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Improving with Improv at Kittay House Senior Apartments

A young man hands an elderly woman a spear gun and says, “Go get him, Grandma.”

No, it’s not the plot of underwater western, or a bar-room joke. It’s the improvisation workshop at Kittay House Senior Apartments, and tenant Betty Gumanow is getting a big laugh.   

Cherub Improv, the not-for-profit organization founded in 2007 by Jonathan Goldberg, visits Kittay House once each month and performs and teaches short-form improv exercises to an enthusiastic group of tenants. 


The Riverdale Press sat in on a recent workshop. This article from The Riverdale Press provides a great sense of what goes on in the workshops.

The New York Daily News wrote this about Improv at Kittay.

An here’s a clip that aired on News 12 about the Cherubs at Kittay.

The Cherubs cultivate “on-your-feet” thinking from the tenants. Some of the basic improv techniques train the tenants to listen to their peers, and think creatively and spontaneously.

Gumanow says, “At first it was scary being in front of an audience, but once you get past that, it becomes exhilarating. I really encourage everyone to try it.” She adds, “With my visual impairment, I can’t always participate in activities that require reading, so using my imagination to devise scenarios is great fun.”


A newcomer to the group, Arthur Heimlich, shared how he really enjoys developing scenes with his improv team, using spontaneous topic suggestions from the audience. “We don’t use any props, just our imaginations. It challenges our minds, and we usually wind up having lots of laughs in the process.”


 “So many times I’ve sat in the audience during a performance and secretly fantasized that it was me up on the stage,” says Kittay House tenant Zelda Fassler. Now, instead of simply enjoying the talented Cherub Improv group from a seat in the Fox Auditorium, Zelda and other tenants are experiencing the thrill of being part of the show.