Our Teachers
has been active in the theatre since 1940, the year of his first professional acting job, and joined Actors Equity in 1947. Teaching has been a major part of his life since 1953, the beginning of the Michael Howard Studios.

An actor, director, and teacher, Mr. Howard taught and directed at the Juilliard School, Drama Division for seven years, served as an Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Drama, and as a Visiting Associate Professor at Boston University. He also taught in the inaugural season of the American Conservatory Theatre with William Ball, serving as a teacher-director. While at A.C.T. he directed the company in George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance for public television.

As an actor, Michael has performed on Broadway in Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl, among others, and in literally hundreds of roles in summer and winter stock, repertory companies, regional theatres, television, and film. His last film was John Patrick Shanley’s Five Corners.

As a director he was a pioneer in the off-Broadway movement. His credits include the American premiere of Leonid Andreyev’s The Waltz of the Dogs, Time of Storm by Sheldon Starks, and Lofton Mitchell’s Land Beyond the River, the first modern play by an African-American writer that dealt with the emerging civil rights movement. On Broadway, he directed The Troublemakers by George Belak and the Theatre Guild’s The Third Best Sport by Eleanor Perry, with Celeste Holm. Michael was the founding artistic director of Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Company, where he directed the landmark production of John Dryden and Henry Purcell’s opera Masque King Arthur, as well as 15 other productions in the three years he was in Atlanta.

Among America’s most important theatrical figures with whom Michael has worked as an actor, director and teacher are: Uta Hagen, Celeste Holm, Estelle Winwood, Sidney Lumet, Michael Kahn, William Ball, Jean Erdman, Joseph Chaikin, Michael Douglas, Charlton Heston, Jason Robards, Jacquie Brooks, and Terry Schreiber. More recently he has worked with actors Keith David, Boyd Gaines, Kyra Sedgwick, Judy Kuhn, Kelsey Grammer, Alfre Woodard, Joe Pantoliano, and William Hurt.

During the past many years his major effort has been the development, growth and success of the Michael Howard Studios, and his teaching therein. Michael’s pleasure and excitement in teaching is unabated.

GABRIELLE BERBERICH is the Owner of Michael Howard Studios. While attending Marymount Manhattan College on a merit scholarship, Berberich launched her career in media as a college freshman, when her interviews of a "Who's Who" of the golden age of television were published in Serling: The Rise And Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man, a Penguin/Dutton biography of Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. The book went on to be nominated for a Pulitzer and Berberich went on to become a freelance writer/photographer and publicist.

After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired by Universal Studios in casting Penny Marshall's Parkway Productions film With Friends Like These… (Bill Murray, Martin Scorsese, Laura San Giacomo, David Strathairn, Alan Arkin, Amy Madigan, Elle Macpherson). Gabrielle was then tapped by Rysher Entertainment (Oz, Nash Bridges, Family Brood, Martial Law) to join their creative affairs department. That same year, she invested in a Beverly Hills Restaurant and Lounge, Naked Lunch. Next, she co-founded an independent casting company, casting such projects as Universal Soldier: The Return (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bill Goldberg, Michael Jai White) and If You Only Knew (Gabrielle Anwar, Jonathan Schaech, Allison Eastwood). She would later expand into producing, music videos, commercials and film, including the multi-award-winning shorts, The Quarry and The Hook-Armed Man, which screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide.

Gabrielle returned to New York in 2001 and began running the New York City office of a national charity, doing celebrity fundraising specifically to raise money for people who had been disabled or lost loved ones in 9/11. She “recast” their NYC office bringing in colleagues from HBO, Spelling Productions, and Paramount.  Together, they shot several award-winning PSA’s. Through this work she became deeply involved in Project H.A.P.P.Y., a Saturday program for kids with disabilities. She now sits on their financial advisory board.

After deciding that she would head back to entertainment, in 2005, she bought the prestigious Michael Howard Studios, the longest running privately-owned acting studio in New York City, and her production company Hudson Mermaid expanded into producing feature films. Berberich wrote and produced the critically-praised Greetings From The Shore (Kim Shaw, Paul Sorvino, David Fumero, Jay O. Sanders, Cristin Milioti, Lars Arentz-Hansen), which played in over 70 festivals around the world, received 45 awards, opened in theaters on September 12, 2008 and is now enjoying a successful international release.  In 2006, Berberich also co-produced Hounddog (Dakota Fanning, Robin Wright, David Morse) which opened in theaters September 19, 2008. In 2009, she produced a commercial for Paul Sorvino’s pasta sauce brand which you can watch here.

Gabrielle produced Shakespeare in the Present with world-renowned voice and speech authority, Patsy Rodenburg, who has worked with (among others): Dame Judi Dench, Joseph Fiennes, and Wallace Shawn. Several times a year, Gabrielle teaches a popular On-Camera Film and Television class.  She also coaches select actors through Studio Network, Agency and Management Company referrals. 

POLINA KLIMOVITSKAYA holds an MFA in Directing from State Theater University, Moscow, Russia, and a Ph. D. from Yale University. She started her work as an actress and director in Moscow. She studied with disciples of K. Stanislavsky and E. Vachtangov, and directing with the last assistant of the great stage innovator, V. Meyerhold. In the US she has performed at Yale Repertory Theater, and played Mama in the Academy Award winning film Molly’s Pilgrim. Polina has directed numerous productions in Europe and in America, and is the founding director of the Terra Incognita Theater. She is a recipient of both the BACA Center for the Arts Award for her direction of Ida at the Window (Terra Incognita), and a Ruthberg Foundation Award for innovative teaching at Yale University. In addition to teaching at Michael Howard Studios, Polina has taught at Yale University, New York University, The National Shakespeare Conservatory, Stella Adler Studio, and Hunter College. Recently she joined the faculty at Brooklyn College.
FAY SIMPSON is the founder of The Lucid Body and the Artistic Director and co-founder of Impact Theatre since its creation in 1990. Informed by her work in the rehearsal room, the teaching studio and onstage over the last 20 years, Ms. Simpson has developed a unique physical training method for the actor called The Lucid Body, also taught at The Yale Drama School, and Stone Street Studios. Other workshops include Solo and Ensemble Physical Performance at Stella Adler, EST, University of the South, and Colorado College. She conducted the workshop, The Physicality of Shakespeare, at The New Globe in London, and in collaboration with actor/director Joseph Siravo at The Cherry Lane Alternative Theatre, and The Actors Center. The Lucid Body Teacher Training program is now in place. Fay is a member of The Actor’s Center.

        With Impact Theatre, Fay has conceived, directed and produced original physical theatre productions at Manhattan Class Company: D-Train, Degas’ Little Dancer, and Research & Development. Other Off-Broadway and International productions include Raging Women and One Bad Man, Kurt's Wife: A Story of Lotte Lenya, The Marital Bliss of Francis & Maxine, Better, Triptych, and a solo performance piece entitled Trapped In Seven. Her latest works include an adaptation of a Dorothy Parker short story, Here We Are, and a memorial piece called BIRDGIRL. Collaborators include writers James Bosley, Jennifer Wells and Michael Oakes, screen writer/director Deborah Kampmeier, actor/writer/co-creator Liam Torres, composer Earl Wentz, and sound designer Tim Cramer.


DANIEL SINGER is a senior educator of Alexander Teachers on the staff of the American Center for the Alexander Technique Teacher Certification Program. Graduating from the State University of New York at Buffalo, he then trained and was certified to teach the Alexander Technique pursuing post-graduate Alexander studies in London. He helped found the national professional organization, the American Society for the Alexander Technique. Daniel serves on the faculties of Circle-in-the-Square Professional Theater School, The Actors Studio MFA program, Michael Howard Studio Acting Conservatory and Stella Adler Studio Conservatory. In private practice in New York City, he has also taught at the American Academy for Dramatic Arts and the Wickham Vocal Studios. Daniel is an author of the book The Sacred Portable Now (Prima Publishing, 1996) and co-produced a CD "The Back Alive Advantage" based on principles of Alexander Technique self-lesson work. Additionally, Mr. Singer is trained and fully-certified in educational and therapeutic uses of visualization by the American Institute for Mental Imagery.

ELIZABETH SWAIN’s recent directing credits include Master Harold and the Boys at Cape May Stage, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Cal State, Long Beach, Medea for the Antaeus company in Los Angeles, and Macbeth for NY State Theatre Institute. Other credits include Pam Gems’ Camille, Stoppard’s Arcadia, The Winter’s Tale, an all-female Hamlet, two plays by Aphra Behn: The Rover and The Lucky Chance, Susanna Centlivre’s The Wonder, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good and The Love of the Nightingale, Mishima’s Hanjo, and the NY premiere of Wendy Kesselman’s The Executioner’s Daughter. She also directed Hamlet and Biyi Bandele’s adaptation of Aphra Behn’s novel Oroonoko for TWAS Theatre at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. Broadway acting credits include Charley’s Aunt, Crown Matrimonial, and Sherlock Holmes (the RSC production). Ms. Swain has also worked Off and Off Off  Broadway, in Regional Theatres across the country (NJ Shakespeare, Theatre Co. of Boston, ACT, Seattle, Olney Theatre MD, et al) and in a variety of tours. Television credits include five years on Guiding Light and stints on As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and Dark Shadows. Ms Swain has recorded over fifty books for the blind and has an active voice-over career. She is one of the featured actors in 2 CDs of poetry recently released by Highbridge:  Voices of Love and Voices of Marriage.  Ms. Swain has taught at NYU, Hunter, CCNY, Barnard, and was on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College until her recent relocation to the West Coast.  She teaches at the Shakespeare Sedona Institute and for the Antaeus Company in Los Angeles. She was a participant in the National Endowment for the Humanities 2002 summer institute, Shakespeare’s Staging: Inside and Out at the Blackfriars Theatre in Virginia and at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and holds a doctorate from the City University of NY.
NAOMI THORNTON started out as an Equity professional actress and early on, too young to know any better, founded and produced the well-chronicled Theatre Company of Boston where she performed with Larry Bryggman, Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and many others. Since then she has acted in film, television, radio, on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in Regional Theatre, Summer Stock, Experimental Theatre, Political Theatre, Mime, and Happenings. Her recent credits include Ranyevskaya in The Cherry Orchard and Bloomsday on Broadway, where she has played a dog, a cat, a newsboy, a whore, a scholar, a socialite, and most recently Molly Bloom waking up. She has also recorded books on tape for Simon and Schuster, and she has done films with Luke Perry, John Savage, and Joanne Woodward. Ms. Thornton has worked extensively as a director—credits include the prize-winning Front Porch Trilogy. As a teacher, she has worked at Bard College, Boston University, NYU Tisch, Circle-in-the-Square, MIT, and Emerson College. She wrote, acted in, and co-produced award-winning PBS specials The Fight to be Remembered and Yes We Can. Ms. Thornton has been a Theater Delegate to The People’s Republic of China, 2000, and to the German Democratic Republic. She also is on the Selection Committee for the annual Susan Smith Blackburn International prize for best play in English by a woman playwright.

DAVID WELLS trained at the University of Colorado at Boulder, at the California Institute of the Arts, with Chuck Jones at the George Morrison Studio (NYC), and at the University of Iowa/Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Summer Vocology Institute. He has also worked with Patsy Rodenberg (Shakespeare), Catherine Fitzmaurice, Joan Melton (Singing), and Patrick Arena (Ritual Chanting). Mr. Wells has taught introductory and advanced classes in Vocal Production at the Michael Howard Studios, the Gregory Abels Training Ensemble (GATE), NYU/Tisch studio at the Atlantic Theatre School. NYU/Tisch studio at Playwrights Horizons, and at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film, Purchase College/SUNY. He is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) and has 15 years experience of private coaching with Broadway and TV actors.

Adam Swartz is a New York City-based actor and writer. His background includes studies in theatre at Temple University, legendary acting teacher Irene Baird at the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, Jordan Charney, the T. Schreiber Studio and Michael Howard Studios. He is proud to be a long-time student and protege of Gabrielle Berberich. Adam works regularly with Steps Theatre, most recently starring in At the Ark at Eight, as well as No Day No Month No Year, an adaptation of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman, directed by internationally renowned director Slava Stepnov. Other theatre credits include the Terry Schreiber production of The Cherry Orchard. Film credits include the lead role in Deja Vu, directed by Kate Baladina (Winner Best Short Drama, 2010 NY International Independent Film Festival), and the forthcoming webseries Scout and Maggie. He has done commercial work for Google, Legoland, and Whole Foods among others. As a playwright he wrote and performed The Playground Story which was nominated for Best Play and Best Lead Actor at the 2012 Network One Act Festival. He is also co-writer of the play Number One: A Pollack Painting, produced Off-Broadway and later published as part of the anthology Such Desperate Joy: Imagining Jackson Pollack (Thundermouth Press).
  1. copyright 2010 - Michael Howard Studios

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS works as an actress, director, producer, teacher, activist, and most recently, author, with the publishing of her memoir Ask Me Again Tomorrow. She received an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress, the New York Film Critics' Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics' Award and the Golden Globe Award for her work in the Norman Jewison film Moonstruck, as well as two OBIE Awards - for Bertolt Brecht's A Man's A Man, and Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo and the Outer Critics Award for Rose. She has appeared in over 130 productions on and off-Broadway, and regionally, including A Mother, Mother Courage, The Rose Tattoo, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, The Sea Gull, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Iphigenia in Aulis, Othello, Enemies, Miss Julie, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Night of the Iguana, and The Milktrain Doesn't Stop Here Anymore.

Film credits include: The Intended, The Event, The Thing About My Folks, Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland's Opus, Dad, and Look Who's Talking I, II , & III. TV appearances include Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, and Further Tales of the City based on the writings of Armistead Maupin (Screen Actors' Guild, Emmy, BAFTA nominations) and The Librarian. She is a regular on CBS' Center of the Universe with John Goodman.

PATSY RODENBURG is Director of Voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (26 years) and until recently at the Royal National Theatre (16 years). She is recognized as one of the world’s leading voice and acting coaches. She has worked regularly with the best-known actors of the British theatre, including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Antony Sher, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Russell Beale, Ralph Fiennes, Joe Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Sophie Okonedo as well as many of the biggest stars of film and television such as Nicole Kidman, Orlando Bloom, Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman to name a few. She was previously in residence with the Royal Shakespeare Company (9 years) and also works with The Royal Court Theater, Donmar and Almeida Theater, London. She has also worked extensively with many of the great world theatres including the Moscow Art Theatre, Complicite, Cheek by Jowl, Comedie-Francaise, etc. She recently directed a very successful and critically acclaimed production of King Lear in Los Angeles.

When Patsy is in New York her classes are available exclusively through Michael Howard Studios.

JUDY KUHN has been nominated for three Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards for her work on Broadway in The Roundabout's hit revival of She Loves Me, the American premiers of Chess and Les Miserables, and Rags. She also appeared in Richard Nelson's play Two Shakespearean Actors (Lincoln Center Theatre), Alan Menken & Tim Rice's King David, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (NYSF). At the Intiman Theatre Judy played Olga in a new adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters by Craig Lucas directed by Bartlett Sher. She co-starred in the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa’s The Highest Yellow, played Fosca in the critically acclaimed production of Passion at the Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration, and created the role of Betty Schaefer in the U.S. premiere of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.  In London's West End she starred in Metropolis for which she received a Laurence Olivier Award Nomination. Other theatre includes Eli’s Comin’ at The Vineyard Theatre (Obie Award), the title role in The Ballad of Little Jo at the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. (Jeff Award Nomination), As Thousands Cheer (Drama Dept.), Dream True (Vineyard Theatre), Strike Up the Band (Encores!), The Glass Menagerie (McCarter Theatre), Martin Guerre (Hartford Stage), and Martha Clarke's Endangered Species (BAM).


Judy sang the title role in Disney's Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World. Other film and television appearances include:  Enchanted, Hope & Faith (ABC), Law & Order (NBC), All My Children (ABC), The Secret Life of Mary Margaret...(HBO), My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies (PBS), The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS), The Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert (PBS), In Performance At The White House (PBS), and the independent  feature Day on Fire in which she costarred and performed the soundtrack with John Medeski.

Judy has performed on concert stages around the world including appearances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and The Royal Albert Hall in London and with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Orchestra. She can be heard on numerous original cast recordings as well as her solo album Just In Time: Judy Kuhn Sings Jule Styne. In  October of 2007, Judy released her new CD Serious Playground:The Songs of Laura Nyro and has performed  songs from the recording in concert at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, and the Kennedy Center. Visit Judy at judykuhn.net

RAGNAR FREIDANK is from Germany and holds an MFA in Acting from the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Hamburg. He received a scholarship from Villigst (Germany) to study the Michael Chekhov Technique in New York City. His long time teachers were Ted Pugh and Fern Sloan, who were both certified by Beatrice Straight, one of the few actors to receive certification by Michael Chekhov to teach his method.

He has worked as an actor in Germany and has performed in Budapest, London, Stockholm, and with The Actors’ Ensemble in New York City.

His directing credits include: Between Worlds (NY), For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again (NY), The Stronger (CT), Oscar und die Dame in Rosa (Germany), Monsieur Ibrahim und die Blumen des Koran (Germany), Waiting for Godot (NY and Australia), I Have Never Been Here (NY), and Uncle Ethan Ripley (NY).

In New York City he has been teaching at Michael Howard Studios as well as in the Graduate Acting Program of Columbia University, in the MFA Acting and Directing Programs of Brooklyn College, at Sarah Lawrence College, Marymount Manhattan College, and at The New School.

As a master teacher for the Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA) he has taught at several of their Teacher Training Workshops and International Summer Conferences in Europe and the United States. Together with Joanna Merlin he co-directed MICHA’s DVD series: “Master Classes in the Michael Chekhov Technique” published by Routledge in January 2007.

Brett Goldstein is an Emmy Award-Winning Casting Director as well as a director, acting teacher and private coach.  He won an Emmy Award for the NBC series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” as well as three other Emmy nominations for that show and NBC’s “Ed.”  He cast numerous series for writer-producers like Tom Fontana, David Milch, and John Wells; and over 30 network pilots, including 3rd Rock from the Sun, and That 70’s Show for Carsey-Werner Productions.

Feature films include Donnie Brasco, G.I. Jane (in which he also played a small role), Louis CK’s Pootie Tang, and Gary Winick’s Sweet Nothing.  He cast many plays both in New York and regionally, working with such playwrights and directors as Joe Mantello, Andrew Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Kenneth Lonergan, Jon Robin Baitz, Edward Albee, Des McAnuff, Michael Greif, Lisa Peterson, Tina Landau and Jon Jory.

Brett is a founding member of the Naked Angels Theater Company, and a member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.  He lives in Manhattan with his wife Laura Cahill, author of the award-winning play and HBO film Hysterical Blindness, and their daughter Grace.

ANGELA PIETROPINTO received an MFA in Acting from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. During those formative years, she was exposed to a variety of acting methods and was fortunate to work with such greats as Grotowski, Lloyd Richards, David Mamet, Andre Gregory, Kristen Linklater ,and Olympia Dukakis. Upon graduation, she helped form The Manhattan Project Theater Company under the direction of Andre Gregory. Ms Pietropinto made her first professional appearance in the title role of their Obie-winning production of Alice in Wonderland. During its eight-year existence, the company toured four continents and was the recipient of 2 Drama Desk awards and an Obie Award. Since then she has enjoyed a career in leading and featured roles on and off-Broadway, and in regional theater, television, and film.    

In 1980, Ms. Pietropinto made her Broadway debut opposite Derek Jacobi in The Suicide and returned to Broadway for Eastern Standard and Tartuffe Born Again. Ms. Pietropinto has appeared off-Broadway at the Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Theatre Four, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Minetta Lane Theatre, the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, and La Mama. Regionally, Ms. Pietropinto has acted at Yale Rep, the White Barn, and the O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Connecticut, at McCarter and GeorgeStreet Playhouse in New Jersey, and at the Wilma in Philadelphia.

On film Ms. Pietropinto portrayed Marj Wiener, the mother from hell, in Todd Solondz's Welcome to the Dollhouse, which won the 1995 Sundance Grand Jury Prize; she reprised the role for Mr. Solondz's most recent film, Palindromes. Other film credits include Shaft opposite Samuel L. Jackson (director - John Singleton), Nobody's Fool opposite Paul Newman (director - Robert Benton), Goodfellas opposite Paul Sorvino (director- Martin Scorsese), So Fine opposite Jack Warden (director - Andrew Bergman), Without a Trace (director- Stanley Jaffe), Running on Empty (director - Sidney Lumet), Heartburn opposite Jack Nicholson (director - Mike Nichols), It Could Happen to You, and Honeymoon in Vegas opposite Sarah Jessica Parker (director- Andrew Bergman), Stay (director- Marc Forster), and  Looking for Kitty (director- Edward Burns). The independent films, A Tale of Two Pizzas, which won the Audience Favorite Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival, and Little Kings have screened at film festivals both here and in Italy.  Her performances in 240 Monroe and Suffer the Little Children garnered her nominations in the best actress category on the Independent Film circuit.

On the little screen she has played an assortment of moms, doctors, lawyers, secretaries, and nuns on Law & Order, Criminal Intent, SVU, Third Watch , LateLine, Mad About You, The Cosby Show, Chappelle's Show, New York Undercover, The Jury, Rescue Me, and The Sopranos. Soap fans may remember her as Jean Slocum on All My Children or Connie Corelli on Another World.

Ms. Pietropinto received her training as a teaching artist at Lincoln Center Institute and has worked in the public school system under the auspices of Theatre Development Fund, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Roundabout for many years.  She has taught at Yale Drama School and has been on the faculty of NYU Tisch School of the Arts for more than 12 years.

ARMANDO DIAZ is widely regarded as one of the best improv teachers in New York City and beyond. His list of teaching credits is a long one: the ImprovOlympic Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Peoples Improv Theater, and Michael Howard Studios. He has trained dozens of actors who have performed or written for Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Mad TV, and The Daily Show.

A Chicago native, Armando studied improv under Del Close at the ImprovOlympic, Mick Napier at the Annoyance, and graduated from the Second City Conservatory. He performed in and helped create one of the most popular improvised longforms in Chicago, "The Armando Diaz Experience...." For the last decade, "the Armando" has been performed weekly in Chicago, and is now taught and performed in many other cities including Los Angeles and New York.

In addition to writing and producing short films, Armando wrote sketches for the show Upright Citizens Brigade on Comedy Central and has performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Armando currently teaches, directs, and runs the Magnet Theater NY of which he is a founder.

VICTORIA CLARK received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her luminous portrayal of protective but domineering mother Margaret Johnson in the critically-acclaimed Craig Lucas-Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Clark made her Broadway debut in 1985 in Sunday in the Park With George and has been a Broadway regular ever since. She made a splash in Titanic when she created the role of Alice Beane, a second-class passenger with first-class dreams. She delighted audiences as sassy secretarial sidekick Smitty in the 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally, and starred in director Jerry Zaks' Tony Award-winning revival of Guys and Dolls with Faith Prince and Nathan Lane. Most recently, Clark appeared on Broadway as Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown and Fraulein Kost in Sam Mendes' revival of Cabaret, and she portrayed frantic mother Doris MacAfee in the City Center Encores! production of Bye, Bye Birdie in 2004. Her other Broadway credits include the Rodgers and Hammerstein revue A Grand Night for Singing, directed by Walter Bobbie.  Off-Broadway, Clark appeared in Marathon Dancing. She also starred in the national tours of Les Miserables and Cats, as well as numerous regional productions, including the world premieres of The Light in the Piazza, The Secret Garden, States of Independence, and Adventures in the Skin Trade.

Clark's film credits include Cradle Will Rock directed by Tim Robbins, and her voice can be heard in many animated feature films including Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast, Christmas Belle, and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Clark's television appearances include Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and the PBS special Sweeney Todd in Concert featuring Patti LuPone, George Hearn, and the San Francisco Philharmonic. She also enjoys a recurring role on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion on Minnesota Public Radio. While Clark is a much sought-after vocalist and actress, she has also enjoyed an illustrious career as a director, receiving numerous honors and fellowships for her work. In February 2005, she headed her first major New York directing project, Serenade in Blue: The Lyrics of Mack Gordon, a salute to the Academy Award-winning composer that was presented as part of the popular Lyrics & Lyricists Program at the 92nd Street Y. Clark's many recordings include the original cast albums of The Light in the Piazza, Titanic, A Grand Night for Singing, and Far From the Madding Crowd; the new Broadway cast albums of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Guys and Dolls; The Scarlet Pimpernel with Linda Eder; and the soundtracks for Cradle Will Rock and Anastasia.

Victoria Clark studied acting with renowned acting teacher Rebecca Taylor--a protégé of Michael Howard-- and continues her vocal training with Ed Sayegh. She has been teaching vocal technique for 22 years, helping many aspiring actors train their voices for Broadway roles. Clark resides in New York City with her son Thomas Luke; their golden retriever, Angel; and their kitten Dare.


RICHARD CRAWFORD was last seen playing the lead in the off-Broadway hit Salva's Snowshow (Union Square Theater). He is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed New York theater ensemble The Flying Machine, with whom he has created and performed in Sad Since Tuesday (winner of the Best Ensemble Award at the 1996 New York International Fringe Festival), The Escapist, Utopians, Archipelago, Signals of Distress, and Frankenstein. This fall Richard will also be working on a new piece Journey to the End of the Night commissioned by The Public Theater (N.Y.) – again with The Flying Machine.

Richard is a graduate of Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Paris, France, and the Rose Bruford College in London, England. He is also a teacher of physical theater and mask and has taught in London, Paris, Santiago, Montreal ,and New York. In the United States, he has taught at Yale School of Drama, TISCH/NYU, Sarah Lawrence College, The Actor's Center, Marymount Manhattan, and the University of Minnesota. Richard has directed clown work for Cirque du Soleil; a Commedia dell'Arte version of Petrushka at Carnegie Hall, The Bourgeois Gentleman at the UMN/Guthrie theater program, and Taming of the Shew and Comedy of Errors, both at Theaterworks, Colorado Springs. Richard also performed in the 2002 OBIE-winning [Sic] at Soho Rep. in New York and with The Civilians. Richard will be playing Mr. Zero in The Adding Machine this fall at La Jolla playhouse.

ALISTER SANDERSON is on the faculty of Communication Arts at Marymount Manhattan College, where he also directs the Theresa Lang Center for Producing, a facility for digital filmmaking, and sound, graphic, and web design. He has a B.A. from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University, founded and edited the Millennium Film Journal, and was creative director for the launches of ARTS and A&E. He runs a communications and production company, which works with networks and not-for-profit organizations ranging from the History and Sci-Fi channels to the Parsons Dance Company and the New York City Refugee Employment Project. His own films include, most recently, the award-winning All the Time in the World.
ANDREW SHAIFER has worked extensively as an Actor, Writer, Producer, Director, and Teacher in both Los Angeles and New York for 20 years. His film credits include: Escape to Witch Mountain, Greetings From The Shore, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Master of Disguise, The Wedding Singer, Who's Your Daddy?, A Low Down Dirty Shame, The Cable Guy, Bulletproof, Little Giants, Final Draft, and Battle of the Sexes which won best short at The Sundance Film Festival. His Television Credits include: The West Wing (Recurring), Pilots for VH1, Padded Cells and ABC, The Cop Show, directed by Gary David Goldberg of Family Ties fame. He has also Guest Starred on Dharma and Greg, Living Single, Ellen, and All American Girl. Onstage Andrew understudied Martin Short and Brendan Fraser in Four Dogs and a Bone, directed by Lawrence Kasdan. He also wrote and starred in his own one-man show, We the People, which played to Standing Room Only Audiences in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, and had reviewers comparing Andrew to a combination of Robin Williams, Lenny Bruce, and Charlie Chaplin. Major talent from around the Film Community supported the show, including Angela Bassett, Courteny B. Vance, Martin Short, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Reese Witherspoon, George Wendt, Ron Livingston, Jon Favreau, Elizabeth Perkins, Molly Shannon, Kim Coles, and Kathy Najimi. Andrew was then encouraged to write a screenplay based on one of the characters from the show, which became the hilarious Philadelphia Freedom, and he has also appeared in over 25 commercials.

Andrew wrote, acted in, and produced the feature film, Kids In America, with Gregory Smith, Adam Arkin, Roseanna Arquette, Samantha Mathis, W. Earl Brown, Michelle Phillips, Elizabeth Perkins, George Wendt, and Nicole Richie. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave it a "Thumbs Up!" and wrote about the teen film, "You know all those 'brainless high school comedies'? Here's what one would look like if it had brains."

As a producer Andrew not only successfully produced  Kids In America and We the People, he also served as Artistic Director for The Fountainhead Theatre Company, where he oversaw the Production of over 35 plays in 5 years. One play, Big Al, was made into a Short Film for The Showtime Network. Pretty Fire, a One Woman Show starring Charlayne Woodard, was a huge hit and was moved to The Manhattan Theatre Club in New York. He Administered to the development of many young writers and worked closely with an Advisory Board that included Alec Baldwin, Stephen Collins, Paula Wagner, Rick Nicita, Thom Mount, and Terry Kinney.

Andrew has taught at The Michael Howard Studios for three years and also wrote and directed the comedy show, Not Another Showcase, which was developed by Andrew and the students from the One-Year Conservatory at the studio.

On the East Coast Andrew worked for Producer Joseph Papp at The Public Theatre and Producers Alexander Cohen, who was responsible for over 30 Broadway shows, and also Tyler Gatchell and Peter Neufeld on the Broadway shows Hurlyburly, Starlight Express, Cats, and Smile. He also worked at The Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Roundabout Theatre and The Ensemble Studio Theatre.


TRACY BERSLEY received her MFA in directing from Syracuse University, focusing on international and cultural influences on an interdisciplinary theatre. She has adapted and directed several stories including: The House on Mango Street, by Latina writer Sandra Cisneros; Tibet: Through the Red Box, presented in conjunction with the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab; lamb of gods, at the 2000 New York Fringe Festival 5; Wash Your Bowl for Teatro de la Culebra and The Awful Rowing, created from poems by Anne Sexton for the Ontological Theatre’s 2002 Blueprint Series, The Anatomy of Touch; also at the Ontological Theatre, Rappaccini’s Daughter (Octopus Ensemble/Chashama NYC/Jim Henson Foundation’s Festival). Other plays include Charles Mee’s Trojan W omen: A Love Story (Michael Howard Conservatory), This Is Not a Pipe Dream (The Vineyard Theatre), a reverse gender production of Macbeth at Syracuse Stage, The Secret Garden at the College Light Opera Company, Antigone with Princeton University Players/Eidolon Arts, and Much Ado About Nothing at the Arcadia Shakespeare Festival in Philadelphia. Tracy directed a remount of Daniel Fish’s Twelfth Night at the Juilliard School, Blood Wedding and Hair for NYU, as well as Alice in Wonderland, The Green Bird, and Looking for Tibet at Purchase Repertory and The Bacchae for the Loft Theatre. Operas include Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte for the American Singers Opera Project at the New 42nd Street Theatre and a contemporary opera, The Long Christmas Dinner, by Thorton Wilder/Paul Hindemith also at the Lincoln Center Lab. She has also choreographed Pericles and Revenger’s Tragedy for director Jesse Berger at Red Bull Theatre, Belles Stratagem, Big Love, and Perfect Wedding for director Davis McCallum, The Giver for director Pam Berlin, and Romeo & Juliet and Party Come Here for director Will Frears.

Tracy completed a directing residency for the 1999-2000 season at McCarter Theatre collaborating with such artists as Sam Shepard, David Mamet, and Emily Mann, where she later ran the conservatory theatre program through which she co-directed As You Like It and The Tempest and directed her adaptation of The Lord of the Flies. Tracy also served as a cast yoga/movement consultant for two Broadway shows, Anna in the Tropics (Royal Theatre) & Albee’s All Over (Round About Theatre), and Assistant Directed Speaking in Tongues (Round About Theatre). She teaches acting, movement, and dramatic writing at SUNY Purchase and Princeton University and is a Drama League Fellow.

MIMI TURQUE has been a teacher of acting for twenty-three years and a member of The Actors Studio since 1966. Her career began in early childhood in the original Broadway company of Carousel. Appearances in eleven Broadway shows include featured roles in Fiddler on the Roof, Man of La Mancha, and, most recently, Kiss of the Spider Woman. She played opposite George Hearn in The Chosen and starred in touring companies of Carnival, The Sound of Music, and Gypsy. Work in television goes back to the "Golden Age" of live TV and forward to the present. A lyricist, she is a member of BMI, The Dramatists Guild (associate), and currently serves as a Vice President for The League of Professional Theatre Women. She studied with Lee Strasberg and is pleased with the memory of her first lesson in Sense Memory, which she got as Michael Howard’s student many years and her maiden name ago.

JIM SHANKMAN is originally from Chicago where he went to the Goodman School of Drama and performed with The St. Nicholas Theatre Company and The Body Politic during the birth of Chicago’s theatre scene, working with such artists as Mike Nussbaum and William H. Macy.  He has been a New York City actor since the late 1970’s when he appeared on Broadway in Grease as Sonny LaTierri and Once In A Lifetime with John Lithgow and Treat Williams. Jim has been a frequent performer at the Dorset Theatre Festival, including roles in Moonlight and Magnolias, As Bees In Honey Drown and Rough Crossing.  As a founding member and Producing Director of Coyote Theatre in Westchester County, he produced an acclaimed revival of Menken and Ashman’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and appeared in American Buffalo and Italian-American Reconciliation. Recent credits include the world premieres of Opus and End Days at Florida Stage and Sick at The New Jersey Rep. 

He is a protege of Michael Howard and spent many years at T. Schreiber Studios with Terry Schreiber and Gloria Maddox.

Jim has a BA in Philosophy from Princeton University,and MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.  He is also a playwright who has had workshop productions and readings at the New Group, T. Shreiber Studio, Emerging Artists Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, and Michael Howard Studios.   

VIRGINIA SCOTT specializes in developing, devising, and staging collaboratively created and physically oriented pieces for the theatre and the training of actors for this pursuit. Her work has been seen in New York at UCB, The Irish Repertory Theatre, Ars Nova, 59E59, The Barrow Group Theatre, Chasama’s Palace of Variety, The New York Fringe, Festival and the International Clown Festival; regionally at The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, The Theatre at Monmouth in Maine, The Comedy Central Theatre in Los Angeles, UCB LA in Los Angeles; and internationally at The Guilded Balloon in Edinburgh, The Centaur Theatre in Montreal,  the Grahamstown International Festival in South Africa, and festivals throughout Canada.

As a director Virginia is known for her fast-paced, comic, and visually exciting style. As a deviser and developer she created a successful consulting business helping performer/creators to clearly structure and creatively serve their artistic proposals with integrity. And as a teacher she draws heavily on her training in European Clown technique to inspire invention, physical investment, and emotional honesty in her students. Virginia has taught Clown in New York at the Actor’s Center, the Michael Howard Studios, CAP 21, and the Glass Contraption Clown Theatre Company. She also directed the NYC Clown Lab - the first training environment in New York designed to bring together clowns of different backgrounds for exchange, experimentation, material development, and training.

Virginia works closely with renowned clown master and director Christopher Bayes (Head of Physical Acting at Yale School of Drama). She is one of only three teachers certified to teach his clown technique and was named the first faculty member of Bayes' Funny School of Good Acting. She is working on a book with Bayes which will detail his approach to clown.
ULLAVEY is a working actor who brings to his technique and scene study classes a wealth of experience in Film, Television, and Theatre in a wide range of roles from Mia Farrow’s journalist husband Leo in Romantic Comedy on Broadway to playing King Lear in Oklahoma City’s Center Theatre and his very latest Charles opposite Linda Thorson of The Avengers fame in the off-broadway production of Exit/Entrance at 59E59 Theatre here in New York City for the Origin Theatre Company.

In television and film his career spans from Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Gunsmoke to his latest film the soon to be released The Desperate and his recurring role in iCarly as Carly’s Grandfather.  He has appeared in starring and featuring roles in over 200 episodics and made-for-tv films.  He has been a regular on four television series but is probably best known for his role as Tom Hartman on the legendary hit television series, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  He is a voting member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Television Academy. 


Cast and Crew

Michael Howard Studios is committed to the professional actor.  We are a community of master teachers guiding actors with many years experience, as well as men and women who have only recently begun their professional careers.  These teachers, who come from many schools, many backgrounds and owe allegiance to no single theatrical method or system.  Rather, they have in common the fierce desire to develop the actor's craft, work with integrity, commitment and passion.  All of this while helping actors to develop an acting method of their own and construct a life in the American theatre - a life which will include the legitimate stage, film, and television.

MARI LYN HENRY is a partner at Henry Downey Talent Management LLC, has guided thousands of actors to successful careers in film, TV, and theatre for more than thirty-five years.  Upon leaving her position as Director of Casting East Coast for ABC/NY, which she held for over thirteen years, she launched an image and career coaching business.  For many years she has taught workshops on on-camera techniques, script analysis, and impression management in cites and universities across the country.  Her seminars on “The Business of the Business” are based on the best-selling book she co-authored How To Be A Working Actor.  For over twenty years, this ‘bible of the biz’ has received praise from industry professionals, educators, and celebrities and is now in its fifth edition.

As a guest faculty member at Circle in the Square Theatre School, she advises actors-in-training about career preparation and audition techniques.  She has also consulted with the University of Florida, Florida State University, and New World School of the Arts in Miami regarding their industry showcases held each spring in New York City.  She has served on the development board of the School of Arts and Sciences for the Catholic University drama department.  She was Vice President of programs for the League of Professional Theatre Women and the P.R. Director for the Association of Image Consultants International.  She has been quoted often in trade publications and wrote a bi-monthly column for Back Stage.  Mari Lyn earned her B.A. in Speech and Drama at San Jose State University and an M.A. in Theatre from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.