Philly Improv Theater Announces Artistic Team
Philadelphia – Philly Improv Theater (PHIT), the city’s home for alternative comedy, is proud to announce appointments to its new Artistic Team. After several years of rapid growth PHIT Executive Director Greg Maughan is handing day-to-day booking and talent management to five incredible comedians to allow increased theatrical offerings at PHIT and to develop more comedic stars for audiences in Philadelphia. The artistic team will be led by Ralph Andracchio as Artistic Director and will include; Emily Davis as Improv Producer, Brian Kelly as Sketch Producer, Jessica Ross as Variety Producer and Kristen Schier as Season Producer.
“I am incredibly excited by the potential of the new Artistic Team to really take our mission – giving Philly a top-notch comedy scene with quality shows to rival New York, LA and Chicago – to the next level,” says PHIT Executive Director (and founder) Greg Maughan. “The massive growth of PHIT has opened up a number of new opportunities like these to nurture the burgeoning comedy scene in Philadelphia and I think that with further guidance from all the members of team – who are a diverse and award winning bunch of performers – we can all look forward to a year of great alternative comedy shows… probably the best year this city has ever seen.”
Ralph is a Philadelphia native and has been performing since 2008. He is also an instructor at the PHIT Training Center. He has performed all over the country including the UCB Theatre, People’s Improv Theater, the Magnet Theater in New York, the Baltimore Improv Group, the Chicago Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Boston Improv Festival, and the Los Angeles Improv Comedy Festival. He is currently part of the comedy duo Grimacchio.
Ralph has worked in Los Angeles on the production teams of some memorable television shows and movies, including The World Stunt Awards, ABC’s 50th Anniversary Special, the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and the feature film Seabiscuit. He was also Art Director on many independent videos and short films, and worked as the Assistant Art Director on the Showtime comedy series The Underground, starring Damon Wayans.
Emily Davis is a performer, instructor, and Improv Producer at PHIT. She performs regularly with the PHIT House Team, Hot Dish, and is a PHIT Training Center improv instructor. Before joining PHIT in 2009, Emily studied improv with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, the Magnet Theater, and the People’s Improv Theater. She has studied under improvisers including Armando Diaz (Upright Citizens Brigade), Ali Farahnakian (Delocated), Christina Gausas (Late Night with Conan O’Brien, 30 Rock) and Susan Messing (Let’s Go to Prison). Emily holds degrees in literature and in education.
Brian Kelly is the Head Sketch Instructor at the PHIT Training Center, a member of the Philadelphia based comedy troupe, Secret Pants and the host of the Witout Award winning Sketch Up or Shut Up. He has trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where he studied sketch with Ian Roberts(Reno 911, Upright Citizens Brigade) and has also taken sketch writing classes with Kevin McDonald of The Kids in the Hall. Brian’s work has been featured on the FUSE Network, College Humor, and as a part of the Philadelphia Film Festival. As part of Secret Pants, Brian was commissioned to make comedy shorts for third party cell phone content providers and other businesses. He has performed at a variety of venues including the People’s Improv Theater (NYC) and The House of Blues (Atlantic City).
Jessica Ross attended the Southern New Jersey Academy of Performing Arts at G.C.I.T and received her B.A in Theater from Ramapo College of New Jersey. She graduated from the IO Summer Intensive Program in Chicago. She performs regularly with the PHIT House Team Asteroid!, Jessica Tandy and Hot Dog. She has also performed in the improv shows Myths and Monsters, Twenty-four, Stage Fright: An Improvised Homage to Hitchcock and Adrift. Jessica is a member of PHIT’s first Sketch House Team, The Flat Earth, and an instructor at PHIT. Past festival appearances include the Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Fringe Festival, Duofest, F. Harold Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Toronto International Improv Festival, The Del Close Marathon, the Chicago Improv Festival, and the Baltimore Improv Festival.
Kristen Schier is the current Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd and has taught at University of the Arts. Before coming to PHIT she taught improv for Delaware Theater Company, Drexel University, and The Actor’s Center. Kristen has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working as a professional actor, improviser and teacher for several years. She has worked with Commonwealth Classic Theater Company, Ego Po, and Vagabond Acting Troupe. She received a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble in the original production of Art of War. Kristen has studied clowning intensively with Giovanni Fusetti, at taken improvisation courses with The Second City and at the Annoyance in Chicago.
Founded in 2005, Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) delivers the best alternative comedy in the tri-state area including improv, sketch, and stand-up. Presenting over 300 performances a year, PHIT has found its home at The Shubin Theatre where comedy fans can find a wide variety of shows most weeks of the year. In addition to its regular schedule, PHIT has produced dozens of shows for the Philly Fringe Festival and feature presentations with well-known comedians that include Matt Besser(Upright Citizens Brigade), Paul F. Tompkins(Mr. Show, Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins) and Scott Adsit(30 Rock). PHIT’s Training Center is the largest of its kind between New York and Chicago offering extensive training in improv, sketch comedy, stand-up, and storytelling for students of all ages and experience. Students and instructors from PHIT have gone on to perform on stages all over the country, become published authors, and even writers and performers for TV shows like America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, Saturday Night Live, Two and a Half Men, Raising Hope; and numerous other shows on CBS, FOX, MTV, NBC, and VH1.