Brenna McDonough instructing a student
“It was terrific to be in an atmosphere where expectations were high, but it was OK to fail, laugh, learn and try again.”
Student Evaluation

Faculty

Theatre Lab co-executive director Deb Gottesman
Deb Gottesman

Deb Gottesman is a founder and co-director of The Theatre Lab. She is also a professional actress who has performed frequently at Woolly Mammoth Theatre as well as at Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Keegan Theatre, Theater Alliance, and with the Washington Shakespeare Company, among many others. She has directed more than fifteen productions at The Theatre Lab, including Ragtime, The Crucible, The Grapes of Wrath and Jane Eyre, as well as productions for National Geographic and Catholic University’s Musical Theatre Department. Deb received her M.F.A. from Catholic University and has taught drama at the Round House Theatre, Woolly Mammoth and American University. She is a 2003 recipient of the prestigious Linowes Leadership Award for her contributions to arts education. Along with Buzz Mauro, she has co-authored three books on applied acting, all published by Penguin Putnam.

“We believe that if you’re willing to put in the work and truly throw yourself into learning the craft, you can perform at the highest level. Too often people see an audition notice and think, ‘they probably want someone with more experience, more talent, more…(you fill in the blank)… than me,’ so they won’t take that first step. How will you ever know what you have to offer until you’ve had a chance to learn what it’s all about? We feel affirmed in our belief that you can aim for the stars.”
Theatre Lab co-executive director Buzz Mauro
Buzz Mauro

Buzz Mauro is a founder and Co-Director of The Theatre Lab and a Helen Hayes Award nominee who has performed with Signature Theatre, Ford's, Studio, The Shakespeare Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, and many other companies. He received his B.A. from Yale University and has an M.F.A. in Acting from Catholic University. Along with Deb Gottesman he is the founder of Center Stage Communications, a unique consulting firm specializing in the application of acting techniques to the business world. Together they are the authors of three books on applied acting: The Interview Rehearsal Book, Taking Center Stage, and The Best Answer, all published by Berkley Books, a division of Penguin Putnam.

"There's nothing as exhilarating as experiencing a roomful of people hurling their bodies and their minds into an active exploration of what it means to be human, in ways that would be frowned upon in the typical office job. And I love encouraging that kind of behavior."
 

 

Theatre Lab faculty member Quique Aviles
Quique Aviles

Quique Aviles is the founder of Sol y Soul, a theatre company devoted to using the power of art and the creative process to transform lives and change communities. He is well-known for his work with youth in prisons and those from distressed communities. Through the creation of groups such as Spoken Resistance (winner of the 2002 Mayor’s Art Award for Outstanding Emerging Artists), he has helped young people develop original works that express the reality of their lives and place those realities within a wider social context.

“My greatest joy is seeing how, at the end of eight weeks, kids who were shy and wouldn’t talk often become the ones who won’t shut up and who blossom as performers.”
Randy Baker

Randy Baker is a director, playwright and the co-artistic director of Rorschach Theatre (rorschachtheatre.com), where he has directed numerous shows. Randy has also directed at Washington Shakespeare Company, Source Theatre, Inkwell Theatre, First Draft, NCDA's Actors Repertory Theatre, Imagination Stage, Wayward Theatre, Cherry Red Productions, Young Playwrights Theater American University and Catholic University, among others. Plays he has written have been produced and developed at Rorschach Theatre, Source Theatre, Theater J, Arena Stage, Theater Alliance, American University, George Washington University, The National New Play Network, Inkwell Theatre, Houston's Wordsmyth Theater and Manhattan Theatre Works, among others. He recently completed his residency at Arena Stage where he was an inaugural member of The Playwright's Arena, a part of Arena Stage's American Voices New Play Institute. He has also directed Theatre Lab's teen summer acting institute numerous times. He received his MFA from Goddard College and teaches at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and American University.

Theatre Lab faculty member Tonya Beckman
Tonya Beckman

Tonya Beckman has appeared as an actor at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford's Theatre, Folger Theatre, Round House Theatre, Studio Theatre, Theater J, Taffety Punk, Olney Theatre, and the Kennedy Center. Regional credits include Cleveland Play House, Fulton Theatre, Purple Rose Theatre Company, and Door Shakespeare, among others. She has taught at Baldwin-Wallace College, Ohio University, Shepherd University, Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Everyman Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Imagination Stage, and the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival. Local dialect coaching credits include productions for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Theater J, Longacre Lea, The Theatre Lab, and Constellation Theatre. Tonya holds an MFA from Ohio University’s Professional Actor Training Program and a BFA from University of Wisconsin. She is a company member at Taffety Punk Theatre Company and is an adjunct instructor at George Washington University.

Theatre Lab faculty member Carol Cadby
Carol Cadby

Carol Cadby, a 25+ year Theatre Arts educator, teaches at George Mason University, Signature Theatre, Synetic Theatre and Arlington Public Schools. She earned her B.A. from Grinnell College and M.A.I.S. from George Mason University; studied with Uta Hagen and Herbert Bergof; trained in Viewpoints, Laban Movement, Linklater Voice training and Meisner Acting Technique; and acted professionally. She serves on the Arlington Arts Commission for Arlington County and the board of the Educational Theatre Company. She represented Virginia at the 2010 Southeastern Theatre Conference (her production of Nora’s Lost). She received a Wolf Trap Scholarship for Performing Arts Teachers (2008-09), the Elizabeth Campbell Award for Excellence in the Arts from the American Association of University Women (2009), twenty-one Virginia Governor School Presidential Citations for Outstanding Educator (1998-2012), two Arts Teacher Recognition Awards from the Educational Theatre Association (2001), and an Outstanding Theatre Program Award from the Educational Theatre Association (2001).

"I thoroughly enjoy teaching in the Honors Acting Conservatory because I find the students' love for the craft of acting insprirational."
Theatre Lab faculty member Renee Calarco
Renee Calarco

Renee Calarco is a playwright and teacher. Her plays include Our National Museum of the Unforeseen Tragedy, G-d’s Honest Truth, The Religion Thing (2013 nominee for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play), Short Order Stories (2007 recipient of the Charles MacArthur Award), The Mating of Angela Weiss,Bleed, First Stop: Niagara Falls, The 12 Days of Christmas, and others. Her plays have been produced, developed, and commissioned by The Welders, Theater J, Charter Theater, Geva Theatre, Project Y, Adventure Theatre, Pinky Swear Productions, Doorway Arts Ensemble, The Jewish Plays Project, and the Source Theatre Festival. Renee teaches both playwriting and comedy improv at The Theatre Lab. She’s a founding member of The Welders and a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

“The Theatre Lab is such a joyous place to teach and learn. My students always teach me so much--about imagination and grit and the beautiful things in life. This is a great place to be.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Steven Cupo
Steven Cupo

Steven Cupo is probably best remembered by Washington audiences as the Emcee in Signature Theatre’s highly successful Cabaret, for which he received the Helen Hayes Award as Best Actor in a Musical and a nod as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s best performances in the past 25 years. He has appeared Off-Broadway in Rabboni and Success, and in tours of The Fantasticks, Hair, Pippin, and Godspell. In the Washington area he has been seen at The Kennedy Center (Sweeney Todd with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski); Arena Stage (Damn Yankees and Señor Discretion Himself); Ford’s Theatre (The Magnificent Yankee with James Whitmore); Signature Theatre (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods, Urinetown, Follies, Forum, Grand Hotel); and Source Theatre (The Importance of Being Earnest and The Harvey Milk Show, for which he received a Helen Hayes Nomination).

Theatre Lab faculty member Vince Eisenson
Vince Eisenson

Vince Eisenson is very excited to be returning to The Theatre Lab this summer. As an actor he has worked with Synetic Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, WSC Avant Bard, and PlayMakers Rep. TV credits include several shows on Discovery, OWN and National Geographic Channel. Vince teaches theatre classes at various venues in the metro region, but nothing quite compares to summer camp at The Theatre Lab.

“Teaching at the Summer Acting Camp for Kids is a high-energy adventure every year. I'm always surprised by the talents kids bring to each session, and how much they grow as an ensemble of actors in just two weeks.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey
Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey

A longtime area resident and award-winning actress, Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey regularly collaborates with a wide variety of theater and dance companies including Woolly Mammoth, Dance Exchange, Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, Theater J, GALA Hispanic Theatre and The Kennedy Center. Recent credits include Mockingbird at the Kennedy Center; Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre; The Lyons at Round House Theatre, and Detroit at Woolly Mammoth, where she is also a company member. She is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a joyful resident of Mount Rainier, MD.

Theatre Lab faculty member Kate Fisher
Kate Fisher

Kate Fisher is a singing actress whose career spans Broadway, National Tours, symphony orchestras, commercials, voiceovers, and teaching master classes. Kate has been seen as Cosette in Les Miserables both on Broadway and with its national tour. She originated the role of Jo March in the First National Tour of the musical Little Women.  Favorite roles include Anna Leonowens, The King and I (North Shore Music Theatre {IRNE nomination}); Abigail Adams, 1776 (Ford's); Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady (Arizona Theatre Co. {AriZoni nom.}); Marian Paroo, The Music Man (Kansas City Starlight); Maria Von Trapp, The Sound of Music (North Carolina Theatre Co.); Emma Carew, Jekyll and Hyde (Arvada Center {Ovation nom.}) & Bathsheba Everdene, Far From the Madding Crowd (NYMF). She has been a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Ravinia, Birdland, & Joe's Pub.  Kate has done numerous national commercials & leading voice work in animated film.  She is a Northwestern University graduate.

Theatre Lab faculty member Rick Foucheux
Rick Foucheux

Rick Foucheux’s credits include a twenty-six year stint in the fine theatres of Washington, DC, where his many roles include Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman at Arena Stage, Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night at the Shakespeare Theatre, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the Olney Theatre Center, Claudius in Hamlet at the Folger Theatre, and Erie Smith in Hughie at the Washington Stage Guild. He is a company member at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and originated the role of the dead man, Gordon, in their premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone. Mr. Foucheux received the Helen Hayes Outstanding Lead Actor Award in 2000 for the title role in Edmund at the Source Theatre, and in 2006, for the role of Mason Marzac in Take Me Out at the Studio Theatre.

“What the Theatre Lab has done is produce a teaching model that mirrors the great thing about the Washington community, and that is, the community.”
Theatre Lab faculty member George Fulginiti-Shakar
George Fulginiti-Shakar

George Fulginiti-Shakar is well known in the Washington, DC area as a music director, teacher, vocal instructor, composer and pianist. He has received Helen Hayes Awards for his music direction of Oklahoma and Cabaret at Arena Stage, and in addition has received seven Helen Hayes Award nominations for his work on such shows as Camelot and South Pacific at Arena Stage and The Oedipus Plays at the Shakespeare Theatre. He was invited to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Music Theatre Conference as music director, and has performed extensively as music director and pianist for cabaret artists here and in New York. Mr. Fulginiti-Shakar is also on the board of the DC Cabaret Network, is a cofounder of the Alliance for New Music Theatre, and is on the faculty of the Studio Acting Conservatory.

“All of the people in my classes have been highly motivated and come to class enthusiastic and ready to dig in. There's so much support for each member to do their best, especially in the "Cabaret Class" that Judy Simmons and I have taught there. In the end, we all benefit!”
Theatre Lab faculty member Michael Gabel
Michael Gabel

Michael Gabel currently appears on the HBO series Veep and in the recurring role of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on House of Cards. He has appeared in over 60 films and numerous television shows, including five years of voice work for the series The Wire. Michael has taught acting at American University, Catholic University, Montgomery College and The Smithsonian Institution. He has been the recipient of two AIR Awards (Achievement in Radio - Talent Division), the 2009 and 2011 48hr Film Festival Award for Best Acting, and picked up his 6th Peer Award (Acting on Camera - Male Dramatic) for his portrayal of the title role in The Gravedigger. He was awarded the 2012 Best Supporting Actor at the Prestigious LA Web Series Festival and co-starred with Annet Mahendru (of The Americans) as The Administrator in the feature film Sally Pacholok.

“The best thing about teaching at Theatre Lab is the ability to create your own class with its own special curriculum without the interference of the administration. I have been on faculties before where it is a luxury rarely afforded.”
Theatre Lab faculty member George Grant
George Grant

George Grant made his professional theatre debut in 1979 at The Goodman Theatre in An Enemy of the People directed by Gregory Mosher. Locally he has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre Company (with Patrick Stewart), Washington Shakespeare Company, Catalyst Theater Company, and many others. His recent forays into directing include the wildly successful Am I Black Enough Yet?, originally mounted in 2008 and remounted in 2009, for Charter Theatre Company, Bulletins from Fatland for Horizons Theatre Company, his own adaptation of Antigone for Actor’s Repertory Theatre at The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, where he is a Senior Faculty Member, and Leader of the Pack for Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville, PA.

“The diversity and enthusiasm of the students makes the work at Theatre Lab inspiring!”
Mitchell Hébert

Mitchell Hébert has performed at many of the DC area’s leading theatres including Woolly Mammoth, where he was a longtime company member; Round House Theatre, where he is a member of its Artist’s Round Table; Olney Theatre Center, where he recently directed the critically acclaimed production of Rabbit Hole; The Shakespeare Theatre, Studio Theatre, Theatre of the First Amendment, Rep Stage, and Everyman Theatre in Baltimore. He has been nominated for a Helen Hayes Award (Outstanding Lead Actor, The Drawer Boy), and received the Greater Baltimore Theatre Award for Outstanding Actor (Uncle Vanya). Mitchell is on the faculty of the University of Maryland’s Department of Theatre where he teaches acting and directing. His students are working all over the country in every aspect of the entertainment world. He played a significant role in the development of the department’s new MFA in Performance, scheduled to begin in fall 2010.

Theatre Lab faculty member Marietta Hedges
Marietta Hedges

Marietta Hedges is an actress, director and teacher. She is associate professor of acting at Catholic University and Head of the MFA Acting Program. She has worked as an actress in theatre, film and television in London, China, New York, San Francisco, and the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. Marietta played the role of Karen in the HBO award winning film Money Matters. She originated the roles of slain civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo and KKK infiltrator and FBI informant Gary Thomas Rowe in the solo show Selma '65 which premiered at La MaMa, Etc., in NYC in 2014, and subsequently toured the country in 2015.

Theatre Lab faculty and staff member Terah Herman-Saldaña
Terah Herman-Saldaña

Terah Herman-Saldaña is a full-time member of The Theatre Lab staff and supervises all youth programs. She holds an MA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky and a BA in Theatre from Capital University. Terah has previously served as the Education Associate and Summer Camp Director at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Terah has also worked as a teaching artist at Imagination Stage, West Chester Academy of Music, The Center of Science and Industry, Starfire, Kennedy Heights Arts Center, and the University of Kentucky.

Naomi Jacobson

Naomi Jacobson holds a Masters Degree in Acting from Temple University and has been a professional actress and teacher for the last 25 years. A Woolly Mammoth Company Member, she’s performed at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, as well as Arizona Theatre Company, The Goodman, Milwaukee Repertory, Delaware Theatre Co., and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Naomi has taught acting at George Washington University, University of Maryland, Catholic University and many professional theatres in the area. She’s coached all kinds of professionals in public speaking from architects, lawyers, preachers and vice presidents of major corporations. She has received two Helen Hayes Awards along with twelve nominations for her work as an actress, as well as a Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship and an Individual Artist Grant from the D.C. Arts Commission.

“There’s a lot of infectious joy at The Theatre Lab, a way of approaching the work that is inclusive, expansive, and enthusiastic. It’s always a pleasure to teach classes in such a welcoming environment.”
Theatre Lab faculty member John Judy
John Judy

John Judy is a DC area actor-writer-director who has performed on stages here as well as in Los Angeles and Chicago. His more notable credits include House of Cards, Homicide: Life on the Street and writing and performing in over 150 original sketch shows at the IO West Theatre in Hollywood. In DC, John has taught at Imagination Stage (formerly BAPA), the Rockville Jewish Community Center and the Smithsonian Associates Summer Program. John's most recent projects include HBO's Veep, the National Geographic Channel's Killing Kennedy, Lovely Molly, a supernatural thriller from the creators of The Blair Witch Project, and the on-going role of the Detective in Murder Mystery USA's touring company.

"The thing I enjoy most about teaching at Theatre Lab is being in a supportive community of talent at all levels. The respect and dedication to the actor’s craft demonstrated by all members of the Theatre Lab community, teachers, staff and students, makes it an inspiring place in which to be present. I have no doubt I have seen among my students the artists who are going to light the way for the next generation of DC talent and audiences."
Theatre Lab faculty member Craig Klein
Craig Klein

Craig Klein is a multiple-award winning voice actor with credits including Toyota, GEICO, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Walmart, Verizon, The Weather Channel, Animal Planet, Turner Sports, Smithsonian Channel, Cartoon Network, Encore, The NFL, Penguin Audio, WETA-TV and Fox5DC. He has also been seen on Washington area stages including The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Constellation Theatre, and Metro Stage, and has performed in Theatre Lab productions of Ragtime and Ghetto.

 

"Teaching at The Theatre Lab is one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Helping others stretch out and grow and make new discoveries is a gift I cherish.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Brenna McDonough
Brenna McDonough

Brenna McDonough, actor and author, has 30 years' experience as a successful actor in commercials and corporate videos. She founded her own studio, On-Camera Training, in 1995. Brenna began her career in her home town of Chicago. She then worked in Los Angeles and New York before settling in the Washington, DC area. Brenna continues to work in voice-overs as well as on-camera, including various feature films shot in the DC area. She has taught her on-camera acting class at New York University and her book You Can Work On-Camera is used in several universities including George Washington U. and NCDA. She and husband John Leslie Wolfe are the parents of two children who are actively involved in theatre and on-camera careers of their own.

“The enthusiasm the students bring to class weekly is very rewarding. Being a part of the Theatre Lab family exposes me to a wide varitey of actors and creative people. I also like being a student myself at TL and learning from other dedicated teachers.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Donna Migliaccio
Donna Migliaccio

Donna Migliaccio has been a fixture in the D.C. theatre scene for more than 20 years and has performed in nearly every venue in the area. On Broadway she portrayed radical anarchist Emma Goldman in the 2009 revival of Ragtime and appeared as General Cartwright in the 50th Anniversary National Tour of Guys & Dolls. Recent area performances include the Stepmother in Cinderella at the Olney Theatre, Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man at Arena Stage, and Betsy Ross in the world premiere of Liberty Smith at Ford’s Theatre. She is the recipient of two Helen Hayes Awards and has been honored with an additional ten nominations. Visit her webpage at www.donnamigliaccio.com.

“The Theatre Lab is a tremendous place to learn and grow. Class sizes are small enough that each student gets plenty of personal attention, yet large enough that there's a lively give-and-take in each session. I always finish my courses feeling like I've learned as much from my students as they have from me!”
Theatre Lab faculty member Scott Morgan
Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is a 30-year veteran of the stage, a 1991 Helen Hayes Award recipient, and a 1996 nominee for Lead Actor in a Musical. He has worked at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Washington Stage Guild and the Washington Jewish Theatre, among others. His television credits include NBC, ABC, HBO, Netflix and a ten-year run on Home and Garden Television. On film, he has appeared in several bad Hollywood movies and appears regularly in the avant-garde films of John Waters. As a day job, Scott runs The Morgan Group, a media training and public speaking consultancy, and is part of the creative team of Musica Aperta, a performance art group.

“I teach at The Theatre Lab for three reasons: it is incredibly well-organized, they attract an extraordinary faculty, and the high level of talent and dedication among the students. I am proud to recommend The Theatre Lab to those who are really serious about learning the craft of acting.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Dorothy Neumann
Dorothy Neumann

Dorothy Neumann is a pioneer in the small professional theatre circuit, having directed in the Washington area for over 34 years. She has received three Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding Direction—for Top Girls, Johnny Bull (both Horizons productions) and Unidentified Human Remains… at Signature—and served as Artistic Director for D.C. Stage and Goosebump Theatre. An Artistic Associate at Source Theatre, Horizons and Signature in past years, Dot has taught at The Theatre Lab almost since its inception, in addition to being an adjunct faculty member for American University and consultant for Arlington County Schools and teacher for Arlington Adult Education. Most recently she has joined the seasonal staff at Clear Space Theatre Company in Rehoboth where she has directed Cabaret, Shirley Valentine, La Cage Aux Folles and On Golden Pond. She will direct a fundraiser for Clear Space and Beebe Hospital in March 2015. Dot has recently published a book of poetry, Truth Serum.

 

“Teaching at The Theatre Lab has always been a joy. Whenever I have a new idea for a class, Buzz and Deb are always open and enthusiastic in their support. It's very rewarding to be able to explore, create and inspire students to launch them in their study in my Intro. class or to develop their newly found talent in advanced classes. Some graduates of the Conservatory have recently started their own theatre company! Contributing to that growth is bliss!”
Theatre Lab faculty member Tracy Lynn Olivera
Tracy Lynn Olivera

A classically trained singer, Tracy Olivera has appeared in many musicals and plays, including the Broadway run of Ragtime. At Signature Theatre she has been seen in Company, Gypsy, Les Miserables (Helen Hayes nomination), ACE, Merrily We Roll Along (Helen Hayes nomination), Follies, and Sweeney Todd. She has also performed at the Kennedy Center in Sunday in the Park with GeorgePassionMerrily We Roll Along, and Ragtime; at Ford’s in Hello Dolly and Liberty Smith; at Studio Theatre in Bachelorette; Olney Theatre Center in Cinderella and The Sound of Music; at MetroStage in The Last Five Years; and in Candide at the Shakespeare Theatre and at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Tracy is also a member of Rorschach Theatre Company and has taught at Catholic University, Signature Theatre for Stage One and Overtures, Adventure Theatre/MTC, and Imagination Stage. Her new self titled CD will be available in February. www.tracylynnolivera.com

Stacey Picard

Stacey Picard has been involved with the Theatre Lab Life Stories program at N Street Village in Washington, DC since 2013, and has directed that program since 2015. She has also directed Life Stories programs for middle school children at St. Rocco’s Catholic School, in the inner-city of Cleveland OH, including a program specifically designed to empower young women. She holds a Masters degree from John Carroll University and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Case Western Reserve University. She is a graduate of the Theatre Lab’s Life Stories Institute, and has apprenticed under Thom Workman and Elizabeth Pringle. She has a lifelong passion for theatre and for community work, especially with the poor and marginalized, and has served on numerous boards of organizations supporting those communities. She has taught in the low-income immigrant community of Northern Virginia since moving to the area in 2012.

Theatre Lab faculty member Elizabeth Pringle
Elizabeth Pringle

Elizabeth Pringle is a playwright, director, actor, and arts & media producer/educator. She has written plays, musicals, opera and zarzuela adaptations, operettas, articles, poems, websites, grants, a film and more. She loves working with language and image to discover meaning and hopefully make art. She has taught emerging playwrights and actors in DC (Theatre Lab, Kennedy Center, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Young Playwrights) and beyond. Elizabeth is also the creator/director of The Shortie Awards: International Film and News Festival, celebrating and promoting youth-made media.

“The Theatre Lab cares not just about teaching craft but about creating community. Deb and Buzz have a vision that theatre has an essential place in the human experience. I think this is why teaching with The Theatre Lab is so important to me.”
Theatre Lab faculty member MIchael Russotto
Michael Russotto

Michael Russotto is a longtime Washington actor and director, who has appeared in shows on many local stages, including Arena Stage, The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Theater J, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre, Theatre Alliance, The Folger Theatre, MetroStage, Rep Stage and Studio Theatre. Recent roles include The Chronicler in Falling Out of Time, and Merv in The Sisters Rosensweig, both at Theater J, and Richard in Hay Fever, at Olney Theatre Center. He was recently nominated for a Helen Hayes Award in the category of Outstanding Lead actor for his work in The Whale at Rep Stage. Michael has directed at The Actors' Theatre of Washington (cofounder), MetroStage, Source Theatre, The Washington Shakespeare Company, Studio Theatre, Theater Lab, and The National Academy of Dramatic Arts. He is an Associate Artist at Olney Theatre Center, and a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Acting Company. In addition, Michael is a narrator of recorded books for the Library of Congress.

“I love teaching at The Theatre Lab because of the enthusiasm and dedication of the people who study here. They refresh me and remind me constantly to stay positive. Also, helping other artists on their personal journeys as performers has the added benefit of making me a better performer and teacher myself. Though it may sound like a cliche, working with students keeps me sharp and focused as an artist, and it helps me to better evaluate my own work and to challenge myself to continue growing and stretching as I refine my craft.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Amal Saade
Amal Saade

Amal Saade has been teaching on the Theatre Lab youth faculty since 2007, and the Life Stories faculty since 2010. She is currently on the theater faculty at the Lab School of Washington, and has also taught at ArtStream, Inc., Imagination Stage, and Jamestown Elementary School. She is a graduate of The Theatre Lab’s Honors Acting Conservatory, and has performed at theaters including Theater J, Olney Theatre, 1st Stage, Rorschach Theatre, Taffety Punk, Young Playwright’s Theatre, and The Source Theatre Festival. She holds a Masters in Theatre Education from Catholic University.

“Working in the Theatre Lab’s Summer Acting Camp for Kids and School’s Out program continues to be the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I have ever had as a teacher. Seeing children from all walks of life learn to work together as a true ensemble and having the opportunity to facilitate their growth as artists and compassionate human-beings is a joy that I would not trade for any other.”
Carlos Saldaña

Carlos Saldaña is an actor, teacher, director, and voice coach. He has taught acting, voice, movement, directing, and stage dialects at several universities and has led performance and corporate workshops for actors, teachers, and business professionals. His professional acting credits include productions with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Theatre J, Cincinnati Playhouse, Olney Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Gala Theatre, Constellation Theatre, Source Theatre, The Welders Playwrights Collective, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Consuming The Arts Theatre Project, The Inkwell, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Carlos is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework© and has also trained in the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Stanislavski Method, and studied with master teachers including Catherine Fitzmaurice, Kristen Linklater, Arthur Lessac, and Patsy Rodenberg. Carlos earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Performance from California State University Fullerton and his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Texas El Paso.

Theatre Lab instructor Oran Sandel
Oran Sandel

As a 23-year veteran and former Artistic Director of Living Stage Theatre Company, Arena Stage’s improvisational outreach theater, Oran Sandel received national recognition working with at-risk youth and disenfranchised adults. Today, fifteen years after leaving Arena, he works as a freelance consultant, teacher, writer, director and performer to keep alive the vision of Living Stage’s late founder, Robert Alexander: to demystify the creative act and remind us all that we were born to create. As a teacher, Oran is invested in DC school reform at the preschool level, working to bring the focus of children's learning back on creativity and play. He is the lead trainer for Discovery Theater's Tools of Discovery initiative, working with DCPS teachers on their improvisational skills within the Tools of the Mind curriculum.  He is also the drama teacher at Washington Waldorf School, teaching on the high school level.  He has taught at The Shakespeare Theatre, Sitar Center, Smithsonian Associates, Kennedy Center, and is a visiting Smithsonian Scholar, conducting residencies all around the US in arts integration.

 

“As a veteran theater worker, I appreciate that Theatre Lab provides me with a forum from which I can share with aspiring theater professionals some of the insights and techniques that have worked for me over the years. Theatre Lab has become one of my home bases. When I arrive to teach, whether it's at the church or one of the sites for Life Stories, I feel like it's home for me. I am grateful to Buzz and Deb for providing this opportunity.”
Theatre Lab faculty member Kim Schraf
Kim Schraf

Kim Schraf has performed at Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Ford’s, Round House, Signature, Woolly Mammoth, Everyman, Theater J, The Theatre of the First Amendment, and the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Credits include starring roles in The Laramie Project and The Widow Lincoln at Ford's Theatre; Angels in America at Signature; Skylight and Frozen, and The Apple Family Plays at Studio; Measure for Pleasure, Freedomland and The Gene Pool at Woolly Mammoth; and Proof and Light Up the Sky at Everyman. A graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, she has been teaching since 1984, most recently at the Parkmont School. She is also a successful narrator of audio books and a speech coach. Kim helped launch the Honors Conservatory for The Theatre Lab in 2006 and continues to serve as one of its directors.

 

“My work with the Honors Conservatory students is more and more about blending craft and technique with something more elusive, but as essential: the ability to find freedom -- joy -- affirmation in their work, and the courage to avail themselves of who they are at each moment of the process. It mirrors what I strive for in my own work.”
Theatre Lab faculty member MaryBeth Wise
MaryBeth Wise

MaryBeth Wise is an actor, teacher and narrator of audio books. Her acting credits include How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Round House Theatre, Body Awareness at Theater J, Frozen at Studio Secondstage, The Importance of Being Earnest at Arena Stage, The Mineola Twins at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Midwives with Roundhouse Theatre, Perfect Pie and Piaf with Potomac Theatre Project, Vita and Virginia at Rep Stage, and numerous productions at Olney Theatre including Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker (Helen Hayes Award Nomination). She has performed with The Shakespeare Theatre, Ford's Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and The Folger Theatre. MaryBeth has toured nationally with the Kennedy Center and the National Players, and internationally with Music Tours, Inc. and USIA. She is a narrator of audio books for the Library of Congress, received her BA from Barry University, and holds an MFA in Acting from Catholic University.

“I love teaching at Theatre Lab for many reasons. I love the diversity of students who take classes at The Theatre Lab—from beginners who have never acted before to experienced professionals. I also enjoy working with students who are committed and willing to take risks ... such a pleasure to explore the acting process with these students.”