Faculty Bios

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Director Of Education

ELIZABETH SIMMONS


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

TORI MOONEY

This is Tori’s 3rd 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 performer, as well as Mama Ds! Tori is also the Front of House Manager here at Playhouse on Park!

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), CINDERELLA KIDS (2018), and SEUSSICAL KIDS (2019). 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 performs on the Essex Steam Train during the holiday season as PIXIE POINSETTIA, & she is obsessed with Red Velvet cupcakes!

 


TEACHES: Creative Kids (& Plus), Summer Programs

 

CHRIS COFFEY

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.


ERIN LAFFERTY

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

SARAH KRONISCH

Sarah is a dramatic arts educator, director, playwright, and actor. Sarah began acting in Connecticut community theaters when she was 5 years of age. Sarah attended The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts followed by the University of Connecticut where she majored in theater and acting. After performing in regional theaters across Connecticut, Sarah moved to Los Angeles. She began working in the film and television industry- most notably on the Emmy award winning series, “Mad Men”. She began teaching at The Playground Acting Conservatory in 2015. Sarah fell in love with teaching. Sarah accepted a full time position at Alta Vista School and moved north to San Francisco where she created her own comprehensive, multicultural, theater curriculum for elementary school aged students. Sarah built the school’s first after school drama club which tripled in size in the 3 years she spent there. She directed “Shrek Jr,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” original adaptation of “Finding Nemo: A Makeshift Musical,” original adaptation of “Toy Story”, “The Lion King Jr,” and “Charlotte’s Web.”

Sarah often writes original work for her students, and encourages them to create their own material. Sarah’s original plays “Fair Enough”, and “It Stays Between Us” were produced in San Francisco. Her latest work, “The Wide Open” was workshopped in Connecticut in April.


Improv

HELENA MORRIS

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

Claire ZickCLAIRE ZICK

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