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Artistic Staff & Advisors

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  • Artistic Staff
  • Artistic Advisors
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Artistic Staff

Will Luera, Artistic Director

Will Luera joined ImprovBoston in 1997 as a member of the ImprovBoston Mainstage. Within two years he joined the TheatreSports cast and also became the director of Sitcom. In 1999, he left ImprovBoston to start his own improvisational theater company called Blue Screen, where he continued to direct Sitcom but also developed and directed Secret Society and Dropkick Bandito. In 2000, he rejoined ImprovBoston as Artistic Director, directing the Mainstage cast as well as premiere productions of Sitcom, Secret Society, Blue Screen, and Quest. He has appeared at the Chicago Improv Festival, New York Improv Festival, Greater Boston Improv Festival, and Toyota Comedy Festival and has studied improvisation with ImprovOlympic, The Second City, The Annoyance Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade, and Keith Johnstone. In addition to his work at ImprovBoston, Will has taught improvisation classes for the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the National Fire Prevention Association, Northeastern University, Boston College and numerous regional, college, and high school improv troupes. Will continues to direct the ImprovBoston Mainstage, but has also worked with Improv Asylum, The Tribe Theater, The Alarm Clock Theater, and Another Country Productions.

Don Schuerman, Director of Programming

Don Schuerman has been performing with ImprovBoston since 1997, after four years with My Mother's Fleabag (Boston College). He is a member of ImprovBoston Mainstage and appeared in the original casts of Sitcom, Musical! the Musical, Election! and Secret Society. As Director of Programming, Don supervises all of ImprovBoston's in-house productions. He was also director of ImprovBoston's ongoing production of TheatreSports from 1999 to 2004 and directed ImprovBoston's 2001 showcase productions of The ImprovBoston Holiday Spectacular and Red Herrings, which was selected as a feature performance at the 2002 Chicago Improv Festival. He has appeared at the Comedy Connection, the Comedy Studio, the Chicago Improv Festival, the Toyota Comedy Festival and Montreal's Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Don has studied improvisation with ImprovOlympic, The Second City, The Annoyance Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade and Keith Johnstone. In addition to his work at ImprovBoston University, Don has taught improvisation classes for the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the National Fire Prevention Association, Northeastern University, Boston College and numerous regional and college improv troupes. He has been seen on Canadian television in the Comedy Network's World Improv Championships, where he was twice named Most Valuable Player.

Deana Tolliver, Director of Education

Deana Tolliver joined ImprovBoston in 2005 as a member of the ImprovBoston Family Show.  In addition Deana has also performed in various other IB shows including Up With Family, Save the Date, What the Dickens, and French Kiss Me Kate. Deana attended Emerson College where studied Radio and Comedy Writing.  While there she was a member of the critically acclaimed sketch comedy troupe The Swollen Monkey Showcase.  She was a founding member of the sketch comedy troupe Sissies and has written and performed in several live radio comedies.  Deana has taught improv techniques to students all over New England ranging in age from 3 to adult.  She has developed targeted workshops for children with special needs, adolescents struggling with self-esteem, and elementary school teachers looking for ways to draw out the best in every student.  A graduate of the ImprovBoston University Workshop Program, Deana has also studied with Mike Bent, Susan Messing and Joe Bill.

Rachel Klein, Head of the IB Improv Program 

Rachel joined ImprovBoston after moving from Chicago in 2008 as the player-coach of Maxitor, one of IB's Harold casts. In Chicago, she trained at the Second City Conservatory and trained and then performed with the Harold team Chopper at the iO Theatre. Rachel has taught improv workshops throughout the country and beyond, and teaches regularly at both the IB Comedy School and for high school improv teams. In addition to performing, coaching and teaching improv, Rachel's comedy writing can be seen on the websites The Smew and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, as well as on her improv blog The House That Del Built

 
Jeremiah Jordan, Director of Talent Development & Director of Harold Department

Jeremiah is the owner of Clyde Media Productions, a video production and editing company. While living in Los Angeles, he worked on tv shows and films, including ‘The O.C.’, ‘Without A Trace’, ‘High School Musical’, and others. He is the producer and editor of the feature film ‘Joshua’, which is available on Netflix and in Blockbuster. Jeremiah has been performing improv for 16 years with ImprovBoston, IO West, ComedySportz and more – having trained with Del Close and many other great teachers along the way. He is currently on Plan B and has directed and performed with Rondo, Between Jobs, and This Improvised Life. He is IB’s Assistant Artistic Director of Talent Development and Head of the Harold Department. Jeremiah moved to the Boston area about 3 years ago with his wife, Jennie, and their dog, Clyde. Jeremiah hates writing bios.

Dana J. Bein, Director of Stand-up Department

Dana Jay Bein has been performing stand up, improv and sketch comedy for over ten years. Hundreds have learned his approach to stand up comedy at ImprovBoston and the Boston Center for Adult Education where he has implemented his stand-up comedy curriculum. His unique marriage of improv skills and stand up techniques sets his performance and teaching styles apart from the industry standards. In the spring of 2008, Dana was selected as a comedy coach for an episode of MTV's reality show Made. ImprovBoston has known Dana since 2001, where he began performing improv in the Micetro/UnNatural Selection cast on Thursday nights. He has been a cast member in ImprovBoston Showcase shows such as Quest, Action Comix, Felt, In the Garage, GoreFest IV and V, Dana and Steve Do It, Law and Puppet, Fort Awesome. His one man show The UnNatural Nature of Nurture was picked up as a Hump Show to be produced and performed at ImprovBoston in 2009. Every Friday night, you can catch him performing in ImprovBoston's Friday Night Faceoff improv ensemble. Every Sunday night, you can see him hosting, performing and co-producing ImprovBoston's Stand Up Sundays with co-producer Maria Ciampa. Dana's comedic talent has been chosen for comedy festivals locally (Lowell Comedy Festival, MA), nationally (DC Comedy Festival) and internationally (Toronto International Improv Festival) and his stand up classes were tapped for Camprov 2009. For more information, follow Dana on Facebook (facebook.com/danajaybein) or Twitter (@danajaybein).

 

Artistic Advisors

ImprovBoston has worked with the country's leading improvisation and comedy performers, directors and instructors. In addition to our Master Class series and our continuing schedule of exciting guest performers, ImprovBoston has assembled an Artistic Advisory Board of the some of most recognized names in improvisation and comedy to guide and advise our Artistic Staff.

Greg Allen

Greg Allen is the Founding Director of The Neo-Futurists and creator of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes). He has written, directed, and performed more than 500 original plays for Too Much Light... in its continuous run since it opened December 2, 1988 - from Another Play Which Makes The Audience Hate Greg to the imfamous Title.

Larry Coen

Larry Coen is Associate Director of City Stage Co. of Boston, (www.citystage.org) which received a 2005 Elliot Norton Award from the Boston Theater Critics' Association for "thirty years of inspiring children and families through theater." With "Friends" creator David Crane he wrote "Epic Proportions," which ran on Broadway in a production directed by Jerry Zaks and starring Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Tudyk. Coen appears frequently original plays by Ryan Landry and the award-winning Gold Dust Orphans, (www.golddustorphans.com) including "Who's Afraid of the Virgin Mary?," "Pussy on the House" and "Death of a Saleslady." In the spring of 2006 he will play the lead in the World Premiere of "Kong's Night Out" at Lyric Stage Company (www.lyricstage.com). Coen was one of 6 actors chosen to represent the United States at the "World Cup of Improvisation" in Lille, France. He was also a cast member of the Canadian television series "Improv Champions" and has appeared at the "Just for Laughs Festival," "Yes, And Festival," and "Del Close Improv Marathon." Locally he has improvised with Musical Improv Company (www.musicalimprovco.com), Boston Comedy Project, U.S. Improvisational Theatre League and, of course, ImprovBoston. Larry is a Creativity Consultant to the M.B.A. program at Babson College.

Charna Halpern

Charna Halpern has been teaching performers how to work together for more than 20 years. Her world-famous Improv Olympic theaters in Chicago and Los Angeles are the meccas of training in the art of improvisation, and they act as a "recruiting" stop for television shows like "Saturday Night Live," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "MADtv," supplying New York and Hollywood with writers and performers.

 
Mick Napier

Mick Napier is an award-winning director and renowned teacher, facilitator, author and improviser. In addition to being the founder of Chicago’s acclaimed Annoyance Theatre and Annoyance Productions, Mick is also an artistic consultant for The Second City, where he has directed more than nine revues including the 40th Anniversary Show Second City 4.0. For the 1996 production "Paradigm Lost," he earned a prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for his direction. Mick’s experience in television and film include serving as writer/director for Cable Ace-nominated Exit 57 for Comedy Central. He was the creative producer on the nationally syndicated sketch TV show Sports Bar, and he directed the live pilot for HBO/Comedy Central’s TBA. Mick is author of the book Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out.

 
Joe Bill

Joe Bill is widely regarded as one of the best Teachers of Scenic and Comedic Improvisation in America today. He discovered Improvisation in 1977, when he learned some basic games for performance in his group at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, IN. By 1990 Joe had performed professionally with 5 different Sketch Comedy and Improv groups, studied with Del Close at Improv Olympic, and with Martin DeMaat, Michael Gellman, Bernie Sahlins and others before graduating from The Second City Training Center, Co-founded The Annoyance Theater (all in Chicago), and was making his living as a Nationally Touring Stand Up Comedian. It was also 1990 when his passion for teaching Improvisation kicked into high gear, and a unique approach to Improvised Scene and Character began to be articulated by a number of teachers at Chicago's Annoyance Theater, lead by the visionary Artistic Director of Annoyance, Mick Napier.
Since then, Joe and Mark Sutton (his partner in the Nationally Touring Improvised Production, BASSPROV), have evolved the Annoyance approach into POWER IMPROV, which they both have been teaching all over the U.S., Canada and Europe, at festivals, theaters and universities since 2000. Joe has performed, coached, directed and innovated improv structure with a vast number of successful groups including The Screw Puppies at Annoyance, Georgia Pacific at iO Chicago, with whom he developed The Bat, The Throwdown at Donny's Skybox at Second City and The Playground and The Scramble which he has taught and directed in 9 cities in the U.S. using performers from a mix of theaters and groups in each city. Joe has taught and or performed at every major improv festival in the United States, and in addition to BASSPROV, he also tours and performs with Minneapolis improv mastermind Jill Bernard in their 2 person show, SCRAM!, which features 3 different 2 person scenes that happen at the same time.
Joe currently teaches and does corporate training at iO Chicago, is an Artistic Associate for The Chicago Improv Festival, and acts as an artistic adviser for a number of improvisation and comedy theaters all over the U.S. and Canada.

Management

Zach Ward, Managing Director
 
MB Makara, Assistant to the Managing Director

MaryBeth "MB" Makara has been working from ImprovBoston since October 2009. MB came to IB as a performer first by way of the group "Neutrino Video Project" in 2006, of which she is still a member. Graduating from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2003 with a degree in Fine and Performing Arts, MB has been working in professional Theatre and Theatre organizations ever since. MB has worked in Massachusetts, North Carolina,Tennessee, New York and Vermont. She has done everything from portraying a Quaker woman, serving as a pyrotechnician, teaching kids improv, evaluated Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, to stealing Christine Baranski's dessert with Harvey Fierstein. (she still has no idea!) While at ImprovBoston MB has served as a Box Office attendant, bartender, technician, House Manager, Ticketing and Scheduling Manager, and now in her current role as Assistant to the Managing Director. She also handles group sales and donation requests, but who's counting? Maybe you are, if so, how's she doing? MB can also be seen performing with her Harold Team "Rich Uncle" on Thursday nights in Harold Night and on occasion with her boss Zach Ward in their two person show "Work Lunch". MB also produces the Wednesday night show "Comedy Lab" at ImprovBoston.

Deana Tolliver, Director of Training and Sales

Deana Tolliver joined ImprovBoston in 2005 as a member of the ImprovBoston Family Show.  In addition Deana has also performed in various other IB shows including Up With Family, Save the Date, What the Dickens, and French Kiss Me Kate. Deana attended Emerson College where studied Radio and Comedy Writing.  While there she was a member of the critically acclaimed sketch comedy troupe The Swollen Monkey Showcase.  She was a founding member of the sketch comedy troupe Sissies and has written and performed in several live radio comedies.  Deana has taught improv techniques to students all over New England ranging in age from 3 to adult.  She has developed targeted workshops for children with special needs, adolescents struggling with self-esteem, and elementary school teachers looking for ways to draw out the best in every student.  A graduate of the ImprovBoston University Workshop Program, Deana has also studied with Mike Bent, Susan Messing and Joe Bill.