Summar Elguindy was born in Missassauga, Canada on a hobby farm. After a fox ate her dearly beloved pet chick, her family moved to Melbourne, Florida where she learned how to swim like a fish and hang ten with surfers. Summar holds a BA in both Psychology and Theatre from Eckerd College where she learned how to dress people in spandex and pass it off for theatre. After losing herself, finding herself, and losing herself again, Summar moved to CT to work for Hartford Stage as an education apprentice. She then became a freelance teaching artist, stage manager and director at Hartford Children’s Theatre. Summar is currently pursuing her Masters in Theatre Education at Emerson College in Boston. She loves her puppy, Penny.
Casey Grambo is an apprentice at Hartford Stage, and a recent graduate of Fairfield University with a BA in Theatre and minors in Music and Educational Studies. While at Fairfield, she served as a production intern for 3 years in both Public Relations and Publicity and Marketing. Fairfield technical credits included: Paint Charge (Once Upon A Mattress), Director/Co-President (Your Mom Does Improv — student club), Director of award-winning production of Speech & Debate by Stephen Karam, and others. Fairfield performance credits included: Amanda (The Glass Menagerie), Winnifred (Once Upon A Mattress), Jean (Dead Man’s Cell Phone), and others. This summer, she served as the Finance/Arts Management intern at Westport Country Playhouse where she worked with the lovely Sharon Boilini. Casey also spent some time in the Hartford area last summer while serving as the Stage Management intern and Properties Master at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford.
Briana Haynie is a constant disappointment to her Uncle Steve. She has lost The Favorite Child award to her younger sister for 18 years in a row but she has it on good authority that she might win 15 years from now. She performs improv. She writes stuff. The pronoun “She” is used because Briana is a girl woman.
Joe Leonardo is a comedic actor living in New York City with an absurd amount of natural talents including writing ambidextrously, creating children’s southern folk music, and inventing breakfast sandwiches (one’s called the “Cardiac Arrest”). In his spare time when he’s not reciting an unhealthy amount of Beatles trivia or giving truthiness facts about wildlife, he spends it honing his craft of improvisational and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and with his improv troupe, Sea Tea Improv. Joe writes and produces sketches with the his sketch groups, Crafts and Arts and Asylum Attic. Joe has logged many hours of training at the UCB Theatre, The People’s Improv Theater, Hartford Stage, and the “streets”, homie! He’s been featured on a majority of Connecticut TV stations, newspapers, and nationally on ESPN, Travel Channel, Anderson Cooper LIVE, and others. Joe also does commercial work and is a frequent guest on The Colin McEnroe Show on NPR. You can see him performing regularly in New York and Connecticut. Follow him on twitter at @ImJoeLeonardo.
Greg Ludovici is a professional actor who has studied and performed in New York, London, and throughout Connecticut. In addition to performing with Sea Tea Improv, he has acted professionally with with Hartford Stage, Bated Breath Theatre Company, Hartford Children’s Theatre, and beyond. Greg holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from UConn, and his undergraduate focuses at Skidmore College were vocal performance, and computer science. In the field of improv, Greg is an INNY Award-nominated coach, instructor, and corporate trainer. He graduated from the Upright Citizens Brigade’s Improv Training Program, in New York City, where he was selected for their Advanced Study Program. Furthermore, Greg has studied improvised musical theater at the Upright Citizens Brigade, The Magnet, and The PIT, all in New York City. Locally, Greg completed Hartford Stage’s Complete Actor and Flying Blind Improv programs. Greg is a proud resident of Hartford where he sits on the Board of Directors for Business for Downtown Hartford.
Laura Manasewich is from East Hartford, CT. She has a BA in Communication from Western New England College, which is now a University! She has studied improv at Hartford Stage, Playhouse on Park and The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in New York City. She has performed throughout the Northeast and has been a participant at The Del Close Marathon, The Baltimore Improv Festival and the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. In addition to improv, Laura is an avid tap and jazz dancer. Things that make Laura happy include her dog Mr. Beans (formerly known as Killian), petting zoos, snacks and Google. Also free shipping when shopping online. She makes a really great wretching noise when something grosses her out. Ask her about it sometime!
Vladimir John Perez a.k.a. Vlad the Improv-er, is an actor born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Vacillating between New York, Connecticut, and Los Angeles, Vlad has worked as a Location Scout, Location Assistant, and Production Assistant on a variety of movies and television shows, including Flight of the Conchords, Fringe, Fighting, Duplicity, and Bored to Death on HBO. The other members of Sea Tea are very impressed that he has an IMDB page and that he is 17% more popular this week than last week. His Improv training started at Play On Acting Studio, then Hartford Stage, and currently the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, with many workshops and classes between them all over Connecticut and New York City. In his free time he is a member of the Hip Hop duo Loop Stranglers, is working on his reel, and is attempting to use improv to cure cancer.
Julia Pistell lives in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, where she is a writer, improviser, teacher, and public relations guru. She has worked in many places around the world, including but not limited to: a hairdresser’s in Atonsu, Ghana; a preschool and university in Dongying, China; a mobile bookstore in Manhattan; a dogwalking collective in Harlem; a library in the South Bronx; a brewery, a textbook publishing house, a florist, The Mark Twain Museum. Julia created the Syllable Reading Series to showcase local writers and readers, and she is 33 and 1/3 percent of Literary Disco, a podcast about books and reading. She once wrote a feature article for Cat Fancy, and she once wrote an essay for NPR. That pretty much sums her up.
Stephanie "Sproffee" Rice has been a proud East Hartfordian since she was four years old. She graduated from Drew University with a degree in Asian Studies and a love for Improv. She also left with the alter-ego "Sproffee" after an undisclosed incident involving copious amounts of Sprite and coffee. Afterward she swam off to Shanghai to teach English at an international high school and perform with a number of improv groups. After re-patriotizing, Stephanie got a mysterious day job involving self-lubricated bearings, while Sproffee infiltrated the ranks of Sea Tea. She is a serial hobbyist and enjoys such varied activities as knitting, playing guitar, bike riding, cooking, making jewelry, yoga and solving problems with sword fighting.
Dan Russell is an East Hartford native and lifelong Nutmegger with a BA in Political Science from UConn & an MS in Management from Rensselaer at Hartford. Past job descriptions include, but are not limited to: corn picker, Chinese fast food scooper, doughnutmonger, Shoot-Out-The-Star operator on the midway, academic journal alphabetizer and grocery cashier. After taking an introductory improv class at Play On Acting Studio, Dan went on to take improv workshops around CT and Hartford Stage Education‘s “Flying Blind” II, III and “Harold Who?” courses, and has completed UCB’s core improv courses. Currently, Dan lives with his wife and cheagle in Farmington, does internet marketing for a state college in New Britain and plays wooden bat baseball in Vernon.
Jeffrey William Schaefer was born in Hartford, where he currently resides and works as an English teacher. He holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Clark University, and undergraduate degrees from ECSU in English and Communications. He has studied improv at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater where he completed their Improv Training Program, as well as with Claire Zick, completing her Advanced Improv class. When he’s not improvising, Jeffrey plays with his band Assembly at Dusk, paints Warhammer 40K miniatures, and occasionally writes in his blogs Magic Missiles and Improv Will Tear Us Apart. You can follow him on twitter at @magicmissiles.
Kate Sidley is proud to be a founding member of Sea Tea Improv. Currently, Kate is pursuing her Ph.D. in Theatre at CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan with a focus on comedy and improvisational theatre in the United States. Kate is an Advanced Level student at Upright Citizens Brigade and has trained with the PIT, the Magnet, and Improv Boston and performs in New York City with The Improvisation News Team. Her blog “Improvology” was nominated for a 2012 INNY Award for Best Blog. Kate has worked at the Hartford Stage, Great Lakes Theater Festival, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, New Harmony Theatre, and the Cleveland Play House where she had one of her favorite theatrical duties: trap-door tester. Kate resides in NYC, hails from Cleveland, OH and is a proud returned Peace Corps volunteer.
Graham Snow was born in London, England where, as a child, enjoyed partaking in very British activities like reading Stanley Bagshaw and eating Yorkshire pudding. At the age of 3, his family moved to Danbury, CT and he sadly began to lose his brilliant British accent. That, however, did not stop him from graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in architecture. Throughout high school and college he was on the track team and once ran a mile in 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Graham currently works at a small architecture firm in western Connecticut helping to design residences, banks, and churches. Graham’s incredibly useless yet entertaining talents include creating a kazoo sound with his mouth, reciting endless Monty Python quotes, and knowing the capital of every country in the world.
Hall of Fame / Past Cast
Matt Neufeld is the Managing Director of Metro Theater Company, a theater for young people and families in St. Louis, MO. He is also a founding member and sometimes improv guru of Sea Tea Improv, founder of Hartford-based arts education and professional development company [IMPROV your life!], a current member of WTE (Wasted Theatre Education) Theatre, and a founding member of the former Drawing Board Arts Project. He trained at New York University ’s Tisch School of the Arts (NYC), NYU Dublin Performance workshop (IRE); NYU Clowning Studio (NYC); The Atlantic Theater Company (NYC), and Stonestreet Studios (NYC). Matt’s Improv experience spans City Improv Comedy Club (MO), Improv-Abilities (KS), NYU (NYC), Atlantic Theater Company (NYC), and locally at Hartford Stage and Hartford Children’s Theatre (Hartford), and Play On Acting Studio (Farmington).
Rob Keder grew up in the foothills of Connecticut in a little town called Seymour. He obtained his BS in Biology and Psychology from Fairfield University where he generally held such nerdy pursuits as studying why birds fly and why children ask, “Why?” He then spent four years in Chicago studying how to be JD from the television show Scrubs. He now prescribes laughter on a daily basis. His improv history includes classes at Comedy Sportz Chicago, Hartford Stage, Playhouse on Park, UCB, and numerous workshops and mixers. When bored he always finds something new to do. Recently he has been seen playing soccer poorly, dancing the foxtrot, and cooking an absurdly large Moroccan feast.
Zach Herring, or ‘Z’, as he is referred to by friends and enemies, was raised in Oswego, New York. He loves referring to himself in the third person. He began impersonating the Crocodile Hunter at an early age and realized that he loved performing and entertaining people. That carried over to High School. When he wasn’t being kicked out of class for clowning around, he was a part of the T.V. news program, where he could express his creativity without being kicked out of class. This led him to study communications and join an improv comedy group, The HuMarists, at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. Zach has created and practices his own lexicon, which causes people to become extremely confused when talking to him. He has studied at the UCB Theater in New York and continues to seek education whereever possible. Zach has a lovely girlfriend, Sarah, who has a lovely daughter Nataly, who has a lovely daughter Samantha, who also has a lovely daughter Rebecca. Just kidding about the last two daughters, but the first is true. Zach currently lives in Middletown, CT. He is also 25% Native American and still holds resentment to the White Man for stealing and exploiting his land. He also loves macaroni and cheese.