Faculty and Staff

Susan Aston, Director of MFA Acting; Acting and Audition Techniques

Susan Aston is a coach, teacher, actress, and director in New York City. She is most noted for her work with James Gandolfini on The Sopranos, having coached his Emmy-, Golden Globe-, SAG- and Tony- award winning performances. She coached Mr. Gandolfini’s performances in The Drop, Criminal Justice, Enough Said, Violet and Daisy, Not Fade Away, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Cinema Verite, Down the Shore, Welcome to the Rileys, Where the Wild Things Are, The Taking of Pelham 123, All the King’s Men, Lonely Hearts, Romance and Cigarettes, The Last Castle, The Mexican, and in the Broadway play, The God of Carnage.  Aston coached Jason Clarke, in Public Enemies, U.S. Attorney, The Human Contract, and in all seasons of Showtime’s, Brotherhood, Jada Pinkett Smith in all seasons of HawthoRNe, and Jaden Smith in and The Get Down and Brothers in Atlanta.  She coached Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Bobby Funaro, and Sully Boyle in episodes of The Sopranos.  Aston has also coached performances in Person of Interest, Shades of Blue, Law and Order, Abnormal Attraction, and Fever Pitch.  Aston is a charter member of the core acting faculty at the Actors Studio Drama School, Pace University, teaching Scene Study 1-IV, Basic Technique 1-II, and Audition Techniques. At New York’s School of Visual Arts, Aston taught Acting for Directors. Aston was honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 2002–2003 Primetime Emmy Awards for Contributions to the Emmy Award-Winning Achievement, James Gandolfini, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. As an actress, she has appeared on Broadway and in film and television. She is a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio.

Craig Bacon, Voice

A director and designated Linklater Voice teacher, Craig Bacon has held faculty appointments at SUNY Purchase, Columbia University, Fordham University, NYU (Altantic Theater Company), National Theater Institute (US and UK), The Actors Centre (London), The Linklater Center, and Shakespeare & Co (Lenox, MA). He has served as head of voice and text for the Mercury Theatre UK, where he directed Macbeth and The Tempest. In New York, in addition to his many directing credits, he has served as vocal coach for several productions including The English Channel by Robert Brustein at the Abington Theater.  Bacon also studied extensively with Richard Armstrong (founding member Roy Hart Theater), Uta Hagen, and Tina Packer. He has a BA from Vassar College.

Edward Allan Baker, Playwriting

Edward Allan Baker is a published and frequently produced New York City playwright. His one act-plays are produced all over US, Canada, and Europe, most notable among these are North Of Providence, Dolores, Rosemary With Ginger, Face Divided, ‘Up, Down, Strange, Charmed, Beauty And Truth,’ and Mafia On Prozac. Translations of Dolores include French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese. His Off-Broadway full-length plays include Prairie Avenue, American Storage, The Bride Of Olneyville Square, Ray On The Water, and The Framer. Other full length plays, Free Gift Inside, which premiered at The Actors Studio, and Sonny Under The Assumption, which premiered at The Neighborhood Playhouse. He is published by Dramatists Play Service, Faber And Faber, and Smith And Kraus Theatre Books. Dolores is included in Best Short Plays, 1989. Mr. Baker is also a screenwriter, adapting his plays for the screen. Filmed and chosen for film festivals, Dolores and Face Divided; full-length screen versions, of Dolores, and Rosemary With Ginger, both and optioned for production. Baker taught playwriting at Sarah Lawrence College for twelve years before joining the Actors Studio Drama School faculty in 2006. He received The 25th Anniversary Award For Theatrical Excellence by New York-based Ensemble Studio Theatre, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, East, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre. www.edwardallanbaker.com

Michael Billingsley, Movement

Michael Billingsley began his martial art training as soon as he could walk and has continued ever since. Raised in his father’s Tae Kwon Do school, he was awarded his first-degree black belt from the Jhoon Rhee Institute at the age of 17. Other styles he has studied include capoeira, tai chi, ju-jitsu and escrima. He is a senior instructor with Kids Kicking Cancer, teaching martial arts and meditation techniques as a form of pain management for children in hospitals throughout New York City. He has also performed in theater and films produced in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta. As a founding member of Woken’ Glacier Theater Company, he holds membership in Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. He holds an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School and is a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio.

Clay McLeod Chapman, Playwriting

Clay McLeod Chapman is the creator of the rigorous storytelling session The Pumpkin Pie Show. Publications: rest area (short stories), miss corpus (novel), and The Tribe middlegrade adventure series—book one, Homeroom Headhunters, book two, Camp Cannibal (Disney/Hyperion). Film: The Boy (with Craig Macneill), Late Bloomer (short, Sundance 2005) and Henley (with Macneill, short, Sundance 2012). Theatre: Commencement, Hostage Song (with Kyle Jarrow), and SCKBSTD (with Bruce Hornsby). Comics: The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man Adventures and Spider-Man 2099. He is a writing instructor at The Actors Studio MFA Program at Pace University. www.claymcleodchapman.com

Chris Clavelli, Classics, Period, and Style

Chris Clavelli is a veteran of over 80 professional productions in the theatre. He has served as the associate artistic director of The Florida Repertory Theatre and co-artistic director of The Neighborhood Theatre for Kids in Brooklyn. Representative acting credits: the original company of All in the Timing Off-Broadway, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Paper Mill Playhouse, The Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Florida Repertory Theatre, Law and Order, Rescue Me, All My Children Another World and the indies: Here’s The Thing and Boots. He is the recipient of The Carbonell Award, The Barrymore Award, and was named Best Actor of the year by The Florida Weekly in 2013. He has directed in New York and in the regional theatre for the past 25 years and Broadwayworld.com honored him with a Best Director Award for his production of Time Stands Still at The Florida Repertory Theatre. Teaching credits: New York University, Queens College, Long Island University, The New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, AMDA, Marymount College, and The Cooper Union. He was trained at Emerson College, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Graduate Program and studied with master Linklater instructor Louis Colaianni. Member: AEA, AFTRA/SAG and SDC.

Bill Coco, PhD, Director of Theater History Department; Theater History and History of Directing

A dramaturge, translator, magazine and book editor, and teacher, Bill Coco was principal dramaturge for the late director Joseph Chaikin on 15 productions for the stage, radio and audio-recording. His has written for The Drama Review (TDR), Performance, Scripts, Theater Journal, and Performing Arts Journal (PAJ). He was associate editor of TDR and a founding editor of Performance and Scripts, which were published by Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. He was also contributing editor for PAJ and the Yale School of Drama’s Theater. His translations include Sophocles’ Elektra, produced at the Actors Studio, and Strindberg’s Dance of Death (cotranslated with Peter Stormare) at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. His productions with Chaikin included premieres and performances of plays by Jean-Claude van Itallie, Sam Shepard, Adrienne Kennedy, Molière, Ionesco, and four plays by Beckett, at venues including the NYSF Public Theater, Signature Theater (Shepard and Kennedy Seasons), the Mark Taper Forum in LA, and the Juilliard School. He coedited, with Gloria Brim Beckerman, Bernard Beckerman’s posthumous book, Theatrical Presentation: Performer, Audience and Act, published by Routledge. Also, he dramaturged the Shepard-Chaikin collaboration When the World Was Green, which toured Moscow as the first American company to play guest performances at the Moscow Art Theater. Coco holds an MFA and a PhD from Columbia University and has taught at Columbia, New York University, and, most recently, at the Actors Studio Drama School since its inaugural year.

Matthew Dudley, Neutral American Speech

Matthew Dudley is a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher, a Certified Joy of Phonetics instructor, a Meisner trained actor and voice-over artist. He currently teaches Neutral American Speech at the Actors Studio Drama School MFA program at Pace University and is Director of Voice and Speech at Terry Knickerbocker Studio. He has taught voice and speech at Playwrights Horizons Theater School / NYU Tisch School of The Arts; Experimental Theatre Wing / NYU Tisch School of the Arts; The Linklater Center; Maggie Flanigan Studio; The Actor’s Studio, New York; Maggie Flanigan Studio; The Wooster Group Summer Institute and HB Studios. Corporate workshop coaching includes The World Economic Forum and Columbia Business School Senior Executive Program. He is available for individual and ensemble coaching.

Shawn Lewis, Design

Based in New York City, Lewis has worked as a set designer for more than 50 productions throughout the United States and abroad, designing plays, musicals, opera and film. Lewis’s mentor has been Tony Walton, with whom she started teaching in 1996 at the Actors Studio Drama School. As the resident scenic designer for ASDS, Lewis has designed more than 450 one-act productions. Additionally, she has taught master’s-level classes at the University of North Carolina and at Yale School of Drama in set design. Lewis is a member of the League of Professional Theater Women and of United Scenic Artists. She attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and received her BA in painting from The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her MFA in scenic design is from New York University’s Tisch School. Lewis is the Supervising Director for ASDS Rep season.

Andreas Manolikakis, Chair of the Actors Studio Drama School MFA Program, Director of MFA Directing; Directing, Acting

Andreas Manolikakis was Chair of the Directing Department at the Actors Studio Drama School, where he taught acting and directing from 1995 to 2005. He has taught workshops in acting, directing and script analysis in Athens, Berlin and Paris (at the French National Film School La Femis; the Conservatoire National Superieur d’Art Dramatique; and at L’Escalier 4). He has translated into Greek and published in Athens in 1997 Nikolai Gorchakov’s Russian classic The Vakhtangov School of Stage Art, which became a required text for the Theater Department of the University of Athens. He has also given lectures on “Stanislavski and Vakhtangov,” “The Actors Studio,” “Method Acting and Greek Tragedy,” and “Method Acting and Directing” at L’Escalier 4 in Paris; the University of Athens; the National Theater and the University of Northern Greece; the Drama School of the National Theater of Greece; and the National Organization of Theater Studies in Athens. As a director and as an actor, he has worked in the United States and Europe. Among his directing highlights are: Porte Close, by N. Darmon, at the National Theatre of East Paris; Elektra, by Sophocles, at the Actors Studio; Liliom, by F. Molnar, in Athens. Among his acting highlights are: on Broadway opposite Sir Derek Jacobi in Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code; and a leading role in the feature film Ice House, opposite Melissa Gilbert. He directed and acted in numerous plays from the Greek and international repertoire for the New Hellenic Stage of New York, which he founded in 1983. He is also the author of The Classmates, a 13-episode television series produced by the National Greek Television ET3. He holds a BA in acting from the Greek Art Theatre Drama School in Athens, founded by Karolos Koun, and an MA in theater from the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes. He also studied with Marcel Marceau at his International School of Mime in Paris. At the Actors Studio, he is a Lifetime Member and a member of the Board of Directors.

Beth Manspeizer, Acting

Beth Manspeizer is a passionate teacher, coach, and actor. Beth is a member of The Actors Studio and a member of the Board of Directors of The Actors Studio. Beth has been teaching acting for 20 years. She was the Director of Education Programs at The Regional Film Center: The Picture House, where she designed and developed all classes for the conservatory and theater arts programming and was the lead acting faculty for all adult classes. She also worked at the prestigious Rye Country Day School where she was an acting and directing faculty. Beth has served as a visiting directing actors teaching artist at the Jacob Burns Film Center.  She has also worked in Chaing Mai, Thailand, teaching acting to college students focusing on acting and improvisation. Beth has also taught acting in the New Rochelle and Pelham school districts. Beth is the Artistic Director of The Hope Performance Company which brings theater programs, including acting and play development, to schools which compliment their curriculum. In addition, Beth leads staff professional development trainings in non-profit organizations using the tools of acting and theater to enhance public speaking skills, confidence, and team building. Beth has worked as an actress in many venues in NYC and regionally including Ensemble Studio Theater, Mabou Mines, PS 122, La Mama, 59E59, Ontological, The Fringe, and The Actors Studio, where she was a lead in Estelle Parson's Theater and Social Justice. Her work has also been seen on The Sundance Channel and The Montreal Film Festival. Beth received a NYIT award nomination for Best Actress. Beth has an MFA in Acting from The Actors Studio Drama School.

Corinna May, Voice

Corinna is an actor-educator.  A Designated Linklater voice teacher, a Feldenkrais practitioner, a 27-year member of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA  where she is a leading actor (30+ roles and counting) and senior faculty member in Training and Education. She stars in the indie feature Split Ends, directed by Dorothy Lyman. Broadway tour: THE GRADUATE with Jerry Hall, Linda Gray, Lorraine Bracco, Kelly McGillis and Morgan Fairchild as the Missus Robinson.  Playwright: DANCING WITH THE CZAR, produced by Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA. Corinna has worked in NY and regional theatre in classical, modern and new plays, appeared in film and on television, taught at Smith, MIT, Syracuse University, a couple of SUNYs, Fordham, the National Theatre Institute and Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School.  She is featured with Arlyn Zones on the DVD set "Voice, Breath & Posture: Linklater and Feldenkrais".  She coaches actors, lawyers, executives and academics, and is a proud Union member: AEA, SAG-AFTRA, Dramatists Guild. Graduate of Barnard College and Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School.

Brian Rhinehart, PhD, Directing, Acting, Theatre History

Brian Rhinehart is an actor, director, and deviser. He is Artistic Director of a theatre collective, Dog’s Breakfast, and was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright Grant to develop a co-production in Braunschweig, Germany, titled Dispersal: A Gentrification Story. An expert in devised theatre and collaborative playmaking, Rhinehart has worked as a freelance theatre director in the United States and Europe for the last twenty three years.  During the summers he frequently works with the company “Forum for Arts and Culture” on their annual production in Heersum, Germany, titled Heersumer Sommerspiel. Most recently, he appeared as a performer in the 1200th Anniversary Celebration of the town of Hildesheim in Lower Saxony, Germany, and directed Butoh Medea on Theatre Row in Manhattan, which premiered in the 2014 United Solo Festival, winning awards for “Best One Woman Show,” “Best Choreography,” “Best Lighting Design,” and “Best Costume Design.” The production was subsequently invited by United Solo Europe to perform in Warsaw, Poland. It was invited back to the United Solo Festival in 2015, where it won the “Best Physical Theatre” award. In 2007 Rhinehart assistant-directed the first national tour of the Broadway musical The Wedding Singer, as well as its Atlantic City production in Harrah’s Casino, 2008.  He was named “Best Director” of the 2001 New York International Fringe Festival for the play Einstein’s Dreams, was a member of the 2006 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and was a Resident Artist of the Kraine Theater from 2002 to 2005. Brian is also a critically acclaimed actor (The New York Times, Show Business Weekly), who has performed in over fifty productions in New York City, Germany, and Florida. The plays he has written or co-written have been seen in the New York International Fringe Festival and a variety of Off-Off Broadway venues. Brian is an internationally published scholar on the subject of contemporary German theatre, and is co-author of a book, titled Comedy Acting for Theatre, to be published by Methuen Publishing in 2017. He holds an M.F.A. in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida. He has taught various theatre workshops and seminars in the U.S., Germany, Portugal, China and Japan, and teaches or has taught Acting, Directing, Devising, Theatre History and Playwriting at such schools as The City University of New York (Baruch College), Marymount Manhattan College, New School University (Eugene Lang College), and Kean University.

Robert Serrell, Voice

Robert Serrell is a Designated Linklater Voice teacher and has taught voice, speech and text at Emerson College, Brandeis University, Shakespeare & Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, The Barrow Group, the NJ Performing Arts Center, and the Wheelock Family Theatre Company. He is a member of the Voice and Speech Teachers Association and has coached several off-Broadway and regional productions, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare & Company, Edith Wharton’s Summer with the Wharton Salon, and Macbeth, As You Like It, and Measure for Measure with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. He has performed Off-Broadway, in several regional theaters and SAG films, and has directed over a dozen productions and workshops with the Shakespeare & Company Education Program. Robert currently serves as the Executive Director of The Barrow Group Theatre Company in New York City.  He holds a Professional Certificate in Acting Shakespeare from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and a MFA in Acting from Brandeis University.

Ed Setrakian, PhD, Directing

Ed Setrakian has had a long-standing career in theater and film as a director, actor, and writer. For two years, he was director of the La Mama Ensemble. Among the experimental plays he directed are Home and the Queen of Greece, Stimulation, Myth or Maybe Meth, among others. Off-Broadway, he directed Easy Money, the musical Madam Bovary, There/This/Move, The Wound of Love and My Father’s House, among others. He directed several major productions at the Actors Studio including The Memoirs of Pontius Pilate and Silent Partners. Among his regional credits are the musicals Molly’s Dream, MacDougal Street and Finian’s Rainbow. He wrote and directed the documentary The Growth of our Children. He wrote several plays that were produced Off-Broadway including The Yellow Dog Contract, Virility and Mother was Sober. Setrakian is a veteran actor with many credits on Broadway, Off Broadway and in film and TV. More recently, he was seen in David Fincher’s acclaimed film Zodiac. He holds a PhD from NYU in Performance Studies and for several years he was the chairman of the Department of Communication Arts at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY.

Kate T. (Taney) Billingsley, Acting and Movement

Kate T. Billingsley received her B.A. from Emerson College with a major in Acting and her M.F.A. from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University with a concentration in Acting. She is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio and has worked professionally on indie films and on New York stages for the past eight years, recently completing her first feature film, "American Falls" with director, Toni Comas. As a playwright, Kate's most recent play “A Man of His Time” based on the legacy of the Dred Scott Decision, premiered at The Actors Studio and was featured the New York Times. The play will be performed this November on Playing On Air via WNYC alongside plays by John Patrick Shanley and Alan Zweibel.

Ken Urso, Directing, Acting, Director of Professional Development

Ken Urso has served as director, actor, guest artist, and dramaturg internationally and throughout the United States. He received his BFA in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his MFA in directing from the Actors Studio Drama School. New York directing credits include: Worth House, Amicable Parting, Getting Behind, Kidnapping Laura Linney, and Gay Camp. Regional credits include: Never the Sinner, Always…Patsy Cline, The Producers, Mamma Mia!, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). In the summer of 2014, he directed the world premiere of The House of Murgatroyd, an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddygore, which opened at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, England, where it received rave reviews.  Ken was recently hired to pilot a new Arts Incubator at Colby College, where he mentored young writers and directed the original production of Lost With You: The Musical.  He has taught workshops in Design, Collaboration, Acting, and Devising at Baruch College, Gonzaga University, Pacific University, Interplayers Theatre, and at the Actors Studio Drama School. He and his work have been featured on Playbill.com, Broadwayworld.com, NYTheatre.com, in StageLight Magazine, Time Out New York, Next Magazine, Out Magazine, and All That Chat. www.KenUrso.com