Strasberg Faculty & Staff

Lee Strasberg class

Strasberg class

ADMINISTRATION

Anna Strasberg, Artistic Director and Co-Founder

Victoria Krane, President

Emily Kirn, Associate Director of Student Affairs

METHOD ACTING INSTRUCTORS

BILL BALZAC

Courses: Method Acting, Character Work, Improvisation

Bill Balzac has been an actor, director, producer, and teacher for more than 25 years. He teaches at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and for Tisch Drama as part of its partnership studio system. After being inspired by the teachings of Lee Strasberg, Balzac 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. Balzac 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 Tisch Drama. He also recently co-directed Crimes of the Heart and Sunday on the Rocks with Geoffrey Horne. Balzac graduated from Tisch Drama with honors and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.

BRUCE BAUMER

Courses: Singing

Bruce Baumer is a professional opera singer who has sung as a principal artist with more than 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 & Film Institute and The New School in New York City and has directed nine productions. Bruce has taught numerous master classes at various universities throughout the United States. He has music directed and accompanied benefits at 54 Below in NYC as well as music directing and accompanying various theatrical and musical performances in NYC. Most recently, Bruce served as musical director for Multistages Temple of the Souls for the prestigious NYMF festival in New York City and 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 many 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.

GINA BONATI

Courses: Method Acting

Gina Bonati has been teaching Method Acting since 2001. Early studies in Stanislavski’s Method from high school teacher, Lewis Campbell as well as ACT Young Conservatory led to further pursuit. In 1981 she moved to New York to earn a BFA from the Dance Division of The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, she continued her acting studies, studying with John Stix. In 1982, she began studying Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting Technique with Sharon Chatten continuing with Sharon for years, Sharon being of most influence; further influences are Geraldine Baron and directors, Ildiko Nemeth, Lee Grant and Robert Woodruff. 

A lifetime member of the Actors Studio since 2003, she continues to bring work into sessions and holds her membership most dear. She has acted all over the world and counts her experience opening for the Centennial at The Strindberg Intima Theatre, Stockholm in August Strindberg’s The Stronger (directed by Lee Grant and Elizabeth Kemp) as one of her most memorable stage successes. She works as a theater artist with The New Stage Theatre. She creates Dance-Theater works in installation, dance, theater, image, and sound. She holds two master’s degrees. She teaches and creates work internationally. She loves the stage with all her heart.

SAKILE CAMARA

Courses: Singing

Sakile Camara graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Soon after graduation she performed at The Kennedy Center numerous times, as well as Arena Stage and other theatres in the DC area. A few of the shows she has been a part of have won and been nominated for Helen Hayes Awards. She has also worked on various projects as a Voice Actor for Graphic Audio, where she has worked on many graphic novels, including Black Panther where she portrayed Black Panther’s sister Shuri. She then moved to NYC and has had roles on TV in shows on NBC, Showtime and Comedy Central. Along with acting she is a teacher at Meisner in Music and has taught at Pace University’s School of the Performing Arts. She has been teaching for 12 years and has continued her training in the city with teachers such as Ted Wold, Christopher Bayes, Midori Nakamura, Heidi Marshall and others. She has also worked with directors Phylicia Rashad, Aaron Posner and Onur Tukel and has acted alongside Awkwafina, Natasha Lyonne and Anika Noni Rose.

NICK CIANFROGNA

Courses: Speech, Voice

Nick Cianfrogna 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.

TIM MARTIN CROUSE

Courses: Method Acting, Audition, Acting for Film & TV

Tim Martin Crouse has taught Institute and Tisch Drama students since 2005 and has taught in the Young Actors Program since 1989, where he has directed more than 40 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. Crouse 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. Crouse 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, and directed the upcoming documentary Talking with the Piano Player. Crouse'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.

ROBERT ELLERMANN

Courses: Method Acting

As a teacher and director, Robert Ellermann was influenced by Lee Strasberg, Robert (Bobby) Lewis, Kim Stanley, Frank Corsaro, David Garfield, Maria Knebel and Nikolai Demidov. In addition, he studied directing with Jack O’Brien, Adrian Hall, Michael Kahn and Gerald Freedman. Robert also worked with teachers directly certified by Mikhail Chekhov in the 1930’s to teach Chekhov’s work: Deidre Hurst du Prey, Felicity Mason and Beatrice Straight. In addition, Robert had the honor of knowing the last surviving original member of the Moscow Art Theatre’s seminal First Studio – Vera Soloviova. Madame Soloviova was one of Stanislavsky’s earliest students (starting in 1908) and the peer, acting partner and friend of Richard Boleslavsky. Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Mikhail Chekhov and Maria Ouspenskaya. Robert was able to discuss the work of Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov, Sulerzhitsky and Mikhail Chekhov, particularly their use of the ‘system’, with Madame Soloviova. Over the last five decades, Robert has exhaustively researched the work of Lee Strasberg, covering Strasberg’s nearly 60 year career; as well as, the profound influence of Stanislavsky in the US and Russian-Soviet-Russian theatres, especially the work of the Group Theatre and the various studios of the Moscow Art Theatre. In the former Soviet Union, the leading Stanislavsky scholar, Inna Soloviova, humorously referred to him as “the American Stanislavsky fanatic”. In 1983, he was invited by Robert Lewis to serve as co-director of the Robert Lewis Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles. In 1988, Robert was invited by Stanislavsky’s great-great grandson to the first International Stanislavsky Conference in Paris and in 1990 Robert was invited to the Soviet Union by the Moscow Art Theatre to observe classes and rehearsals in the leading Russian theatres and schools. In 2021, Robert introduced Lee Strasberg’s Method to the Russian Academy of Theatrical Art (formly GITIS) in Moscow via Zoom classes. Robert has taught private classes in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson and Houston. He is currently working on a book about the relationship between the work of Lee Strasberg and that of Konstantin Stanislavsky. Over the years, Robert has directed the plays of Michael Weller, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, David Rabe and Horton Foote, among others. At the Institute, Robert presented a production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters after an intensive six month rehearsal process. Robert teaches Method Acting, Stanislavsky to Strasberg, The History of the Method Acting in Film and Strasberg and Scene Analysis.

JEFFREY FERGUSON

Courses: Dance

Jeffrey Ferguson 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.

JACKOB HOFMANN

Courses: Building a Character

Jackob Hofmann has been working professionally in theatre since the early 1990s. His NY directing credits include an array of Off-Broadway productions and staged readings for Abingdon Theatre including the NY premieres of John Morogiello’s Engaging Shaw (NY Times Critics’ Pick) and Blame it on Beckett. Additional NY directing credits include productions of: Unwrap Your Candy, Tower of Toys, Xavier Speaks, Tracking Gertrude Tredwell, and The Speed Date. Notable acting credits include Theatre Row productions of: Marat/Sade, Holy Ghosts, Dark of the Moon, Footprints on the Moon, and The Tempest. Also a playwright, Jackob’s drama, A Persistent Memory, was produced Off-Broadway at The Beckett Theatre, in 2016, by MBL Productions. He is a two time finalist in Samuel French’s OOB Short Play Festival. Honored to be a faculty member at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Jackob also works as an adjunct theatre professor/director at Fairfield University. His Theatre Fairfield directing credits include: Avenue Q, Rhinoceros, Authenticity, The Thanksgiving Play, and Silent Sky. Jackob graduated with his BFA from The New School and his MFA from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. AEA, SAG-AFTRA, SDC.

JACQUELINE JACOBUS

Courses: Method Acting

Jacqueline Jacobus was born in Paris and spent her early years in France and England. When 17, she had the great good fortune to begin her acting studies with Lee Strasberg in his private classes in NYC. Several years later, she became a member of the Actors Studio, where she had the opportunity to work with and be influenced by directors such as Arthur Penn, Elia Kazan, and Vivian Nathan, just to mention a few. As a young actress, she worked extensively in TV, film, and the theatre, both in NYC and Regionally. As a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater she worked along side of playwrights such as Jonathan Ringkamp, Rommulus Linney, and Lyle Kessler as they developed their scripts. Favorite roles were Laura in the The Glass Menagerie, Kim in Mama Sang the Blues, Nina in The Seagull, Florrie in Waiting for Lefty, Emily in Our Town, The Whore in La Ronde, Titania in Midsummer Summer Night’s Dream, and Portia in The Merchant of Venice just to mention a few. Most recently she played Marty in Annie Baker’s Circle, Mirror, Transformation. Jacobus has been teaching acting, and specifically the Method as it was taught to her by Lee Strasberg, for the last 10 years. She is an accomplished pianist who treasures the literature for the piano as much as the literature for the actor. 

MADELINE JAYE

Courses: Dance, Anatomy of Movement

Madeline Jaye 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.

MICHAEL KUSHNER

Courses: Career Preparation

Michael Kushner is NYC’s leading multi-hyphenate and the Executive Producer of the EMMY Nominated series Indoor Boys. In true multi-hyphenate form, Michael’s book How to be a Multi-Hyphenate in the Theatre Business, published by Routledge Publishing is arriving fall of 2022. He served as the Director of Programming for The Green Room 42, providing the space with sold out programming post pandemic. He is the owner of Michael Kushner Photography and has photographed Hillary Clinton, Julie Andrews, Idina Menzel (to name a few) and has been published in NYTimes, Vogue, Playbill, etc. He is also the creator of The Dressing Room Project, where he photographs actors prepping for their roles on and off Broadway. Ithaca College BFA in Musical Theatre (2020 Outstanding Young Alumni Award), Founding member of Musical Theatre Factory. Exec Producer of XaveMePlease (Created by Wesley Taylor, Frameline 43 Festival Finalist). Active participant of Covenant House Sleep Out. Podcast: Dear Multi-Hyphenate with Broadway Podcast Network. Michael is also a performer (On The Town, Pre-Broadway Tryout Directed by John Rando at Barrington Stage) and a member of AEA.

MIDORI NAKAMURA

Courses: Voice

Midori is a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher. She has taught Voice for the Maggie Flanagan Studio, Molloy/CAP21, New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, and the New York Film Academy, as well as coaching private clients in both acting and voice. As an actor, she has worked in film, TV, on Broadway, Off-Broadway, for Shakespeare in the Park, at the Kennedy Center, at the RSC, and in regional theater—working with George C. Wolfe (three times), Philip Seymour Hoffman (three times), Alec Baldwin (two times). She has also acted alongside Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart, Angela Bassett, Bill Irwin, Keanu Reeves, Michael C. Hall, Liev Schrieber, Karen Allen, Del Close, Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Anniston. Directors she has acted under include Morgan Freeman, Lena Dunham, Barry Levenson, Peter Sellars, Nicholas Hytner, Austin Pendleton, James Lapine, Jerzy Grotowski, Joe Chaikin. Midori co-directed, co-produced, and co-edited T’an Bakhtale, a documentary about the Russian Roma, which received awards from the American Association of Anthropology and the Royal Anthropological Institute. She assisted Karen Allen in her directorial debut, A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud.

RON NAVARRE

Courses: Tai Chi

Ron NaVarre has been teaching at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute for more than 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.

AZUDI ONYEJEKWE

Courses: Audition Technique, Acting for Film & TV, and Career Preparation

Azudi Onyejekwe is a Brooklyn-based artist, educator, justice advocate, and proud first-generation Igbo-American. As an actor, he has performed in numerous productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at multiple Tony award-winning regional theatres across the country including the Guthrie Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the American Repertory Theater. He is a member of the original Broadway casts of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” and “Violet” (where he was the standby for the role of Flick opposite Sutton Foster). His TV/Film credits include “Madam Secretary” and HairBrained. Azudi holds an honors degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, with a double major in Theatre and Africana Studies. As a writer and justice advocate, his most recent essay which he penned for The Theatre Times in the wake of the murder of George Floyd (“The Dangers of Optical Illusionary Performative Activism”), was translated and republished by Korean Theatre Journal, the official association of the Korean Association of Theatre Critics. In addition to LSTFI, Azudi is also on the acting faculties of Molloy College/CAP21 and LIU-Brooklyn/The New Group Education. He also serves as a vocal coach for Voice Academy NYC and a teaching fellow for Musical Mentors Collaborative (a non-profit arts program devoted to providing free access to professional instruction for young people from systemically marginalized communities). Azudi privately coaches monologue work, audition prep, and vocal performance.

HAYLEY PALMER

Courses: Voice, Dialects

Hayley is an actor, educator, director, and dancer striving toward the embodiment of freed expression in safe, inclusive spaces. A California native, Hayley has taught Acting, Improvisation, Voice, and Speech since moving to NYC in 2016. After several years of dancing professionally for the California Ballet Company in San Diego, Hayley attended the University of California Irvine where they fell in love with improv and eventually earned their M.F.A. in Acting. Hayley went on to become the Swing and Dance Captain in the National Touring company of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and upon moving to NYC played Lady Macbeth in over 250 performances of the immersive Off-Broadway comedy Drunk Shakespeare. Professional credits include PCPA Theaterfest, New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Davis Shakespeare Festival, and Moonlight Stage Productions. Most recently, Hayley was onstage at Mill Mountain Theatre playing Alison in Fun Home and Tanya in Mamma Mia! Hayley will be designated in Linklater Voice Summer of 2023. (AEA, SAG-AFTRA) www.hayleypalmer.me

LORCA PERESS

Courses: Monologue, Script Analysis

Lorca Peress 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

Courses: Singing

Heather Petruzelli has appeared with New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players,  The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, The Astoria Music Society’s Big Band, Opera With a Twist, Cantiamo Opera, Liederkranz Opera Theater, Henry Street Opera, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, The Astoria Symphony, Opera Northeast, The Opera Company of Astoria,  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/CAP21BFA Program 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. Additionally, Heather is a certified Positive Psychology Life Coach.

KELSEY (TORSTVEIT) PIETROPAOLO

Courses: Method Acting

BFA: Drama NYU Tisch School of the Arts Studio: Lee Strasberg Institute

Notable stage credits include: Orson’s Shadow (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater), Rhinoceros (W.H.A.T), Blithe Spirit (Capital Repertory Theatre), Larvae (Alchemical), Crimes of the Heart (Fable Theatre), A Turn of the Screw (W.H.A.T.), Measure for Measure (Shakespeare Downtown), The Cherry Orchard (14th Street Y), A Hatful of Rain (Theatr Studio), and a season at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as a member of the Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company for their 2014-2015 where she understudied 7 mainstage roles and starred in two of their Off The Hill productions. As a writer, Kelsey was awarded a Playwriting fellowship in 2017 by Byrdcliffe Art Colony to write her one act play The Octopus. Her one act with music, Lonelyhearts, co-conceived with composer David Bird went up at Project Q in New York City late April 2018, featuring the TAK Ensemble. In 2018, she won an ArtsUniverse Scholarship to attend the IUGTE Physical Theatre Workshop and International Theatre Conference in Leibnitz, Austria where she shared Lee Strasberg’s techniques. She co-directed Where Can I Hide? as part of Montclair State University’s C.A.R.T. Underground Series in Spring 2022. She is an executive producer on Joe Pietropaolo’s NYFA-sponsored short film My Darling Angel. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Theatre Studies at Montclair State University. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

MICHELLE ROBINSON

Courses: Dance

A native of New York, Michelle is an accomplished dancer, actress and director. As a dancer, she began her training at The Dance Theatre of Harlem. As early as her pre-teens, she became a member of the Marie Brooks Children’s Dance Theater, a professional children’s dance company devoted to researching dance forms from other countries. She has had the opportunity to travel to such places as Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique, Suriname, Ghana, Italy and Brazil. The recipient of the coveted Harry Belafonte Performing Arts Scholarship, she went on to attend the State University of New York at Purchase where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. After graduation, her talents were sought after by many prestigious dance companies: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Bucket Dance Theater, The Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Eleo Pomare Dance Company. But that was only until she set her sights on Broadway.

From Europe to Broadway, Ms. Robinson has appeared in such musical theater productions as Ain’t Misbehavin’, Can-Can, For Colored Girls…, Jelly’s Last Jam, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sophisticated Ladies, They’re Playing Our Song, Sweet Charity, The Tempest, and the smash Broadway musical revival of Chicago where she remained an original cast member for the first twelve years. In addition, she has had the opportunity to work alongside such notables as Bebe Neuwirth, Gregory Hines, Patrick Stewart, Joel Grey, Debbie Allen, Melanie Griffith, and Brooke Shields, just to name a few. Ms. Robinson admits that one of her most memorable show biz moments was becoming a Radio City Rockette. She acknowledges that nothing gave her as much joy and pleasure as when her mother could say, “Now, no matter where my child is on that kick line, I will be able to find her!” No stranger to film and television, her television credits include appearances on Deadline, Law and Order, New York Undercover, Third Watch, and HBO’s Lackawanna Blues. Ms. Robinson has also had a long running, recurring role on the daytime soap opera, One Life to Live. On film, she can be seen in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Flawless starring Robert DeNiro, and Chris Rock’s cult movie Pootie Tang.

MICHAEL KEVIN RYAN

Courses: Movement

Michael Kevin Ryan 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

Courses: Method Acting, Audition, Acting for Film & TV

Marcel has been teaching at the Institute for 20 Years. Marcel has appeared on TV in: Gotham, God Friended Me, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Fringe, Ed and Strangers with Candy and more recently on the first episode of the original Law & Order reboot, a guest starring role on Blacklist and a National commercial for E*Trade. 

Film credits include: The Rebound, Imperialists are Still Alive, Horizon, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Stranger, Kinsey, Seduction, Meridian. 

Marcel also has done extensive Voice-Over work in commercials for Budweiser, Canada Dry, NyQuill, GoDaddy, Goody, Chloé, BDO, MFS among others and in more recently in Rob Zombie’s Untitled Munsters Reboot, Stillwater, Halston, Mythic Quest, Birds of Paradise, Little Women, Emily in Paris, The Queen’s Gambit, Dash & Lily, Wildlike, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, High Maintenance, Super Troopers 2, What Just Happened, Royal Pains, and The Pirates of Somalia.

Marcel has also performance in numerous Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows including My First Time at New World Stages for a year and a half. 

Marcel has also directed a few films including Hologramme, Lurker, Le Village, Like Totally Hot Couple Seeking Same, Two People He Never Saw, which all screened at renowned festivals from Cannes to Hollyshorts. 

He studied at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, NYU, Columbia University, The Actors Movement, and the Maggie Flanigan Studio.

J. ALLEN SUDDETH

Courses: Stage Combat

J. Allen Suddeth 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 Pretty Woman, 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, Cleveland Playhouse, The Alliance Theatre, Regional/LORT Theaters, 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 Theatre & Film 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 seventeenth 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 and an Honorary Fight Master with Fight Directors Canada.

BILL BALZAC

Courses: Method Acting, Character Work, Improvisation 

Bill Balzac has been an actor, director, producer, and teacher for more than 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

Courses: Singing

Bruce Baumer is a professional opera singer who has sung as a principal artist with more than 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 & Film Institute and The New School in New York City and has directed nine productions. Bruce has taught numerous master classes at various universities throughout the United States. He has music directed and accompanied benefits at 54 Below in NYC as well as music directing and accompanying various theatrical and musical performances in NYC. Most recently, Bruce served as musical director for Multistages Temple of the Souls for the prestigious NYMF festival in New York City and 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 many 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.

 

GINA BONATI

Courses: Method Acting

Gina Bonati has been teaching Method Acting since 2001. Early studies in Stanislavski’s Method from high school teacher, Lewis Campbell as well as ACT Young Conservatory led to further pursuit. In 1981 she moved to New York to earn a BFA from the Dance Division of The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, she continued her acting studies, studying with John Stix. In 1982, she began studying Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting Technique with Sharon Chatten continuing with Sharon for years, Sharon being of most influence; further influences are Geraldine Baron and directors, Ildiko Nemeth, Lee Grant and Robert Woodruff. 

A lifetime member of the Actors Studio since 2003, she continues to bring work into sessions and holds her membership most dear. She has acted all over the world and counts her experience opening for the Centennial at The Strindberg Intima Theatre, Stockholm in August Strindberg’s The Stronger (directed by Lee Grant and Elizabeth Kemp) as one of her most memorable stage successes. She works as a theater artist with The New Stage Theatre. She creates Dance-Theater works in installation, dance, theater, image, and sound. She holds two master’s degrees. She teaches and creates work internationally. She loves the stage with all her heart.

 

SAKILE CAMARA

Courses: Singing

Sakile Camara graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Soon after graduation she performed at The Kennedy Center numerous times, as well as Arena Stage and other theatres in the DC area. A few of the shows she has been a part of have won and been nominated for Helen Hayes Awards. She has also worked on various projects as a Voice Actor for Graphic Audio, where she has worked on many graphic novels, including Black Panther where she portrayed Black Panther’s sister Shuri. She then moved to NYC and has had roles on TV in shows on NBC, Showtime and Comedy Central. Along with acting she is a teacher at Meisner in Music and has taught at Pace University’s School of the Performing Arts. She has been teaching for 12 years and has continued her training in the city with teachers such as Ted Wold, Christopher Bayes, Midori Nakamura, Heidi Marshall and others. She has also worked with directors Phylicia Rashad, Aaron Posner and Onur Tukel and has acted alongside Awkwafina, Natasha Lyonne and Anika Noni Rose. 

 

NICK CIANFROGNA

Courses: Speech, Voice

Nick Cianfrogna 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.

 

TIM MARTIN CROUSE

Courses: Method Acting, Audition, Acting for Film & TV 

Tim Martin Crouse has taught Institute and NYU students since 2005 and has taught in the Young Actors Program since 1989, where he has directed more than 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.



ROBERT ELLERMANN

Courses: Method Acting

As a teacher and director, Robert Ellermann was influenced by Lee Strasberg, Robert (Bobby) Lewis, Kim Stanley, Frank Corsaro, David Garfield, Maria Knebel and Nikolai Demidov. In addition, he studied directing with Jack O’Brien, Adrian Hall, Michael Kahn and Gerald Freedman. Robert also worked with teachers directly certified by Mikhail Chekhov in the 1930’s to teach Chekhov’s work: Deidre Hurst du Prey, Felicity Mason and Beatrice Straight. In addition, Robert had the honor of knowing the last surviving original member of the Moscow Art Theatre’s seminal First Studio – Vera Soloviova. Madame Soloviova was one of Stanislavsky’s earliest students (starting in 1908) and the peer, acting partner and friend of Richard Boleslavsky. Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Mikhail Chekhov and Maria Ouspenskaya. Robert was able to discuss the work of Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov, Sulerzhitsky and Mikhail Chekhov, particularly their use of the ‘system’, with Madame Soloviova. Over the last five decades, Robert has exhaustively researched the work of Lee Strasberg, covering Strasberg’s nearly 60 year career; as well as, the profound influence of Stanislavsky in the US and Russian-Soviet-Russian theatres, especially the work of the Group Theatre and the various studios of the Moscow Art Theatre. In the former Soviet Union, the leading Stanislavsky scholar, Inna Soloviova, humorously referred to him as “the American Stanislavsky fanatic”. In 1983, he was invited by Robert Lewis to serve as co-director of the Robert Lewis Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles. In 1988, Robert was invited by Stanislavsky’s great-great grandson to the first International Stanislavsky Conference in Paris and in 1990 Robert was invited to the Soviet Union by the Moscow Art Theatre to observe classes and rehearsals in the leading Russian theatres and schools. In 2021, Robert introduced Lee Strasberg’s Method to the Russian Academy of Theatrical Art (formly GITIS) in Moscow via Zoom classes. Robert has taught private classes in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson and Houston. He is currently working on a book about the relationship between the work of Lee Strasberg and that of Konstantin Stanislavsky. Over the years, Robert has directed the plays of Michael Weller, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, David Rabe and Horton Foote, among others. At the Institute, Robert presented a production of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” after an intensive six month rehearsal process. Robert teaches Method Acting, Stanislavsky to Strasberg, The History of the Method Acting in Film and Strasberg and Scene Analysis.



JEFFREY FERGUSON

Courses: Dance

Jeffrey Ferguson 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.



JACKOB HOFMANN

Courses: Building a Character

Jackob Hofmann has been working professionally in theatre since the early 1990s. His NY directing credits include an array of Off-Broadway productions and staged readings for Abingdon Theatre including the NY premieres of John Morogiello’s Engaging Shaw (NY Times Critics’ Pick) and Blame it on Beckett. Additional NY directing credits include productions of: Unwrap Your Candy, Tower of Toys, Xavier Speaks, Tracking Gertrude Tredwell, and The Speed Date. Notable acting credits include Theatre Row productions of: Marat/Sade, Holy Ghosts, Dark of the Moon, Footprints on the Moon, and The Tempest. Also a playwright, Jackob’s drama, A Persistent Memory, was produced Off-Broadway at The Beckett Theatre, in 2016, by MBL Productions. He is a two time finalist in Samuel French’s OOB Short Play Festival. Honored to be a faculty member at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Jackob also works as an adjunct theatre professor/director at Fairfield University. His Theatre Fairfield directing credits include: Avenue Q, Rhinoceros, Authenticity, The Thanksgiving Play, and Silent Sky. Jackob graduated with his BFA from The New School and his MFA from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. AEA, SAG-AFTRA, SDC



JACQUELINE JACOBUS
Courses: Method Acting
Jacqueline Jacobus was born in Paris and spent her early years in France and England. When 17, she had the great good fortune to begin her acting studies with Lee Strasberg in his private classes in NYC. Several years later, she became a member of the Actors Studio, where she had the opportunity to work with and be influenced by directors such as Arthur Penn, Elia Kazan, and Vivian Nathan, just to mention a few. As a young actress, she worked extensively in TV, Film, and the theater, both in NYC and Regionally. As a member of The Ensemble Studio Theater she worked along side of playwrights such as Jonathan Ringkamp, Rommulus Linney, and Lyle Kessler as they developed their scripts. Favorite roles were Laura in the The Glass Menagerie, Kim in Mama Sang the Blues, Nina in The Seagull, Florrie in Waiting for Lefty, Emily in Our Town, The Whore in La Ronde, Titania in Midsummer Summer Night’s Dream, Portia in The Merchant of Venice just to mention a few. Most recently she played Marty in Annie Baker’s Circle, Mirror, Transformation.

Jacqueline has been teaching acting, and specifically The Method as it was taught to her by Lee Strasberg, for the last 10 years. She is an accomplished pianist who treasures the literature for the piano as much as the literature for the actor.



MADELINE JAYE

Courses: Dance, Anatomy of Movement 

Madeline Jaye 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.

 

MICHAEL KUSHNER

Courses: Career Preparation 

Michael Kushner is NYC’s leading multi-hyphenate and the Executive Producer of the EMMY Nominated series Indoor Boys. In true multi-hyphenate form, Michael’s book How to be a Multi-Hyphenate in the Theatre Business, published by Routledge Publishing is arriving fall of 2022. He served as the Director of Programming for The Green Room 42, providing the space with sold out programming post pandemic. He is the owner of Michael Kushner Photography and has photographed Hillary Clinton, Julie Andrews, Idina Menzel (to name a few) and has been published in NYTimes, Vogue, Playbill, etc. He is also the creator of The Dressing Room Project, where he photographs actors prepping for their roles on and off Broadway. Ithaca College BFA in Musical Theatre (2020 Outstanding Young Alumni Award), Founding member of Musical Theatre Factory. Exec Producer of XaveMePlease (Created by Wesley Taylor, Frameline 43 Festival Finalist). Active participant of Covenant House Sleep Out. Podcast: Dear Multi-Hyphenate with Broadway Podcast Network. Michael is also a performer (On The Town, Pre-Broadway Tryout Directed by John Rando at Barrington Stage) and a member of AEA.

 

MIDORI NAKAMURA

Courses: Voice

Midori is a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher. She has taught Voice for the Maggie Flanagan Studio, Molloy/CAP21, New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, and the New York Film Academy, as well as coaching private clients in both acting and voice. As an actor, she has worked in film, TV, on Broadway, Off-Broadway, for Shakespeare in the Park, at the Kennedy Center, at the RSC, and in regional theater—working with George C. Wolfe (three times), Philip Seymour Hoffman (three times), Alec Baldwin (two times). She has also acted alongside Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart, Angela Bassett, Bill Irwin, Keanu Reeves, Michael C. Hall, Liev Schrieber, Karen Allen, Del Close, Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Anniston. Directors she has acted under include Morgan Freeman, Lena Dunham, Barry Levenson, Peter Sellars, Nicholas Hytner, Austin Pendleton, James Lapine, Jerzy Grotowski, Joe Chaikin. Midori co-directed, co-produced, and co-edited T’an Bakhtale, a documentary about the Russian Roma, which received awards from the American Association of Anthropology and the Royal Anthropological Institute. She assisted Karen Allen in her directorial debut, A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud.

 

RON NAVARRE

Courses: Tai Chi

Ron NaVarre has been teaching at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute for more than 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.

 

AZUDI ONYEJEKWE

Courses: Audition Technique, Acting for Film & TV, and Career Preparation 

Azudi Onyejekwe is a Brooklyn-based artist, educator, justice advocate, and proud first-generation Igbo-American. As an actor, he has performed in numerous productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at multiple Tony award-winning regional theatres across the country including the Guthrie Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the American Repertory Theater. He is a member of the original Broadway casts of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” and “Violet” (where he was the standby for the role of Flick opposite Sutton Foster). His TV/Film credits include “Madam Secretary” and HairBrained. Azudi holds an honors degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, with a double major in Theatre and Africana Studies. As a writer and justice advocate, his most recent essay which he penned for The Theatre Times in the wake of the murder of George Floyd (“The Dangers of Optical Illusionary Performative Activism”), was translated and republished by Korean Theatre Journal, the official association of the Korean Association of Theatre Critics. In addition to LSTFI, Azudi is also on the acting faculties of Molloy College/CAP21 and LIU-Brooklyn/The New Group Education. He also serves as a vocal coach for Voice Academy NYC and a teaching fellow for Musical Mentors Collaborative (a non-profit arts program devoted to providing free access to professional instruction for young people from systemically marginalized communities). Azudi privately coaches monologue work, audition prep, and vocal performance. 

 

HAYLEY PALMER

Courses: Voice, Dialects

Hayley is an actor, educator, director, and dancer striving toward the embodiment of freed expression in safe, inclusive spaces. A California native, Hayley has taught Acting, Improvisation, Voice, and Speech since moving to NYC in 2016. After several years of dancing professionally for the California Ballet Company in San Diego, Hayley attended the University of California Irvine where they fell in love with improv and eventually earned their M.F.A. in Acting. Hayley went on to become the Swing and Dance Captain in the National Touring company of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and upon moving to NYC played Lady Macbeth in over 250 performances of the immersive Off-Broadway comedy Drunk Shakespeare. Professional credits include PCPA Theaterfest, New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Davis Shakespeare Festival, and Moonlight Stage Productions. Most recently, Hayley was onstage at Mill Mountain Theatre playing Alison in Fun Home and Tanya in Mamma Mia! Hayley will be designated in Linklater Voice Summer of 2023. (AEA, SAG-AFTRA) www.hayleypalmer.me



LORCA PERESS

Courses: Monologue, Script Analysis

Lorca Peress 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

Courses: Singing

Heather Petruzelli has appeared with New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players,  The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, The Astoria Music Society’s Big Band, Opera With a Twist, Cantiamo Opera, Liederkranz Opera Theater, Henry Street Opera, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, The Astoria Symphony, Opera Northeast, The Opera Company of Astoria,  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/CAP21BFA Program 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. Additionally, Heather is a certified Positive Psychology Life Coach.



KELSEY (TORSTVEIT) PIETROPAOLO

Courses: Method Acting

BFA: Drama NYU Tisch School of the Arts Studio: Lee Strasberg Institute

Notable stage credits include: Orson’s Shadow(Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater), Rhinoceros(W.H.A.T), Blithe Spirit(Capital Repertory Theatre), Larvae(Alchemical), Crimes of the Heart(Fable Theatre), A Turn of the Screw(W.H.A.T.), Measure for Measure(Shakespeare Downtown), The Cherry Orchard(14th Street Y), A Hatful of Rain(Theatr Studio), and a season at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as a member of the Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company for their 2014-2015 where she understudied 7 mainstage roles and starred in two of their Off The Hill productions. As a writer, Kelsey was awarded a Playwriting fellowship in 2017 by Byrdcliffe Art Colony to write her one act play The Octopus. Her one act with music, Lonelyhearts, co-conceived with composer David Bird went up at Project Q in New York City late April 2018, featuring the TAK Ensemble. In 2018, she won an ArtsUniverse Scholarship to attend the IUGTE Physical Theatre Workshop and International Theatre Conference in Leibnitz, Austria where she shared Lee Strasberg’s techniques. She co-directed Where Can I Hide? as part of Montclair State University’s C.A.R.T. Underground Series in Spring 2022. She is an executive producer on Joe Pietropaolo’s NYFA-sponsored short film My Darling Angel.  She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Theatre Studies at Montclair State University. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.



MICHELLE ROBINSON

Courses: Dance

A native of New York, Michelle is an accomplished dancer, actress and director. As a dancer, she began her training at The Dance Theatre of Harlem. As early as her pre-teens, she became a member of the Marie Brooks Children’s Dance Theater, a professional children’s dance company devoted to researching dance forms from other countries. She has had the opportunity to travel to such places as Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique, Suriname, Ghana, Italy and Brazil. The recipient of the coveted Harry Belafonte Performing Arts Scholarship, she went on to attend the State University of New York at Purchase where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. After graduation, her talents were sought after by many prestigious dance companies: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Bucket Dance Theater, The Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Eleo Pomare Dance Company. But that was only until she set her sights on Broadway.

From Europe to Broadway, Ms. Robinson has appeared in such musical theater productions as Ain’t Misbehavin’, Can-Can, For Colored Girls…, Jelly’s Last Jam, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sophisticated Ladies, They’re Playing Our Song, Sweet Charity, The Tempest, and the smash Broadway musical revival of Chicago where she remained an original cast member for the first twelve years. In addition, she has had the opportunity to work alongside such notables as Bebe Neuwirth, Gregory Hines, Patrick Stewart, Joel Grey, Debbie Allen, Melanie Griffith, and Brooke Shields, just to name a few. Ms. Robinson admits that one of her most memorable show biz moments was becoming a Radio City Rockette. She acknowledges that nothing gave her as much joy and pleasure as when her mother could say, “Now, no matter where my child is on that kick line, I will be able to find her!” No stranger to film and television, her television credits include appearances on Deadline, Law and Order, New York Undercover, Third Watch, and HBO’s Lackawanna Blues. Ms. Robinson has also had a long running, recurring role on the daytime soap opera, One Life to Live. On film, she can be seen in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Flawless starring Robert DeNiro, and Chris Rock’s cult movie Pooty Thang.



MICHAEL KEVIN RYAN

Courses: Movement

Michael Kevin Ryan 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

Courses: Method Acting, Audition, Acting for Film & TV 

Marcel has been teaching at the Institute for 20 Years. Marcel has appeared on TV in: Gotham, God Friended Me, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Fringe, Ed and Strangers with Candy and more recently on the first episode of the original Law & Order reboot, a guest starring role on Blacklist and a National commercial for E*Trade. 

Film credits include: The Rebound, Imperialists are Still Alive, Horizon, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Stranger, Kinsey, Seduction, Meridian. 

Marcel also has done extensive Voice-Over work in commercials for Budweiser, Canada Dry, NyQuill, GoDaddy, Goody, Chloé, BDO, MFS among others and in more recently in Rob Zombie’s Untitled Munsters Reboot, Stillwater, Halston, Mythic Quest, Birds of Paradise, Little Women, Emily in Paris, The Queen’s Gambit, Dash & Lily, Wildlike, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, High Maintenance, Super Troopers 2, What Just Happened, Royal Pains, and The Pirates of Somalia.

Marcel has also performance in numerous Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows including My First Time at New World Stages for a year and a half. 

Marcel has also directed a few films including Hologramme, Lurker, Le Village, Like Totally Hot Couple Seeking Same, Two People He Never Saw, which alI screened at renowned festivals from Cannes to Hollyshorts. 

He studied at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, NYU, Columbia University, The Actors Movement, and the Maggie Flanigan Studio.




J. ALLEN SUDDETH

Courses: Stage Combat

J. Allen Suddeth 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 Pretty Woman, 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, Cleveland Playhouse, The Alliance Theatre, Regional/LORT Theaters, 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 Theatre & Film 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 seventeenth 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 and an Honorary Fight Master with Fight Directors Canada.