New York Faculty
Claire Alexander is an actor and formerly trained Operatic vocalist, she has sung with companies main staged in Hawaii, Italy, and in renowned spaces including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and St. John the Divine. Also a past student of the MAGNET School of Improv, with Rick Andrews, Fear No Shakespeare Workshop I & II with Jack Cornwell, and several of the Barrow Group Shakespeare Workshop’s with acting coach, Seth Barrish. Recent Theatre credits include Henry V (Hamlet Isn’t Dead), Comedy of Errors (Bergen Shakespeare), Antony & Cleopatra (Genesius Theatre Company), and Titus Andronicus (Hudson Shakespeare). Film & TV credits include Woman in the Black Veil (Shadow Pictures), National ED PSA (One Glass Video), and Second Chance (NYFA Original Short). Claire holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Conservatory Completion Certificate from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
Bill Balzac has been an actor, director, producer, and teacher for over 25 years. After being inspired by the teachings of Lee Strasberg, Bill co-founded the Hyperion Theatre Group, Soul Productions, and the Hyperion Children’s Theatre. He then formed and directed the Mixed Nuts Improv Company, which performed throughout NYC. Bill has been a member of the Brooklyn Shakespeare Company under the artistic direction of Geoffrey Owens and appeared as Gately in the New York debut of the two-act version of James McLure’s Pvt. Wars, directed by Gene Frankel. His recent directing credits include Israel Horovitz’s The Indian Wants the Bronx in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the New York premiere of Israel Horovitz’s Sins of the Mother, SubUrbia by Eric Bogosian, and LaRonde, The Laramie Project, Dancing at Lughnasa, Rumors, The Norman Conquests and Into the Woods all for NYU at Strasberg. He also co-directed Crimes of the Heart and Sunday on the Rocks with Geoffrey Horne. Bill graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with honors and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.
Bruce Baumer is a professional opera singer who has sung as a principal artist with over 20 American opera companies, including the New York City Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington Opera at The Kennedy Center, Santa Fe Opera, among many others. He has performed over 40 roles. He began his musical studies as a student of piano at the College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 10. He received his undergraduate degree in German Studies as well as a Master’s Degree in Finance. Upon completion of his business degree, Mr. Baumer decided to pursue a career in Opera. He is a graduate of Yale University with an Artist’s Diploma in Opera Performance. Bruce has also accompanied numerous singers and instrumentalists in recital. He has taught extensively privately, as well as on the faculty of The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and The New School in New York City. Bruce has taught numerous master classes at various universities throughout the United States. He has also served as musical director for many professional projects throughout the New York City area, including MultiStages’ Temple of the Souls and The Land of No Tomorrows and the New York Fringe Festival’s By Hands Unknown. Mr. Baumer has served as musical director for several productions at the Institute, including Kiss Me, Kate, Into the Woods, and The Music Man. Recently, he joined the Board of Directors at MultiStages Production Company, founded by Lorca Peress. In the world of music, Mr. Baumer is the co-lyricist on the upcoming 2014 release of emerging artist, Sacha Di Bona’s Bethesda, as well as a song on the EP current release of Mr. Di Bona. He was also the pianist for the debut recording of the British artist Lily.
Mauricio Bustamante has acted professionally in the United States since 1967 and has toured nationally in a variety of starring roles that have given him coast to coast critical acclaim. He also directed and appeared at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival as Madame in Jean Genet’s The Maids as well as the cabaret circuit in NYC under the artistic direction of cabaret luminary, KT Sullivan. He began his acting career in his native Mexico City at the age of twelve, working on live television with the greats of the Spanish speaking world. His association with Lee Strasberg started in 1973, and has lasted to the present time, where he has also studied with Shelley Winters, Kim Stanley, John Stiks, Geoffrey Horne and Irma Sandrey. In NYC, he has appeared in New York Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Repertorio Espanol, Teatro LATEA and Multi Stages. He is a member of MENSA International, an international high IQ Society. Currently, Mauricio is acting in a number of film projects with established directors from Japan, Israel, US, Spain and Mexico. With Irma Sandrey, he created IS/MB Productions, which has produced several theatrical productions and four short films in NYC. Other films in which Mr. Bustamante plays a variety of principal roles are currently successfully making the rounds in international film festivals. He has been part of the acting faculty at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute since 1994 and teaches Method Acting.
Tim Martin Crouse has taught in the Young Actors at Strasberg program since 1989 where he has directed over forty productions with the students. As an actor, he has performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and All’s Well That Ends Well at The Riverside Shakespeare Company as well as an off-Broadway production of David Mamet’s The Woods. He had the lead in the Nickelodeon series Kid’s Court and the recurring role of Barry on The Guiding Light. He produced many programs for MTV and spent five years as head writer at MTV2. He directed the short film Mousetrap which aired in WNYC and co-directed the short film Tumors for HBO. He also wrote, produced and directed the independent feature film The Orchard which won an award for Best Suspense Feature at the 2008 NY Independent Film & Video Festival. He also wrote, produced, and directed the upcoming documentary Talking with the Piano Player. Tim’s second independent feature film titled Redemption was released in 2014.
Suzanne DiDonna was born and raised in New York. She has been a professional actor for over 20 years. Suzanne began her studies at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute with George Loros, Robert Castle and Elizabeth Kemp. She is a life time member of The Actors Studio and worked/trained with Ellen Burstyn, Estelle Parsons, Harvey Keitel. She has performed in numerous plays at the Actors Studio including the premiere of Edward Allan Bakers Free Gift Inside directed by Elizabeth Kemp, the premiere of Lyle Kessler’s First Born directed by Daniel Talbott, and The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Estelle Parsons. She has performed in dozens of Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway plays including the world premiere of Edward Allan Bakers The Framer and Edward Allan Bakers The Bride of Olneyville Square. She is a member of SAG, AFTRA and EQUITY. Her film credits include Hungry Ghosts Directed by Michael Imperioli, Trooper directed by Christopher Martini, Indiana directed by Toni Comas. Some of her TV credits include The $treet, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, The Jury, Brotherhood, Sex And the City, She had a recurring role on The Sopranos and Magic City.
Jeffery Ferguson has taught, performed, directed and choreographed throughout the U.S. and around the world with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pearl Primus and Dancers, Ludwig go, Contempo Jazz Tanz and the Joffrey Ballet Company with Agnes de Mille, among other companies. He has appeared in theatre productions such as Show Boat, Pippin, My One and Only, Five Guys Named Moe, the Tempest, and in Mother Courage. Jeffery has taught at LSTFI since September 1989.
Geoffrey Horne was born in Argentina and raised in Cuba. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1954. Geoffrey studied with Lee Strasberg for many years beginning in 1954 and became a member of the Actors Studio in 1956. He has worked on Broadway, in television, and in film. He made his film debut in Bridge on the River Kwai. Geoffrey has taught Method Acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute since 1978. He also teaches Shakespeare classes and has directed a number of Alumni/Teacher productions which most recently include Bus Stop and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Twelfth Night.
Bill Hopkins (Acting on Camera, American Cinema, World Cinema) is a filmmaker and stage director. As a teacher he specializes in the relationship of the actor to the lens and teaches this to actors at several leading conservatories and universities, as well as to film directors at The School of Visual Arts and at his studio in Manhattan. Bill has produced and directed over 30 documentary and archive films for The Actors Studio and he has directed and written screenplays for feature films, documentaries, commercials and corporate films. Bill is also a Producer and Director of Photography. Recent work includes the Pilot Episode of Port 80 for CBS/ESPN, Episodes of Sherry’s Kitchen for Cloudy Sky Films and Episodes of Skipping Stones for the Web. In the theatre world, Bill has worked as an actor, director and producer at The Iowa Theatre Lab, TRG Repertory, Al Carmines, The Women’s Project, Circle Repertory and Equity Library Theatre.
Madeline Jaye (Dance, Movement) has been teaching Ballet, Jazz/Theatre Dance, Movement I and II at LSTFI and in NYU programs here for 22 years. During and prior to that time, she has been on faculty at AADA, Steps Studio and Third Street Music School and has been a guest teacher/substitute at AMDA, Broadway Dance Center, Steffi Nossen School of Dance and LaGuardia HS of Performing Arts. Privately, she teaches acting/speech presentation to clergy, trial attorneys and business executives, as well as coaching young dancers/actors for auditions/performance. Choreography credits include period movement and dance for Dietrich Rides Again, five plays/musicals for The Medicine Show, industrials for Mattel Toys, Inc., Bell South, Barbie Fashion Summit, Dole Foods’ Easter on the White House Lawn, Hewlett-Packard and several productions at LSTFI: On the Verge, Dancing at Lughnasa, ART, NYU Practicum. Madeline has performed as a dancer/singer/actor across USA, Europe, Japan and the Middle East, including 3 years as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. She holds a BA w/Honours in Dance, from Butler University, with additional 17 years of training as an actor and singer in NYC. She is co-creator of Actors Launch and is the creator of Jaye Actors Movement; a movement program designed to bridge the gap between dance, singing and acting training and to incite physical fluency and emotional and vocal connectedness in performers and regular civilians.
Mitch McCoy (Stage Combat) is a professional actor, fight choreographer, and Reiki Master. He graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2011 where he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for three years. He has been teaching stage combat privately since 2010, and has choreographed the violence for over 30 stage and film productions. Most recently he was a stunt performer in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (MMPR), and assisted with the fight choreography for Disney’s Aladdin.
J9 (aka Janine Micheletti) is a native New Yorker, a Hip-Hop dancer, and a Street Fusion Choreographer. Her dancing credits include Madonna, Keys N’ Krates ft. 070 Shake, Spotify, Reebok and more.
She graduated from SUNY Purchase’s School of Art & Design with a concentration in photography. Thereafter, she has spent most of her professional life as a visual artist and accomplished textile designer. In 2009, she began taking dance classes again as a hobby. The art form quickly enraptured her as it did as a child, and since she has pursued it with fierce abandon.
This dedication has led her to being selected for the Breaking Glass: an emerging female choreographers program run by Ellenore Scott. This allowed her a mentorship with the esteemed Rhapsody James. She has since choreographed for shows throughout the city and works with musical artists such as Shenna Music, Jennifair and Calvin Play. She produced her own show in 2016 called Street Spectrum, which was a huge success.
Marcel Simoneau born and raised in Quebec, Canada. Lived in South America. Studied and now teaches at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Also graduated from The Maggie Flanigan Studio, Voice + Shakespeare with NYU Graduate’s program Shane Ann Younts and the Actors Movement Studio. Marcel’s film directing credits include TWO PEOPLE HE NEVER SAW (Kevin Corrigan, Nick Sandow) and LE VILLAGE (currently in Festivals), music videos and industrials. He is also an actor. Film credits included: Thru, Zenith, The Rebound , Imperialist are Still Alive, Horizon, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Stranger, Kinsey, Seduction, Meridian and others. TV: Fringe, Law & Order, Ed, Great Performances, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Strangers with Candy. Marcel has also performance in numerous Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows including My First Time for a year and a half. He can also be heard in numerous VO commercials in french, spanish and english.
Kelsey Torstveit hails from Phoenix, AZ. She is a NYC based AEA actress and playwright. Her recent acting credits include: …Where you Eat (Wild Project, NYC), Blithe Spirit (Capital Repertory Theatre), The Turn of the Screw (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, voted favorite performance of 2017 by The Cape Cod Times), Theory of Mind (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Capital Repertory Theatre). BFA: NYU Acting and Creative Writing. Outstanding Achievement in Studio Award recipient from NYU and the Lee Strasberg Institute in 2012. In 2011, Kelsey performed in the Institute’s Alumni production of A Hatful of Rain that traveled to the iTSeLF Theatre Festival in Warsaw, Poland as the representative theatre school from America. As a writer, Kelsey was awarded the Bernard and Shirley Handel Fund Fellowship for Playwriting in 2017 from Byrdcliffe Arts Colony for “demonstrating superior skill and dedication to her work”. The fellowship culminated in a staged reading of her one-act play The Octopus. Her 2nd one-act, Lonelyhearts, co-conceived with composer David Bird, went up in spring 2018 produced by Qubit New Music in an evening of one-acts with music called 21st Century Sound Stories, as a part of TAK Emsemble’s 2018 season.
Ted Zurkowski is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio where he studied with Lee Strasberg. He has been an actor, producer, screenwriter, college instructor and casting associate. He was the Artistic Director of The Frog & Peach Theatre Company, a Shakespeare company in New York City, for seven years. His band, Honey West, is currently playing famous clubs in NYC. He constantly writes, records, and performs his music.