At Theatre VCU we believe that it is essential that the structured coursework of our students be supplemented with master classes taught by internationally known theatre, TV, and film professionals allowing our students to work intensely with theatre’s most respected professionals is an opportunity rarely offered in a university setting.
Every school year Theatre VCU welcomes 6 to 8 theatre experts with international reputations in stage or film performance, design technology, stage management, theatre education or dramaturgy. Visiting Master Teachers are typically in residence for a full week, and the two Guest Directors work within the department for as long as eight weeks, each developing one of the theatre department’s four main stage productions. These extensive residencies afford our Guest Artists ample time to coach students individually, and work closely with small groups.
Besides exposing Theatre VCU students to world-class theatre professionals who complement our rigorous theatre curriculum, we have developed the Guest Artist Program to assist our students in the transition from full time student to full time theatre professional. This program introduces our students to as many as 30 top theatre specialists in the four years they attend VCU as theatre majors. Through the Guest Artist Program many of our students have successfully jump-started their professional careers with the help of these renowned Master Teachers and Directors.
Guest Artists 2014-2015
Dorothy Holland, Director, Pride and Prejudice
Dorothy Holland is associate professor of theatre and associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies. Dr. Holland is also chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, where she teaches a range of courses: Production Studies, Theatre History, 20th-century Acting Styles and Theories, Physical Theatre, Staging Gender, Musical Theatre, and the First Year Seminar. Her research explores the intersections of performance theory, feminist theory, and contemporary theatre practice.
Holland has been a professional actor and director for over 30 years; she has performed leading roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in national tours, and in regional theatres throughout the country. Since she came to the University of Richmond in 1999, Holland has directed a variety of main-stage productions: All My Sons (Arthur Miller), How I Learned to Drive (Paula Vogel), Mother Courage and Her Children (Brecht),Company (Sondheim), Gypsy (starring Lorna Luft), The Furies (Aeschylus), Amadeus (Peter Shaffer),Small Tragedy (Craig Lucas), Fiddler on the Roof, The Skin of Our Teeth (Thornton Wilder), The Madwoman of Chaillot (Giraudoux), and Rent (Jonathan Larson). She has also performed leading roles in several local productions: Prospero in The Tempest, Emily Stilson in Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Evelyn in Tales of the Lost Formicans, and the Catwoman in By the Bog of Cats –– all directed by Walter Schoen. She was also the Old Woman in Ionesco’s The Chairs, directed by Paolo Emilio Landi, appeared in The Laramie Project for Barksdale Theatre, was Vada Love Powell in The Exact Center of the Universe and Susan Strasberg in the premier of Alex Finlayson’s Misfits, also for Barksdale Theatre.
Guest Artists 2012-2013
Judy Carter, Comedian & Author
Judy Carter is an author, speaking coach, and humorist. Her message of using comedy techniques to decrease cubicle stress makes Carter an in-demand speaker for Fortune 500 companies where her keynotes entertain and inspire.
She has been featured on over 100 TV shows, nominated for Atlantic City’s Entertainer of the Year, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Oprah Winfrey Show and on CNN.
Judy coachs people how to improve their presentational skills by finding their authentic message and making it funny. Her private clients include TV stars, pro wrestlers, celebs and even a United States senator.
She is the author of The Comedy Bible (Simon & Schuster) as well as, Standup Comedy: The Bible (Dell Books) which was featured on Good Morning America, CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show, where Oprah recommended the book to anyone who wants to lighten up.
Judy’s new book, The Message of You: Turn Your Life Story into a Money-Making Speaking Career (St. Martin’s Press, Feb 2013), teaches readers how to use life stories to inspire others and launch a speaking career.
Wayne Duvall, Student Workshops
Wayne Duvall has been “that guy” for almost 20 years and has worked with many of Hollywood’s top directors and talents. His films include Lincoln, Duplicity, Edge of Darkness, Leatherheads, O’Brother Where Art Thou?, In the Valley of Elah, Pride and Glory, Appollo 13, and many others. Having done nearly 100 guest spots on television he is most remembered for the 4 years he spent on the CBS drama The District as Sgt. Phil Brander. He currently has a recurring role on The Good Wife and will start shooting on the feature film Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal soon. To find out more, visit Wayne’s IMDB
Anita Maynard-Losh, Director, Noises Off
Anita Maynard-Losh is on the Artistic Team at Arena Stage, where she is currently associate directing The Music Man with Molly Smith. Ms. Maynard-Losh trained, acted and taught at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, was on the faculty at Webster University in St. Louis, headed the theatre department at the University of Alaska Southeast, and was guest lecturer, instructor and director for eight other colleges on the west coast.Ms. Maynard-Losh was the associate artistic director of Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, where she conceived and directed a bilingual version of Macbethset in the context of the cultural traditions of southeast Alaska’s indigenous Tlingit people, which went on to win a Shakespeare in America grant to support a state-wide tour of Alaska, and was later remounted in the Rasmussen Theatre at the National Museum of the American Indian as part of the Shakespeare in Washington Festival. The project brought together Tlingit elders, an Alaska Native cast, and Tlingit designers, and received translation assistance from the Sealaska Heritage Foundation. With original masks, dance, music, songs and puppets by Alaska Native specialists, the production was covered by American Theater Magazine, several newspapers and radio stations, including National Public Radio, and referenced in the book The Tree of Meaning: Language, Mind and Ecology by Robert Bringhurst. Ms. Maynard-Losh’s essay on the project, “The Tlingit Play: Macbeth and Native Americanism” was solicited for and included in the book. Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance, published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2010.
Guest Artists 2011 – 2012
Stephen Rosenfield, Comedian
Nationally renowned comedian, writer, coach and Director of the New York City’s American Comedy Institute, Stephen Rosenfield worked with Theatre VCU students to develop two weekends of stand-up comedy in the Hodges Theatre. Rosenfield has produced, written and directed comedy shows at Caroline’s on Broadway, Stand-Up New York, The Comic Strip, Don’t Tell Mama and The Improv as well as directed and co-authored the Obie Award-winning musical comedy review, The Present Tense. His students have appeared on The David Letterman Show, The Conan O’Brien Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Last Comic Standing.
Stephen Fried, Director, Shakespeare’s R & J (Male Cast)
Stephen Fried’s directing credits include Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing at Trinity Shakespeare Festival, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Coriolanus at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Love’s Labour’s Lost at Illinois Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 at Milwaukee Shakespeare, and productions and workshops of new plays by Cori Thomas, Clarence Coo, Sarah Treem, Michael Wrynn Doyle, Amy Herzog, Ken Lin, and David Lefort Nugent. He is the Associate Producing Director of New Worlds Theatre Project, where he will be directing H. Leivick’s 1928 play, Rags, in Spring 2012. Other upcoming projects include The Trojan Women at the New School for Drama and the musical adaptation of Gogol’s The Overcoat which he is developing with composer Josh Schmidt and Austin Pendleton. He is a member of the MFA directing faculty at the New School for Drama, and also teaches classical acting at both the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. He holds a bachelors degree from Stanford University and an MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama.
Guest Artists 2009 – 2010
Steve Perigard, Director, Psycho Beach Party
Steve Perigard is proud of his longtime association with Theatre IV and Barksdale Theatre and served the two companies as Associate Artistic Director for 12 years, directing over 50 productions, including The Clean House, Peter Pan, Intimate Apparel, The Full Monty, Melissa Arctic, Sing Down the Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac, James Joyce’s The Dead and Proof. Steve’s favorite performance credits include The Baker in Into the Woods, John Middleton in The Constant Wife, Ken Talley in Fifth of July, and Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Steve currently teaches for SPARC and will direct Barksdale Theatre’s upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Guest Artists 2007 – 2008
Leland Faulkner, Writer, Director, ShadowPlay
Leland Faulkner combines Japanese art forms, mime, shadow theater, and illusion to produce imaginative performances. He is a trained actor, director, choreographer, magician, licensed pyrotechnician, film-maker, and a creator of effects for theater and television. Leland is a recognized master of the art of shadowgraphy and is recognized as an expert on the history and performance of this antique skill. For seven years he toured a concert that performed to thousands of people around the globe including the International Arts Carnival in Hong Kong, The Calgary International Children’s Festival and an extensive tour of Japan.
Michael Keck, Composer, ShadowPlay
Michael Keck’s music has been featured at The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alliance Theater, Milwaukee Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Portland Center Stage, and many other American theaters, and internationally at The National Theater of Croatia, The Barbican Theatre Center and Bristol Old Vic. Michael is co-author, composer and host of the Holidays For Children video series, and frequently tours his solo performance of Voices in the Rain. He is a member of AEA, AFTRA, ASCAP, PEN and The Dramatists Guild.
Jason Butler Harner, Actor, Theatre VCU Alumnus
Jason Butler Harner graduated from Theatre VCU with a BFA in Acting in 1992. His first play was What I Did Last Summer, directed by Gary Hopper in then named Shafer Street Theatre. He has starred on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s landmark trilogy The Coast of Utopia and in Clint Eastwood’s movie The Changeling, as well as The Taking of Pelham 123 and the HBO miniseries John Adams. A frequent presence in Off-Broadway theatres, he garnered an OBIE Award for his radical reinterpretation of Tesman in New York Theatre Workshop’s acclaimed Hedda Gabler and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his performance in The Paris Letter at the Roundabout Theatre.
After graduating from VCU, he has been fortunate to act in theatres across the country with a broad spectrum of directors and plays, most notably in The Glass Menagerie at The Kennedy Center, opposite Sally Field; at the Mark Taper Forum in The Cherry Orchard, opposite Annette Bening and Alfred Molina.
Kabby Mitchell, III, Choreographer
Kabby Mitchell is a choreographer, educator and performer and has danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Nederlans Dance Theater, Civic Light Opera, Oakland Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Kabby has been a dance instructor for more than 20 years having taught ballet, modern jazz, and Haitian dance at schools and dance academies in Seattle, Iowa, and Mexico. In Seattle, Kabby has worked with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, and Ewajo Dance Workshop. He is currently on faculty at the Evergreen State College in Olympia.
Clay McLeod Chapman, Playwright, Director, Volume of Smoke
Clay McLeod Chapman is the creator of the Pumpkin Pie Show, a rigorous storytelling session backed by its own live soundtrack. In its ten years of existence, the Pumpkin Pie Show has traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the New York International Fringe Festival, the Romanian Theatre Festival of Sibiu, as well as performed at such various venues as colleges, theatres, and theme parks in and around the country.
He is the author of such plays as bar flies (Galapagos Art Space), redbird (The Culture Project), jewish mothers (The Culture Project), No Exitway (New Voices for the Theater), duct-tape to family-time (Yellow House theatre), lee’s miserables (Sycamore Rouge) and volume of smoke (Firehouse Theatre).
Mark Ramont, Director, Cabaret
Mark Ramont is the Associate Producer/Artistic Director for Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. Other professional positions have included associate artistic director for New York’s Circle Repertory Company, Artistic Director for Capitol City Playhouse (Austin, Texas) and Artistic Director for the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York. As a director, he has directed the world premieres of Walking the Dead, Dalton’s Back, The Colorado Catechism (all at Circle Rep) and Mad River Rising (Vermont Stage Company, winner of Moss Hart Award for Outstanding Production, New England), among others. He has won awards for his productions of Jeffrey, Amadeus, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet), Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Mass Appeal and Agnes of God. He has directed for numerous theatre companies, including the Alley Theatre and Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Dorset Theatre Festival (18 seasons), and Cortland Repertory Theatre.
Guest Artists 2006 – 2007
Patrick Graybill, American Sign Language Translator and Interpreter
Patrick Graybill graduated from Gallaudet College with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963 and a master’s degree in education in 1964. He then was a member of the National Theatre of the Deaf from 1969 to 1979. He has consulted with interpreters for interpreted productions at University of Maryland, Arena Stage, and Shakespeare Theater, Washington, D. CPatrick has acted in the Deaf West production of The Gin Game, 1991 and in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater production of Our Town in 1991 and, again, in 1992.
Andre D’Shields, Performance
Andre D’Shields received his BA degree from the University of Wisconson-Madison and a Master of Arts from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he served as an Adjunct Professor. His numerous Broadway credits include the title role in the original 1975 production of The Wiz as well as Ain’t Misbehavin’, the Duke Ellington revue Play On!, The Full Monty, and Prymate. He also conceived, wrote, directed, and starred in Andre DeSheild’s Haarlem Nocturne. He is the winner of many awards including the Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in The Full Monty and an Obie Award in 2007 for Sustained Excellence.
Peter Von Mayrhauser, Production Stage Manager
Peter von Mayrhauaser has most recently worked as the Associate Director and Production Stage Manager for Broadway’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and returned to Phantom of the Opera from the Broadway production of Sweet Smell of Success starring John Lithgow and directed by Nicholas Hytner. Peter worked previously with Mr. Hytner on the landmark production of Carousel at Lincoln Center. Prior to that, he served as Production Stage Manager for many Broadway musicals, such as Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and Tommy Tune’s productions of My One and Only and The Will Rogers Follies. Dramas include the award-winning Children of a Lesser God, directed by Gordon Davidson, and Drinks Before Dinner, directed by Mike Nichols. With his partner, Barbara Darwall, he produced several Off-Broadway shows, including Beirut and The Widow’s Blind Date and general managed the Tony Award-winning production of All My Sons with Richard Kiley.
Philip Adelman, Talent Agent
Philip Adelman has been a talent agent since 1979, co-managing the New York Office of The Gage Group since 1980, where he has represented Oscar, Tony and Emmy winners. He played a part in discovering and helping develop the early careers of Halle Berry, Woody Harrelson, Bill Pullman, Liev Schreiber, Bebe Neuwirth, Adam Sandler, among many others. Current clients include Sutton Foster, Gary Beach, Shirley Knight, Drake Hogestyn and Tovah Feldshuh. In prior varied lives as a director/composer/lyricist/writer, Mr. Adelman directed theater (including Raffi: A Family Concert on Broadway, on national tour, and for The Disney Channel), composed scores for theater and television, developed, and written for sitcoms, and served as writer/head writer for many network game shows, including The $25,000 Pyramid (for which he is most fondly remembered for having written the category “things that are purple.”). Mr. Adelman served as president of The National Association Of Talent Agents from 1994-2005.
Drew Fracher, Director, The Nerd
Drew Fracher is a Fight Master and past President of the Society of American Fight Directors. His work as a Fight Director has been seen at theatres throughout the United States, including Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The George Street Playhouse, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky Shakespeare Festivals. Recent fight credits include Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Henry V at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Othello and Henry V pt. 1, at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, The Three Musketeers at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Othello and Hamlet at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. As a director his work has been seen at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, the New American Theatre, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, the Georgia Shakespeare Festival and the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training.
Heather Davies, Director, Medea
Heather Davies trained at Ryerson University Toronto and Webber Douglas Academy London. Theatre credits as Director include Copenhagen, Neville’s Island (Watermill Newbury); Stratford Talking (RSC); The House of Bernarda Alba, The Rose Tatoo, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Guilford School of Acting); The Witch (RSC Bootcamp – the Swan); Osmond the Great Turk and Edward IV part 2 (Globe Education – Read Not Dead); Parlour Games, Charlie Coote’s Boys and Girl on a Tank (play readings, New Directions series, Watford Palace); So Sing Already (New End Theatre); The Pager Girl (Etcetera); Bring Me Sunshine (Riverside Studios and Assembly Rooms Edinburgh) and numerous educational and corporate workshops.
Guest Artists 2005 – 2006
B.T McNicholl, Director, Shakespeare in Hollywood
BT McNicholl (Lyricist/Co-Author/Director) won the 2002 “Tony” Award in Australia (the Helpmann) for his direction of Barry & Fran Weissler and IMG’s production of Cabaret. Recent credits include acclaimed revivals of Jerome Kern’s Very Good Eddie (Goodspeed Opera House) and a new adaptation of The Cherry Orchard (Best Production, Dorset Theatre Festival). On Broadway, he has directed for the Roundabout Theatre Company; internationally, he staged Disney & Kenneth Feld’s musical version of Winnie the Pooh, currently on tour. He has also been associated with James Lapine, Jerry Zaks, Rob Marshall and Sam Mendes on a number of Broadway plays and musicals. Winner of a BMI Award and a Drama League grant, McNicholl has directed new works at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and popular productions of She Loves Me and Noel Coward’s Fallen Angels, among others. Working with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, he directed Kristin Chenoweth in their musical Billion Dollar Baby at the York Theatre Company, and also produced the show’s critically acclaimed cast album. He staged the World Premiere of the new musical Camila at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and was the associate director for the Broadway production of The Civil War.
Casey Biggs, Director, The Three Sisters
An Award winning director, Casey Biggs has directed productions of Hamlet for the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles, Richard The III as well as Macbeth for Circus Theatricals, Hedda Gabler, Therese Raquine for Pacific Resident Theater. In New York he directed Standup Shakespeare starring Alfred Molina and F. Murray Abraham, Stacy Keach in The Evening of Macbeth, and Lynne Redgrave in The Rest is Silence. He graduated from The Juilliard school and was a member of the Arena Stage company in Washington DC for ten seasons where he played Bill Cracker in Happy End which was filmed for PBS Great Performances, Petruchio In Taming of the Shrew, Jack Burden in All the Kings Men, Oberon in the premier of Shakespeare in Hollywood, Odysseus in the American premier of Derek Wolcott’s The Odyssey, George Bailey in the premier of the musical version of It’s a Wonderful Life. In New York he did the New York premier of Tina Howe’s Prides Crossing, No Strings at City Center Encores, Eric Overmyer’s Dark Rapture, The premier of The Good German at Westport Playhouse, Exception and the Rule directed by Jerome Robbins and The Cradle will Rock both in New York and London directed by John Houseman. On film has appeared in Dragonfly, Auggie Rose, Broken Arrow, The Pelican Brief, The Shadow Conspiracy, and The Price of Freedom. On Television he starred in four seasons of “Star Trek Deep Space Nine”, “Snoops”, “STAT”, “Legacy”, “Ali”, “Appearances”, Thirst, Enterprise, The X files, E.R., CSI Miami and numerous guest star appearances.
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Playwright & Actor
Kwame Kwei Armah first became a nationally recognized star as paramedic Finlay Newton in BBC’s hit TV show “Casualty” which aired from 1999 through 2004. In 2003, Kwame received the Screen National Film and Television Award for Favorite TV Actor. He has been a long time featured actor and celebrity for numerous shows for the BBC.
As a playwright, Elmina’s Kitchen originally premiered at the National Theatre of London, was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play of 2003. The play went on to tour nationally before playing on the West End of London with Kwame playing the leading role. His second play Fix-Up was also staged at the National Theatre.
Other plays of Kwame’s including Hold On, A Bitter Herb, Blues Brother Soul Sisters I/II and Big Nose (an adaptation of Cyrano) have been produced at The Old Vic Theatre London, Theatre Royal Bristol Old Vic, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Baltimore’s Center Stage and heard on the BBC3 and Radio 3. Other playwriting awards include the Evening Standards Most Promising Playwright Award of 2003, an EMMA nomination for Best play of 2004, a Screen Nation Award for Best Screenplay of 2004 and a BAFTA nomination for Best New Writer for Television in 2005. He recently received the 2005 Clarion Award for Best Drama.
Kwame has served as a writer in residence at the Bristol Old Vic London, a Governor of the University of the Arts London, a Board member of the National Theatre Development Council and a Goodwill Ambassador for Trade, and an Ambassador for London’s 2012 bid for the Olympics. He was educated at the University of the Arts London, Harrow College of Further Education and Barbara Speake’s Stage School.
Drayton Foltz, Production Director
Drayton Foltz arrived at Center Stage as Director of Production after serving as Production Manager for San Jose Repertory Theatre in San Jose, California; Court Theatre in Chicago, Illinois; and Pittsburgh Public Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So far in his production management career, Drayton has orchestrated co-productions with regional theaters around the United States as well as the Abbey Theatre in Ireland, participated in main stage season selections, served a a Commissioner for the United States Institute for Theater Technology, overseen all production-related budgets and timelines, been an active participant in the Production Managers’ Forum, and worked extensively with theatrical unions
Chip Bolcik, Voice Over Artist
Chip Bolcik has made his living as an actor for 25 years. His voice has been heard steadily on the air for Bounty paper towels, Pizza Hut, Pet Fresh carpet cleaner, Sticklets Gum, Wendys, McDonalds, Burger King, Marie Callendars, Denny’s, Weight Watchers, E! television, The Letterman show, NBC, Discovery Channel, Discovery Health Channel, University of Maryland, Pepco, Southern California Edison, Trojans condoms, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Club Med, The Bahamas, Macy’s, Robinson’s May, Kohls, The Gap, Duron paints, Benjamin Moore paints, A&P, Shoprite, HEB grocery stores, Kmart, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, The Washington Post, The Newark Star Ledger, The New York Times, Time Magazine, People Magazine, Disney World, Disneyland, The Disney Store, Warner Brothers, Folgers coffee, Entenmenns, Dunkin’ Donuts, Alka Seltzer, Anacin, Bayer, Pepto-Bismol, Del Taco, Fisher Price, Proctor & Gamble, Home Depot, AmTrak, Ben & Jerry’s, Apple Computer, Dell computer, IBM, and Waffle House.
Chip also narrates programs for E!, National Geographic, The Discovery Channel and half a dozen other outlets. His voice is also heard in movies.
Jeremy Conway, Production Designer, Theatre VCU Alumnus
Jeremy Conway, the Sex and the City Production Designer, has a distinguished history of designing sets for stage and screen. Among his credits are the feature films Chill Factor, Up Close and Personal, Sabrina, and Jacob’s Ladder. He won an Emmy® for his production design on the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Australia and an ACE Award for Outstanding Art Direction on “The Original Max Headroom” Show. He has also received numerous other Emmy® nominations, including recognition for his work on “Sex and the City”, “Late Night with David Letterman” and “USA Today: The Television Show”.
Guest Artists 2004 – 2005
Casey Biggs, Acting
See the 2005-2006 biography
Bob Croghan, Maskmaking
Bob Croghan has been designing masks professionally for over thirty years for theatre, dance, and opera. His masks have been featured at the Alliance Theatre, Syracuse Opera, Mill Mountain Theatre, Manhattan Marymount, and in over thirty ballet companies nationally. His innovative ballet masks for The Nutcracker are considered state-of-the-art. He has been teaching master classes in maskmaking for over two decades. International venues include Central School of Speech and Drama (London), Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and Escuela de Taller (Puerto Rico.) University master classes include Ohio University, University of Florida, Clemson, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee, and Winthrop University. He is dedicated to teaching non-toxic mask making media.
Ron Nakahara, Director, Metamorphoses
Ron Nakahara was born and educated in Honolulu, Hawaii. While at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, he studied with New York actor Glenn Canon and Royal Shakespeare actor Terry Knapp as well as Japanese Kabuki and Kyogen masters, notably Nomura Mansaku, a National Treasure of Japan. Vocally, he worked with acclaimed voice teacher and author Kristin Linklater and subsequently performed with her in Atlanta in the Paul Winfield-Richard Dreyfuss production of Othello.
Ron has been an actor/director in New York City since 1979 and was designated a Senior Artist with that city’s Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in 1987. He was then named Artistic Associate and continues in that position today in addition to acting and directing as needed. He has worked at various NYC theatres including The Second Stage Theatre, NYSF/Public Theatre, LaMama, ETC, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. He has also directed one-woman shows at Don’t Tell Mama and The Duplex, and worked extensively with and directed the Asian-American performance group SLANT at LaMama. Television and video work includes featured roles in “Whoopi”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order, Special Victim’s Unit”, “The Cosby Mysteries”, “One Life to Live”, “As the World Turns”, and several episodes of “Hawaii 5-O.”
Guest Artists 2003-2004
Shozo Sato, Director, Kabuki MacBeth
Shozo Sato has received national and international recognition for creating a new form of Kabuki in which the plots of well-known Western classics have been adapted to introduce a new genre in the conventions of Kabuki. He has conceived, designed, and directed award-winning productions of Kabuki MacBeth (1978) followed by Kabuki Medea (1983); Kabuki Faust (1986); Kabuki Othello (1988); Achilles: A Kabuki Play (1991); and Iago’s Plot (1996). These works have captivated and thrilled audiences throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Japan, and the United States.
Sato was awarded a Professor Emeritus, an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, and a D.F.A. from the University of Illinois and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Towson University. He won the Critic’s Choice Award for “Best Director” at the Cairo International Experimental Theatre Festival as well as winning numerous honors and awards for his directing, including Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson, San Francisco’s Bay Area Theatre Critic’s Circle, Hollywood Drama Guild, South Africa’s Vita, and Baltimore Sun Awards for directing and design. The Japanese Minister of foreign Affairs awarded Sato the Certificate of Commendation for his promotion of Japanese culture throughout the world.
In addition to his work in Theatre, Sato is also a master of the highest order of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Ikebana (flower arrangement) and Sumi-E (Oriental brush painting). He has published extensively on these subjects.
Shozo Sato retired from teaching in 1992 and moved to Northern California where he established a Center for Japanese Art. He continues to freelance as a director and a Visiting Professor in Theatre.
Michelle Shay, Director, Breath, Boom
Michele Shay is an award-winning actress, director and producer. As an actress Michele is best known for her Tony nominated performance in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars for which she received Outer Critics Circle and NAACP awards. On Broadway, she originated the role of Woman #2 in Samm Art Williams’ Home with the Negro Ensemble Company, and was seen in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls. Off-Broadway includes: Titania opposite William Hurt in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Lisa Loomer’s The Waiting Room; Split Second, Coriolanus with Morgan Freeman and Gloria Foster; Mustapha Matura’s Playboy of the West Indies; and her Obie Award-winning performance in Matura’s Meetings with Carl Lumbly. Her directing credits include: The Woman With Orange Hands at Actors Theater of Louisville; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at Cal Arts; Blues for an Alabama Sky and Seven Guitars at North Carolina School of the Arts; Alice Childress’ Wedding Band at the University of Michigan; and A Celebration of the Human Spirit through the Arts with Gregory Hines and Phylicia Rashad at Essex County College in New Jersey.
A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University, she has worked extensively as an actress in film, television, on and off-Broadway and in regional theaters including the Guthrie, Lincoln Center, Denver, ACT in San Francisco, the New York Shakespeare festival and the internationally acclaimed Negro Ensemble Company (NEC).
E. Frank Bluestein, Theatre Education
E. Frank Bluestein is the 1996-1997 Disney and McDonald’s National Performing Arts Teacher of the Year and the 1994 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. In October of 1998, USA Today named Mr. Bluestein as one of the top 40 teachers in the United States. At Germantown High School in Germantown, TN, Mr. Bluestein serves as the chairman of the school’s Fine Arts Department, founder and director of the school’s theatre, the Poplar Pike Playhouse, and executive producer for the school’s educational television facility. Under his leadership, the studios of GHS-TV have received over 50 first place Hometown Video USA Awards, and the Germantown High School Fine Arts Department was one of eight secondary schools in the nation to receive the prestigious Rockefeller Brothers Fund Arts in Education Award.
Avner Eisenberg, Physical Comedy
Avner Eisenberg is an internationally recognized “New Vaudevillian” who combines clowning, magic, mime, physical comedy, gymnastics, and the art of failure into a unique evening of clowning. He is best known for his endearing portrayal of The Jewel in The Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. He has also been featured in the film Brenda Starr and on television shows “Webster” and “Mathnet”. Avner’s Broadway performances include his one-man show, Avner the Eccentric; Ghetto; and Exceptions to Gravity. Avner won the New Faces of 1991 Award at The Edinburgh Festival, the grand prize and the public award at the St. Gervais International Humor Festival, and many other comedy awards. In 2002, he was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame. Avner earned a BA in theatre from the University of Washington, attended Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and taught at Carlo Clementi’s Dell’Arte School of Physical Comedy in California.
Lynn M. Thomson, Dramaturgy
Lynn M. Thomson is a dramaturg, teacher, and director. She received an M.F.A. in Directing from Temple University and a Ph.D. from New York University. Between 1997-2001, she was Head of the MFA Concentration in Dramaturgy in the Department of Theater, Brooklyn College, where she refashioned and expanded the curriculum. She added new courses in dramaturgy to foster collaborations between directors, playwrights, and dramaturgs while exploring revivals and new play development. In addition, she developed methods for teaching collaboration; she designed and implemented the Brooklyn College Theater Education Initiative, a multilayered project for training teaching artists. She has also taught and/or been a guest artist at New York University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Evansville, among others.
Guest Artists 2002-2003
Scott Ellis, Director
Scott Ellis has directed 1776 (Drama Desk, Outer Circle and Tony Award nominations – Best Director, Best Revival); Steel Pier (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Tony nomination – Best Director, Best Musical); Company (Tony Award nominations – Best Revival); She Loves Me (Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, tony Award nominations – Best Director, Best Musical. Most recently: A Little Night Music with Jeremy Irons and Juliet Stevenson (L.A. Opera) and with Victor Garber, Judith Ivey and Zoe Caldwell (NYC Opera); Terrence McNally’s Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams (WTF). Broadway: The Boys From Syracuse, Arthur Miller’s The Man Who Had All the Luck with Chris O’Donnell, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Rainmaker with Woody Harrelson and Jayne Atkinson.
Kathleen Raitt, Producer
On Broadway Kathleen Raitt has been Associate producer of Bully starring James Whitmore; Legs Diamond starring Peter Allen; Grand Hotel, The Musical (winner of five Tony Awards); the musical version of The Sarlet Pimpernel and the Frank Wildhorn epic event musical, The Civil War. She has been nominated for two Tony Awards and one Drama Desk. A former dancer Ms Raitt is currently Vice Prsident of Corporate Relations with the international chain of entertainment venues, Nederlander Organization, Inc.
Arthur Lessac, Voice Coach
Arthur Lessac is among the most highly regarded teachers of voice, speech, singing and movement in the training world. Among the three generations of actors, singers, and dancers touched by his teaching are Martin Sheen, Beatrice Straight, George Grizzard, Faye Dunaway, Irene Daily, Carol Haney, Chris Lloyd, Michael Douglas, Frank Langella, Michael OKeefe, Peter Scolari, Morris Charnovsky, Linda Hunt, Nina Foch, and Cathrine Malfitano. His two books, The Use and Training of the Human Voice: A Bio Dynamic Approach to Vocal Life and Body Wisdom: The Use and Training of the Human Body, have become required reading for countless students and remain a lasting contribution to the field of acting and performing.
Eduardo Sicango, Set Designer
Wendall Harrington, Projection Designer
Wendall Harrington has been lighting designer for: Putting It Together, The Civil War, Ragtime, Into the Woods (revival), Steel Pier, Company (revival), Having Our Say, Beauty and the Beast, The Who’s Tommy, The Will Rogers Follies as well as many more Broadway productions, as well as faculty member of Broadway Lighting and Sound Master Classes.
Tracy Davis, Feminist Theatre Historian
Tracy C. Davis (Ph.D. University of Warwick) holds a joint appointment in the Departments of English, Theatre, and Performance Studies, and is Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern. She is the author of Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in Victorian Culture (1991), George Bernard Shaw and the Socialist Theatre (1994), The Economics of the British Stage, 1800-1914 (2000), and co-editor of Playwriting and Nineteenth-Century British Women (1999) and Theories of Theatricality (2002). She is General Editor of the Theatre and Performance Theory series for Cambridge University Press.
David Clemmons, Casting Director
Clemmons Casting is credited with casting: The Boy From Oz, The Civil War. National Tours include: Cinderella, The Civil War, Cats, Swing!, Fosse, Jekyll & Hyde, Chicago, Starlight Express. Off-Broadway: Bat Boy, Love, Janis, The Prince & The Pauper, Zanna Don’t!, The Donkey Show, They Wrote That?, and the 2000 revival of Godspell at the York Theatre.
Guest Artists 2001-2002
Phil Adelman, Talent Agent
Phil Adelman is owner of The Gage Group Talent Agency with offices in new York and Las Angeles. President of National Association of Talent Representatives – New York.
Bill Roudebush, Director
William Roudebush has been directing for over thirty years at such theatres as: Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Cleveland Play House, Syracuse Stage Company, Theatre Virginia, The GeVa Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Mum Puppettheatre , The Miami and Palm Beach Opera Guild and many other’s. In New York he was Artistic Director for the Ten More by Noonan series at the John Houseman Theatre as well as directing for Ensemble Studio Theatre, The American Folk Theatre, The Mint Theatre Company, The Actors Outlet, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, The Sammuel Beckett Theatre and the Village Gate where he researched his musical Village Gate Follies. Bill is also an educator having taught at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, The University of Memphis, The University of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University along with being Theatre School Director for the Walnut Street Theatre for four years.
Andrew Sabiston, Musical theatre librettist
Andrew Sabiston is a Canadian actor and librettist whose production of Napoleon the Musical opened in 1999 on London’s West End. As an actor, he starred as Tom Edison on the Nevana educational series “The Edison Twins”. His animation voice-over work includes two series adapted from Nintendo games: Yoshi in Captain N and Super Mario World and Diddy Kong in the Donkey Kong Country series. He was also the voice of Polkaroo in Polka Dot Shorts, the Cat in Little Bear, as well as Tenderheart Bear in two Care Bares movies. CGI animated films include Journey to Joke-a-lot and Big Wish Movie. He was also a voice actor for the television series “What It’s Like Being Alone”.
Tim Williams, Musical Theatre Composer
Tim Williams‘ work in the field of music has spanned over 20 years in the areas of compostition, arrangement, orchestration and conducting for theatre, TV, and film. Recent credits include conducting and orchestrating the feature films The Day the Earth Stood Still, 300, Halloween, and Watchman. He recently composed music for the films The Brazen Bull, Beyond All Boundries, The Passage, A Dog’s Breakfast, and Gotham Cafe. He authored and wrote music for Napoleon the Musica, which opened in London’s West End in 1999.
Francesca Zambello, Opera Director
Francesca Zambello, a philosophy graduate, divides her career between theater and opera. Her staging credits include: La Khovantchina at the English National Opera (Lawrence Olivier Award), Tannhauser and The Master Singers at the Royal Opera of Denmark, the world production of Philip Glass’ Orpheus at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitam Opera, Benvenuto Cellini at the Grand Theatre de Geneve, Billy Budd at the Covent Garden (Lawrence Olivier Award), the Grand Theatre de Geneve and the Opera National de Paris (Grand Prix de la Critique), among many others. She was artistic director of Skylight Music Theater for many years. Among her future production projects are Peter Grimes at the Nederlandse Opera and La Dame de Pique at the Covent Garden.
Guest Artists 2000-2001
Mary McDonnell, Actor
Renowned stage and screen actress Mary McDonnell graced East Coast stages for two decades before getting her major screen breakthrough in Dances with Wolves (1990). After a few seasons in regional repertory, she established herself on Broadway with such successful 1980s plays as The Heidi Chronicles. She made her film debut in 1984’s Garbo Talks; three years later, she was showered with critical adulation for her portrayal of mining town landlady Elma Radnor in director John Sayle’s Matewan. Further adulation and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination followed for McDonnell’s portrayal of Stands with a Fist, a white woman raised by the Lakota Sioux, in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990). One year later, she starred in the PBS “American Playhouse” dramatization of Willa Cather’s “O Pioneers!”, and also did starring work as the wife of an immigration attorney (Kevin Kline) in Lawrence Kasdan’s acclaimed Grand Canyon. Her film career has continued with roles in films big and small, ranging from Sayles’ excellent Passion Fish (1992) to the 1996 blockbuster Mumford (1999), which cast McDonnell as a dissatisfied housewife with a mail order catalog obsession.
Randy Mell, Actor
Randy Mell received his training at The Juilliard School in New York City and has spent over 25 years as a professional actor, teacher and speech consultant. He has performed leading roles on Broadway, off-Broadway and in major theatres throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. His film and television appearances include Cookie’s Fortune, Grand Canyon, Wyatt Earp, “Law and Order”, “Nash Bridges”, as well as many TV. movies and mini-series. He has been a visiting artist and teacher at Vassar College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Northwestern University and The University of Texas. Since 1997 he has worked as a speech consultant for a variety of national and international firms including Bear Stearns, Disney Online, Warner Brothers, NASA, Alcatel, and Orly International.