Live TV Tuesdays

From Austin Improv Community Wiki

Live TV Tuesdays

Live TV Tuesdays.jpg

Theater The Institution Theater
Directed by Various
Cast Various
Crew Various
Initial Run Aug 2009
Subsequent Run(s) 2009-2012

Live TV Tuesdays (formerly known as Teen Angst Tuesdays) were a series of theatrical presentations put on by The Institution Theater where casts of mostly improvisors presented staged versions of beloved TV episodes.


Tom Booker began the tradition of Live TV Tuesdays in 2009 with his production of Staged by the Bell, a live-theater presentation of the Saved by the Bell episode "Jessie's Song". This sort of production was not unprecedented for Mr. Booker: in Los Angeles, he had directed a similar take on The Brady Bunch (called The Real Live Brady Bunch) to great success.

Staged by the Bell was performed at The United States Art Authority at The Spider House. Subsequent productions happened at The Highball. Up through the Buffy production, productions of Live TV Tuesdays stayed exclusively at that venue, but starting with Buffy, each production would spend the first month of its run at the Highball, and spend their second month at The Institution, which had a newly-constructed theater. The final show, Scrubs, never played at The Highball, but was performed exclusively at The Institution.

The show was known by a variety of names over the course of its run. The first production was known only as "Staged by the Bell". After that, productions were known as "Teen Angst Tuesdays", except for Dr. Horrible, which was known as "Doctor Horrible Live!" Then starting with Angel, the name shifted to "Live TV Tuesdays". Finally, South Park returned to the "Live!" moniker, going by "South Park Live!"

Note that two of the productions were actually not TV episodes. Dr. Horrible presented the famous Joss Whedon webseries, and the "John Hughes Summer School" presented a variety of scenes from classic John Hughes teen films.

Viacom's cease-and-desist letter demanding an end to _South Park Live_.
Viacom's cease-and-desist letter demanding an end to South Park Live.

In 2011 and 2012, the Institution achieved great commercial success with a series of Joss-Whedon-based productions of Buffy, Angel, Dr. Horrible, and Firefly. (They then capitalized on that success with The Joss Whedon Pajama Party.) Unfortunately, with success, Live TV Tuesdays also got the attention of the TV companies' legal departments. Firefly received a cease-and-desist order from FOX after their second performance. On 6/28/12, Viacom sent the theater a cease-and-desist letter demanding an end to South Park because of copyright violation.

The Institution Theater produced one more show (Scrubs), and then ceased production on Live TV Tuesdays.

List of TV Tuesdays Runs