Meet the Team
Interim Executive Director
Katie Tarara brings twenty years of leadership experience in non-profits and business to her interim role at Arcade. She is known for building teams that get results and she has led teams to create programs, release new products, increase revenues, cultivate customer relationships, and build powerful partnerships. A long-time fan of comedy, Katie began taking classes and performing comedy at Arcade Comedy Theater in 2018. Currently, she’s on the producing team and the regular host of “Bracket Night” a monthly game show at Arcade and has previously been in the cast of Camp Loose Leaf and Latchkey Kids. In her role as Interim Executive Director, Katie combines her love of comedy with her passion for data-driven decision making to lead the team of staff and volunteers who are working to revive the Arcade in the post-pandemic Pittsburgh.
Director of Artistic Programs
Abby is a comedy performer, teacher, director, and nonprofit arts manager. Since graduating from the Theater Arts program at the University of Pittsburgh and obtaining a Master’s Degree in Art Management from the Heinz College of Carnegie Mellon University. She honed her improv skills at Pittsburgh’s fabled Friday Nite Improvs. In 2013, Abby was part of the team that founded Arcade Comedy Theater. She served as Managing Artistic Director from 2019 through 2022, overseeing the theater’s first full-time staff. In March 2020, she helped shift the theater into survival mode: pivoting to online programming; devising the city’s first outdoor theatrical production of the pandemic (Arcade at the Oasis); and helping create health and safety standards for reopening that allowed Arcade to become a leader in the Pittsburgh theater community. She was awarded a “40 under 40” recognition by PUMP and Pittsburgh Magazine for her efforts. In 2023, she shifted into a new role that focuses on developing artistic programs and nurturing talent as Arcade enters a new phase. You can see Abby at the Arcade on stage with Frankly Scarlett or behind the scenes as producer of her toddler, Perry.
Director of Marketing
Mike is a performer, writer, and visual artist. He’s has been involved with sketch comedy and improv in the region since 1998, and helped to co-found the Arcade in 2013. He has split his time between creating the brand identity and visual language of Arcade, while also serving as its Director of Programming from 2013-2022. By day, Mike is a creative director at Level Agency, a digital marketing agency based out of Pittsburgh. He has been recognized as a “40 Under 40” recipient by PUMP and Pittsburgh Magazine, and he’s won a regional Emmy and a Golden Quill award for his work with WQED. At Arcade, Mike can be seen each month performing with the Knights of the Arcade. As a producer, he has overseen the productions of “Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs,” “Bubble Boy: The Musical,” as well as the various iterations of Sketchville, the theater’s sketch comedy mini-festival. As Director of Marketing, Mike is focused on telling Arcade’s story to the community and connecting artists with audiences each and every week.
Director of New Programming
Nia is Arcade’s Director of New Programming, as well as a comedian, actress, and improviser. As a graduate of Arcade’s improv program, her love of improv and Arcade grew with the theater when she became a house manager in 2017, with the move to 943 Liberty Ave. Nia has been a member of Arcade max team Change Machine, as well as a cast member of such beloved shows as Playlist and The Smallest Show in Town. She also co-produced a month-long live-read series for Arcade’s first-ever Black History Month celebration. Nia is excited about the possibilities of this position and committed to expanding the Arcade audience and community.
Robin is Arcade Comedy Theater’s Academy Manager and has taught Improv 101, Intro to Sketch, and Advanced Sketch at Arcade. She began as a sketch writer and performer with Frankly Scarlett in 2012, and although she didn’t think she could ever be comfortable on stage without a script, she started taking improv classes as a way to make friends after moving to Cape Town, South Africa for her husband’s career. To her surprised delight, she not only could improvise, but loved to improvise, an experience she strives to re-create for her 101 students. As Academy Manager, Robin administrates Arcade’s comedy classes, seeking to run the program in a way that is efficient and rewarding for all of Arcade Academy’s students and teachers.
Aaron Tarnow has been the Technical Director of the Arcade Comedy Theater since 2017 and has been working here in some capacity since 2015. In that time, he has been the TD (along with wearing other hats) for many Arcade productions, including: The Thanksgiving Play, The Night Before Christmas, JFLE: Grand Finale, Dr. Iguanatron’s Medicine Show, Boo Humbag!, Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs, and My Dinner with André: The Musical: A Live Read. He is (or was) also the Technical Director/Producer for many current and former recurring Arcade shows and teams, including: JFLE (SF Sketchfest 2020), Knights of the Arcade (2021 Best Comedy Troupe, Pittsburgh City Paper), Latchkey Kids (2022 Best Improv/Sketch Team, Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best of the Burgh), Bracket Night, You’re the Next Contestant, Justin & Jerome Experience, The Death Show, and others. Outside of Arcade, Aaron is a Production Technician at City Theatre Company and works at various other theatres around Pittsburgh. During the pandemic closure, he acted as a remote technician for the Magnet Theater (NYC)’s virtual shows, including as the remote TD for Nights of Our Lives, New York’s second longest-running storytelling show. Prior to that, he was the Technical Director of the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival (2014-2018), as well as its Executive Director (2016-2018). If you’ve read this far, he wants you to sign up for a class at Arcade, because he thinks the local comedy scene is great, but it would be even better with you in it.
Social Media Coordinator
Online Programming Coordinator
Student Team Coordinator
Board of Directors
Matt Lancaster — President
Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic
Dr. Nilesh Shah — Secretary
Assistant Professor, Biostatistics
University of Pittsburgh
Maher S. Hoque — Vice President
Christa Lerch — Treasurer
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital
Dr. Reed Van Deusen
Assistant Dean for Human-Based Simulation Education;
Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
Jay Evans — Board Emeritus
Attorney and Partner, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP