FTC Theatre Arts Division Faculty

Dr. David Krasner

Professor and Chair of Theatre
BFA in Acting, Carnegie Mellon University; MFA in Acting, Virginia Commonwealth University;
Ph. D. in Drama, Tufts University

David KrasnerDr. David Krasner has been teaching acting and theatre for 40 years.  He was a professional actor in New York for 12 years, and has appeared on both stage and film. He was the director of undergraduate theatre studies at Yale University for ten years, Head of the B.F.A. acting program at Emerson College for five years, Dean of the School of the Arts at Dean College for five years, Head of the graduate directing program at Southern Illinois University for two years, and taught acting, voice, speech, movement and directed plays at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York for nine years. Not surprisingly, many of his past students have also gone on to win Obie and Tony Awards.

Dr. Krasner studied acting under Paul Mann, Kim Stanley and Barbara Loden, and holds a Ph. D. in Drama from Tufts University. He is the author and editor of eleven books covering topics from Method acting, theatre history, dramatic literature, modern drama, African American theatre, theatre and philosophy, American drama, dramatic theory and criticism. He serves on the board of editors for Stanislavsky Studies, Theatre Journal, and African American Review. He was the recipient of the Betty Jean Jones Award for the best teacher of American theatre and drama (2008), and has twice received the Errol Hill Award from the American Society for Theatre Research for the best work on African American Theatre (1998, 2002). He is also the co-editor of the University of Michigan Press’s series on Theatre. As an actor, he last performed Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge in Massachusetts, which can be seen on YouTube.

Andrea Arias-Martin

Adjunct Professor of Vocal Instruction
BA in Music, C. W. Post; MM, Manhattan School of Music

Andrea MartinAndrea Arias-Martin, a native from Lynbrook, Long Island, is a graduate from the Master’s program at Manhattan School of Music, and received Bachelor’s from C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. She is currently working on her Master’s In Science for Music Education. While at Manhattan, Andrea performed “Mother” in Griffelkin and “Anna Maurrant” in Street Scene. The New York Times stated, “As Anna Maurrant, Andrea Arias-Martin sings with a bright soprano and effectively conveys the character’s disillusionment and unhappiness.” Andrea was part of the Chautauqua Opera Studio Artist for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, covering the roles of “Foreign Woman” in The Consul and the title role in Norma. At Glimmerglass Opera, Andrea was an American Artist covering “Micaela” in Carmen and “Elaine” in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening. Andrea currently works at Holy Family Parish and School in Hicksville, NY.

Five Towns College welcomes Andrea as an experienced and exciting Vocal Instructor for Theatre Arts degree majors.

Jennifer Barsamian

Adjunct Professor of Vocal Instruction
BA in Music, Westminster College Choir; MM, North Carolina School of Music

Jennifer BarsamianJennifer Barsamian, mezzo-soprano, pianist and educator, has been teaching voice and piano for over 20 years. In addition to maintaining a private studio, Jennifer is co-owner and co-founder of the Long Island Studio of Music, which provides exceptional music instruction in your home throughout Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Westchester.  www.LongIslandStudioofMusic.com  Jennifer is also on the voice faculty of the Queens Sumer Vocal Institute at Queens College.  She has previously served on the music faculty of Music Academy of Garden City, the Greenwich House Music School in Manhattan, Lucy Moses School in Manhattan, the Loomis Chaffee School in CT, the community division at The Hartt School of Music, and the community music school at North Carolina School of the Arts. As a performer, she has been praised as being a consummate artist with a winning personality and a deep, rich, strong, vocalism. Described as the “quintessential Carmen” Ms. Barsamian has sung the title role several times throughout the United States. On the opera stage she has sung with the Belleayre Music Festival, Opera Western Reserve, Asheville Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Company of the Highlands, Utah Festival Opera, New Jersey Verismo Opera, and the Spoleto Festival USA. Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in Music from North Carolina School of the Arts and Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Westminster Choir College, where she began her studies as a pianist.  She has also earned two post graduate certificates in Voice and Opera from both the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and the Hartt School of Music. You can hear Jennifer’s work and stay updated with her performances and projects on her website at: www.JenniferBarsamian.com

Hali Bekofsky

Assistant Professor, Head of Dance, Co-Head of Musical Theatre
BFA in Dance, University of the Arts; MA in Education, Stony Brook University

Hali Bekofsky

Hali Bekofsky was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She was a competitive dancer from the ages of seven to seventeen and upon finishing high school attended the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, where she graduated in May 2010 with a B.F.A. in Jazz Dance Performance. While attending UArts she received the Faculty Award for “Excellence in Dance”, was a founding member and soloist of the Xhale Dance Company, and, simultaneously, received her Certification in Nutrition for Optimal Health, Wellness and Sports through Stony Brook University.

After graduation she was honored to have the opportunity to dance for a year in Israel under the MASA Apprentice Program with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and upon returning to NYC, she worked with companies such as Michael Susten and Company, DeMa Dance Company, Leon Contemporary Dance Company, Amalgamate Dance Company, BEings Dance Company and performed different project works at APAP Festival, NYC REVERBdance, The Young Choreographers Festival and as a dancer for recording artist Ja’Shayla at Gap Stores. In 2013 she became a 200hr certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor and from 2013-2016 she was the Creator/Co-Owner of Mindful Practice Workshop: Conditioning and Wellness for the Competitive Dancer which was featured in the February 2015 edition of Dance Studio Life Magazine. In addition to being at Five Towns College, she is a dance teacher in NY where she teaches multiple levels and styles, a choreographer for competitive gymnastic floor routines, and is a JV Dance Team Coach at a local high school. 

Nikki Chawla

Adjunct Professor of Acting
BA, Communication Arts, Queens College; MS in Education, C. W. Post;
MFA in Acting, Actors Studio at Pace University

Nikki Chawla (SAG, EQUITY) is an actor, acting teacher, standup comedian, and model.  She holds an MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School and a Master’s of Science in Education from C.W. Post, LIU. Nikki began her acting career studying with Gene Lasko and Elizabeth Kemp. She has trained with well renowned teachers of RADA, Malcolm McKay and Cecily Berry of The Royal Shakespeare Company.  Her TV & Film credits include: Hiraeth, the series (Amazonprime), Fresh Blood (Amazonprime, Nominated for the Best Supporting Actress), Saturday Night Live skits, Brown Nation, Redrum (Investigation Discovery ID), I Don’t Like You With Me (NYU), Unfreedom (Portland film festival & Chelsea Film Festival), The Distance Between Us (Greater Washington Immigration film festival), and Refugee (Big Apple film festival). Theatre credits include: A View from Versova, For Our Own (Planet Connections Festival), The Graduate (Actors Studio Drama School), Where Children play (Berkshire Fringe Festival) , Vagina Monologues (V-day Union City), Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Color of Vengeance and Romeo & Juliet. She also has performed in the Shakespeare play, The Tragedy of Richard the Third in at Stratford upon Avon & Bosworth, England as well as NY. Her first short film that she directed and produced called “Baby” was selected for the Sikh International Film Festival and premiered at The Paley Center of Media in NYC. She is pleased and excited to be a faculty member of the Theatre Department at Five Towns College! www.nikkichawla.com

Jeremiah M. Dude

Assistant Professor of Technical Design, Resident Technical Director
BA in Technical Theatre, Dean College

JeremiahJeremiah M. Dude has a B. A. in Theatre with an emphasis in technical direction. He has been the TD, Stage Manager, Master Carpenter, and Lighting, Sound, and Prop Designer for dozens of plays and musicals. He is skilled in carpentry, light rigging, electrician, 3D design printing, and costume design.

Kate Eminger

Adjunct Professor and Head of Directing
BA, St. Edwards University, MFA in Directing, The New School

Kate EmingerKate Eminger is a director and filmmaker based in New York. She has developed work for Ars Nova, Dixon Place, The Drama League, IRT, NYU, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Luna Stage, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, NYC Fridge Festival, Gowanus Arts Productions, and Wide Eyed Productions, among others. Selected directing credits: Cape Disappointment by The Debate Society, reluctant to burn and no seconds by Korde Arrington Tuttle, nightnight by Lucas Hnath (The New School), Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, trans. Sarah Ruhl (GAP, New York Premiere), Endgame by Samuel Beckett, Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, and Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl (Ausitn Playhouse, Regional Premiere). Assistant Directing: Daniel Aukin, Les Waters, Meredith McDonough, and Ian Belknap, among others. She is a Lincoln Center Directors Lab member (2014), Actors Theater of Lousiville Directing Intern (2012-2013), and a SPACE on Ryder Farm Resident Chef. MFA directing: The New School www.keminger.com

Francesca Ferrara

Adjunct Professor of Acting
BA in Theatre, Catholic University

Sherry KfareFrancesca Ferrara is an actress and teaching artist, whose theatre credits include Romeo & Juliet (National Players), The Taming of the Shrew (Olney Theatre), Seduced, The Adding Machine, Twelfth Night, AS IS  (New American Theatre), Stage Beauty (Crown City), Detainee (East 4th Street Theatre).  Film and television highlights include How to Cheat, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Masters of Sex, How To Get Away With Murder, and Mad Men. Francesca has been mentored through the Hagen Teacher Lab at HB Studio, and has studied the craft with Herbert Berghof, Uta Hagen, Carol Rosenfeld, Jack Stehlin, Alfred Molina and Mercedes Ruehl. www.actressfrancescaferrara.com

Jamie Gannon

Adjunct Professor of Acting
BA in Theatre, Penn State University

Jamie GannonHe lived and worked in New York City, then moved to Los Angeles where he was fortunate to work professionally in Film, Theatre, Television, Commercials, and Voiceovers while studying closely with Stella Adler’s protégé, Arthur Mendoza, for five years. In 1999, he appeared in the World Premiere of Tennessee Williams’ play Spring Storm, in which he originated the role of Dick Miles. Jamie has been fortunate to teach both school-age children as well as adults, and now college undergrads.

Jess Gersz

Adjunct Professor of Costume Design
BA in Theatre, University of Albany; MFA in Costume Design, University of Illinois, Urbana

Tim Golebiewski

Resident Designer, Adjunct Professor of Set Design
BA, MA in Set Design and Studio Art, University of Pittsburgh

Tim Golebiewski is enjoying his second year as a faculty member at Five Towns College. Off-Broadway credits include: Beneath the Gavel (59 E 59); Liberty: A Monumental New Musical (Theater 80); Regional: The Surrogate, Centenary Stage; Tommy and Into the Woods, (Scenic/Projection Design) Forestburgh Playhouse; Big Love and O’Beautiful, Connecticut Repertory Theatre. He is also the resident scenic/projection designer at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, as well as serving as Assistant Set Designer to James Youmans on To Kill a Mockingbird and The Cocktail Hour, The Guthrie. Previously, Tim was a faculty member/resident designer for Connecticut College for five years and served as assistant to multiple Emmy award winning designer, Bob Phillips.

Alexa Green

Adjunct Professor of Vocal Instruction
BFA, Musical Theatre, University of Cincinnati Conservatory;
MA in Vocal Pedagogy, Columbia University

Alexa Green is best known for her turn as Glinda in the Los Angeles and San Francisco companies of the hit Broadway musical Wicked. She appeared alongside Neil Patrick Harris and Patti LuPone in the international cinematic release of Stephen Sondheim’s Company with The New York Philharmonic live from Lincoln Center. Alexa has toured both nationally and internationally as a singer and actor on national tours and regionally and is passionate about the development of new musical theatre. She has appeared as a guest star with symphonies nationwide and has most recently worked in the studio with 16-time, Grammy Award-winning record producer and songwriter, David Foster, on his upcoming Broadway projects.

She has been featured in the acclaimed concert series Broadway Sings, with Carole King at Avery Fisher Hall, and with Aaron Tveit on his Live Nation concert tour and received critical acclaim for her sold-out solo show, A Shining Hour, at Feinstein’s 54 Below. Broadway Records recently released Alexa’s debut solo album, So Good, and was nominated among Broadway legends Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Barbra Streisand winning Best New Solo Recording at the 2016 Broadway World Awards. As an educator, Alexa currently owns her own private voice practice in NYC and is in residence working with singers, actors and speakers both at the college and professional level. She lectures nationwide on vocal health and longevity as well as musical theatre and contemporary commercial music vocal technique. Alexa holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and is a current graduate student in Music and Music Education with a specialization in vocal pedagogy at Columbia University, Teachers College.

Ronald Land

Assistant Professor, Head of Vocal Production, Co-Head of Musical Theatre
BA in Music, University of the Arts; MM, Temple University

Ronald LandRonald Land has cultivated a distinguished reputation as one of the most sought-after voice/opera coaches in the United States. His unique background in musical comedy and classical music has allowed him to focus his attention on the diverse theatrical and musical aspects of shaping the modern opera/musical theater singer. As a coach-accompanist, he has worked in many American opera companies, including Des Moines Metro Opera, International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Opera Theater, Augusta Opera, and Opera New Jersey where he worked for nine seasons.  Mr. Land has been involved with many teaching programs and masterclasses aimed at the development of the young artists. He currently enjoys working with Martina Arroyo in both the summer “Prelude to Performance” program and the “American Singer’s Opera Project,” concentrating on character development and role preparation.

Vanessa Leuck

Assistant Professor of Costume Design, Head of Costume Design
BFA in Fashion Design, Savannah College of the Art and Design;
MFA in Costume Design, Virginia Commonwealth University

Drama Desk Award nominee and Outer Critics Circle Award honoree, Vanessa Leuck is a New York City-based costume designer who truly enjoys the art of collaborative storytelling. With a career spanning over fifteen years, she is an expert in her field and specializes in creating original works, especially musical productions. Some favorite designs include: Emojiland (The Duke on 42nd Street) the show was a New York Times Critics pick, and nominated for an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical 2019-20, DISNEY ON ICE Let’s Celebrate! (International Tour), Midnight at the Never Get (The York) nominated for Outstanding New Musical awards by Lucille Lortel, Off-Broadway Alliance and Outer Critics Circle in 2018, and Disenchanted! (Westside Theatre) which received a 2015 Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and her designs earned an American Theater Wing Henry Hewes Costume Design Award nomination.

Ms. Leuck is also a Makeup Designer and Stylist, who designs extensively for plays, dance, concerts and events including several benefit productions for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS and was a select designer invited to participate in the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab 2013.   Ms. Leuck was chosen for an exclusive internship with Walt Disney World as a sketch artist and designer for its theme parks and resorts, 2003-2004.  In addition to her design work, she has assisted on several large-scale productions including, The Little Mermaid (Broadway), Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus (five productions), Disney Live, and Disney On Ice.

As an educator, Ms. Leuck has worked at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and is an Adjunct Instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Pace University. She is a proud member of United Scenic Artists 829 and holds an M.F.A. in Costume Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.F.A. in Fashion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.

David Orlando

Assistant Professor of Light Design, Head of Design and Technology
BFA in Light Design, Boston University

David Orlando earned his BFA in Lighting Design from Boston University.  He has recently worked designing Ripe Frenzy at Boston University and La Bohème with Boston Opera Collaborative.  Additionally he has had the recent pleasure of assistant designing at Boston Conservatory, Berkshire Theater Group, American Repertory Theater, and Boston Lyric Opera. He also formerly served as the resident lighting designer of the New Classics Company.

Randall Parsons

Resident Designer
MFA in Scenic and Lighting Design, New York University

Randall Parsons has professional affiliation with the United Scenic Artists Local 829, and has worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and Regional Theatre for over twenty years.

Dan Renkin

Stage Combat Instructor
BA in Drama, University of California at Irvine
BA in Film Studies, University of California at Irvine
Certificate, Two-Year Professional Workshop, Circle in the Square Theatre School, NYC
Certified Stage Combat instructor and Fight Director with B.H. Barry (founder of modern fight direction,
co-founder BADC, and only Tony-recipient for fight direction)

Co-founder American Academy of Fight Directors, the only society with which Mr. Barry is a member

Dan Renkin assisted Tony-recipient B.H. Barry on Broadway’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and taught for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Circle in the Square, HB Studio and NYFA (founding faculty, Musical Theatre division.) He has fought and coached at the Metropolitan Opera and was a stunt coordinator on “As The World Turns.” Recent productions include Douglas Beane’s To Wong Foo and Hood! (NYC Workshops), R&J&Z (New Ohio), Poppea (Aspen Opera), Punk Rock (Montclair), Fruit Trilogy (Abingdon), Extinction (Guild Hall/Sawyer Spielberg), Monte Cristo (NLTP), Pirira (NYIT Award, Theatre 167), All My Sons (Alec Baldwin, Laurie Metcalf), and Loveless Texas (Sheen).

Lisa Strum

Adjunct Professor of Theatre, Resident Director
BA in English, Theatre, and Spanish, Albright College; MFA in Acting, University of Washington

Lisa Strum (MFA University of Washington) a Philadelphia native living and working in New York is an educator, actress, playwright, producer, casting director, director, singer and a certified wedding officiant! She received an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington in Seattle and has performed in regional theatres all across the country.  She directed For Colored Girls… at Five Towns College in Long Island, FALL for the Marathon 2019 One Act Play Festival with Ensemble Studio Theatre and starred as Rose in FENCES with the REP at The University of Delaware. Lisa also starred in the Michigan Premiere of Dominique Morisseu’s PIPELINE at the Detroit Public Theatre, and SWEAT at People’s Light. Her solo play, She Gon’ Learn premiered at the Emerging Artist Theatre Festival at TADA!, followed by sold out performances at the United Solo Festival on Theatre Row in NYC where the play received one of the festival’s Best Solo S how Awards. Other She Gon’ Learn performances include: The Obie Award Winning Fire This Time Festival; The National Black Theatre; The New Black Fest at The Lark Play Development Center; The Roselle Center for the Arts at University of Delaware, a workshop production at The Jersey City Theatre Center in New Jersey, and the headlining show for the inaugural Alumni Theatre Event at Albright College.  As an actor, Lisa has worked at Lincoln Center Theatre with the Tony Award winning director of HAMILTON, Thomas Kail, appeared at Summer Stage, Signature Theatre, New Federal Theatre, Intiman Theatre, The Obie Award Winning 48 Hours in…Harlem, ACT and The Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle. Lisa has also had a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU and co-stared in the television pilot Citizen Baines with James Cromwell from BABE and LA Confidential.  As an educational consultant, she has conducted numerous artist and professional development workshops in public schools, colleges and universities all over the country.  Lisa is a staff facilitator at Columbia University for The Literacy Unbound Summer Institute and was the Theatre Specialist for the Abrons Arts Center, Barbara L. Tate Summer Arts Program at the historic Henry Street Settlement for nine seasons.  Lisa was a Finalist for the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award, was the recipient of the Playwrights Initiative Fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Outstanding Actress in a Play, and received a Broadway World Award for Best actress in the Regional production of FENCES.

Robert Viagas

Adjunct Professor of Theatre History
BA in Theatre, Hofstra University; MA in Theatre, Hunter College

Sherry KfareRobert Viagas is an editor, author, journalist, lecturer, and teacher with more than thirty-five years’ experience, working on Broadway. He is the founding editor of Playbill.com, Playbill’s theatre news website, and has published 19 books on the performing arts. He served on the nominating committee of the annual Tony Awards from 2012-2019. Among his published books, Viagas was chosen by the original cast of A Chorus Line to tell their story in On the Line: The Creation of “A Chorus Line” (Morrow) and by the creators of the original The Fantasticks to tell their story in The Amazing Story of The Fantasticks (Citadel). He wrote liner notes for the 40th anniversary re-release of the A Chorus Line original cast album.