Statues of Liberty

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Statues of Liberty is a long-form improv team based in New York City. Statues was formed in February of 2007 by Russ Armstrong, Peter McNerney, Nick Kanellis and Chris Hejl with Christian Cappozzoli of 4-Track as their director. All four met at Northwestern University where they performed with the infamous Mee-Ow Show (Seth Meyers, Liz Cackowski, Josh Meyers, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kristen Schaal, Ana Gasteyer, Peter Grosz, Rachel Hamilton and Jean Villepique) and studied classical and modern theatre. The members have collectively studied and performed with The Second City Chicago, iO Chicago, Magnet Theatre, UCB New York, and One Group Mind. Based at the Magnet Theatre, Statues of Liberty first performed a limited 3-week run in February of 2007 as the Friday late-night show. After a month off, Statues revived their well-recieved show in April. Steadily increasing their audience and reputation through word-of-mouth and the groups relentless publicity, Statues of Liberty moved to Saturday nights at the Magnet Theater in September of 2007.

Style of Play

Statues of Liberty performs loosely structured long-form improvisation. With a heavy emphasis on physical and emotional play, Statues crafts pieces that move with a diversity of pacing, energy and character, begetting their unique amalgam of Chicago and New York styles. Transitions, initiations and callbacks are executed organically and boldly with a definitive fearlessness.


Statues of Liberty were reviewed in The Apiary on December 15th, 2008.

Peter McNerney, Russ Armstrong, & Nick Kanellis play for "the Liberty"

By Phil Wells

Statues of Liberty have secured themselves a steady run of shows on Saturday nights at the Magnet, and it's easy to see why. Touted all over the net as "an amalgam of New York and Chicago styles of improv," they put on a slick longform show with organic sound-and-movement edits that actually manage to not seem forced. One scene melts into another quickly enough that the artifice isn't exposed. The players have lots of trust and respect for each other, and the edits are carried out with zero hesitation.

The scenes are equally fearless. Peter McNerney, Nick Kanellis and Russ Armstrong really know how to physicalize the comedy and make sure that when the story moves, it really MOVES. The actors transformed into everything from a colony of ants to a back-room full of obese lotharios to a fridge full of various milks and juices. Just as effective were the subtle changes made to play more human characters. A scene between a mother and her awkward son was downright moving, and they used the pathos generated by those moments to pay big comedic dividends later in the show. These Statues know how to craft a narrative. It'd be easy to let a show like this get away from you. Being three guys performing a loosely structured, organically edited form is a tricky situation to be in. For one thing, it's tough to pull off. And for another, you can't spit on the sidewalk in Chelsea without hitting another "tiny" improv group. Still, in a crowded field, Statues of Liberty are an example for the rest to follow. They're smart, physical, and a lot of fun.''


Statues of Liberty performs at the Magnet Theatre on Saturday nights at 10:30PM in addition to festivals across the country.

Current cast: Russ Armstrong Peter Mcnerney Nick Kanellis

Statues of Liberty official website: