Elissa Weinzimmer, Director / Producer
Elissa Weinzimmer graduated from the USC School of Theatre in 2007. Most recently she was awarded the SDCF Mike Ockrent Fellowship, assisting director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw on Minsky's at the Ahmanson Theatre. Other venues where she has assisted include the Pasadena Playhouse, the Kirk Douglas Theatre, the Piven Theatre Workshop (IL), the Laguna Playhouse, the Sacred Fools Theatre, and the Production Company. Directing credits: Cabaret and Violetta Dying. Elissa is an associate producer of the web series Ben and Burman (www.benandburman.com), and during the day you can catch her as an educator at Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center where she’ll be happy to tell you a story about a great storm that caused a huge flood that washed everything away. Elissa is very proud to be an associate member of SDC, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and an alumnus of the Director's Lab West.
Sascha Alexander, Producer
Sascha hails from Seattle, Washington. She left home at age 17 to attend the School of Theatre at USC, where she got to spend four amazing years rolling around on the floor, breathing from her diaphram, and pretending to be various zoo animals. USC also gave her the opportunity to learn a French-Canadian accent for her role in "Les Belles-Soeurs," and to waddle like an overweight 60-year-old in "All's Well That Ends Well" directed by Mark Rucker (Die Mommy, Die!). Sascha spent four months studying in London at the British American Dramatic Academy where she enjoyed master classes with Sir Derek Jacobi and Fiona Shaw and appeared in the World Premiere production of Euripedes’ "Alcestis" at the Oval House Theatre. Sascha currently recurs as a nurse on NBC's "Days of Our Lives," and plays Anna on the web series "Blue Movies" which premieres this summer on Koldcast TV. Other highlights inlude a role in the independent short film "Another Day" and a recent appearance in Pasadena Playhouse's World Premiere reading of "Worth," written by Corey Madden (Center Theatre Group) and directed by Kurt Beattie (ACT Seattle). Sascha is also a member of the fabulous Circle X Theatre Company in Los Angeles and of the all-female sketch group Arthur or Martha. Please check her out at www.saschaalexander.com
After doing stand-up comedy in Louisiana at 18, John moved to L.A. for film school at USC. In addition to short films he wrote and directed four plays as well as performed weekly with the improv group Second Nature. John has performed stand up at The Comedy Store and opened for Bobby Lee (MadTV) at USC. John graduated in 2007 and since has studied improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade and acting with Joyce Piven. His YouTube videos have been featured on CNN and Time.com and he's acted in Nintendo and Comcast commercials. Earlier this year John acted as a Subway "sandwich artist" in the winning play at the Piano Fight play festival. He can be seen this fall dubbing REEFER MADNESS (1936) with all-new dialogue, and John performs improv Fridays at 8pm at L.A. Connection Comedy Theater. John considers Eric Trules his solo performance guru and thanks him.
Ben Giroux, Executive Producer
Ben Giroux graduated from USC with a degree in Theatre and a minor in Cinema-Television. Giroux plays opposite Danny Woodburn and Christopher Lloyd in the upcoming holiday Disney film, Santa Buddies. Notable guest-star television credits include: "Lucky" in the Farrelly Brothers' UnHitched (Fox), and "Jimmy Nickels" on Psych (USA). Theatrical credits include: "Milty" in Center Theatre Group's 2005 production of Dead End at the Ahmanson Theatre, and "Moonface Martin" in USC's production of Anything Goes, for which Giroux was awarded the 2005 John Ritter Memorial Comedy Award. In 2003, Giroux earned Arizona’s Best Comedic Actor of the Year Award for his portrayal of Lenny in Neil Simon’s Rumors at Phoenix Theatre. Max McQueen of GetOut Magazine remarked Giroux has the “wild-eyed intensity of Al Pacino, the razor-sharp timing of Groucho Marx, and the manic energy of Robin Williams.” In 2007, Giroux produced a world premiere show, Invasion! The Musical Narrated by Gilbert Gottfried, at the famed Hudson Theatre in Hollywood. Frontiers Magazine called the show “startlingly well produced” and the show later garnered two LA Weekly Awards. Giroux is currently pitching his television series, Ben and Burman (www.BenAndBurman.com), to major networks. Check out BenGiroux.com for juicy details.
Born in London and growing up just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, James moved to Los Angeles with his family in the summer of 2001. He graduated Brentwood High School with the class of ’03 and accepted a place at USC, studying English. While there he wrote and produced an original one act and appeared in several student productions, including The Taming of the Shrew, a variety of Brand New Theatre pieces, two of which, notably, written and directed by John Dardenne. His junior year saw him open an independent production of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, which was chosen as Backstage West’s Critic’s Pick. In 2008 he and Dardenne wrote, produced and performed two full length solo performance shows at the Theatre Asylum in West Hollywood. While he loathes to admit it, James has quickly become a sort of spiritual and creative leader to the cast and crew of School for Suckers, a role he continues to quietly, and fruitlessly, resist.
Juliana Tyson is of a rare breed of actor: she was born and raised in Los Angeles... and still likes it. Her relationship to the performing arts began with an interest in clowning. It took merely one night under the Cirque du Soleil tent for then three-year-old Juliana to realize never, could she ever, live far from leotards, mimes, or the lime light. After over fifteen years of formal performance education, Juliana has attained a degree in Theatre from the University of Southern California where she relished roles like Boquicia (the ghetto fabulous, "whigga with a booty" narrator) in USC's original musical "Invasion!", Elizabeth Proctor in the faculty mainstage production of "The Crucible", and Rabbi Isador Chemelwitz of Kushner's "Angels in America". Also during her time at USC, Juliana wrote and performed an hour-long, one woman show entitled, "Pieces", about her addiction to hoarding relics from her childhood home in the trunk of her car. Juliana has been fortunate enough to perform professionally in Los Angeles alongside finishing her degree. Her role in CTG's 2004 production of "Dead End" marked the fulfillment of a long-standing dream to act on the magnificent Ahmanson stage in Downtown and, in December of 2008, Juliana booked a guest role as Victoria Taylor on CW's hit show "Privileged". When she's not busy being a drama queen Juliana focuses on her role as dancing queen. Juliana is a founding member of the LA-based dance theatre company, "Boom Kat Dance Theatre". Those dancin' Boom Kats are the resident performers at the Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica. More information can be found about the company (and their mission as a non-profit) at boomkatdance.org. Juliana would like to make a special shout-out to all the lovely Latina ladies who helped inspire her work in "School for Suckers"... for their love, for their cooking, and for their forgiveness. Gracias.
Ken Werther, Publicist
KEN WERTHER began his career in public relations at Norman Lear’s Embassy Television and later served as a unit publicist at Lorimar Television. Press Associate at Center Theatre Group (Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas Theatre) 1986-87, 1990-95, 2000-2009. L.A. office of Boneau/Bryan-Brown, 1995-97: Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE 24TH DAY starring Noah Wyle and Peter Berg, FOREVER PLAID, SYLVIA, Sir Ian McKellen’s A KNIGHT OUT IN LOS ANGELES, MASTER CLASS starring Faye Dunaway, Theatre LA Ovation Awards. Miramontez/Werther Company, 1988-90: STEEL MAGNOLIAS, TONY N’ TINA’S WEDDING, VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM, A CHORUS LINE, PETER PAN starring Cathy Rigby. Other shows: 42ND STREET, SWEET CHARITY starring Debbie Allen, THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP, Sandra Tsing Loh’s BAD SEX WITH BUD KEMP, ALIENS IN AMERICA and MOTHER ON FIRE!, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, AFTER-PLAY, THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO, I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE and the long running hit NAKED BOYS SINGING! at Celebration Theatre. Blank Theatre Company: THE WILD PARTY, LOBSTER ALICE, HOTEL C’EST L’AMOUR, LITTLE FISH. Hudson Backstage: INVASION! THE MUSICAL. Black Dahlia Theatre: ORSON’S SHADOW, BELFAST BLUES, AN INFINITE ACHE, SECRETS OF THE TRADE. Currently: BLOCK NINE at the Lillian Theatre. Member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers and the Publicists Guild of America. Co-produced the 2008 L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards ceremony.
Julianne Figueroa, Stage Manager
After a short hiatus from stage-managing, Juli is happy to be returning to a job she loves. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Juli received a B.A. in History and Theatre, Juli has been stage-managing for close to eight years. Recent theatre credits include: Pacific Resident Theatre CO-OP credits: Stage manager for Macbeth, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble Credits: Stage manager for The Receptionist, The Brig and Shel Silverstein Uncensored. Other recent credits include: Stage Manager for The Beastly Bombing, which garnered huge success in LA, and later was selected to perform at the New York Musical Festival (NYMF). Non-Theatre credits include, Production Manager/Assistant Director for Ben and Burman. Juli would like to thank all her friends and family for always being so supportive in all her endeavors.
Christyn Scarborough, Assistant Stage Manager
Christyn has been in the theater business since the age of four, starting out in a tutu for ballet recitals. Since then, she has found a home both in front of and behind the curtains. A USC super-senior, Christyn is finishing her B.A. degree in Theater, in hopes of continuing her now 2 decades of theatrical experience. At USC, Christyn has been a consistent Stage Manager for Brand New Theater, one of the largest student theater companies on campus, as well as other student productions. She was also the Assistant Stage Manager for the School of Theater's production of The Ash Girl. Professionally, Christyn was lucky enough to spend a year working as an ASM with East L.A. Classic Theatre, which adapts Shakespeare productions for schools all over Los Angeles. In her free time, she and her friends produce, write, and star in their own various webseries and shorts on YouTube. She also begs her friends to let her work on awesome shows like this, and couldn't be more excited to throw down with the rest!
Dan O'Brien, Lighting Designer
Dan O'Brien most recently served as the Artistic Director for the Lyric Theatre on La Brea. Initially from Boston, Dan graduated from Boston College in 2006. He has designed lighting for several shows in Boston, including KEELY AND DU, WE WON'T PAY! WE WON'T PAY!, and BATBOY! THE MUSICAL. Dan has also been the resident light designer for two childrens' camps; Magic Circle (Tufts University) and La Brea Barnstormers (Lyric Theatre).
Zack DeZon, Publicity Photographer
Zack DeZon is a young photographer with no limit to his enthusiasm for the craft. A once-Thespian from the University of Southern California, Zack never lost his theatrical tendencies, approaching his work with the ardor of a Method actor. He shoots advertising, fashion, publicity, headshots, as well as event and theatre photography. But don't take the word of this tastefully anonymous third-person narrator. Check out his work at www.zackdezonphotography.com!