Philadelphia School of Improv - Instructors
Emily Davis :: EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Emily Davis is thrilled to be Education Director and performer with CSz Philly. Since 2008, she has studied improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade, The People’s Improv Theater, and The Magnet Theater in New York and at IO and The Annoyance in Chicago. She also interned at the Canal Café Theatre in London with their long-running sketch show, Newsrevue. She has performed with five long-form house teams in Philadelphia, an ensemble team and the Untitled Holiday Puppet Show at Figment Theater, the Philly Fringe Festival, the Philly Improv Festival, and other festivals across the country. She currently performs with her independent teams Swag Bag, I Like You, and Pepper Potts. She has also written improv curriculum, taught many levels and types of improv classes, coached house and independent teams, and edited the Aerodynamics of Yes, Christian Capozzoli’s book about improv. Basically, she loves improv, and could not be happier to get to work with her talented Comedy Sportz colleagues.
Kristin Finger :: INSTRUCTOR
KRISTIN FINGER has studied/performed improv since 2001 and has been a member of CSz Philadelphia since 2007, where she is currently the Artistic Director. At CSz Philadelphia, Kristin created the hit shows Murder Manor: An Improvised Game of Clue and Murder Manor: The Golden Girls Edition.
Her acting and improv training include the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Second City Chicago, CSz Worldwide, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She has studied under Paul Scheer (The League), Seth Morris (Parks and Recreation), Jill Bernard, Jen Childs (1812 Productions), and Tara DeFrancisco. While in New York, Kristin performed stand-up in clubs including The Comedy Cellar and Standup NY alongside Jim Gaffigan and Dave Attell.
A few other projects/shows she’s been a part of are Improvukkah at 1812 Productions, Just Wingin’ it at Act II Playhouse; independent groups include Grey Gardens, Kris&Chips, Wisdom Teeth, The Real Housewives of Philadelphia, Spirit Animal, which have performed in different festivals across the US. She has also been teaching/coaching improv since 2010 in cities including Philadelphia, Boston, San Jose, Richmond, and Chicago.
Sue Taney :: Instructor
SUE TANEY has been performing on stage since before birth. As the daughter of an 80’s punk-rocker, she spent a lot of time on stage with her mom during her childhood. She decided to learn more about performance and earned a BA from Rowan University in 2006. When a friend brought her to a CSz show later that year, it was love at first sight. She is currently CSz’s Education Outreach Coordinator. Sue studied at CSz Philly and took all of their classes (including musical improv) with Karen Getz, Dave Dristas, Kelly Jennings, and Mary Carpenter from 2007-2010. She also studied at the PHIT training center with Nick Gilette, Kristen Schier, and Mark Binghurst from 2009-2010. She has performed with the indie long-form improv group Rookie Card from 2010-2013 under the direction of Matt Holmes. She attended festivals such as the DelClose Marathon 12 & 13, NCCAF 2012 & 2013, and the Philadelphia Improv Festival with them. She was a writer and actress in the PHIT series The Gross Show and is on the PHIT sketch comedy house team Goat Rodeo. She played the part of Andie in John Hughes High at Figment Theater and is in CityBeatz, a improvised rap group with some of her CSz buddies. She is also part of the 2012 WitOut award winning group for best improv group, Hate Speech Committee. Contact
Kelly Jennings :: Instructor
KELLY JENNINGS has been performing with ComedySportz-Philadelphia since 1992, serving as both Business Manager and Co-Artistic Director. She was co-creator of and “Cecily” in Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical… winner of the League of Cincinnati Theater’s Outstanding Improv Award, plus Audience Choice and Best of Fest recognition in Capital Fringe, St Louis Fringe, and Boulder Fringe as well as receiving critical acclaim from The Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer. Kelly was a founding member of the Philadelphia based long form company LunchLady Doris which performed to sold-out runs in 12 consecutive Philadelphia Fringe Festivals as well as having the distinction of appearing at the FIRST Del Close Memorial Festival in NYC. She has taught improv and interactive performance at C.W. Post Long Island University, Marywood University, University of The Arts, Studio 24 in Syracuse NY, Dog and Pony DC, and ComedySportz World Championships. Kelly has studied improv with Joe Bill, Mick Napier, Miles Stroth, Paul Grondy, Jeff Wirth, and Jill Bernard.
And that’s not all! – Kelly is a member of Actors Equity. She received a BFA cum laude in Acting from Syracuse University. Kelly has performed with many award winning Philadelphia based companies including Pig Iron Theatre, Swim Pony Performing Arts, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Brat Productions, Lantern Theater.
Noah Herman :: Instructor
NOAH HERMAN joined CSz Philadelphia in 2009 after a lifetime of being a loyal fan! He is the former Education Director of CSz Philadelphia and the current Assistant to the Artistic Director at 1812 Productions, Philadelphia's All-Comedy Theatre Company. At 1812 Noah has directed Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner, a Sort of Romantic Comedy, and he is integral in the company's artistic development and educational programming. Other recent directing credits include Dead Man's Cell Phone (The College of New Jersey), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (College of New Jersey), The Diary of a Worm, A Spider, and a Fly (Walnut Street Theatre Kids Series), and The Fat Cat Killers (Flashpoint Theatre Company.) He is also a member of the spontaneous theatre group Tongue & Groove, along with CSz members Bobbi Block and Fred Siegel. Noah teaches acting and improv classes for all ages at the Walnut Street Theatre. He is a graduate of Muhlenberg College.
Mary Carpenter :: Instructor
MARY CARPENTER has been with ComedySportz Philadelphia since 1992, where she has worked as a performer, teacher, Education Director and Artistic Director. She holds degrees in theatre from Northwestern University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Her improv training began at The Second City in Chicago and continued with Mick Napier, Keith Johnstone, Joe Bill, Todd Stashwick, Jill Bernard and Jeff Wirth. She has appeared in plays with Stephen Colbert and David Schwimmer, and developed and performed in an original two-woman show with SNL alum Ana Gasteyer. Mary co-founded Philadelphia’s first non-profit Improvisation Company, Freefall Productions where she produced Philly’s first women’s improv ensemble 13 Skirts, as well as the fully improvised musical Choosical. In addition to ComedySportz Philadelphia, Mary’s improvisation experience includes City of Nutterly Love with The Second City, Dangerous Fools with Thomas Fowler, ‘Til Death Do Us Part, Wisdom Teeth and Smoochy & Me. Mary also works as an actress, writer and director. Most recent projects include Intimate Exchanges at 1812 Productions, and Didn’t Your Father Have this Talk with You and Making Spirits Bright at Act II Playhouse.
Alli Soowal :: Instructor
ALLI SOOWAL has been a CSz Philadelphia company member since 2007 and was the Managing Director from 2008 – 2012. She has taught improv since 2006, including instructing improvisers from around the country at the CSz Worldwide Championships. She is also an Applied Improv Facilitator and the Special Shows Producer for CSz Philadelphia. Alli helped produce the Philadelphia Improv Festival for 5 years, created CityBeatz (Philly's first hip hop improv show), and produced successful events such as Dual Duel and Dual Nite. In addition to being a ComedySportz Player, she performs regularly with groups including: Murder Manor: an Improvised Game of Clue, Roll Play: an Improvised Adventure, Grey Gardens, Wisdom Teeth, and Alli & Darryl. She has received improv instruction from some of the best teachers in the country including: Dick Chudnow, Keith Johnstone, Joe Bill, Mark Sutton, Jill Bernard, Tara DeFrancisco, Lauren Pritchard and many more. Alli’s day job – Site Manager for 2 outpatient physical therapy offices of Good Shepherd Penn Partners – requires her to use her teambuilding improv training daily to ensure high employee and patient satisfaction.
Caroline Rhoads :: Instructor
CAROLINE RHOADS was first bit by the improv bug in college where, while receiving her B.F.A. in Performing Arts, she coached and performed with her campus troupe (The Happy Tuesday Players). After taking her first intensive with Second City, she was hooked. She then made her way to Philly where, through her apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theater, she was able to connect with and bolster her acting chops under the guidance of Seth Rozin, Ellen Tobie, Jennie Eisenhower, and Susie Stephens. Caroline then decided to supplement her love for performing with her love for teaching. Teaching credits include Mighty Writers: Girl Power Theater (A grant-funded program she developed for young women to find their voice through improvisation), Barrymore Award Winning Program: Of Mythic Proportions, Art Reach, Story Up!, Child Drama workshops, and the Delaware Art’s Initiative: Camp Imagine. In between planning lessons she made time to study long and short form improvisation with such talented comedians as Susan Messing (IO), Jen Childs (1812 Productions), Maggy Keegan (Figment Theater), Nathan Edmondson (PHIT), Kristin Finger, and Dave Jadico. She largely credits the training she's received through the Comedy Sportz for the skills she possesses today.
Susannah Beckett :: Instructor
Susannah has been a performing member of ComedySportz since 2007. She received her theater degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Following college, she toured the east coast in original productions with The KingFisher Theatre Company. She joined her first improv troupe in Boston Massachusetts, Kitsch-in- sink, in 2005, and has been delighted to be part of the art form ever since. As an instructor she has worked teaching improv classes at Hedgerow Theater. She has taught teacher and student workshops for the Non-Profit “ Yes! And…” and the group Story Up! -both organizations that work to improve student’s learning skills through the use of the arts. Through her work with ComedySportz , Susannah has had the opportunity to lead Team Building workshops for camps, corporate groups and others, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the Girl Scouts. In her other work, environmental restoration, Susannah is delighted to use her improv skills to lead students on nature hikes and volunteers in forest restoration efforts.
Kevin Regan :: Instructor
Kevin has been performing with ComedySportz since 2011. He is also the director of multimedia.As well as performing, he has written & produced many web series including "The League" (not that one), "The Clink" and "The Cheap Seats." Most of these would earn him a permanent Brown Bag foul. He is also a co-creator of the Popular Culture Podcast "You've Got Geek" and the Improvised comedy podcast "Elvis, And" both of which can be found on iTunes. He's worked behind the scenes with City Theater Company in Wilmington, DE since 2004. Including the staging of an original Musical he co-wrote called "On The Air." He produces Safety and Training videos, as well as various music videos, and sketches with many groups throughout Philadelphia. When he's not performing or teaching Improv with ComedySportz, he's performing and learning Improv from his 3 year old daughter.
Josh Holober-Ward :: Instructor
Josh Holober-Ward has been performing and teaching improv for the last 10 years. He studied various forms of improv in DC, graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a BFA in Acting in 2012, and has been a member of ComedySportz Philadelphia since 2015.
Sarah LeClair :: Instructor
Sarah LeClair has been a Philadelphia area theatre arts educator for more than 15 years. A graduate of NYU, Sarah has won local awards for her productions, onstage and off, and has been teaching, directing, and coaching every age group from infants to seniors since. Sarah is a graduate of the CSz Education program, and has taken workshops with Kevin McDonald (KitH), David Razowsky (Second City) and many others. In addition to her work with the ComedySportz Philadelphia company (2015 to present), Sarah performs with StoryUP! Philadelphia and Roll Play: An Improvised Adventure, as well as with her duos Smotherly Love and Gerry!, both Dual Duel contenders. She is a firm believer that improv is for everybody, and it will change your life!
INSTRUCTOR :: BOB MCNICHOL
Bob McNichol studied and performed at ImprovOlympic, Annoyance Theater, and Second City in Chicago where he performed with “Johnny Roast Beef” and “Concept Album” before moving to Austin in 2005 with his wife, Erika May McNichol. He has since taught, coached and performed at Coldtowne Theater with award-winning troupe The Frank Mills, The Smoking Arm and Stool Pigeon. At ColdTowne, Bob won the award for Straight Characters so often, they named the award for him.
He is an original cast member of the acclaimed sketch comedy podcast, Victrola, finalists in the Improv for Humans/Earwolf Competition (2017). You can listen to episodes or download their album Virtual Aurality (Sure Thing Records) on iTunes.
Bob performs with THIS WEEK SUCKED at CSz Philly.
What His Students Say: “I took a workshop with Bob and experienced a major improv breakthrough. He helped me out of my head – I got more physical on stage and started to have a lot more fun.” - Peter H.
INSTRUCTOR :: TOM KELLEY
Tom Kelley is an improvisor, actor, director and teacher. He received his MFA in Acting from the ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard University in 2008. Since then he has trained as an improvisor in multiple programs including UCB and Reckless Theatre in NYC, and has trained extensively with the Swedish improv teacher, Anders Fors, as well. He has taught, coached and performed improv for the last four years in NYC and internationally in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Canada. He currently performs in NYC with the improvised sitcom 'Come Ova'. He is inspired by working on and creating narrative forms of improv that celebrate the full range of human experience, not just comedy (though comedy invariably happens) and organic improv in which each performance is completely unique and created through listening and connection.
Erika May McNichol :: Instructor
Erika May McNichol is an alumni of the Chicago comedy scene, where she trained at ImprovOlympic, The Second City, Annoyance Theater and ComedySportz. After performing on numerous house teams, sketch teams and indy teams in Chicago for 5+ years, she moved to Austin. Working with other Chicago and New Orleans transplants new to Austin, they helped establish ColdTowne Theater and develop a full teaching curriculum, training hundreds of students in the art of finding their comedic voice. In September 2018, ColdTowne was named a top place to study improv outside of NY, LA and Chicago in Vulture Magazine.
"Erika has that rare combination of being unbelievably funny and supportive and encouraging all at the same time. Learn from her and your improv will leap forward." - Student/Performer, Erica Lies