Hailed as a “supremely gifted comedian… stealing scenes based solely on his reactions” and lauded for his “strong voice” and “impressive physical comedy” (CITY Newspaper), Jeff Andrews is a teacher, comedian, performer and writer from Rochester, New York. Jeff performs throughout the East Coast with improvisational troupes – most notably, Broken Couch, an avant-garde improv duo. He writes and performs with original sketch comedy group, Canary in a Coal Mine, praised as “clever and crass, but always funny” (CITY Newspaper), and has most recently performed as Arnold in Blackfriars’ Boys Next Door, Bert in RAPA’s Mary Poppins and Igor in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. He is a teaching artist with Lakes Area Music Festival, as a guest orchestra narrator each year. Jeffhas a MS in Literacy from SUNY Geneseo and currently teaches within the Greece Central School District as a high school Reading Specialist and Greece Olympia’s Music Theatre Artistic Director.
CLASSES: LONG FORM LEVEL 2, DROP-IN & TUNE-UP
Hilary Bluestein-Lyons is a playwright, screenwriter, sketch comedy writer, actor, director and comedy improviser. She studied comedy improv with former Saturday Night Live member, Anna Risley, for over 12 years was a member of the Tucson-based, comedy improv troupe, Not Burnt Our Just Unscrewed, and is one of the founders of Tucson’s first theatre dedicated to improv, Unscrewed Theater, where she taught and coached the teen improv troupe, Impulse! Her plays have been produced at Tucson’s New Play Festival and Fringe Festivals in both Tucson and Rochester. A reading of her play, Tighten Your Borscht Belt, is scheduled for February at the JCC’s CenterStage. Her most recent acting role was as Judy Gold in 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother. Hilary currently is a member of Focus Theater’s house troupe, The Applicators, and is the mother of four kids (8, 16, 18 and 20) and two step kids (11 and 14), who begrudgingly admit that she’s funny, on occasion. She has a MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen from the New Hampshire Institute of Art and tutors writing at Monroe Community College.
CLASSES: INTRO TO IMPROV FOR TEENS, DROP-IN & TUNE-UP
Keith has been improvising for 14 years. He’s been a part of numerous teams in the Rochester scene including Random Acts, Monstrosssity, and Two Fat Ladies. He has coached for the Long Form Harold League and is currently directing the hit troupe “Left For Dead.”
CLASSES: SHORT FORM LEVEL 1, DROP-IN & TUNE-UP
CLASSES: INTRO TO IMPROV FOR TEENS
John Forrest Thompson
Originally from Chicago, John is an improvisor, actor, director, teacher, and writer who trained at the Second City and iO Chicago Theaters. At the latter, he was a member of the long running house team Airbourne! and also performed regularly with the hit show Dirty Water by Wicked Good Productions. John has performed and taught improvisation at theaters and festivals all over the country including Boston’s Improv Asylum, the Del Close Marathon in New York City, the Toronto Improv Festival, and the Seattle Festival of Improv Theater. Locally, he is the co-founder and artistic director of the Focus Theater, Rochester’s only dedicated improv theater and training center, as well as the creator of the long-running Improv Plate at Johnny’s Irish Pub. John is also a member of the hit sketch comedy group Thank You Kiss, which has been praised as smart and “frequently laugh-out-loud funny with some even funnier ‘hell yes’ social commentary” (Democrat and Chronicle). He has most recently performed as Lieutenant Schrank in RAPA’s West Side Story, William Gillette in Blackfriars Theatre’s The Game’s Afoot, and Deke Slider in Blackfriars Theater’s original comedy The Flight Before Christmas. John has a B.S. in Elementary Special Education from SUNY Geneseo and is currently a Title 1 and arts integration teacher at Rochester’s Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts.
CLASSES: LONG FORM LEVEL 1 AND 3, DROP-IN & TUNE-UP, HOUSE TEAM COACH
Woody Battaglia is a stand-up comedian, comedy producer and broadcaster. He was born and raised near Rochester. Woody became a comedy fan in the 1990s ‘alternative’ era and as such his early comedy heroes included Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard and Dana Gould. Woody has performed all across New York state, including the first and second annual Binghamton Comedy and Arts Festivals, the Rochester Fringe Festival, and has worked with national touring acts such as Brandie Posey, Chris Kattan and Kevin Meaney. For five years Woody has hosted a showcase of local comedy talent each Tuesday night at The Firehouse Saloon, Backdraft II: Laughdraft. He also hosts the comedy variety radio program Almost Tuesday each Monday night from 9 to 11pm on 104.3fm WAYO as well as his podcast, My Minute With Andre. He does not enjoy camping
CLASSES: STAND-UP COMEDY