Guest Artist

Wise, Nina

Since earning her degree in Religious Studies and the Aesthetics of Movement, Nina Wise has devoted her career to developing theater and writing stories that address the complex relationship between body, intellect, and spirit. Her original works, performed in prestigious venues in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia have won awards for playwriting, innovative design, and new theater including three NEA fellowships and seven Bay Area Theater Critics Awards. Her book, A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life, was published by Broadway Books and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals.

Wise’s immersive theater piece The Kepler Story, created in collaboration with California Academy of Sciences Morrison Planetarium, is the first theater piece ever created about an astronomer for domes. The production played to sold out crowds at Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco and the Fiske Planetarium, UC Boulder and is currently in development for a world tour.

The founder of Motion Theater®, an original form of autobiographical improvisation, Nina offers performances and trainings in this unique form of authentic self-expression. She has performed custom-designed improvised works at theaters, think tanks, conferences, medical institutions, and political events around the world.

As an artist and teacher who specializes in innovation, she has coached numerous individuals and teams in creativity, the cultivation of presence, stress reduction, communication and leadership. In addition, authorized to teach by Jack Kornfield, Wise teaches Buddhist practice at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and other spiritual centers worldwide.

James, Peter Francis

Peter Francis James taught Shakespeare at the Yale School of Drama from 2000 – 2020. Training: RADA. Broadway: HILLARY AND CLINTON, PRESENT LAUGHTER, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, ON GOLDEN POND, DROWNING CROW, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG. The Public: STUFF HAPPENS (OBIE & Lucille Lortel Awards), MUCH ADO, VENUS, HORATIO IN KEVIN KLINE’S HAMLET, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY… CSC: THE MAIDS (OBIE Award). Signature Theater: THE LADY FROM DUBUQUE, (Lortel Nomination). U.K: THE LADY FROM DUBUQUE (w/Maggie Smith), CYMBELINE (RSC /TFANA). Film/TV: THE HUMBLING, SONG ONE, THE LOSERS, THE REBOUND, THE MESSENGER / BULL, GODFATHER OF HARLEM, THE CODE, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA, OZ, ROYAL PAINS, GOSSIP GIRL, KINGS, THE ROSA PARKS STORY, SIMPLE JUSTICE, THE RUBY BRIDGES STORY, all three LAW & ORDER series. Narration: over 60 books.

Betancourt, Erick

BIO:

New York- based actor. He appeared as Charlie D’Amico in the Lucille Lortel Award winning production of JESUS HOPPED THE ‘A’ TRAIN, dir: Mark Brokaw (Signature Theater). Also at Signature Theater: OUR LADY OF 121st, dir: Phylicia Rashad. Off-Broadway: ROMEO Y JULIETA dir: Saheem Ali (Public Theater); JULIUS CAESAR dir: Oskar Eustis (Delacorte Theater); SHAKESPEARE TRILOGY dir: Phyllida Lloyd (St Ann’s Warehouse); LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT dir: Estelle Parsons; Other theater credits: World Premiere of THE ASSIGNMENT ( A.R.T.NY); and World Premiere of THE PRINCE OF PROVIDENCE (Trinity Rep) TV: “Blue Bloods” (Guest Star Recurring), “New Amsterdam” (Recurring), “For Life”, “Blacklist:Redemption,” “Broad City,” “Law & Order SVU,” “Master of None,” and “Sneaky Pete.” FILM: “Life After You,” “11:55,” “Missing William.” Education: MFA: Actors Studio Drama School. BFA: University of Rhode Island. Erick received the 2020 Theater Hall of Fame: Emerging Artist Award. He is a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio and proud member of the LAByrinth Theater Company.

Robins, Laila

BIO:

Laila Robins has just completed episodes of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, THE CODE, NEW AMSTERDAM, THE BOYS and THE BOLD TYPE. She was a series regular on DECEPTION and HOMELAND (season 4, SAG and EMMY nom/best ensemble), MURDER IN THE FIRST (season 2) and GABRIEL’S FIRE (opposite James Earl Jones). Other TV credits include IN TREATMENT, BORED TO DEATH, SOPRANOS and TOO BIG TO FAIL. Broadway: HEARTBREAK HOUSE, FROZEN (Lucille Lortell nom), THE REAL THING, THE HERBAL BED. Off-Broadway: THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS (OBIE, Drama Desk/best ensemble, Drama Desk nom., filmed for PBS), LADY FROM DUBUQUE (OCC nom, AEA’s Richard Seff Award), MRS. KLEIN (with Uta Hagen), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Central Park). Regional: THE LION IN WINTER, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (Guthrie), THE SECOND MRS. WILSON (George Street), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Jefferson Award/Steppenwolf). Films include EYE IN THE SKY, SIDE EFFECTS, AN INNOCENT MAN and PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES. She is an artistic associate of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. MFA: Yale School of Drama

Williams, Justine

Justine Williams is an actor-creator and educator, working in contemporary performance. She holds a BA in Theater from Brown University and an MFA in Performance and New Media from CUNY/Brooklyn College. As a performer, Justine has appeared at the Public Theater, Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep, NYTW, and Ars Nova, among other stages, and she has collaborated with numerous artists and companies dedicated to contemporary and devised performance. Film work as writer, director and/or actor has appeared at MOMA’s New Directors/New Films Festival, Slamdance, Rotterdam International Film Festival, and the Maryland Film Festival, among many others. Multi-media performance work has appeared at Sfumato Theater in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania, The Queens Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rubin Museum, The Orchard Project, Gallim Dance Space, Dixon Place and the Leslie-Lohman Museum for Gay and Lesbian Art. Justine is on faculty at the Yale School of Drama where she teaches Play and Games, and has taught at Pace University, CalArts, NYU, Movement Theater Studio, The Funny School of Good Acting, The Studio/NYC, and many other spaces for performance training.

Errico, Melissa

“The Maria Callas of American musical theater,” as Opera News has called her, referencing both her crystalline voice and dramatic, expressive intensity, Melissa Errico is a Tony Award-nominated actress, singer and author who contributes regularly to The New York Times. First known for her starring roles on Broadway, including MY FAIR LADY, HIGH SOCIETY, and LES MISERABLES, her recent album, Sondheim Sublime, was called by The Wall Street Journal “The best all-Sondheim album ever recorded.” Errico’s history with Sondheim began when he selected her to star as Dot in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at The Kennedy Center, and she has since co-starred as Clara in PASSION at Classic Stage Company and in the NY City Center Encores! production of the Sondheim/Rodgers musical DO I HEAR A WALTZ? In April 2020, she appeared in the much-talked about Sondheim 90th Birthday Concert with Broadway.com and in May, was featured on the PBS Poetry in America episode about Sondheim which featured Melissa singing “Finishing the Hat.” In addition to Sondheim, nothing in her work has been more constant than her association with composer Michel Legrand. Having starred in his sole Broadway show, AMOUR, she went on to collaborate with him on the iconic album Legrand Affair. After his death in 2019, she was asked to write his eulogy by The New York Times and was then invited to be the sole American performer in the extraordinary two-day memorial to Legrand held in April, 2019 at Paris’ Le Grand Rex Theatre. Warner Music/Ghostlight Records recently reissued her symphonic album, which Legrand arranged & conducted, as Legrand Affair (Deluxe Edition). July 4 weekend she offered a special virtual concert with Seth Rudetsky and has also been keeping busy through these difficult months by offering multiple other live-streams and conversations, teaching master classes for students across the country, and producing a delicious at-home cooking show “The Honest Cook” on Instagram, which she chronicled in an essay for Variety magazine.

Melissa is delighted to teach at HB & hopes to create a kind and exciting atmosphere to practice, learn and take risks.

Caroline Aaron

Caroline Aaron is a professional actress, known to theater, film and television audiences, as well as a published author and playwright. Caroline made her Broadway debut in Robert Altman’s COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN and later appeared in the film. The following Broadway season, she starred in the Jose Quintero/Jason Robards’ revival of THE ICEMAN COMETH. She next starred in Mike Nichols’s Broadway smash comedy SOCIAL SECURITY. Mr. Nichols first directed her on film in HEARTBURN. She re-teamed with Mr. Nichols for WORKING GIRL, PRIMARY COLORS, and WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? She returned to Broadway starring in I HATE HAMLET. She headlined the west coast premiere of Wendy Wasserstein’s THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG and was acknowledged with both a Helen Hayes and Dramalogue Award. She starred on Broadway in Woody Allen’s comedy HONEYMOON HOTEL, and starred in Lincoln Center’s award-winning play A KID LIKE JAKE.

On film, Caroline is a frequent collaborator with Woody Allen. She played his sister in CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. She also worked with Woody Allen in ALICE, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, HUSBANDS AND WIVES, and again played his sister in DECONSTRUCTING HARRY.

Caroline starred in Kevin Spacey’s film BEYOND THE SEA. She has appeared in over a hundred films. They include 21 & 22 JUMP STREET, THE REWRITE, JUST LIKE HEAVEN, NANCY DREW, SURVEILLANCE, LOVE COMES LATELY, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, ANYWHERE BUT HERE, THE BIG NIGHT, and BOUNCE among others.

Television audiences are also familiar with her work. A partial list of her television appearances includes SECRETS AND LIES, THE MILLERS, GREY’S ANATOMY, PRIVATE PRACTICE, all the CSI’S, all the LAW & ORDERS, TWO BROKE GIRLS, SEX AND THE CITY, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, among others. Most recently, she is a recurring character on EPISODES, TRANSPARENT, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL.

Pastore, Vincent

Vincent Pastore‘s breakout role in the HBO award winning series THE SOPRANOS lead him from his early days of performing in community theater, running discos and owning rock and roll bars in New Rochelle, NY to becoming the household name of “Big Pussy.” He was encouraged to pursue film acting by Kevin and Matt Dillon who frequented his bars in the 80’s.

Vincent landed his first major film with Nancy Savoca’s award winning film TRUE LOVE, and then he was on his way. He worked on AMERICA’S MOST WANTED, LAW AND ORDER, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, GOOD FELLAS, AWAKENINGS and REGARDING HENRY, plus many other projects on the small stage in New York City, until he landed his first major role as Tony Scarboni opposite Alan Arkin in THE JERKY BOYS. After that, GOTTI, WITNESS TO THE MOB, and then THE SOPRANOS followed. He went on to do the films MADE, SERVING SARA, THE HURRICANE and TWO FAMILY HOUSE, to name just a few.

Recently Vincent has appeared in CHICAGO and in the Woody Allen play BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, making him now part of the Broadway community. Vincent is a co-founder of The Renegade Theater Group with Maureen Van Zandt.

Kirmser, Fran

Fran Kirmser is a two time Tony Award winning Producer who began with creating and producing theater in the West Village. Currently she is producing Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’ on Broadway. She serves as Executive Producer for the film Lombardi with Legendary Pictures that originally hailed from a theatrical series she conceived and produced on Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include: AUGUST WILSON’S RADIO GOLF, HAIR, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF.

Teaching credits include master classes at The New School, New York University, Columbia, Fordham, The Field, Commercial Theater Institute. Fran has served on funding panels including the New York Foundation for the Arts, and as a Tony Voter from 2013-2019.

Having started out her performing arts career as a young professional dancer and self- produced choreographer, her passion is teaching self-producing and fundraising to emerging artists of all disciplines and helping them to realize their projects to stage!

Graham, Shawn René

Shawn René Graham [she/her] is a freelance writer and dramaturg from San Jose, California who has worked with countless writers such as Walter Mosely, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage and Cori Thomas. She is currently the resident dramaturg of The American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices, the Literary Director for the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Future Classics Series and Playwright’s Playground, and founder of All Creative Writes, an artistic assistance service designed to provide individual artists and performing arts organizations with administrative, fundraising and writing support. Ms. Graham holds degrees from the California State University, Los Angeles, and the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. She joined The Field in 2012 and lives in Bronx, NY with her dog, Mercy.