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Theater Staff

Tom Spataro | Managing Director

 
Tom joins ImprovBoston after a lengthy tenure in non-profit arts management with the Boston Crusaders, a nearly 75 year old performing arts and educational organization. Over nine years with the Crusaders, Tom's function as Executive Director was to evolve the business while cultivating a supportive atmosphere and administrative team enabling the best possible arts opportunities for the community. Tom's strategic leadership of a mission-driven performance and educational institution with a family and history of passionate performers, artists, alumni and fans makes him an excellent match for ImprovBoston. Tom has made a career working with and supporting artists, enabling their creativity to flourish while focusing on strengthening the business behind the stage. In addition to his work with the Crusaders, Tom has served on the Board of Directors of Drum Corps International (DCI) and was recognized as the DCI Director of the Year in 2011.
 
Tom is a Boston College alum, a classic rock aficionado (which apparently now includes Nirvana) and a Tolkien fiend. He has no free time anymore, as he and his wife are managed by two sets of twins. 
 

Mike Descoteaux | Artistic Director

Mike Descoteaux is the full time Artistic Director of ImprovBoston. He is the former executive director of the nationally renowned Charles River Creative Arts Program as well as founder of the celebrated Music Program at The Second City Training Center in Chicago. Among other notable arts leadership positions, Mike is the co-creator of the ground-breaking Off-Broadway production BLANK! The Musical, and the creator/director of the critically acclaimed sketch satire, Best Church of God, named “Best Sketch Comedy in Chicago” several years running. In various capacities, Mike has collaborated with Tony, Emmy and Oscar-award winning artists and, with equal passion, students and emerging artists of all ages.

A smattering of the artists Mike’s had the privilege to work alongside include Stephen Colbert, Martin Short, Keegan Michael-Key, Richard Kind, Rachel Dratch, Brian Gallivan, Nicole Parker, TJ Jagodowki, Scott Adsit, Joe Bill, Dave Razowski, Vanessa Bayer, Mick Napier, Aidy Bryant, Jack McBrayer, Patti Styles, Jason Robert Brown, Norbert Leo-Butz, Jackie Hoffman, Jill Bernard, Dickie Smothers, Kevin McDonald and Laura Hall as well as comedy giants like Baby Wants Candy, Improvised Shakespeare and the Maydays. Mike’s performed and taught at iO, The Annoyance, ComedySportz, UCB, the PIT, Just the Funny, Four Day Weekend, Florida Studio Theater, the Magnet and other comedy institutions nationwide. Over the past 2 decades, Mike has led comedy workshops at festivals around the world including at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, Finland Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Chicago Musical Improv Festival, Sarasota Improv Festival, Colorado Improv Festival, Improv Utopia (East & Yosemite), the Alaska State Improv Festival, ITVFest and more.

At ImprovBoston, Mike has directed its prestigious Mainstage cast, National Touring Company, The Family Show, All Access and numerous indie sketch and improv ensembles. Mike’s been seen on NBC, CBS, A&E, and WGN. A Northwestern University grad, Mike has received a Jeff Award, After Dark Award, Paynter Award and was named one of the top young songwriters in the country by the Johnny Mercer & American Music Theater Project. “Mike D” is thrilled to combine his passion for improv, teaching, directing, music and arts management into this one dream position serving this one dream community.

 

Stacey Smith | Comedy School Manager

Stacey is a loud Long Islander and Chicago transplant who performed regularly at CSz, at iO with The Musical Armando and The Deltones, in various projects with The Second City (most recently Life Hacks, The Really Awesome Improv Show and #DateMe in the UP Comedy Club) or with her various independent teams (Stacked, Brouhahaha and Smith&I) around town and/or at festivals. She was an instructor in the A-E Program, Youth&Teen Program and The Wellness Program at The Second City and created her own program called S.H.E (Sisterhood. Humor. Empowerment) for female identifying students ages 8-18. In addition, she also taught at iO and The Playground Theater and is the former Head of the Training Center at CSz Theater Chicago. She is also the Creator/Executive Producer of the Chicago Musical Improv Festival. Stacey performed two contracts for The Second City aboard the Norwegian Breakaway.

Deana Criess | Director of Sales

Deana has traveled the country performing with ImprovBoston's Mainstage at the Sarasota Improv Festival, the Orlando Improv Festival, the Red Dirt Improv Festival (Oklahoma City), PHIF (Philadelphia Improv Festival), Spontaneous Combustion (Atlanta) and NCCAF (North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival) and many more. In Boston you can see her in the ImprovBoston Mainstage, The ImprovBoston Touring Company and in Hidden Falls - a musical improv troupe that creates completely improvised hour long musicals based on the audience's suggestions (find out more at http://www.gilbanemusic.com/hiddenfalls.html). Past productions include Lube! The Musical (which she also co-wrote), Gorefest 8: Cirque de Slaute, T:An MBTA Musical, What the Dickens, French Kiss me Kate, The Real Housewives of the Magik Kingdom, and she is a former cast member of the ImprovBoston Family Show. Deana's tweets were read on CNN. For some reason CNN found her tweets newsworthy.

Kelly MacFarland | Sales

 
As an experienced stand-up comedian, Kelly has an extensive and well-rounded resume including comedy clubs, theaters, colleges, festivals, television appearances and entertaining US troops overseas. Kelly was first runner up in the 2009 Boston Comedy Festival, voted Best of the Fest 2010 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, performed with the Oddball Festival 2015 and has been a featured headliner for the Boston Women in Comedy Festival. Kelly has appeared on Stand Up in Stilettos on the TV Guide Channel and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. Kelly is the host of the web series, Fit or Fad on www.ulive.com. Most recently, Kelly was part of the Top 100 Comedians of Last Comic Standing Season 9 and appeared on AXS Gotham Comedy LIVE. Kelly is also an accomplished improviser and has performed with the ImprovBoston National Touring Company since 2014. Kelly is currently writing a clever collection of short stories based on her stand up and her life. Kelly works nationally as a humor-wellness speaker. Sharing her life experiences in the unique way that only she can, audiences are pleasantly surprised by her candor. Kelly has been a featured keynote speaker for the American Heart Association GO Red for Women campaign for over 10 years.
 

Josh Shelor | Associate Producer

 
Josh combines his love for organization with his passion for the arts in his new role as Associate Producer here at ImprovBoston. A recent graduate of Emerson College, Josh spent most of his time working in public relations, event management, and directing and producing for the stage. He has spent his entire life working in theater, music, and arts administration, which help as he tackles group sales, internship programming, website maintenance, and anything else we can throw at him. He has worked in Massachusetts at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Underground Railway Theater, Boston Playwright’s Theatre, and Endicott College, as well as Wayside Theatre in the hills of Virginia.
 

Liz Roderick | Associate Producer

 
Liz Roderick brings her love of performing and her degree in non-profit management to this new role. She is thrilled and honored to be performing with ImprovBoston's Mainstage and ImprovBoston's National Touring Company. Liz teaches Level 201 and loves encouraging, challenging and coaching the theater's next generation of super-stars. She is beyond excited to be working for a place that has brought her so much joy over the last 5 years. In her spare time, Liz loves running, yoga, snuggling up with a good book, her incredible group of friends, living in Cambridge, her family and her baby Penny who is, unbiasedly, the best and cutest baby that has ever lived.
 
Deb Falzoi | Marketing and Communications Manager
 

Dana Jay Bein | Project Manager, Standup Director

Dana Jay Bein is a standup comedian, improviser and motivator. Dana has made his life in comedy at ImprovBoston, where he is the head of the Standup Program, a company cast member (Face Off / MISTER DIPLOMAT) and a veteran instructor of the ImprovBoston Comedy School. He has brought his performances and workshops to Boston College, MIT, Stonehill College, Boston University, Wellesley College, Dartmouth College, Northeastern University and UMass Boston. In 2008, Dana was featured as a standup coach on MTV and has performed in over 1,000 shows to date. He currently produces, books and hosts The Peoples Show and The Comedy Lottery at ImprovBoston in Cambridge, MA. Voted Best Boston Comedian on Twitter in 2012 by readers of the Boston Comedy Scene Examiner (@danajaybein)


Leslie Walstrom | Chair, Board of Directors

 

Will Luera | Artistic Director Emeritus

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 all over the country and around the world, representing ImprovBoston as far east as Japan.