Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
The Mason Gross School of the Arts
About the University
About the School
Academic Policies and Procedures
Graduate Programs in Music
Graduate Programs in Theater Arts
Members of the Faculty
Artistic Director and Chair
Acting Program
Design and Costume Technology
Directing Program
Playwriting Program
Stage Management Program
Theater History and Criticism
Theater Management
Information and Regulations for All Graduate Theater Arts Students
Master of Fine Arts Program
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Degree Requirements
Graduate Courses
Graduate Programs in Visual Arts
Faculty and Administration
Divisions of the University
Camden Newark New Brunswick/Piscataway
  Mason Gross School of the Arts 2009-2011 Graduate Programs in Theater Arts Members of the Faculty Acting Program  

Acting Program

Deborah Hedwall (head of acting) began her theater training at the University of Washington in Seattle. In New York, she graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater under the direction of Sanford Meisner and William Esper. She trained with Uta Hagen for four years as an actor and a teacher at HB Studios and later taught there. She has taught private classes for professional actors for many years in New York City and Los Angeles. Ms. Hedwall has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Fordham University, and the Ensemble Studio Theater.  As an actress, she received an OBIE Award for Outstanding Performance and a Drama Desk nomination as best actress in Sight Unseen at the Manhattan Theatre Club. She has created roles in many new plays, including Savage in Limbo, Extremities, and Why We Have a Body. On television, she played the mother for two seasons on the critically acclaimed series I'll Fly Away, and her most recent films include Shadrach and Better Living with Olympia Dukakis. She has been involved in many new play workshops, including the Sun Theater Playwrights Conference, the O'Neill Theater Conference, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Long Wharf Theatre. Recent television credits include guest starring appearances on Law and Order and West Wing. In the fall of 2008 she starred in the role of Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Baltimore's Centerstage. Most recently, Deborah is working on HBO's You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino. 

Michael Blake (movement) holds an M.F.A. in dance from the State University of New York (Purchase College.) He began his dance career in the Murray Louis Dance Company where he danced from 1982-1984. In 1986 he joined the Jose Limon Dance Company, dancing principal roles until 1991. Michael danced with Donald Byrd/The Group from 1991-1998. He has also danced with the Joyce Trisler Dance Company, Shapiro and Smith, and Janis Brenner and Friends. He has appeared on stage at the Supper Club, in NYC, in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and in the films The Adventures of Cri Cri, and Unsettled Dreams. He has taught numerous workshops both nationally and internationally, and is on the theater arts faculty at Rutgers University, and HB Studio, in NYC, teaching Movement for Actors. He also serves on the faculty of Ballet Hispanico, teaching the Limon Technique for the company and school. Michael currently dances with Paradigm Dance. 

Lana Fritz (theatrical makeup) has a B.F.A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has designed costumes for several New York theaters and opera companies, as well as A&E and Bravo television networks. Regional theater work includes the Walnut Street Theatre, California Actors Theatre, Theatre Virginia, George Street Playhouse, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Theatre at Monmouth, Hartman Theatre, and National Theatre of the Deaf. Her work has been seen at the Edinburg Festival and the London Fringe. Designs for premieres include Sorry, Wrong Number (Beeson), Fefu and Her Friends (Fornes), New York 1937 (Yglesias), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (McCullers/Bach), and Personal Affairs (Silverman). For the Center for Contemporary Opera, designs include Kafka: Letter to My Father (U.S., Walden), Markheim (NYC, Floyd), and Vera of Las Vegas (Hagen/Muldoon), among others.

David Letwin (script analysis for actors) has worked professionally in the theater since graduating from the State University of New York (Purchase College) acting training conservatory in 1989.  He has performed with the Reduced Shakespeare Company in the West End of London and was a founding member of Richard Schechner's East Coast Artists Theatre Company, with whom he appeared in Faustl Gastronome, The Three Sisters, and Hamlet. Directing credits include Laguna Beach at H.E.R.E., The Diary of Anne Frank at the Cohoes Music Hall, and the HB and Mile Square Theater summer festivals. He is the author of the children's play, The Trial of Goldilocks, and the coauthor of the upcoming book, The Architecture of Drama. At the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Mr. Letwin teaches theater history, dramatic structure, and script analysis for actors.

Jan Leys (movement) is a native of Antwerp, Belgium. He arrived in New York in 1980 and danced for five years with The Muller/Works. There he worked with choreographers such as Jennifer Muller, Louis Falco, Margot Sappington, and Judith Jamison; and also collaborated with artists such as Yoko Ono, Keith Haring, and Keith Jarrett. He then turned to the theater and became a movement specialist under the tutelage of Loyd Williamson at the Actors Movement Studio. Mr. Leys directed The Raspberry Patch, which was presented as a special event at Yale University. Currently, Mr. Leys teaches the Williamson Technique at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. He also coaches and choreographs for Rutgers Theater Company productions, such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rivals, and Arms and the Man. Mr. Leys choreographed The Game, an original musical based on Dangerous Liaisons, at Barrington Stage Company. He also teaches seminars and workshops about the physical aspects of communication. He is doing this under the title Listening With The Body.

Pat McCorkle (video auditioning) is the owner of McCorkle Casting, LTD. She is a member of the Casting Society of America. Broadway casting credits include: The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, The Glass Menagerie, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Amadeus, A Doll's House, An Ideal Husband, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers,andA Few Good Men. Off-Broadway casting credits:Almost Maine, Address Unknown, Ears On A Beatle, Killer Joe, Visiting Mr. Green, andMrs. Klein. Film: Ghost Town, War Eagle, Bereft, Secret Window, Tony n' Tina's Wedding, Basic, The Thomas Crown Affair, The 13th Warrior, Madeline, Die Hard With a Vengeance, and School Ties. For television she has cast:The Electric Company, Californication (Emmy nom.), 3 lbs., Barbershop, Chappelle's Show, Hack, and The Education of Max Bickford.

Lenard Petit (physical theater) is a founding member of the Michael Chekhov Association and director of the Michael Chekov Acting Studio in New York City. He is the author of The Michael Chekhov Handbook: For the Actor. He has been working in the theater for 30 years, collaborating with other artists to create original works for the stage, cinema, and television. He has directed plays and performance pieces on and off Broadway and also  in Great Britain. As an actor he has performed in some works of such notable directors as Julie Taymor, Meredith Monk, Richard Foreman, Ping Chong, and many others. As one of a handful of teacher students trained by the original members of Michael Chekhov's Theater School, his knowledge of the technique coupled with his gifts have brought him to be recognized as one of the foremost teachers of this technique in the world. He has been invited to teach master classes at the International School for Film and Television in Munich, Helsinki University, as well as master classes and workshops in Denmark, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin, Zurich, London, Riga, and Irkutsk, Siberia. For the past 18 years he has been teaching the Chekhov Technique in the M.F.A. and B.F.A. acting programs at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Heather Rasche (voice) is an actress, a scholar, and an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. As an actress she premiered works by many playwrights including Susan Kim, Joyce Carol Oates, and Shel Silverstein. She received the Santa Barbara Independent Award for best actress for her work in Lee Blessing's play, Eleemosynary. She holds a doctorate in drama from the University of California. Her research concentrates on the training and working lives of professional actors. Her master's thesis was a study of the pedagogy of Sanford Meisner; and her dissertation, Actresses, Age, and Anxiety: The Midlife Actress in Filmed Performance, is an examination of gendered ageism in Hollywood. She has presented her work at several national academic conferences and on two nationally syndicated radio shows. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty, Ms. Rasche taught at the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television and the University of California (Santa Barbara).

Greg Seel (Alexander Technique) graduated from Wilmington College in Ohio before training at the Drama Studio, London, where he first studied the Alexander Technique with Walter Carrington and Mary Holland. He was Certified in the Alexander Technique under Judith Leibowitz in 1983 and continued with Mr. Patrick MacDonald and associates. He was STAT Certified in 1987. He trained in voice for four years under Frederick Wilkerson, and was a founding member of the Riverside Shakespeare Company and associate director of the Mint Theater Co. He worked extensively with Ray Yeats of the Abbey Theater (Dublin) on Brendan Kennelly's Antigone and Medea. Additional faculty appointments include the State University of New York (Purchase College), The Actors Center, Columbia University, New York University's Classical Studio and Meisner Extension, the School for Film and Television, Matthew's School of the Alexander Technique, and the Institute for the Alexander Technique. He is past chair of the AmSAT Professional Conduct Committee, a graduate of The Actors Center Teacher Development Program, Jessica Wolf's Art of Breathing, and a student of Seido Karate. He maintains a private teaching practice with his wife at their house in Brooklyn.

Billy Serow (video auditioning) has had a long and varied career in show business. He started acting at the age of six and worked professionally from the age of 16, appearing on several National Tours of Broadway shows, as well as doing much stage work and television in New York. Mr. Serow received a B.A. in theater at Ohio Wesleyan University and studied with both Sanford Meisner and William Esper at the Neighborhood Playhouse, School of the Theatre, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors. Mr. Serow decided to put his acting career on the back burner indefinitely in his late 20s and went to work for an off-Broadway theater as a director and producer, helping mount such successful original cast productions as On Golden Pond and Da, launching what would be a long career as a casting director. As an owner of Godlove, Serow & Sindlinger Casting, he casts hundreds of commercials, comedy specials, and some independent films. In 1997, he decided to switch gears yet again and joined the William Morris Agency to work in the commercial department. After spending four years there, he finally found agent nirvana and landed at Abrams Artists Agency, where he has spent the past seven years, spearheading the voice-over department. Abrams has been very generous in allowing Mr. Serow to continue pursuing his great love of teaching, and he has taught a specialized master class in auditioning to both the M.F.A. and B.F.A. programs at Rutgers for the past seven years, as well as teaching in the master's degree program at the Yale Drama School. Billy resides in Westchester to be near his greatest achievements, his two children.

Erik Singer (speech and accents) is an actor and teacher of acting, Shakespeare, voice, speech, and accents. He is an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. He is a graduate of the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London and Yale University, and has studied extensively with many distinguished voice and acting teachers: Patsy Rodenburg, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Earle Gister, Ron Van Lieu, Dudley Knight, Phil Thompson, and Jed Diamond, among them. As an actor, he has appeared in leading roles off Broadway, at many of the country's top regional theaters, and in television and film. Erik has provided voices for numerous audiobooks, animated shows, documentaries, and television and radio commercials. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their two children.

J. Allen Suddeth (stage combat) has worked professionally for the past 30 years out of the New York area. He is ranked as one of 14 fight masters in the United States by the Society of American Fight Directors. For Broadway, he has staged fights for Saturday Night Fever, Jekyll & Hyde, Angels in America, Loot, Saint Joan, A Small Family Business, Hide and Seek, and Gem Of the Ocean. Off Broadway, he has worked on productions for the Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, the New Group, the Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and many others. Regionally and in the League of Resident Theatres, he has worked for CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore, the Arena Stage, and the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, DC, as well as the Denver Center, the Empty Space, the Hartford Stage, the Goodman Theater, and the Actors Theater of Louisville, among others. As a master teacher, Allen has trained actors for the Juilliard School, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, and the Lee Strasberg Institute. For television, he has staged action sequences for over 750 programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, and HBO. He is the author of Fight Directing For The Theater, published by Heinemann Press.

Dennis Turney (classical text) began teaching students Shakespeare in Houston for the Shakespeare Globe Center of the Southwest. After receiving a B.A. in theater arts from the University of Houston, and working for five seasons with the Houston Shakespeare Festival, he attended graduate school at Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory, receiving an M.F.A. in acting. While at the Asolo, Dennis spent considerable time as an assistant to Jose Quintero in his acting classes. Coming to New York, he performed off Broadway in Ghosts, part of the Century Center's Ibsen series. He has been a company member at American Globe Theatre in New York for over 10 years, where he is an actor, director, teacher, and verse coach. Acting credits with the company include Edgar in King Lear, the title role in Hamlet, Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Solyony in Three Sisters, Konstantin in The Seagull, George in Our Town, and most recently, the title role in Henry V. After working for a number of years as an actor with American Globe Theatre, Mr. Turney was hired as the assistant director and verse coach for a number of their productions including Macbeth, Love's Labours Lost, and The Merchant of Venice. Dennis has also taught conservatory classes at American Globe. He directed American Globe's Shakespeare for Schools productions of Macbeth and Othello, which travels to schools in the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island, performing 70-minute versions of the plays to high school students. This year he will direct Hamlet. Dennis worked for Theater for a New Audience in its World Theater Project. The program works with children from fifth grade through high school on Shakespeare, acting, writing, and theatrical production. Mr. Turney currently teaches "Advanced Acting Technique" and "Shakespeare" at Drew University and "Acting I" and "Shakespeare/Classical Texts" at Kean University.

Beth Wicke (auditioning) As director of daytime programming for ABC television network, Ms. Wicke was responsible for creative supervision of East Coast serials. Prior to that, as manager of casting for East Coast/ABC, she supervised the casting of Loving, All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital, as well as contributing to prime-time pilot projects. Ms. Wicke initiated the AFTRA/ABC committee to address minority and disability hiring practices. She has worked as an independent casting director, private audition coach, and career counselor, and taught extensively at universities and theater training programs throughout the United States. Ms. Wicke has done extensive coaching for on-camera spokespersons, newscasters, and corporate executives. As a performer and choreographer, Ms. Wicke traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. She is a graduate of the Department of Drama at the Catholic University of America. She trained at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and is certified by the Royal Academy of Dance. She is also a certified yoga instructor and member of the Yoga Alliance. 


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