Martin Blanco '88: was Resident Director for Belmont Italian American Playhouse for four seasons, where he directed noteworthy productions of Turandot, Titus Andronicus, The Mistress of the Inn and a number of premiere works including his own play A Visit from Saint Nicholas. He is a frequent collaborator with John Morogiello, having directed productions of his Gianni Schicchi, The Answer, Fragile Circle, Men and Parts, and staged readings of Chancellorsville (Kennedy Center/Canadian Stage Company), Fatty Falls Down (Center Stage), and Crystal Rain (Rep Stage). Martin was named Outstanding Director at the Source Theatre's Washington Theatre Festival for Irish Authors Held Hostage. He has performed at Yale Rep in productions of Moliere's Scapin and John Guare's Moon Over Miami, and in revues at Yale Cabaret. He has taught theater classes at Boston University, SUNY Albany, and American University. Martin has worked for the National Endowment for the Arts, Management Consultants for the Arts, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Huntington Theatre Company. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Paul Bruno '86: has twenty-one years experience in the work world. He began his career by earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and then a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). His first position after graduate school was supporting personal computers in local government. The Czar has held positions as a systems programmer, information systems auditor, personal computer support supervisor, information technology director, information technology project manager and information technology program manager.
Career Czar® Paul earned a second Bachelor’s degree in Computer Software and is working on a second Master’s Degree in History. He recently became a Steven Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People facilitator. He has obtained numerous professional certifications including currently holding the coveted Project Management Professional (PMP) credential as well as earning the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Quality Manager (CQM), Certified Systems Quality Engineer (CSQE) and Certified Computing Professional (CCP) designations. He has served in leadership roles in a number of professional organizations.
Paul the Career Czar® has taught at the college level; worked as a Dale Carnegie instructor; written, with his wife, over ten screenplays; and has had numerous articles published in technical journals as well as a historical journal. Paul the Career Czar® is a certified scuba diver with over 75 logged dives; a 200 average bowler with a sanctioned 299 game; has participated in numerous sports (swimming and bowling his current favorites); and enjoys reading. The Career Czar® has appeared on the History Channel’s History IQ game show and has taken acting and standup comedy classes. Career Czar® Paul had to learn to manage his career and life balance in the trenches. He is eager to help others create the career and life they want.
Carolee Carmelo '83: is thrilled to be a part of the Mamma Mia! cast once again. Other Broadway roles: Gabrielle in Lestat (Tony nomination, Drama Desk nomination); Lucille Frank in Parade (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award); Kate in Kiss Me, Kate; Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel; Abigail Adams in 1776; Oolie in City of Angels; Cordelia in Falsettos; and Ms. Pennywise in Urinetown. Off-Broadway: Elegies, A Class Act, john and jen, Das Barbecü, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Vagina Monologues, Hello Again (Obie Award for Outstanding Performance). National tours: Chess, Big River, Falsettos, Les Misérables. TV: Maple La Marsh on “Remember W.E.N.N.” (SAG Award nomination), “Frasier,” “Ed,” “Law & Order.”
David S. Cohen '81: is a journalist, author, documentary film writer/producer and photographer who writes on entertainment, culture, arts and science for print outlets around the world. He is currently a features editor and news reporter for the "entertainment bible" Variety and a senior writer for Script magazine. He has also worked in show business for more than 25 years as everything from casting agent to Off-Off-Broadway stage director to writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He specializes in covering actors and acting, screenwriters and screenplay development, visual effects and post-production, and is a frequent guest on radio and podcasts covering entertainent technology issues. His first book, Screen Plays: How 25 Scripts Made It to a Theater Near You, For Better or Worse, based on his bimonthly Script features, was published by HarperCollins in February 2008. He lives with his wife and stepdaughter in Los Angeles. www.dscohen.com
Eric Deskin '86: Born and raised in New York City and Long Island, I am the youngest son of parents Joan and Sam who blessed me with my uncommonly good looks, quick wit, gently receded hairline and poor eyesight. You might say showbiz is in my blood--Sammy was a poet, artist, musician and comic, while his mother Ida spent her years performing Yiddish theater on the Catskill Mountains circuit. And Joan's been known to belt out a tune now and again.
As for me, I am an actor, stand-up comic and lapsed attorney who performs regularly at comedy clubs, theaters, colleges and other venues throughout New York City and the country. While I like to think that I defy categorization, Back Stage, the weekly industry trade publication, has described my comedy as "edgy, observant and funny ... the sort of brainy observations you wish you'd thought of . . ." I think that can be viewed in a positive light. I've had the great fortune of opening for showbiz luminaries ranging from the late Ray Charles to Gallagher (or Gallagher II, I'm not sure).
As an actor, I have appeared on "Rescue Me" on F/X, "One Life to Live" on ABC and shot a scene for the ABC pilot episode of "Cashmere Mafia" starring Lucy Liu, for which Darren Star is Executive Producer. I have also appeared on ESPN in the multiple Sports Emmy Award winning "Cinderella Man: The James Braddock Story", a documentary about the boxer to coincide with the Russell Crowe/Ron Howard film. My theater credits include Edward Albee's "Everything in the Garden" at the John Houseman Theater in NYC, in which I played Richard, the male lead. I have also appeared in many independent films which have been featured at film festivals around the country and I do commercials and print jobs when I can get them.
A former corporate attorney, I began my law career slogging through the hallways of a venerable Wall Street firm where one senior partner advised me to "start taking life more seriously." Heeding that sage counsel I hit the New York comedy scene with a vengeance. Countless performances later I still have my eyes on the prize, whatever that may be. http://www.ericdeskin.com/
Lisa (Ettinger) Ferentz '81: is the President and Founder of The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education, Inc. She has a B.A. in Theatre from SUNY Albany, and an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and is a Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association. In 2009, she was given the "Social Worker of the Year" Award by the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work. She has been in solo private practice for twenty four years. Working with children, adolescents, individual adults, couples and families, her areas of specialization include: adult children of alcoholics; survivors of emotional, sexual and physical abuse; co-dependency; substance abuse; eating disorders; self-injurious behavior; anxiety; depression; dissociation; multiplicity; professional burn-out; parenting skills; and stress management. Her work embraces a variety of creative paradigms and treatment modalities including Ericksonian Hypnosis and art therapy techniques. For over ten years, Lisa was an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work where she taught first and second year graduate students. She was also a Core Faculty Member for their Continuing Professional Education Certificate Program entitled “Child and Adolescent Therapy”, and a frequent presenter at Continuing Education workshops. Additionally, she was a Core Faculty Member of the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work where she created and taught continuing education workshops for advanced practitioners. Five years ago, Lisa created and began training clinicians in a Certificate Program in Advanced Trauma Treatment. To date, over 150 clinicians have graduated from this strengths based, de-pathologized approach to treating trauma survivors. Lisa serves as a Clinical Consultant for Social Workers and other mental health providers in private practices and agencies. She is also a faculty member of the Psychotherapy Networker Symposia. She is currently a Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland Department of Family Medicine where she provides core lectures, teaches residents about the bio-psycho-social model, how to join with and interview patients, how to assess for abuse and trauma, and processes doctor/patient interactions. Locally, nationally and internationally, Lisa frequently presents workshops, lectures, and key note addresses for clinical social workers, primary care physicians and other helping professionals, and is considered an expert in the field of trauma. She has written articles on self- injurious behavior for New York University’s Child Study Center, and the Psychotherapy Networker Journal. She participated in a documentary called “The Multiple Personality Puzzle” for the Learning Channel. She also participated in three educational videotapes on eating disorders available for clients and clinicians through Cavalcade Videos. Lisa is able to offer her clinical expertise on issues related to addiction and trauma as an active Board member for the Sidran Foundation’s Shofar Coalition. For several years, she was also a Board member for Jewish Recovery Houses. She continues to act and direct as a member of Country Drama, a community theater group in Baltimore. She also choreographs for local High School musical productions.
Lisa and Debbie Ganz '89: are the founders and creators of the world famous Twins Restaurant, NYC. (presently relocating to Times Square) Their unforgettable charisma & vivacious flair, combined with their 10 years in the hospitality business, has created "The Ganz Twins" - Media personalities. Over 600 television appearances, radio guest speakers, print campaigns, product spokespersons and on line chat interviews, has taken their marketing savvy to another level - Universal commodities. They are now cast as twin experts and media on air personalities. Debbie and Lisa have been cast as twin spokespersons for companies ranging from Maytag's new Gemini Range to the Detto Computer to TV special segment reporters. They are presently forging ahead with their vision of having their own talk show and radio show . They will utilize the amazing and powerful voice they have created globally while simultaneously entertaining and helping those they come in contact with -both twins and non twins alike.
In addition, the Ganz's have created exorbitant support networks and awareness for this wonderful subculture of twins and multiples through brilliant marketing and a continuous passion. Currently one in every 40 births is a multiple and they have capitalized their twinship into a business of helping twins and parents of multiples. They reunite twins separated at birth, hold twinless twin events, cater to twin weddings, twin baby showers, twin fundraisers and sponsor twins festivals. They have launched the largest non-profit organization in the world for twins, have created a help line and information line for multiples around the country, written the largest photo gift book in the world for twins, and continue to establish and develop programs furthering twin awareness and support.
Debra & Lisa have created "TWINS TALENT", the ONLY referral service/talent agency exclusively for Twins and multiples around the world. They cast for film, print, commercials, trade shows, TV, special events, and corporate events.
Twins Restaurant is the only restaurant in the world staffed entirely by identical twins. Along with partner Tom Berenger (he is not a twin), Twins Restaurant became a shrine for multiples around the world. All the twins worked at the same time, in the same shift , in the same outfit. If one got sick, they both stayed home, and if one was fired , they were both fired. Over the 5 years Twins Restaurant was open, Lisa and Debbie met over 100,000 sets of multiples who dined with them from around the world. When twins came in they signed our twin guest book , had their picture taken and got two for one drinks. Twins Restaurant is currently closed; we hope to relocate some day.
From the foundation of Twins Restaurant, they have created other exciting businesses. Lisa and Debbie Ganz are the authors of the highly acclaimed photo gift book THE BOOK OF TWINS - a celebration in words and pictures. The book of Twins is a 150-pg. photo gift book, which provides a rare journey into the magical world of multiples through magnificent photos and original essays. Keep checking for the next exciting book of triplets , quads and quints …… With the success of their book they then released the first ever twins calendar appropriately called -"TWINS" in June 99.
Avery Lipman '88 and Monte Lipman '86: http://www.albany.edu/docs/pr/ualbanymagwinter08/ThatsEntertainmentB.pdf
David List '83: http://www.albany.edu/docs/pr/ualbanymagwinter08/ThatsEntertainmentB.pdf
Laura Boninton Masse '86: http://www.albany.edu/docs/pr/ualbanymagwinter08/ThatsEntertainmentB.pdf
Brian McNamara '82: is an American actor, known for his portrayal of Dean Karny in he TV Movie Billionaire Boys Club for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a supporting role.
McNamara was born in Long Island, New York. He had lead roles in numerous motion pictures including Arachnophobia (1990). TV guest starring roles include such popular series as Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, St. Elsewhere, JAG, The O.C., Star Trek: Voyager, Mad About You, Matlock, Ellen, Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. One of his earliest roles was as 'Greg', Alex Keaton's friend who is killed in a car accident in the famous 1987 Family Ties episode A, My Name Is Alex for which the writer won an Emmy Award. He also starred in the Disney sci-fi tele-movie Earth Star Voyager.
He has a starring role in the newly released feature film, The Legend of Tillamook's Gold (2006), in which he plays Robert Kimbell, the father of the 14 year old lead character, Julie, played by Suzanne Marie Doyon.
Most recently McNamara has a starring role as General Holden, husband of Kim Delaney, on the hit Lifetime series Army Wives.
Education: State University of New York, Albany, NY (BA Theatre, 1982)
Ross Meyerson '85: won an Emmy and nominated for another for his work on Damages. He currently also casts Rescue Me for FX, Nurse Jackie for Showtime starring Edie Falco and Whlte Collar for USA Networks. Past casting director credits include The12 Men of Christmas for Lifetime airing this month, the MOW America for Lifetime, Army Wives for Lifetime (starring fellow Albany Alum Brian McNamara), Fringe for Fox, Canterbury’s Law for Fox starring Julianna Margulies, Last of the Ninth for HBO, TheDresden Files for the Sci-Fi Channel; True Blood for HBO(pilot-NY Casting), Cashmere Mafia(pilot) for ABC; and Denis Leary's Have Yourself a Merry $%^& Xmas for Comedy Central amongst many others.
Prior to entering the world of casting, Meyerson was a partner at the production company Fourfront where he produced The 1996 Drama Desk Awards, legit theatrical shows on and off-Broadway as well as corporate entertainment for such companies as HBO, Cinemax, Univeral Pictures, Disney and many more.
For 10 years, Meyerson was the artistic director at The Millbrook Playhouse. He has travelled the world as the director for the hit one-woman show Around the World in a Bad Mood.
John Morogiello '88: is a Playwright in Residence at the Maryland State Arts Council and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. John's Stonewall's Bust was awarded the 2007 Mountain Playhouse International Comedy Playwriting Award. It premiered in Pennsylvania this summer. His Engaging Shaw was recently produced by New Jersey Rep. John's short comedies Fashion Specifics and Men and Parts were finalists for the Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where the latter play was produced. Happy Hour, a film adaptation of Men and Parts, was named "Best Short Comedy" at the 2003 New York Independent Film and Video Festival. John is a frequent collaborator with Martin Blanco, having worked under his direction as actor, author, and dramaturg at venues including Canadian Stage Company, Center Stage, the Kennedy Center, Rep Stage, Georgetown Theatre Company, and the Belmont Italian American Playhouse off-off Broadway.
In 1996, John was named "Best Up and Coming Playwright" by Baltimore magazine and received a Kennedy Center Fellowship of the Americas, during which he was in residency at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. That same year he was asked to write a sample script for Guiding Light.
John's articles have been published in American Theatre and Dramatics magazines, and in programs and study guides for Long Wharf Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Everyman Theatre, and the Belmont Playhouse.
Michelle Smith-Carrigan ’89: is the Co-founder, artistic director and lead puppeteer of The Puppet People, a professional touring puppet company which tours in NY, MA, CT, VT, RI, PA and NJ and are celebrating their 15 th year. She created & performs the following shows: Puppet Potpourri, The Elephant Child, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Last Dragon, A Christmas Carol, The Firebird and Bully Busters. She also conducts puppet building and manipulation classes and residencies (at Union College & the College of St Rose, to name a few) Michelle helps create the puppets, scenery, costumes, masks, staging and scripts. She performs and builds many different styles of puppets including: hand puppets, rod puppets, mouth puppets, shadow puppets, body puppets, parade puppets and marionettes. She has done some local TV work in a variety of capacities. She has built custom puppets for many local theatres and businesses as well. She is working on a new puppet production, Bully Bustin’, which will debut in October 09 and will be a collaborative effort with local rock musicians. In addition to her puppetry life Michelle continues to act in theatrical productions. Locally, she has worked with many different theatre groups including Actors Collaborative at The Egg, Steamer #10 Theatre, Albany Civic and Theatre Voices. Favorite roles have included: Martha, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; Mary Queen of Scotts, Mary Queen of Scotts; Yelena, Uncle Vanya; R.V., Middle Aged White Guys; Lisa,Private Eyes; Medbh, Red Roses & Petrol; Helene , 84 Charring Cross Road; Sylvia , Broken Glass; Gillian, Bell, Book & Candle, Inspector, Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoots MacBeth. One theatrical highlight was performing at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall with The Bennington Marionettes and The New York Philharmonic. Michelle toured with The Bennington Marionettes 1991- 92. She was a company of A/NY Theatre Co. in NYC in 89-90. She was a company member of Steamer # 10 Theatre 93 – 94. She was a company member and board member of Actors Collaborative 1996 -2001. Michelle was also a teaching artist with Capital Region Arts in Education 1999 – 2006. She received a BA in Theatre from SUNYA Albany. She is presently a company member of D & M productions, Albany NY. Please visit her website www.thepuppetpeople.org.
JoeTravers ’82 (Fight Director) has created fights, stunts and action sequences for stage and screen for nearly twenty years, working with performers such as Mary Louise Parker, Mia Farrow, Julia Stiles, Peter Strauss and John Cullum, and directors such as JamesLapine and Michael Greif . Recent work includes the New York premiers of Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone and Adam Rapp’s Essential Self – Defense at Playwrights Horizons, and the New England premier of Hunter Gatherers at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. His work has also been seen at Irish Repertory Theatre,Jean Cocteau Repertory, Modus Opera, American Globe Theatre, Seaside Music Theater, the New York Renaissance Festival and on tour with the National Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of the Performing Arts. In 2000, he helped create the critically acclaimed Duelists: The Forgotten Champions, an evening of original one - acts on the history of the duel of honor. Recent film work includes Lifted for Fox/Searchlight and A – Alike, winner of awards from the DGA and the National Board of Review. He serves on the faculty of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors and Fight Directors, Canada. Since 1995 he has been the managing director of Swordplay, a NYC based company providing instruction in safe and effective stage combat techniques to professional actors. www.jt4fights.com, www.swordplaystagecombat.com
Frank Whaley '87: is an American film and television actor known for his roles in independent films. Whaley made his film debut in 1987's Ironweed, and performed mostly in made-for-TV movies until 1989, when he appeared in Field of Dreams alongside Burt Lancaster and Kevin Costner, and Born on the Fourth of July alongside Tom Cruise. This latter film began a long collaboration with director Oliver Stone, including 1991's The Doors, in which he played Robbie Krieger, and, in the same year, JFK, in which he played a conspirator in the JFK assassination. In 1991, Whaley also starred in the John Hughes' film, Career Opportunities alongside Jennifer Connelly.
Over the next two years, he played supporting roles in movies such as Hoffa and Swing Kids. He appeared in his second (after 1991's Career Opportunities) leading film role in 1994's Swimming with Sharks, in which he starred opposite Kevin Spacey. In the same year, he played a supporting role as a college student named Brett, who was gunned down by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.
In 1998, he started a regular role on the CBS series Buddy Faro. He has also appeared in episodes of The Dead Zone, Law & Order, and its spinoff Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He made his directorial debut, Joe the King, in 1999, featuring his Doors costar Val Kilmer and longtime friend and colleague Ethan Hawke in starring roles. The film premiered at the Sundance film festival and earned Whaley the prestigious Waldo Salt Award for screenwriting. His second film as writer, director The Jimmy Show starred Whaley and Carla Gugino. This film also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 2001, Whaley married the actress and writer Heather Bucha, and soon had a son. They collaborated on the NBC pilot Lloyd of the House and continue to write together. His second child, a girl, was born in 2004.
Whaley's third film as writer and director New York City Serenade stars Chris Klein and Freddie Prinze, Jr. It is slated to premier at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. He recently starred as the central villain in Screen Gems' 2007 horror film, Vacancy alongside Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale and guest starred on the April 10th, 2007 episode of Boston Legal where he plays a man who tried to alter the crime scene of a murder his brother committed.
Education: Actors Studio New York, New York
State University of New York, Albany, New York (BA theatre, 1987)
Kathryn Zox '83: is a nationally recognized radio host who produces The Kathryn Zox Show from Albany NY airing on the VoiceAmerica Women's Network and WMET 1160AM Washington DC. She has been a featured life expert and co-host on Doug Stephan's syndicated Good Day Show.
Kathryn has interviewed thousands of guests with a focus on women's issues including celebrities, authors and life experts. She and her co-host Lorin Beller Blake keep women connected, informed and entertained with memorable guests like Pink Magazine Editor Cynthia Good, Al Roker, Miss America 2007 and Robin Cook.
In the social work profession, as in the media, Kathryn is highly regarded. She has trained doctors and medical students to communicate effectively with patients at Albany Medical College's Clinical Competency Program. She's an actor who can be seen on the Sopranos and Law and Order and even admits to modeling for AARP.
Much background for her shows comes from experiences traveling the world and raising three boys now in their twenties- a rock star, an actor and a film maker. There’s also one ex-husband, one boyfriend, two brothers and an aging mom.
Combining her years of experience counseling diverse populations with her on-camera, film and print performances Kathryn has become one of the most popular radio hosts on VoiceAmerica Women's Network, ranked # 1 two months in a row.
Her print and on camera appearances include spots for Fox TV, Time Warner and I Love New York State Travel Guide.
Kathryn’s Lunchtime Talk Washington DC show covers topics from obesity to single fathers, psyche pain, sex, relationships and the female brain.
Some of her recognized volunteer work and charitable causes include: Human Rights Campaign, WMHT Public Television Print Disabled, National Recording Books for the Blind and Dyslexic, Planned Parenthood, Ronald Mc Donald House, New York State School Music Association and the University at Albany School of Social Welfare.
Kathryn is a frequent moderator for Women’s conferences including the recent Albany Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council annual 2007 Symposium on Excellence.
Education: Kathryn is a Certified Social Worker with a Masters Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany and a graduate of the New School of Radio and Television.
She has BA and MEd degrees in Psychology and Counseling Psychology from Boston University.
Kathryn graduated from Phillips Academy Andover where she was President of the Debating Club and an active member of the Drama Club.