Lakewood Instructors

Lakewood Theatre Company, now in its 68th year of productions, offers a year-round program in theatre and visual arts education for adults and children at the Lakewood Center for the Arts. Our class instructors and production directors are local artists who have demonstrated proficiency in their craft. Many have been with our program for several years.

Steve Christensen – Sleepy Hollow Children’s Theatre Summer Session

Steve Christensen spent over 40 years teaching music and drama in Oregon Schools before retiring in 2015. Steve started Sleepy Hollow Children's Theatre in 1995, with workshops in Sandy and Northern Idaho. He has done over 80 workshops with over 4,000 student involved. Steve has written 14 musicals for both young people and adults and is currently finishing his latest work, Who's the Fairest?

Liz Hayden - Creative Dramatics


Liz Hayden has been teaching Children’s Theatre for over ten years now. She had her beginnings in Santa Monica managing an Arts Camp and teaching at the Piero Dusa Acting Conservatory. Liz teaches drama independently through schools, Profile Theatre, Northwest Children’s Theatre, Shaking The Tree, and her theatre company Hand2Mouth. Liz began acting when she was six and owes much of her inspiration to the drama teachers in her young life. That’s why she loves to work with youth. She graduated with a B.A. in theatre from Southern Oregon University and a MFA in theatre from Northern Illinois University. Besides teaching she devises theatre and tours with her theatre company Hand2Mouth through out the year. Much like her theatre company, Liz's techniques are much the same. She loves to create a show from scratch or an adaptation based on all the spirit and personalities in the room with her.

Laura Hiszczynskyj - Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Ballroom, Choreography

Laura Hiszczynskj HeadshotLaura’s most recent choreography includes Lakewood’s Nine, She Loves Me and Show Boat, as well as Urinetown for Clackamas Community College. Laura has a BFA in ballet from TCU and an MFA in dance from the U of O.  National Tours include Sesame Street Live and SwingDance America.

Nancy McDonald - Acting for Non Actors, Story Telling, Public Speaking, Professional Acting, Shakespeare

Nancy McDonald, acting instructor,Lakewood Center for the Arts,

Nancy McDonald has lived a joyful life steeped in the arts. She is an actor, director, performing arts educator and corporate trainer. As well as having starring roles in over 40 theatre productions and the soap opera All My Children, she founded Shakespeare Stage Company in New York City and The Writer’s Lab in Hollywood. Directing credits include A Scrooge Mart Christmas Carol and The End of the World and Other Funny Stuff for No Illusions Theatre in LA, Murder on the Nile, Wait Until Dark  on Lakewood’s Headlee Mainstage. She currently teaches her signature classes Acting For Non Actors, Professional Acting, How To Tell Your Story, and Playing with Shakespeare at Lakewood Theatre. During the school year, you can also find her teaching at various elementary and middle schools, junior highs, the arts residencies, and Loud and Clear and Read Write Act with Oregon Children’s Theatre.


Leona Mitchell - Voice

Leona Mitchell, voice instructor at Lakewood Center for the Arts

Leona Mitchell has performed as a singer and actress on Broadway, and in National Touring Companies and regional theaters throughout the United States. She has been a featured singer in nightclubs in Los Angeles, New York City, Tucson, Arizona, and Ashland, Oregon and has produced several recordings of her original songs. She has been teaching and coaching singers for over 30 years. Class size is usually limited to 10 students.


Laurence Overmire - Finding Your Ancestral Gold, Genealogist

Laurence Overmire Headshot

Laurence Overmire is an actor, director, educator, poet and genealogist. Graduating with an M.F.A. from the University of Minnesota, he began his professional acting career with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and has performed on Broadway in Amadeus as well as the New York Shakespeare Festival and the television soap operas All My Children and Loving. He has an international reputation as a poet and has been involved with the NEA's Poetry Out Loud program for several years. Overmire has spent much of the last two decades involved in genealogy research. He created several reference databases online including The Ancestry of Overmire, Tifft, Richardson, Bradford, Reed, which has received over 1.8 million hits and has helped hundreds of thousands of people trace their family trees. He is also the author of five genealogy books. His latest is Digging For Ancestral Gold: The Fun and Easy Way to Start Your Genealogy Quest. Laurence has been an arts educator for over 30 years and currently teaches Oregon Children's Theatre's Loud and Clear public speaking program.

Sandra Peabody - Acting, TV/Film  

Sandra Peabody is an Emmy-award winning writer/producer/director and has worked in film and broadcast television. She is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City where she studied with master acting teacher Sanford Meisner for two years. She also studied drama at Carnegie-Mellon University, and later earned a B.A. in Arts and Letters. As a teacher and coach for the past twenty-five years, Sandra develops actors and also teaches speech. She splits her time between Los Angeles and the Northwest to help prepare talent for a professional career. She is proud of her students careers which range from becoming a lawyer, novelist, and teacher, to a television reporter, host, and actor.  Students acting credits include; leads and series regulars on Breaking In (FOX), The Pretty Little Liars (FAMILY),  The Loop (CW), Grounded for Life (WB), All about Us (NBC), The Reaper (CW) and reoccurring episodes on “V” (ABC), and Dexter (SHOWTIME).

Cyndy Ramsey-Rier - Musical Direction, Vocal Coaching

Ramsey-Rier.Cyndy.2014.jpgCyndy has been the musical director for the drama program at LaSalle Catholic College Prep, conducting over thirty productions, among them Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Gypsy, Mack & Mabel, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, and The Mikado. Other musical direction projects include The Big Bang (Triangle Productions) and Urinetown (Portland State University). A longtime member of the Portland theatre community, she was last seen onstage in The Philadelphia Story at Clackamas Rep and Sealed for Freshness and Hats! The Musical for Triangle Productions. Favorite roles include: Anna in The King and I (Drammy Award for Actress in a musical), Mrs. Malloy in Hello, Dolly!, Marian Paroo in The Music Man (Oregon Theatrical Award Society Award for Best Actress Musical), Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Agnes in I Do! I Do!, and the title roles in Mame and Little Mary Sunshine. In addition to being a “soprano for hire,” Cyndy is a voice teacher and vocal coach, with a private studio in Beaverton. 

Aaron Nigel Smith - Vocal Coaching

smith.aaronnigel.jpegFor the past 15 years, Aaron Nigel Smith has worked to educate, empower and entertain youth and families around the world. He teaches chorus & drumming in Oregon & Washington through 1 World Chorus, Young Audiences, and the Right Brain Initiative. In 2005, Aaron’s debut CD release, Let’s Pretend, won the NAPPA & IParenting Media Awards. His 2010 CD Everyone Loves to Dance, received a Parents’ Choice Award and recognition in People Magazine. In 2009, he collaborated with Ziggy Marley on a Bob Marley children’s record, B is for Bob. Aaron Nigel Smith joined the cast of the PBS Kids show, Between the Lions, in 2008. In 2009 Aaron and his wife of 19 years Diedre, formed the nonprofit 1 World Chorus with the goal of building bridges internationally through choral singing. There are currently children involved in Portland, Los Angeles, New York, Kenya & Jamaica. In 2012 1 World Chorus released their debut CD, Welcome to the Village, to critical acclaim. People Magazine and USA today recognized the project as one of the best children’s releases of the year and the album received a Parents’ Choice Award! The choruses 2015 release, Celebrating Bob Marley debuted at on the Billboard reggae charts. The Rox in Sox Children’s Music & Book Festival is a produced by that Aaron and a team of amazing volunteers. During this free charity event, families in the U.S. & Jamaica enjoy a day of free world class music, authors, family-friendly activities and food vendors. Socks, shoes and books are collected at the entrance of the event in the U.S. and then distributed to youth in Jamaica & Kenya. Aaron also works with Ben & Jerry’s, The Bob Marley Foundation and PYE Global to organize the One Love Youth Camp. This special project brings youth from rural and urban Jamaica together for a week long camp that encourages creativity, empowerment and community building.

Michael Snider - Musical Theatre Direction, Choreography

Michael Snider at Lakewood Theatre Company

Michael Snider touts over forty years of theater experience on all levels; professional, community and educational. A graduate of University of Portland, he began his career in Oregon as a teacher in Portland and Eugene. During that time he began developing shows for Lipman’s/Frederick & Nelson’s department stores (Cinnamon Bear) and continued this process for over twenty-five years in Oregon, California, Illinois, New York, Hawaii for the likes of IBM, Citibank, Kodak,  Robinson’s and Macy’s/Banberger’s under the banner of his children’s theater company, Little People’s Productions. He apprenticed Hal Prince on Candide at New York City Opera and spent twenty years at Grey Advertising, New York, in creative, casting, production, and account management. He served as managing artistic director for Maui OnStage for five years and helmed shows like Godspell, Evita, The Rocky Horror Show, Sweeney Todd, A Chorus Line and Peter Pan.  Most recently, in Portland, he has resurrected his bear shows with Peppermint Bear here at Lakewood Theatre Company. Additionally, at Clackamas High School he choreographed Bye Bye Birdie, Urinetown, Peter Pan, Fiddler on the Roof and Once On This Island; directed The Crucible and Fools; and led Clackamas Thespians to winning awards at the Oregon Thespians State Festival with “Hello,” from Book of Morman and “Catch Me I’m Falling,” from Next to Normal. Other productions for Lakewood go all the way back to the small church where he played Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, choreographed Three Penny Opera and won and OTAS award for his choreography for Music Man. His proudest accomplisment is daughter, Mary Leigh, a triple threat, if you please, who most recently completed a national tour of A Chorus Line.

Chris Tran - 3-D Printing and Digital Sculptor

Chris TranChris Tran is a digital sculptor in the animated features industry. He currently works at Laika, LLC. His passion is to have fun creating art and sharing his knowledge with others.



Kasha Watts

Kasha’s early training began in Ridgefield, CT where she trained with Patricia Schuster and danced with the Ridgefield Civic Ballet. During her early training she attended Boston Ballet Summer Program, Joffrey Ballet Summer Program, as well as Chautauqua Summer Intensive. She later attended the University of Utah, on scholarship, where she earned her B.F.A. in Ballet. After graduating, Kasha danced professionally with Ballet New England under Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric. It was at the School of Ballet New England where Kasha began teaching. She went on to teach all ages and levels at Prodigy Dance Studio (Salt Lake City, UT), Festival Ballet Providence (Providence, RI), Rumford Dance Theatre (Rumford, RI), Heritage Ballet (Lincoln, RI) and she currently runs the elementary ballet programs at Multnomah Arts Center and Southwest Community Center in Portland. Kasha’s philosophy for teaching pre-school age students is to be animated, fun, and to always keep them moving. For older students she likes to keep class fun yet more informative while instilling proper technique, terminology and ballet class etiquette. Kasha has experience teaching ballet technique to all levels from creative movement and pre-ballet through pre-professional and adults. Kasha resides in Tualatin with her husband, Preston and two sons, Sam and Zak.

Kendall Wells - Combat Arts and Fight Performance

Kendall Wells stage combat

Kendall Wells is an actor and fight director based out of Portland and Los Angeles. He
is one of only two people certified to teach De Longis Performance & Combat Arts,
created by fight master Anthony De Longis, whom Kendall has been studying with for nine
years. Kendall’s credits include Grimm, Leverage, Deadliest Warrior, DirecTV, LA Opera,
and many more. In Portland, he was given a Drammy Award for fight choreography for
NW Classical Theatre Co.’s Macbeth.
The De Longis Method allows for superior fight performance because works closer to the combative truth than any other approach to stage and film combat. It’s a far more comprehensive system, bringing knowledge from many branches of martial arts and going to their roots, finding the applicability of one system to another. This distillation of combative theory and body mechanics, while applying the appropriate weapon-specific adjustments, makes the system far more effective in quickly and efficiently helping students understand fight work in a more complete sense.
The system has so far only been available to those who train directly with master Anthony De Longis or myself, and only in private or short seminar format. Most of these people are actors training with him for a project (Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc)

Andrew Paul Woodworth - Singing, Vocal Performance, Musical Theatre


Andrew Paul Woodworth just moved back to Portland in 2013 after spending 22 years in Los Angeles. As a child, Woodworth cut his teeth at the iconic Portland Civic Theater. There he starred in Oliver, Babes In Toyland, Everything In The Garden, Snoopy and Really Rosie. He was also a finalist on the nationally televised talent show, Star Search, with Ed McMahon. Signed to Sony Records in the late 90s, Woodworth’s first album, with the band Elephant Ride, was produced by legendary bassist, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). Woodworth also spent several years in LA staple rock outfit, Virgil. He was honored with the award for Male Vocalist Of The Year at the LA Music Awards in 2006 and Virgil also won the award for Independent Album Of The Year. In 2007, Woodworth was signed as a solo artist to Rodeostar Records (Germany). He released his second solo album, Eddy Ate Dynamite in 2008 and he toured extensively throughout Europe opening for such acts as Deep Purple, Ida Maria, Maroon Five, Thin Lizzy and Sheryl Crow. Woodworth’s re- imagined version of The Beastie Boys’, Fight For Your Right, was used on the WB television series, One Tree Hill. His music has also been heard on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ESPN, Fox’s Roswell  and on Scrubs. Woodworth graduated UCLA with degrees in Theater and English. He began working professionally as an actor at age fourteen appearing in over a dozen national commercials. He was also a co-star in the feature films Ernest To Camp, After The Promise, (Mark Harmon), Ghost In The Machine, (Karen Allen), A Summer To Remember, (Tess Harper) and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, (Kirk Cameron). His television credits include, Growing Pains, Blue Skies, Great Scott (Toby Maguire), Hollywood Wash (Ed Lover and Dr. Dre), Leisure Kings (Jay Mohr) and The 60’s (mini- series). Woodworth currently resides in Portland, Oregon where he is an active performer.  He also teaches voice and guitar.


Alicia Lagano

Alicia Lagano Headshot

With over 20 years in the business, Alicia has 42 credits including film, TV series lead regulars, recurring and guest star roles, auditioning for over 100 casting directors, screen testing, and on set direction. Check out her IMDb.



John Strasberg

Internationally renowned Director/Actor/Teacher John Strasberg brings his acclaimed Intensive Acting Workshop to the Portland area for the very first time. Mr. Strasberg’s Organic Creative Process and Technique picks up where The Method and other systems, created by great teachers, such as his father Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner, left off. Strasberg’s work is an evolution uin acting that goes beyond any method, it’s not a cookbook, it’s personal, and the basic technique is knowing yourself and knowing how to use yourself as you explore the character and the play. For more information, visit his website.

Justin Brill

Mr. Brill offers master classes geared toward actors interested in auditioning for productions, competitions, professional training and college or conservatory programs. Focus will be on monologues, singing technique, song selection, acting within a song and honing musical theater audition technique. Mr. Brill completed a 4-year tour in the role of Boq in Wicked. His Broadway credits include All Shook Up!, Rent, A Christmas Carol, Midsummer Night’s Dream and High Fidelity. Other productions include Beauty and the Beast (National Tour), Mamma Mia! and Monty Python’s Spamalot (Las Vegas). He is a graduate of the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama where he was the recipient of Charles Willard Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre. For more information, visit his website

Registration Information

All registrations will be online only. If you are unable to register online please contact our office and we can assist you 503-635-3901