José Carrasquillo teaches Grotowski technique in 2019
Theatre Lab staff members are professionals dedicated to the needs of our students. Our faculty consists of many of the area’s top theatre practitioners and educators.


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.”
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. In 2003 he received the Linowes Leadership Award for his contributions to arts education in Washington. Along with Deb Gottesman he is the founder of Center Stage Communications, a 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. Buzz is also composer and co-lyricist of The Kids’ Table, and composer and lyricist of Alix in Wonderland.


"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."


Quique Aviles

Quique Aviles, originally from El Salvador, has been writing, performing, and leading community arts projects for more than 35 years. After graduating from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 1985, he co-founded the LatiNegro Theater Collective, which brought its socially conscious theatre to schools, jails, and community centers. In 1999 he co-founded Sol & Soul, an arts and activist organization, where he directed a summer street theater project. His poetry and commentary have been featured on NPR, local public radio, and in several anthologies. He has written and performed 11 one-man shows dealing with issues of race and identity. In addition to his solo work, Quique was a founder and is the current director of Paso Nuevo, GALA Hispanic Theatre’s award-winning youth theatre program.

“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 playwright, director and co-Artistic Director of Rorschach Theatre. Recent shows he has directed with Rorschach include Very Still and Hard to See (Five Helen Nominations including Best Director), The Electric Baby, She Kills Monsters, The Minotaur and After the Quake. Recent shows he has directed outside of Rorschach include the seven-room living installation piece, Hello, My Name Is… at The Welders, a shadow puppet gamelan-inspired A Midsummer Night’s Dream at WSC Avant Bard, Big Love at Catholic University, Anon/ymous at Georgetown University and his own adaptation of Rashōmon at American University. Recent playwriting projects include the world premieres of Forgotten Kingdoms and Truth & Beauty Bombs: A Softer World at Rorschach Theatre and workshops and educational productions of The Burning Road (Arena Stage), Monastery (Theater J), Rashōmon (American University and Spooky Action Theatre), Circus of Fallen Angels (NCDA and American University) and wild42hold (George Washington University).

Tonya Beckman

Tonya Beckman has appeared as an actor at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford's Theatre, Folger Theatre, Round House Theatre, Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Theater J, Taffety Punk, Olney Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co., Constellation Theatre Co (Helen Hayes Lead Actress nomination), the Kennedy Center, Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Center Stage, Fulton Theatre, and Totem Pole Playhouse. She has taught at American University, Shepherd University, Baldwin-Wallace College, Duke Ellington School for the Arts, The Theatre Lab, The Actors' Center, as a teaching artist for a variety of theatre companies, and is on the faculty at George Washington University. Local dialect coaching credits include productions for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Theater J, Rep Stage, Lean and Hungry Theatre, Longacre Lea, The Theatre Lab, and Constellation Theatre. She is a company member at Taffety Punk Theatre Company.

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.”
Theresa Caldwell headshot
Theresa Caldwell

Theresa Caldwell is a Certified Listening Professional (International Listening Association) who incorporates theater and listening skills into workshops she leads on the impact of trauma on lifelong wellness as a consultant, with Integration Solutions, and as part of a Learning Collaborative under the auspices of the Petersburg Health Department—Crater Health District (Virginia Department of Health). She has completed the Life Stories Institute at The Theatre Lab, is a member of the Richmond-based Love Locked Down Theatre Project, and is a Certified Trauma Professional (International Assoc. of Trauma Professionals). Theresa is also a Certified Group Fitness Instructor (American Council on Exercise), and one of the Richmond region’s Sports Backers Fitness Warriors. She has led a variety of effective communication workshops, and worked for almost 20 years as a producer and substitute host at WHUR-FM.

José Carrasquillo

José Carrasquillo is a theatre director and educator. Recent credits include The Brothers Size at 1st Stage in Reston, Virginia and Rhinoceros at Tantrum Theatre in Athens, Ohio. Favorite local credits include Nat Turner in Jerusalem, The Body of an American, El Paso Blue, After the Fall and Happy Days. He has taught/lectured or directed at The Theatre Lab, Juilliard School of Drama, UMD at College Park, Catholic University, the University of Washington (Seattle), Cornish College for the Arts, Ohio University at Athens, and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts. Jose serves as the Director of Artistic Programming at Ford’s Theatre.

Evan Casey

Evan Casey has worked as an actor, singer, director and teacher for over fifteen years. His acting work has been seen locally at The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Signature, Round House, and Olney Theatre Center, regionally at Everyman Theatre, New London Barn, North Carolina Theatre, and Off-Broadway at the TBG Theatre, York Theatre, and the New Victory. He was recently nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play forThe Flick at Signature Theatre. He has toured the country—and recorded multiple albums and radio specials—with the political satire group, The Capitol Steps. Evan’s TV and film work includes the award-winning western web series Thurston, and his voice can be heard on numerous audio books by Graphic Audio. He has taught acting for Howard Community College, Signature Theatre, and NCDA, among others. His most recent directing credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Montgomery College, and assistant directing The Crucible at Olney Theatre Center.


Kelly Cronenberg
Kelly Cronenberg

Kelly has a degree in Elementary Education and taught for six years before deciding to pursue an acting career. She attended The Theatre Lab School for the Dramatic Arts in Washington, D.C. and has been seen in professional theaters in the area. In addition to being a dedicated Cabaret Benefit volunteer for years, Kelly teaches in the Summer Acting Camp for Kids.

Allyson Currin

Allyson is a playwright, whose most recent world premiere of Sooner/Later just closed at Cincinnati Playhouse, and will have its DC premiere in 2019 at Mosaic Theatre.  Other playwriting credits include The Silver Belles (Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre), High School Alien (Cincinnati Playhouse), Unleashed! (The John F. Kennedy Center), The Carolina Layaway Grail (The Welders), Caesar and Dada  (WSC Avant Bard), Hercules in Russia (Doorway Arts Ensemble), The Dancing Princesses (Imagination Stage), Treadwell: Bright and Dark (American Century Theatre), Benched (Pinky Swear Productions), Church of the Open Mind* and The Subject (Charter Theatre), Learning Curves (Washington Shakespeare Company) and Amstel in Tel Aviv* and Dancing With Ourselves (Source Theatre Company). Currin is a Founding Member of The Welders, a DC-based playwrights’ collective, which received the Helen Hayes Awards’ John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. She is also an actor with numerous film, television and stage appearances. @allysoncurrin (*Nomination, Helen Hayes Awards Outstanding New Play)


Vince Eisenson

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.

“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.”
Nia Graham headshot
Nia Graham
Nia Graham is an actor and teaching artist who has taught Life Stories since 2009 and is a graduate of The Theatre Lab's Honors Acting Conservatory. Her theatre credits include Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Theatre Company (Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble), Lolita at Arena Stage's Edward Albee Festival, Measure For Measure at Motown Theatre, How Old is a Hero? and African Roots Latino Soul at Discovery Theater.


Jeff Hamlin
Jeff Hamlin is an accomplished musician and music director. Since earning his Bachelor of Music degree, he has worked as a producer, writer, arranger, and musician, primarily in Nashville and the DC metro area. As a past member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Jeff performed as a soloist in several cabaret shows, including Love Songs and Other Fairy Tales, Stops Along the Way, and Let Me Be the Music: the Songs of David Friedman. More recently, he has served as the music director and pianist for performances by the D.C. Cabaret Network, Maggie’s Cabaret, and local artists. Training: Southwest Baptist University, Georgetown University Law Center, and Studio Acting Conservatory.
April Harris headshot
April Harris

April Harris is a storyteller, performer, Victory Coach, and PMI-Project Manager. She has facilitated storytelling workshops at the Torpedo Factory and led interactive performance workshops for veterans and business professionals. Her performing credits include the HBO documentary, We Are Not Done Yet, The Moth, Life Stories, and at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. April has trained in Theatre for Living, Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, and completed The Theatre Lab's Life Stories Institute. April earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from University of North Dakota and served as an adjunct instructor at George Washington University. She served honorably in the United States Army for 26 years.

Headshot of Mitch Hébert
Mitchell Hébert

Acting: Mary Stuart, Cabaret, and The Humans at Olney Theatre Center, The Book of Will, and Roy Cohn in Angels in America, a co-production with Round House Theatre and Olney Theatre Center, Hir at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Directing: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Glengarry Glen Ross at Round House Theatre, The Illusion at Forum Theatre, Rabbit Hole at Olney Theatre Center, Judy Moody and Stink at Adventure Theatre, Illyria at Avant/Bard. Teaching: At the University of Maryland where he is on the faculty, he has directed Eurydice, The Amish Project, The Distance from Here, and co-directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed at both UMD and in Beijing. He has received Helen Hayes Awards for both acting (After the Fall, Theatre J) & directing (Glengarry Glen Ross at Round House Theatre) in addition to several nominations as an actor and director.


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. In summer 2018, Marietta worked with the Living Theater in NYC and performed her own written work in Roundstone, Ireland.

Christopher Henley

Christopher Henley began acting (1979) and directing (1980) around DC with Source Theatre Company. He was a founding Ensemble Member at Avant Bard Theatre (formerly Washington Shakespeare Company); was its Artistic Director for more than 16 years; and continues as its Artistic Director Emeritus and as a member of the Acting Company. Under his leadership, WSC was a vital part of the developing small professional theatre scene. As a producer, director, and actor, he shepherded dozens of productions, many of which were critically acclaimed and award-winning, and provided high-profile opportunities to scores of emerging actors, directors, and designers. Other theaters at which he has worked include SCENA Theatre (founding company member), Longacre Lea Productions, Folger Theatre, Quotidian Theatre Company, and Ambassador Theatre, in addition to several companies no longer functioning, such as Cherry Red Productions, Spheres Theatre Company, The American Century Theater, and Moving Target Theatre.

Terah Herman-Saldaña

Terah Herman-Saldaña has been a teaching artist for over 15 years. She is a full-time member of The Theatre Lab staff, serving as the Director of Youth Programs and the Development/Outreach Manager. She holds an M.A. in Theatre from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. in Theatre from Capital University. She has also received improvisation training through The Second City. In addition to her work at The Theatre Lab, she has worked as a teaching artist at Imagination Stage, West Chester Academy, The Center of Science and Industry, Starfire, Kennedy Heights Arts Center, The University of Kentucky, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She is an alum of the US Department of State International Exchange program, in which she took The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program to Malaysia. She is also a recipient of the National Theatre Conference’s Emerging Professional Award.

Tamekia Jackson

Tamekia Jackson is a Houston native, and received her B.A. in Theater from St. Edward’s University and is very close to completing her M.A. at New York University. Tamekia is a performer and teaching artist who enjoys helping people grow through sharing their stories. She has previously taught with KIPP: Sharpstown, Writers in the Schools, and The Moth. She teaches at youth summer camps and Life Stories programs.

Naomi Jacobson

Naomi Jacobson has acted at most of the DC area theatres for the last 25 years. She is an Affiliated Artist at Shakespeare Theatre Company and a 20-year company member at Woolly Mammoth. DC credits include Kennedy Center, Ford’s, Arena Stage, Studio, Round House, Theatre J, Signature, Olney, Center Stage, and Wolf Trap Opera. She’s traveled regionally to the Guthrie Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Naomi has received 3 Helen Hayes Awards, 15 nominations, the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, the Anderson-Hopkins Award for Excellence in Theatre, and a DC Arts Commission Individual Artist grant. She has independent film and network TV credits. Voiceover work includes NPR, PBS, Discovery Channel, the Smithsonian, as well as narrating recorded books. She teaches acting and public speaking at professional theatres and at various universities and corporations.

“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.”
Wes Johnson
Wes Johnson is a professional voiceover artist, actor, comedian, and writer. He serves as The Arena Voice of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the Voice of NHRA racing, and can be heard voice acting in numerous video game series including Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, World of Warcraft, and Star Trek, among others. Wes was the series announcer for America’s Most Wanted, and has national acting credits in film and television, including VEEP, Homicide: Life on the Streets and John Waters’ A Dirty Shame.
“I love working with kids and adults at The Theatre Lab to explore the character voices that reside within them. Learning to be comfortable with their voice, and using their tool to its fullest power brings life benefits far beyond performance alone. The Theatre Lab has been a wonderful experience for me and my students."
J. J. Johnson

James J. Johnson, or J. J., is a DC-based actor/writer who recently appeared in the film 51st State produced by Arena Stage. Other local credits include: The Royale, Hero’s Welcome  (1st Stage); Les Deux Noirs (Mosaic Theatre Company); Ruined (Arena Stage); Our Suburb (Theater J); The Member of the Wedding (Ford’s Theatre); The Unmentionables (Woolly Mammoth Theatre); Kingdom, Wedding Dance, Buffalo Hair (African Continuum Theatre Co.); Anna Lucasta (Rep Stage); Jungle Book (Adventure Theatre MTC); Zomo the Rabbit (2009), P. Nokio, (Imagination Stage); Homer P. Figg (Kennedy Center). FILM: Too Saved, Nocturnal Agony, The New N-Word and The Henchman’s War.  EDUCATION: BFA, Virginia Commonwealth University. J. J.  is a founding member of Galvanize DC, a support network for Black DMV theatre artists, and is one of several newly-announced recipients of a Solo Work Commission from 1st Stage.

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."
Casey Kaleba

Casey Kaleba is an award-winning fight director who has staged movement and violence for more than five hundred productions of opera and theatre. He has taught acting, stage combat, and other courses at George Mason University, Catholic University, Shepherd University, and the University of Maryland. As a choreographer he has worked at the Washington National Opera, Spoleto Festival, Guthrie Theatre, Folger Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Olney Theatre Center; he is a company member and resident fight director with Rorschach Theatre and Brave Spirits Theatre. His work at Keegan Theatre and Constellation Theatre Company has been nominated for Helen Hayes Awards, and he spent two years as an audition choreographer for Marvel Universe Live. Casey is a proud member of the Society of American Fight Directors and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).


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.”
Jacqueline E. Lawton photo
Jacqueline E. Lawton

Jacqueline E. Lawton is a playwright, dramaturg, producer, and advocate for access, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the American Theatre. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em Horns!), where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She participated in the Kennedy Center’s Playwrights’ Intensive (2002) and World Interplay (2003).  Her plays include: Among These Wild Things, Anna K;  Blackbirds; Blood-bound and Tongue-tiedDeep Belly BeautifulThe Devil’s Sweet Water;  Edges of Time, The Hampton YearsThe Inferior Sex, IntelligenceLove Brothers SerenadeMad Breed; and Noms de Guerre.  

Lawton’s work has been developed and presented at the following venues: Active Cultures Theatre, Arena Stage, Classical Theater of Harlem, Folger Shakespeare Library, theHegira, Gables Stage, Howard University, Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, Rep Stage, Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre - Silver Spring, Savannah Black Heritage Festival (Armstrong Atlantic State University), Shakespeare Theatre Company, Source Festival, Theater J, and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. Lawton is a 2012 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Young Leaders of Color award recipient and an alumna of National New Play Network (NNPN), Center Stage's Playwrights' Collective, and Arena Stage's Playwright's Arena.

Joe Martin

Joe Martin has directed over 50 professional productions, as well as student productions at universities in the DC area. He is a four-time recipient of Fulbrights in Theatre for his international work, and a two-time recipient of Rockefeller Foundation grants for original theatrical creations. His credits include major works by Strindberg, Tennessee Williams, his own stage adaptation of Rumi’s MATHNAVI, Buchner, Dario Fo, Shakespeare, Brecht, Sam Shepard, Chekhov, Ibsen, among many others, including his own original works. He has been a regular instructor in Viewpoints at the El Haddawi Winter School for performance near Munich, and at summer institutes at American University and Catholic University in Washington DC. He is the author of several dozen original plays, adaptations and translations. Since 2009 he has been part of the faculty team building the Theatre Arts and Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, where he is a full-time lecturer.

Michael McCorkle
Michael McCorkle

Michael is a filmmaker, a writer, producer and director of theatre, as well as a drama and playwriting instructor for middle and high school students. Michael has taught Life Stories programs for The Theatre Lab, and has served as a teaching artist with Imagination Stage, YPT, Arena Stage Community Engagement Program, and Sitar Arts Center.

Walter "Bobby" McCoy

Walter “Bobby” McCoy is a 2018 Helen Hayes award-winning music director and pianist. Bobby currently works with young artists as a faculty member of the ATMTC Academy in Rockville. His music direction credits include The Wild Party with Constellation Theatre Company; In the Heights at GALA Hispanic Theatre; Blues in the Night, Caroline or Change and Once On This Island with Creative Cauldron; Bat Boy, Altar Boyz and Old Wicked Songs (for which he received a Helen Hayes Award nomination) at 1st Stage Theatre; A Christmas Story, My Fair Lady, and Mame at Riverside Center for the Performing Arts; Carrie: The Musical at Dominion Stage; American Idiot and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Little Butterfly Theatre; and Big Fish at McLean High School.

Brenna McDonough
Brenna McDonough

Brenna McDonough, actor and author, has 35 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 hometown of Chicago where she studied with Paul Sills at Second City. She then worked in Los Angeles and New York before settling in the Washington, DC area. Brenna continues to work in voiceovers 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 the University of Maryland. She and her husband are co-authors of the book You Can Work On-Camera, which has been used in several universities.  They often work together with corporate media clients, team teaching and private coaching. Brenna is a proud member of SAGAFTRA and the Actors Center.

“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.”
Angelo Merenda

Angelo Merenda, Theatre Lab's IT/Technical Director has worked freelance as an audio technician, lighting director, and production manager for over 20 years on the East Coast. New York credits include Manhattan School of Music, Webster Hall Quarterly Arts Soiree and the Moving Beauty Dance Series. In the DC area, he has worked productions at The Studio Theater, Shakespeare Theatre, and Constellation Theatre, and served as Production Manager for Rainbow Theatre Project. Prior to joining The Theatre Lab, he managed local crews for touring rock and roll and Broadway shows for the Modlin Center for the Arts in Richmond, VA.

Donna Migliaccio
Donna Migliaccio has been a fixture in the D.C. theatre scene for more than 25 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 Oralene in the world premiere of Silver Belles at Signature Theatre and Maude Gutman in Bakersfield Mist at Olney Theatre Center. She is the recipient of two Helen Hayes Awards and has been honored with an additional eleven nominations. Visit her webpage at
“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!”
Marianne Glass Miller

Marianne Glass Miller is a cabaret performer and director who has worked in the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas for over 20 years. She has performed in solo and group cabaret shows at the Arts Club of Washington, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, Maggie’s Cabaret, The Black Squirrel, The Black Fox, Adventure Theater, and Germano’s in Baltimore. Her recent directing credits include Christy Trapp’s cabaret “The Voice of a Woman,” performed in Baltimore and Washington, DC. She has studied with cabaret artists Sally Mayes, Lina Koutrakos, Rick Jensen, Andrea Marcovicci, Amanda McBroom and Michele Brourman. In 2007, she was one of 36 invited participants in the Cabaret Conference at Yale University. Marianne serves on the Board of the fabulous DC Cabaret Network.

Bryanda Minix headshot
Bryanda Minix

Bryanda Minix is a multidisciplinary theatre artist and educator, professional conversation starter and connector, cultivator of hope, and fierce advocate towards removing barriers to opportunity.

She is a graduate of The Honors Acting Conservatory at The Theatre Lab, where she also teaches for The Theatre Lab's Acting Camp for Kids. Originally from Houston, TX, where she taught both academic and arts instruction. She relocated to DC in 2015, and works locally as an actor, writer, director, teaching artist, photographer, and improvisor.

Dot Neumann
Dorothy Neumann

Dorothy Neumann is a pioneer in the small professional theatre circuit, having directed in the Washington area for over 37 years. She 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 and particularly enjoys teaching Intro to Acting. She joined the seasonal staff at Clear Space Theatre Company in Rehoboth where she has directed Cabaret; Shirley Valentine; La Cage Aux Folles; On Golden Pond; Love, Loss and What I Wore; and The Vagina Monologues. She recently was part of the artistic team at Clear Space for ‘Night, Mother. In addition to her directing, Dot published Truth Serum, a book of poetry available on Amazon.

“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!”
Kirsten Noetzel
Kirsten Noetzel

Kirsten Noetzel works regionally as a Director and Teaching Artist and has been on Theatre Lab's Faculty since 2016. She learned to teach at the Tony award-winning Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN, where she apprenticed and later worked in their Theatre Arts Training school. Regionally, she has directed for The Theatre Lab (Just Outside of Town, Ordinary Magic), Imagination Stage (Bye Bye Birdie, Unlabeled, The Pencil is Mightier, O Wonder, Aladdin), Montgomery College (The BURN), Metropolitan School of the Arts (Peter Pan, The Tempest, Legend of Sleepy Hollow); and Assistant Directed for The Hub Theatre (Peekaboo, The BURN). She also serves on the faculty of Wolf Trap, Arts on the Horizon, and Metropolitan School of the Arts. Kirsten received her B.A. from Wheaton College and is an M.A. candidate in Theatre at the University of Houston.

Jack Novak
Jack Novak

Jack teaches for The Theatre Lab's Acting Camp for Kids. Jack has worked with students of all ages and abilities. He teaches a wide range of topics, specializing in Improv, Playwriting, and Mime. He has worked with organizations throughout the DMV, including The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington Improv Theatre, Educational Theatre Company, Everyman Theatre, and many more.

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 Misérables (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 George, Passion, Merrily We Roll Along, and Ragtime; at Ford’s in Hello Dolly and Liberty Smith; at Studio Theatre in Bachelorette; at 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.
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.

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.”
Aidan Quartana
Aidan Quartana has performed professionally at Keegan Theatre, Capital Fringe, Signature Theatre, the Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret, and the historic Pittsburgh Playhouse. Directing credits include A Clockwork Orange with Pinnacle Productions in Pittsburgh and four Teen Cabaret Showcases at The Theatre Lab. Aidan has led theatre classes in Arlington and Montgomery County schools and works as a teaching artist for organizations including Signature in the Schools and The Theatre Lab. He is a graduate of Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts and a former Musical Theatre Institute for Teens student with over a dozen Theatre Lab credits under his belt. 
Steve Quintilian

Steve Quintilian, Estill Master Trainer, has been certified with EVI since 2014. He has been privileged to share his knowledge of the voice with actors, singers, music directors, teachers from the worlds of Broadway, opera, education and business through Estill weeklong courses and private coaching. He is an actor and a musician performing in the DMV, and teaches private lessons in Takoma Park. He recently performed in the six-month run of the musical Amazing Grace at the World Stage of the Museum of the Bible, directed by Broadway’s Gabriel Barré. He is the co-director of the newly founded Encore Theater Company in Takoma Park. He has a BA in music from Towson University, and is a graduate of the Theatre Lab Honors Acting Conservatory.

Madeleine Regina

Madeleine Regina is a director, performer and educator in the DC area. Most recently she was an assistant director for Crystal Creek Motel with Flying V. Recently she also directed Body for the Capital City Fringe Fest and WUNDERKAMMER for the Charm City Fringe Festival. Madeleine is also a director with ArtStream Theatre Company, where she devises theatre with people of all backgrounds and abilities. She teaches at Imagination Stage and The Theatre Lab, and loves sharing the theatre experience with many age groups.

Jill Roos
Jill Roos

Jill Roos has worked in various DC schools including the Lab School of Washington and recently revived the musical theatre program at Hardy Middle School. She was the director of the musicals and creator of the Shakespeare Festival at Alice Deal Middle School and directed at Wilson High School from 2008-2017. Recent productions include the award-winning Hair, Everybody, Hairspray Jr, Metamorphoses, James and the Giant Peach, Into the Woods, West Side Story, Columbinus and Hamlet. She has taught theater at both Martha’s Table and the River School and trained at The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories Institute. Jill has created countless pieces of devised work in and out of classroom including The March at Emerson College. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Social Welfare and received her M.A. from Emerson College in Theatre Education.

Michael Russotto

Michael Russotto is a professional actor and director who has appeared on many Washington-area stages, including Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Theater J, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre, Theatre Alliance, The Folger Theatre, MetroStage, Rep Stage, and Studio Theatre. Regionally he has worked at Cleveland Play House and Franklin Stage Company. Recent roles include Alex in Heisenberg at Signature, and Reverend Parris in The Crucible at Olney. Michael has received several Helen Hayes Award Nominations each in the categories of Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Ensemble. He has directed at The Actors' Theatre of Washington (cofounder), MetroStage, Source Theatre, The Washington Shakespeare Company, Studio Theatre, The Theatre 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 Company. In addition, Michael is a narrator of recorded books for the Library of Congress, and a visual artist who creates unique, one-of-a-kind greeting cards, currently being sold on Arena Stage’s Artists Marketplace, and on ETSY.

“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.”
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.

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.”
Bobby Smith headshot
Bobby Smith

Broadway: Crazy for You. Off Broadway: Forever Plaid (original cast), Kander and Ebb’s The World Goes ‘Round, and the revival of George Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing. National tours: Brigadoon, The World Goes ‘Round. Studio Theatre: A Class Act (Helen Hayes Award nomination), Caroline or Change, Reefer Madness, (Helen Hayes Award nomination); Ford’s: Elmer Gantry, 1776, A Christmas Carol; Round House: A Year with Frog and Toad (Helen Hayes Award nomination); MetroStage: Musical of Musicals (Helen Hayes Award nomination); The Kennedy Center: The Happy Prince, The Flea and the Professor; Signature: 20 shows including TitanicDisney's Freaky Friday, La Cage aux Folles (Helen Hayes Award), and Spin (Helen Hayes Award). He is an artistic associate at Olney Theatre where he was nominated for Helen Hayes Awards in The Sound of Music and Annie. He has directed and choreographed across the nation and received the 2013, 2014, 2017 Helen Hayes Award.


Deidra LaWan Starnes

Deidra LaWan Starnes’ acting credits include Milk Like Sugar and The Gospel of Lovingkindness at Mosaic Theater, The Member of the Wedding and The Good Counselor at 1st Stage, Julius Caesar, Invisible Man (Helen Hayes Award), Intimate Apparel (Helen Hayes Award), A Raisin in the Sun, I Have before Me a Remarkable Document…., Two Trains Running, Spunk, Twelve Days of Christmas, Charlotte’s Web, Passing Strange, In the Red and Brown Water, Radio Golf, King Lear, Doubt and for colored girls … directed by Ntozake Shange. Film credits include Chasing Refuge, Nocturnal Agony, and Ladder 49. Directing credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Production), for colored girls … (Theatre Alliance), and The Name Game (DC Theatre Festival). She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland, an MFA in Drama from the University of Connecticut, and an MA from American University in Producing Film, TV, and Video.

Alex Tang

Pianist Alex Tang has performed with numerous productions at the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian, Arena Stage, Signature, Studio, National, Shakespeare, and Ford’s Theatre, including the national tours of Mamma Mia!, Wicked, and The Lion King. He plays for a wide variety of musical groups and performers throughout the D.C. area, including the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, American Pops Orchestra, and D.C. Cabaret Network.  He recently played keyboards for Anastasia and will soon do so for Miss Saigon and Aladdin, all at the Kennedy Center Opera House. By day, he works as an attorney and has served on the advisory boards for a number of performing arts organizations. Musical training: Juilliard (Pre-College Div.); Yale (B.A. with honors).

Craig Wallace

Folger Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew, Cyrano (Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Best Ensemble), Much Ado About Nothing, Othello in Othello, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure. The Shakespeare Theatre Company: Numerous productions including The Marlowe and Roman Reps and Romeo and Juliet. Roundhouse Theatre: Permanent Collection, Tabletop, The Little Prince. Ford's Theatre: Jitney, Sabrina Fair, Necessary Sacrifices. Arena Stage: K2, All My Sons, The Great White Hope, Hot-n-Throbbing. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: The Last Orbit of Billy Mars, Tommy J & Sally, Our Lady of 121st Street, Starving. Everyman Theatre: Cherry Orchard, The Soul Collector. Signature Theatre: Angels in America, Parts 1 & 2 (Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Part 2). Regional Credits: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Hangar Theatre, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Training: Howard University, BFA. The Pennsylvania State University, MFA. Royal National Theatre, London.

Sarah Frances Williams
Sarah Frances Williams

Sarah Frances completed her B.M. in Musical Theatre from The Catholic University of America and is on faculty for the Summer Acting Camp for Kids. Sarah Frances has performed with Riverside Center for the Performing Arts (Saturday Night Fever, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Beauty and the Beast), Monumental Theatre Co (Urinetown),  Adventure Theatre MTC (Pinkalicious and Knuffle Bunny), and Outstanding Voices of DC Cabarets.

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.”
Thom Workman

Thomas Workman has been making socially-conscious theatre and film in the Washington area for more than 20 years. The former Artistic Director of City at Peace and Associate Director of Everyday Theater, two award-winning organizations, Thom has also directed plays and films for Sunshipp Productions, the Anacostia Oral History Project, and the Crossroads Theater Company. He has taught drama workshops for The Bethesda Academy of Dramatic Arts, the NAMES Project, City Lights School, and the I Have a Dream Foundation. Thom has been a director of The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program since 2005 where his recent projects include conceiving and co-directing My Soul Look Back and Wonder, an original play featuring homeless women in recovery, which performed in The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre.

“For me, it’s about connecting with people and populations who don’t get a chance to tell their stories, and finding value in those stories. The value in acting it out is that if you’re honest in your approach to your character, some self-discovery occurs along the way.”