The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute is thrilled to announce that senior acting teacher Lola Cohen has been awarded a U.S. Fulbright Specialist designation and has been selected to teach a Method Acting Master Class at The Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (RSIPA) in St. Petersburg, August, 2017. Established in 1779, RSIPA is the oldest state theater academic institution in Russia.
Lola studied with Lee Strasberg for the last five years of his life and has taught Method Acting at LSTFI for 31 years and internationally. She is the Editor of The Lee Strasberg Notes (Routledge, 2010) and authored The Method Acting Exercises Handbook (Routledge 2016).
Lee Strasberg is highly regarded in Russia having been a keynote speaker at the Stanislavski Centennial Celebration in Moscow,1963. The purpose of the Master Class is to bring ‘Strasberg back to Russia’ and create a cross / cultural theatrical bond between US and Russian actors revealing how Stanislavski’s “System” has further evolved through Lee Strasberg’s work.
Larry Alton (Screenwriting, Television Series Writing, Playwriting) began his working life as a book editor and ad copywriter. In the ‘70’s he moved to Los Angeles where he apprenticed in film production. After six years of learning to write screenplays, he co-developed the first HBO film production, a 1983 adaptation of a novel by Simone de Beauvoir. He also acted in amateur theater and began to write stage works. He taught screenwriting at the University of Missouri, then moved to New York City in the early ‘90’s where he now writes, edits, and conducts a private workshop. Alton has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Missouri and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society. In 1998, he was invited to develop the Dramatic Writing workshop at LSTFI, where he continues to teach.
Bill Balzac (Method Acting, Character Work, Improvisation) has been an actor, director, producer, and teacher for over 25 years. He teaches at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and NYU Tisch Program at the Strasberg Institute. After being inspired by the teachings of Lee Strasberg, Bill co-founded the Hyperion Theatre Group, Soul Productions, and the Hyperion Children’s Theatre. He then formed and directed the Mixed Nuts Improv Company, which performed throughout NYC. Bill has been a member of the Brooklyn Shakespeare Company under the artistic direction of Geoffrey Owens and appeared as Gately in the New York debut of the two-act version of James McLure’s Pvt. Wars, Directed by Gene Frankel. His directing credits include Israel Horovitz’s The Indian Wants the Bronx in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the New York premiere of Israel Horovitz’s Sins of the Mother, SubUrbia by Eric Bogosian, and LaRonde, The Laramie Project, Dancing at Lughnasa, Rumors, The Norman Conquests and Into the Woods all for NYU/Strasberg. He also recently co-directed Crimes of the Heart and Sunday on the Rocks with Geoffrey Horne. Bill graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with honors and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.
Bruce Baumer (Singing, Vocal Production) is a professional opera singer who has sung as a principal artist with over 20 American opera companies, including the New York City Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington Opera at The Kennedy Center, Santa Fe Opera, among many others. He has performed over 40 roles. He began his musical studies as a student of piano at the College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 10. He received his undergraduate degree in German Studies as well as a Master’s Degree in Finance. Upon completion of his business degree, Mr. Baumer decided to pursue a career in Opera. He is a graduate of Yale University with an Artist’s Diploma in Opera Performance. Bruce has also accompanied numerous singers and instrumentalists in recital. He has taught extensively privately, as well as on the faculty of The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and The New School in New York City. Bruce has taught numerous master classes at various universities throughout the United States. Most recently, Bruce served as musical director for Multistages Temple of the Souls for the prestigious NYMF festival in New York City he has also been the musical director for many professional projects throughout the New York City area, including New York Fringe Festival’s By Hands Unknown. Mr. Baumer has served as musical director for several productions at the Strasberg Institute, including Kiss Me Kate and Into the Woods. He is on the Board of MultiStages Theatre Company as well as the Applied Theatre Collective, both in New York City.
Teva Bjerken (Movement) teaches the Alexander Technique to performers, bringing her career in dance to the art of performance. She trained and was certified by the American Center of Alexander Technique in 1995 before teaching at The Actor’s Studio MFA Program for ten years. She has been faculty at the New School for Drama MFA program since 2005. Recently Teva joined the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute teaching Movement for Actors informed by principles of the Alexander Technique. As a performer Teva worked with dance-theater artists from Spain, Israel, Germany and the US collaborating in the development of pieces premiered at Jacob’s Pillow, American Dance Festival, Los Angeles Opera, La Mama, The Kitchen, PS122, and DTW- Live Arts. She co-developed two “Freedom to Act: Acting and the Alexander Technique” conferences which took place in NYC in January of 2012 and 2013. The conference is designed for actors, theater and film professionals, as well as teachers. Teva has regularly presented workshops at the annual conference. Currently, she is working towards earning a Laban Movement Analyst certification here in NYC. Over the years she has received nominations for Distinguished University Teaching Award at The New School.
Mauricio Bustamante (Method Acting, Building a Character) has acted professionally in the United States since 1967 and has toured nationally in a variety of starring roles that have given him coast to coast critical acclaim. He recently appeared in Ira Sach’s film Little Men, which obtained international critical acclaim and 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Other films in which Mr. Bustamante plays a variety of principal roles are currently successfully making the rounds in international film festivals, including Cannes. He also directed and appeared at the Edinburg Theater Festival as Madame in Jean Genet’s The Maids as well as the cabaret circuit in NYC under the artistic direction of cabaret luminary, KT Sullivan. He began his acting career in his native Mexico City at the age of twelve, working on live television with the greats of the Spanish speaking world. His studies began with Lee Strasberg in 1975, and has been a part of the acting faculty since 1994, which has included teaching children since 2005. He has also studied with Shelley Winters, Kim Stanley, John Stiks, Geoffrey Horne and Irma Sandrey, under whose artistic guidance he has worked since 1978.With Irma Sandrey, he created IS/MB Productions, which has produced several theatrical productions and short films in NYC. In NYC, he has appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Repertorio Espanol, Teatro Latea, and Multi Stages. Regionally, he has starred in productions at the Houston Grand Opera, The Allyance Theater in Atlanta, Casa Manana Musicals in Ft. Worth, Texas and National Tours. Mauricio is a ten year member of MENSA International, an international high IQ Society.
Nick Cianfrogna (Speech) is a New York-based actor and teaching artist in speech and voice. He is graduate of NYU/Tisch and CAP21 with a BFA in Drama as well as the Kristin Linklater Voice Center in Orkney, Scotland where he became designated as a Linklater Teacher. He teaches in the MFA program at Columbia University and in the BFA programs at The New School, CAP21/Molloy College, and the Lee Strasberg Institute at NYU. At CAP21 he was also the director of the Creative Ensemble Project that specialized in Voice, Movement, and Text. Nick’s talents specialize in dialect work, most notable with Emmy Award winner Ann Dowd for HBO’s The Leftovers, and with Jimmy Biberi for his role in the feature film Ocean’s 8. He was the dialect coach for the University of Delaware’s REP production of Our Country’s Good, NYU’s Safety Net (dir. Young Jean Lee), and numerous Off-Broadway productions. He assisted Susan Cameron with her book Perfecting Your English Pronunciation, published by McGraw-Hill, and recently recorded voice over for the 2nd edition. Nick also teaches accent reduction to students from around the world. As an actor, Nick has worked in television, online media, film, and stage. He can be seen in the short film The Professor, starring Betsy Brandt of Breaking Bad. He also starred in the web series Handsome Town and guest starred in Chaos Theory, both airing online at phoebetv.com. Nick is also is the creator and host of the YouTube cooking show Fantasy Food Show.
Lola Cohen (Method Acting, Building a Character) trained with Lee Strasberg during the last 5 years of his life and has taught Method Acting for 31 years at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in NY and LA and in private classes. Lola is an NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Strasberg Faculty member. After Lee’s death, Lola continued her training with Method actress/teacher Kim Stanley and the acclaimed director Jose Quintero. She has trained and directed multitudes of actors in scenes and plays during her career in the theater. As a member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review, Lola made her film debut in, Renaldo and Clara in 1975 and in 2009 played Judge Kaplan in Rik Cordero’s Inside a Change, which won best film at HBO’s Latino International Film Festival in 2010. Lola’s directorial credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Woodstock Youth Theater; Jean Genet’s The Maids at the Strasberg Institute and Lewis John Carlino’s Snow Angel while at the 2009 Artist-in-Residence at SUNY-Ulster. Lola is also an Associate Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School where for the last fifteen years she has taught her class “Intensive Communication Skills for Attorneys”. Lola’s first book, The Lee Strasberg Notes (Routledge, 2010) was done in close cooperation with the Strasberg family and is in multiple printings. Lola’s second book, The Method Acting Exercises Handbook, was published by Routledge in 2017. Lola has lectured at Pratt Institute, The National Film School of Denmark, The Stanislavski Museum/Moscow and has taught Master Classes at The American University in Washington, D.C. from where she was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. Lola was awarded with a Fulbright Specialist Scholar designation, 2017-2020. She has conducted additional Master Classes internationally in Milan, IT; Lisbon, PO; Copenhagen, DK; Moscow, RU and at the Chekhov International School, Melikhovo, RU where she serves on the faculty.
Susan Grace Cohen (Method Acting) is a graduate of the Juilliard School. Formerly a professor at NYU/Tisch Film & TV Department, Ms. Cohen has been a faculty member at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for over 15 years. In October, 2008, Ms. Cohen was honored to represent the United States in the work of Lee Strasberg, at the international Methodic Theatrical Festival in Tuscany. Guest master acting teachers and directors were represented from throughout the world. Ms. Cohen’s former students include James Gandolfini (Sopranos), Linda Hamilton (Terminators 1 & 2,) Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Arc), James Spader (Sex, Lies and Videotape, Boston Legal), Melora Walters (Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Big Love (HBO), Mel Harris (Thirtysomething), Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy) Heather Juergensen (Kissing Jessica Stein), and most recently, Sarah Burns, (I Love You, Man). She is author of Bridging the Gap, Student to Professional Actor, and is a contributing essayist to Soul of the American Actor. Recently, Ms. Cohen received the James L. Hearst Guest Lecturer Award in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Northern Iowa. A newly published book entitled: Acting Teachers of America interviews Ms. Cohen about her studies with and teaching for Lee Strasberg. Susan teaches Method Acting at LSTFI.
Dianna Cortez (Vocal Production) is a New York City based actor, singer, director and voice/dialect coach. Some prominent clients include: Ed Harris in Buried Child and Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Zoey Kazan, and Jonathan Marc Sherman in Clive, directed by Ethan Hawke at The New Group Theatre. She also worked with Sam Rockwell in the Broadway premiere of A Behanding in Spokane, and “Sex and the City” star, Kim Cattrall in the title role of Antony and Cleopatra directed by Janet Suzman at the Liverpool Playhouse in Liverpool, England. She’s coached professional productions On and Off Broadway through the Schoenfeld Theatre, The Beckett Theatre, Luna Stage (in NJ) and Shakespeare On The Sound (in CT). She’s taught Master classes through The Hagen Institute/HB Studio, The Actor’s Studio, LAByrinth Theatre, The New Actor’s Workshop, and Eastern Washington University. She has also taught in the M.F.A Program at The Boston Conservatory, the B.F.A program at Montclair State University. She currently teaches at The Linklater Center for Voice and Language, B.A. Film/Commercial/TV/Voice Over program at PACE University, B.F.A Syracuse University/Tepper Semester, and Circle in the Square Drama School. She is also member of Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA). Dianna is certified in Louis Colaianni Speechwork/Phonetic Pillows, and is a Designated Linklater Teacher.
Tim Martin Crouse (Method Acting, Audition, Acting for Film & TV) has taught in the Young Actors at Strasberg program since 1989 where he has directed over forty productions with the students. As an actor, he has performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and All’s Well That Ends Well at The Riverside Shakespeare Company as well as an off-Broadway production of David Mamet’s The Woods. Tim has recently appeared on the Amazon series pilot The Point. He had the lead in the Nickelodeon series Kid’s Court and the recurring role of Barry on The Guiding Light. He produced many programs for MTV and spent five years as head writer at MTV2. Tim directed the short film Mousetrap which aired in WNYC and co-directed the short film Tumors for HBO. He also wrote, produced and directed the independent feature film The Orchard which won an award for Best Suspense Feature at the 2008 NY Independent Film & Video Festival. He also wrote, produced & directed the upcoming documentary Talking with the Piano Player. Tim’s second feature film titled Redemption on which he is a writer, director and producer premiered as the closing film of the 2014 Coney Island Film Festival. And the New York City Indie Film Festival in the same year.
Jan Eric Douglas (Singing, Musical Theatre) has taught Singing and Musical Theater classes at The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute since 1988. He has also held positions on the faculties of Teachers College of Columbia University, New York University, Hunter College and currently, Long Island University. Courses taught at the college and university level include vocal pedagogy and repertoire as well as individual voice instruction. He earned the degree Doctor of Music from Florida State University. Jan maintains a private studio in New York City. His students have appeared on Broadway, at the Metropolitan Opera and in opera and musical theater productions throughout America. He is a former president of both the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and The New York Singing Teachers’ Association. In 1999 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Teachers of Singing and served for 6 years as its Chair. Performance credits include recital, opera and oratorio. He has had articles published in The Journal of Singing and has presented at NATS national convention and workshops.
Robert Ellermann (Method Acting, Working with the Director) was influenced by Lee Strasberg, Robert Lewis, Kim Stanley, Frank Corsaro and David Garfield. In addition, he studied directing with Jack O’Brien, Michael Kahn and Gerald Freedman. Robert worked with the teachers certified by Michael Chekhov to teach Chekhov’s work: Deidre Hurst du Prey, Felicity Mason and Beatrice Straight. In 1983, he was invited by Robert Lewis to serve as co-director of the Robert Lewis Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles. In 1986, Robert, along with a dozen other theatre artists, formed the Cactus Theatre Company based on the principles of the Group Theatre and the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre. In 1988, Cactus was invited to the International Stanislavsky Conference in Paris and in 1990 Robert was invited by the Moscow Art Theatre to observe classes and rehearsals in the leading Russian theatres and schools. Robert has taught private classes in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson and Houston. He is currently at work on a book about the relationship between Lee Strasberg and Konstantin Stanislavsky. With the Cactus Theatre, Robert directed the plays of Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, David Rabe and Horton Foote, among others. Robert teaches Method Acting, Stanislavsky to Strasberg, Great Method Acting in Film, Strasberg & Scene Analysis.
Jeffrey Ferguson (Dance, Musical Theatre) has taught dance at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute since September 1989. He teaches Dance Technique, Intermediate & Advanced Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre and Stretch. Jeffrey’s classes are very emotional, mental, physical and technical. It requires total involvement of the body and mind, a thinking-feeling mix, the marriage of the physical and the spiritual. There is always a celebration of life that encompasses every movement, therefore movement always has purpose and intention, focus and direction. As a dancer, Jeffrey has performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, ALvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center Workshop Company, Pearl Primus and Dancers, a ludwig co, Contempo Jazz Tanz, and Joffrey Ballet Company with Agnes De Mille – with the latter, a PBS special called Conversations About The Dance. As an actor, singer and dancer, Jeffrey has appeared in many theatrical productions such as Show Boat at PaperMill Playhouse (was on PBS Great Performance) Pippin, My One and Only, Five Guys Named Moe, The Tempest, Mother Courage with Eileen Heckart at McCarter Theatre, Pippin at Bay Street Theatre, Kiss Me Kate, and ShowBoat on Broadway and in the Chicago production at the Auditorium Theatre. He has also performed in many business theatre shows, commercials as well as television appearances. Jeffrey has taught, performed, directed and choreographed throughout the U.S. and Japan, as well as France, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala and Trinidad. He does workshops, private coaching and choreography in and outside New York CIty.
Lindsey Ferrentino (Playwriting) is a playwright originally from the sunny state of Florida, where many of her plays are set. Her critically acclaimed play Ugly Lies the Bone was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and played a sold-out, extended off-Broadway run at Roundabout Theater Company, has upcoming productions across the country, and was produced at The National Theatre in the U.K. Charles Isherwood in the NY Times called Lindsey a “brave playwright of dauntless conviction whose unflinching portraits are hard to come by outside of journalism.” This season her play Amy and the Orphans will be produced by Roundabout Theatre Company and her play ThIs Flat Earth will be produced by Playwrights Horizons. She is currently under commissions for new plays from Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout, The Geffen, and South Coast Rep. She is the recipient of the Kesserling Prize, the Laurents Hatcher Citation of Excellence, the Cole Porter Playwriting Prize, Paul Newman Drama Award, Holland New Voices Playwriting Prize and a Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist. BFA: NYU MFA: Hunter College and Yale School of Drama.
Matthew A.J. Gregory (Theatre History, Scene Study, Commedia dell’Arte) has a worked as a director, actor and costume designer on and off Broadway and in venues across the country. He has directed productions for The Culture Project, the Cell, the Secret Theatre, Saratoga Second Stage, Fordham University, and NYU. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Saratoga Shakespeare Company and Off-Broadway at the Mint Theater. His designs have been seen at the Juilliard School, the Theatre for the New City and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Matthew has also worked as a costume artisan on various films including X-Men, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Charlie’s Angels. As an educator, Matthew has taught at Adelphi University, SUNY Albany, Siena College and CUNY Kingsborough and NYU Gallatin. Currently, Matthew is the Capocomico of The Department of Fools, a Commedia dell’Arte company comprised of many Strasberg alumni.
Bill Hopkins (Acting on Camera, American Cinema, World Cinema) is a filmmaker and stage director. As a teacher he specializes in the relationship of the actor to the lens and teaches this to actors at several leading conservatories and universities, as well as to film directors at The School of Visual Arts and at his studio in Manhattan. Bill has produced and directed over 30 documentary and archive films for The Actors Studio and he has directed and written screenplays for feature films, documentaries, commercials and corporate films. Bill is also a Producer and Director of Photography. Recent work includes the Pilot Episode of Port 80 for CBS/ESPN, Episodes of Sherry’s Kitchen for Cloudy Sky Films and Episodes of Skipping Stones for the Web. In the theatre world, Bill has worked as an actor, director and producer at The Iowa Theatre Lab, TRG Repertory, Al Carmines, The Women’s Project, Circle Repertory and Equity Library Theatre.
Geoffrey Horne (Method Acting, Shakespeare) was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Cuba. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1954, is married and has nine children. Geoffrey studied with Lee Strasberg for many years beginning in 1954 and became a member of the Actors Studio in 1956, the year of his Broadway debut. He made his film debut in The Bridge on the River Kwai. Geoffrey has taught Method Acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute since 1978. He has directed a number of Alumni/Teacher productions including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and most recently Othello. He is the co-founder of Shakespeare Downtown, a Shakespeare theatre at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Shakespeare Downtown produced Romeo and Juliet in June 2016 and Richard III in June 2017.
Madeline Jaye (Dance, Movement) has been teaching Ballet, Jazz/Theatre Dance, Movement I and II at LSTFI and in NYU programs here for 22 years. During and prior to that time, she has been on faculty at AADA, Steps Studio and Third Street Music School and has been a guest teacher/substitute at AMDA, Broadway Dance Center, Steffi Nossen School of Dance and LaGuardia HS of Performing Arts. Privately, she teaches acting/speech presentation to clergy, trial attorneys and business executives, as well as coaching young dancers/actors for auditions/performance. Choreography credits include period movement and dance for Dietrich Rides Again, five plays/musicals for The Medicine Show, industrials for Mattel Toys, Inc., Bell South, Barbie Fashion Summit, Dole Foods’ Easter on the White House Lawn, Hewlett-Packard and several productions at LSTFI: On the Verge, Dancing at Lughnasa, ART, NYU Practicum. Madeline has performed as a dancer/singer/actor across USA, Europe, Japan and the Middle East, including 3 years as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. She holds a BA w/Honours in Dance, from Butler University, with additional 17 years of training as an actor and singer in NYC. She is co-creator of Actors Launch and is the creator of Jaye Actors Movement; a movement program designed to bridge the gap between dance, singing and acting training and to incite physical fluency and emotional and vocal connectedness in performers and regular civilians.
Jeremy Kruse (Improvisation, Acting for FIlm & TV) is a working actor, published playwright and award winning filmmaker. Kruse has written, produced, directed, edited and acted in over 30 short and feature length films. He has been involved in numerous plays, sketch comedy shows, independent films, commercials and televisions spots in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. His documentary film, Lee Strasberg’s Method, was in competition at the SOHO International Film Festival NYC 2011 and is distributed by Quality Books Inc. He is the author of The Young Actor’s Handbook (Applause Acting Series 2017). Jeremy has also performed stand-up comedy at numerous venues in Chicago, L.A. and New York including Zanies, The Improv, and The New York Comedy Club. In 1996, he graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he majored in drama. He studied playwriting at the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York. Kruse is also a graduate of The Second City’s (Chicago) conservatory improvisation program and comedy writing program. Jeremy is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association. www.jeremykruse.com
George Loros (Method Acting) won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble as a member of the international television phenomenon The Sopranos. George received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the New York Film Fest 2004 for his portrayal of Harvey in Clean, which won the Best Film Award in 2004. As Mitch in Mitch and Barbara, George won the Cine Golden Eagle as Best Actor in a Short Film, 1972. George has performed and directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and with theatres across the country. As a director, George won the Dramalogue Award – Best Director for The Phone Call, 1978, and Prowlers, 1979, both done at the Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre. George studied with Lee Strasberg and is a Method Acting teacher at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. He directed the Alumni production of Tennessee Williams’ Period of Adjustment in October 2012.
Ron NaVarre (Tai Chi) has been teaching tai chi at LSTFI for twenty years. As an actor, dancer, singer, director and choreographer, Ron has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in Regional Theater, Film, Television, Commercials, and Industrial Theater. As an adjunct Professor, Ron has taught tai chi at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, New York University, and the Pacific Institute of Chinese Medicine. Along with Madeline Jaye he is also the co-creator of Actors Launch, an audition prep and career guidance training program for actors and performing artists. Ron is the founder of Stress Defense, Inc. and has taught seminars on stress management, self-healing and effective communication to fortune 500 companies and health clubs. A lifelong martial artist he has trained in Tang Soo Do, TaeKwon Do, Hapkido, Aikido and Tai Chi Chuan. In the healing arts, Ron has taught mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, Reiki and Rei Qong for over thirty years. For the last ten years, Ron had been working with cancer patients and post surgical patients as an energy therapist and spiritual counselor.
Lorca Peress (Audition, Monologue, Script Analysis) has been on the LSTFI Faculty since 2000, and NYU-Strasberg Faculty since 2001. Lorca is a director and performer specializing in new works. She is the Founder/Artistic Director of MultiStages, a multicultural, multidisciplinary company that has developed new works since 1997. She has directed over 50 theatre, opera, and musical productions in NYC (The Public Theatre, Signature Theatre, The Acorn at Theatre Row, Theatre for the New City, et al), and at Strasberg and other universities. Lorca performed and toured for many years as an actor and singer. Awards and Grants include: 2017 Institute of Puerto Rico Award, NYMF 2017 Next Link Project, Women in Arts & Media Collaboration Awards, National Opera Prizes, 2015 Taino Areito Award, HOLA Zaldivar Outstanding Production Award, Manhattan Community Arts Grants (LMCC/DCA), Dramatists Guild Fund Award, La MaMa Inky Award. She was Co-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women (2011-14), and a featured panelist and moderator for theatre organizations focused on diversity and gender parity. She curated NYU hotINK Festivals for Strasberg (2002-10), and served 2 years on NYU Production Committee. A graduate of Bennington College (BA in Drama) and National Theatre Institute. Professional studies with Shelly Winters, Gene Frankel, Leonard Melfi, and at LSTFI with Irma Sandrey and Charlie Laughton, and YAP. Unions/Member: AEA, SAG-AFTRA, SDC, LPTW, NTC.
Heather Petruzelli (Singing) has appeared with The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Cantiamo Opera, Liederkranz Opera Theater, Henry Street Opera, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, Opera Company of Astoria, The Astoria Symphony, Opera Northeast, The Opera Company of Astoria, New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, The Civic Orchestra of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and as part of the Simply Grand Concert Series radio broadcast presented by WVIA of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She has performed and taught many styles from classical to musical theatre. Ms. Petruzelli serves as the Head of Voice and Music for the Molloy College/CAP21 Conservatory and has taught for the former CAP21 since 2008. She also has been teaching at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy of NYC since 2001. Ms. Petruzelli holds a BM from Wilkes University and a MM in Voice Performance from Boston University where she studied with the late Phyllis Curtin. Ms. Petruzelli is an Equity Membership Candidate.
Sarah Rayani (Speech, Dialects) is a professional singer, dancer and vocal coach. She specializes in speech and accent reduction and teaching the dialects of the British Isles. Sarah received her MA in the Practice of Voice and Singing from the Guildford School of Acting in her native United Kingdom. Sarah feels passionately about drawing on wisdom from both the speech and singing sides of the voice world in order to make her student’s healthy and effective professionals. Sarah performed as both a solo artist and as the lead singer of Blue On Wax for seven years, appearing at numerous venues in New York City as well as in the UK. Sarah also has recording and songwriting credits. She has appeared in various music videos as well as Sex and the City 2.
Michael Kevin Ryan (Movement, Scene Study) trained as a dancer with Martha Graham, Hanya Holm and Merce Cunningham. As an actor he has worked extensively in his native Australia as well as Germany where he studied with Eugenio Barba and Jerzy Grotowski. In New York he was a long-standing company member of Creation Production Company, with whom he created lead roles in Chromatic Spectacles, Ice Station Zebra, The OBIE Award winning Abandon, The Bessie Award winning Memory Theatre of Guilio Camillo, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Propaganda, Nighttown, The Inferno, The Tower and most recently in Man Made at The Ohio Theater NY. Also in New York: Uncontrollable Elements at The Kitchen, his own The Pasolini Tapes at The Knitting Factory and Enter The Dragon at Second Stage and Escalator, a performance piece for the architects Diller and Scofidio at The Museum of Modern Art. At the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute NY, where he has been on the faculty for 18 years he has directed John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and a Shakespeare adaptation midnight’s dream as well as his original pieces Moist Tiny Elephants and Eveningland. He has also taught Movement / Feldenkrais for The Tisch School for the Arts NYU, Strasberg LA, The School for Film and TV/NY and Fordham University at Lincoln Center. He is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (2002-2006 training with David Zemach-Bersin, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ 1st American student) He maintains a private coaching business in both NY, LA and London working with actors for Film and TV. Among his recent clients have been Josh Bowman (Revenge, Time After Time) Adria Arjona (True Detective, Emerald City and Good Omens) and Henry Garrett (Poldark, The Son).
Marcel Simoneau (Method Acting, Audition, Film Analysis), is originally from Luceville, Quebec, and studied in New York as an actor. His latest short film, Lurker (producer, director, screenwriter, actor), was recently accepted at Cannes 2017’s Short Film Corner, Hollyshorts and NY Shorts Fest and is currently running in Festivals. His 2016 film Like, Totally Hot Couple Seeking Same (producer, director, actor) CineKink NYC (Best Comedic Short), NY Shortfest, Emerge Film Festival, Dam Short Film Festival (Best Screenplay), Mountain of Laughs Film Festival, Another Independent Film Festival), Is currently touring the Festivals and won Best Comedic short last week at CineKink NYC and Best Screenplay at Dam Short Film Fest. His 2016 film Sarah Is Not Her Name (producer, actor) (Cannes Short Film Corner, NY Short Fest, Chelsea Film Festival, HollyShorts, Nitehawk Film Festival, Sidney Lift-Off Film Festival, The Williamsburg Film Festival). He has also made several music videos and web series. As an actor, he appeared in the films: The Rebound, Imperialists are Still Alive, Horizon, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Stranger, Kinsey, Seduction, Meridian. On TV: Gotham, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Fringe, Law & Order, Ed and Strangers with Candy. Marcel has also performance in numerous Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows including My First Time for a year and a half. He can also be heard in numerous VO commercials in french, spanish and english.
J. Allen Suddeth (Stage Combat) has worked professionally for the past thirty years out of the New York area. For Broadway, he has staged fights for the current smash hits Disney’s Aladdin, and Newsies plus the recent revival production of Jekyll and Hyde, as well as Gem Of The Ocean, Saturday Night Fever, Jekyll & Hyde, Angels in America Part One and Two, Loot, Saint Joan, A Small Family Business, and Hide and Seek. Off-Broadway he has worked on productions for The Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, The New Group, Theater For A New Audience, The Public Theater, BAM, The Women’s Project, Ensemble Studio Theater, Second Stage, Riverside Shakespeare, Jean Cocteau Repertory, WestBeth, The Pearl Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, and the New York Theater Workshop. Regionally, and in LORT theater he has worked for Centerstage in Baltimore (over 70 productions), The Arena Stage and The Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D. C., as well as The Denver Center, The Huntington Theatre, The Papermill Playhouse, The Hartford Stage, The Goodman Theater, The Actor’s Theater Of Louisville and The Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Northshore Music Theater, and the Big Apple Circus, among many others. As a master teacher, Allen has been on faculty for The Juilliard School, Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University, The Lee Strasberg Institute, S.U.N.Y. Purchase College, and The Stella Adler Conservatory, as well as being a frequent guest artist at major universities in the US and abroad. For television, he has staged action sequences for over 750 programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, and HBO. He is the author of Fight Directing For The Theater, published by Heinemann Press. Allen has also taught at the National Stage Combat Workshop, currently at U.N.C.S.A., for over fifteen years, and is the founder of the National Fight Directors Training Program. Allen is also a producer of The Complete Unarmed Stage Combat DVD Library. He has trained over 10,000 students, and tested many thousands more. He is ranked as one of sixteen recognized Fight Masters in the United States by The Society of American Fight Directors. He is also a “Fellow” and Life Member of the British Academy of Dramatic Combat.
Alba Quezada (Speech) is a designated teacher of the Linklater Technique, is thrilled to bring this innovative vocal production technique to her students at Strasberg as it partners well with the Method. She has performed in operas, musicals and on the recital stage in regional theatres throughout the United States and in Europe. She has also worked in recording, film, television and radio. Highlights include: Original cast member of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, the title role of Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Maria in West Side Story at the Teatro Tivoli in Barcelona, the role of Liu in the MGM film Yes, Giorgio! with Pavarotti, featured soprano in the Grammy nominated and Latin Grammy nominated recording for Best Classical Album in 2005 for The Music of Carlos Chavez: Vol. 3. 2014 Distinguished University Teaching Award recipient. She has taught at LSTFI since 2008.
John VanWyden (Speech, Dialects) BFA Point Park College, Pittsburgh PA; MFA Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. John was a recipient of the Case Western Reserve-Cleveland Play House MFA Fellowship and company member of the Cleveland Play House from 1975 – 1978. In addition to being on the faculty at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute; John has served as the dialect coach for many of NYU’s main stage productions including Dancing at Lughnasa, Cabaret, The Who’s TOMMY, Ragtime, Born Bad, Engaged and most recently The Secret Garden. At the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute John directed Once a Catholic, On the Verge, Our Country’s Good and Dancing at Lughnasa. Professional coaching credits include the national tours of Ragtime and Cabaret and the Off Broadway production of The Shanghai Gesture as well as Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana at Radio City Music hall as well as coaching Concetta Tomei in Fallaci and Christine Lahti in Pride in the Falls of Autry Mill.
Debra Wiley (Method Acting) is an internationally acclaimed acting teacher, performance coach, and singing voice specialist (M.A. in Acting and Vocal Performance, NYU) she has taught at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute 15 years. Debra has also taught and directed performers in the U.S. at institutions that include The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Montclair State University, New York University, Marymount Manhattan College, Harlem School of the Arts, and Henry Street Settlement. She has directed plays and numerous classical recitals, and given master classes and seminars at organizations which include: Disney Theatrical Productions, SAG Conservatory, The Danish State Theater School, The Danish Actors Union, Eklektisk Theater Company, Chamber Music America, Operafest, Songfest, AFTRA@Work, Mannes College of Music, and NYU Steinhardt. As a performer, she was featured with professional companies in New York and regionally across various disciplines, including theater, musical theater, opera and cabaret. Debra studied extensively with some of the finest teacher/directors of our time, including Lee Strasberg, Irma Sandrey, Ed Kovens, and Wesley Balk (Minnesota Opera).
Ted Zurkowski (Method Acting, Shakespeare at the Globe, Acting Chekhov) was made a lifetime member of the Actors Studio by Lee Strasberg where he trained with him. At the Studio he also trained with Elia Kazan, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Shelley Winters and Ellen Burstyn. Ted did his Shakespearean training with Patrick Tucker of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Ted has been an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, as well as a casting associate at MCA/UNIVERSAL where he worked with Bonnie Timmermann. Ted co-founded the Frog & Peach Theatre Company, a New York City-based Shakespeare company with Lynnea Benson, his wife and fellow Actors Studio member, and served as its Artistic Director and Lead Actor. The Company just celebrated its 20th season. Ted is also a musician and songwriter. As lead singer and rhythm guitarist, he currently fronts the band Honey West whose members include Ian McDonald of King Crimson and Foreigner and drummer Steve Holley (Paul McCartney & Wings).