Faculty Bios

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Playhouse Theatre Academy Teaching Artists


Thomas Beebe is an actor, director, and teaching artist who has worked with many professional companies across Connecticut. Thomas has held various positions in educational theatre with companies including Hartford Stage and Hartford Children’s Theatre. Some recent projects include productions of Charlotte’s Web and Robin Hood and classes in Improv, Broadway Dance, Acting, and Playwriting. As an actor, Thomas has appeared in over 50 productions at theaters such as Playhouse on Park, Hartford Stage, The Bushnell, and Peak Performances with favorites being Max Bialystock in the hit musical The Producers and William Barfee in Spelling Bee. Thomas holds BFA in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University.


Briana Bellinger-Dawson is a New Haven native and teaching artist. Briana is in her 27th year of dance and 20th year of acting. At the age of 9, she performed in The Nutcracker on Broadway and at Lincoln Center in New York City. Briana has been a teaching artist for 11 years and she is currently enrolled in the NYU/ Yellowbrick Performing Arts program. She is the Dramatic Arts and Dance teacher for Nathan Hale School and the Musical Choreographer for Cooperative Arts & Humanities Magnet High School, both in New Haven, CT. She has recently directed and choreographed shows like "Shrek the Musical," "High School Musical Jr.", "Daisy on Harlem's Doorstep," "In the Heights" and "Rent." Briana has a great passion for arts education as it has helped mold her into the teaching artist that she is today.


Jenna Castonguay is a theatre performer and educator from Stafford Springs, CT. She will be graduating from Western Connecticut State University this December with a Bachelor's in Theatre Arts, concentrating in Performance with a minor in Music. In her time as WCSU, she has performed in shows such as The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Grocer/Betty Dullfeet u/s; Dramaturg), Almost, Maine (Gayle), and the new devised theatre work, Organizing in the Time of COVID-19 and Other Lessons (Serena), airing this December. Costuming and wardrobe are a particular passion of hers, and she did Wardrobe for Maine State Music Theatre's 2019 season. This past summer, Jenna was ecstatic to be the Education intern at Playhouse on Park, and she is so grateful to be able to continue teaching at Playhouse Theatre Academy. She plans to pursue a Master's degree in English and Theatre Education in 2021.  


Kirsten Easton-Hazzaa is an actor, playwright, teacher, producer, and lover of all things theater. She holds a B.A. in both Theater and Sociology from Occidental College and an M.F.A. in Theater (Playwriting) from Southern Illinois University. Her plays have been performed in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Chicago, and many other places.  In 2018 and 2019, Kirsten was playwright-in-residence at La De Da Performing Arts Company, in Fort Collins, CO. She’s taught courses in introductory theater, play script analysis, playwriting and acting to students ages 6-76. Kirsten is also one of the producers for the Hartford Fringe Festival, where she helps mount performing arts pieces that are “off the beaten path”. When she’s not doing her theater things, Kirsten enjoys the challenge of befriending introverts and folding her t-shirts using the Konmari method. 


Sierra Kane is grateful to be a teaching artist for Playhouse on Park. She comes to Connecticut by way of Southern California where she received her B.A. in Communications at California State University, Fullerton. At Fullerton she received an opportunity to co-teach a college level public speaking course. There she realized she had a passion for teaching. With years of acting and comedy improv experience she soon started teaching a weekly comedy improv course open to the public. Due to the success of the class, it ran for two years, until she moved away. Sierra has also been fortunate enough to have worked as a counselor at an Easter Seals Camp, a camp for youth with disabilities. In May she will graduate with her MFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut.


Dana Rudnansky is a recent graduate from Wagner College and extremely excited to be teaching again with Playhouse Theatre Academy. While in school, she worked on various productions in the performance and technical fields. When she is not performing, teaching, or creating, she is teaching herself how to roller skate! She cannot wait to create theater with her students as well as educating about improv!


Laugh is a multi-talented artist who focuses on the performance arts. As much as he loves being on the stage, his goal is to open the space needed to add more stories to fill it. Teaching youth how to tell their own stories, express their own thoughts, and pave their own futures, one poem at a time, is how he plans to change the world. Working in multiple theatres across CT, he started in Hartford with Hartbeat Ensemble, where he learned what he needed to understand theatre. While working with Self Suffice the RaPoet, he learned what was needed to think poetically.


Michelle was born and raised in Vernon, Connecticut. Most recently, in May of 2019, she earned her Professional Certificate in Dance from Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut. The Certification focused in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Choreography, and Performance. Before earning her Professional Certificate in Dance Michelle earned her Master of Divinity from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and her Master if Art in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary, also in Richmond, Virginia. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut. Michelle is most dedicated to dance and believes wholeheartedly that she was in fact created to dance. She would like to teach her students to think creatively and to use their imaginations when approaching dance. She would also like her students to develop their minds and their spirits while learning dance from her.


Deonté L. Warren (Director/Music Director) is currently a candidate for his Master of Music in Music Theatre Vocal Pedagogy (2021) at Carthage College where he is also an adjunct professor of musical theatre. In addition to a robust private studio, working with singers of all levels from beginners to Broadway performers, he is also a Senior Voice Instructor for The Voice Lab, Inc. based out of Chicago. There, Deonté works with The Voice Lab in their goal to provide transgender and gender nonconforming voice users of all types “a safe, affirming, and creative space to explore gender and voice and develop new techniques to help express yourself authentically.” As a performer, Deonté has most recently been seen on Broadway in Disney’s “Aladdin.” He has also performed internationally on cruise ships and on the National/International Tours of “Sister Act” and “Dreamgirls" and at Disney World in Festival of The Lion King. His debut album “Love Essential (Live in New York)” can be found everywhere music is streamed and sold.


Claire Zick


moved to West Hartford from Seattle where she was an ensemble member at Unexpected Productions, Seattle's first and most reputable improv theater company. She performed weekly in Seattle Theatresports™ and long-form shows such as HAROLD, SPOKEN, BLANK SLATE, FAKESPEARE, THE MELANIE GAME, CAMPFIRE, A(N) IMPROVISED CHRISTMAS CAROL, BLACK-EYED BLONDE, IMPRESSIONISTIC HORROR, and improvised versions of movie genres. She was also the Assistant Artistic Director and only female member of Sisters of Sal, a long-form improvisational comedy troupe that won Seattle Cage Match and performed with Ryan Stiles. She has studied improv at Unexpected Productions, Magnet Theater, and UCB Theatre. Her instructors have included Randy Dixon, Matt Smith, Jill Farris, Armando Diaz, Christian Capozzoli, Keith Johnstone and Mick Napier. Locally, she has been seen in VANITIES, ISN'T IT ROMANTIC, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE and LEND ME A TENOR as well as other scripted and improv productions in theaters around the state.

TEACHES: Adult Improv classes