Denise Ivanoff is an actress equally at home on the set of a gritty independent film or performing live sketch and improv comedy. In addition to her own performance work, she writes and directs, with two film scripts currently in pre-production and having recently directed a world premiere off-off-Broadway.
Ivanoff grew up in Pasadena and Bakersfield California, and the proximity to Hollywood first sparked her interest in acting, although her first serious training was in piano and clarinet. After winning the title of Most Outstanding High School Musician in Kern County and receiving a full scholarship, she went on to receive her Masters in Piano Performance from Baylor University School of Music while continuing to juggle training in dance, voice, and acting. Shortly after beginning her serious pursuit of acting in New York, she became associated with the Alpha NYC group, where she performed in children's theater performances of The Wizard of Oz (2014), Sleeping Beauty (2015), and Cinderella as the Stepmother (2015), as well as in the Thalia Women's Theater Festival in the role of Queen in the one-act Red As Blood (2016). She also originated the role of Sue in the contemporary musical drama Don't Wait Up! (2013) and made her Shakespeare debut as Regan in a new production of King Lear (2015).
In addition to traditional technique and scene study courses at HB Studio, Stella Adler, and the Ted Bardy and Matt Newton (MN) Acting Studios, Ivanoff completed UCB's core programs in improv and sketch at UCB,. She has been a member of the improv group Contagious and has written for and performed with The Pin-Up Squirrels, a sketch and improv group. She has also written for and performed with the sketch group New Jerk City, now on hiatus, is a current performing member of Rue McClanahan's Pills, a long-form improv group. In 2014 she became a writer and sketch performer with the Sleepytime Comedy Hour, a weekly live show at the Triple Crown in NYC, and took over as host in 2015.
On camera, Ivanoff has participated in numerous student films and independent productions. She was recently a featured club-goer in the award-winning webseries Plant (2015) and has begun work on the Trending webseries, where she is slated to play a recurring role as Fiona, astrologer to the stars (sizzle reel, 2015). She had a lead role in Airport 2012 directed by Joe Minion (2014), which has been accepted at numerous festivals and had an NYC screening. Later in 2015, Ivanoff was selected for a team in the 48-Hour Film Festival, only to have the entire team drop out the night before. Upon learning that her team's assigned genre was comedy and the required element was a musician, she wrote the script, set up the sound and camera, and directed herself in a solo performance of Black Key Piano Method, a send-up of As-Seen-On-TV commercials.
Having recently completed the core curriculum at Ela Thier's Independent Film School, Ivanoff has formed Renaissance Never DI through which she directs actor reels, is developing a short film as well as a webseries, and continues to produce the live Sleepytime Comedy Hour. In addition to directing and writing her own projects, Ivanoff recently served the Alpha NYC group as a director at the helm of the world premiere of Brittany Tomkins' Ceiling Art in June 2016.
In addition to her professional pursuits, Ivanoff is passionate about animal rescue. She has participated in charity runs to raise money for Best Friends Animal Society, and is on the Advisory Board of Animal Haven in New York City. She and her husband, Donald Ivanoff, currently have one dog, Stevie, whom they met at Broadway Barks. Ivanoff resides in New York City and makes several trips a year to Los Angeles.