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Faculty

The faculty at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre is comprised of highly qualified teachers, each with extensive professional experience in their respective disciplines. The student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 6 to 1, ensuring individual attention for every student in our acting program.

Acting 

Hamish Allan-Headley ~ Drills

Headshot of Faculty Member Hamish Allan-Headley

Hamish Allan-Headley is originally from Bowen Island, British Columbia. He is a graduate of the Neighbourhood Playhouse, received his MFA in European Classical Theatre from Drama Centre London, UK and trained at the Boris Schuckin Theatre Institute in Moscow, Russia. Hamish works as an actor in theatre, film and  television in New York City, regionally and in Canada. His most recent Off-Broadway credits include Irish Repertory’s Belle Of Belfast and The Clearing at 59E59.

James Brill ~ Meisner Acting Technique I

Mr. Brill has been teaching acting in New York for over two decades both privately and at The Neighborhood Playhouse. In 1983 he graduated from The Playhouse where he studied acting with Sanford Meisner, William Alderson and Richard Pinter. After graduation he began his career as an actor and has worked in theatre, film, & television. Early on Mr. Brill was drawn to the idea being a Meisner instructor and began an apprenticeship under his artistic mentors from the Neighborhood Playhouse to learn the craft teaching acting. In addition to being a faculty member at The Playhouse he has also taught at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, and runs a successful private studio in NYC.

Sandy Faison ~ Meisner Acting Technique II & Music II

Sandy Faison is a graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse, where she studied with Sanford Meisner. She holds a BA from Hamilton College and master’s degrees from NYU's Steinhardt School Of Education and The City University of New York. On Broadway, she created the role of Grace Farrell in ANNIE—she can be heard on the original cast album. Other Broadway credits include the original companies of “Is There Life After High School?” by Craig Carnelia (original cast album) and “Charlie and Algernon” by Charles Strouse, as well as the award-winning Broadway revival of “You Can’t Take It With You,” opposite Jason Robards and NP graduate Elizabeth Wilson. Sandy’s numerous regional theater credits include leading roles at Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Folger Theater and five appearances at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. 

She has worked with film directors Sidney Lumet, Michael Chapman and Alan Pakula. On TV, Sandy had a recurring role on NBC's “The Days and Nights Of Molly Dodd,” and dozens of reoccurring and guest starring roles. She has produced original musicals in Los Angeles, (“Both Barrels” - LA Times Critics Choice Award), off-Broadway, and the Goodspeed Opera House.

Sandy is a retired Assistant Principal of LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts (The FAME School). During her tenure at LaGuardia she taught acting and musical theater for 13 years and produced over 39 plays, musicals, and industry showcases. She guided scores of talented young actors, some nominated for an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and/or SAG award. For the last four years, Sandy has been invited to teach a week-long acting workshop at London's Royal Academy of Music. She recently received a shout-out from one of her eminent LaGuardia students, Timothée Chalamet, during the NBC special Graduation 2020.

Sean Hagerty ~ Shakespeare
 I & II

Sean Hagerty trained under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and studied classical theatre at the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He holds a Masters Degree in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he graduated with Distinction. Sean has worked as an actor, teacher, director and producer regionally and internationally for many years. Credits include: New York Classical Theatre, The Lord Chamberlain's Men, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, The Group Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Bath Shakespeare Festival, The New Vic, Theatre Royal Bristol, and BBC Radio, among others. Sean has served as the chair of Education & Training for the international Shakespeare Theatre Association and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the Artistic Director for Shakespeare@.

Gary Kingston ~ Meisner Acting Technique I

Gary Kingston is a native of California, where he was a member of LACT in San Francisco. While there he appeared in a number of plays, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Present Laughter, and A Cry of Players. Later he acted in both Stockholm and London. In NYC he has appeared at Synchronicity Space, Playwrights Horizons and is a founding member of The Neighborhood Group Theater, where he played the lead in the original production of William Mastrosimone’s Air Guitar on Theater Row. He appeared regionally at The Schoolhouse Theater in Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer. Mr. Kingston is also a director whose work has been seen at various NYC venues including The Arclight Theater and Alice’s Upstairs. He graduated in 1981 from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre where he studied with Sanford Meisner, Richard Pinter and Ron Stetson. Mr. Kingston was later trained by Mr. Meisner to be a teacher and has been a senior member of the acting faculty of The Neighborhood Playhouse for over 20 years.

Stephanie Jones ~ Meisner Acting Technique I

Stephanie Jones hails from Ontario, Canada and is a prolific actor, playwright, and theater educator. She is the founding Artistic Director of The Essential Collective Theatre (ECT): a Niagara based theater company committed to the creation and production of new Canadian work. Stephanie trained at Canada’s Humber College Theater Department, and Brock University’s Dramatic Arts Program.  She studied extensively in Canada with Neighborhood Playhouse graduate and prominant Meisner Technique teacher, Jacqueline McClintock, and was awarded an OAC Chalmers Professional Development grant to come to New York and study the Meisner Technique with Ron Stetson here at The Neighborhood Playhouse. Ms. Jones began an apprenticeship with Mr. Stetson in Meisner instruction. Ms. Jones established the Niagara Region’s first Meisner training program. In 2010 she was presented with the YWCA’s Women of Distinction award and recently received the St. Catherines Established Artist Award.”

Todd Susman ~ Voiceover & On Camera Acting

Headshot of Faculty Member Todd Susman

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Todd Susman has been a professional actor for forty-eight years.  His latest features are “The Taking Of Pelham 123,” starring Denzel Washington, “You Don’t Know Jack,” starring Al Pacino, “The ‘A’ Plate,” starring Sam McMurray, and “The Discovers,” starring Griffin Dunne.  Todd has co-starred in a TV series six times as a series regular; he recurred in twelve more, including five years as “Officer Shifflett,” the town cop in “Newhart.”  Todd has done twenty-two television pilots, myriad Movies Of The Week, and performed in countless episodic television shows, voice-overs and on-camera commercials. He was the “Public Address Announcer” in the TV series “MASH” for eight years, and the “Man From Mitsubishi” on radio for eight years as well.  Todd starred as “Wilbur Turnblad” in "Hairspray" on Broadway and co-starred in “Old Jews Telling Jokes” at Westside Arts. He recurs as Jason Biggs’s father in “Orange Is The New Black” for Netflix and recently filmed episodes of “Blue Bloods,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and the CBS spinoff, “The Good Fight,” starring Christine Baranski.  Todd has written two plays that received EQUITY productions and rave reviews. His first play, “Locked and Loaded,” garnered additional raves and ran six months in its Los Angeles premiere.

John Tyrrell ~ Meisner Acting Technique II

John Tyrrell has appeared on Broadway in the original casts of Equus, The Merchant with Zero Mostel, and The Miser with Philip Bosco. Off-Broadway: The Crucible and Nora (The ArcLight Theater). National Tour: The Elephant Man. John’s regional credits include appearances at: The Schoolhouse Theater (where he was last seen as in Richard in The Seafarer), Cape May Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare on the Sound, Merrimack Repertory Theater, Fulton Playhouse, and South Jersey Regional Theatre. He was nominated for a Boston Outer Critics Award (Best Supporting Actor) for Racing Demon. Television: Deadline. John is a graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse, where he studied with the late Sanford Meisner.

Voice

Gary Ramsey ~ Voice & Speech

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M.F.A. Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University (Scholarship Program); B.F.A. Stephens College, (Scholarship Program); Technical Training under Jacklyn Maddux; Certified Alexander Technique Teacher (ACAT); Worked with renowned Breathing Coordinators’ Dr. Carl Stough and Jessica Wolf. Coached: Ethan Hawke, Broadway production of “Macbeth”, Tom Skerritt, Broadway production of ” A Time to Kill”, Colin Quinn, Broadway production of “Long Story Short”, directed and produced by Jerry Seinfeld. Victoria Clark, “The Light in the Piazza, Vivian Beaumont, (Tony Award). Siobhan Fallon, one-woman show, “Momma”, Atlantic Theatre Company. Dialect Coach: one-woman show, Priscilla Lopez, “Class Mothers ‘68”, Clurman Theatre. “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover, Judith Ivey, Westbeth Theatre. He has appeared Off-Broadway, Regionally and abroad as an actor. Teaches acting: St. Mary’s College, Leap Program. Currently singing opera both regionally and internationally. Click here to learn more about Mr. Ramsey.

Colleen Smith Wallnau ~ Voice

M.F.A., Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, B.A., the College of New Jersey. Adjunct faculty Centenary College teaching Acting Workshop, Voice and Articulation and Film Appreciation. Taught at Gately-Poole Studios, New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts, Guest Lecturer at Drew University and George School. Colleen appeared on Broadway as Mrs. Fodor in Crazy for You. She appeared Off-Broadway at the Samuel Beckett Theatre in the one-person show Mary Todd: A Woman Apart. Other Off-Broadway credits include: Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Soho Rep, Peccadillo Theatre, Mint Theatre and Ohio Theatre. Regional Credits include: North Shore Music Theatre, Papermill Playhouse, Asolo Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and Centenary Stage Co. Daytime TV includes Loving, Guiding Light, As the World Turns and All My Children. Colleen is a proud member of Equity, SAG, AFTRA and VASTA.

Elizabeth Reese ~ Alexander Technique

Elizabeth Reese, AmSAT, M.Ed, LMHC, is a certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique, a certified dressage instructor, and a licensed mental health counselor. Elizabeth has had a thirty year career as a teacher of mindfulness and kinesthetic awareness. She began studying the AT in 1981 with Marjorie Barstow and considered the work as a core part of her training as a dancer/choreographer/performer in NYC. She trained to be an Alexander teacher from 1991-94 at the American Center for the Alexander Technique. In 2004 and 2006, she completed year-long graduate courses for AT teachers, first with John Nicholls followed by Jessica Wolf’s course The Art of Breathing, based on the practices of Carl Stough. She completed her master's degree at Hunter College. In 2014, she was a research associate on a study exploring the significance of posture in performance, injury, relationship and emotional regulation, using horses as models, funded by the American Holistic Veterinary Foundation. She was a senior faculty member at AT-NYC, a certification program for Alexander teachers, and a co-founder/instructor at Postural Rehabilitation,a continuing education program for veterinarians using alternative care in treatment. Her Alexander workshops have been presented around the country and at several of the American Society for the Alexander Technique’s annual national conferences. Elizabeth is currently on faculty at Bard College Graduate Vocal Arts Program and maintains a private practice. Click here to learn more about Ms. Reese.

Music

Devony Smith ~ Music I and II 

Headshot of Faculty Member Devony Smith 

Devony Smith is a versatile soprano excelling in both contemporary and traditional repertoire with her “sensuous” and “strong” voice (New York Times). A California native, Ms. Smith makes her mark on New York City as a professional member of Musica Viva NY, where she recently performed Ernest Chausson's “Chanson perpétuelle” with the Aeolus Quartet, and the soprano solos for both Vivaldi’s Gloria and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. In 2016, Devony made her Lincoln Center recital debut as the Grand Prize Winner of the MIMF Art Song competition. As an artist in residence with Fresh Squeezed Opera, Smith will preform Kate Soper’s self-accompanied opera Here Be Sirens at National Sawdust in 2018. Smith particularly relishes the opportunity to perform new works. As a 2017 fellow at Ravinia Steans Music Institute, she collaborated with composer William Bolcom on a concert of his art songs and cabaret music. As a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow at Songfest, she performed the world premiere of Ben Moore’s John and Abigail. While under the mentorship of Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw, Smith created the lead role in Shawn Jaeger’s opera, Payne Hollow, collaborated on concerts of contemporary music with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joan Tower, and performed the world premiere of Daniela DeMatos’ “Encounter” at the Morgan Library. Smith is a graduate of Pepperdine University (BA) and Bard College (MM) where she studied and performed as both a singer and a pianist. Click here to learn more about Ms. Smith.

Dance

Christine Dakin ~ Modern Dance I & II

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Ms. Dakin was principal dancer and Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Dance Company.  A member of the company from 1976, she is known for her performance of Martha Graham’s roles and those Graham created for her in Rite of Spring and Phaedra’s Dream (partnered by Rudolf Nureyev) and for speaking/dancing roles created for her by Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson and Martha Clarke. She received a “Bessie” (The New York Dance and Performance Award) and the Dance Magazine Award.  She has produced evenings of dance at the Neighborhood Playhouse performing classic Graham solos, and presenting contemporary choreographers creating work with her. Ms. Dakin was a Fellow of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University.  She wrote and directed the film La Voz del Cuerpo/The Body Speaks, which was an official selection of the New York Independent Film Festival, NewFilmmakersNY, and the Golden Door International Film Festival. Dakin teaches at the Ailey School, is teacher for Techniche di Danza Moderna (Italy), was on the faculty of The Juilliard School for a decade and is dancer/Associate Founder of Buglisi Dance Theatre. Her teaching, choreography and research have been supported by a Fulbright Grant, ArtsLink CEC and two Rockefeller U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture grants.  Her video of the Graham technique, ‘Terpsikon Vol 1’ is available on Vimeo on Demand in English and Spanish.

Gary Gendell ~ Jazz Dance

Graduate, High School of Performing Arts. Former Director of Showtime Dance Studios in Queens. Appeared in Annie on Broadway following a long engagement in the Broadway hit Chicago. Mr. Gendell has been Peter Gennaro’s assistant at the Radio City Music Hall and has performed everywhere from television to nightclubs to Europe. Gary is currently performing in NYC in Dance-Over-40.

Movement

Megan Campisi ~ Physical Theatre

Megan Campisi is a performer, playwright and teacher who works extensively with her Brooklyn theater company, Gold No Trade. Recent work includes The Subtle Body, a bilingual comedy (English/Mandarin) about different interpretations of the human heart in 18th-century China. The Subtle Body was awarded a TCG Global Connections grant, was a semifinalist for the 2014 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and premiered at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre’s ACT Festival in an international collaboration with both Chinese and American performers. Other plays include: The Pinks (Collapsible Hole, Brooklyn), Floating Brothel (ACT Festival Shanghai; The Tank & Dixon Place, NYC), and Les Musciens de Brême (Avignon Festival). Campisi received the French Alfa and ADAMI prizes for new theater and the Yale Lustman Award for Artistic Achievement. She has served as adjunct faculty in the Yale University Theatre Studies department and Theater in Education department at the Shanghai Theatre Academy (one of the top performing arts universities in China). She has twice been a guest speaker on theater for the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools. Campisi received her B.A. from Yale University and MFA (French equivalent) from L’Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in France. 

Brad Lemons ~ Stage Combat

Broadway: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang w/ B.H. Barry; Off-Broadway: Treasure Island, Macbeth, Evil Dead: The Musical, Hamlet, Othello, Where’s My Money, A Stone Carver; NYC: Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Wild Party. Regionally: White Noise, Oleanna, That Championship Season, King Lear, American Buffalo, Dead Ringer, Murder in the Cathedral, Klonsky and Schwartz, Old Clown Wanted. Film: Lies I told My Little Sister, Beyond Belief, Asylum Seekers, Bust, Elevator Music, Paralysis. Opera: Fanciulla Del West, Stiffelio, Simon Boccanegra, Carmen, Otello, Cosi Fan Tutte, Les Contes d’Hoffman, Don Giovani; TV: “All My Children,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He has taught at Juilliard, Mannes School of Music, New York Conservatory of Dramatic Art, Cornell University, Lafayette College, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, Southern Connecticut State University, New York Film Academy, Broadway Classroom and Circle in the Square Theatre School.

History

Carmen Lamar Daehler ~ Theatre History I & II (Library I & Library II)

Headshot of Faculty Member Carmen Lamar

Carmen Lamar received a BA in Communications from Texas A&M University and a Masters in Theatre from Hunter College. She studied privately with renowned acting teacher Fred Kareman and is a proud member of the professional acting unions, SAG-AFTRA and AEA. In addition to teaching Theatre History in the full time conservatory, she is the Junior School Director. Professionally she has worked in New York and regionally as an actor, singer, director, and teacher. She has performed in cabaret venues throughout the city, including Feinstein’s, The Metropolitan Room, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, and Symphony Space. She has been a professional spokesperson for SONY, Panasonic, Toshibia,  Xerox and many other corporations. Carmen can be seen in the recurring role of Bomb Tech Carla Flores on the CBS hit series FBI. Coming from this rich and varied background in formal arts training and professional work in the industry, Carmen is able to combine these skills to provide a unique perspective to her classes here at The Playhouse.  Click here to learn more about Ms. Lamar Daehler.

Prices, curriculum, and faculty subject to change.