Donna Connolly has a BA in Media Studies from Hunter College, a JD from American University, and began her improv training with Ben Taxy in 2011. She has studied and performed at the Box in Albuquerque and taken workshops with improv greats Alan Arkin and Dave Razowski. Donna works as an attorney representing Tribal groups.
Brian Crane has been teaching, studying and performing improvisational theater for over twenty years. As a performer, he cut his chops at the Improv Olympic in Chicago under the direction of Del Close as a member of the first Harold team, Barron’s Barracudas. He has created and taught workshops for established improv companies, corporate clients, and high school students, with an emphasis on long form. Brian creates a fun and supportive environment in which he encourages relaxed, honest, and playful work. On the other hand, he says: “I will not gently nudge you in the direction you need to go. I will push you. Hard. But with love.”
Kaki has spent many years performing on stage and working behind the scenes with the Los Alamos Little Theater. She also served on their Board of Directors, including as President. She began studying improv with Ben Taxy in 2011, and has subsequently studied and performed at the Box in Albuquerque and worked with several teachers in Santa Fe, including having the honor of attending a hosted workshop by Alan Arkin. Kaki has a B.S. in Math and Computer Science from Gonzaga University and an M.S. in Computer Science from Colorado State University. She works as a High Performance Computing system administrator at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Michael Lovato has been performing improv since 2006. After a class at Second City LA, Michael found a home at The Box Theater in Albuquerque, performing with a variety of groups, most recently "The Show," New Mexico's longest running improv show, from 2013 to late 2018. Having accumulated over 500 performances, Michael has also enjoyed teaching classes and workshops, as well as directing "Big Feelings," a Box Theater long form house team.
Michael is also a SAG-AFTRA actor with credits in theater and film ranging from Paris in Romeo and Juliet to a recurring role alongside Nick Nolte in Graves.
Kita Mehaffy has an M.A. in Public Administration and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She has produced award-winning independent short films and been involved in most aspects of theater, including as a dramaturg, playwright, and script consultant. She’s a dramatic editor for Clockhouse, a national literary journal, and a freelance literary editor. She is published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and her short plays produced countrywide. She has a long standing and varied background teaching both adults and teens.
What Kita sees as paramount is the opportunity to provide a venue of learning and socially conscious growth. One where the goals are to be present for each other and to feel safe using one’s own words creatively, spontaneously, and truthfully. That’s Santa Fe Improv. And it’s her great pleasure to be a part of a team of incredibly creative, talented educators and artists.
Scott Plunket studied Theatre Arts at Dartmouth College. After arriving in Santa Fe in the mid 90’s he wrote and produced plays with Montessori students and ran creative writing groups. For the last 14 years, he’s worked on film production teams including Longmire, Crazy Heart, Sicario, and Terminator. Scott studied improv with Ben Taxy, and has been lauded as our most highly rated beginner’s teacher.
Gabe Smith received his B.A. in theater with an emphasis in directing from UC Santa Barbara, and his JD from the University of Wyoming. Gabe started at ComedySportz –High School League when he was 14 and graduated to the ComedySportz performance team.
At UCSB he founded their first improv group, Major League Improv, which he directed and played in, focusing on both short and long form improv. Gabe has also trained at UCB Los Angeles where he completed their program and wrote sketch comedy for UCB Late Night.
Eric Weiss began his study of improv under Ben Taxy at Santa Fe Improv. He completed the curriculum at The Box Theater in Albuquerque where he is now an instructor and performer. Currently he performs on “The Show,” New Mexico’s longest-running improv show, and the long form team All The Kings Horses. Eric is also involved in the teaching of Applied Improv, using the techniques of improvisational theater to enhance professional performance and well-being. He has worked with University of New Mexico Hospital employees in various half-day retreats and conference workshops. Currently, he’s assisting Dr. Jeff Katzman at UNMH with research on the use of improvisational theater to reduce burnout in physicians. Eric is also a commercial, film, and TV actor in the Albuquerque and Denver markets. He is a big believer in the famous Second City teacher Martin de Maat’s favorite saying, “You are pure potential.”