Hailed by the Boston Globe as “comedy masters”
IBcreative stems from ImprovBoston, New England’s leading theater and school dedicated to the art of comedy in all its forms for more than 35 years. Voted “Best of Boston” by The Phoenix, The Improper Bostonian, and The Weekly Dig, ImprovBoston performers, teachers, and students have included film stars, Emmy Award-winning comedians, and acclaimed producers, directors, musicians, and writers. ImprovBoston alumni are featured on America’s Got Talent, The Daily Show, Last Comic Standing, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and to name a few.
ImprovBoston's non-profit mission
As a nonprofit arts organization, ImprovBoston serves the community through laughter with youth outreach programs, workshops for businesses, scholarships, a national touring company and, of course, performances at its theater complex in Central Square, Cambridge. With a regular performance selection of New England’s premiere improv, sketch, and standup and an acclaimed comedy training program, the theater dedicates itself to inspiring, developing, and sharing comedy in all its forms. Through exploring the many important applications of the creative process, ImprovBoston seeks to improve the lives of diverse audiences both onstage and off.
One of the country’s most experienced executive coaching teams
Our Executing Coaching team has decades of experience working with clients large and small. Our team members are trained in using improvisation to teach essential corporate skills, bringing teams together, and setting them up for success. Our team members combine their acting, teaching, and corporate experience for fun, engaging, and most importantly, effective sessions. Our coaches bring years of management, customer service, and higher education work experience to the table from their work at such companies as WGBH, FAO Schwarz, Disney, Unum, Starbucks, Brigham’s Ice Cream, Brandeis University, Emerson College, Clark University, EVO, Friendly’s, The Tea Party Museum, The Museum of Science, The US Department of Defense, Athena Health, and many more.
Our leadership team
Deana Criess, Director of Sales, Director of the National Touring Company
Deana is a performer in ImprovBoston’s Mainstage and Musical Improv casts. Deana performs and teaches at festivals, theaters, Fortune 500 companies, and colleges around the country. Her industry-leading workshops have been featured on PBS, NPR, KBS (the Korean Broadcasting System), and in The Boston Globe. Her comedy has been featured on CNN and Slate.com. She got her comedy start at Emerson College where she studied comedy writing and was a writer/performer learning the craft alongside folks like Eric Drysdale (Full Frontal), Jen Kirkman (Drunk History), Anthony Atamanuik (The President Show), and Brent Simons (Megamind). She has over 15 years of professional experience with audiences of all ages, performing and teaching improvisation as well as sketch writing and stand up comedy. Before coming to ImprovBoston, Deana worked in marketing, sales, public relations, and customer service training at such top tier companies as WGBH and FAO Schwarz. During her years in comedy, she has worked with some amazing artists including Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons), Faith Soloway (Transparent), Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), Laura Hall (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Janeane Garofalo, Dave Razowsky (The Second City), Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight), and Kevin MacDonald (The Kids in the Hall).
“Deana is amazing and talented and able to answer any and all questions. She really cared about class and our progress! We accomplished so much in just a few hours.”
— Jenn, Google
Kelly has been with ImprovBoston since 2010. She’s taught standup for the ImprovBoston Comedy School for several years. An experienced standup comedian, Kelly has an extensive and well-rounded resume including comedy clubs, theaters, colleges, festivals, television appearances, and entertaining US troops overseas. Kelly was first runner up in the 2009 Boston Comedy Festival, voted Best of the Fest 2010 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, released her first album, Bombshell, in 2011, performed with the Oddball Festival 2015, performed on the Comedy Stage at the 2016 and 2017 Boston Calling, and has been a featured headliner for the Boston Women in Comedy Festival for multiple years. Kelly has appeared on Stand Up in Stilettos on the TV Guide Channel and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. Kelly is the host of the web series Fit or Fad for Scripps Networks. Most recently, Kelly was part of the Top 100 Comedians of Last Comic Standing Season 9 and appeared on AXS Gotham Comedy LIVE. Kelly is also an accomplished improviser. She has performed with Fred Willard and Laura Hall and has been a resident cast member of the ImprovBoston National Touring Company since 2014. Kelly has been a contributor for the Audible series Sounds Like America and is currently writing a clever collection of short stories based on her standup and life. Check out her latest album, You Woke Up Today, released January 2017. Kelly has two decades of experience in the corporate world, allowing her to blend her real world experience with her expertise in comedy into a transformative and hilarious session.
“Kelly is a wonderful teacher: supportive, informative, and beyond funny. ImprovBoston is so lucky to have her!”
— Public speaking student
Mike directs its prestigious Mainstage cast. Mike was the founder and head of the music program at The Second City Training Center and music director of the Second City ETC stage in Chicago. Named one of the top young songwriters in the country by the Johnny Mercer & American Music Theater Project, he has had the privilege of working with such Tony Award-winning artists as Jason Robert Brown, William Finn, Mark Hollmann, Jackie Hoffman and James LaPine. His work has been seen on NBC, A&E, WGN, and stages across the country. He has “composed” and “conducted” more than 2,000 completely improvised musicals with Baby Wants Candy, Musical! the musical, I Eat Pandas, BLANK! The Musical Off-Broadway, ImprovBoston’s Music Improv Cast, and more. Mike has led improv workshops around the world including at the Magnet Theater, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, Finland Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, The Second City, Chicago Musical Improv Festival, ImprovBoston, Sarasota Improv Festival, Colorado Improv Festival, Improv Utopia, Alaska State Improv Festival, iO, and more. Before coming to ImprovBoston, Mike was the Executive Director of one of the country’s most acclaimed arts nonprofits, which allows him to bring his expertise in running every side of a business to all of his sessions.
“It’s such a thrill to spend time learning how to create a structure that allows freedom of creation. Mike is an amazing teacher and human being.”
— Dickie Smothers, The Smothers Brothers
Tom Spataro, ImprovBoston Managing Director
Tom is now in his fourth year as Managing Director of ImprovBoston, where he handles the business side of this 35-year old nonprofit. Prior to joining ImprovBoston, Tom was with the Boston Crusaders, a nearly 75-year old performing arts and educational organization. Over nine years with the Crusaders, Tom’s goal as Managing Director was to evolve the business while cultivating a supportive atmosphere and administrative team enabling the best possible arts opportunities for the community. Tom has made a career working with and supporting artists, enabling their creativity to flourish while focusing on strengthening the business behind the stage. In addition to his work with the Crusaders, Tom has served on the Board of Directors of Drum Corps International (DCI) and was recognized as the DCI Director of the Year in 2011. Tom’s consults on the business side of our corporate training program and is available for keynote speeches focusing on running nonprofits.
“Tom’s experience in non-profit arts management is matched only by his passion for it. He’s got years of experience balancing growth, vision, and the needs of an organization.”
— John Serpico, ImprovBoston Board Member