AMDA FACULTY

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

Charles Currier

Stage Combat
With more than 20 years of experience coordinating sword and stunt sequences, Charles is one of the industry’s foremost authorities on the art of combat. During the course of his impressive film and theatre career, he’s worked as the military technical advisor on HBO’s award-winning miniseries The Pacific, conceptualized complex military formations for Oliver Stone’s Alexander, and choreographed fight scenes featuring Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Extinction.

Michael Perilstein

Acting
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.

Marina Benedict

Dance, Musical 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.

Jacklyn Schneider

Individual Voice/Director American Opera Lab
An accomplished Soprano, Jacklyn Schneider has performed lead roles in Tosca, Albert Herring, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Belisario, among others. She has received numerous awards and grants, including those from the Corbett, Kaufmann-Ruud, and Sullivan foundations, a Metropolitan Opera award and first prizewinner of the Joy in Singing Award. Her successes as a teacher and vocal coach are apparent in the accomplishments of her students, many of whom have gone on to win vocal competitions while launching flourishing careers as performers.

Cate Smit

Acting, Acting for Film and TV
A versatile performer, Cate honed her craft in many Off-Broadway and regional theatres, including the Mint Theatre Company, Jose Quintero Theatre, Kings County Shakespeare and the Westbeth Theatre Center. Cate is also a talented improv artist, having performed with Theatresports, Gotham City Improv and Carolines, and was an original member of The Heartless Floozies. Additionally, Cate has directed over 200 short films and has appeared in several movies including Happy Hour, Going the Distance, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and Everyday People.

Evan Pappas

Musical Theatre
With a long list of credits as an actor and director, Evan offers a wealth of knowledge and experience to his students. In addition to many regional and touring productions, he’s appeared on Broadway in My Favorite Year, Parade, Putting It Together and A Chorus Line, Off-Broadway in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, The Immigrant and Pera Palas, and in West End productions of Merrily We Roll Along and Follies. Evan’s directing credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Girl, Parallel Lives, Daily Sounds and A Man of No Importance.

Dan Daily

Acting
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.

Gail Dennison

Musical Theatre, Acting
An accomplished actress, mezzo-soprano, writer and improviser, Gail wrote and performed in her one-woman show That Gail, has appeared on television in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and is a founding member of two all-female sketch-comedy troupes: Womedy and The Heartless Floozies. Gail has also performed with the ForPlay Improvised Theatre in performances of Off-The-Cuff, The Pollyannas and The Sunday Night Improv Jam, in addition to writing, producing and performing in Judy’s House, a comedy/variety show at New York’s Abingdon Theatre.

Elaine Petricoff

Musical 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.

Ray Virta

Acting
Recipient of the 2002 St. Clair Bayfield Award for Outstanding Shakespearean Performance, Ray brings a wealth of experience as an actor, director and instructor. His many Broadway credits include Arcadia,  Hedda Gabler, A Man for All Seasons, Boeing-Boeing, The Real Thing and Inherit the Wind, and recurring television roles include As the World Turns, All My Children and The Guiding Light. Additionally, Ray boasts over 40 lead or featured roles in regional and off-Broadway productions, and directing experience includes Way of the World, The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It.

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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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