West Hollywood Faculty

Lona Alexander has been teaching private and group classes and workshops nationwide and internationally since 1990. She is certified by the American Society of the Alexander technique (AmSat).  A yoga instructor for over 35 years, Lona is certified in several yoga traditions.  In her work with actors she has always fostered self-awareness and the rediscovery of the body’s own intelligence.  Her goal for the actor is to feel the joy of ease and confidence in movement.

Sharon Angela is a working actress, best known for her role as Rosalie Aprile on the critically-acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos for which she was nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Award in 2009 for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. She also had several guest spots on Law and Order. She studied acting with Elaine Aiken and taught acting with Michael Imperioli at Studio Dante in New York for 6 years. Sharon burst onto the professional acting scene as Tina in Tony and Tina’s Wedding. She also appeared in The Mayor’s Limo, The Father and Sicilian Limes. Her film roles include City Island, Ghost Dog, Two Family House, On The Run, The Dutchmaster, Red Passport, IBS, The Way of the Samurai, Confessions of a Dangerous Mime and Court Jesters. She wrote the film The Collection and co-directed Made in Brooklyn.

Patrick Bonavitacola received his training as an actor at The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute from Lee Strasberg. Lee invited him to become part of The Actors Studio community in 1979, and he has been associated with The Studio for more than 35 years now—first as an actor, and for the last 15 years as a member of the Playwright/Directors Unit.

As an actor, he starred in the soap opera Santa Barbara and on stage in The Basic Training of Pavlov Hummel, View from the Bridge, and Glass Menagerie; as a writer, he wrote jokes for Tim Allen, sketches for In Living Color, and scripts for As the World Turns and Seinfeld; As a director, he directed critically acclaimed productions of Oleanna, The Unexpected Man, and The Faith Healer. The Advocate Newspaper put him on its list of “Best Directors” for Oleanna.  Lastly, for the past 20 years he has trained and coached actors and am presently on the faculties of The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Phil Brock founded Studio Talent Group (STG), an innovative hybrid, blending the services of a licensed California Talent Agent with the personal touch of management in 1994. Phil is a past President of the Talent Managers Association and is now a member of the National Conference Of Personal Managers. At STG, Phil and his staff provide the highest caliber of Talent Management combining his teaching/coaching experience in creating his management style. He teaches his actors that their ability to sell themselves generates the jobs that they need to showcase their talent. From his years as an actor, Phil can see the entertainment world from the actor’s side of the casting desk and can pinpoint the areas in which each actor needs to develop.

Rachel Bailit is an actress, journalist, and teacher. Rachel has owned and operated her own casting company Compassionate Casting for over ten years. She cast television pilots, films, music videos and many commercials. Rachel’s acting credits include Paramount’s Festival In Cannes directed by Henry Jaglom. She played alongside Jim Carrey in Ron Howard’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Rachel has appeared in many television shows including The Conan O’Brien ShowDesperate HousewivesJon Benjamin Has a VanTim and Eric’s Awesome ShowNYPD Blue and the recurring role of Marissa in General Hospital.

Rachel performed her acclaimed one-woman show, Sugar Happens, developed and directed by David Lee Strasberg for seven years in Los Angeles and at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City. The show was also performed and filmed at The Comedy Central stage.

Todd Bjurstrom has played numerous lead and supporting roles on the stages at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Festival, ACT Theater, and many smaller stages around Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles.  Todd has traveled the country leading theater workshops and performing in schools as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Company’s youth outreach program.  Recently, he directed Angrid at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and he can be seen regularly in comedy clubs around Los Angeles.  Todd is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and is a graduate of the Cornish College of the Arts.

Carlton Byrd is known for co-starring along side Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. in ‘Life of a King’. Carlton was bit by the acting bug in the 5th grade after being cast as a munchkin in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. From there he went on to receive his B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute and Experimental Theater Wing before being awarded with the coveted Ron Howard Foundation Scholarship. Carlton later studied the Meisner Technique at New York’s Maggie Flanigan Studio. Carlton has been blessed to make guest appearances on such shows as TNT’s Major Crimes, CBS’ Blue Bloods, and NBC’s Law & Order. Additionally, he had his first taste of the festival circuit with short films that include the stirring and provocative ‘Slow’ (M.V.A.A.F.F. Winner) and ‘Close’ (2011 Sundance Official Selection). He now resides in Los Angeles, CA.


Cody Davis grew up in an athletic family in Salem, Utah, partaking in basketball, football, and snowboarding.  But his love was martial arts. He has extensive training in various martial arts styles and competed in numerous competitions. By the age 18, he was ranked number one in his division. When he was a junior in high school, he was asked to be in a made-for-TV-movie that was shooting there…and the rest is history.  After completing his course in stunts in Seattle, Washington; Cody found Benny “The Jet” Urquidez in L.A. at his stunt school. That is where he discovered “Stunt Acting”- combining both acting and stunt work together. He has been a student of Benny “The Jet” Urquidez for over 7 years now where he studies Kickboxing, Boxing, Ukidokan Karate, Fight Choreography, Acting, Tumbling, Car Hits, and Motorcycle Falls.

Anne DeSalvo continues to enjoy a prolific career as a visual artist, actor, director, writer and producer.  She trained in the Method at Circle in the Square in New York and soon became a notable Broadway & Off-Broadway performer, originating roles in many landmark plays.  She starred with Lee Strasberg himself in the Emmy Award-winning The Last Tenant. Anne is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.  She is working on a one-woman show, Magnani, and also coaches privately.  Anne DeSalvo has been teaching at Strasberg since 2003.

Griffith Frank is a singer born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, California.  He is one of the youngest solo artists ever to sign with Interscope/Geffen Records and his versatile voice has made him a sought-after artist throughout the world.  He was a featured soloist at the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia, the Regal Room in London, and regularly at the Cast Party in New York, with additional engagements in London, Athens, Rome, and at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle.  Griffith was a featured artist on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack of Rob Marshall’s film Nine, singing Unusual Way.  He is a graduate of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music where he received a B.A. in the field of Vocal Performance. He has lent his voice to pediatric cancer research, headlining benefits for the HARK Foundation and the Neil Bogart Foundation for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Griffith has also performed Egeo (Aegus) in Giasone, the Chevalier de LaForce in Les Dialogues des Carmelites, Bill in A Hand of Bridge, Billy Lawlor in the musical 42nd Street, and Orpheus in Orpheus and the Underworld.

Kymberly Harris is an Actor/Writer/Director and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the award winning short films Rose’s Turn and FAITH, which won Best Short at New York International Film Festival, 2018. She is in post production for her first feature film, Plead Me Guilty. A published and produced playwright, several plays by Kymberly have been produced in NYC and in Chicago. Her play FAITH is the only drama published in the new anthology, Proofread or Die!, featuring works by colleagues and friends of the late David Foster Wallace. In 2014, she assisted James Ponsoldt and Jason Segel on the film The End of the Tour about the late David Foster Wallace. Some stage credits include originating the role of Holly in Eric Simonson’s BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY opposite Tracy Letts and the workshop of Terrence McNally’s IT’S ONLY A PLAY opposite Thomas Sadoski, Josh Radnor, and Lisa Kudrow, and starring in her own play BUMPING UMBRELLAS directed by Kate Marks. Kymberly teaches acting at The Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute in West Hollywood and is an acting coach to select private clients. She is a member of AEA, AFTRA, SAG, and the Dramatists Guild. Kymberly holds an MA from Illinois State University in Theatre, and a double MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School at the New School in Acting and Playwriting.

Gerald James began ballet training in high school at The Ruth Page Dance Foundation.  He earned a theatre scholarship to Loyola University and later joined a prominent Chicago modern dance troupe.  In New York, he studied with Dance Theatre of Harlem and performed as a Radio City Music Hall dancer.  Gerald is involved with the We Tell Stories theatre company in Los Angeles and is the creator of the Waters Edge Theatre.  He is a member of Jim Gamble Puppets Productions and the Imagination workshop.  Gerald teaches acting in LAUSD, has created professional developmental workshops for the Cerritos Arts Center, and has presented poetry workshops through the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Mj Karmi is a classically trained actress with 20 years of performance experience in television, film and theatre.  MJ taught for 3 years with Susan Batson at Black Nexxus in New York and last summer, “Approaching the Shakespearean Monologue” at The SAG Conservatory Summer Workshop.  MJ holds an MFA in Dramatic Arts from the Actors Studio at the New School.  MJ is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a member of Circus Theatricals Studio Theatre.

Sasha Krane trained from a very early age as a Method actor in New York, with Geoffrey Horne, where he developed a passion for theatre and film. He is the nephew of legendary acting teacher Lee Strasberg. Sasha moved to Los Angeles and began writing and directing stage-plays while assisting Sally Kirkland in her acting classes at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.  He has worked on the production, Leftover Hearts, at The Marilyn Monroe Theatre which garnered good reviews.  He has written and directed short films Astyanax, A Little Death (best comedy, New York International Film Festival), and Patriots.  Shorts International bought Patriots for global distribution. He directed his first feature, Machete Joe, which wonthe San Diego Black Film Festival award for Best Thriller.  Several of his scripts have been optioned and sold, including: Tooth and Claw, Caliban, and Red Winter.  His latest feature, a neo-noir crime drama, Kickback, has been optioned and will star Dolph Lundgren in the lead role. Sasha continues to work as a script doctor and screenwriter, and director.

Fabiana Medici is a Writer/Acting Coach and educator with 25+ years of experience in the theatrical and artistic field. She has traveled extensively and trained both beginner students and professionals alike. Fabiana has extensive experience working with children and adults coming from different cultural and social backgrounds including those enrolled on special education programs. As a child educator Fabiana has worked in several schools in Los Angeles such as the Westside Waldorf School (teaching language through theater and communication, leading Spring and Summer camps and as an assistant for several roles in kindergarten and elementary school) and Star Prep Academy (Acting for Film) among others worldwide. Fabiana studied extensively Method Acting, Stanislavski and Grotowski techniques, mask techniques, yoga, acrobatics, clown and healing arts around the world. She loves to see her students shine at their highest potential and is devoted to lead them with love and respect towards their artistic goals.

Andrea Odinov Fuller is certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework® and also teaches this work at Loyola Marymount University, the Tom Todoroff Studio, and TVI Actors Studio.  Andrea has served as the voice/dialect coach for the Long Beach Playhouse, 24th Street Theatre, and the USC School of Theatre.  Her acting roles have taken her to the Laguna Playhouse, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Sacred Fools Theatre and the Blank Theatre.  On the small screen, she has appeared in several TV and commercial roles.  She is a proud member of SAG, AFTRA, AEA and VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association), and has an MFA from University of California-Irvine and a BA from the University of Delaware.

Chris Prinzo is a quadruple-threat, being a successful singer, dancer, actor, and radio personality.  He appeared on Broadway in the role of Pepper (and served as Assistant Dance Captain) in Mamma Mia! and was featured as a lead in The Gorey Details Off Broadway.  On the LA stage, Chris played Chachi in Happy Days: The Musical at the Falcon Theatre, which was written and directed by Garry Marshall.  He’s also been featured in productions of Zorba, ApplauseKismet, and South Pacific starring Reba McEntyre at the Hollywood Bowl, At The Roxy on Sunset with Donovan Leech, in a workshop of Brian DePalma and Paul Williams’ Phantom of the Paradise, and at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood playing Tom in the romantic comedy The Id and Bob. Chris’s television and film credits include Las Vegas, Scrubs, Eli Stone, Help Me Help You, American Dreams, Passions, Mulberry ParkDisney’s High School Musical: Get in the Picture, and the Lion’s Gate feature House of the Dead 2.  Chris can also be heard serenading listeners as a guest on-air personality on the K-EARTH 101 Morning Show.  Chris also conducts workshops and private coaching nationwide.  Originally from New York City, he is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was a member of the University Scholars Program.

Goya Robles is an American actor of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent. His portrayal of heart breaking, volatile, vulnerable characters are a stamp in all of his work. He has starred in numerous independent films, including the upcoming feature, 11:55 Holyoke, starring John Leguizamo and Julia Stiles. He also guest starred as Franklin Morales in the CBS show The Mentalist and in IFC’s The Whitest Kids You Know. Goya played the role of Jackie in the Actors Studio production of The Motherfucker with the Hat. He starred in the LAByrinth Theater Barn Series reading of Mark Borkowski’s play, Valentino’s Wing, starring Michael Shannon directed by Ellen Burstyn. Goya is also a slam poet; his first compilation of poems was released at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe under the title, Spit My Soul. He is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and holds an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City.

Troy Rintala is an award-winning choreographer and has assisted in casting with numerous professional theatres across the country, including the Walt Disney Company. Troy’s teaching experience includes working as the Director of American Musical Theatre of San Jose’s Theatre Arts Institute, helping to train and prepare over 200 Bay Area students for a career in the professional theatre.

David Salsa has been a regional theatre actor most of his career and spent 5 years as a company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival working in classic as well as new works.  Productions include Midsummer Nights DreamMuch Ado About NothingParadise LostA View From the Bridge, and the world premiere of American NightThe White SnakeDon Quixote and All They Way (as a member of the Black Swan Lab for new play development). TV/Film Credits include CastleCriminal MindsDays of Our Lives and MegaShark vs. MechaShark. David holds a BA from the University of Portland and a MFA from the Actors Studio in NYC and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA.

Hedy Sontag was born in Poland and came to New York City at age eight. She studied ballet and art and graduated from the High School of Music and Art. She went on to study at Parson’s School where she majored in Fine Art and Design and also studied modeling, fashion and illustration. She continued in music, singing and recording with Bob Crewe for whom she recorded 3 records with her singing group.  Hedy studied acting with Lee Strasberg, Frank Corsaro, Allan Miller and Milton Katselas and performed plays at Ellen Steward’s Café La Mama ETC where she also worked on Grotowski with Franz Marijnan. She worked on plays by Leonard Melfi, Sam Shepherd and Murry Mednick. She toured with Tom O’Horgan’s  (Hair) troupe through Europe. Performed in Ed Bullins “Electronic” at Wyn Handman’s American Place Theatre. Joe Papp’s Theatre “Are You Lookin’” by Murray Mednick and “The Hawk” Worked on Broadway with Maxmillian Shell on “A Patriot for Me” by John Osborne and understudied Salome Jens. In Stock and Regional Theatre, worked on “Three Penny Opera” by Brecht & Kurt Weille. Was directed in New Hampshire by Ed Setrakian Play by Scott Ellman at Museum of Modern Art. Became a member of Actors Studio. Started teaching at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in 1975. Film work includes “Doc” directed by Frank Perry with Faye Dunaway. Started directing in New York City off Broadway and also in Los Angeles. Is a member of Playwright/Directors Unit at The Actors Studio with Mark Rydell and Lyle Kessler.   Member of the Directors Unit with Lou Antonio. Worked in Paris on Shakespeare, Chekhov and many American plays for 5 years at Studio V05F. Worked in Japan for 10 years going for several weeks per year and working with Yoko Narahashi, Hedy Sontag is a senior faculty member at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and still learning.

Dig Wayne has been an actor for over 20 years and studied at the Strasberg Institute in London.  He is also a poet, a professional singer and songwriter.  Dig has worked professionally in New York City, London and Los Angeles.  He is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.  Dig won the NAACP theatre award for Best Supporting Male in a play for his role as Gabriel in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences in 2007.  He was also nominated for an Ovation Award for the same role. Additionally, he starred in Five Guys Named Moe, which had a 5-year run in London’s West End.  On TV, he acted in Crossing Jordan, Boston Legal, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds and ER.

Caryn West holds a BA in Film and Drama from Stanford University, and an MFA in Acting from Temple University. She teaches Actor Social Media Marketing and Script Analysis, and has taught Audition Technique for 3 decades in LA and NYC and in many MFA Acting programs.  She is a working actress with credits on Broadway, on film and television, and lead roles in regional theatres around the country. In 2018 she worked with Oscar nominees Lena Olin and Bruce Dern on THE ARTISTS WIFE. She won a “Best Featured Actress in a play” Drama Critics Circle Award in 2014 at Hartford Stage for the Tony winning play VANYA & SONYA & MASHA & SPIKE and playwright Chris Durang came to see it!  She also directs both film and theatre and is a well-known audition coach with many well known working clients.

Carrie Wong has been working in martial arts for over 35 years. She has been a nationally ranked competitor in both hand forms and weapons in the art of Kung Fu. Carrie has been featured in magazines, television specials, authored a book and a training video.  She assisted in the training of Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, Jason Scott Lee, and Ryan Gosling. She was inducted into the Martial Arts History Hall of Fame in 2005 and is the narrator for the Museum Players. Carrie trains and teaches six days a week due to her love and passion for teaching and the arts of Kung Fu and Tai Chi.

Leah Zhang is a Nationally Certified Alexander Technique Teacher with over twelve years of Alexander Technique study and application. She has an extensive background in movement education, and also improving health and performance through ease of movement techniques and the mind-body connection. Leah is also a working actress in film and television. She received her MFA in Acting from the prestigious Old Globe Professional Actor Training Program at the University of San Diego. She has performed regionally on the stages of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, The Old Globe, and Chicago Dramatists. Leah maintains a private practice in Los Angeles and San Diego and has taught movement workshops to many local performers.