William Esper has been the head of his own studio in New York City since 1965, as well as director of the Professional Actor Training Programs at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University since their inception in 1977. He is a graduate of Western Reserve University as well as the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, where he was trained as a teacher and actor by Sanford Meisner, and with whom he worked closely as a teacher and director for 17 years.Mr. Esper was on the staff of the Neighborhood Playhouse for 12 years and Associate Director of the Playhouse’s Acting Department from 1973 to 1976. He has been a Guest Artist Teacher at Canada’s Banff Festival of the Arts, Workshops in the Performing Arts in Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as the National Theatre School of Canada, St. Nicholas Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, and the Schauspiel München Skool in Munich, Germany.In 1975-76 he was Director of the Circle Repertory Theatre Company’s workshop in New York City. He has directed and acted, both Off-Broadway and regionally, and is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York.Mr. Esper is profiled in the book The New Generation of Acting Teachers, published by Viking Press in 1987. He is a past member of the National Board of the National Association of Schools of Theatre and a former Vice-President and Board Member of the University Resident Theatre Association. He has lectured on acting at People’s Light and Theatre Company and the Screen Actors Guild Conservatory, New York City. SAG honored him with a Certificate of Achievement for his service to the profession. Professional actors with whom Mr. Esper has worked include: Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Kristen Davis, Kim Delaney, Calista Flockhart, Peter Gallagher, Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Headley, Patricia Heaton, William Hurt, Christine Lahti, John Malkovich, Gretchen Mol, David Morse, Sam Rockwell, Michelle Shay, Paul Sorvino, Mary Steenburgen, Patricia Wetting, Richard Schiff, Dule Hill, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Price, Roger Bart, Tonya Pinkins, Dean Winters, Aaron Eckhart, Wendy Malik, and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Suzanne Esper is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre where she studied with Sanford Meisner and William Esper. Mrs. Esper has worked Off-Broadway, in Regional Theatre and Summer Stock. For the Rutgers Theatre Company she played leading roles in Waltz of the Toreadors by Jean Anouilh and the English language premiere of Pirandello’s Cap and Bells.
She understudied Olympia Dukakis as Madame Arkadina in Chekhov’s The Seagull and thereafter played the role herself for Mason Gross School of the Arts. Outside the New York area she appeared in 1776 with John Raitt, H.M.S. Pinafore with Sir Martin Green and Camelot with Leonard Nimoy. She also toured extensively throughout the United States in The Songs of Jacques Brel. She has taught at the Studio since 1979. She does frequent professional coaching and, with her husband, has given workshops at the National Film School of Denmark, as well as in Oslo, Tuscany and Manheim, Germany. In 2008, she and Bill introduced Meisner work to the Russian Theater at the National Theater Academy in St. Petersburg.
Deb Jackel has been teaching Meisner-based acting technique, Audition Technique, and Cold Reading at the William Esper Studio since 2000.
Winner of the 2011 Backstage Readers’ Choice Awards for both “Favorite Audition Technique Teacher” and “Favorite Cold Reading Teacher,” Deb brings extensive experience with the business of acting to her teaching. Prior to going to train as a teacher with William Esper, Deb spent years in the New York talent agency world, representing actors at agencies including Don Buchwald and Associates, Ambrosio/Mortimer and Associates, and Abrams Artists. In her many years working on both sides of the business, Deb observed the most common roadblocks to successful auditions and has since used her knowledge to empower actors.
Deb is an expert in helping actors cultivate and protect their passion, vulnerability and uniqueness during the often misunderstood, stress-inducing audition process. She coaches actors privately on audition material and technique, and also leverages her experience to serve as a career consultant for emerging actors who wish to better understand the business of acting. She has led audition workshops at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Meisner Studio and throughout New York City. In 2010 Deb co- created “The Empowerment Weekend for Actors” with Alaine Alldaffer (casting director, Playwrights Horizons), an intensive weekend workshop devoted to the psychological and spiritual approach to the art and business of acting and auditioning.
Joel Rooks trained as a teacher and actor with William Esper and has been a member of the Studio Faculty for over 20 years. He has also worked in the theater department of the Hogeschool in Eindhoven, Holland as a guest teacher. His Broadway acting credits include Say Goodnight Gracie, Taller Than A Dwarf, The Tenth Man, and The Sisters Rosensweig. Off-Broadway credits include The Secret Order, Rocket to the Moon, Iron, Comic Potential, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Richard II, School for Scandal, After the Rain and the New York Theater Workshop’s Obie award winning production of More Stately Mansions. Regional theater appearances include Yale Rep, Williamstown Theater Festival, Long Wharf Theater, George Street Playhouse, The Vineyard Playhouse, Penguin Rep and Arena Stage. Films include It Runs In The Family, The Sightseer, Why George?, On The Run, American Blue Note, The Gig and His and Hers. TV Credits include Copshop, Ed, The Beat, Winchell, various daytime dramas and many appearances on Law & Order. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater and New River Dramatists.
Barbara Marchant is the Associate Chair of the Theater Department, Head of the BFA/ MFA Acting program, and Director of the Rutgers Conservatory Training Program at Shakespeare’s Globe at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award by Rutgers University and is the co-founder of the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe in London England. Barbara was trained by William Esper and, for the past thrity years, has taught at the William Esper Studio in NYC. Her acting credits include numerous productions in New York, both on Broadway and Off Broadway, US regional theatres and network daytime television. She is a professional coach with experience in theater, film, and prime time television both in the U.S and the U.K. Her work with Black and Blue resulted in a coveted Tony Award in New York and internationally, France’s prestigious Moliere Award as well as a nomination for England’s Olivier Award. Barbara is the author of “A Young Actors Scenebook: A Training Tool,” published by Rowan and Littlefield, is profiled in “Who’s Who of American Women” and is the recipient of the Rutgers University 2017 Warren I. Sussman award for Excellence in Teaching.
David has been working as an actor in the theater for over twenty-five years. Having been bi-coastal for a great portion of that time, he worked extensively in both New York and Los Angeles as well as regionally. During his time in New York he co-founded the Stillwaters Theatre Company, in which he shared artistic directorship. He has appeared in numerous films, soaps, and on television, most recently on Law & Order. His film credits include the lead role in Performance Anxiety, winner of the Prix De La Critique (Critic’s Choice, Best Short Film) at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994, and the feature film Thinking with Richard. Theatre credits include Clean Living, Cold Flesh, Carry the Tiger to the Mountain, Dinner with Friends, Rounding Third, Split Second, Gun Club, Parker Family Circus, Texas Homos, Magnetic North, and Noon Day Sun.
Directing credits include Eden End, The Blue Room, The Last Supper, Exit Neon, Tape, Orphans, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, The Dumb Waiter, Mary MacGregor, Red Light Winter, This is our Youth, and Home Free.
In addition to teaching at the Studio, David has taught acting at North Carolina School of the Arts, the Asolo Conservatory (MFA Program, FSU), University of the Arts in Philadelphia, California State University at Fullerton, Fordham University and Rutgers University Professional Training Program. He has also spent ten summers teaching a Meisner intensive with Deborah Hedwall, at the Ensemble Studio Theatre Summer Conference.
David holds an MFA from Rutgers University.
Bruce was most recently seen on Broadway as Michael in God of Carnage. Other Broadway: he appeared as MacMurphy when he filled in for Gary Sinise in the Steppenwolf production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, directed by Terry Kinney, and As Is. He played Adrian in the Westport Playhouse production of Arthur Miller’s The Archbishop’s Ceiling, directed by Gregory Mosher; The Dew Point by Neena Beeber, directed by William Carden; According to Goldman by Bruce Graham, directed by Pamela Berlin (Barrymore Award for Leading Actor nominee). He appeared as Robbie the genius homeless man in The Subway Plays at HB Playwrights Foundation. National Tour: Mass Appeal. A long time member of Circle Repertory Company, he performed extensively Off-Broadway with Circle Rep and other companies, including: Another Vermeer by Bruce Robinson; Endpapers by Thomas McCormack; The Destiny of Me by Larry Kramer, directed by Marshall W. Mason; Balm In Gilead by Lanford Wilson, directed by John Malkovich; Oregon by Peter Hedges, directed by Joe Mantello; Borderlines; Raft of the Medusa; The Moundbuilders; Moe’s Lucky Seven by Marlene Meyer; Babylon Gardens and many more. Regional: Two Days by Donald Margulies, directed by Lisa Peterson; Coastline by Alice Tuan, directed by Dan Bonnell; The Woolgatherer directed by Joe Brancato; Belmont Avenue Social Club; End of Summer directed by Kent Paul, and more. Film: The Crow: Salvation, Love Potion No. 9, Blowback, How To Be Louise, True Colors, Tortilla Soup, The Boy Who Cried Bitch, Ripe, Shut Yer Mouth, etc. He was Micah Simms in the Sam Raimi – John McNamara ABC series Spy Game. Other TV: Law and Order, The Practice, Profiler, Raising Kate, Judging Amy, Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, Mercy Point, among others. His directing credits include: The Parts I’ve Played, a cabaret, starring Dana Reeve, which he also co-wrote with Ms. Reeve; Major Zero by Dean Cushman; White Men With Afros; They All Choose Dancing, two short plays by Adam Rapp. Currently he is directing the one woman show Running Into Me, which is written and performed by Vickie Tanner, an Esper Studio actor. He participated in the 2008 Sundance Directors Lab.
Jennifer Monaco graduated with a degree in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, under the leadership of William Esper, where she studied the Meisner Technique and trained classically in London at what is now called Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe. While living in New York City Jennifer worked as an actress in film and television. She relocated to London, England and there had the privilege of being invited to become a member of The Factory theatre company where she worked on numerous productions under director Tim Carroll. Her teaching career began in London, and she taught in various schools becoming a lead acting instructor at Ealing Studios, MET Film school. Committed to the education of actors and to Sanford Meisner’s legacy, Jennifer returned to New York City to train with William Esper, at the William Esper Studio. She also trained with Barbara Marchant at Rutgers University and works in the theatre department there. Jennifer continues to work as a professional actress, acting coach, and teacher in both the USA and UK.
Acting For Film and TV
Linda & David Laundra
The Laundras work with Levinson/Fontana on special projects as well as producing their own films and documentaries. They created a theatrical inter-active Website for Levinson/Fontana’s The Beat, a television series for UPN. David has taught, worked and created innovative programming on-line for years. The Laundras’ first film project was Jean, based on a chapter from Mark Twain’s Autobiography. Linda adapted and directed the award-winning short and David produced and played the role of Twain’s biographer. Their award-winning documentary Legacy also played the festival circuit. They team teach Acting for the Camera at the esteemed William Esper Studio, Primary Stages and NYU. Previously, they taught On- Camera Acting at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Buffalo State University, Long Island University, Connecticut College, Weist Barron Professional Training School in Manhattan, workshops at Bucknell University, and in various cities in Canada.
Linda spent 12 years in daytime television as a producer and director. She began on CBS’s The Guiding Light then moved to NBC’s Another World and then ABC’s All My Children. She is a Daytime Emmy nominee for both directing and producing. Her directing has also been seen on NBC’s Homicide, and most recently she directed second unit on the pilot M.O.N.Y. for NBC. She was selected to participate in ABC/Disney Productions sit com training program. She co-authored and directed My Own Stranger, adapted from the writings of Anne Sexton. The award-winning play ran off-Broadway prior to touring. Linda is currently working on a screenplay from the same material. She also co-authored a screenplay, Prelude to Justice, about Judge Julius Waties Waring, who changed the face of civil liberties in South Carolina. Linda was a theatrical agent for three years, a casting director, and stage manager.
In addition to dozens of productions on stage, David has acted in commercials and industrials, a variety of films, and has appeared on all the New York based soap operas. His other TV credits include Homicide, OZ, The Jury, The Beat and Bedford Diaries. His voice-over work ranges from numerous ADR sessions on these shows and most recently 30 Rock, documentaries and books on tape. He has spent several years making movies ‘machinima’ on the internet for companies around the world. His work is primarily in Second Life, a virtual world where he has won numerous awards for his work. A personal favorite, Lip Flap, has played in numerous countries and was installed in a special exhibition in Florence, Italy. It is a film David wrote, produced and directed. He and Linda recorded the voices of the couple appearing in the piece. David has always blended the technical with the artistic. He served as Technical Director, handling lighting and camera, for 26 half-hour episodes of “The New York Theatre Review” on PBS. He taught Film and TV production at the New York Institute of Technology, and his photographs have appeared in all the New York papers.
The Laundras founded The Writers Theatre in New York City, a company dedicated to writers creating new works for the stage. The company produced nearly 40 new plays and assisted in the development of hundreds more. Linda and David also teamed together with The Theatre Guild for seven “Theatre at Sea” cruises in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Alaska. This unique program offered staged productions with celebrities like Helen Hayes, Patricia Neal, Richard Kiley, Lynn Redgrave, Colleen Dewhurst, Raul Julia, Milo O’Shea, Ann Jackson and Eli Wallach, to name a few.
Voice & Speech
Patricia Fletcher earned her Master of Arts in Voice and Speech from Antioch University, and is a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher. She has worked as Speech, Dialect, Voice, and Audition Coach for actors both on and Off-Broadway, in feature and independent films, documentaries and television, and has been a guest artist at many colleges and universities.
Her highly acclaimed textbook, Classically Speaking – Dialects for Actors, is used in university, conservatory and actor training programs throughout the United States and abroad.
In addition to teaching at the New School for Drama and the William Esper Acting Studio, she has also taught for Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts, the Actors Studio Drama School, Brooklyn College, and the New Actors Workshop. Ms. Fletcher has appeared as an actress on Broadway, Off Broadway, in regional theatre, film, and television.
In her 20 plus years of acting and teaching, Patricia has coached a wide range of stage and screen actors including Harvey Keitel, Lynn Redgrave, Jean Reno, Drea De Matteo, Elias Koteas, Gina Gershon, Michael Esper, Aaron Sanford, Leïla Bekhti, Géraldine Nakache, Manu Payet, Carman Lacivita, as well as business professionals at Court TV, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, IBM, among others.
Abroad, she has served as a member of the American delegation to the International Theatre Institute 23rd World Congress in Marseilles, to the Swedish Theatre Union Biennial in Våxjo, and as panelist for the Dürrenmatt Theatre Festival in Singapore, at the invitation of the Swiss Embassy. Patricia’s work was the subject of a featured article in the May 2007 edition of MORE Magazine, “The Sound of Experience” by Amanda Robb. For a more detailed bio, book reviews, selections from the book and CD, visit: www.patriciafletcher.com
Nancy Mayans has been teaching, performing, and directing for over twenty-five years. She has also coached numerous actors on their auditions and roles for television, film and stage. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa) and a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Yale, she went on to teach at Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Trinity Repertory Conservatory, NYU, Columbia University, and several New York acting studios. Since 1990 she has been teaching at the William Esper Studio, specializing in voice, speech, and classical text. She also spent over 12 years teaching MFA’s with Mr. Esper in the Professional Actor Training Program at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
Nancy is the creator of The Unlimited Actor, an energy-based acting method for auditions, character development, and unlocking your full creative range. She currently teaches this method at the William Esper Studio as well as in Los Angeles. Her book The Unlimited Actor is available now on Amazon and Balboa Press.
Nancy has served as acting/speech coach for HBO, MTV, and two PBS children’s television series. She has been a dialogue coach on feature films starring such actors as Gretchen Mol, Tom Conti, Jorge Sanz, Stephen Rea, and Alfred Molina. As a director, she has worked at the Riverside Shakespeare Company, the Millbrook Playhouse, Carnegie Mellon, and numerous showcase houses. As an actor/singer Nancy has performed around the world with Julie Taymor’s award-winning Juan Darien. She has also acted with the Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Yale Repertory Theatre, and the American Repertory Theatre in Boston where she is a founding member.
Eric has taught at Rutgers University, NYU, SUNY-Purchase, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and currently at The Actor’s Studio MFA program at Pace University. He is the Artistic Director of The Arcade Theatre, and a writer/performer for Hungry Hungry Hobo, as well as a fight director and member of the SAFD and AEA.
He was trained as an actor by William Esper at Rutgers University, and has performed off-broadway in New York and regionally at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Florida Studio Theatre, Actor’s Shakespeare Company, Drury Lane, and First Folio Shakespeare Festival. As a singer he has performed in several musicals, including the multiple Jeff-award winning 1776 with director Gary Griffin.
Ted Morin is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) through the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in New York City and a Master Teacher of the Williamson Technique, A Physical Training Technique for Actors. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education, studied acting in New York City with master teacher William Esper of The William Esper Studio and movement and period styles with Loyd Williamson at The Actor’s Movement Studio. Ted apprenticed to teach The Williamson Technique under the mentorship of Mr. Williamson. Since 1994, Ted has taught movement at the Actor’s Movement Studio in New York City, Rutgers University (MFA and BFA acting programs), Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (BFA acting) and NYSSSA (New York State Summer School of the Arts), a summer acting conservatory for high school students. He is acknowledged as a master teacher and teacher trainer of The Williamson Technique. Currently Ted is the Head of Movement at The William Esper Studio, NYC and is developing a movement curriculum that integrates the Williamson Technique with Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals. He has presented his work at ATHE Conferences and abroad and is the Focus Group Representative for ATME (Association for Theatre of Movement Educators). He also studied Shakespeare with John Basil of The American Globe Theatre, New York, NY and has performed extensively in the classics including Measure for Measure (Duke), Hamlet (Claudius), Comedy of Errors (Dr. Pinch/Duke), Richard III, Macbeth, Richard II and As You Like It. Most recently, Ted played Patrick in the premier production of Loaded in NYC.
Jules Helm is a graduate of the William Esper Studio 2-Year Acting Program, with an additional 4 years of scene study in the Master Class. He has done extensive film study course work at USC, UCLA, UW and AFI. Jules then apprenticed under multiple directors on numerous film & theatre productions in a wide variety of production roles. Jules started gymnastics at age 5, dance at 13 and began dancing professionally at age 17.
Today he works as an actor, dancer, director, and photographer. He teaches dance and movement at the William Esper Studio, and has been instructing private & group students in partner dance for over 15 years.
Mime & Physical Theatre
As an actor, mime and educator, Bill Bowers has traveled throughout all 50 of the United States, Europe and Asia. His Broadway credits include Zazu in The Lion King, and Leggett in The Scarlet Pimpernel, and he has appeared on the stages of Theatre for a New Audience, St. Anne’s Warehouse, EST, Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, Steppenwolf, LaMaMa, New York Fringe, and HERE.
Bill has written and performed his own plays Off Broadway and in theaters around the world. These plays include ‘Night Sweetheart ‘Night Buttercup at HERE, Under a Montana Moon at Urban Stages and the Kennedy Center, It Goes Without Saying at Rattlestick Theatre, and Beyond Words at Urban Stages. His newest play, Heyokah Hokehay, has been produced in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and the Edinburgh Festival.
Hailed by critics as “a great American mime”, Bill was awarded the Dallas/ Ft Worth Critics Award, Best of the Berkshires, Best Performance in the International United Solo Festival and International Fresh Fruit Festival.
He is featured in the film TWO WEEKS NOTICE, and on television in Disney’s OUT OF THE BOX, REMEMBER W.E.N.N., ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and ALL MY CHILDREN.
Bill holds an MFA from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, and an Honorary PhD from Rocky Mountain College. Bill studied with the legendary Marcel Marceau.
Judith Grodowitz brings an extensive background in performance and movement arts to her teaching. Alexander certified in 1987, she has private practices in NYC and Shelter Island, NY, and regularly travels internationally, teaching AT in performing arts venues. She began teaching at The Esper Studio in 2007, and is currently also on faculty at Mannes College of Music, New School U., working with instrumentalists and vocalists.
Performing with numerous NYC choreographers, Judith originated leading roles as a longtime member of the Obie-Award winning company (Best New American Play), Skyfish Ensemble, directed by Lee Nagrin. She incorporates in-depth training in a variety of movement, dance and improvisational techniques into her teaching. She was certified in The Art of Breathing in 2003, and has studied with many leaders in the international Alexander community. A lifetime of involvement with visual, language and movement arts inspires her teaching. She has a B.A. in Literature (U. of MD).
Ms. Grodowitz specializes in working with performing artists through private lessons, group classes, and rehearsal settings; her students also include people of all ages and walks of life with a variety of motivations for study.
Former and/or ongoing positions include: Bard College Graduate Vocal Arts Program; ImPulsTanz Contemporary Dance Festival, Vienna, Austria; Actors Studio Drama School, New School Univ.; P.A.R.T.S. Dance Conservatory, Brussels, Belgium; New York Theater Workshop, NYC; Vassar College Drama Dept (performance consultant); Gati Dance, New Delhi, India; Sloan Kettering Integrative Medicine Ctr (cancer patients); numerous workshops for Pilates teachers and massage therapists.
Anne is a professional member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique. She is a certified teacher who has maintained a private practice in Manhattan since 1984, and in addition recently in East Jewett, NY. Anne has extensive experience presenting the work
and training teachers nationally and internationally in Europe, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the US.
From Master Classes in classical flute in Tokyo and Osaka, to massage therapists in Ohio, to a Mexican orchestra in Guana Juato, working with singers from City Opera and the Met and The Actors Studio MFA Program in Manhattan, she continues to work with
In addition Anne was a Senior Faculty member at the American Center
for the Alexander Technique from 1987-1998, where she helped train
many teachers who practice today. Since 1992, she has been on the
faculty at Sweet Briar College, a 1-2 week long immersion in the work.
Coming from a dance background, Anne incorporates movement, anatomy,
the breath and the voice.
David Kaplan is the author of Five Approaches to Acting, a college textbook used in the United States, Canada and Italy since 2000, now issued as a series by Hansen Press. This fall the preview edition of his newest college text — “An Impolite Guide to Theater History” – was released as an e-book for early adoption at Hofstra. The full series, titled Shakespeare, Shamans, and Show Biz will be published in fall of 2013.
He has held classes for actors since 1980 in Europe, Asia, North and South America. He has taught and lectured at Bard, Hofstra, NYU, Rutgers, The University of New Mexico, The University of the South, Mississippi State University, California’s USC, The Siberian Academy of Fine Arts (in Ulan Ude), the Moscow Pedagogical University (in Samara) the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York, Metodifest in Tuscany, Italy, last summer at Acutuando sin Actuar in Mexico.
Mr. Kaplan is also curator and co-founder of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, now in its seventh year. He has staged Williams’ plays worldwide: in 2003, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale in Cantonese at the Hong Kong Repertory Theater; in 1993 the Russian premiere (in Russian) of Suddenly Last Summer; in 2008 two Williams world premieres — in Chicago, The Day on Which a Man Dies and in Boston, The Dog Enchanted by the Divine View. His “Tennessee Suite” played Dublin, Ireland in 2010. He is the author of the book Tennessee Williams in Provincetown, and the editor of the centennial anthology Tenn at One Hundred: the Reputation of Tennessee Williams.
Seasons past include staging:a Sufi King Lear in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, performed in the Uzbek language; Genet’s The Maids in Ulaan Baator, Mongolia, performed in Mongolian; the first Russian productions of Auntie Mame and Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness! Also in Russia: Macbeth and Midsummer Night’s Dream. Plays directed by Mr. Kaplan have appeared in 40 of the 50 United States.
M.Z. Ribalow (In Memoriam)
M. Z. has had 24 of his plays receive some 180 productions worldwide, including at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and numerous times in London and NY. They have won awards in London, New York, and regionally. His work is published and anthologized. He has also won national awards for fiction, his widely published poetry, and musical lyrics; co-written ten children’s books; and published articles on sports, music, theatre, literature, film, travel, and chess. He is co-author of three books on sports, and is Director of an award-winning sports website. Several of his screenplays have been optioned; he was film columnist for The Sciences magazine, and has appeared as a film historian on The Discovery Channel and on special feature documentaries of several DVD releases of classic films including High Noon and Sergeant York. He is Artistic Director of New River, which in the past decade has developed some 400 new plays and screenplays, almost half of which have already been produced or optioned worldwide. New River writers have won the Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Award, the National Medal of Arts, the August Wilson Prize and the $100,000 Simonovitch Prize, among numerous other honors. He is Director of The New River Radio Show on Art International Radio, and series editor of three anthologies: Plays from New River, Currents: New River Fiction and Capturing Chaos: New River Poetry.
Mr. Ribalow has directed plays in London and New York with Blythe Danner, Brian Dennehy, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Eli Wallach, Zero Mostel, Christopher Walken, Ruby Dee and many others. He was Joseph Papp’s Production Associate at the NY Shakespeare Festival for several years, and founded The American Repertory Company of London. He was Vice-President of The Creative Coalition with President Alec Baldwin as well as International Arts Coordinator of The Global Forum, where he worked with The Dalai Lama, Robert Redford and Mikhail Gorbachev. He is currently full-time Artist-in-Residence at Fordham University. In 2009, six of his plays were produced in New York (and another in Estonia). 2011 saw publication of his novel Peanuts and Crackerjacks, his (fourth to be published) play Masterpiece, and his poetry collection Chasing Ghosts.
Michael Akil Davis is a full time Performing Artist and Theatre Teacher as well as the Founder and Artistic Director of the new performance company LOUDSOL.
Akil earned his Bachelors in Theatre from NYU TISCH School of the Arts and has received extensive training in 4 different forms of Balinese dance, 3 forms of Thai Classical dance, Modern dance, Butoh, African, Ballet, Jazz, Kabuki, and Noh. Akil subsequently combined Balinese Thai Classical and Hip-hop to create a new dance form; which he has taught extensively at Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok, Thailand. Akil was one of the first students of AcroYoga, incorporating it into his performances and teaching.
Akil is a teacher of an extremely rare form of Mask work created originally Per Brahe, which is now taught by only 4 human beings on the planet. Akil first began as an apprentice and soon combined his own far-reaching personal experience and knowledge to the fundamental principles that Per had begun, and developed an entirely new branch of Mask work and theatre training complete with original philosophies, meditations, and exercises. He and Per now teach both as individuals and, for some lucky students, as a team – frequently at their Balinese Theatre Training program.
Akil has taught Theatre and Dance all over America, in over 7 countries, 2 of which are regular and on-going (Bali and Thailand), and is now a Professor of Mask and Art Aesthetic at NYU and SUNY Purchase. He has trained with Brahmins in Bali and Monks in Thailand. He is the creator of the Davis Technique: a completely original acting and performance technique, which is learned exclusively by long-term students.
Akil has also given many lectures (More popularly: The Zen of Alvin and the Chipmunks) and worked with psychologists at Pace University, University of Memphis, and NYU on emotional development, suicide prevention and awareness, and bridging the gaps between classical knowledge and esoteric philosophy.
Joe is a graduate of the William Esper Studio Two Year Program and Master Class all under the tutelage of William Esper. He earned his BFA in Acting from the University of the Arts Conservatory in Philadelphia where he received the Director’s Choice Award for Outstanding Performance as Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. He attended the British American Dramatic Academy, where he studied classical theatre with members of the RSC. As a working actor for the last fifteen years he has performed at The Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, People’s Light & Theatre Co., Centenary Stage, The Arden, Theatre Ten Ten; appeared on Law & Order, As the World Turns, 100 Centre Street and numerous independent films. Joe spent ten years as a member of the Society of American Fight Directors and earned his certification in hand-to-hand combat, broadsword, rapier and dagger, sword and shield, spear, staff, knife, small-sword and was awarded the highly coveted Examiner’s Award for Excellence in each test. He has also appeared on the cover of Fight Master Magazine.
Robert Z Grant
ROBERT Z GRANT is a New York-based actor and improviser. He is a founding member and co-artistic director of The Collective NY. He tours the country performing with “Broadway’s Next HIT Musical,” an improvised musical comedy. Robert trained as an actor with Bill Esper at the William Esper Studio. A very physical performer, Robert also studied Dance at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, clowning with Christopher Bayes at The Public and at Juilliard, and improvisation with Ralph Buckley. Robert has been performing and teaching improv for over 15 years. He has taught classes and workshops for high schools, colleges and universities across the country, and as far away as South Africa, and facilitated corporate training for companies such as Merrill Lynch, IBM, CNN Money, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, Swatch and more. He has taught and/or performed at every major New York improv venue, including UCB, The P.I.T., Caroline’s on Broadway, American Comedy Institute, Improvolution, ComedySportz and The Yes Show, and he performed two seasons of “Spontaneous Broadway” at Freestyle Rep. Robert has also collaborated for several years with the Writers’ Improv Workshop to develop and create improvised stories and characters for film. The first collaboration was a feature titled “42 Seconds of Happiness,” and the second feature, “The Rainbow Experiment,” is in post-production. Robert has made regular appearances on all four seasons of “Inside Amy Schumer” on Comedy Central. Robert is currently writing a book about “Improv and the Actor’s Imagination” which explores the relationship between the skills taught in improvisation and the Meisner technique. He continues to try to lead an improvised life, and to share his experience and skills to help actors become more confident and free in their craft and in life.
Studio Office Staff
Laith Nakli – Administrative Director
Jared Szafman – Program Coordinator
Angela Atwood – Student Visa Coordinator (PDSO)
Edward Wong – Administrative Associate
Quincy Beard – Adminstrative Associate
Kristina Osterling – Administrative Associate