RIPLEY (Los Angeles, CA) is an all-female and nonbinary genderqueer improv collective that creates stories about people who save the day, save the world, and save each other. Ripley is a group of trained actors who work through collaborative improvisation to create character driven stories about women who are earnest, dark, weird, and silly. We delight as storytellers in both the light and darkness. In television and film, we can fully-improvise a story as the cameras are rolling and we also use improvisation to devise scripts, outlines, treatments that we then produce, direct, and perform in. On stage, we improvise full-length narratives based on audience suggestion.
Jessica Lynn Verdi
MARY CHIEFFO is a queer actor/producer known internationally as the Klingon Commander turned Chancellor L'Rell on the Paramount+ series Star Trek: Discovery. Chieffo received her BFA from Juilliard in 2015, along with the prestigious Elizabeth Smith Voice and Speech Prize and the Saint-Denis Prize for "Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Drama." Mary recently produced and starred in Iago: The Green-Eyed Monster, a Musical AR Experience reinterpreting the notorious Shakespeare villain as a woman, co-created with Josh Nelson Youssef in collaboration with Viola Davis and Julius Tennon's JuVee Productions and Verizon, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival in June 2022 (Tribeca X Finalist). Recent acting credits include guest star roles on NCIS, Girls5eva, and leading roles in Bespoke Plays’ staged readings of Heretics by Ellie Pyle in New York, Analogue by Christine Boylan, Lady Face and Systems by Madi Goff in Los Angeles. Mary stars opposite Madi Goff in the short film Every Morning, a queer sci-fi love story, also written by Goff (Indie Short Fest WINNER Best Acting Duo, Best Original Score, Outstanding Achievement LGBTQ Short, LA Independent Women Film Awards WINNER Best Composer, and Official Hollywood Shorts Fest Selection). Chieffo served as executive and creative producer on the film in partnership with Dr. Erin Macdonald’s LGTBQ+ owned Spacetime Productions.
KELECHI EZIE hails from Buffalo, New York, where at times it does, indeed hail. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she earned a degree in History and Theater. Kelechi wrote, co-produced and starred in the award-winning short film The Truth About Beauty and Blogs, an official selection of the late Roger Ebert’s Ebertfest. Acting credits include Hulu’s How To Die Alone; Book of Mormon 1st National Tour; HBO’s The Deuce; and CBS: East New York. Kelechi played the principal role of Mrs. Squires alongside Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in the hit Broadway revival of The Music Man.
MADI GOFF is an LA-based actor, writer, & former Texas cowgirl, self-described as Peter Pan meets The Brave Little Toaster. Madi is a member of Ripley Improv, Impro Theatre, an alumna of Groundlings Sunday Company, and recurring performer in Groundlings’ “The Crazy Uncle Joe Show.” In 2022, the bicoastal Bespoke Plays produced Equity staged readings of Lady Face and Systems both plays written by and featuring Goff. Madi is currently a playwright in The Road Theatre’s Under Construction 2023. Most recently, Madi wrote, produced, and starred in the short film Every Morning (Indie Short Fest WINNER Best Acting Duo, Best Original Score, Outstanding Achievement LGBTQ Short, LA Independent Women Film Awards AWARD WINNER Best Composer, and Official Hollywood Shorts Fest Selection, Parity in Action Badge from Women in Media), produced by LGBTQ+ owned Spacetime Productions. You can follow Madi on Twitter and Instagram @msmadig
LAURIE JONES is an improviser, writer, director, and impact producer. She is a member of Impro Theatre and Ripley Improv in Los Angeles, CA. She is also a founding member of Wishbone Theatre Collective, performing in Asheville, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Edinburgh. She has over a decade of experience performing and directing long-form narrative improv. You can follow Laurie on Instagram @lauriemichellejones
JESSICA LYNN VERDI is an actor, improviser, director, and producer, specializing in long-form narrative improv with her all female and non-binary company, Ripley Improv. Jessica has created shows like Heartbeats, an improvised medical dramedy performed live online, X-Files: Unclassified, and The Actor’s Nightmare. She travels across the country teaching workshops as well as performing with Ripley. Alongside her acting career, she streams variety content on Twitch and produces several podcasts, including her personal projects, “You Don’t Know, Nick” and “Podcast of the Rings.” You can follow her on the social on Instagram @jessicalynnverdi or on Twitter @jessicaverdi
PAUL VONASEK From Minnesota, Paul studied improv in Chicago before moving to LA and eventually joining the Impro Theatre company, performing in Shakespeare Unscripted, Tennessee Williams Unscripted, and other forms. After over ten years, Paul is still a member of The Bearded Company based out of Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Performing fully improvised plays in the style of Dungeons and Dragons, Zombie Apocalypse, Western-Horror, and many many others that defy categorization and sometimes understanding. The Beards have taught and performed at several festivals including Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago.
More Festival Performances
Dive into your own spontaneity with Sarasota Improv Festival Workshops! Our offerings allow you to learn from the experts with intimate trainings led by Festival artists from across the country and around the world. Featuring workshops in a wide range of improvisational styles and techniques, there is something for improvisers of all experience levels at the 2023 Sarasota Improv Fest. All workshops take place Saturday, July 22.