Happy Valley Improv Company
Director of Community Outreach
Andrea’s improv journey began with a Google Search: “Is there such a thing as comedy camp for adults?” That search turned up Camp Improv Utopia, which Andrea attended in the summer of 2016. She realized that improv was what she needed in her life, even though her life was already full of very fun things such as her career in Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State, her family, and her friends. She’s mostly interested in improv as a way to get her husband to do all of the chores. Yes, and!
Nate has been doing improv since 2013. He got his start as a company member at Theatre 99 in Charleston, SC, and quickly fell in love with improv as an art form and a way to build community.
Nate is a communicator at Penn State Global. When he's not doing improv or working, he can be found competing in Smash Ultimate, playing music, or hanging with his cat Murphy Brown.
Nate is also a published author. You can check out his series, the Salastrom Saga, on his website.
James has been studying improv theatre since 2006 and has been part of teams in Massachusetts, California, New York, and now Pennsylvania. James trained with Spectacles Improv Engine, iO West, and ImprovUtopia. Off stage, James runs his own business and enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs.
Sam Tanner is an assistant professor of literacy education at Penn State Altoona, and graduate faculty in Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State's University Park campus. Improvisation deeply informs Sam's scholarly agenda, and he has been directing and teaching improvisation for nearly 15 years. Sam was a high school English and drama teacher in the Twin Cities before moving to State College. The high school improv troupes that Sam directed grew out of the tradition of Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. Sam likes doing improv. He's also a creative writer. Buy and read his work here: https://www.samjtanner.com/
Our Company Members
Andrea Boito is an aspiring improv performer. You can catch her shows daily in statistics classes throughout the buildings of Penn State Altoona, where she enjoys several rounds of mandatory laughs each semester. Some days, she can even bring students to tears.
Dawn was raised in State College PA and gets most of their improv experience through their Collegiate experience in New England and acting in Harrisburg, PA. When not on stage, Dawn spends time enjoying food, cooking, and outdoor activities with their significant other Brant, and their two amazing dogs, Watson and Ham.
Radio personality, video-game streamer, and expert-hotdog maker, Jason is always ready to hop on stage with the squad and share the joy that is improv. Humbled to be a part of such a talented team.
One fateful day thousands of years ago, Luke saw an ad for Happy Valley Improv classes. He stumbled towards the fear of being judged by a crowd of people and embraced it. He fell in love with the immediate flow, connection, and collaboration that the art of improvisation inspires. Does this work, Nate?
Scott began improv in Happy Valley Improv classes, and he enjoys continuing to learn and practice within the growing improv community in State College. His wife and two kids are thankful he finally found another outlet for telling his bizarre stories.
Ed is old enough to remember when having an Atari 2600 meant you had made it. He still has one today. He once took a HVI class and it changed his life. "I hung around long enough and now they can’t get rid of me."
Lauren started doing improv to try something new and push herself out of her comfort zone. She found a great community of creative, thoughtful, giving people and is always excited to imagine and build worlds with them. When she’s not doing improv, Lauren is a fundraiser, maker of all sorts of things, and community enthusiast.
Max has had a passion for the performing arts for as long as they can remember, though their only experience on the stage had been through singing and band. When they were brought to a Happy Valley Improv show at the State Theater, it awakened their inner improv comedian, and they couldn’t get enough. Max hopes to bring laughter and joy to an audience through their improvised chaos.
Max spends their free time playing video games, making music, building plastic models, dabbling in software engineering, and gushing over their two Great Danes.
In the midst of the deep valley that is getting a physics PhD, Miguel ventured into a side quest in search for glory, gold and a third thing. He found himself in the fabled halls of the Penn State Faculty Senate room, where he found a free lunch, provided he listened to some people talk about improv and pedagogy. Charmed by the secret knowledge provided therein, he leveled up his improv skills until he could teach it himself.
Today, he can be found brainstorming ways to bring a “yes, and” mindset to physics education, as well as occasionally streaming cooperative storytelling/improv on the internet.
Dan’s mission is to make people laugh. So, when Happy Valley Improv began offering classes, he said “Yes, and!” and hasn't looked back! Dan loves discovering new worlds with the hilarious and supportive improv community.
Dan moved to State College pursuing a career in public service. He enjoys helping out people in need, so that means he is relying on his student loans being forgiven. Outside of improv and work, Dan will be with his wife (Jill) and son (Jonas) or volunteering with local and state organizations.
Jackie caught the improv bug after doing a faculty workshop with Happy Valley Improv through the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence at Penn State. She has since led improv workshops in the local community for teachers, professionals, and English language learners. When not teaching for the departments of Applied Linguistics and Communication Arts and Sciences, you might see Jackie leading a sip-and-paint at the Arena Bar and Grill in State College.
With her two daughters grown and moved away, Lori thought she'd try something new. She took Happy Valley Improv classes and met lots of amazing people. She's pretty darn excited to be a part of Happy Valley Improv!
When not practicing improv, she's busy teaching in the Communication Arts and Sciences department at Penn State, hanging out with her silver fox husband, and entertaining friends. Cheers to new adventures!
Rich De Luca
Born and raised in State College, Rich De Luca went to Lock Haven University to learn Computer Science. But not long after, he arrived at the college's theatre department. There he was bitten by a radioactive acting-bug, and mild mannered geek Rich De Luca developed incredible improv powers. He uses these powers to entertain and amuse onlookers and mildly annoy his wife.
Brandon was raised outside of Harrisburg, Pa. He is gamer by day, but also, a gamer by night. He works in payroll at Penn State University. Shortly after moving to the area, his wife gifted him improv lessons after seeing a few Happy Valley Improv shows. Performing and interacting with HVI is a great getaway from his normally introverted lifestyle.
Erin is a born and raised State College Townie who is endlessly fascinated by trees, nature, and the connections between our lives and our environment. Erin studied Geography during her undergrad at Penn State and would love to talk maps with anyone! In her free time, you can find her out hiking on the trails around town, lifting weights at the gym, or performing at the BBT!
Mack is from Saint Louis, Missouri where she first started doing improv at 12 years old. Improv was a constant in her life all through school and college until she arrived to State College for grad school and found Happy Valley Improv in August 2021.
When Mack isn’t performing, you might find her painting, journaling, or spending two hours getting dressed in the morning.
Mel grew up watching “Whose Line is it Anyway?” but never seriously considered she could be part of the magic of improv until she grew up. One day while sitting in the trunk of a car trying to catch kittens in the wilds behind her work, she asked one Rich De Luca what the heck Happy Valley Improv was and the rest is history.
While not hamming it up on stage, Mel can be found napping, playing video games, reading, geocaching, and eating the delicious food lovingly made by her partner. She also shares her life with her two sassy rabbits (Amadeus & Beatrix) and her two sassy cats (Columbia & Dax).