Current Tucson Improv Movement Company Members:
Catherine Bartlett: Catherine has been involved with improv since the spring of 2013, but has always been a fan of funny and seeks the humor in everyday situations. When she’s not interacting with bipedal mammals on stage, she’s playing with cold-blooded creatures at the Desert Museum, where she works with invertebrates and reptiles. “Getting the herps” has a profoundly different meaning in this line of work than in her previous profession as a high school biology teacher. Born and raised a Tucsonan, Catherine is naturally a fan of burritos, the Wildcats, and air conditioning. Her favorite games involve puns, but you can also catch her rapping caucasionally.
Esther Brilliant: Esther is an attorney for the Office of the Public Defender. Her hobbies include telling people how to invoke their Miranda rights even though they never asked her, making jokes about arrested development and hoping that someone laughs, and stifling giggles during yoga. She is also regularly thwarted by autocorrect.
Jess Crombie: Jess Crombie began taking improv classes with Tucson Improv Movement’s inaugural class in October 2012 under the brilliant tutelage of TIM Founder Justin Lukasewic. She currently serves as a TIM 101 instructor, a member of TIM INC and TIM Throwdown. Jess has enjoys making the funnies and being a part of the wonderfully supportive TIM Family. Outside of TIM, Jess is the Senior Coordinator for Leadership Programs at the University of Arizona where she teaches leadership classes and shapes the lives of emerging college leaders.
Michael Dean: Michael has been doing improv for like, 6 or 7 years? starting when he was regularly involved in his high school’s improv shows which blatantly ripped off the format of Whose Line is it Anyway? He went on to be involved in University of Arizona’s Comedy Corner for about 4 years, directing the troupe for 1 of those years, and it was all a lot of fun. He’s had the pleasure of also being involved with teams Dinosaur Rodeo (Lake Havasu City), Slow Clap (Tucson), and War Stories (Los Angeles). He REALLY likes pizza and coffee, separately. Outside of TIM, Michael enjoys a meaningless existence that seems to either drag on or move entirely too fast. Text me ❤
Dave Devery: Dave has been taking classes with TIM since early fall of 2013, and certainly wishes he’d started sooner. Always told he has a great sense of humor, he finally decided to do something fun with it, and hasn’t looked back since. Needing a hobby since graduating college and leaving the UofA’s Pride of Arizona Drumline in 2009, TIM seemed like the right fit.
Ben Dietzel: Ben Dietzel, apart from being an avid fan of anything involving avocados or grilled asparagus, is a semi-experienced improv and stand-up comedian. Since 2009 he has been 76% committed to achieving his dreams of work in the entertainment business in one capacity or another. While lack of focus and procrastination may be his strong suits he still feels that if you aren’t fully amused by his performances you will at least walk away with a bit of worldly wisdom.
C Diane Ealy: So far in my life I have earned a doctorate in behavioral science, had five personal-growth books published, – more to come – developed an in-depth energy healing modality and conducted presentations throughout the United States, Germany and China. My greatest pleasure, my soul work, is to make people laugh. Improv is a perfect venue for me. I have to stay present, respond quickly to others, and reach constantly for the highest level of humor. Makes no difference who in the scene gets the big laugh, we all let it wash over us.
Jessica Gregg: Although Jessica dreamed of being a fly girl on the hit sketch comedy show, In Living Color at the tender age of 8, she was actually terrified of the stage for most of her life. However, after moving back to her hometown of Tucson, she decided to take the TIM Improv 101 class in March 2013. A week later, she kicked herself for not trying Improv sooner and is now super pumped to be a part of the TIM company. When she is not improv-ing or practicing the Running Man, Jessica enjoys going to concerts, watching too much television and hanging out with her adorably overweight Miniature Pinscher, Sophie.
Dan Gross: Dan has been involved with improv since 2012 with Unexpected Productions in Seattle, WA. Dan started as a student with TIM in the summer of 2013, loves being part of TIM. “I never had many hobbies as a kid. I was never the jock or the smart one in my family. Improv helped me find a creative outlet that really makes me believe I am part of something.” Dan also works as a therapist and utilizes improv in his work. He is also an avid dog lover and wants to own a Weimaraner one day.
L. Marc Haberman: When Marc completed Flamenco dancing classes; he couldn’t see himself as a professional dancer, so he then began seriously studying improv in the spring of 2013, to keep him young, and to be more involved in his passion. Marc says “I believe that a love for improv is a soul calling.” Having taught Humor and Health at Pima Community College, he knew the value of humor in life. Marc comes to improv with many great experiences of life, and having enjoyed the delightful perspective of living in other cultures. As a Feng Shui Life Coach, Holistic Health Practitioner, and tantra teacher he is endowed with professions he loves. Marc believes, No other art form is so challenging and yet gives back so much in return. “Embracing the divine nature of improv comedy is a blessing that has become my love.”
Andrew Hatch: Andrew always knew he was destined for the stage. However it wasn’t until 2008 that this dream was realized through Improv at the U of A. He has been hard at it ever since and never looked back. Now a proud member of Tucson Improv Movement’s Harold team, Andrew is diversifying his improv portfolio. He is also a member of the one man novelty band “Andrew and the Jellyfish” and is a part-time balloon animal artist. He is an awarding winning public speaker and is allergic to skittles. Despite the rampant rumors he does not know karate.
When he is not on stage, Cory is a local drug dealer. Yes, it is exactly what you think, Cory is a licensed, practicing pharmacist. When he is not dispensing mad medicine knowledge, he passes his time by playing any sport where a round ball is hit with a bat, club, or racquet.
Dan Kellish: Dan has been involved with the Tucson Improv Movement since getting convinced to take a class just a few short months ago. Though he graduated from Ohio State with a degree in political science and now uses his Higher Education degree at the University of Arizona, he is delighted to return to performing! Tucson Improv Movement marks his return to the stage from such classics as some high school plays he can’t remember the name of, and years of sequined vests with showchoirs. When not making a fool of himself on stage, he enjoys nature, movies with friends, cooking, baking, and especially eating.
Daniel Kirby: Daniel has been performing comedy since 2006 when he was accepted to the University of Arizona’s Comedy Corner: the longest running college comedy troupe in the nation. While in College he served as the troupe’s Artistic director and Producer. He has done numerous workshops with Improvisors in Cities from LA to Chicago and has performed locally at the Beowulf Alley Theatre, Auld Dubliner, Sky Bar and Surly Wench Pub. He enjoys the challenge of each new project and looks forward to nothing more than making people smile.
Ryan Kreisberg: Ryan’s official dive into the world of improv comedy came during the Fall of 2013. And it was love at first “yes and”. He’s currently a member of TIM Throwdown and is loving every second. Outside of improv, Ryan is a student getting his MPH at the University of Arizona, a Community Director in charge of running a residence hall, and a pole vault coach at a local high school.
Derek Lemoine: Derek began taking classes with TIM in 2012 because it seemed like a good idea at the time. His formal theater experience was limited, consisting primarily of academic talks and a failed audition for the Vagina Monologues.
Shanna Leonard: Shanna’s artistic career began with a 3rd grade performance of the instant classic “Three Green Trees with Skiis”. She did theater and improv as a teen and was the writer/director of the short-running children’s musical: “Wet Side Story” at Reid Park summer camp. In college she couldn’t decide, receiving a Bachelors in theater, writing and computer science, and is completeing a masters in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona.
She has worked as a drama therapist, and as a Linux hacker and now survives as a street mime while building Markov chains, breeding web spiders and knitting pcap filters in her basement. She hopes one day to break into the glamorous world of Big Data, and meet Big Brother. Finally she would like to say: “ TIM is so much fun! We can’t stop, and we won’t stop… yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!”
Mishell Livio: Mishell was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She attended the University of Arizona and then moved to Los Angeles where she graduated from IO West, UCB, and the Second City comedy schools. In addition to performing stand up and improv comedy, she was Top 5 on Season 1 of NuVo TV’s Show “America’s Next Top Model Latina” and played Bianca on 2 Seasons of AlloyTv’s Show “Talent.” Mishell has done a lot of runway and print modeling including Los Angeles Fashion Week, Seventeen Magazine, a National Commercial for Hanes Playtex Bras and Secret Deodorant. She enjoys singing, dancing, and whistling in the rain. She currently Co-hosts the morning radio show on Rock92.1, KFMA.
Jacob is a Tucson native and has only been performing improv since October 2012. Growing up, Jacob had a penchant for characterization and voices creating a small following for several of his characters. His eidetic memory garnered for him the designation: “a Walking Book of Useless Information.” Coupling his skills with characterization and details, Jacob hopes to be one of the many outstanding members of The Tucson Improv Movement.
Stephanie Lovinger: Stephanie’s first improv experience happened the summer she was 7, when she cast her neighborhood pals in a production of Mary Poppins. When opening day came everyone had gone on vacation so she was forced to perform the entire musical herself to an audience of 3. The reviews were tepid, but Mom raved. Ever since then she’s been making stuff up as she goes along, be it talking her way into jobs for which she is under-qualified, talking her way out of speeding tickets for which she is over-qualified or making “interesting” karaoke choices at company parties. She fell in love with improv a number of years ago in San Francisco and took classes now and then with BATS, mostly to have fun and bring creativity to her work as a Professional Coach and Workshop Leader. In 2013 – after moving back to her hometown of Tucson – she was delighted to find TIM, take classes with Justin and join the TIM Company.
Justin Lukasewicz: Justin has been involved with the performing arts for over ten years. In college Justin performed with the Misericordia Players and produced Misericordia University’s first live comedy show CougarLive. After moving to North Carolina he began an in-depth study of improvisational comedy at the DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro, NC. While at DSI, Justin was a resident instructor in the Comedy School, performed on the IMPROV SLAM and OMAHA 9 house teams. Justin also coached the high school improv team GISUEPPE, and did corporate trainer work with DSI COMMUNICATION.
Joyce Luna: My first performing experience did not go well: in kindergarden I was in a play about Chanukah, but I forgot my carefully-memorized limerick and instead dissolved into helpless giggles. Throughout the whole entire show. Luckily my next performance that same year, an impromptu a capella rendition at my brother’s bar mitzvah of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, was very successful and conveniently erased the shame of my earlier failure. Inspired by my success, I continued to perform both music and theatre throughout high school and college.
After college I was in a performing singer-songwriter duo for a number of years. The inevitable “creative differences” resulted in the dissolution of that partnership (she was wrong, BTW), and I took a break from performing to get a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. My work at a psychiatric hospital showed me how close every single one of us is to insanity, and taking comedy improv classes seemed like the next insanely logical step for me. I am thrilled to now be a member of Tucson Improv Movement–no lines to memorize, woo hoo!
Alyssa O’Keeffe: Alyssa is a CT native who has ended up in Tucson back in July. In order to get more involved in a new city, she began taking improv classes in September 2013. Improv was the perfect fit for her randomness, and she can’t imagine life without it! Outside of improv, Alyssa works as a learning specialist at the University of Arizona. If she looks familiar, you may or may not have seen her on match, okcupid, plentyoffish, eharmony, Farmersonly, Jdate or one of the many dating sties she subscribes to to find “the one”.
Jessica Peck: Jessica began her foray into the improv world at the beginning of 2013 when she enrolled in TIM classes under the direction of Justin Lukasewicz. A Tucson native, she earned her Business Management and Film degrees at the University of Arizona where she also works. When not ‘improving’ you can find her in the Nico’s drive-thru (bean and cheese burrito please!), in front of her TV, contemplating world peace, at the movies, playing her PS3 (yes, she’s a geek!) or simply hanging out with friends & family.
Kevin Reagen: As a Tucson native, Kevin was first exposed to improv in his high school theater classes at Canyon Del Oro HS. When he’s not spontaneously making up stories and characters, he’s attending the University of Arizona as a Theater Production major, working at Arizona Public Media as a content producer, and pretending to be a lawyer in the UA Mock Trial club. His dreams are to someday be a writer/producer for television, and create a political satire show for HBO.
Nancy Stanley: Newcomer Nancy Stanley, who started with TIM in summer 2013, is the mother of two teenagers who are perfect and beautiful. She is a former journalist, a non-practicing lawyer, a sometime writer, and a wannabe standup comedian fueled by the indignities of advancing age. A native Tucsonan, she has a story for every street corner between Stone and Kolb, Ajo and Skyline, and waxes nostalgic about the ‘good old days’ so often that her children and friends simply tune her out. She enjoys reading (mostly trash) and travel (in the off-season because she is profoundly cheap.) Her daughter, who continues to endure her mother’s peculiarities with exceptional grace and good humor, wrote this bio.
Raymond Thomas: Raymond Thomas caught the acting bug at Ironwood Ridge High School and took his passion to Pima Community College, where he appeared in eight productions including 42nd Street, Much Ado About Nothing, and Kiss Me, Kate. After deciding to go back to school and finish his degree, Ray was exposed to improv comedy when he joined Comedy Corner at the University of Arizona. In May of 2013, Ray finished his English degree with a minor in Theatre and a newfound love for improvisation. Ray loves watching movies and baseball in his free time.
Emily Turner: In real life you might recognize Emily Turner from those groggy early morning hours. As Tucson News Now’s morning anchor, she is the poor soul who’s up even earlier than you are. She wakes up at the ungodly hour of two a.m. and regularly wonders why. Honestly, who watches the news at 4:30 in the morning? Go back to bed!
But she loves her job, the people and it keeps her in the black… so she’ll keep doing it-. And taking naps. Naps are great.
She has been taking classes with Tucson Improv Company since September of 2013. She’s been a member of the Throwdown team since shortly after that. (Who can remember actual dates?!) She does all this in an attempt to make people laugh. Mostly, though, it’s just an excuse to hang with people who actually ARE funny.
She volunteers with the Junior League, fills in coaching at CrossFit Now and anchors the CrossFit Games’ Update show. She is also constantly daydreaming of her next out of town adventure. Sometimes her main man, Herbie (a pug) joins her on these.
Current TIM House Teams
Improv Throwdown: Cory Jenks, Dan Kellish, Joyce Luna, Catherine Bartlett, Jacob Lockwood, Shanna Leonard, Kevin Reagan, Diane Ealy, Stephanie Lovinger, Jessica Gregg, Philip Holman, Dave Devery, Esther Brilliant, Scott Thomas, Emily Turner ,Marc Haberman, Alyssa O’Keefe, Ryan Kreisberg, Raymond Thomas, Dan Gross, Mishell Livio, Justin Lukasewicz
TIM INC: Daniel Kirby, Ben Dietzel, Jessica Crombie, Jessica Peck, Dan Kellish, Cory Jenks, Shanna Leonard, Michael Dean, Andrew Hatch, Catherine Bartlett
The Soap Box: Jessica Crombie, Michael Dean, Ben Dietzel, Cory Jenks, Daniel Kirby, Mishell Livio, Justin Lukasewicz