Board of Directors

The Groundlings is a non-profit organization, founded in 1974 by Gary Austin. This generous team of professionals, Groundlings and Groundlings Alumni, dedicate their time to ensuring the prosperity and longevity of The Groundlings Theatre and School.

Board of Directors

Michael Churven

Chairperson

Originally from Australia, Michael Churven came to America as part of the Australian wave in the early ‘00s and is thrilled to be a Main Company member at The Groundlings Theatre. His television credits include MIKE TYSON MYSTERIES, MODERN FAMILY and YOU CAN DO BETTER. Film credits include WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY alongside Molly Shannon. He has appeared on Australian television in the series BUTTERFLY ISLAND and THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SKIPPY. Theatre credits include the Australian national tour of THE KING AND I and Open Fist Theater’s production of DELEARIOUS. His short film TROUGHMAN took the Best Humor Award at Dan Savage’s 2019 Hump Film Festival and is currently part of the 14th Annual Hump Fest National Tour.

Board of Directors

Nicholas Antonian

Treasurer

Nick Antonian, CPA, MBA is the Treasurer of the Groundlings. He is currently a Director at Marcum LLP in the Firm’s Los Angeles office. As a member of the Assurance Service practice and National Retail and Consumer Products Group, he works on the financial audits and reviews for multiple clients as well as mergers and acquisitions. His experience includes working with clients in the high technology, manufacturing, distribution, furniture, and retail and apparel industries and provides post-audit business consulting services including financial forecasts, advanced modeling and recommendations for operational efficiencies. Nick can be contacted at [email protected]

Board of Directors

Joseph Yoshitomi

Secretary

Joseph Yoshitomi has nearly 20 years of arts administration experience in not-for-profit producing and presenting organizations, for-profit media and technology companies serving the performing arts, and as an outside consultant on special projects for individual artists and companies. He currently serves as the Vice President and General Manager for Dallas Summer Musicals, was the first and only VP Marketing for TheaterMania/OvationTix leading up to that company’s sale, and also served as Director of Marketing & Communications for Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles where he oversaw marketing during that not-for-profit theater’s largest artistic programming and earned-revenue expansion. He is a speaker at national conferences such as INTIX and those organized by Americans for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. His marketing and communications methods have been reported as innovations in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and American Theatre Magazine. He currently serves on the board of The Groundlings and has served on the boards of LA Stage Alliance and the Foundation for New American Musicals. He has independently produced theater, and began his career as a Los Angeles County/J. Paul Getty Arts Administration Intern at The Pasadena Playhouse.

Phyllis Katz

Phyllis Katz

A pioneer member and former director of The Groundlings, Phyllis has enjoyed working in TV, film and stage as an actor, writer and director. Her one-woman show, "Katz: Music & Characters," won a Drama-Logue award for best performance; her play, "Codependently Yours," was an L.A. Weekly award nominee; and her first film short, "Shoedini," ran on I-film for a year with a 10 rating. She most recently appeared in RENO 911!, STRONG MEDICINE, and the film, TAKING THE PLUNGE, and was the female lead on Showtime's cult comedy, SHERMAN OAKS. As a songwriter, she co-authored three TV theme songs, and the anthem for Project Literacy, and was a regular contributor to FX's SON OF THE BEACH. In addition to co-creating The Groundlings School, Phyllis does private coaching and conducts writing, character development, and song improv workshops across the country. She is a contributing writer for OurLa.org, and her first book, "Hipwrecked: My Health Insurance Sucked, So I Went to India" is now available!

Board of Directors

Matt Levy

Matt Levy is a partner at the entertainment law firm Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman L.L.P., where he specializes in the representation of emerging and established talent and production companies in the film, scripted and unscripted television, and digital media industries. Prior to practicing talent-side transactional entertainment law in TV and Film, Matt began his legal career as an entertainment litigator and music industry attorney, and before that, he served as an assistant tour manager on an international tour for KC and the Sunshine Band and the Village People.

Board of Directors

Emily Peska

Emily Peska is Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs at Comedy Central. In this role she handles the negotiations for various development projects as well as production legal needs in connection with current series, including “South Park”, “Tosh.0”, “Drunk History”, and “Lights Out With David Spade”. She joined Comedy Central in 2008 and previously held other positions at The Endeavor Agency, Misher Films, and GRB Entertainment. Emily received her BS from Northwestern University and her JD from Pepperdine University.

Jessica Pohly

Jessica Pohly

Main Company Rep

Jessica is originally from New York City and has a BA in Art History from Pomona College. She has toured with the American Shakespeare Center and Theater at Monmouth. Recently you can catch her on HUGE IN FRANCE, SMILF and GOLIATH. Other TV/Film credits include PEE WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY; THE REAL ONEALS; BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS; STALKER; MODERN FAMILY; SUPER FUN NIGHT and WELCOME TO THE FAMILY.

Leonard Robinson

Leonard Robinson

Main Company Rep

Leonard Robinson is an actor/writer/standup originally from Danbury, CT. After graduating Howard University, Leonard appeared in numerous films and television projects such as “Life of Crime” with Jennifer Aniston and John Hawkes, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Adam Ruins Everything, Young Sheldon, and Alexa & Katie on Netflix. Additionally, Leonard has appeared in theaters nationwide including “The Exonerated” at The Culture Project (Off-Broadway), Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Fringe Festival, and Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.

Leonard is currently writing/performing in The Groundlings Main Company and recurring on HBO’s Insecure.

He has studied and performed improv/sketch at Upright Citizens Brigade, IO West as well as in the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. As a stand-up comedian, Leonard has performed all across the U.S. and the UK. When in Los Angeles, he can be seen weekly at The World Famous Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd.