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About Us

Soft Brain Theatre Company is a collective of theatre artists based in NYC focused on process-driven physical comedy, using Commedia dell'Arte and musical theatre as its foundations.


Soft Brain's 2022 season included a production of The Raven at the Chain Theatre  and an underground workshop production of a new, choose-your-own-adventure musical, Theatre Sequence Initiated written by Owen O'leary.


In Spring 2023, Soft Brain devised and produced a full-length Commedia dell'Arte musical based on the original fairy tales of Puss in Boots, debuting Puss In Boots: After Dark (pictured left).


In Fall 2023, Soft Brain launched the Soft Brain Commedia dell'Arte Actors Studio (SCAS), a Commedia educational workshop. The Company will debut a showcase of its inaugural SCAS participants in a performance of The Ring on December 10, 2023.  


Follow our socials for audition information for our 2024 season.

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Joy, curiosity, and play sit at the center of what we do. There is much to be discovered in the world around us, and the expert foolishness exhibited by the innocent and playful clown is a healing and entertaining lens through which change is made. 


What is a “Soft Brain?"

This phrase describes a special mindset that is vital to our work. The mindset required to play desires the absence of hard thoughts. To invite your brain to soften is to embrace simplicity; to impulsively engage with everything around you with a green and relentless curiosity.


Only a softened brain can provide you with the emotional abandon to PLAY at your deepest capacity –– without a microbe of shame. 

Soft Brain Theatre Company taunts Truffaldino (RJ Tabachnick) in The Raven, 2022


Nicoel Tsarouhas headshot

Nicole could have never guessed that catching up over kosher sushi with RJ would culminate in them co-founding a theatre company together. She’s ridiculously thankful for her fearless collaborators. Nicole plays well with others but is a little too chatty in class. A-

RJ Tabachnick headshot

RJ is an actor, clown, and avid hiker located in New York. He is so grateful to collaboratively build his dream (Soft Brain) with a group of equally silly people. To all the dreamers out there: all you need is some kosher sushi and Nicole to get the ball rolling.



Three people wearing commedia masks posing for a picture

The vision behind Soft Brain Theatre Company is to break the mold. As a company-driven community of artists, Soft Brain is bound in search for truth and the capacity for joy.

Founders Nicole Tsarouhas and RJ Tabachnick and much of the original company are alumni of NYU-Tisch Drama's New Studio on Broadway and alumni of the physical acting intensive program directed by Orlando Pabotoy. Much of the work at Soft Brain Theatre Company is inspired by the acting techniques learned under Pabotoy, who is a colleague and collaborator of Christopher Bayes, founder of The Pandemonium Studio.

This company is striving to work in the same vein as Bayes and Pabotoy and reach toward inviting the ever-honest and elusive clown into the artistic space.



Devised by Soft Brain Theatre Company
Premiering Off-Broadway May 2023

a show poster for Puss in Boots: After Dark

Puss in Boots: After Dark will premier Off-Broadway at the Chain Theatre, May 18th through May 28th, 2023. Soft Brain Theatre Company transformed the classic fairytale into an original commedia dell'arte musical. It is devised under the direction of Nicole Tsarouhas with story supervision by Lila Pearlman.

A new musical by Owen O'leary

Workshopped by Soft Brain Theatre Company December 2022

A production shot from TSI, an human dressed as an alien being grabbed by a giant robotic octopus

Theatre Sequence Initiated by Owen O'leary is a new, choose-your-own-adventure musical that Soft Brain Theatre Company workshopped through the fall of 2022. The workshop process, co-directed by O'leary and Sarah DeMarino, culminated in five public viewings in December 2022 in Bushwick, NY, to trial the choose-your-own adventure technology developed by Soft Brain.

 by Carlo Gozzi

Adapted and Devised by Soft Brain Theatre Company
Music by Owen O'Leary and Isaiah Spetz; d
evised in company

Premiered Off-Broadway June 2022

The Raven premiered Off-Broadway at the Chain Theatre, June 2 through June 12, 2022. Soft Brain Theatre Company adapated this classical commedia dell'arte piece into a musical (with music by Isaiah Spetz and Owen O'Leary) and was devised in company under the direction of CJ Diorio.

@softbraintheatrecompany on Instagram

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"...their exuberant execution of commedia silliness is delightfully well done."
- Michael Dale,
Broadway World

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- Orlando Pabotoy

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