What is Captured Aural Phantasy Theater?

CAPT in action at the Sex and Comic Books show!

Captured Aural Phantasy Theater is what would happen if Garrison Keilor, John Waters and Stan Lee all hooked up after a night of hard partying. We combine the art, drama and comedy of a vintage radio program with the live entertainment of a variety show. Shows are built around performances of vintage pop culture gems, usually comic book stories, along with live sound fx, music and projected art. In between the featured stories are short acts, sultry singing, prizes, special guests and live music. No joke is too low or innuendo left un-emphasized.

Comic Books – Our First Love

While any bit of pop culture, usually from the mid- to late-20th Century, is fodder for our shows, we specialize in bringing old comic book stories to life. We like to say, “We give old comic books a modern voice.”



A Multi-Talented Entertainment Team

We are fortunate to have some of Los Angeles’ most diversely talented artists in our group. Captured Aural Phantasy Theater shows are full of musical acts, original performance and visual art, dancing – you name it – brought to you by our team of multi-talented entertainers. And what we can’t do ourselves, we import, brining in acts in the tradition of a true variety show.


Current Cast (l-r): Jim Meade, Thomas Roche, Laurel Robinson, Mike Uribes, Carlos Zalaya, Ben Dickow, Jessica Temple, Josh Hickman and Nicole Ortega (missing: Charley Knapp).

Where We've Been

Since landing in Los Angeles, we've played in some of the metropolis' most interesting venues, including The Nerdist Theater at Metdown Comics, I/O West in Hollywood, the WHERE Gallery in Silverlake, Casa 0101 in vintage Boyle Heights, the Alexandria's historic Palm Court in Downtown LA, the award-winning Bootleg Theater and even the unique Valeslavasay Panorama Theater! In between, we've managed to do shows at bars, top comic book conventions, and many other, untraditional spaces...even on the sidewalk!

Why Captured Aural Phantasy Theater?

If you’re asking in general, we say, “Why not?” We’re the best entertainment our low ticket price can buy, anywhere! If you’re asking about the name, here: Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, or CAPT for short, is a bit of a holdover from our dynamic beginnings. We’ve expanded the concepts that found the show, but the name has grown on us and we’re not about to give it up. Here’s the explanation:

CAPTURED refers to the fact that most of what we interpret are existing pieces of pop culture, cast off over time and unearthed by us. We capture them, shine them up and bring them back to life for you, our audience. We’re like live found-object artists, just for you!

AURAL is a nod to how we usually stage our stories, like an old radio show, with our performers reading scripts on our trusty music stands. Much of our performance style is rooted in our voices, thus aural, having to do with sound.

PHANTASY refers to how good we look.

THEATER lets everyone know that we’re doing this live (except for our filmed pieces) and that we’re not Captured Aural Phantasy School or Captured Aural Phantasy Street or something like that.



The 2000 Chicago cast, never looking better...

In ancient times, before the dawn of performance art, alternative music, cable TV, YouTube, etc., etc., a callow youth in Omaha, Nebraska, recruited his sister and brother to regale family and friends with staged readings of his favorite comic book stories. A few years later, corrupted my his late-era hippie high school friends, the readings evolved into a party game for his stoned pals. After graduating from high school and paying his dues in local dinner and children’s theater, Ben Ziola, joined by his friend and partner in art Wes Bailey, was lured to the metropolis of Chicago by beloved theater trash acquaintances. Little did they know that they were about to be drawn into the burgeoning performance art scene with their unique, albeit traditional performance sensibility.

Joined by a band of itinerant Chicago performers, the Park Avenue Produce company found themselves performing in the “New Vaudeville” movement of the late 1980’s. Gigs at the late, lamented Club Lower Links, The Randolph Street Gallery, Berlin, Brigid Murphy’s Millie’s Orchid Show and other hot venues in The City of Big Shoulders proved to be popular and well received. Park Avenue Produce’s unique blend of traditional theatrical conventions and way-out comedy appealed to the youthful audiences of the period.

The 1990’s found Park Avenue Produce developing their “Captured Aural Phantasy Theater” concept, drawing on classic American comic books from the Golden (1940’s and 50’s) and Silver (1950’s and early 60’s) ages of the milieu. These dysfunctional family- friendly programs were well recieved at The Museum of Science and Industy, The Prairie Avenue Historical Society and Vaudeville Underground’s community program in Logan Square, leading to long-standing, open runs in the early 2000's at various Chicago dive bars and clubs including the venerable Beat Kitchen, the Darkroom and the legendary Hideout.