APA Instructors

Kayla Bailey

Musical Theatre Master Class, Intro to Music Theory

Kayla BaileyKayla Bailey is thrilled to be joining Actors Repertory Theatre of Simi as an instructor! Kayla received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from California Lutheran University and her Master's degree in Vocal Arts at California State University Northridge. Opera/Theatre credits include: Into the Woods (Rapunzel), Pericles Prince of Tyre (Thaisa), Signor Deluso (Celie), Cendrillon (Noemie), Die Fledermaus (Adele). This past summer, Kayla performed internationally, entertaining thousands of guests on the high seas for Silversea Cruises in the Mediterranean. In addition to performing, Kayla serves as rehearsal assistant for Los Robles Children’s Choir, music specialist for Los Cerritos Middle School, and teaches private voice lessons from her home in Moorpark.

Becky Castells

Beginning Tap for Adults, Musical Theatre Dance

Becky CastellsBecky comes to ARTS and APA from a very extensive background in dancing and acting. She has been in several commercials, movies and television shows, and is a member of the Screen Actors' Guild. She also spent eight years as an acting coach at The Kyer Workshop in Burbank, California, specializing in kids ages 4-9. Her acting students can be seen in countless commercials, as well as many films and TV shows. Some notable examples are Daddy Daycare, Cold Case, LOST, CSI, Dexter, Private Practice, and Modern Family. Becky also has a B.A. in Dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and over ten years of experience as a professional dancer and dance teacher. She has performed in countless shows of every type from modern dance to magic, and everywhere in between. Venues include The Kodak Theater in Hollywood, The Stardust in Las Vegas, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Universal Studios, and Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas, to name a few. Some recent choreographic accomplishments are: The Southern California tour of Magic Redefined with Master Illusionist John Gabriel, Bandage!…The Rock Opera at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Peter Pan at the Norris Theater, RENT and Camelot at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, and West Side Story, Willy Wonka, Children of Eden, The Wedding Singer, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Once On This Island, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and many more for the Actors Repertory Theater of Simi, at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center. Her choreography has also been featured on television in Masters of Illusion on Los Angeles's my network 13, and in one of the final episodes of ER on NBC. Becky feels that a well-rounded arts education is vital to the development of self-confidence and positive self image in children of all ages. She looks forward to passing on her varied knowledge and love of performing arts to her students at APA in both acting and dance classes.

George Castells

George CastellsOriginally from Miami, Florida, George moved to Los Angeles to attend the California Institute of the Arts where he earned his M.F.A in Acting. While there, he was certified as an Actor/Combatant by The Society of American Fight Directors. Before moving to Los Angeles, George earned a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Central Florida in Orlando where he won awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director. After graduating from UCF, he worked for years performing in children's theatre at the Civic Theatre of Orlando. He has appeared on stage, film, and TV. Favorite credits include Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Grease, El Grande de Coca-Cola, and performing at The Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra as the lead fighter in a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo. In the summer of 2009, he taught at and directed the ARTS Summer Workshop production of Dear Edwina, Jr. and every subsequent workshop since.

John Dantona

Improv for Teens

John DantonaBorn in Hollywood, John Dantona has worked on professionally stage and television since his teens. It was then he began learning the art of improvisation which would aid him in his artistic endeavors, as well as career activities outside the entertainment industry. He has starred in several local ARTS productions: Jesus Christ Superstar; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Ghost Tours – the last two productions in which his improvisational skills were featured. He received high praise for his recent comedic turn in the Simi Valley Cultural Arts hit musical Hairspray and is back on stage with ARTS again in their summer production of To Kill a Mockingbird. He spent several years instructing and directing teens at St. Monica High School in Santa Monica and the CSUN Teenage Drama Workshop. Currently, you can find him at Granada Hills Charter High School where he serves as After Hours Activities performing arts instructor and director. He has also been honored with critics' awards as an actor, writer, director, producer and even a lyricist. He continues to work on his own improvisational skills with Guerilla Troupe Improv in Burbank. He now lives in Simi Valley with his wife and teenage daughter and enjoys every minute working on stage or helping young actors in becoming more confident and competent performers and people.

Phil De Champlain

Phil De Champlain has been acting, writing, directing, and teaching for over 18 years! He has studied with Don Richardson, author of Acting Without Agony at UCLA, with David Legrand in North Hollywood, and with Paul E. Richards at the Theater on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. He started his teaching career as an assistant to Richard De Angelo at the Actors Preparatory Workshop in Hollywood. Shortly after, he was hired as an instructor for the Stephen Mitchell Studios in Studio City. Four years later, Coach Phil founded his own company, the Kids on Camera Acting Studio.

Alison Friedman

Alison FriedmanAlison Friedman is an elementary school teacher and in 2011, she and husband, Bryan, became parents to their adorable daughter, Madelyn. Her extensive background in musical theatre and improv has led her to stage work at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center and other venues in Ventura County. She has also assisted with directing ARTS shows and the Jack Oakie Musical Theatre Workshop for Kids. Alison's career in education and child development combined with her adoration for babies and children provide a solid foundation for leading mothers and their babies in a fun and supportive Mommy & Me environment. Alison enjoys traveling, writing, attending theatre with her husband, playing at the dog park with her pooch, Princeton, and discovering the daily miracles she sees in Madelyn.

Anna Graves

Anna GravesBorn and raised in Memphis, Anna began dancing and singing at the age of three. She worked with award-winning musical directors and choreographers through her teenage years and studied theatre at the University of Memphis. After moving to Los Angeles, she pursued a career in voice over and has been working in the field since 2004. You can hear Anna in commercials and promos, as well as video games for Activision, Microsoft, and Disney. She has voiced multiple roles for Cartoon Network's Star Wars: The Clone Wars and worked on Nickelodeon's upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Anna enjoys performing on stage as well, and has played leading roles locally at the SVCAC, including Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Jo in Little Women. Anna has taught acting and voice over classes and workshops for children in Los Angeles and Ventura County. She is the mother of an active toddler, and knows music and dance are very important in her own child's growth.

Danielle Judovits

Danielle JudovitsDanielle got her start many years ago in musical theatre and hasn't stopped performing since. Her voice can currently be heard on Cartoon Network, Teen Nick, the E! Network, and many more. She has worked alongside some of the best and most respected casting and voice directors in the industry. With over twenty years in the business, Danielle considers being behind the mic her second home.

Seth Kamenow

Beginning Tap for Kids, Beginning Tap for Teens

Seth KamenowSeth Kamenow, a recent graduate from California Lutheran University with a Bachelor's in Theatre Arts, has been involved in performing theater since 1994 and in tap dance since 1997. During a production of Oklahoma in his youth, Seth was bitten by the dance bug, and his passion for dancing, choreographing, and teaching has continually grown since. Seth was introduced to the Cultural Arts Center and ARTS in 2003. Performance credits include Will Parker in Oklahoma, Tommy Kheeler in Annie Get Your Gun, Bazzard in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Motel the Tailor in Fiddler on the Roof. Choreography credits include ARTS productions of Ragtime and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and SVCAC's productions of Full Monty and My Fair Lady. Seth has studied tap under Anna Rubin, Gerry McIntyre, Jane Lanier, Dennon Rawles, and Beth Megill, among others. Seth also currently works in scenic design and has been a designer for the SVCAC and assistant technical director for various productions at CLU.

Arlene Kole

Arlene KoleArlene Kole was a featured artist two years running on GoGirls Music Compilation CD. Music Connection Magazine's December 2009 issue named Arlene in their annual list of the nation's "HOT 100 Unsigned Live Acts" for 2009. Arlene performs regularly with her husband, Bill and daughter, Skye, as well as Jim Rolfe, under the moniker of "The Koles." The Koles are prepping for an upcoming theatre show venue to showcase their award-winning live show and record a live DVD. She's not just a naturally engaging performer, she is a student of singing and the human voice and, as with everything, doesn't go halfway. Arlene was a musical guest on a new HD nighttime women's talk show pilot (for Lifetime Network) and was a featured performer for Netteradio showcase. She was honored by the highly respected Los Angeles Women In Music (LAWIM) as among the "Best of the Best" of Los Angeles for 2008. Arlene's song "One Day" appeared on the LAWIM Compilation CD 2009. Nationally syndicated radio show Art of the Song featured Arlene and her album in a one-hour interview. She studied voice and recording arts at Grant McEwan Music College Canada.

Dave Mason

Dave MasonDave Mason has worked on and off stage for most of his life. Dave has trained with many notable acting teachers including Milton Katselas, Jeffrey Tambor, and Gary Imhoff at the legendary Beverly Hills Playhouse. Dave has a B.A. in Theatrical Arts from California State University, Northridge with honors, and an M.A. in Theatrical Arts from California State University, Los Angeles where he graduated magna cum laude. Dave has been directing theatre and working as an acting teacher since 2003. In 2005, Dave directed the Los Angeles premiere of Allison Gregory's Even Steven Goes To War. Among other career highlights, Dave has worked with famed playwright Luis Alfaro as Assistant Director in Alfaro's production of Oedipus El Rey at the Getty Villa in Malibu, and has directed notable character actors including Tony Plana, Carlos Lacamara, and Marlene Forte. In 2010, Dave was the editor of the yearly publication The John Lion New Plays Festival Anthology as his thesis project.

Dave Newcomer

Dave NewcomerActor/Director/Teacher/Life Coach. Education/Training: Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA Theatrefest). Experience: Founding Director/Artistic Director for S.A.V.E. Theatre and Theater Guild of Simi Valley; Director/Producer of Summer Teenage Theatre Workshop 1989-2003; fifteen years with Ventura Improv Company; over 35 years of consistent work in the theatre. David is an award-winning actor/director who has worked throughout the county. Recent productions include The Seafarer, Buried Child, At Home At The Zoo (Zoo Story), Glengarry Glen Ross, Beauty Queen of Leenaane, Shining City, and The Diary of Anne Frank. He has worked with young artists for over 25 years. It was through the Summer Teenage Theatre Workshop that he was introduced to the balance of discipline and creative expression that are part of the art form. After completing his classical conservatory training, when founding a theatre company, he spearheaded an intensive Teen Theatre Program designed to help teens build character for both the stage and in themselves.

Dawn Notagiacomo

Dawn NotagiacomoDawn has been working with kids for a number of years, mentoring and teaching them. She trained as an actor with David Ralphe, and her musical background on stage is extensive, having worked vocally for eight years with Gary Poirot. She choreographed an ARTS summer workshop after assisting for a year and was also an instructor with Tumblebees. Since 2009, she has worked as a director, choreographer, and performer for Comedy Tonight Productions. Dawn loves being on stage but also enjoys learning every facet of theatre including tech work, stage management, set building, and lighting. Dawn is very passionate about teaching and instilling proper work ethic and etiquette in young performers.

Rena Petrello

Rena PetrelloRena Petrello has a wide spectrum of experience in music and theatre. She has performed in numerous musical and non-musical plays locally, and has led musical activities with toddlers and children at the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship. Rena is a classically trained vocalist, plays the piano, and has a toddler who likes to make joyful noises!

David Ralphe

The Actor's Way

David RalpheDavid is a member of Actors' Equity, and has been working in theatre, television, and film for over 40 years. His extensive teaching career spans the distance between Antioch College and North Hollywood, California. He served as artistic director for the prestigious Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, PA and was at one time, director of the L.A. Stage Alliance. He has been at the helm of several ARTS's productions which include; the highly acclaimed 2003 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, Tommy, Ragtime, Little Women, Hank Williams; Lost Highway, and The Grapes of Wrath. He also directed SCVAC's productions of Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes, Cabaret, the West Coast Premiere of Songs From The Tall Grass, Always Patsy, and their two productions of RENT. He directed Oliver! for both Cabrillo Music Theatre and SVCAC. In addition to being the General Manager at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, David also serves as the Artistic Director at the Santa Paula Theater Center where he has directed countless plays, some of which include Master Class, The Boys Next Door, Let's Get a Divorce, An Ideal Husband, Don Juan in Hell, the award- winning production of Honour, Shining City, and The Seafarer.

Alison Rosenblum

Alison Rosenblum Alison Rosenblum is a graduate of the theatre department at Cal State Fullerton. A professional musical theatre performer out of both New York City and Los Angeles, Alison has performed in many musicals across the country, with starring roles in The Sound of Music, FAME, The Wizard of Oz, Annie Get Your Gun, and South Pacific. She has also directed, music directed, and choreographed many children’s shows across Southern California, including creating the pilot program in children’s theatre at a popular summer camp in Orange County. She is currently a student at Cal State Northridge where she will be earning her teaching credential. With her passion for both theatre and education, she looks forward to passing on her knowledge and experience to your children.

James Castle Stevens

James Castle Stevens Born and raised in Brooklyn, James studied under F. Murray Abraham, and performed in regional theatre, two national tours, as well as two Off‐Broadway productions. In 1991, James moved to L.A. and began working as an actor on television shows such as Star Trek: TNG, Working (recurring), The Drew Carey Show, and The King of Queens. More recently, he has been seen on shows like Rules of Engagement and Heroes. Some favorite theatrical roles to date are Father Flynn in Doubt, Victor in Victor (L.A. Times Critic's Choice), John in Oleanna, Edward in Spike Heels, Robert in Don't Dress For Dinner, George in Same Time, Next Year, and Starbuck in The Rainmaker. As a producer, James has produced several short films and some theatrical productions in Los Angeles. As a director, James has directed several short films, a spec sitcom pilot, a television commercial, and several stage productions, most recently Amadeus at the Santa Paula Theatre Center, Lend Me A Tenor at Camarillo Community Theater, See How They Run at the Glendale Centre Theatre and Bell, Book & Candle at the High Street Arts Center. James believes in finding a repeatable technique that works for each individual actor, as all actors have unique obstacles to overcome. But ultimately, technique is nothing without truth. James lives in Simi Valley with his talented wife, L.J., and their scrumptious daughter, Penny.

L.J. Stevens

Young Actor's Alley,

L.j. StevensBorn and raised in New York, L.J. has grown up in the industry. In addition to working in the family business of movie theater management, she became the in-house stage manager for Circle in the Square Repertory in NYC, and obtained her B.A. from St. John's University in 1985. After moving to California with her husband, James, L.J. produced and directed several shows in the Los Angeles area, as well as worked in the industry as a talent agent, talent manager, and television casting director for many years. Also an accomplished performer, Ventura County audiences may remember L.J. in such memorable roles as Lotty in Enchanted April, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, Carrie in Carousel, Adelaide in Guys & Dolls, Doris in Same Time, Next Year, Sr. Robert Ann in Nunsense and Nuncrackers, and Sheila in The Boys Next Door. L.J. has taught improv and scene study for kids in both New York and Los Angeles for many years. Her focus is character development and bringing believability to each scene. Former students have gone on to work on Broadway, as well as in television, film, and voice over.

Jamie Whittington Studer

My Fantasy Princess

Jamie Whittington StuderJamie Whittington Studer is a 20-year-old performer who has worked at theaters in the Ventura County area for the past ten years, and was the reciepient of the 2012 "Young Artist of the Year" Spotlight Award. Upon graduating Santa Susana High School of the Performing Arts, Jamie was hired as a musical director and choreographer for Kids Acting Out West, a children’s theater company that provides after school programs to elementary schools across Southern California. Jamie is currently working on her BFA in Musical Theater at the Boston Conservatory of Music, and is an Actor’s Repertory of Simi Valley associate. Jamie discovered the joy of performing as a young child, and is thrilled to utilize her experience as a performer to bring the magic of theater to young people.