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Improv provides a fun way to learn how to think on your feet by freeing your mind, body and imagination through group exercises and games in a safe and supportive atmosphere. These classes delve deep into the craft of improv with more complex games as the weeks progress. All classes are taught by improv professionals.


The Joy of Improv

Take a joyful dive into improv with this class, which introduces and polishes the foundational skills of improv. 


Beyond the Basics

Are you ready for more complicated games with wilder challenges? Then this class is for you.

Pre-requisite: The Joy of Improv or the equivalent

Performance Workshop

This class is designed for experienced improvisers looking to refine their craft, and truly experience performance. Class members will form teams, and create their own unique comedic shows. In this intensive course, you'll work closely with your ensemble to develop a signature style and prepare for a show that's all your own.

The class' 8 weeks include 4 rehearsal sessions, 3 performances (with a live audience), and a wrap-up debrief class.

Pre-requisite: The Joy of Improv and Beyond Basics or the equivalent

Writers Lab

Time to dust off your imagination! Writers Lab focuses on character development, monologue, sketch and scene work through improv using writing exercises as a catalyst. There will be a weekly outside of class activity. Be open to challenging yourself and to discovery!

Exploring Long Form

Dive into the world of long form improv with this exciting class! Learn the fundamentals of scene and world building as we explore various long form structures. Unleash your creativity in this dynamic and engaging improv experience.

Pre-requisite: The Joy of Improv or the equivalent

Please note: Classes are appropriate for students 18 and up.

If you’ve always been curious about improv, this is your chance! 
  • No experience required to begin
  • Learn traditional improv games
  • Explore your own creativity in a supportive environment
  • Develop spontaneity and learn how to shed your inhibitions
  • Not just for actors, but for anyone who wants to develop these skills for personal or business use
  • For actors who want to try another angle on performing
  • Repeat any class to deepen your understanding and tighten your skills
Discount: Buy one class at full price,
get the second in the same session
at 20% off!

For questions or discount:

Withdrawals and Absences:

All tuition payments must be received one week before the class begins. After this date, please contact us for availability.

Withdrawal and Refunds:
Should you find it necessary to withdraw from your class, the following refund schedule will apply:

Withdrawal 20 days before class begins:     100% refund    
Withdrawal 10 days before class begins:       50% refund

Withdrawal 5 days before class begins:         25% refund

No refund for withdrawal fewer than 5 days before class begins.

Absences during the session may be made up during a later session at the instructor's discretion.


Class Schedule

Summer 2024
The Joy of Improv
Dates: Thursdays, June 20 - August 1 (six weeks, no July 4)
Time: 7:30-9:30 pm
LOCATION: Oakes Center, Summit, NJ
Course fee: $225
Instructor: Dave Maulbeck/Wendy Connolly

Beyond the Basics
Dates: Tuesdays, June 25 - July 30 (six weeks)
Time: 7:30-9:30 pm
LOCATION: Oakes Center, Summit, NJ
Course fee: $225

Instructor: Gary Mahmoud
Instructors • Improv
Wendy Williamson Connolly

Wendy Williamson Connolly has been involved in theater since she was in elementary school and has continued to enjoy acting, directing, writing, coaching and teaching for many years. She is currently a coach at Theatrical Artists Prep studio in Scotch Plains and a member of Contagious Laughter Improv Troupe. She received a B.A. in Theatre and Speech at Louisiana State University and went on to earn her MFA in Acting from The Theatre School, DePaul University in 1989. She studied improv at both LSU and DePaul and loves to play! She believes that improv is a skill that everyone should learn and that can help in all areas of life. Residing in New Jersey since 1992, she coaches and directs both youth and adults and continues to perform whenever she gets the chance.

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Laura Ekstrand (she/her) was one of the founding members of Vivid Stage's house team, The Flip Side (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) in 2002. Laura is the Artistic Director and founder of Vivid Stage, where she has appeared in What Stays; Sister Play; Rapture, Blister Burn; Motherhood Out Loud; and Shakespeare in Vegas, among many others. New Jersey Theatre: Bickford Theatre, Passage Theater, 12 Miles West, The Theater Project, Luna Stage, and the Pushcart Players. New York Theatre: Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and New Georges. Film: Fat Ass Zombies; Split Ends, High Art and I Shot Andy Warhol. Television: Hack, Sex And The City, Law & Order, and The Guiding Light.


As a director: Dead and Buried, Every Brilliant Thing, The How and the Why, Things Being What They Are, Next Fall, Distracted, The Pursuit Of Happiness, Melancholy Play, Pride’s Crossing, Full Bloom and many others. Podcast directing: The Weirdness and Young Ben Franklin for Gen Z Media. As a playwright: What Stays (with Jason Szamreta), Whatever Will Be, The Neighborhood (Book and Lyrics; Music by Joe Zawila), Brink of Life (Book; Lyrics by Steve Harper; Music by Oliver Lake) and Astonishment, How to be Old: A Beginner’s Guide, and At Ninety-Three (Adaptations). Laura is a private monologue and public speaking coach and holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Laura is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and the Dramatists Guild.

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Shereen Hickman is best known as a creator/lead clown for the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil. She starred as Ginger in Zumanity in Las Vegas, then went on to Broadway to create the leading female role of Margaret in Banana Shpeel (directed by David Shiner). She then toured under the Big Top as Deeda in Amaluna (with Tony award winning director Diane Paulus). Currently, she is clowning around on the streets of NYC with 3am Theatre and The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus as well upcoming performances at Lincoln Center and monthly performances with the Sunset Circus in early 2024 at The Marlene Meyerson Theatre in Manhattan. Shereen studied at the Groundlings School of Improv in LA and has an extensive career in voiceovers. A lover of fun and general whimsy, Shereen seeks to spark laughter with others in need of a chuckle.

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Gary Mahmoud is frequently seen playing intelligent, authoritative characters with a hint of smugness and sarcasm on New York dramas like Blue Bloods, New Amsterdam, FBI: Most Wanted, The Sinner, Jessica Jones, and Law & Order. Although frequently seen in dramas, Gary is a clown at heart often playing the high-status idiot or quick-witted jerk with appearances on TV comedies including: The Last O.G., Search Party, Friends from College, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and in online sketches for The Onion, Above Average, The Dad, College Humor, and Major League Baseball.


In addition to writing and performing with his PIT house sketch team and getting selected to perform sketch comedy in NBC’s annual diversity showcase, Gary has written and co-produced comedy videos seen by millions and shared by numerous outlets including: Time Magazine, ABC News, The Hollywood Reporter, College Humor, Funny or Die, BroBible, Ad Week, Entertainment Weekly, The Huffington Post, The New York Daily News, Gawker, CNET, The Daily Beast, Mashable, Mental Floss, Above Average, Gothamist, Decider, 22 Words, and many others.

Gary trained theatrically with Carol Fox Prescott and studied improv under Groundlings founder Gary Austin and at UCB with Chris Gethard and Charlie Todd. He continues to study on-camera with Bob Krakower (master class).

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Dave Maulbeck (he/him) is an entertainment artist and member of the Screen Actors Guild and he recently relocated back to New York City after a multi-year stint in Los Angeles.  He has starred in several commercials, including the Super Bowl Ad - Groundhog Day, for truTV, and as the Polish Polisher for Burger King. With film credits including the evil Dr. Wily in Megaman, and the main character Dracula Goes to Camp, Dave is no stranger to the screen. In 2007 Dave co-founded Chicken Scoop Productions where he executive produced several spec pilots, music videos, and web series. More recently he has been developing animation projects with BEHIND the BAG! Productions, where he  is co-creator and illustrator of The Kinetix, a comic book series featuring high school superheroes whose powers derive from their respective disabilities, which recently reached full funding on Kickstarter.

Becca McLarty, Improv Instructor at Vivid Stage

Becca L. McLarty (she/her) has been a student, performer, and teacher of improv for over 20 years! Becca holds her MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College. Shortly after graduating, she began training with Improvolution, founded by Holly Mandel of The Groundlings. It was there that Becca found her love of character-based improv and she became an instructor there, teaching improv beginners, character and scene development, and both short and long form improv. Becca also took classes at Upright Citizen's Brigade (UCB) and was accepted into their advanced course of study and has taught improv at Pace University and Marymount Manhattan.

As a performer, Becca was a member of the long-running short form improv troupe, ComedySportz Philadelphia and the award-winning touring musical improv troupe, Broadway's Next Hit Musical! She has also performed for years with the house troupes of Improvolution in NYC and with Montclair Improv here in NJ. Becca currently teaches in the BFA Acting program at Montclair State University and is so excited to work with Vivid Stage!


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Emaline Williams (she/her) was born and raised in Maineville, OH, a small town outside of Cincinnati. She started acting in elementary school and up through high school while balancing softball and lacrosse as well. In 2008, Emaline graduated with honors from Little Miami High and then was accepted into Ohio University's BFA Performance Program. There she studied various techniques such as Meisner, Linklater, Fitzmaurice, View Points, Michael and Anton Chekhov, Shakespeare, Long Form Improv, and is SAFD certified in unarmed combat. While at OU, Emaline did multiple main-stage and studio productions as well as MFA student films while weekly performing in an improv comedy group called Black Sheep Inc.


After graduating Cum Laude from Ohio University with her Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, Emaline interned at Monomoy Theatre in Cape Cod, MA. At Monomoy the company performs 8 shows in 10 weeks. Emaline has professional experience in commercials, industrials, print modeling and hand modeling. She is an ensemble member at Vivid Stage, and a member of the house improv team The Flip Side.

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