Meet Our Teaching Artists
Tracy Bersley received her MFA in directing from Syracuse University, focusing on international and cultural influences on an interdisciplinary theatre. She has directed at the Juilliard School, McCarter Theatre for Princeton University, NYU, Purchase Repertory and Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She has choreographed for Williamstown Theatre Festival; Juilliard, at PS 122 and The Public Theatre. She completed a directing residency for the 1999-2000 season at McCarter Theatre collaborating with such artists as Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Emily Mann and served as a cast movement consultant for two McCarter shows that went to Broadway, Anna in the Tropics (Royal Theatre) & Albee’s All Over (Roundabout Theatre), and Assistant Directed Speaking in Tongues (Roundabout Theatre).
John Cariani: Broadway: Something Rotten!, Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Award Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award.) He is the author of Almost, Maine, one of the most produced new plays in America, and the upcoming Last Gas. Other acting credits include: Off-Broadway: cul-de-sac (Transport Group);Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Public/NYSF); Modern Orthodox; It’s My Party… Recent regional includes: The Old Globe, Center Theatre Group (The Ahmanson), Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Film includes: “Elephant Sighs”, “Scotland, PA”, “Kissing Jessica Stein”, “Robot Stories.” Television: “Homeland”, “The Onion News Network”, Professor Otto Bahnoff on “NUMB3RS” (2009-2010); Dr. Beck, the forensics tech, on “Law & Order” (2002-2007). Originally from Presque Isle, Maine, John is a graduate of Amherst College.
Leo Ash Evens is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in Acting/Musical Theatre and enjoys a successful career as a performing actor, a voice over artist, and a teaching artist. His Broadway credits include Jesus Christ Superstar and Shuffle Along. Off-Broadway, he has appeared in Jasper In Deadland, Finks, at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ionescapade: The Works of Eugene Ionesco, at The York Theatre, and Wanda’s World. He has played Riff in West Side Story in a multitude of productions including London’s West End, The 50th Anniversary US Tour; Houston TUTS, Barrington Stage, and North Carolina Theatre. On tour, he has appeared in 42nd Street in Moscow; Disney's On The Record; and Casper The Musical, starring Chita Rivera. Regionally, he’s appeared as Black Stache in Peter And The Starcatcher (Pioneer), The Emcee in Cabaret (Houston TUTS and The Arvada Center) *Best Actor in the Houston Theatre Excellence Awards. Jamie MacRea in the world premiere play, Somewhere, starring Priscilla Lopez (The Old Globe and Theatreworks in Palo Alto), and Tulsa in Gypsy, starring Patti LuPone (Chicago Ravinia Festival).
Kate Grant has spent a life in the theatre as a teacher, writer and actress. After graduating from Juilliard, she appeared in over one hundred plays at such theaters as the Roundabout and Public in New York. Her plays have been produced at Premiere Stages, 1st Stages, Penguin Rep, Provincetown Repertory and the Actor's Studio and have garnered two Premiere Stages Festival Awards, the Berilla Kerr Award, a Jerry Kaufman Award and a Citation from the American Theater Critics Association. She received her improvisation training as a company member with Irondale Ensemble Project. She teaches improvisation, acting and writing for Broadway Student Summit and at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and this summer she will lead a seminar in comedic writing for Drew University's writer's conference, Sentences.
Daisy Hobbs: A true triple threat performer, she graduated Magna cum Laude from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama in May, 2010 with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre and that year was awarded with a National Acting Award from the National Society of Arts & Letters. She recently appeared in the National Touring company of Memphis, understudying the role of Felicia. She has also performed regionally at theaters including Paper Mill Playhouse, on TV shows for Nickelodeon and NBC, and has appeared in numerous commercials and print advertisements.
Nicole Kempskie is a writer, lyricist, theatre and media educator, director/choreographer, and Arts Education consultant in New York City. She co-founded and served as Artistic Director of Brooklyn Children's Theatre for seven years, and has worked with Disney, TADA, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), New York University, the NYC Department of Education, and Music Theatre International. She is a curriculum developer and study guide writer for BAM, and the Manager of School and Family programs at The Paley Center for Media. Her full-length musical Helen on 86th St., with Robby Stamper, premiered at the American Theatre of Actors in the spring of 2011 and the school edition is published and licensed through Playscripts, Inc. Other shows with Stamper include Mother of the Year (York Theatre), Bugtown!, The Elephant Prince, Sunset Park, The Princely Frog (Brooklyn Children’s Theatre), and The Order of Things. She holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies from the Gallatin School at NYU.
Judi Lewis Ockler is an actor, physical comedienne, stunt performer, and director. Her work as a stunt performer has put her on the sets of “30 Rock”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “Kings”, “Law & Order,” and the feature films “The Nanny Diaries,” “Enchanted,” and “Across the Universe.” She is an original member of Kendall Cornell’s Clowns Ex Machina, a critically acclaimed, all woman clown troupe performing in New York City since 2005, creating special commissioned pieces for Cirque Du Soleil & La Mama Etc. She teaches stage combat at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and The NY Conservatory for Dramatic Artss
Patrick O’Neill: Broadway: School of Rock (Associate Choreographer & Actor), On A Clear Day You Can See Forever starring Harry Connick, Jr. As a choreographer, he has staged concerts for Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara with the Boston Pops and for Mario Cantone on “The View” celebrating Barbara Walters and opening the show’s 14th Season. As an assistant and associate choreographer he as worked on Barry Manilow’s Broadway bound musical Harmony, and Jerry Lewis and Marvin Hamilish’s The Nutty Professor. As a teacher, he has served on staff for both Britney Spears’ and Usher’s performing arts intensives.
Steve Rosen has starred on Broadway in the original companies of Spamalot, directed by Mike Nichols, The Farnsworth Invention by Aaron Sorkin, the revival of Guys & Dolls and the subsequent National Tour, Peter And The Starcacther, CQ/QX at the Atlantic Theatre Company, Pretty Filthy for The Civilians, etc. He created and starred in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway musical, The Other Josh Cohen as well as the sketch comedy show Don’t Quit Your Night Job. Regionally, he has appeared in plays at Wooly Mammoth, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival and New York Stage and Film. On television, he has been seen on “Nurse Jackie”, “Ed”, “Law And Order”, “The Five Year Plan”, and “Kings.”
Michael Rossmy is a professor of stage combat at the Yale School of Drama. He has directed stage combat and performed on Broadway in Superior Donuts, A Tale of Two Cities, and the Lincoln Center production of Cymbeline. Regionally, he staged fights and performed in The Three Musketeers at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Pirates or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder’d at the Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse and Huntington Theatre, in the opera of Cyrano De Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and others. In television and film, he has acted in “The Guiding Light”, “Law and Order SVU”, and “Angels in America”.
On Broadway, Sarah Saltzberg played Logainne Schwartzandgrubenairre for two years in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She created and developed her character in C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E (upon which Spelling Bee is based), which she co-produced at the Theatorium in NYC, and appeared in both Barrington Stage productions. She has appeared off-Broadway in Junie B. Jones (Lucille Lortel), in her one-woman show Dear Diary(Broadway Spotlight Series, Ars Nova), as well as throughout NYC in long form improv comedy with the Upright Citizen'sBrigade. Sarah can be seen in the late night Broadway themed improv show Don't Quit Your Night Job, which she co-created and co-produces (www.dontquitnyc.com). Currently, she is represented off-Broadway with the comedy Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which she co-wrote with Ken Davenport.
Luis Salgado Broadway Credits: Rocky (Kid Rizzo), Women on the Verge… (Malik) , In the Heights. Other Credits: The Capeman (Public Theater), Mambo Kings (Frankie Suarez), Fame on 42nd Street. Film: Across the Universe; Enchanted; Step Up 2: The Streets; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. As choreographer, he has been an associate on Broadway’s In The Heights and films including “Step Up 2: The Streets,” “American Gangster,” and “Enchanted.”
Mark Schneider has been the Resident Director for the Broadway productions of Beautiful, Annie, Billy Elliot: The Musical and Jason Robert Brown’s all teen cast rock musical, 13. From 2003-2008, Schneider worked extensively with director Doug Hughes, serving as his regular assistant and associate director. Memorable collaborations include John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning, Doubt, the New York premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, the Tony-nominated revival of Inherit The Wind starring Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy and A Touch of the Poet starring Gabriel Byrne. Regional directing credits include Boeing-Boeing for San Diego's Old Globe and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers upcoming for the MUNY in St. Louis. Mark is a Drama League Directing Fellow, member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and a member of the SDC
Duncan Stewart is a Casting Director/Partner at Stewart/Whitley and responsible for casting the Broadway hit shows: the Tony Award® winning revival of Chicago The Musical (Broadway & tour); the 2014 revival of On The Town; the Tony Award® winning 2013 revival of Pippin (Broadway & tour); The Radio City Christmas Spectacular; The Band Wagon (City Center/Encores); and the Tony Award® winning 2010 revival of La Cage aux Folles (Broadway & tour). Upcoming Broadway shows include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (Fall 2016 starring Josh Groban). Current North American/International tours include: Once; Bullets Over Broadway; Shrek; and Elf.
Other upcoming projects include: Grey Gardens (Ahmanson Theatre, LA - starring Betty Buckley/Rachel York); West Side Story for Carnegie Hall’s 125th Season; the new Maltby/Shire musical Waterfall; and Nerds. Projects in development include: the stage adaptation of August Rush directed by John Doyle; and Stephen Schwartz’ Prince of Egypt for DreamWorks Theatrical. Stewart/Whitley are also the New York Casting Directors for The Alley Theatre (Houston, Texas), The Bay Street Theater (Sag Harbor, NY), the Broadway branded shows for Royal Caribbean Productions, US Casting for London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, and the West End’s Thriller Live. Previous projects include: The Duck Commander Musical (Las Vegas); Grey Gardens and Travesties (Bay Street Theater); Nerds (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (A.R.T & Off-Bway); Pageant (Off- Bway); The Tempest (directed by Teller at A.R.T.); The People Sing (Carnegie Hall); and the national tours of We Will Rock You; Flashdance; and Anything Goes. Prior to forming Stewart/Whitley, Duncan spent six years working as the in-house Director of Casting for National Artists Management Company (NAMCO) on various Broadway/West End productions including the West End premiere of Neil LaButes Fat Pig. Previous to this he worked with Alaine Alldaffer (Head of Casting) on numerous productions at Playwrights Horizons. Duncan has been a TV guest judge and panelist for ABC’s Emmy-winning, “Extreme Weight Loss” and Broadway TV’s “Next Broadway Star” and is often booked as a guest lecturer and seminar/workshop leader for numerous colleges, studios and universities in the US, Canada and UK. Mr. Stewart is a proud member of the Casting Society of America (CSA).
Patrick Vassel: Broadway: Resident Director Hamilton, Magic/Bird. Other directing credits include Six Character in Search of An Author (Original Adaptation, University of Notre Dame), Untitled Modern Communication Movement Piece (Workshop - Ten Bones Theatre Company), The Adventures of Boy and Girl (FringeNYC '13), We the People: America Rocks! (TheatreWorks USA nat'l tour), the world premiere of Font of Knowledge (Shelby Company), The Little Dog Laughed (The Gallery Players), Nothing Left to Burn (Ars Nova ANTFest and The Public Theater New Work NOW), and War (SoHo Playhouse). Other Assistant/Associate credits include Single Girls Guide (Capital Repertory Theatre), Stars of David (Philadelphia Theater Company), Broke House (Abrons Arts Center) and Working (Broadway Playhouse, Chicago. Prospect Theater Company, NYC).
As a writer, Patrick has developed the play Nothing Left to Burn at Ars Nova. As a teacher and teaching artist, Patrick has taught students of all ages in all five boroughs through Opening Act, The Broadway Teaching Group, and as a writing teacher at Explore Charter School in Brooklyn.
Todd Woodard has performed as an Actor at Russia's Moscow Art Theatre, LaMaMa ETC, the New York Fringe, New Dramatists and in the Atlantic Theater Company’s New Works Series, as well as in numerous independent films, television, voice projects and Theatre for Youth. He trained with the Atlantic Theater Company and with Terry Schreiber. As a Theatre Educator, Todd holds a Master's Degree in Educational Theatre from the City College of New York, and currently teaches for Lincoln Center Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and DreamYard, the Bronx's largest arts organization. He engages young actors in building acting skills, play performance, devising theatre, and a drama-based approach to improving English language fluency, and utilizes theatre techniques and experience to promote community, team-building, enhancement of social-emotional skills and empowerment of student voices. Todd has also served on the faculty of EmcArts, designing and facilitating arts-based workshops with the executive staffs of arts and service organizations in the US and Canada to help them devise their paths toward innovation; he also served as Managing Director of Arts To Grow, an organization dedicated to providing afterschool arts education to underserved youth.