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AMANDA MELBY has worked as a professional actress for over 30 years, is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA and has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Cleveland and Minnesota before coming to Phoenix in 2004.
Amanda can be seen in the feature films RAISING BUCHANAN with Rene Auberjonois and M. Emmet Walsh (available 5/5/20 on VOD/BluRay), LOCKER 13 with Ricky Schroeder, Jason Spisak and Jon Gries, JAKE’S CORNER with Richard Tyson, Danny Trejo and BJ Thomas, NETHERBEAST INCORPORATED with Darrell Hammond, Steve Burns, Dave Foley and Jason Mewes, THE MAJESTIC with Martin Landau and Jim Carrey, among others. Her short film credits are numerous. Her television credits include CANDID CAMERA (TV Land), S.I.S. (Spike TV), BOSTON PUBLIC (Fox), and SCREEN WARS (AZTV).
Her Los Angeles theatrical credits include understudying for Peri Gilpin as Gwendolyn in FRASIER GONE WILDE: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST at the Mark Taper Forum, starring as Sonia in the LA premiere of LIFE x 3, as Doris in SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR at the Long Beach Playhouse, and as Amy in the premiere of CHENILLE STEMS AND COCO MIDRIB. Regional theatrical credits include the Cleveland Play House, Porthouse Theatre, Dobama Theatre and Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Theater Works and Theatre Artists Studio.
She also works in commercials, industrials, voice over and print, having shot her 25th commercial, a national spot for Courtyard by Marriott, and appearing on the cover of a Pier One ad.
In addition to acting and teaching, Amanda also works as a producer, director and spokeswoman. She was the Executive Director of IFP Phoenix 2005-2011. She is a three-time Emmy® nominee for her work as Producer and Host of the television show SCREEN WARS and was nominated for the 2011 Governor’s Arts Award.
She has studied with Howard Fine in his Master Class in LA. Amanda is an accomplished cellist and holds a BA in theatre and English from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota. She is repped by the Leighton Agency (Arizona) The Talent Shop (LA) and Artist Management Agency (California). www.AmandaMelby.com.
LAURA WINSTIN, a native Chicagoan, has been involved in the theatre for more than 35 years. Starting out as a dancer, Laura moved into the realm of acting when she began her college career. She pursued her passion leading her to New York to study with the National Shakespeare Conservatory. Her love of Shakespeare and the classics has been a mainstay for her. While in New York, Laura performed with the Conservatory Theatre, exploring new works, both as an actress and director. She appeared in multiple MTV videos, several films and a variety of voice overs. Returning to Chicago, she completed a Master's in Fine Arts for the Theatre School at DePaul and began working in the Chicago theatre scene and teaching Voice and Speech at The Center Theatre and The Organic Theatre. She has appeared in Love' Labour's Lost, The Maids, And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little, Another Part of the Forest to name a few. She co- wrote and directed The Unripe Fruit which was mounted throughout the Chicago Public School system. She has trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as The Moscow Art Theatre. Laura's passion embraces developing new talent, directing, writing and being on stage in a collaborative setting. During her free time she is the mother to 3 teenage girls and loves hiking and horseback riding.
WES MARTINEZ is a Mexican born actor, writer, and comedian based in Los Angeles. He's a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), and has performed live comedy for 10+ years! Wes has also taught improv comedy, audition technique in Los Angeles, and has privately coached people internationally (via Zoom) for over 8 years. Some of Wes' credits include Modern Family (ABC), Superstore (NBC), Sneaky Pete (Amazon), Yellowjackets (Showtime), and I’m Sorry (TruTV) to name a few. Wes' IMDB
A veteran actor in the Valley for over 30 years, GENE GANSSLE has played hundreds of roles in theatre, film, radio and television. He received his BA in Theatre and Communications in 1985 from the University of Redlands, California. He’s received a variety of awards for his acting and production work, including seven AriZoni Awards in local theatre. He’s been teaching actors of all ages for over twenty five years and continues to perform, audition and create. Gene is a lecturer in performance and production at ASU in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and is proud to teach at Verve Studio. Gene is an award-winning actor, producer and sound designer in the Phoenix market and is represented by Dani's agency.
ASHLEY FAULKNER is an Arizona native with a strong passion for acting and music. Working in many mediums, she will always find her way to a film set or stage. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Theatre and Film Studies. Recently, Ashley has had the opportunity to act in Steel Magnolias (Zoni nomination), Crimes of the Heart as Babe, The Heiress, and Baby With the Bathwater. She recently played Izzie in Rabbit Hole at Theatre Artists Studio. Ashley has had the privilege of studying with Amanda Melby, Elayne Stein, Barbara Acker, and Susan K. Brigham. She has been working professionally since 2009 and is signed with the Leighton Agency.
DWAYNE HARTFORD is the artistic director at Childsplay in Tempe, Ariz., where most of his plays for young audiences have premiered. He started at Childsplay as an actor in 1990. He thought he would be there for just one production, but 32 years later, he is still committed to Childsplay's mission. Over the years he has directed numerous productions at Childsplay, as well as for other companies in the Phoenix area and in Maine. The first play he wrote, Eric and Elliot, received the 2005 Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance of Theatre & Education (AATE). The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane received the same award in 2018. Other plays include: Rock the Presidents, The Color of Stars, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Imaginators. Dwayne’s plays have been produced around the country, including at Seattle Children’s Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, and South Coast Repertory. Dwayne comes from the very small town of Smithfield, Maine. He earned a BFA from the Boston Conservatory, and did graduate work in directing at Boston University. Dwayne lives in Phoenix with his dog, Henry.
JAMIE CASTRO has been casting film and television for over 15 years. She is currently casting the upcoming feature film ABOVE THE LINE & SNOW ANGELS. Before starting her own company - Castro Casting - she was a Casting Director with Linda Lowy where she worked on GREY'S ANATOMY, SCANDAL, STATION 19, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and INVENTING ANNA to name a few. Jamie has spent a lot of the quarantine staying connected to actors via coaching and career consultations which she still does today. Castrocasting.com
JULENE RENEE began her career as a dancer with the Academy Awards and many films, most notably as Kate Winslet’s ‘Feet’ in, “Titanic”. She transitioned into acting as series regular on the Nickelodeon variety show, “Roundhouse” followed by an improv gameshow hosted by David Alan Grier, “Random Acts of Comedy” . Julene appeared as a guest star on many network sitcoms including “Two Guys and a Girl” with Ryan Reynolds. In 2003, she was chosen by Robert Zemeckis to perform in the first Motion Capture feature film, “Polar Express” starring Tom Hanks. Over the next 15 years, Julene developed Performance Capture technology alongside many great minds with the films, ‘Beowulf”, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol”, “Mars Needs Moms”... 12 of those years were spent with James Cameron on “Avatar”. Julene is the Spiritual Movement Designer and performer for the Na’vi people. Her job required training the Actors and Stunt performers for the upcoming Avatar 2,3,4,5 film sequels. With the expansion of Avatar, Julene trained 40 acrobatic artists for Cirque Du Soleil's world wide arena show, “Toruk. The First Flight”. She also designed movement for Disney’s Imagineering and performed motion expression for a 9’ Shaman Robot at "Pandora Land”, part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Julene is the Director & Co-creator of the theatrical stage show “Opera Fusion” starring Soprano, Cherie Valaray. Currently, she is Visionary Designer for her own company, Sparkle Bubble, inc. Julene's IMDB
DAVID BARKER staged over 175 fights throughout the southwest, with companies including the Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Ensemble Theatre Project (CA), Childsplay, Institute for Studies in the Arts, North Coast Rep (CA), Southwest Shakespeare Company, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Lyric Opera Theatre, Shakespeare Sedona, Ensemble Theatre, Teatro Bravo, Black Theatre Troupe, Stray Cat Theatre, Orange Theatre, University of California, Grand Canyon University, Cuesta College, Emily Ann Theatre (TX), Hale Centre Theatre, Theatre Works, Tempe Center for the Arts, Mesa Community College, Scottsdale Community College, Life Teen Films and dozens for Arizona State University where he is a Professor of Theatre. His fights received the American College Theatre Festival’s Meritorious Achievement Award, 24 ariZoni Theatre Award nominations, 6 ariZoni Theatre Awards and the Tribune Newspapers’s Honorable Mention for Best Choreography. He is a Recommended Actor/Combatant by the Society of American Fight Directors and served as Fight Captain to B.H. Barry. He lives in Tempe with his wife Eileen. They have four children and five grandchildren. Through his work he intends to glorify God, from whom all good things come. www.davidbarker.org
RICHARD POWERS HARDT has a BA in Theatre Arts from Northern Arizona University and has been acting, designing, writing and directing theatre in Arizona for over 40 years. Richard was a co-founder of The Shakespeare Theatre and Off-Center Productions. He worked with numerous theatres around the Valley and received ariZoni Award nominations for both directing and design. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors at Theater Artists Studio and is Vice President of the ariZoni Theatre Awards.