About the Group

Becca Ayers is Cybil

Broadway: The Addams FamilySouth Pacific (original revival cast); Les Miserables (original revival cast); Avenue Q. Off-Broadway:  Sarah, Plain and Tall (Lucille Lortel), Dogfight (2nd Stage), Giant (The Public). Film: Clear Blue Tuesday, Construction. iTunes (with her band baby goes bang): Lovesickbrainypants. Becca’s music has been featured on the broadwayworld.com series, Submissions Only.

Vandit Bhatt is Ben

Vandit was born and raised in India and has a BFA in acting from The University of Central Florida. New York credits include Harper Regan (The Atlantic Theater Company), The Great Recession (The Flea Theatre), Hassan and Sylvia (The Cherry Lane Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre 2020), Merchant of Venice (Inwood Shakespeare Festival), Skin (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Asking for Trouble (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures (The Ensemble Studio Theatre) and Timberland (The Lark Theatre). Regionally he has worked on Animals Out of Paper (The Public Theatre, Maine and Chester Theatre Company, Massachusetts), Damascus (Northern Stage, Vermont), The Pillowman (Know Theatre of Cincinnati) and Red Light Winter (Know Theatre of Cincinnati). Vandit is very proud to be a part of the Writers Improv Studio ensemble.

Catherine Cobb Ryan is Vineke

Catherine Cobb Ryan is a passionate mother of four who enjoys good food and spending time outdoors with her family hiking, skiing, fishing and horseback riding. She studied with William Esper, Tom Todoroff, and Diaan Ainslee.  Her recent NY stage credits include originating roles in “Dating”, ”It’s Not You, It’s Me” and “The Albatross”.  She also starred in “Longshots”, a short film that traveled to festivals around the world.

John J. Concado is Marc

John is a life-long New Yorker, actor and Mets fan (which explains all of the pain in his performances). He is also an accomplished voice-over artist, both in English and Spanish. John studied acting at The Actors Studio Drama School as well as with LAByrinth Theater Co., Philip Seymour Hoffman and Olympia Dukakis. He is a member of INTAR Theatre and has served as associate artistic director for First Light Theater Group.

Current film and television work includes Mildred Pierce, All My Children, Law & Order: SVU and My Super-Ex Girlfriend.  John can also be found on stage in such shows as Clemente, Solterona and The Spanish Version.

A proud member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA and The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, John encourages you to stalk him in a non-creepy way at www.johnnyondaspot.com

Robert Z Grant is Tomas

Robert is an actor, improviser and director, and a founding member of The Collective NY. Acting credits with The Collective include: Ionesco’s The Lesson;  360 – an original adaptation of La Ronde (which he co-directed);  Collective Comedy;  and several other plays and readings.  Robert was nominated for an NYIT Award for Best Director for The Collective’s production of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.  Selected New York:  Broadway’s Next Hit Musical (2007 MAC Award);  Anna Abock (Finalist – Network One Act Festival 2012); The Amazing TED Show! (Ars Nova);  Spontaneous Broadway (York Theatre); Brevity (American Globe). Tour: Two-month residency in South Africa performing with The Glass Contraption. Film: Eurotrash; A Long Road; I’m Not Me; Reflections. Robert is a graduate of the William Esper Studio where he studied with Bill Esper. Robert is probably best known for his anonymity. http://www.robertzgrant.com

Margaret Kelly Murphy is Maria

Margaret Kelly was most recently seen in Red Wall Productions’ short film BFF. She has worked in regional theaters across the country including Some Enchanted Evening at StageWest in MA, as Sarah in The Depot Theater’s production of Guys & Dolls and as Fiona in Brigadoon at the old Burt Reynolds Theater in FL. Margaret has also appeared Off-Broadway as Beatriz in Columbus the Musical. Margaret’s best work can be seen in the eyes of her three sons, Gearod, Declan & Liam who always keep her on her toes.

Laura Pruden is Sila

Laura’s recent screen credits include The Daily Show (sketch
performer), Law & Order, SVU, and The Onion News Network. Stage work
includes the long running LA premiere of “The Book of Liz” by Amy and
David Sedaris, and celebrated British director James Dacre’s “Baal” at
The Riverside Theatre in NY.  The New York Foundation for the Arts
awarded Laura a scholarship for storytelling in 2011; she spins yarns
regularly in NY (Dixon Place, A Collection of Shiny Objects), and has
performed in LA (The Comedy Union, Word-a-Rama), at festivals (NYFA
Bootstrap, Estrogenius), and on WGN radio. She studied acting at
Northwestern (BS) and CalArts (MFA), and taught at Second City.

Toni Robison-May is Felice

Being raised by Trekkie academics who shared a love of sci-fi, Masterpiece Theater, Indian food and Carlos Santana meant that Toni wasn’t usually asked out for school dances but she later made up for that after moving to NY. She first fell in love while seeing Shakespeare In The Park in Edmond OK as a kid. It took some popcorn, a picnic blanket and that poetic language to spark the love of acting. She received her Theatre Arts BFA from Stephens College and performed in many stage productions. She continued her acting studies in NY at the William Esper Studio 2 Year Intensive Training Program. Then, she completed Hurts like Love, a short film which she wrote and starred in. After premiering at festivals in NY and CT, the film is now making rounds across the country. She recently acted in another short film Lillian starring Tony award nominee Kathleen Chalfant. She is now hard at work on several projects while making time for my many loves – graphic novels, dark chocolate, film trivia and salsa dancing.

Current film work includes Muse said This, Peek, Lillian, and Hurts Like Love. Find Toni on stage in Augustine’s Confessions, The Philadelphia Story, and Christmas 1943.  Toni has also performed in the Vagina Monologues 6 times and is a recipient of the Artisan Poetry Slam Award – Slam Master.

Frederick Secrease is Peter

A New England Native, C. Frederick Secrease has been performing since the early age of six when he gave his first public classical piano recital. Shortly after, he began to develop an interest in acting and in JR. High school, started performing in local community theatre. Continuing his study of both disciplines, Frederick now holds degrees in Music (majoring in piano performance) and Theatre (acting/directing) and has gone on to play leads in more than 100 different musicals, plays and films including: Thami in “My Children, My Africa”, Algernon in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Joseph in “Dreamcoat”, King in “The King and I” and Tony in “West Side Story”. He can also be seen in films such as Crank 2, Color of the Cross, Negotiations and The Program, and of course Lover, and in television episodes of Greek, Dirt, Hell’s Kitchen and From Gs to Gents. Frederick is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA AND EQUITY.

Lauren Sowa is Alis

Lauren has been working with the Writers Improv Studio since 2010. Her recent credits include We’re Drunk/This is the End (The Old Vic, London); Juliet in North Carolina Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo & Juliet; All’s Well that Ends Well, Hamlet (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Wait Until Dark (Seacoast Rep). Film Credits: Sadie (Invasive Image); Stalled, Purple, Passersby (NYU Tisch Film); Walk-Up (web series). She has a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a Resident Artist at The Shakespeare Forum.

Chris Veteri is Ike

Chris is beyond excited to be a part of Writers Improv Studio ensemble. Taking various small acting jobs here and there after completing the William Esper Studio 2 Year Intensive Training Program, the opportunity to collaborate and explore with the Writers Improv Studio has been a much welcomed creative and provocative experience.

Christina Kallas is Alis and Tomas and Sila and Marc and Ike and Felice and Maria and Vineke and Peter and Cybil and Ben

Christina is a writer-producer for film and television, book author and professor for film, since January 2005 she is the president of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE). Screen credits include the feature films  Mothers (2010), selected as the Macedonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards and for the Panorama at the 61st Berlin International Film FestivalThe Commissioner (1998), starring John Hurt and Armin Mueller-Stahl, selected for the Official Competition of the Berlin International Film Festival;  I.D. (1994)Liebe Lügen (1997), winner of the First Film Award at the Munich Film Festival;  the TV movie Männer sind wie Schokolade (1999);  as well as several episodes of the Best German TV-awarded series Edel & Starck (2001 – 2003) and Danni Lowinski (2010). In 2010 she founded the Writers Improv Studio in New York City, for which she has created 42 Seconds of Happiness(2011 – ).

Kallas is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Film Division, and at The New School for Media Studies in New York City.  She earned her B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. in Communication and Media Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, and has previously taught at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (1997-2007); the International Film School in Cologne (2002 -2007); the Scuola Holden per le Techniche Narrative in Torino, Italy;  the Film Studies Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and The Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

She is the author of five books, among them Creative Screenwriting: Understanding Emotional Structure (Palgrave, London/New York, 2010).

Allison Vanore / Producer

Allison Vanore is an award winning independent film and indie television producer who was born and raised in Wall, New Jersey.  She received a BFA in film and video production from theUniversity of Arizona and since then has worked between Los Angeles (where she resides) and New York City.

Allison brings an abundance of knowledge and experience to 42 Seconds of Happiness from her work on independent films and with online digital series. Allison is known for resourcefulness and creativity when it comes to limited budgets and restricted film financing. Adaptation and her get-it-done attitude is what keeps her projects moving forward.

Her feature film credits include recent films, Love in the Time of Monsters (2013) a horror comedy, and Hopelessly in June (2012) starring Keith David, Tiny Lister, Peter Jason and Ed Asner which screened at festivals across the country, won the Feature Bud Abbott Comedy Award, is available in retail outlets nationwide and on VOD. Other notable projects include an anti-bullying PSA called The Price of Silence (2009) (featured at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance in 2009/10), a critically acclaimed indie television series called SOLO The Series (2010), award-winning original series Anyone But Me (2011 – 2012) by Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward, and recently launched series Cost of Capital (2012) by Brian DeChesare.

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