Samantha Jones

Founder & Director of Hudson Valley Improv

SAMANTHA JONES is an actor and director originally from New York City. Her recent credits include BULL/CBS, THE BLACKLIST/NBC, LAW AND ORDER:SVU/NBC, SKIN with Jaime Bell, and DRIVEWAYS with Brian Dennehy.


After teaching, directing & coaching in NYC for over 20 years, she made the leap and moved to the Hudson Valley. 


Sam's  passion and unique approach to teaching improvisation is what brings students back again and again. To Sam, improv isn't about "being funny", it's about being FREE. This philosophy is the nuts and bolts if the work she does in her Improv Empowerment classes. The result? An incredibly supportive and creative community of students personally trained by Sam who speak a common language of performance technique. 90% of Sam's students aren't actors. They are every day people with jobs, families, responsibilities and lives who want to feel better. At Hudson Valley Improv they do just that.


Sam  began teaching improv classes back in 1993 after studying with well-known professor and theatre director, Beverly Brumm.  While her preference for performance purposes is short-form improv, Sam  has developed her own unique form of improvisation which she has become known for. By combining intuitive theatre games, the Meisner technique, Viola Spolin, brain games, and physical challenges to her group events, Sam knows just how to tap into her students to quickly discover what is blocking them.  She then creates original games to break down those blocks. She calls this method Improv Empowerment. 


Through this technique, Sam has helped hundreds of people learn how to get past the blocks and reclaim who they are instinctually. 


All her work on stage and off eventually lead Sam to directing. Solo shows she has directed have appeared at numerous festivals all over the world. She has co-created and directed solo vehicles for other performers including standup comedy, talk shows, solo shows, and storytelling. She has also directed full-length plays and live concerts.


Sam has donated her empowerment work to several organizations including Upstate Women in Film and Television,  the New Perspectives Theater Company, The Momentum Repertoire Company, and the Esther Ashkenas Central Park Early Learning Center. She was an honorary guest in the Think Tank at the Endangered Species Women's Conference in NYC. Additionally, Sam has contributed her talents to ARTISTS FOR THE CURE at Carnegie Hall, and WIGSTOCK.  As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, she has represented the organization on the board of the NY Coalition of Professional Women in Arts and Media.


She was a founding partner of Dora Mae Productions and in addition to SAG, a longstanding member of AFTRA, AEA, and Alpha Psi Omega. She studied performance at The LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, UCB, HB Studios, Neighborhood Playhouse, Aretha Sills and SUNY New Paltz, where she returns often to speak to young theatre students about career and creative challenges after graduation. 


JONES acting Website

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Michael Withall

DIRECTOR OF TEEN PROGRAM/INSTRUCTOR

Michael began his work with Improv comedy by making things up as a child. He studied Theatre and Improv at SUNY New Paltz way back in the early 90’s and got his Improv start with The Baker’s Dozen Improv Troupe and at Parker Theatre’s Summer Rep Cabaret. Michael has recently been seen at Half Moon Theatre’s Ten Minute Play Festival and Tenth Year Anniversary Gala Performance, and will be seen in Half Moon Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol this Holiday Season.  He lives in Rifton with his beautiful and talented partner, Samantha Jones and his two wonderful daughters, Cricket (13) and Calico (12).   Michael loves: coffee and improv, his family and friends, good food, living in the Hudson Valley and visiting New York City.  He loves: spring, summer, fall, and Christmas.  He also loves: movies, baseball, short walks on the beach, wet kisses and dry martinis.

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Cricket Withall

INTERN EXTRAORDINAIRE

Cricket Withall is a Sophomore in Kingston High School. Her credits include Our Town (AD), A Murder is Announced (SM), Little Shop of Horrors(ASM), Barnum(ASM), Once Upon a Mattress (Light board Op), Evita (Set Crew), Cinderella(Set Crew). She got her start to theatre as stage manager for Mimi Entertainment and working on Hudson Valley Improv live shows and their semi-annual STICKY series. Last summer Cricket was one of 2 teens chosen to work technical positions on 14 productions at the prestigious performing arts camp, Stagedoor Manor. This year she will join them again and is looking forward to eventually directing her first show. She is currently working at the Voice Theatre as an assistant stage manager to the show All My Sons. cricketwithall@gmail.com

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