.

“Our hope is to have several shows this season,” Muse said.

THe group’s next show, “Night of the Pastiche,” will be performed on Saturday, April 29. Auditions for that show will be at Franca’s at 7 p.m. Monday, March 27.

“We would like to spotlight a few guest performers in the show,” said Muse. “This could include, but isn’t limited to, improv, stand-up comedy, monologues, sketches, dance, etc.”

Just as the group launched its second season in February, Muse was cast as Linda Christie in the March 24 through April 8 production of “Play it Again, Sam” at Franca’s Real Italian Restaurant in Webster.

That means the next edition of Hot Shotz will have to wait until the “Night of the Pastiche” show in April.

Angela Case of Clear Lake, who has performed with the Hot Shotz since its inception, said, “A ‘hot shot’ is an actor who is between commitments or has a project that is sitting on the shelf, waiting for a venue to break it out.”

The group’s improvisations - which are the main course of “A Night of Comedy!” - feature a host and a panel of four to six performers who tackle improvised skits from random and sometimes off-the-wall ideas from the audience, Case said.

“Anything can happen and does, all with audience participation,” added Muse.

Among other Hot Shotz regulars are: Chad Greenough of Bayou Vista; Vicki Barosh of Brazoria County; Jada August, Clear Lake; Bill Krause, Houston; and Judy Alhorn, Dianne Foussac, Matt Schell and Domino Taylor of Seabrook.

For questions about auditioning, email hotshotz.comedy@gmail.com

For more information on events at Franca’s, call 281-488-2207 or visit www.francasrealitalian.com.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net