Instructor bios

Christine Alexander is an award winning improv artist and producer. She is a founding member of both Florida Studio Theatre (FST) Improv and Lazy Fairy Improv Troupes performing professionally for over 15 years. She is well known not only for making people laugh but also for her own enthusiastic laughing…or sea-lion imitation, depending on your opinion. 2008 and 2009 Best Local Actress, 40 Under 40 Winner, named one of 28 Most Powerful People in the Arts, and 2016 recipient of the Sarasolo Festival  Extempore Award.

Hannah Bagnall is the WRITE A PLAY coordinator and Education and Outreach Associate at Florida Studio Theatre. Originally from Rolla, Missouri she grew up performing at Ozark Actor’s Theatre, and eventually became the secretary of the Board of Directors, as well as performing and choreographing for the productions. She graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance from the Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University in 2011, then toured around the West with Missoula Children’s Theatre as a Tour Actor/Director. Prior to moving to Sarasota, Hannah taught classes in dance, auditioning, and musical theatre at andFLEW School for the Arts. She has sung with the 399th Army Band, and studied with cabaret greats such as Marilyn Maye and Billy Stritch at the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, as well as written and sung in two of her own cabarets.

Jason Cannon is an Associate Artist at Florida Studio Theatre (FST), where his responsibilities include New Play Development, supervising the Acting Apprentice Program, teaching in Adult Education, and directing and acting in various productions. In the 2015-16 FST season he directed Butler and My Name Is Asher Lev.  His performance in the as “Ever Montgomery” in Dancing Lessons garnered him “Best Actor of 2015” awards from both Sarasota Magazine and the Herald-Tribune.  He is a seven-time Kevin Kline Award nominee (and one time winner for Outstanding Leading Actor), an alum of DirectorsLab Chicago, co-founder of the GreenHouse New Play Festival, co-founder and former Board President of the Professional Theatre Council of St. Louis, and former Producing Artistic Director of Ozark Actors Theatre. He holds an MFA in Directing from Lindenwood University, an MA in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BA in Theatre and English from Greenville College. He has been teaching acting, directing, Shakespeare, and auditioning at elementary, secondary, university, and graduate levels for almost twenty years.  Proud member of SDC, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA.

 Janet Day attended “The Actors Institute” under the tutelage of Dr. Mark Rose and portrayed Chloe in the “Sheridans Of Chicago” on CAN TV19.  She trained improv at Second City and has been a member of 6 different comedy groups from Chicago, Michigan and Florida. She has performed stand-up as her nemesis Doris Schlockman, a character she developed in Second City for over 20 years and took 1st place over 22 other local comics at Visani’s. She has written, directed and starred in dozens of sketch comedy shows. She teaches adult classes on acting, stand-up and sketch comedy and taught theater at the Beaver Island school.

Christine Hopkins serves as the Director of Education at Florida Studio Theatre. A New York native, she holds her B.S. in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta and her M.A. in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities from New York University. She is a certified teacher and has worked in the education departments of Goodspeed Musicals, Hartford Stage, and Camp Broadway. Christine has lead and designed professional development seminars for teachers throughout the Northeast and has taught for such venues as Fordham University, New York University, and the Globe Theatre in London. Also having a background in technical theatre, Christine has worked as an Electrician/Lighting Designer for The Juilliard School and the Drama Desk Awards. Additionally, Christine has directed over 20 productions, written and published over 15 educational guides for the theatre, and, as a performer, has appeared in many venues including Madison Square Garden and Hartford Stage. Christine is a member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education and the Educational Theatre Association and has focused her career on theatre for young audiences, applied theatre, and arts integration. Outside of her passion for educational theatre, Christine has served on the Executive Board of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association and participates heavily in promoting ALS awareness around the globe.

Patrick A. Jackson is an actor, playwright and teaching artist from Richmond, VA. He is currently the WRITE A PLAY Coordinator and Education Artistic Associate here at Florida Studio Theatre, where he teaches a variety of in school workshops, on site classes and performs regularly as a cast member of FST Improv. Patrick is an alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and studied with the British American Drama Academy. His play, REDplus was presented in the DC Black Theatre Festival and Patrick co-starred in the short film When The Party Ends.

Trudie Kessler Trudie is a Professor Emeritus of Voice and Acting at The Theatre School/DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Certified teacher of the Meisner Acting Approach, a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher, and a specialist in the Lessac Voice method. She received her MFA in Directing from the University of California at Irvine and taught Acting, and Voice at The Theatre School for 32 years. Her area of expertise is in combining the Linklater and Meisner work to help actors fully own the words they speak. Trudie is a proud recipient of The Theatre School/ DePaul University's  Excellence in Teaching Award.

Denee Lortz, a Sarasota native, started acting classes at age 5 with FST. After years of FST training, she continued her theatre studies earning a BFA in Acting from Florida State University. While studying in London, she had the honor of portraying Lady Anne in Richard IIl at the historic Globe Theatre. Professionally, Denee has performed with the Endstation Company in Virginia, New Works Festival at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. As a teaching artist, Denee has taught children of all ages at Atlanta Workshop Players, Christian Youth Theatre, Performer's Warehouse, and the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC). Denee is thrilled to return to Florida Studio Theatre - her artistic home.

Will Luera is the Director of Improvisation at Florida Studio Theatre, Director of Big Bang Improv and serves as the Artistic Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston, Artistic Associate of the Chicago Improv Festival, Artistic Advisor to the Women in Comedy Festival and Faculty of ACE at Suncoast Technical College. Will is a globally renowned improv and theater actor, director and instructor that performs and teaches regularly all across North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Sam Mossler took his first acting class at FST when he was nine years old, shortly after the Punic Wars. Since then he has lived, studied and performed in London, New York, and Los Angeles. He has performed in regional theatres across the country but his heart has always been kept in cold storage, right here at FST. As a writer, his plays have been produced at the Abingdon Theatre (NYC), The New York International Fringe Festival, The ChekhovNow Festival, and The PushPush Theatre (Atlanta). His screenplay "Og's Utopia" was a recent semi-finalist at the Austin Film Festival.

Catherine Randazzo joined FST in June of 2014. She serves as Literary Manager, teaching artist, in-residence director, and professional actor. She handles new play development, collaborates on cabaret development, teaches adult education classes, and leads audience outreach programs. She directed Yesterday (2015-2016 Winter Cabaret), Uncanny Valley and Embracings for The Burdick Reading and appeared in many readings for new play development throughout the past 25 years. While residing in Sarasota, she has worked professionally as a performing artist appearing in plays, musicals, cabarets, new play readings, voice overs, commercials, fund raisers, and touring in national and international productions. She is the recipient and nominee of local and national arts awards including “Best Actress in a Musical” for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and “Sarasota’s Funniest People.” Catherine is a graduate of Otterbein University in Ohio with a BFA in performance, and she is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Adam Ratner has been associated with Florida Studio Theatre for over 30 years. He began as a performer and writer for the young sketch comedy troupe, the Kids Komedy Club here at FST. Adam is also the Lead Teaching Artist, the Young Playwrights Festival Coordinator, director of the current troupe of Kids Komedy Club and can be seen on stage as a member of FST Improv!  Mr. Ratner teaches over 300 WRITE A PLAY workshops each year to both elementary and secondary students across the state of Florida and is the lead teaching artist for FST’s Outreach Program, instructing and encouraging creative and practical writing skills to students in Title One Schools. He was the co-author of the WRITE A PLAY Program’s productions of Rumplestiltskin, Pinocchio, Jack and the Enchanted Beanstalk, The Frog Prince, and RAP-Punzel.