West Hollywood Faculty
SHARON ANGELA is a working actress, best known for her role as Rosalie Aprile on the critically-acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos for which she was nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Award in 2009 for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. She also had several guest spots on Law and Order. She studied acting with Elaine Aiken and taught acting with Michael Imperioli at Studio Dante in New York for 6 years. Sharon burst onto the professional acting scene as Tina in Tony and Tina’s Wedding. She also appeared in The Mayor’s Limo, The Father and Sicilian Limes. Her film roles include City Island, Ghost Dog, Two Family House, On The Run, The Dutchmaster, Red Passport, IBS, The Way of the Samurai, Confessions of a Dangerous Mime and Court Jesters. She wrote the film The Collection and co-directed Made in Brooklyn.
RACHEL BAILIT is an actress, journalist, and teacher. Rachel has owned and operated her own casting company Compassionate Casting for over ten years. She cast television pilots, films, music videos and many commercials. Rachel’s acting credits include Paramount’s Festival In Cannes directed by Henry Jaglom. She played alongside Jim Carrey in Ron Howard’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Rachel has appeared in many television shows including The Conan O’Brien Show, Desperate Housewives, Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, NYPD Blue and the recurring role of Marissa in General Hospital.
Rachel performed her acclaimed one-woman show, Sugar Happens, developed and directed by David Lee Strasberg for seven years in Los Angeles and at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City. The show was also performed and filmed at The Comedy Central stage.
TODD BJURSTROM has played numerous lead and supporting roles on the stages at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Festival, ACT Theater, and many smaller stages around Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles. Todd has traveled the country leading theater workshops and performing in schools as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Company’s youth outreach program. Recently, he directed Angrid at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and he can be seen regularly in comedy clubs around Los Angeles. Todd is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and is a graduate of the Cornish College of the Arts.
JORDANA CAPRA first hit the boards at the tender age of three, tap-dancing in several off Broadway productions. Since that auspicious beginning, Jordana has worked with such industry icons as Brad Pitt, Britney Spears and Shaquille O’Neal. Her very first film was the cult classic, Amazon Women On The Moon, followed by The Visitants, Hired To Kill with José Ferrer and Oliver Reed, Watch It with Peter Gallagher, Sports Heaven, and Atlas Shrugged 2. TV appearances include recurring roles on Sonny Spoon with Mario Van Peebles, the original Beverly Hills, 90210, Night Stand, and two years on The Bold And The Beautiful. She has guest starred on ER, Strong Medicine, Saved By The Bell, Murder One, Desperate Housewives, and House, and most recently Crash And Burn, Awake, The Newsroom, and Switched at Birth with Gilles Marini. She’s been a union member for over 25 years, and shot over 200 commercials, most recently V-8, Smart Car, and the Bud Light ‘Cook-Off’ spot. She’s proud to be a founding member of Circle of Hope, a non-profit that assists men and women battling breast cancer. Jordana is alum of the University of Minnesota and also the Recruit Mentor at Fitness Edge Boot Camp in Los Angeles.
CLAIRE CORFF began mastering her voice coaching techniques during an acting career that started when she was 16. Besides playing the lead roles in many acclaimed stage productions, she worked on many TV series specializing in roles with accents. She has coached thousands of actors, including Vanessa Redgrave, Amy Irving, Ted Danson and Faye Dunaway. Claire attended the California Institute of the Arts, Hartnell College, and Carmel Conservatory of the Arts. She co-founded Corff Voice Studios and co-authored “Achieving the Standard American Accent.” Claire also apprenticed with renowned voice teacher and author Bob Corff.
ROBERT CUCUZZA is an LA-based theater artist, filmmaker, actor, and acting teacher. In LA, he directed his play Cattywampus at South Coast Rep and REDCAT, where he also directed the world premiere of Iannis Xenakis’ Pour la Paix. At CalArts he has directed Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and two original musicals, Turn the Metal and Hellzapoppin’. Prior to moving to LA, he spent six years in New York as an artist-in- residence at Richard Foreman’s Ontological Theater where he produced and directed many acclaimed original plays and adaptations. He has written, directed, produced, edited and acted in numerous short and feature-length films. As a stage actor he has performed in multiple works by Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater. He is a 15-year company member with Elevator Repair Service, with whom he originated the role of Tom Buchanan in Gatz — a complete staging of the entire text of The Great Gatsby — and played it on the West End, Off-Broadway and in many national and international tours. He currently teaches BFA and MFA acting at CalArts. He holds a 1990 BFA in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon and a 2011 MFA in Directing from CalArts. Awards: Thomas J. Watson Fellowship; Beutner Family Award for Excellence in the Arts.
CODY DAVIS grew up in an athletic family in Salem, Utah, partaking in basketball, football, and snowboarding. But his love was martial arts. He has extensive training in various martial arts styles and competed in numerous competitions. By the age 18, he was ranked number one in his division. When he was a junior in high school, he was asked to be in a made-for-TV-movie that was shooting there…and the rest is history. After completing his course in stunts in Seattle, Washington; Cody found Benny “The Jet” Urquidez in L.A. at his stunt school. That is where he discovered “Stunt Acting”- combining both acting and stunt work together. He has been a student of Benny “The Jet” Urquidez for over 7 years now where he studies Kickboxing, Boxing, Ukidokan Karate, Fight Choreography, Acting, Tumbling, Car Hits, and Motorcycle Falls.
ANNE DeSALVO continues to enjoy a prolific career as a visual artist, actor, director, writer and producer. She trained in the Method at Circle in the Square in New York and soon became a notable Broadway & Off-Broadway performer, originating roles in many landmark plays. She starred with Lee Strasberg himself in the Emmy Award-winning The Last Tenant. Anne is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. She is working on a one-woman show, Magnani, and also coaches privately. Anne DeSalvo has been teaching at Strasberg since 2003.
GRIFFITH FRANK is a singer born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, California. He is one of the youngest solo artists ever to sign with Interscope/Geffen Records and his versatile voice has made him a sought-after artist throughout the world. He was a featured soloist at the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia, the Regal Room in London, and regularly at the Cast Party in New York, with additional engagements in London, Athens, Rome, and at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle. Griffith was a featured artist on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack of Rob Marshall’s film Nine, singing Unusual Way. He is a graduate of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music where he received a B.A. in the field of Vocal Performance. He has lent his voice to pediatric cancer research, headlining benefits for the HARK Foundation and the Neil Bogart Foundation for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Griffith has also performed Egeo (Aegus) in Giasone, the Chevalier de LaForce in Les Dialogues des Carmelites, Bill in A Hand of Bridge, Billy Lawlor in the musical 42nd Street, and Orpheus in Orpheus and the Underworld.
ROBERT HALLAK began his acting career under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg in New York City. Shortly after they met, Mr. Strasberg invited Robert into his home – and into his life. The two became friends and Robert became his next (and last) protégé. Robert landed his first play, the highly acclaimed A Barber Shop in Pittsburgh, directed by Frank Corsaro at the Actors Studio in New York. Robert went on to do The Modern Ladies of Guanabacoa, directed by James Hammerstein at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, and worked for six months with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sidney Kingsley on his final play, Falling Man. On stage, Robert has appeared as Willie Eisenring in The Firebugs by Max Frisch, Job/Bob in Moonchildren by Michael Weller, and Jean-Paul Marat in Marat-Sade by Peter Weiss. On television, Robert is best known for his portrayal of Massud Naboti in the mini-series The Billionaire Boy’s Club. He has guest-starred on numerous TV shows including Arrested Development, Just Shoot Me, and Home Improvement. He has also had featured roles in three of Henry Jaglom’s films, including New Years Day and Someone To Love, in which he had the privilege to work with Orson Welles on what turned out to be his last film. He also trained for 2 years at the Actors Studio in New York and over the past 20 years has taught acting in Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Robert co-founded the award-winning Friends and Artists Theatre Ensemble (FATE) here in Los Angeles. Robert is a working actor appearing in film, television and theatre.
GERALD JAMES began ballet training in high school at The Ruth Page Dance Foundation. He earned a theatre scholarship to Loyola University and later joined a prominent Chicago modern dance troupe. In New York, he studied with Dance Theatre of Harlem and performed as a Radio City Music Hall dancer. Gerald is involved with the We Tell Stories theatre company in Los Angeles and is the creator of the Waters Edge Theatre. He is a member of Jim Gamble Puppets Productions and the Imagination workshop. Gerald teaches acting in LAUSD, has created professional developmental workshops for the Cerritos Arts Center, and has presented poetry workshops through the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
MJ KARMI is a classically trained actress with 20 years of performance experience in television, film and theatre. MJ taught for 3 years with Susan Batson at Black Nexxus in New York and last summer, “Approaching the Shakespearean Monologue” at The SAG Conservatory Summer Workshop. MJ holds an MFA in Dramatic Arts from the Actors Studio at the New School. MJ is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a member of Circus Theatricals Studio Theatre.
SASHA KRANE trained from a very early age as a Method actor in New York, with Geoffrey Horne, where he developed a passion for theatre and film. He is the nephew of legendary acting teacher Lee Strasberg. Sasha moved to Los Angeles and began writing and directing stage-plays while assisting Sally Kirkland in her acting classes at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. He has worked on the production, Leftover Hearts, at The Marilyn Monroe Theatre which garnered good reviews. He has written and directed short films Astyanax, A Little Death (best comedy, New York International Film Festival), and Patriots. Shorts International bought Patriots for global distribution. He directed his first feature, Machete Joe, which wonthe San Diego Black Film Festival award for Best Thriller. Several of his scripts have been optioned and sold, including: Tooth and Claw, Caliban, and Red Winter. His latest feature, a neo-noir crime drama, Kickback, has been optioned and will star Dolph Lundgren in the lead role. Sasha continues to work as a script doctor and screenwriter, and director.
ANDRE LANDZAAT was born and raised in the Netherlands and speaks Dutch, English, as well as French and German. He worked with Lee Strasberg at his private classes at Carnegie Hall in New York for 5 years. He is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and worked on Noisy Passenger with Shelley Winters and Robert DeNiro at the Actors Studio in New York. He has the privilege of spending many inspiring moments with Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee. He received a Soap Opera Award for portraying Tony Cassadine on General Hospital, where Elizabeth Taylor played his sister-in-law.
MARC MARNO is a native New Yorker who has appeared in feature films and co-starred in several Broadway plays. Television audiences have seen him in over 100 guest starring parts. He has received critical claim for his work not only on stage but also in feature films. Marc has worked with Joshua Logan, Elia Kazan, Dore Schary and Sidney Pollack, among others. He is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He also studied with Stella Adler and Sandy Meisner. He earned his BA and MFA degrees from the UCLA Theatre Arts and Film Schools, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Marc’s tenacious and demanding approach to Strasberg’s work is well known and is based not only on his experience as an actor, but also as a teacher.
BRODIE NELSON was born and raised in Los Angeles. He started his studies at The Institute and in 1992 and completed the Two-Year Program. He continued his studies for two more years primarily under the tutelage of Marc Marno and Hedy Sontag. He is a member of The Group at Strasberg and has performed in over fifty plays in the past twenty-one years. He performed in the feature films Clockwatchers and Cover Up 62.
ANDREA ODINOV FULLER is certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework® and also teaches this work at Loyola Marymount University, the Tom Todoroff Studio, and TVI Actors Studio. Andrea has served as the voice/dialect coach for the Long Beach Playhouse, 24th Street Theatre, and the USC School of Theatre. Her acting roles have taken her to the Laguna Playhouse, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Sacred Fools Theatre and the Blank Theatre. On the small screen, she has appeared in several TV and commercial roles. She is a proud member of SAG, AFTRA, AEA and VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association), and has an MFA from University of California-Irvine and a BA from the University of Delaware.
NENAD “NENO” PERVAN was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He holds a BFA in Acting from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia and an MFA in Performance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Neno teaches Acting and Voice & Movement at Loyola Marymount University, Acting and Acting for the Camera at Santa Barbara City College, and Stage Movement at The Lee Strasberg Institute. Neno directs, acts, and writes for theatre, film, and TV. His directing credits include Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Agatha Christie’s The Hollow. As an actor, Neno appeared in several national and international motion pictures, and on American and European stages in numerous theatre productions, ranging from the classics to contemporary works. Neno wrote several pieces for theatre, film, and TV, some of which were successfully produced in Europe and the United States.
CHRIS PRINZO is a quadruple-threat, being a successful singer, dancer, actor, and radio personality. He appeared on Broadway in the role of Pepper (and served as Assistant Dance Captain) in Mamma Mia! and was featured as a lead in The Gorey Details Off Broadway. On the LA stage, Chris played Chachi in Happy Days: The Musical at the Falcon Theatre, which was written and directed by Garry Marshall. He’s also been featured in productions of Zorba, Applause, Kismet, and South Pacific starring Reba McEntyre at the Hollywood Bowl, At The Roxy on Sunset with Donovan Leech, in a workshop of Brian DePalma and Paul Williams’ Phantom of the Paradise, and at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood playing Tom in the romantic comedy The Id and Bob. Chris’s television and film credits include Las Vegas, Scrubs, Eli Stone, Help Me Help You, American Dreams, Passions, Mulberry Park, Disney’s High School Musical: Get in the Picture, and the Lion’s Gate feature House of the Dead 2. Chris can also be heard serenading listeners as a guest on-air personality on the K-EARTH 101 Morning Show. Chris also conducts workshops and private coaching nationwide. Originally from New York City, he is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was a member of the University Scholars Program.
TROY RINTALA is an award-winning choreographer and has assisted in casting with numerous professional theatres across the country, including the Walt Disney Company. Troy’s teaching experience includes working as the Director of American Musical Theatre of San Jose’s Theatre Arts Institute, helping to train and prepare over 200 Bay Area students for a career in the professional theatre.
MICHAEL RYAN trained as a dancer with Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Hanya Holm and Alwin Nikolais. As an actor he has appeared in over thirty productions in Australia, Germany, and New York. He has been a member of the South Australian Theatre Company as well as the Creation Company of New York. Michael teaches Movement at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
HEDY SONTAG attended the prestigious High School of Music and Art in New York City. Upon graduation, she attended the Parsons School of Design at NYU. Hedy is on 2 different boards – Café La MaMa with Ellen Stewart in New York, and United Performance Studio in Japan. She is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and also a member of the Playwright/Director Unit. She studied with Lee Strasberg in the 1960’s and is one of our senior faculty members.
DIG WAYNE has been an actor for over 20 years and studied at the Strasberg Institute in London. He is also a poet, a professional singer and songwriter. Dig has worked professionally in New York City, London and Los Angeles. He is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. Dig won the NAACP theatre award for Best Supporting Male in a play for his role as Gabriel in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences in 2007. He was also nominated for an Ovation Award for the same role. Additionally, he starred in Five Guys Named Moe, which had a 5-year run in London’s West End. On TV, he acted in Crossing Jordan, Boston Legal, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds and ER.
CARYN WEST holds a BA in Film and Drama from Stamford University and an MFA in Acting from Temple University. She teaches Marketing for the Professional Actor and Comedy. She is a working actress with credits on Broadway, regional theatre, film and television. She is featured in the film I DO that had its world premiere in Los Angeles. She recently worked with the company of Good People at the Geffen Playhouse. Caryn also directs both film and theatre and is a well-known audition coach.
CARRIE WONG has been working in martial arts for over 35 years. She has been a nationally ranked competitor in both hand forms and weapons in the art of Kung Fu. Carrie has been featured in magazines, television specials, authored a book and a training video. She assisted in the training of Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, Jason Scott Lee, and Ryan Gosling. She was inducted into the Martial Arts History Hall of Fame in 2005 and is the narrator for the Museum Players. Carrie trains and teaches six days a week due to her love and passion for teaching and the arts of Kung Fu and Tai Chi.
LEAH ZHANG is a Nationally Certified Alexander Technique Teacher with over twelve years of Alexander Technique study and application. She has an extensive background in movement education, and also improving health and performance through ease of movement techniques and the mind-body connection. Leah is also a working actress in film and television. She received her MFA in Acting from the prestigious Old Globe Professional Actor Training Program at the University of San Diego. She has performed regionally on the stages of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, The Old Globe, and Chicago Dramatists. Leah maintains a private practice in Los Angeles and San Diego and has taught movement workshops to many local performers.