Farhang Pernoon is a lecturer in the Department of Theater at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where he teaches the class “Play Reading and Analysis.”
He was born in Iran in 1975. In 2013, he earned a Ph.D. in Theater and performance studies from the Department of Theater and Critical Studies at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. His dissertation, “Performing Persianicity,” focused on diasporic masculinities in the United States. In 2007, Pernoon earned his master of arts degree from San Diego State University, where he produced the thesis “The Performance of Technique/ Performing Other(s),” a PAR-based analysis of two performance texts. He received his bachelor of arts degree in theater from San Francisco State University in 1997 and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential in English from CSUN that same year. He is the recipient of the 2013 Koppleson Fund Award, the 2012 Executive Board Award, and the 2010 Aaron Curtis Award from UCLA. Performance awards include a KPBS Outstanding Male Performance Award (2004); two Backstage West “Best of” Critics List awards (2003/2004) for performances as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency and Lord Edgar/Jane in The Mystery of Irma Vep; a 2003 San Diego Playbill Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (Gross Indecency), a 2003 Marion Ross Scholarship/Award, and a 1996 Jules Irving Award for Performance.
Pernoon’s current interests include treatments of speed/ acceleration/space; ongoing examinations of Iranian diaspora; and masculinized performances within U.S. prisons.
Award-winning choreographer Lee Martino has choreographed for stage, screen and TV. Her work spans all disciplines as evidenced by her credits including Jenny Craig’s national TV commercial featuring Jason Alexander, Baring It All; Target web commercials featuring Kristen Bell and others for the East Coast’s National Bank; the two-hour NBC television special Shall We Dance on Ice, featuring Broadway dancers and Olympic Ice Dance teams; the animated feature films The King and I (Warner Bros.) and Alpha and Omega 3D (Lionsgate); Joe DiPietro’s Falling for Eve for The York Theatre Company in Manhattan; Rita Moreno’s one-woman show Life Without Makeup at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; and the opening number for the Writers Guild of America Awards performed by Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Her other stage credits include the 2016 Dreamgirls Reunion at Los Angeles’ John Anson Ford Amphitheatre with Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine, the actresses who starred in the original Broadway production; Sam Harris’ Ham: A Musical Memoir (Pasadena Playhouse); Carrie (Los Angeles Theatre and La Mirada Theatre for McCoy Rigby); First Date (McCoy/Rigby); When You Wish, the Story of Walt Disney (Phoenix Theatre); American Misfits (Boston Court); Oklahoma!, Hairspray and many more for Musical Theatre West; Hello My Baby (Rubicon Theatre); Life Could Be a Dream (McCoy/Rigby, Ogunquit); and Kiss of the Spider Woman (Bootleg Theatre). Martino was the resident choreographer for Los Angeles’ Reprise Theatre Company under the artistic direction of Jason Alexander. Choreography for Reprise includes Li’l Abner, starring Cathy Rigby; Carousel, On Your Toes, Damn Yankees, On the Town, Brigadoon, I Love My Wife and Kiss Me Kate, among others.
Live events and shows include direction and choreography for Les Girls, a benefit starring some of the industry’s biggest stars; direction and choreography for the Alzheimer’s benefit A Night at Sardi’s, starring the cast of The Big Bang Theory, among other celebrities; direction and choreography for What a Pair, benefitting the John Wayne Cancer Institute; and direction and choreography for large-scale industrial shows for Harley-Davidson.
Other work includes choreography for Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity, starring Courtney Love, Walk the Moon and James Franco; Nickelodeon, Universal Studios, Disney’s Santa Clause 3 Stage Show at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre; Disney International’s Latin American Stage Tour A Dream Is a Wish, originating in Mexico City; Theatre Under the Stars’ (TUTS) Hobby Center for the Performing Arts Gala Opening honoring Jerry Herman; the opening of Ford Field, the Detroit Lions’ football stadium, starring Gladys Knight and Deborah Gibson; the opening of the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, starring Natalie Cole; Actor’s Fund benefits; the S.T.A.G.E. benefit, Los Angeles’ longest running AIDS benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles; and CHOC Children’s Hospital events, which have raised more than $10 million to date.
Martino also directs and choreographs The Lyric Project, a program working with ASCAP to pair emerging young lyricists with professional composers to create and present new works.
She has won four Los Angeles Ovation Awards, three Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards and is the recipient of the Joel Hirschhorn Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre. Martino has a master’s degree in dance. In addition to teaching at UCLA TFT, she is on the adjunct faculty of Mount San Antonio Community College.
Sharna Fabiano teaches movement classes in the Department of Theater. After her undergraduate training in contemporary dance technique, Fabiano began studying social dances in 1997, specializing in the Argentine Tango. In Boston and New York City, she studied intensively with Nil Disco and Esse Dijks, Daniel Trenner, Rebecca Shulman and Brigitta Winkler. In Buenos Aires, she trained with many life-long social dancers and performers including Juan Bruno; Pedro “Tete” Rusconi; Nito and Elba Garcia; Omar Vega; Graciela Gonzalez; Gustavo Naveira; Olga Besio; Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli; Esther, Mingo and Pablo Pugliese; and Pablo Veron.
In 2003, Fabiano joined TangoMujer, the first all-woman tango company in the world. Her choreography for TangoMujer integrated elements of contemporary dance alongside tango, and was shown at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and in NYC, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg, Germany.
In Washington, D.C., she was invited to dance at the Argentine Embassy and contribute work to the city-sponsored Dance D.C. Festival, D.C. Improv Festival, and Hispanic Festival. Between 2006 and 2010, she created three evening-length performances, supported in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In 2008, Fabiano was named to Dance magazine’s “25 to Watch” list and featured as an emerging artist in the Washingtonian and Dance/USA Journal. Her collaborative work, Uno, with composer Glover Gill, was selected for the Festival Cambalache in Buenos Aires, an international festival featuring artists investigating the disciplines of tango, theater and contemporary dance.
In 2011, Fabiano taught tango as a physical theater technique at Festival Zero Point in Prague, organized by the Czech company Spitfire and Art Prometheus. In 2013, she collaborated with Spitfire to create the tango-inspired theater work Prawns a la Indigo. Her work has been shown locally at the Electric Lodge in Venice and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica.
Fabiano holds an M.F.A. in dance from the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and a B.A. in comparative literature from William Smith College. She is also a certified yoga instructor, and is known in the international tango community as an advocate of dancing both following and leading roles, independent of gender.
Mark Worthington is an Emmy Award-nominated production designer. His art director credits include all four seasons of FX Networks’ American Horror Story (2011-2015); the pilots for CBS’ Battle Creek (2015) and Fox’s Backstrom (2015); USA’s Political Animals (2012); all four seasons of ABC’s Ugly Betty (2006–2010) as well as the pilots for the network’s Once Upon a Time (2011) and Lost (2004). His film credits include Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2003); Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002); Hearts in Atlantis (2001); Town & Country (2001); U.S. Marshals (1998); Wag the Dog (1997); The Chamber (1996) and Tombstone (1993).
Worthington is a five-time Emmy Award nominee for his work on American Horror Story and Ugly Betty. Additionally, he is a nine-time Art Directors Guild Awards nominee. He has taken home the prize three times.
Worthington holds a B.A. from Reed College in theatre and an M.F.A. in set design from Carnegie Mellon University.
Nathan Schroeder teaches concept art as well as 3D modeling and rendering in the Department of Theater.
He has more than 20 years experience as a concept artist in the motion picture industry, working on some of Hollywood’s hottest movie franchises including X-Men (2000), X-Men 2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006); Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007); Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016); Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013); Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012) and Captain America: Civil War (2106); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014); Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), among many others.
Schroeder received his bachelor’s degree in film production from the University of Southern California and has also studied fine art and illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Drew Dalzell is an award-winning sound designer, show control programmer and theatrical consultant. His experience encompasses theme parks, cruise ships, theater, television, film, industrials and installations. In themed entertainment, Dalzell has worked for Universal Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney Creative Entertainment, Nickelodeon Recreation and Paramount Parks, among others. He has done extensive sound and show control work for Universal Studios Hollywood, most notably “Halloween Horror Nights” from 2006 to 2015. For Nickelodeon Resorts, Dalzell acted as the show control programmer and technical systems consultant for multiple shows at the Nick Hotel. He was the technical director for a number of cruise ships including the Nickelodeon Family Cruise, Nick @ Sea, and Nick All Access from 2008-2011 as well as the 2009 R Family Cruise to Alaska.
Dalzell has designed sound for more than 250 theatrical productions. His designs have appeared in venues as varied as Disney Cruise Lines’ Wonder for the world premiere of Toy Story: The Musical to world and West Coast premieres at regional theaters such as South Coast Repertory, The Laguna Playhouse, The Colony and the Rubicon.
As a young designer, he received the 1998 USITT ClearCom Sound Achievement Award. Since then, he has been nominated for Ovation, LA Weekly, Garland, LADCC and NAACP Awards, winning multiple times. Dalzell also works with Stage Research as an expert trainer for their SFX Software and has taught students ranging from attendees at LDI to Local 1 members in New York City. Some of Dalzell’s notable installation work includes working with Utopia Entertainment on a large-scale wireless audio speaker system for the City of Beverly Hills’ holiday season and the San Diego Zoo, and managing show control design and integration for the Porsche Hall at the L.A. Auto Show. His television work can be heard in the dialog recording and editing for the animated series Ruroni Kenshin, Batman Beyond, Detentions and Justice League.
Dalzell received his M.F.A. in theatrical sound design from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and his subsequent accomplishments and unique skill set have created a demand for him as a lecturer. In addition to teaching at UCLA TFT, he teaches specialized classes in sound design at California Institute of the Arts and Santa Monica College. He has also lectured at Yale University, University of California Irvine, University of Missouri — Kansas City, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Purdue University, Pomona College and the University of Cincinnati.
Perry Daniel teaches movement and acting. She is also program coordinator and student supervisor for the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Arts Bridge program, a national organization dedicated to providing arts education to elementary schools.
During the summer, Daniel teaches and directs for the Summer Acting and Performance Institute. Previous SAPI classes have included puppet design, mask technique, clowning, commedia dell’arte and improv comedy. Her primary focus is on creating original works through ensemble development and creative collaboration. She utilizes her background as a Pilates and Gyrotonic instructor to assist students in furthering their understanding of artistic exploration through physicality.
Daniel’s investment in performing arts, education and outreach is evident in her diverse array of experiences. As an instructor, she has developed and taught movement based acting courses in both New York and Los Angeles. She began her education outreach work in New York with The 52nd Street Project, a non-profit theater company committed to creative work with the youth in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Her work with the Project led to a writing position with the production company Little Airplane for Nick Jr.’s The Wonder Pets. While in New York, Daniel trained with Under the Table Ensemble Theatre (founded by Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre alumni), participating in commedia and clown shows around the city. A supporter of Clowns Without Borders, she has toured with the South African chapter, providing humanitarian outreach and psychosocial relief through the art of playing. As an extension of her commitment to arts outreach and education, Daniel wrote and directed Tall Tales for the Geffen Playhouse. The debut was followed by a two-month tour of LAUSD elementary schools.
Daniel received her bachelor of fine arts degree in theater from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her master of fine arts degree in acting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Her improv and sketch comedy training is courtesy of UCB, The People’s Improv Theater and Denver’s Impulse Theater. Among numerous stage and camera credits, favorite past roles include Arlecchino in Il Sogno d’Arlecchino, Valentina from Goldoni’s The Housekeeper and Cyllene in the Getty Villa’s production of The Trackers. Daniel is also a member of the Los Angeles-based theater company Sacred Fools and an adjudicator for the Pantages Theater’s Jerry Herman Awards.
Amy Chaffee teaches performance classes in voice, speech, text and embodied practice. Her field of research deals with the integration of voice and body to establish presence in the actor, combining different pedagogies including Fitzmaurice Voicework, Alexander Technique, Roy Hart vocal performance work, heightened text, clowning, and the energy and engagement work of Patsy Rodenburg.
Chaffee is a certified associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. She has presented her scholarship at the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and at the Fitzmaurice International Freedom and Focus Forum. The focus of her research has been on the “hyper-practical” — the bridge between what the film, television and theater industries seek from young actors and what training programs are doing to prepare them for a rapidly changing marketplace.
Chaffee has coached more than 25 academic and professional theater productions and dozens of films and television series. Some of her clientele have included Academy Award-winning actors Ellen Burstyn, Colin Firth and Melissa Leo, and Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson. Orlando Bloom, David Fynn, Charlie Hunnam, Kevin McKidd, Amber Tamblyn, Nicky Whelan and Bruce Willis have also worked with Chaffee. In 2013, she helped musical artist Andre 3000 with his portrayal of Jimi Hendrix in the biopic All Is by My Side, directed by Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley.
In addition to her scholarship and practical work, Chaffee has been a performer in live theater across the United States and abroad for almost 40 years. In 2000, she took her one-woman show, What Fresh Hell Is This, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; in 2014, she took her second one-woman show, I-80: An Invocation, to the Teatro Varasanta in Bogota, Columbia. She has also directed live theater for 20 years.
A Madison, Wis., native, Chaffee began her acting career as a child under the guidance of great regional artists Joseph Hanreddy, David Peterson and Nancy Thurow, among others. As a student at New York University, she studied acting under Group Theatre founders Stella Adler and Robert Lewis, as well as theater icons Augusto Boal, Ryszard Cieslak and Mary Overlie. After receiving her B.F.A. from NYU, she received an M.F.A. in acting from San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre where she was mentored by Richard Easton and performed under the watchful eyes of theater legends Joe Hardy, Nicky Martin and Jack O’Brien. She was also a member of Milton Katselas’ master class at the Beverly Hills Playhouse during the last eight years of his life.
Chaffee is the co-founder of Door Shakespeare, a summer Shakespeare company in Baileys Harbor, Wis., and has a long-time association as a performing artist with Northern Sky Theatre in Fish Creek, Wis.
Chaffee has worked on-camera since her arrival in Los Angeles in 2000.
Cheryl Baxter has been in the entertainment business for more than 30 years working in theater, commercials, film and television. She started her career as an assistant choreographer to Gene Kelly and Kenny Ortega in Francis Ford Coppola’s film One From the Heart and went on to work with Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her. She has worked on more than 20 films including Xanadu, Tap, Pennies From Heaven, 500 Days of Summer and The Muppets. She has danced beside such legends as Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., the Nicholas Brothers and Donald O’Connor.
Television credits include Glee, General Hospital, How I Met Your Mother, Community, Mike and Molly, the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards. Baxter has performed in the Los Angeles and first national companies of Cats and 42nd Street and was in the Broadway telecast of Sophisticated Ladies. She has directed and choreographed theater productions nationally and internationally and recently directed the Cabrillo Christmas Spectacular starring Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy.
Baxter grew up as a dance teacher’s daughter, and began instructing children of all ages when she was 15 years old. She has taught tap for Joe Tremaine conventions and clinics for dance studios around the United States and Japan. She currently teaches tap at the Edge Performing Arts Center and at AAMDA (American Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) and also teaches musical theater/movement for the actor at AADA (American Academy of Dramatic Arts).
Born in Tokyo, Japan, to a family of an opera singer and a journalist of NHK and educators, Natsuo Tomita began her ballet training at the Tokyo Ballet Company Junior School. Wanting to broaden her dance education, she moved to New York City in her teens to attend the New York Conservatory of Dance and study with several renowned teachers, including David Howard, Robert Denvers, Finis Jhung, and Magi Black and Rebecca Wright of ABT, and Ballet and Barre au Sol from Marc du Bouays of Paris Opera.
As a professional dancer, she has performed and traveled with companies such as the Garden State Ballet, Omaha Ballet, Nevada Dance Company and Aponte and Friends. Inspired by Christopher Aponte of Roland Petit and Alvin Ailey. Tomita started to choreograph with Mr. Aponte and creating her own works, drawing her influence from neo-classical contemporary dance. Following a move to Los Angeles, Tomita began working extensively in front of the camera. She has appeared in many commercials and worked on several music video and shows with Michael Jackson. She embarked on acting and joined Sal Romeo’s Friends and Artists theater group, where she received training for film and stage acting, directing and producing. Her feature film appearances include For the Boys with Bette Midler, I’ll Do Anything with Twyla Tharp, and Memoirs of Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall. She was also a guest star on the TV dramas Viper and Vengeance UnlimitedAmerican Way and King of Darkness.
Tomita’s directorial debut, Lolita, was an experimental multimedia theater piece, combining acting, dancing, music and film. It premiered in July 2003 and has been featured at the Moving Picture Theater Festival at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Caught Between at The Iver Theater and Hysterica at Open Fist Theater. The work Wide Eyes Open, expressing world peace in dance and text, premiered in Barcelona and Madrid in 2005. In fall 2007 Tomita expand her talent to direct a play My Werewolf, written by John Schneider and originally performed at Theater X. Her innovative multimedia take on this play was a collaboration with composer Akira Rabelaiy and sound artist Andy Haye. My Werewolf was well received by the Los Angeles Times and was chosen as a Pick of the Week. Her choreography work Water from the Moon II premiered in 2007 New Perspectives at the El Portal Theater. Tomita had the opportunity to create the multimedia piece Musk in 2009, with political poet Steven Connell, for a fundraiser to support victims of sexual violence and to promote a humanitarian organization Pave.
Passing on her knowledge of the arts and ballet to young and talented dancers continues to be an enriching experience for her. From 2010-2014, Tomita was the director for musical theater in dance for the U.S. Performing Arts Camp and UCLA TFT Summer Institute. Currently, she is a faculty member of the WAC/Dance department and the UCLA TFT Musical Theater High School Institute, and an instructor at Legacy Dance Academy, Born to Play Production, and the Edge Performing Arts.