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Artists

Julie A Feltman is a classically trained singer and a nowadays comedian, writer, director, and actor originally from Sandwich, Massachusetts. After performing in Operas, light operas, and many old timey musicals about people falling in love in boats/taverns/feilds/jail, Julie can now be seen every Friday Night at 8pm making up Musicals on PIT’s musical house team VERN, producing and playing in THE IMPROVISED OPERA, and performing with her indie team MAYBE MONOGAMOUS. Julie is an Equity actor and company member with Emerging Artists Theater Company, and has written, directed, acted in, production managed, and curated many different New Works with Emerging Artists Theater’s biannual New Works Series since 2010. She is also the Director of Bronx Preperatory Charter School’s Academy of Performing Arts Program, where she is currently directing DREAMGIRLS, after serving as their technical director for five years for shows such as IN THE HEIGHTS, LES MISERABLES, and GUYS AND DOLLS. Performance credits include The Witch in INTO THE WOODS, Melissa in LOVE LETTERS, Maureen in RENT, Norma in VICTOR, VICTORIA, Rachel in MIZUNDERSTOOD: THE MUSICAL (music by Pink), Ivy in THE DEVINE WILL OF RYAN SUTTON, and roles in YEOMEN OF THE GAURD, CARMEN, BRIGADOON, DIDO AND AENEAS, and VAGINA MONOLOGUES. Offstage, Julie is the Market Director at UrbanSpace where she curates popular pop-up markets around New York City such as MadSqEats and The Union Square Holiday Market, and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from Pace University. She can be seen zipping through the city streets on her Vespa, downtown singing bad karaoke, and trolling anywhere with an oyster special.”

Josh Flitter is an actor, writer, director, improviser, and charlatan! Once a former child star, he is now a supernova. In his 20 plus year career, Josh has worked with the likes of Robin Williams, Tina Fey, and John Krasinski among many others. Josh’s improv background is extensive, having taken classes at UCB, and completing all improv classes through Advanced Study here at the PIT. He now continues his acting career accompanied by a BFA in Film Direction from the School of Visual Arts. Flitter can be found on Friday’s as the host of The Electric Jam with  at 9:30pm. You can find him on TikTok: @joshflitter!

Desirée Justin (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist with over 18 years of professional credits. She danced with numerous dance companies including Boston Ballet and Festival Ballet Providence before moving to musical theatre, where she has worked as a performer & choreographer, Off-Broadway and regionally across the country for most of her career. After a stint creating original roles onstage in new works, she found the PIT, fell in love with improv, and adopted the form as a mandatory practice for flexing and enhancing her performance skills. She currently teaches and coaches dance, acting, improv, and audition technique and performs with multiple indie teams in NYC. She still considers her crowning achievement, however, to be her ability to sneak into the NYC improv/comedy community without a funny bone in her body. Please don’t tell.

James Quesada has taught and performed Improv all across the country including LA, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Omaha, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, NYC, and Camp Improv Utopia East. He is the Education Director for The Improv Network and co-host of The Improv Network Podcast. By a force of serendipity, James also works as the Head Engineer for Mirrortone Studios located smack dab between PIT Loft and Pioneers Bar!

Check out James’ Improv insights at www.youtube.com/c/ImprovFAQ

Rachel Bouton is an improviser, host, and producer based in New York City. As a performer she spent 4 years touring nationally with the musical comedy show Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, and has performed on comedy stages across New York (UCB, The Magnet, Gotham Comedy Club). She is proud to say she spent 7 years pre-pandemic performing as a house team member for Super Free Wednesdays at The Pit. She can currently be seen Off-Broadway performing musical comedy at The Players Theatre twice a month as part of VERN: Off-Broadway. As a producer she has worked with The New York Times, Science Friday, Tastemade, and Atlas Obscura, among others. She is also a big trivia and gameshow geek and has appeared as a contestant on $100,000 Pyramid and Who Wants to be a Millionaire (spoiler: she did not become a millionaire).

Julia is an improviser/actor/comedian in NYC, who will tell you any chance she gets that she’s from Michigan. She’s been on house improv and sketch teams at Magnet Theater and PIT, and performs characters regularly at Magnet and into her phone’s camera. She’s hosted weekly jams, monthly shows, podcasts, and she hosts trivia with several different companies, which you can request her for if you’d like. She’s also a proud Story Pirate.  She also likes you very much!

Tik Tok: @julesschroeds

John is an award-winning actor, award-winning software engineer, award-winning mathlete, award-winning little-leaguer, and award-winning participant in numerous summer camp activities. His life philosophy is Paragon from the Mass Effect video game trilogy. He is perhaps best known for singing the Tiny Tunes theme from the special summer episode live on Z100 before putting on his suit for his job at a corporate bank one morning.

Maria Schroeder (she/her) has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Missouri State University and is happy to be putting it to such good use. Outside of co-hosting the PIT Musical Improv Jam, you can catch her improvising with Hell Yeah!, The Vespa Incident, and in various shows throughout the PIT and Magnet communities. Other interests include PJ Nally, reading books she has already read, PJ Nally, finding New York City’s best bagel, PJ Nally, doing the New York Times crossword, PJ Nally, talking about Musical Theatre history, PJ Nally, Gilded Age Architecture, and PJ Nally.

PJ Nally

PJ Nally

Artist

PJ Nally (he/him) firmly believes that musical improv is the most fun a person can have. Making excellent use of his Master’s in Economic Policy, he improvises six days a week. He hosts the PIT’s Musical Improv Jam every Monday night and performs regularly with Hell Yeah!, the Vespa Incident, and many other shows with his beloved PIT and Magnet communities. PJ is madly in love with Maria Schroeder and is known to kiss her often and passionately both on and off stage.

Jake Joseph started his improv journey in Baltimore 2015, then transplanted to NYC in 2021. He spent my days doing mental health research and nights as a foolish boy improvising. He can often be found daydreaming and or listening to audiobooks.

Olivia Benedict is an actress, improviser, writer, and producer based in New York City. Olivia is a recent Michael Howard Studios acting conservatory graduate and continues to perform in theater and film. She found her love for improvisation and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade and has continued her comedy journey at The Peoples Improv Theater. Olivia has taken Cupid’s bow into her own hands and is a co-host and a producer of “Love is Live”- New York Cities hottest dating game show. You can also catch Olivia performing in shows with Pretty Funny Production’s, a female-led comedy collective. Join Olivia every Saturday night for the Saturday Night Fever Jam!

Seann Cantatore is an NYC-based musical comedian, absurdist, and professional kind person who combines music, sketch and utter ridiculousness into her gorgeously entertaining one woman variety shows. Seann believes in humor that welcomes everyone to the party and seeks to bring people together through laughter and song. With her whimsical wit and inviting presence, you’ll feel right at home belly-laughing or confronting your deepest emotional vulnerabilities.

Reagan Allen is a comedian/ writer/ actor originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. Much of her work deals with queerness, her catholic upbringing, and youth in the American South. Her solo show, Intelligent Bisexual Woman, debuted at SoloCom just last month! Follow her @reagannallen to keep up with new performance dates + projects.

Jennifer Bareilles is a New York based actor, improviser and coach. A stage actress for decades, she began her improv career at the People’s Improv Theater in 2012 where she was a member of several House Teams including “DIVO”, “The Studio System” and Saturday night’s “Big Black Car” and “BBC2” alongside the Baldwins. She’s also studied at UCB and the Annoyance Theater, performed internationally and been coaching indie teams for the past decade.
A Meisner trained actor, Jennifer has performed at such famed New York theaters as Playwrights Horizons where she originated the role of Logan in Broadway bound “The Thanksgiving Play”, The American Theater of Actors where she was directed by Lori Petty, The Connelly, June Havoc and in the award winning show “Maybe Tomorrow” at Under St. Marks where she sat on a toilet for 90 minutes of direct address. She has also performed regionally at Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Kitchen Theater to name a few and can be seen on Apple TV’s “Little Voice” and Sony Worldwide Entertainment’s “Two Roads” as well as the film “The Light of the Moon” starring Stephanie Beatriz.
She currently performs monthly at the PIT with Patrick McCartney in “Bareilles and McCartney” as well as a number of other pop up shows.

Avery is a Brooklyn based actor, musician and improviser born and raised in Boston. In NYC you can frequently find him behind the keys for the PIT NYC. In Boston, Avery acted with Actors Shakespeare Project, Central Square Theater, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, Charlestown Working Theatre, and other wonderful companies large and small. He also played piano for many mainstage and indie shows at ImprovBoston before moving to NYC. Avery released his debut piano EP Hammers & Felt in July 2022, which you can listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and all over the internet. You can also hear Avery as German Chancellor Hans Thüring in the popular musical radio drama NEWTS! produced by PRX, available everywhere you download your podcasts. See www.averynelson.net for updates, videos, photos, and links, and follow him on IG (@averynelsonbargar) and Twitter (@averynelsonb).

Langston Belton is a New York born and raised improviser & actor. Langston took his first short-form class in 2001 and over a decade later performed Short-form improv in the city for a number of years before arriving at “The People’s Improv Theatre” in 2012 where he was among the recipients of the “Improv Your Life” Scholarship. Since then Langston has performed on numerous PIT House teams and served on the house team committee. He has previously been seen in the Off-Broadway show “Puffs: or seven increasingly eventful years at a certain school of magic and magic”. He is currently acting, improvising, and working as an on camera host for Marvel Entertainment.

Mark Beltzman is the funniest and most talented improvisor that I have ever worked with. I have worked on stage with him at Second City, done radio shows with him, we did movies like “Red Heat” together, and half a dozen episodes of “According to Jim.” Our scenes always got the biggest laughs.”– JIM BELUSHI

“Mark Beltzman walks the walk and listens to the talk. You WILL have fun. And that’s what it’s all about!” – GEORGE WENDT 

MARK BELTZMAN has been acting, writing, and directing since 1981. He was one of the founding members of Improv Olympic in Chicago and of the legendary group, Barons Barracudas. Mark has worked and directed at the famed Second City in Chicago. He directed many improvisational and theatrical productions at Second City in Chicago and Los Angeles, including the Second City Alumni Jam. He was also instructor/ director at The Second City Training Center, Improv Olympic West and the Upfront Comedy Showcase, as well as all over the UK, London, Brighton, Bristol, and Paris, France. Mark has also acquired a great deal of knowledge about the creative process of producing, writing and directing while performing in such notable productions as: Mo Money, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Speed 2, Star Maps, Lovely and Amazing, and Employee of the Month, Factory, Seinfeld, Rosanne, Norm, Curb Your Enthusiasm, According to Jim, Cold Case, House, True Jackson VP, The Young and the Restless, and Pretty Little Liars. 

In his distinguished career, Mark has worked with; Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Carrell, George Wendt, John Candy, Stephen Colbert, Jim Belushi, Adam Sandler, John Goodman, and ‘Whose Line Is It Anyways’ alumni Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, and Brad Sherwood, Joel Murray, Pete Hulne, Pat Finn, Dave Koechner, Neil Flynn, David Pasquesi, TJ Jagodowski, David Razowsky, Ali Farahnakian

Emily is an actor, teacher, and improviser originally from Memphis, TN. She holds an MFA in Physical Theatre from Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. It was there that she studied Commedia dell’arte, buffon, clowning, Grotowski method, and Italian men. She’s been a resident artist for physical theatre companies across Europe- some of which include Continuo Phyisical Theatre in Malovice, Czech Republic, Teatro C’art in Castelfiorentino, Italy and Familie Flöz out of Berlin. She’s worked across Italy teaching English and theatre through mediums of storytelling and gesture. Emily moved back to the states at the end of 2019- just in time to sit in quarantine in her tiny apartment for 6 months. You might have seen her on the PIT stage in Old School Sketch Show, Backdoor BBQ, and Unfinished Business. When she’s off stage you can catch her either shaking a martini for the finance bros off Park Ave or teaching hot yoga at Fierce Grace yoga studios. She values the courageous, encourages the funny, and looks for the stupid. And finally, she’s just happy to be here, y’all.

Sydney Duncan

Sydney Duncan

Instructor

Sydney Duncan is a New York-based comedian, improviser, writer, and actor. She has trained extensively at UCB, PIT, Magnet, and Dallas Comedy House studying advanced improv, musical improv, and sketch. Before performing in independent character and sketch shows, Sydney was a professional ballet dancer and trained at ABT, Alvin Ailey, Texas Ballet Theater, and Ballet West among others. Her credits include Regional Broadway shows such as Will Rogers Follies and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Solange Knowles’s music video When I get home. During the quarantine, she moved her daily political and pop culture videos of characters, sketches, and impressions to her TikTok. She was featured on Comedy Central’s IG and TikTok for Black and Women’s History Month, and just accepted The SNL Scholarship Award. You can catch her regularly performing in Comedy Theaters all over NYC including Brooklyn Comedy Collective, The PIT, and Asylum NYC’s MainStage weekly company show!

Mike Brian Fogarty is a comedy writer, director, performer, and producer based in New York City.  He is the founding member and executive producer of the sketch comedy show Backdoor Barbecue, one of the PIT’s longest running sketch comedy shows, where he also hosts and writes the show’s recurring comedy news segment News in Review.

Since beginning his comedy career in 2014, Mike has been a writer, performer, and director on Old School Sketch Show, a member of the PIT Sketch House team RunDMV, the co-host/head writer of the late-night style talk show At the Moment, and has had his shows and writing featured on The Second City Network, NYC Sketchfest, and more!

Mike has studied sketch comedy, late-night and sitcom TV writing, satire, and comedy performance at The Second City as well as sketch comedy and long-form improvisation at the Peoples Improv Theater and the Upright Citizens Brigade.

He loves writing comedy that is collaborative, fast and fun, knows how to make an exceptionally passable french onion soup, and is a CPA who absolutely cannot do your taxes (trust me – neither of us want that)!

Rebecca is an actor, improviser, writer, and director that Harolds from the sloshy swamp that is South Florida. Her performing arts background has given her leverage in the business world when paired with her administrative and management skills. While going to school for her B.S in Environmental Science & Policy, she was working in Vacation Realty and escaping to rehearsals whenever there was anytime left in between. Her professional acting career was known to blossom around 4pm (primetime dinnertime) where you would have been able to catch her acting in {insert farce here} at The Early Bird Dinner Theatre. Still following? Ok, great. She studied long-form improv and sketch comedy writing through St. Petersburg’s American Stage Theater Company and went on from there to complete the UCB core improv curriculum. Becs likes to fondly reminisce about having gotten to share the stage alongside her now 16yr old bichon-poo, Buttercup. She infamously played ‘Cheeky’ in her HS senior year spring production of Anything Goes. More things she likes? She likes playing with big characters, voices, and accents/dialects. Funky earrings. She also likes plants. A lot. Too much?

Stephanie Holmes

Stephanie Holmes

Instructor

Stand-Up

Stephanie Holmes has been pushing the boundaries of the New York comedy scene for more than a decade. In 2022 Stephanie won The March Madness Comedy Festival. She was a finalist, twice, in the “New York’s Funniest Contest” for the NY Comedy Festival. She has also participated in the Laughing Skull Festival, the She Devil Festival, the Maine Comedy Festival, Solocom, and Queercom.  As a headliner, she’s been featured at Caroline’s for the “Breakout Artist Series” and at the People’s Improv Theatre for “The PIT Presents.”  Opening for some amazing comics- Including Jim Norton, Alonzo Bodden, Drew Lynch, and Jackie Kashian- she’s performed all over the U.S.  At the People’s Improv Theatre (The PIT) she has performed in the shows “Welcome to Hell”, played Biff in the 90’s time-travel musical with the “Unauthorized Musical Series”, and directed the annual production of Rocky Horror.  You can catch Stephanie performing weekly at comedy clubs throughout NYC.

Roy Janik

Roy Janik

Workshop Instructor

Roy Janik, in addition to being a member of the renowned ensemble Parallelogramophonograph, is one of the owners and the Artistic Director of The Hideout Theatre in Austin, TX, which specializes in narrative and genre-based improv. Over the years Roy has directed and created countless shows at The Hideout, including “Death by Musical” and “Austin Secrets,” the latter of which has inspired productions in Seattle, Portland, Rhode Island, and more. He is particularly fond of teaching his workshop called “Chase the Ball,” which explores a focus-based perspective on improvising.

Mackenzie is a New York-based stand up comedian, improviser, producer, writer, and actor. 

Currently, Mackenzie is the lead producer at Pretty Funny Productions- a female led comedy collective she started in New York. The collective produces with comics and venues across the city and strives to put female voices at the forefront of every show. Through this collective Mackenzie has produced over 30 shows within its first year. 

Before moving to New York, Mackenzie worked in Canadian radio and television. She quickly became the youngest producer at Shaw TV and had her own 9 episode series produced through the network. From there she left to work at Corus Entertainment as a digital content producer and writer for their Country music stations. 

Since leaving Canada, Mackenzie has performed across the country. She has performed at sold out stand up shows in cities like Seattle, Philidelphia, Boston and Rhode Island. 

She has built a strong following in NYC  and you can catch her live at comedy theaters including Brooklyn Comedy Collective, Caveat, The PIT, and Asylum NYC’s show!

Richard Laible was on the House Team of Grime & Punishment at iO (ImprovOlympic), founding member of The Annoyance, Theater, cast member of The Second City’s Mainstage, E.T.C., Touring Company and Creative Director of Second City Communications. He’s also a husband, father, looks old but acts like a child.

Sebastian is an NYC-based comedian/writer/actor/producer. He got his start in the entertainment industry as a child-reporter for the YouTube channel, iKidsnowdotcom. There, he and his brother would interview many young celebrities such as Selena Gomez, The Jonas Brothers, and Ariana Grande. This led him to becoming a working actor and amassing credits in projects such as Last O.G, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Blue Bloods. Today, Sebastian can be seen performing improv with his trio, BABY BUMPER CARS, or his sketch-trio, MINOR EXTINCTION! In the future, his dream is to continue in the comedy realm in a variety of roles and eventually, create his own original comedy series!

Tom Placido is a jazz pianist/vocalist who has performed in a variety of venues
from concert halls to jazz clubs, including NYC’s Knickerbocker, where he is a
regular performer. He was an acclaimed feature artist in the International Plaza
Jazz Festival in Havana, Cuba in January 2020. He has open invitations to perform
in Havana and Dehli, India whenever he is available. His performances include
elements of jazz, R&B, gospel, funk, Brazilian, Latin, and rock.
He is excited by the incredible creativity and spontaneity at PIT.

Kihresha Redmond

Kihresha Redmond

Associate Artistic Director

Improv

Kihresha is an improviser/actor who hails from Cleveland. After earning her BFA in Acting from Ohio University she went on to study and perform improv at Florida Studio Theatre (FST Improv).

In addition to teaching here at The PIT, she produces, co-hosts the monthly Slow Burn improv jam, and performs regularly. On stage Kihresha has recently performed new works with Tantrum Theater and Shakespeare in bars with Backroom Shakes here in NYC.

Last but not least she is an occasional poet, amateur ukulele player, and an Adam Sandler enthusiast. To learn more and see what she is up to next you can check out her Instagram @redefinedby_k.

Andrea Romano

Andrea Romano

Instructor

Andrea Romano is a comedy writer and creative producer. She has written and produced content at a number of media outlets like Travel + Leisure, Bustle, Mashable, Cracked, USA Today, Little Old Lady Comedy, Oregano.com, and more.

A former student of both UCB and the People’s Improv Theater, Andrea has written and performed on shows such as Sketch Cram! at UCSB, Old School Sketch Show, This Live Show, and Group Kid, as well as being a former house team player on Steve’s Hard Milk and team director for Scoot Scoot on Super Sketch Tuesday.

She currently produces College Radio at the PIT.

Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott

Instructor

Kevin Scott began performing and creating comedy while at the legendary Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown PA (profiled in Drama High and the inspiration for NBC’s Rise). He received his comedy training in Chicago in the 1990s from the Second City. He then performed with Bang Bang (which also featured Tracy Letts, Kate Walsh and Michael Shannon). In New York he has performed with Burn Manhattan and Centralia two ensembles he co-founded to explore the boundary’s of theatrical improv and comedy. Centralia has recently marked its 17th year of performing. He’s also been a regular performer and teacher for The Peoples Improv Theater since it was founded. He’s taught continuously since the ’90’s for the Second City, Gotham City Improv, The People’s Improv Theater and for various other groups and organizations. His students have gone on to work in TV and movies (Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Office and more) Kevin is also a filmmaker and director. His credits include Video Director and consultant for Marc Maron’s Jerusalem Syndrome. He has developed and directed comedy TV pilots for Viacom and Fremantle Media. He co-created and/or directed several Web series including: Succesorize w/Matt Oberg, TMI featuring Ellie Kemper, Law & Order: Interns featuring Grace Helbig and has had his work shown on the Sundance Channel and Comedy Central.

‘Kevin Scott is funny, attentive and smart. Having him teaching and performing at our festival was a great enrichment. He is an open, warm and inspiring person. A true delight to work with.”

–Luisa Winkler, Würzburger Improtheaterfestival

“We took the Comic Devices-workshop and couldn’t be happier. Kevin gave us some great practical tools which directly improved our scenes.”

–Andries Tunru, Artistic director Flunknarf The Netherlands

“Kevin Scott is a very attentive and methodical teacher. He knows what he wants to give to you and does his best to deliver. If you really want to dive into a certain topic – I’d recommend taking his workshop. I’m glad I did!”

–Rahel Otsa, Director TiLT Improv Festival Tallin Estonia

“My team came to Kevin Scott when we were a few years into my improv career and needed to be recharged, reinvigorated and re-inspired. Kevin’s instruction did just that. He grounded my team and I with exercises we knew but then added a library of tools that guided our playing style for years and continues to inspire me today. Kevin reminded us to not just play but taught us that we can also be actors and artists while doing it.”

–Will Luera, Director of Improvisation at Florida Studio Theatre, Big Bang Improv, Artistic Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston

“Kevin Scott has a brilliant comedic mind, honed from years of practice, performance, and pedagogy. Whether performing with Centralia or teaching Comic Devices, Kevin’s improvisation has amazed me for nearly a decade.”

–Noah Levin, Founder Barcelona Improv Group

”Kevin Scott is a brilliant encouraging teacher with great knowledge about improv comedy. He makes the students feel safe and comfortable to explore and learn. I highly recommend Kevin to anyone who hasn’t had the privilege to work with him yet.”

–Victoria Bang, boss GBimpro Sweden

“Kevin is a perceptive and caring teacher with a rare depth of knowledge. There is no bullshit, no ego, just practical, useful material, smartly presented”

–Jules Munns, The Nursery London UK

Ammon Taylor is an award-winning pianist, composer, and music director with a background
in classical, jazz, and musical theatre. A recent transplant from Austin, TX with years of
experience in arts education, he has taught piano, composition, and musical theatre to
children and adults of all ages. Ammon is an avid accompanist of improvised theatre, and
has toured nationally with performers from Austin’s Hideout Theatre. The winner of B. Iden
Payne awards for his original scores in 2015 and 2016, and for his live music performance
in 2018, he attended the National Winter Playwright’s Retreat in 2019, and is a current
member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.