TIFFANY FORD (Director of Education & Outreach) 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, and guided new and flagship programs and productions for Imagination Stage and Washington Improv Theatre as a director and teaching artist. She is also the Founder of Wobble Rocket Stage, Washington D.C.’s youth improv theatre. Her directing work additionally includes productions at The Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Art Stream, Source DC, Madcap Players, and The National Cathedral School.
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.
KATIE BERGER (Teaching Artist) is a playwright, composer, and teaching artist based in the Tampa Bay Area. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Northern Kentucky University and immediately began performing in professional theatre companies around the country. She is the author and composer of Full the Musical, which was staged in New York City this past summer. She loves her ukuleles, the musical Spring Awakening, and the band Hanson.
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 accomplished musician, award winning actor and director, as well as professional ballroom and latin dancer. He studied at Berklee College of Music and has performed for presidents, and, with numerous celebrities on stages around the world. As half of the duo act, Zazu’s Revue, he frequently entertains at elder care and memory care facilities, bringing happy memories and smiles to the residents.
KATIE CASTONGUAY (Teaching Artist) is an Eckerd College graduate with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. She has been a teaching artist at American Stage since 2007 and has performed in three of American Stage’s School Tour productions; Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Charlotte’s Web, and The Wind in the Willows. Recent acting credits include Fahrenheit 451, Hay Fever, Crimes of the Heart, and All New People, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Jobsite Theatre, Biloxi Blues at Stageworks and Musings of a Postmodern Romantic with Tampa Repertory Theatre.
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.
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.
CHRIS JUUL (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Education program taught under the direction of fellow Teaching Artists Gavin Hawk and Ricky Wayne and has been performing improv regularly with his troupe ‘As Per Usual’, both around the country and as an American Stage Theater Improv House Team. Chris has also performed stand-up comedy and done character acting for many years, including appearances in several award-winning educational videos for the Tampa Museum of Art and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Additionally, Chris currently is a graphic designer and instructor at an applied trades high school and has earned several awards for his teaching, including a City of Seminole Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year, 2012 State of Florida Teacher of the Year nominee and was selected as the 2017 Outstanding Career and Technical Instructor of the Year. Additionally, Chris is an accomplished multi-media artist who has released several titles of his work featuring collaborations with artists / musicians Brian Eno and Mickey Hart among others. He studied film and graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and screenwriting and film production at Columbia College in Chicago, and also holds an AA in vocational education from USF.
PATRICK MCINNIS (Teaching Artist) has been a performer for over 25 years. He has performed locally in plays, musicals and, most recently, in his own one-man show, The Comedy Hypnosis Experience. In addition, Patrick performs with The Third Thought in the area’s longest running weekly improv show. He has completed intensive studies with Piero Proccacini, a Second City and Improv Olympic graduate, and Kevin Mullaney, former instructor at ImprovOlympic and UCB, along with several workshops. Patrick has been teaching long form improvisation since 2011.
KATELYN MCKELLEY (Teaching Artist) An Idaho native, Katelyn graduated from Idaho State University in the spring of 2012, receiving Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre, her emphasis being acting. Having completed two years as an acting apprentice at Florida Studio Theatre, she had the privilege of being a part of the fall children’s show Rap-Punzel, the Playmakers Tour, and two years of Under Six and Seven Up productions. Some of her favorite shows throughout her career thus far include Wait Until Dark (Suzie), Merry Wives of Windsor (Mistress Ford), and the staged readings of Ugly Lies the Bone (Kacie) and Sans Merci (Tracy) in FST’s New Play Festival. Katelyn has had the great fortune of being a part of FST Improv for the past year and a half and the sketch comedy group Millennial Fresh. Katelyn was introduced to American Stage this past fall in the children’s tour of Charlotte’s Web, where she had an absolute blast puppeteering several characters. Since then, she has been working as a teaching artist for children, teens, and adults, in acting, improv, sketch, and playwriting.
LOGAN MECKLENBURG (Teaching Artist) holds a BFA in Theatre from University of the Arts. She has since performed on stage and television, directed theatrical events, and worked in casting. Upon her return to Florida she discovered her passion: using theatre as a tool to empower at-risk youth. Logan has also taught for Youth Arts Corps, Creative Clay, and Act Up! where she also serves as Creative Director.
SHREY NEIL (Teaching Artist) is an actor and comedian in Film, Television, Theatre & Improv. Shrey’s improv training began alongside the formation of the Improv Program at American Stage where he spent years training under Hawk & Wayne, learning their unique style and approach to improv comedy. He performs regularly on the house team ‘As Per Usual’ at American Stage. Shrey currently studies Improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City and studied sketch writing with The Second City – Chicago. Shrey is a proud member of SAG – AFTRA and a member of The Performers Studio Workshop. Trained in Acting at Yale University, American Conservatory Theatre, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
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).
SOOLAF RASHEID (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. She also holds an Education Certification in Florida. Soolaf has been teaching with American Stage since the summer of 2007, and has worked as a teaching artist for other companies including the Youth Arts Corps, ACT UP, and the Patel Conservatory. Soolaf currently teaches at Montessori Academy in Tampa and continues to work as an actor, stage manager, and touring artist. Most recently, Soolaf was seen in Ghostlight Theatre’s DURANG ONE ACTS WITH A TWIST, A NIGHT OF INAPPROPRIATELY FUNNY MOMENTS, and ALL IN A DAY’S WORK. Some of her favorite roles include Stranger (THE DOORS), The Dark Lady (ELIZABETH AND EDWARD), Lina/Edith (A DREAM PLAY), Peggy (THE HUNDRED DRESSES), Lenora (THE LONG CHRISTMAS DINNER), Zerbinette (SCAPIN), and Angel (WHEN YOU COMIN’ BACK RED RYDER).
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.
JESSICA K. SCRUGGS (Teaching Artist) is currently the Director of Musical Theatre at Blake School of the Arts in Tampa. Additional teaching experience includes the Patel Conservatory, Broadway Dance Center of New York City, Gateway Playhouse Acting School, New York Film Academy, Front and Center for Performing Arts, and Steps School of Dance. She also served as a resident director/choreographer for the Nickelodeon live shows on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Throughout New York, Jessica has worked as a director and choreographer for new plays, full-scale musicals, Shakespeare productions, short films and music videos. As an actress, Jessica appeared last year in OF MICE AND MEN at Stageworks in Tampa and has various Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway credits including ROOM SERVICE and THE LUNAR ACADEMY, and several original works. She has also had principal roles on “One Life to Live”, “30 Rock”, “3 Lbs.” and AMC’s “Rubicon”. Jessica graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City and holds her BA in Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. She has spent time training at CAP21 and The Actor’s Institute where she began her studies with master teacher, Allen Schoer.
BRIAN SHEA (Teaching Artist) is an award winning actor and filmmaker, Brian has performed professionally throughout the Tampa Bay area. His resume includes, THE SANTALAND DIARIES, ART, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (American Stage); HARVEY, THE BUFFALO KINGS (freeFall Theatre), A SKULL IN CONNEMARA, VANYA AND SONYA AND MASHA AND SPIKE (Jobsite Theater); WAITING FOR GODOT (Stageworks); DEATHTRAP, LEND ME A TENOR (Hat Trick Theater). He is a multiple recipient of Creative Loafing’s “Best of the Bay” Best Actor award. He co-produced and is the lead actor of the independent feature film, WAITING ON MARY, which received the Audience Award for “Best Florida Production” at the 2016 Gasparilla International Film Festival. Brian received his B.A. in Theater Performance from the University of South Florida.
ALLY THOMAS (Teaching Artist) is a theatre artist from Tampa, Florida. Ally was the Education & Outreach Apprentice at American Stage during the 2016-2017 season. She also was the School Tour Manager for GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE in 2016, performing to thousands of students across the Bay Area. She’s worked as and actor, stage manager, designer and is now exploring the world of theatre education, having worked as a teaching artist with both American Stage and Florida Repertory Theatre. After graduating with a BA in theatre from Samford University, she was a season-long intern at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre. Highlights from that internship include performing in anti-bullying outreach shows at schools throughout the Detroit area. Now she’s back in her home state, glad to be working for local professional companies! Favorite credits include THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (Miss Flannery) with Spanish Lyric Theatre, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR (Agatha) with Tampa Rep and LES MISÉRABLES (Madame Thénardier) at The Ritz.
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