SAMANTHA JONES is an actor and director originally from New York City.
Her recent credits include Bess Johnson on “Bull”/CBS, Christie in the premiere of John Cariani's “Cul De Sac,” Sheryl Bennett in the upcoming feature “Skin,” and Sonia in Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike. Her fourth solo show, Butterfly Suicide, was an official selection in the Solo Nova Festival at PS122 in NYC.
After completing 10 years of acting training, which included earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at SUNY New Paltz, Ms. Jones returned home to NYC where her mother, award-winning writer Debbie Jones, suggested stand-up comedy as the next logical step for the budding comedienne. Though stand-up sounded terrifying, Ms. Jones was a natural, and early on, established her reputation as a talented comedic actor and sketch comedy performer, creating hilarious original characters in her solo works as well as short and long form improvisation.
In 1995, Ms. Jones found herself a place in a weekly live sketch comedy show which required new material each week. Here she honed her comedy-writing chops, creating new musical acts and sketches for her fellow castmates for each performance. Through this experience, Ms. Jones discovered she had a real talent for writing solo pieces, and her work as a solo performer was born. Creating monologues and characters based on her life growing up in NYC, Ms. Jones eventually developed what would become her first solo show, I’m In Charge of the Coats at HERE Arts Center under a program run by NBC.
As her writing skills developed, Ms. Jones continued creating several additional solo works in collaboration with her team and family under the moniker of Dora Mae Productions, including original pieces written by her sisters, Jeannine Jones and Rebecca Lally. Adding singer-songwriter to her list of credits, Ms. Jones would often turn to her guitar for inspiration in creating new material. One act in particular about a brother and sister folk-goth singing duo called CRAZY POTATOe (the E was intentional), garnered Ms. Jones and her acting partner actor/fireman, Adam Lake, a bit of a cult following, performing several of Ms. Jones’ original songs in comedy clubs and colleges. Today she and her sister Rebecca are an award-winning comedic, folk-rock duo THE SISTER'S ROCK!
Throughout her career, improvisation has been the true inspiration for Ms. Jones’ work as a performer. Along the way she has founded, performed with and directed dozens of troupes including FAUX SHOW, THE MUG SHOTS, THE OUTRAGEOUS INSTINCTS, GRANNY'S MOUSTACHE, BAZOOKA TRAMPOLINE, THE BAKER'S DOZEN, THE FREE ASSOCIATION and PLEASE STAND BY. Her years of work in improvisation have led to featured opportunities with Comedy Central, MTV's RUN'S HOUSE, The Uprights Citizen’s Brigade and Jack Black's ACCEPTABLE TV. In 2015, Ms. Jones founded Hudson Valley Improv and in 2017, her production company Mimi Entertainment.
Ms. Jones began teaching improv classes back in 1993 after studying with well-known professor and theatre director, Beverly Brumm. While her preference for performance purposes is short-form improv, Ms. Jones has developed her own unique form of improvisation which she has become known for. By combining theatre games, the Meisner technique, brain games, and physical challenges to her group events, Ms. Jones knows just how to tap into her students to quickly discover what is blocking them. She then creates original games to break down those blocks. She calls this method Improv Empowerment. Through this technique, Ms. Jones has helped hundreds of people learn how to get past the blocks and reclaim who they are instinctually.
All her work on stage and off eventually lead Ms. Jones to directing. Solo shows she has directed have appeared at numerous festivals all over the world. She has co-created and directed solo vehicles for other performers including standup comedy, talk shows, solo shows, and storytelling. She has also directed full-length plays and live concerts.
Ms. Jones has donated her empowerment work to several organizations in and around New York City, including, the New Perspectives Theater Company, The Momentum Repertoire Company, and the Esther Ashkenas Central Park Early Learning Center. She was an honorary guest in the Think Tank at the Endangered Species Women's Conference in NYC. Additionally, Ms. Jones has contributed her talents to ARTISTS FOR THE CURE at Carnegie Hall, and WIGSTOCK. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, she has represented the organization on the board of the NY Coalition of Professional Women in Arts and Media.
She was a founding partner of Dora Mae Productions and in addition to SAG, a longstanding member of AFTRA, AEA, and Alpha Psi Omega. She studied performance at The LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, HB Studios, Neighborhood Playhouse and SUNY New Paltz, where she returns often to speak to young theatre students about career and creative challenges after graduation.