(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Vivid Stage, in residence at Oakes Center at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit, is offering summer improv classes for adults and teens aged 18 and up. The next session, which includes both beginner and intermediate/advanced classes, begins on June 13.
The beginner level Improv class begins on June 15, and continues on Thursday evenings from 7:30pm-9:30pm for six weeks. The instructor is Wendy Williamson Connolly, who 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.
The intermediate/advanced level Improv class begins on June 13, and continues on Tuesday evenings from 7:30pm-9:30pm (with the exception of July 4) for six weeks. The instructor is Gary Mahmoud, who 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).
Improv for Teens and Adults provides students an introduction to improv comedy or a further exploration of what they’ve previously learned. Students will think on their feet by freeing their mind, body and imagination through group exercises and games in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Returning students will learn more complex games that require keeping multiple balls in the air while maintaining connection with scene partners. These classes provide a fun creative outlet while honing skills such as teamwork, spontaneity and careful listening that will enhance any professional pursuit.
Registration and class information is available here. The theatre at Oakes Center is wheelchair accessible. Classes will be held at Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ.
Vivid Stage was founded in 1994 as Dreamcatcher Rep, and is a non-profit professional ensemble of actors who build community with the audience by sharing contemporary, life-affirming stories that challenge, energize and entertain. Our work has at its heart a belief in the essential goodness of people and the power of live performance to connect people through our shared humanity. We expose theatregoers to ideas and lives like and unlike their own with the intention of awakening their imaginations and creating empathy for others. We deepen the experience of all our patrons with personal contact through receptions, talkbacks, and interactive programs.
The company’s activities include mainstage productions, improvisational comedy and cabarets, new play readings and a variety of educational and senior outreach programs.
Vivid Stage’s programs are funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Summit Foundation and many other corporations, foundations and individuals. Vivid Stage is an Equity Producing member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
Vivid Stage, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation, incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey.