Rob Asaro has played at clubs and theaters such as the People’s Improv Theater, Caroline’s, and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. He’s produced, written, and star in several short films and has been part of sketch troupe such as “Captains of Industry.” His film and stage work has been officially selected for festivals in Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and New York, as well as lesser cities such as Philadelphia.
Rob’s also produced, starred in, and wrote two webseries: “Yellow Brick Hell” (YellowBrickHell.com) which splitsider.com
James Quesada is an improviser from Metro Detroit where he is an enthusiastic coach, teacher, and director. He is the Director of Long Form at Go Comedy! Improv Theater and an Assistant Director for the newly founded Pointless Improv Theater.
James is the co-creator of the Go! Labs, an innovative branch of Go Comedy! dedicated to pushing Improv into new territories. Along with GO! Labs directing partner Pete Jacokes, James has created more than 200 short form games, and over 25 long form shows. Go Comedy! has honored James with awards for Most Supportive Improviser, Best Male Improviser, Best Coach, Best Improvised show, Best Improv Troupe, Best Object Work, Funniest Moment of the Year, Inspiration, and The Spirit of Go Comedy! and he doesn’t know how to use these so he decided to just list them here.
Jake is the owner/founder of the Harrisburg Improv Theatre. Jake started improvising in 2004 taking classes at both the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and the Magnet Theatres in New York City. Jake’s musical and prank comedy duo band Anticool terrorized Harrisburg for over 10 years with their live shows, albums, and webshow. Currently Jake is an instructor and performer at the HIT. He can be seen in the popular duo Missed Connections, as well as Hardly Working, Panzer Divsion, and Love Triangle. Jake also helps create and shape many forms and themes used by both his teams and others.
Paul has been performing improv comedy since 2005. He studied long-form improv at the Magnet Theater, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and the People’s Improv Theater in New York. In Harrisburg, Paul was a co-founder and artistic director of the Harrisburg Improv Theater, the city’s first long-form improv theater. He performs with the improv duo Missed Connections and is on the cast of the Magnet Theater’s Friday Night Sh*w. A former staff writer for TheBurg magazine in Harrisburg, Paul is now a J.D. candidate at Columbia Law School.
Maria is a senior Art Administration major at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. She loves SCIT and all the fun, friendly, wacky people she works with! At school, Maria has been involved in several theatre groups on campus both on stage and behind the scenes. She worked at the Saint Vincent Summer Theatre for three years in as an assistant stage manager and the box office manager. She also spent time working in the box office and as a house manager at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg. Now Maria is an employee of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in downtown Pittsburgh. In her spare time, Maria can be found at Yough Intermediate/Middle School where she is the director of the drama department. When she is not working at a theatre, Maria enjoys going to see shows, reading, and playing with her crazy cats!
Sue had dreams of being a stand-up comedian since high school, but was terrified of public speaking. She learned to overcome her fears and became a stand-up trainer instead. Sue is able to embed lots of humor into her courses. During CPR and First Aid classes, she frequently tells stories about her family’s many misadventures and how she gets to practice first aid skills regularly! While Sue has absolutely no acting or theater background, she fell in love with improv after her first class with Justin Zell at SCIT in late 2014. She completed Level 1, 2 and 3 classes and loves being on a House Team with an awesome group of performers. When Sue isn’t performing or taking improv classes, she can be found reenacting as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) at WWII events with her husband’s unit, the 82nd Airborne, 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment, Living Historical Unit.
Ryan is psyched to be a part of the amazing things happening at SCIT. He enjoys movies made for children, online math puzzles, and all of the fun carbs. When not performing, you can probably find him eating in his pajamas.
Mor is a singer, guitar + cajon player, dog lover and an actor. came to America in June 2016 from Israel, preformed for over 5 years al over Israel with a theater group named Hasafam (The Mustache – in Hebrew). worked with kids for over 4 years and directed several shows preformed to the community by his students.
fell In love with Long Form Improv ever since the first workshop at the Scit
currently working as a Hebrew & Israeli culture teacher for JJEP.
Deonna is a grad student at Point Park University with hopes of attending NYU’s Performance Studies Doctoral Program this fall 2017.
Jeremy Bremer is a graduate of the Writing Seminars program at the Johns Hopkins University, where he also studied Theater Arts and Studies with the venerable John Astin. He has been improvising in the long-form tradition since he was a lad, having taken classes at Second City, iO Chicago, and performed with the Buttered Niblets while an undergraduate at Hopkins, before matriculating to the SCIT Education Program in 2016. He is also the kind of guy who hangs and focuses lights in Shadyside basement theaters. He appears regularly with the Deep End, which includes his wife-to-be Michelle, and has performed in SCIT House Teams (Street Roses) and in other shows at SCIT.
Michelle Lesifko holds a B.A. in Writing Seminars from The Johns Hopkins University, and hails from Moon Township, PA. She’s a proud graduate of the SCIT education program, and is especially thankful to be a part of the SCIT community. She performs in The Deep End, where she has been extraordinarily lucky to find an adopted family who also happen to be talented improvisers. She also performs with her husband, Jeremy, in their duo JewMama, and she also wishes to thank/blame him for enrolling her in the first Level One class that began her improv career. Michelle is a teaching assistant for Level One at SCIT, and coaches up-and-coming teams and duos regularly. She also produces shows at SCIT, including her original concept Pick Up Harold and Lady Business, a monthly all-ladies show.
Ari started improvising in May 2016 and is a founding member of [SCREAMS]. A native of Winter Park, FL and graduate of Tulane University, she moved to Pittsburgh four years ago and has enjoyed exploring her new home, often with her loving boyfriend and snuggly dog in tow. She is excited to be a part of this class of house teams!
Bethany Swan is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania who currently works at the University of Pittsburgh as well as SCIT. She likes hiking, biking…..wait. That’s not right. She likes her bed, food, and dogs. There that’s better. Anyway, she hopes to see you at SCIT soon.
Christopher Wright has a Master’s in Education and six years of experience in improv, including having instructed over a hundred students in his career as a teacher and coach. He has also worked in the assisted living and nursing home industries for the past twelve years in many different capacities, including as an aide, a recreation director, and now works as a digital marketer for nursing homes and personal care homes. He has always loved working with residents who have dementia.
Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and works as the Director of Dementia Care at a local senior living community. Her book, “When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community,” will be on shelves fall 2016. She has over seven years of experience doing improv comedy, including being a member of local Pittsburgh long-form improv teams (Classy & Relevant, Vintage Quaid) and sketch teams (Secondhand Sketch), as well as some work with short-form improv and stand-up comedy. Rachael’s blog, Dementia By Day, is a resource for caregivers and those looking to learn more about dementia care.
Philip Markle moved to NYC in 2013 to launch the theatre and training center of The Annoyance Theater NY, where he acted as its Executive Director until Fall, 2016. Philip graduated Northwestern University and produced, performed and trained in Chicago at comedy theaters such as The Annoyance, iO, and Second City. He has taught and performed internationally, from Berlin to Bali, and currently teaches writing and improv classes at The Annoyance NY, as well as independent classes of his own. He regularly performs in NYC, primarily at The Annoyance and the PIT. Philip is a member of Baby Wants Candy and the creator of the musical improv show Happy Karaoke Fun Time, which ran for 6+ years in Chicago and Off-Broadway in NY. In Wilmette, IL, Philip launched and taught at The Actors Training Center, an acting studio where he also acted as Associate Director. He is a proud member of the children’s education theatre companiesThe Story Pirates and Barrel of Monkeys. He executive produced, wrote, and acted in the digital shorts series The Annoyance Presents on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Philip has written two one-man shows – his first solo show, Sparkle Hour, was featured in the 2013 International NY Fringe Festival. He is represented commercially by Stewart Talent NY.
He is obsessed with his black Labrador Star, and you can be as well by following her on Instagram @Starthelab.
During the Polar Vortex of 2014, Scott was afraid that his growing introversion and the deadly Netflix/Hulu combo might get the best of him. So out he ventured into the freezing cold to attend his first improv class. One year and five classes later Scott can be seen socializing, engaging in conversation, and attempting to make people laugh. Scott is Penn State grad, a daydreamer, a master procrastinator, and lives by the motto, “fake it ’til you make it”. You can catch Scott and his sweet dance moves Monday evenings during TFM.
Andrea is originally from Canton, OH and comes from a family she adores that loves to laugh, and gets seriously competitive with party games. She moved to Pittsburgh after college to marry a smokin’ hot Mennonite named Kyle, and they live in Highland Park. Andrea discovered Steel City Improv Theater at an improv workshop for entrepreneurs led by Justin Zell, and was drawn instantly to the values of improv. She started taking classes at the SCIT in the spring of 2014 and has been on an improv bender ever since. When she’s not improvising, she can often be found writing sketches, tripping over herself at a Zumba class, talking too loudly in public, or laughing with friends until someone has a snot bubble.
Jane Hyland has worked in stage, film and television as an actor, set dresser, set designer and set painter. She was trained as a classical and modern ballet dancer. Alumnus of National Theatre Ballet School, Melbourne Australia and has an Art degree from Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently works in The Bug Rooms (Invertebrate Zoology) at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History as a scientific illustrator.
Tracey took an improv class at the SCIT in early 2014 and fell deeply in love. She has a lifetime of film and video work (both in front of and behind the camera), acting, singing and voice-over. She is known to spontaneously break into song, bust a dance move, or say something wildly inappropriate. She curses like a sailor and has a dirty mind, which her loved ones have learned to accept. She can behave well when necessary. Tracey is President of Arcadia Coaching, Consulting, Counseling where she is a Leadership Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor.
Molly is a 412 native with a soft spot for the Midwest. She first escaped into improv while living in Madison, WI. Her quality of life instantly improved. In a pursuit of happiness she accepted a job that would relocate her to her cherished city. Upon returning home, she Googled “Impov in Pittsburgh” and added a Level 1 (and later Level 2) Steel City class into her virtual shopping cart. She is hoping to add Level 3 before the end of 2014. Her workweek is spent at a tech start-up but her true passion is in reclaiming furniture. You might laugh, but she has what she affectionately refers to as her ‘coke-dream’ of one day opening a storefront. Until then, she invites the laughs on stage.
Mike didn’t discover how much he liked performing until his more formative years. He had been noodling around as an amateur storyteller and performing in some swing dance show case events. In 2012 he discovered The Steel City Improv theater through some friends. After a few class shows, attending jams and the draft he discovered he really enjoys being silly, creative, irreverent, and carefree all at one time. It’s mostly the irreverent part. He signed up for the musical improv as a way to stretch himself and develop character in other people. He loves it and hopes to keep getting better and better.
Remy Porter is a veteran developer. He is a co-editor for The Daily WTF, where he converts real-life IT horrors into hilarious stories. As the President of JetpackShark, he leads technology workshops across the North East, training developers to adopt new technologies and find their own best practices. He performs with house-team “A Gun Called Christopher Walken” at the Steel City Improv Theater, and appears regularly in the duo Gestalt.
Jamie Campbell has been teaching theatre and improvisation for over a decade. He is a member of the professional ensemble at The ComedySportz Theatre, where he ran their training center for 3 1/2 years. Jamie has been an instructor in almost every level of their core training program, and while there created the 100 Proof Comedy Stand-Up courses. He has taught classes and workshops at Oklahoma State University, Northeastern State University, McHenry County College, the Illinois High School Theatre Festival, Columbia College and many more. Jamie is an award winning playwright and director. As a stand-up comedian he was recently named Chicago’s “Best Stand-Up Comedian” by The Chicago Reader. Jamie has performed at the TBS Just For Laughs Festival and is the regular host of 100 Proof Comedy at The ComedySportz Theatre. Jamie is the creator of the 100 Proof Comedy Stand-Up program that is currently taught at The ComedySportz Training Center in Chicago, IL and has taught additional workshops through The Annoyance Theatre, Chicago Improv Festival, and CLIC (Chicago Ladies in Comedy). He also regularly teaches classes for youth through Brain Surgeon Theatre, and recently helped create The Improv Space Program with Gorilla Tango Theatre. Jamie has performed live for over a half-million people since 2001. He has a strong and diverse background in theatre, writing, improvisation, stand-up comedy and public speaking. His personal teaching philosophy is to focus on the positive, believing that the first step in becoming a great performer is having someone believe in you!
Kevin Allison is the creator of the hit storytelling podcast RISK!, and has been a regular on VH1’s hit series Best Week Ever. He is also a writing and performing member of The State, the legendary sketch comedy group best known for The State on MTV, which The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Details called the funniest sketch show on the air. Recent film and TV appearances include Reno 911!: Miami, The Ten, The Next Girl I See and HBO’s Flight of the Conchords.
Arthur is an actor, artist and co-founder of Austin’s ColdTowne Theater. He graduated in Theatre from Oberlin College and studied improvisation at Chicago’s Improv Olympic. Notable live performances have included national comedy festivals, Rubber Repertory’s Jubilee and his one-man show Dear Frailty, which earned him an award as Best Actor in Austin. As a film and television actor, he’s appeared in everything from Big Momma’s House 2 to Parkland. Arthur has been a regular fixture on the annual East Austin Studio Tour and has been a finalist for the prestigious Hunting Art Prize.
Ashley’s favorite thing to do is to watch her fellow improvisers perform. She loves seeing people come out of their shell, and you will often find her woo-hooing and cheering at the SCIT.
Kristen is the an instructor and Season Producer at the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT). She is also Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd, which performs weekly shows at The Actor’s Center. Prior to teaching at the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT), Kristen has taught improv for Delaware Theater Company, Drexel University, and The Actor’s Center. Kristen has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working in Philly as a professional actor, improviser and teacher for several years. She has worked with Commonwealth Classic Theater Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and Ego Po. She has appeared in many productions including the originally created Art of War, which received a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble.
Kristen has studied clowning intensively with Giovanni Fusetti and has studied improv at The Second City and at the Annoyance in Chicago and the Magnet Theater in NYC.She has taken workshops and classes with such improv notables as Michael Gelman, Jill Bernard, Armando Diaz, Asaf Ronen, Mick Napier, Susan Messing, Jonathan Pitts Joe Bill and Mark Sutton and members of the UCB Theater in New York City. When she is not on stage, Kristen is incredibly absent minded and susceptible to fraud.
Amie is a New York- based improviser, bleeding heart, and keen observer of the human condition. She has been improvising literally since birth in a pioneering 28-year-long monoscene format. Her depth of character development and level of commitment in this ongoing role as “a kind of spacey overachiever” is noteworthy. So yea, she likes improv a lot.
Amie appears regularly on stage in New York City at the Magnet Theater with resident Megawatt improv ensemble, Brick. Amie also appears regularly at the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) with best-friend-improv-duo, The Amie and Kristen Show/The Kristen and Amie Show, which has been a featured selection at improv festivals in Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore, and Toronto. She’s proud to say that she has studied improv comedy with the very best and brightest at the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT), the Magnet Theater (NYC), and at various workshops throughout the country, with renowned performers and teachers such as Armando Diaz, Asaf Ronen, Keith Johnstone, and Susan Messing, to name a few. She is co-creator and a producer of Duofest, the nation’s only improv festival dedicated solely to improv duos
Since discovering the SCIT in late 2011, Mike has dove head first into learning about and performing improv as much as possible. He is a former member of teams such as The Leaky Basement as well as the retired house teams Panic and Return to Sender. He has been seen performing regularly in numerous shows including with retired SCIT house team,Hotel Nowhere, and the improvised sitcom Midseason Replacement. Along with performing with his teams in Pittsburgh and various festivals throughout the country, he also coaches various independent teams and SCIT house teams including A Gun Called Christopher Walken and Carousel Rehab. Mike also served as the Marketing Director for the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival, combining two of his loves: comedy and forcing things he loves on people. You can see Mike performing with The Union as part of SCIT house teams.
Chris began his acting career in college, receiving minor degrees in film and theater while performing in stage productions in college and then later at his local community theater. He then moved to Pittsburgh from Buffalo, NY (GO BILLS!), began taking improv classes at the Steel City Improv Theater in December 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. He was a member of the former SCIT house teams Boldwagon and Panic, along with the improv/sketch/musical show The Treehouse Lounge and various one-off shows. He is has been a member of the improvised sitcom show Midseason Replacement, the freestyle rap improv group Yo, Gloria!, and is a member of the inaugural Cagematch tournament champs, Radish Collective. He absolutely loves improv and is very thankful to have met so many fun and talented friends along the way. Catch him on The Union as part of SCIT House Teams.
Kasey is an an actor, improviser and singer. Soon you can catch her in the second season of the WGN series Outsiders as Carol and the movie Aftermath, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. A veteran of a whole bunch of improv groups, she has performed at bagillions of locations around New York City. She was a member of the Musical Improv group, “8 Bar Cut,” which featured seasoned Broadway and Musical Theater vets creating a completely improvised musical and a cast member of Sunday Night Improv, the long running improv comedy jam at the 78th Street Theater Lab.
Kasey is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and holds a Bachelor of the Fine Arts from the New School University. She has studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade, The Magnet Theater and The People’s Improv Theater with Shannon O’Neil, Ben Schwartz, Kurt Braunohler, Mark Sutton, Matt Donnelly, Joe Bill and Ali Farahnakian and Armando Diaz.
Film/TV credits include: Father & Daughters with Russell Crowe, Not Cool (Starz), Z Rock (IFC), Supah Ninjas (Nickelodean) and in the 2016 PA Lottery “All About The Benjamin’s” Campaign. Theater/Improv credits include: Originating the role of Polly Pry in the New York premier of Trey Parker’s “Cannibal! The Musical!”, a founding member of the musical improv group “The LuPones (Del Close Marathon, NY Musical Improv Festival, NY UnScripted Festival). She also once played Judas in an all lady version of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, which was awesome. You can currently see her with the Union at the Steel City Improv Theater.
She lives with her husband, Justin Zell, their two cats, Madeline Jackson and Maxwell Edison and their dog about town Murray Berkowitz Daley Zell.
Originally from upstate New York, Justin is a graduate of BinghamtonHigh School’s Rod Serling School of Fine Arts and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts from SUNY New Paltz.
During his ten years in New York City, he primarily studied and performed at The People’s Improv Theater (The PIT), The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and The Magnet Theater. For two years, Justin taught and coached improv at The PIT while performing weekly on a PIT house team, The Wilhelm. He co-created and co-hosted a podcast about improvisation entitled “Improvised New York” with Elizabeth Quinn.
In 2010, Justin co-founded Steel City Improv Theater (The SCIT) with his wife, Kasey Daley, in 2010. Since then, they have taught of over 1000 people improvisation and have conducted workshops for organizations such as THE UNIVERSITY of PITTSBURGH, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY, BAYER and KRAFT HEINZ. He is currently the Education Director of Steel City Improv Theater Training Program.
Ben got his first exposure to improv at workshops put on by Irony City. He began taking classes at SCIT in May 2011 and hasn’t looked back since.
He was a founding member of the now-defunct but wildly influential group AKA, with whom he performed at the Del Close Marathon in NYC. Ben was a member of The Up & Up; he currently performs as part of the house team Field Trip, as a crime solver/perpetrator in CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation, and as approximately one half of the duo Ben & Jerome.
Ben is a native of St. Louis, and is happy to be in Pittsburgh. He is an engineer, and doesn’t get your theater references