Since 1964, AMDA has provided an ideal environment for performers to thrive. To realize its vision, the College and Conservatory opened its doors to the best and the brightest performing arts professionals in the world. The unrivaled access and industry insight our faculty members provide produces year after year of well-rounded, business-savvy, working professionals.

Featured Faculty

Jason Chaet

Acting, Acting for Film and TV
Jason is an award winning filmmaker, theater director, producer and acting teacher based in NYC. He got his start at New York’s famed Ensemble Studio Theatre, where he had the opportunity to develop new work by multiple playwrights including world premieres by David Mamet and Arthur Miller. He worked developing and presenting new work for HBO and the USCAF, and has scores of theater directing credits from Off-Broadway to the West Coast. His multiple award winning feature film Putzel (starring Jack Carpenter, Melanie Lynskey, Susie Essman and John Pankow) appeared at over fifty film festivals around the world and was distributed internationally by Filmbuff. Other film credits include Remember and Kissing Jessica Stein (Creative Consultant) amongst others. Upcoming feature film projects include Verona and SIFU.

Dan Daily

Theatre credits: The Pearl Theatre Company at City Center: Henry IV Part I (Falstaff), You Never Can Tell (Waiter), The Philanderer, The Bald Soprano, Romersholm, Misalliance, The Subject Was Roses, Richard III, The Master Builder, Angel Street, The Gentleman Dancing Master, Heartbreak House, I Have Been Here Before, The Oresteia, The Country Wife, The Cherry Orchard and others; Keen Company: The Dining Room (Drama Desk Award), In The Matter Of J. Robert Oppenheimer; The New Group: Sin: A Cardinal Deposed (Obie Award); Lincoln Center Theatre Company: The Tenth Man; CSC: The Scarlet Letter. Film: The Wolf of Wall Street, Mr. Bear, Duplicity, Blood and Wine, Seabiscuit, Daylight. TV: Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Law & Order: CI (USA), Ed (NBC), The Prosecutors, Pete & Pete and all NY soaps. Acting instructor: Notre Dame, University of Washington, Pearl Theatre Company, private coaching.

Ray Virta

Ray was awarded the 2002 St. Clair Bayfield Award for Outstanding Shakespeare Performance in the metropolitan NYC area for his work as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at The Pearl. Broadway: Therese Raquin, An Enemy of the People, Arcadia, Hedda Gabler, A Man for All Seasons, Boeing-Boeing, Naked Girl on the Appian Way, Democracy, Betrayal, The Real Thing, The School for Scandal, Inherit the Wind. Off-Broadway: 19 shows including Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine, Eyes for Consuela (MTC), Langella’s Cyrano (Roundabout); Resident-Pearl Theatre. National Tours: M. Butterfly; The Acting Company. Regional: Over 40 lead/featured roles including Romeo, Macbeth, Torvald, Orsino, Berowne. Multiple television and film appearances including Remember, directed by AMDA faculty member Jason Chaet and Armondo Riesco. Directing: Comedie of Errors (Brooklyn College), The Way of the World (Pearl), As You Like It (KCSC), multiple AMDA showcases, others. Reading: Just South of Paradise by Charlotte Wooden with AMDA Faculty Dr. Roxanna Stuart, Randolf Pearson, Angela Eckert and Alum Olivia Wooden Virta.  Teaching: 35 years of experience including AMDA, NYU/PHTS. His latest film, My First Kiss and the People Involved, premiered at the L.A. Film Festival this past summer.

Elaine Petricoff

Music Theatre
An accomplished actress, singer and director, Elaine has dedicated the past 20 years to developing the curriculum and teaching methods of AMDA’s Musical Theatre Department. Her Broadway credits include Grease, The Me Nobody Knows and End of the World, while off-Broadway she’s performed with the Roundabout Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club and Westside Arts Center. Additionally, Elaine has directed at NYU and the Skylight Opera Company, and has taught, directed and choreographed at the Unicorn Stage at Berkshire Theatre Festival.

Chris Neher

Voice Production and Speech
Chris brings over a decade of teaching experience and voice performance to the classroom, having taught both students and professional actors the art of voice, speech and dialects for microphone, film, television and stage. In addition to instructing students at AMDA, his other teaching credits have included Marymount Manhattan College, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and ABC Studios. Chris earned his BFA in Acting from SUNY Fredonia and his MFA in Acting from Ohio State University.

Marina Benedict

Dance, Music Theatre
Marina is currently staring as Toni Cannava on the new STARZ series Flesh and Bone. Marina has worked extensively on stage and screen as a professional actor, dancer and recording artist. Recent credits include: True Blood (Alan Ball- HBO), The Advocates (David Nutter-CBS), Burn Notice (20th Century Fox), Perception (ABC and TNT), ER (John Wells- Warner Bros), Torchwood (BBC and STARZ), and Southland (CBS and TNT). Other guest star roles: Bones, CSI Miami, Desperate Housewives, Without a Trace, Wheels of Justice and The Ghost Whisperer. Marina played a central character in American Town (pilot-Fox), a series regular on Lefty (pilot-Brad Grey for CBS), and was a series regular on the half-hour comedy series Nikki (Bruce Helford- Drew Carrey and Roseanne). Marina was classically trained as a dancer, studying ballet, modern and theatre dance at Cornish College of the Arts. Marina has recorded a top-40 album on the BMG label and danced professionally throughout the world in musical theatre, film and television.

Casey Colgan

As a director, choreographer and performer, Casey has accumulated a substantial list of credits spanning Broadway productions, regional theatre and international tours. From playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at Madison Square Garden, to performing in European tours of A Chorus Line and My Fair Lady, to directing productions of Aida, Les Miserables and Evita, Casey has done it all. Some of his favorite roles include Edna in Hairspray, Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, Rum Tum Tugger in Cats and both Roger and Carmen in The Producers.

Michael Perilstein

Michael has been acting professionally on stage since the age of eight, having appeared in numerous Broadway and regional productions, as well as the television shows New York Undercover and The Guiding Light. Michael is also a committed educator, having co-founded Build a Better Actor, an educational workshop for artists, and co-authoring The Complete Professional Audition: A Commonsense Guide to Auditioning for Musicals and Plays. Additionally, Michael designs and facilitates doctor/patient simulations with Columbia University, "The Doctor Oz" show and neurologists and doctors around the country.

Evan Pappas

Music Theatre
Evan Pappas (Director) Off-Bway: Liberty(Theatre 80), Wonderful Town (Musicals Tonight), Evita and The Daughter of the Regiment (Opera North), 7 Brides for 7 Brothers  (SF Critics Best Production Award, and Director nom), Funny Girl (SF Critics Director nom). Some Place Like Home (Best Director Award Soundbites Festival, NYC), West Side Story (Opera North), Lucky Stiff (Arizona Broadway Theatre), Carousel and A Man of No Importance (Montclair State), West Side Story (Santa Fe College), My Way (Depot), Broadway Babes (Covent Garden), Assoc. Dir. on Being Sellers (59E59), Moscow  (Samuel French One-Act Festival), Parallel Lives (Theatre for the New City), Daily Sounds (Finalist in Strawberry Festival). , etc. He has starred on and off-Broadway in My Favorite Year, Parade, Putting It Together,A Chorus Line, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, Café Society Swing, etc., and in London’s West End in Follies and Merrily We Roll Along.

Ramon Galindo


Ramon Galindo, originally from San Francisco, has performed on Broadway in numerous shows including Cats, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Song and Dance (with Bernadette Peters,) and was the assistant choreographer for the Lincoln Center revival of The Most Happy Fella. He also appeared in the Off-Broadway musical Funny Feet and performed in the national tour of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’. Ramon has taught at the Harvard Summer Dance Center and at New York City Public Schools. His list of choreography credits include shows at the Media Theater in Pennsylvania and at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater.

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How to know which program is right for you

Each of our unique programs is designed with the performer in mind. If you need help choosing the right program, please talk to one of our admissions advisor.

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