Faculty Bios

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Director Of Education


Elizabeth Simmons is a Theatre Educator/Teaching Artist with over 10 years of experience developing programming and building curriculum for theatres, schools, and arts organizations. She recently moved to Connecticut from New York City, and is pleased to be joining the team at Playhouse on Park! She currently teaches at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Goodspeed Musicals, as well as with Hartford Performs. In New York City she received her Master's Degree in Educational Theatre from the City College of New York. Prior to relocating, Elizabeth worked as a Teaching Artist for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Queen's Theatre and the Center for Arts Education. She has served on the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable Committee, and this past year joined the planning committee for the NYC Theatre in Our Schools conference, where she planned logistics and led workshops for over 80 arts administrators, teachers, and teaching artists. As an actress, Elizabeth recently appeared as Miep in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK at Playhouse on Park: other favorite credits include: Stephanie Crawford (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD), Mrs.Rogers (AND HEN THERE WERE NONE), Annie (TABLE MANNERS) and Catherine (BOSTON MARRIAGE).


Playhouse On Park Teaching Artists


This is Tori’s 2nd year teaching at Playhouse on Park! She is no newbie to the Playhouse or to teaching. She loves teaching the 5-8 year olds because the kiddos "usually" won't be taller than her.  

You might recognize Tori from seeing her perform on the Playhouse on Park stage or at AC Petersen’s on Monday nights at Mainstage Monday. Her Playhouse on Park Theatre for Young Audience credits include GO, DOG. GO!, GOODNIGHT MOON, MAIN STREET KIDS CLUB, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, BUSYTOWN, FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY, 3 LITTLE PIGS, & PINKALICIOUS! She is also a regular stop/time dance theater performer, as well as Mama Ds!

In 2010, Tori started teaching at Hartford Children's Theatre, then was scooped up by Hartford Stage in 2013. She's taught all sorts of classes throughout the years including Mini Production, Storybook Theatre, and Musical Theatre Cabaret Jr. Tori has also been the Director, Musical Director, Choreographer, and Costumer (in other words...the whole shebang) for 101 DALMATIONS KIDS (2013), THE JUNGLE BOOK (2015), THE ARISTOCATS KIDS (2017) and coming soon Disney’s CINDERELLA (2018). One of her big passions is teaching Summer Theatre Camp at Hartford Stage Summer Studio! She has been the Director of Children's Cast (ages 5-8) since 2011. 

Fun Facts: Tori was born & raised on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; her favorite color is ToriQuoise, & she is obsessed with Red Velvet cupcakes!

TEACHES: Creative Kids (& Plus), Summer Programs



Chris Coffey is an actor, musician, and theater maker hailing from New Jersey. He previously served as the Associate Music Director and Education Associate at Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, NY, and has taught across the Northeast for the last twelve years. He recently music directed Winter Wonderettes for Castle Craig Players, Cabaret for Phoenix Theater Company, and directed Twelfth Night for Oddfellows Playhouse and Michael, Cleveland for the 2017 New England Theater Conference.

Favorite professional acting credits include: Puck (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Jack (Into The Woods) in Rep, Trofimov (The Cherry Orchard), Claudio & Verges (Much Ado About Nothing), Benvolio/Paris/Lady Cap. (Romeo & Juliet - SALT Award: Ensemble of the Year), and the title role in The Who's 'Tommy'. Up Next: Svec in Once at SpeakEasy Stage Co. in Boston (opens March 2019).

Chris has a degree in Musical Theatre from Manhattanville College and is an alumnus of the National Theater Institute. He lives in Middletown with his wife and dogs.


Emily was born and raised in Glastonbury, CT. She has always had a strong passion for the arts and grew up dancing, acting, and seeing as much theater as possible. While in CT she worked with various theaters such as The Hartford Children's Theater, Park Road Playhouse, Performing Arts Programs, The Hartbeat Ensemble & various high school productions. She is a 2014 graduate of Marymount Manhattan College's acting program. While in NYC she had the opportunity to intern with CBS Primetime Casting where she worked beside casting directors & was able to learn the ins & outs of show business. Since graduation she has been an acting teacher for The Warner Theater, Performing Arts Programs, & has been providing private acting lessons as well. She is trilled to join Playhouse on Park and is looking forward to working with everyone!

TEACHES: Young Actors (& Plus), Actor Performance Training Program, Summer Programs


Erin is thrilled to join Playhouse on Park as a teaching artist! For the past 8 years, Erin has works as an educator in the fields of dance, musical theatre, and creative drama as well as a choreographer in regional, community, and educational theatre. She began her teaching career in San Jose, California and since has had the pleasure of working with students in Marin County, California (Marin Theatre Company); Syracuse, New York (Redhouse Arts Center); Middletown, Connecticut (Goodspeed Musicals, Oddfellows Playhouse, & Company ‘N Tempo); Quincy, Illinois (Quincy Community Theatre); Monteverde, Costa Rica (Far Corners Community Musical Theatre); and Chinandega, Nicaragua (Teatro Catalina). From 2014 to 2016, Erin was the Resident Choreographer at Redhouse Arts Center. Currently, Erin is the Education Director at Goodspeed Musicals. www.erinlafferty.net


Marisa Paradis is a Theatre and Dance Educator with over 10 years of experience in both CT and NY. Marisa received her BA in Theatre Performance and Dance from Wagner College and continued on to earn her MA in Educational Theatre from CCNY. While earning her degrees, Marisa performed in several children's theatre shows, created and taught after school theatre classes and directed several children's theatre performances on Long Island. She taught Theatre for 7 years with both the NYC Department of Education and Hartford Public Schools, while still teaching dance and theatre in after school programs. She was a part of the curriculum development team for Theatre for HPS and has led several professional development sessions for the arts teachers in the district. Marisa was also selected as a member of the team who was responsible for creating the CT State Guide to K-12 Program Development in the Arts and is honored to have her work featured on the ct.gov website.




studied theater at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and has been performing improv comedy for nearly ten years. She holds a B.A. in Theater and a B.A. in English, and has a master’s degree in Education from the University of St. Joseph. In addition to teaching elementary school, and teaching reading and writing at the secondary level over the past several years, she also currently teaches improv comedy to both adults and children in her role as an educator at Sea Tea Improv.

TEACHES: Improv and Comedy classes for Young Actors


moved to West Hartford from Seattle where she was an ensemble member at Unexpected Productions, Seattle's first and most reputable improv theater company. She performed weekly in Seattle Theatresports™ and long-form shows such as HAROLD, SPOKEN, BLANK SLATE, FAKESPEARE, THE MELANIE GAME, CAMPFIRE, A(N) IMPROVISED CHRISTMAS CAROL, BLACK-EYED BLONDE, IMPRESSIONISTIC HORROR, and improvised versions of movie genres. She was also the Assistant Artistic Director and only female member of Sisters of Sal, a long-form improvisational comedy troupe that won Seattle Cage Match and performed with Ryan Stiles. She has studied improv at Unexpected Productions, Magnet Theater, and UCB Theatre. Her instructors have included Randy Dixon, Matt Smith, Jill Farris, Armando Diaz, Christian Capozzoli, Keith Johnstone and Mick Napier. Locally, she has been seen in VANITIES, ISN'T IT ROMANTIC, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE and LEND ME A TENOR as well as other scripted and improv productions in theaters around the state.

TEACHES: Adult Improv classes