TIFFANY FORD (Director of Education & Outreach, Director of Improv) is a director, producer, and teaching artist dedicated to inspiring intellectual, emotional, and artistic growth through theatre education. Tiffany came to American Stage after expanding youth and adult outreach programs as the Education & Outreach Specialist at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Prior to her work with Asolo Rep, Tiffany spent seven years in Washington D.C., where she worked with the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, as well as Imagination Stage, and Washington Improv Theatre as a teaching artist and director. Her directing work additionally includes productions with The Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Art Stream, Source DC, Madcap Players, The National Cathedral School, and more. Tiffany is a graduate of Theatre UCF, and recipient of the Gene Columbus Award.
MARISSA NICOLE KOCH (Education Coordinator) studied Theatre and Performance at the Theatre Academy London, and graduated from the School of Theatre at Florida State University. Growing up in the American Stage education programs, she has a passion for performing and teaching, and has been a Teaching Artist in the Education Department since 2011. She has appeared in several productions, including LES MISÉRABLES (Cosette), PIRATES OF PENZANCE (Edith), SWEET CHARITY (Charity), SHE LOVES ME, HENRY V, GUYS AND DOLLS, and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. She currently lives in Downtown St. Petersburg and, when not on stage or in the classroom, enjoys crafting of all kinds, as well as enjoying the beautiful Florida weather.
PATRICK A JACKSON (Education & Improv Associate) is an actor, playwright and teaching artist. He is an alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he received his B.A. in Drama and has studied with the British American Drama Academy. Patrick’s love for theater is rooted in improvisation, spoken word and story telling. Prior to American Stage, Patrick spent several years as the Education & Outreach Associate at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, FL where he assisted with the growth and development of their WRITE A PLAY Program and other community outreach initiatives. Patrick is also a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, Inc. and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
DEDEE ALECCIA (Lecturer for the Mainstage Lecture Series) Professor Emerita Dedee Aleccia received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Rosary Hill College and her two Masters’ degrees (in English and Art History) from SUNY Binghamton. For her Master’s degree in Art History, Dedee conducted on-site research on the Thomas Becket window cycle at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Dedee has held professorships at Broome Community College and Montgomery College and has served as adjunct professor at SUNY Binghamton, the University of Baltimore, and Eckerd College. Among the many literature subjects she has taught are world literature, British literature, the Bible as Literature, 19th century literature, modern drama, and Shakespeare. In art history she has taught such subjects as world art, Greco-Roman art, medieval art, Renaissance art, and 19th century art. She has served as director of Montgomery College’s Honors Program and has taught several honors courses. Awarded the opportunity to serve as a Smithsonian Fellow, she researched images of labor in 19th century art.
CASSIDY BROOKS (Teaching Artist) is an actress, writer, and was once an American Stage student herself! After taking classes with American Stage for over a decade, she’s happily moved to the other side of the classroom. Theatre is a solace for Cassie and her goal in every class is to build ensemble and help kids see how important their voices are. You might have seen her recently in THE ICEMAN COMETH (Tampa Repertory Theatre) or in American Stage’s reading of STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR. Besides educating and acting, Cassie loves raccoons, gummy bears, and comfortable pants.
WILLIAM BRYANT (Teaching Artist) William Bryant is an award winning actor, director, music director, dancer, and singer. He began music directing at age 15 and attended Berklee College of Music. While working with a big band orchestra, William fell in love with ballroom dancing and traveled the world for years as a professional dancer. He has worked in every aspect of theatre for over 40 years. His most rewarding projects include developing a wheelchair ballroom dance program and performing for area elderly memory care homes.
ALISON BURNS (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and she has been working as a professional performer and teacher for over 14 years. Alison has starred in numerous shows including Off Broadway’s hit musical DISENCHANTED!, the national tour of the Broadway Musical Rent! (Maureen), American Stage’s own Hairspray (Velma), Spelling Bee(Olive), Rocky Horror Show (Janet), and many more regional shows all over the country! Her choreography has been seen in Jobsite Theatre’s Three Penny Opera, Lizzie andSilence! TBPAC’s Rocky Horror, Godspell, Respect and Blake High School’s Urinetown! Her directing credits include: Grease, Willy Wonka, Godspell and everything original she has ever created. She owns Find Your Light Coaching in Seminole, FL where she can be found coaching students of all ages in private voice, film and audition prep.
COLLEEN CHERRY (Teaching Artist) is a St. Pete based singer and theatre artist. She is a graduate of Pinellas County Center for the Arts and holds a BA in Performing Arts from The University of Tampa. Recent theatrical credits include starring in the the Straz/Jobsite Theater co-production of LIZZIE and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE at American Stage. She started teaching theatre at Galaxy Center for the Arts (where she began performing at 4 years old!) throughout high school & college. She has taught theatre based classes, camps and workshops to youth and teens all over Tampa Bay and beyond and spent several season touring Florida in interactive, educational shows with Stages Productions Family Theater. She is a member of the 20 piece band The Florida Bjorkestra previously featured as the lead vocalist for Life on Venus: The Florida Bjorkestra Plays Bowie and as everyone’s favorite vampire slayer in Buffyfest at The Palladium. By day Colleen works in administration at American Stage.
SCOTT COOPER (Teaching Artist) is an Associate Professor and the Head of the Theater Department at Saint Petersburg College where he has directed Xanadu, Fools, Godspell, All in the Timing and The Laramie Project. He has also directed for Eckerd College. You may also know him as a guy who designs some scenery here and there (American Stage, Jobsite, Gorilla, Jaeb, Stageworks in the Tampa area). He is thrilled to be directing for the American Stage Teen Summer Institute and the Education department. www.scottcooperdesigns.com
ALEXANDRIA CRAWFORD (Teaching Artist) is thrilled to be back working at American Stage as a Teaching Artist. Last season she was apart of the inaugural class of acting and production apprentices that worked in various departments of the theatre company, including the education department. Last season, Alexandria was featured in the final play of the August Wilson Century Cycle, JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE as Martha Loomis Pentecost. Alexandria graduated in 2016 from Rollins College, where she received her B.A. in English and Theatre Arts. Her most recent credits include THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, REEFER MADNESS, LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER, and ANNA IN THE TROPICS (Rollins College). You can follow Alexandria and all of her acting endeavors on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/missalexdiva18.
JENNA FELDER (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Training Program. Taking an improv class was a “bucket list” item for her after going through breast cancer in 2013, and she hasn’t looked back since. Jenna grew up in the performing arts studying both dance and musical theater. As an adult, she was attracted to improv as a way to get back on stage in a fun and unique way. When not at American Stage, Jenna manages her own small business that helps local non-profit organizations create strategies for success and generally move the needle to get things done. Her areas of expertise include event planning, grant writing and donor development and management. She currently performs with the ASI house team, As Per Usual, which can be seen the third Saturday of each month.
PAUL E. FINOCCHIARO (Teaching Artist) has directed and choreographed close to 50 productions. He is a proud and active member of the Actor’s Equity Association since 1992.
A native of the Boston area, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance and Voice from The Boston Conservatory and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Currently He is a professor of Theatre and Dance at The University of Tampa where he is the only professor who teaches in the areas of Theatre, Dance and Music. Previous to his tenure in Tampa, Paul was a professor of Musical Theatre at Minnesota State University, Mankato for 9 years.
Before getting his M.F.A., Paul was a singer/dancer/actor all over the world. He has performed in the National tours of West Side Story, Ziegfeld and Gypsy. He was the lead dancer of the European tour of the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. He has performed in regional theatres all across the country. He was a Production singer for Carnival Cruise lines and performed as a singer & dancer in Las Vegas for eleven years. Paul Was in the original Las Vegas company of Starlight Express where he played 10 roles in 3 years…On roller skates! He has performed with such stars as Michael Crawford, David Cassidy, Sheena Easton, Chita Rivera, Jay Leno, Florence Henderson and Vanessa Williams. He has also acted in many Television shows, Movies and commercials.
MADI FLYNN (Teaching Artist) is a student, actress, and educator. She is in the process of transferring to USF in Tampa to pursue a degree in Speech-Language Pathology with a minor in theater. Recent work includes Bennington College’s Fefu and Her Friends as well as several shows at the Francis Wilson Playhouse in Clearwater. In all her work, be it onstage or in the classroom, she strives to foster a compassionate and collaborative environment where people can express themselves truly as they are. You can connect with her through Instagram at @madi_amelia.
KARA GOLDBERG (Teaching Artist), a St. Petersburg native, graduated from Flagler College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts in 2010. Since then, she has been working as a professional theatre artist, including 5 years of Teaching Artist experience, for companies throughout the Tampa Bay area. Kara recently started her own company, Kara Gold, LLC. which specializes in digital marketing consultation for the theatre, with a focus on publicity photography and videography. Kara can also often be seen on stage as well as behind the scenes in various roles. For more info, visit Kara-Gold.com.
GAVIN HAWK (Teaching Artist) grew up in the Los Angeles area. He studied Long-Form Improvisation and Sketch Comedy in Chicago at Second City and The Annoyance Theatre, and he earned his undergraduate degree in Theatre from The Juilliard School, and his masters degree in Theatre from California State University, Long Beach. In addition to improvising, he regularly acts and directs for theatre companies in the Tampa Bay area. Recent acting credits include The Pitmen Painters, Art, Barefoot in the Park,The Foreigner (American Stage), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (freeFall Theatre). Recent directing credits include Cloud 9, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Closetland (Jobsite Theater), One Slight Hitch (American Stage), Death and the Maiden, Congratulations, Joe!, Good Egg, and Miracle on South Division Street (A Simple Theatre). He received a Theatre Tampa Bay award along with his fellow cast members in The Pitmen Painters in the category of Outstanding Ensemble in a Play, and was nominated by Theatre Tampa Bay in the category of Outstanding Director of a Play for his direction of Good Egg. In addition to co-creating and being a Teaching Artist for the Long-Form Improvisation program at American Stage, Gavin is also a Professor of Theatre at Eckerd College, a member of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, and a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
MOLLY HEALY (Teaching Artist) is a University of South Florida alumnus with degrees in Theater Performance and History. This is Molly’s second year teaching with American Stage where she has run classes in improvisation for children, acting at PARC and assisted in one of the high school playwriting classes. Previously, she worked with Tampa Creative Camps as a teacher, stage manager, and director. As an actress, Molly has appeared in several productions in the Tampa area including Othello, R.U.R and The Waiting Room. She also toured many local elementary schools in American Stage’s School Tour production of Rembrandt Takes a Walk.
JOHN HULS (Teaching Artist) John Huls is a veteran actor, producer, director, and educator, who has performed in just about every bay area theater. An alumnus of U.S.F. (BFA) and Tampa’s School of Night improv group, John taught theater at Patel Conservatory and Berkeley Preparatory School for over 20 years. He also served as Educational Director at American Stage.
SADIE LOCKHART (Teaching Artist) is from Rhodesdale, Maryland. She received her BFA in Acting from Towson University in 2015, with minors in International Studies and Spanish. She has been a teaching artist in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the U.S. Recently she toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre acting and directing a show with young artists across the mid-West. She was an acting and production apprentice at American Stage for the 2016-2017 season and has performed in A.S’s school tour. Sadie is a founding member of ‘The Oven,’ a theater for social change company in Baltimore, MD. Her recent credits include: THE LITTLE MERMAID (MCT); RIKKI TIKKI TAVI; HAIRSPRAY; IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE; AMERICA:A MOSAIC and GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE (American Stage); COMMODITIES and GONE (The Oven); TAMING OF THE SHREW and HENRY IV PART 1 (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory).
DAVID O’HARA (Teaching Artist) has been considered a vanguard for theatre in the Tampa Bay area as a director, actor, writer, and theatre administrator. He received a BA in Theatre Arts and a BFA in Stage Direction from the University of South Florida. The son of two educators, David has devoted most of his professional life in the area of theatre education. As the Artistic Director of both The Playmakers and The Loft theatre companies, he was responsible for their educational programs. He had been the acting teacher for both teen and adult programs at The Patel Conservatory for five years. David was the Director of Acting at Blake Magnet School for the Arts and is currently the Drama teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School. His work at both schools generated plays that have been showcased at The Florida State Thespian Festival, the largest festival for high school theatre in the world (Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind for Blake HS and The Awesome 80s Prom for Mitchell HS).
SARAH PULLMAN-ATANACIO(Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Performance. As an undergraduate, Sarah spent three summers working for UM’s Camp Imagination Program as an instructor and director. She also spent seven years with the groundbreaking Flint Youth Theatre (FYT) under Executive Artistic Director, William P. Ward. Sarah served as an Apprentice Artist, performing in youth-centric shows and assisting in theatre classes for various age groups. FYT original production credits include SPIRE, STRANDS: THE LEGACY OF 9/11, MY SOUL TO TAKE, VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS, and ALL HALLOWS EVE. After graduation, Sarah moved to New York City where she worked as an actress, performing in such productions as WHATEVER AND DELICATELY, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, CASINA, CALAMITY JANE BATTLES THE HORRIBLE HOOP SNAKES, and SIMILARITIES. With American Stage Education, she teaches ages 5 through 12 in acting, improvisation, Shakespeare, and playwriting. Recent Tampa Bay acting credits include WHAT’S YOUR STATUS? (Jobsite Theatre), HOTBED HOTEL US (Early Bird Dinner Theatre), and AS YOU LIKE IT, TWELFTH NIGHT, CYMBELINE, and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival).
DAVINA REID traveled the country as a military spouse and physical therapist prior to getting back to her roots in entertainment. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Davina was raised in the entertainment world with her father who was a SAG-AFTRA/AEA actor and drama teacher. Enjoying the fun, collaborative, in the moment storytelling of improv, she trained and graduated from the American Stage Improv Training Program. She performs with the ASI House Team, As Per Usual, every second Sunday of the month. Davina is also an actor and member of SAG-AFTRA, most recently appearing in Lifetime’s “Christmas in Mississippi”.
MATT SCHWARTZ (Teaching Artist) grew up in North Jersey and received a B.S. in Theater with a writing concentration from Skidmore College. During his seven years in LA, Matt and his writing team created and sold several projects including a musical children’s show for the Jim Henson Company and a movie musical based on Rufio from the movie “Hook”. Matt has acted in all manner of commercials (including Target, Staples, and Nintendo), and trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre where he was eventually invited to join the team “Quick and Funny Musicals”. Looking for change and consistency, Matt recently made the move to St. Peterburg where he studied computer coding, works in marketing, and teaches/coaches improv and sketch comedy to teens and adults. He is also in the workshop phase of his new musical, “Moments Awake”, which had its first reading at St. Pete’s own Studio @ 620.
GAVIN STARK is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Training Program. After watching his girlfriend’s progress with improv classes at American Stage, he joined the program as a counterpoint to his logical, structured world a software engineer and as a way to improve his public speaking for a new job as a teacher. Away from American Stage, Gavin is both Chief Technology Officer and an instructor at the Academy at Suncoast Developers Guild where he teaches web development to adults who are transitioning careers. He has even found ways to combine his worlds, developing a custom application to run the “tech” for last season’s Hawk and Wayne show, Karaoke Prov. He currently performs with the ASI house Team, As Per Usual, which can be seen the third Saturday of each month.
TAYLOR SWEAT (Teaching Artist) is a recent graduate of the American Stage Apprentice Program, where she served as the Production and Stage Management Apprentice for the 2017/2018 season. She is thrilled to be returning to American Stage as a teaching artist! Taylor has worked in all areas of the theatre throughout college and beyond, and has been fortunate to teach theatre to children from kindergarten to high school. When she’s not in theatre, Taylor enjoys trips to Disney, reading, and trying to snuggle her cats. Favorite stage management credits include THE PRODUCERS, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, THE FOREIGNER, and BAD JEWS. Taylor is an Equity Membership Candidate and a member of the Stage Manager’s Association.
KATHLEEN TAYLOR (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Training Program. She currently performs with the ASI house team THE MARVELOUS MARVIN SHOW, as well as several indie improv teams including PREVIOUSLY ON and EX SNACKINA. Previously, she performed on the 2017-2018 ASI House team, POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS. Kathleen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with her own healthcare consulting practice focused on helping clinicians develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy. Her specialty is in end-of-life care, a field in which she has worked for almost 25 years. She was originally drawn to improv as a way of better understanding communication between patients and health practitioners, and she is interested in the science of applied improvisation. You can see her in action every 3rd Saturday this season at ASI Improv Night!
ALLY THOMAS (Teaching Artist) is a theatre artist from Tampa, Florida. She’s thrilled to be on the teaching staff with American Stage, after working as the Education & Outreach Apprentice during the 2016/2017 season. Ally was Tour Manager for American Stage’s annual School Tour production of GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE (2016) and RIKKI TIKKI TAVI (2017). This is the company’s longest-running and widest-reaching program, seen by thousands of students across the Bay Area each year. She has worked professionally as an actor, teaching artist, and stage manager with theaters in Florida and across the country. Favorite performance credits include THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (Spanish Lyric Theatre), THE CHILDREN’S HOUR (Tampa Rep), LES MISÉRABLES (The Ritz), and SISTER ACT (Eight O’ Clock Theatre). BA in Theatre from Samford University, Certificate in New Play Performance from Hollins University (2019). allythomas.info
KAYLA TOMAS (Teaching Artist) is a New York City-based performer originally from Coral Springs, Florida. She is a graduate of the School of Theatre at Florida State University and the Theatre Academy London, where she studied Theatre and Performance. Upon graduation, she was a member of the Acting/Education Internship Class at Florida Repertory Theatre for their 2014-15-performance season. There, she taught Musical Theatre in the education department and toured Theatre For Young Audiences productions in repertory for elementary and middle schools in the tri-county area. Her work in regional theatre includes Ocean State Theatre Company, American Stage Theatre Company, Alhambra Theatre & Dining, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, RWS Entertainment Group and Hersheypark Entertainment and Resorts, working with directors and choreographers such as Richard J. Hinds, Chip Abbott and Gordon Greenberg. Favorite credits include Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family), Penny Pingleton (Hairspray) and Betty Jean Reynolds (The Marvelous Wonderettes). A product of theatre educational programming as a child, Kayla values the importance of creativity and exploration as a means to develop, engage and discover potential. She is now a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. www.kaylatomas.com
RICKY WAYNE (Teaching Artist) was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has trained and taught at Children’s Theatre Workshop and American Conservatory Theatre in theatre and acting, and at The Groundlings in Los Angeles in improvisation and sketch comedy writing. American Stage audiences might remember him as Carl from OPUS in 2010, Marc in ART in 2013 and as Tartuffe in TARTUFFE in 2016. Currently he is in his 9th year in residence here at American Stage performing the first Sunday of the month as one half of Hawk and Wayne, a long form improv comedy duo with local actor and director Gavin Hawk in KARAOKE-PROV (THE DUMB SHOW, 321, THE MEMORY, NEWS OF THE WEIRD: LIVE!, IT’S A LIVING!, THIS IS A COMEDY SHOW, THE MOCKUMENTARY and ANYWHERE, USA) and is a founding member of American Stage Improv. Other local theatre credits include A Simple Theatre’s CONGRATULATIONS, JOE! and The Heather’s SPEED-THE-PLOW, ON TIDY ENDINGS and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. He currently works in television and film. Recent film credits include Girls Trip, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Television credits include recurring roles in WGN’s Outsiders, Netflix’s Bloodline, AMC’s The Walking Dead and Sundance Channel’s Rectify. Most recently he can be seen in Madden NFL 18: Longshot as Ross Fountain. He is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association. www.rickywayne.com