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Meet the Team

Artistic Director Michelle Danner

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Michelle Danner is considered one of the top acting coaches in Los Angeles  as well as film and stage director and  author.

It was her father, who opened the very first William Morris Agency in Paris, France, that instilled a strong passion and work ethic in her that has stayed with her throughout her life.

Michelle has taught acting for the last 24 years and has worked with many A-List Actors privately and on set including: James Franco, Seth MacFarlane, Salma Hayek, Henry Cavill, Zooey Deschanel, Gerard Butler, Chris Rock, Chris Martin, Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Michael Pena, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Jennifer Coolidge, Christian Slater, Catherine Bell, Michelle Rodriguez,  Grant Bowler, Melanie Brown,  Verne Troyer, Gabrielle Union, Common,  Rob Estes,  Marcia Cross,  Kate Del Castillo, Brian McKnight, and many others.

Voted favorite acting coach by Backstage readers. She was brought in for her expert coaching on the WB show The Starlet and was featured with Andy Richter on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.

Michelle trained extensively in Paris and New York with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen. She was the Managing Director of the Larry Moss Studio since it’s inception in Los Angeles for 20 years.

She is the Founding Director of Edgemar Center for the Arts and raised $1.3 million to construct the two theaters and the art gallery at the Center. At the opening ceremony, Steven Spielberg commented, “Here we have a venue that can turn out some extremely experienced, daring and resourceful artists.” She is currently serving as Artistic Director and teaches ongoing acting classes in LA at the Michelle Danner Studio, housed at Edgemar.

She teaches acting seminars internationally in South America, Europe, Toronto, Vancouver, Dubai, New York, Sydney and Australia. She has taught in several cities including: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Istanbul, Paris, and Moscow.

Michelle has directed and acted in over thirty plays and musicals in New York and Los Angeles. Her favorite acting credits include Tennessee William’s The Rose Tattoo, which garnered LA Weekly critic’s pick and five Dramalogue awards including best actress; House of Yes, Bright Ideas, Ibsen’s Ghosts the world premiere of One White Crow.

Her highlights at Edgemar have been pioneering new works that include The Night of the Black Cat, a world premiere and winner of the 2005 Best Musical of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards. She directed the world premiere of Mental the Musical, winner of several 17th Annual TicketHolder awards for acting and musical score. She wrote and directed the world premiere of You’re on the Air, an improv based comedy which is in development to become a movie. She directed the west coast premiere of Hello Herman by John Buffalo Mailer and co-directed Jane Fonda in the Court of Public Opinion starring Anne Archer.

Michelle also produced and acted in the award-winning short film Dos Corazones, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival and went on to win Best Cinematography & Audience Favorite at the Malibu Film Festival.

In 2006, she made her feature film directing debut How to go Out on a Date in Queens which was nominated and won four L.A. Film Awards including Best Director. It starred Jason Alexander, Esai Morales, Ron Perlman, Kimberly Williams, Rob Estes and Alison Eastwood. Her production company, All in Films, has several projects in the works: You’re on the Air, The Bandit Hound II, and The Will To…

In April 2011, she completed Hello Herman starring Norman Reedus (AMC’s The Walking Dead), Martha Higareda, and Garrett Backstrom. The film premiered at the Hollywood Film Festival to a sold out audience and had its international premiere at the Monaco Charity Film Festival where it won the award for social relevance. It opened in June 2013 and was distributed on VOD in 100 million homes across the U.S. by Warner Brothers.

She is putting the finishing touches on her acting book, The Golden Box, which will be released in early 2017. Her latest film, The Bandit Hound, a family comedy starring Catherine Bell, Lou Ferigno, Judd Nelson, Paul Sorvino, and Verne Troyer, was released in 2016 by Alchemy and is available in stores and the following digital platforms. Check Film Director & Los Angeles acting coach Michelle Danner’s future producing & directing projects. *Visit her film production company “All In Films,” 

CLICK HERE to see the THE TRAILER “The Bandit Hound” a funny, heartwarming story about a lovable dog, Bandit, who is trained to pull off bank heists by a pair of robbers. The Movie Stars Catherine Bell, Lou Ferrigno, Joe Flanigan,Paul Sorvino, and introducing Nicholas Alexander, with Judd Nelson and Verne Troyer.
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ALEXANDRA GUARNIERI – Managing Director

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Born in Paris, Alexandra moved to the US at age 11. She speaks 4 languages fluently (French, Spanish, Italian, and English). She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, Alexandra spent several years working in television, first at CNN then MSNBC. Currently, Alexandra is co-founder and managing director of Edgemar Center for the Arts. Alexandra has been producing plays and films since 2005.

She has also co-produced several films, including How To Go On A Date In Queens and Hello Herman written by John Buffalo Mailer, starring Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead, which played in theaters across the country and was available in 100 million homes on demand. The trailer can be watched at www.helloherman.com. She recently completed principle photography on her latest film,The Bandit Hound which is scheduled to be released during the 2014 Holiday season. Please visit her film company atwww.allinfilms.com for details on the latest films under development.

She has had a long collaboration with director Henry Jaglom, producing several of his critically acclaimed plays including: Always but Not Forever, Just 45 Minutes from Broadway, and 2014’s award winning hit The Rainmaker. In addition to producing plays, Alexandra has produced a number of musicals such as THANK Q – A World Music Tribute To the Humanitarian Works Of Quincy Jones, the award winning musical Black Cat Cabaret – which also ran for a year –  as well as its revival renamed Tick Tock Cabaret. She is also an active member in the community and has created and shaped various outreach programs for underprivileged children, teens, and the elderly. With a passion for art, she also curates the Edgemar Center for the Arts Art Gallery and runs the Michelle Danner acting school one of the top acting schools in the country, offering acting classes to children teens and adults. You can visit:www.michelledanner.com for more information.

 

BRIAN DRILLINGER

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Is a teacher, producer and director. He teaches classes in vocal production, speech, on-camera cold reading and scene study for the Acting Studio at Edgemar. He has also been a private acting coach for many years and has helped young actors such as: Traylor Howard (Monk, Boston Common, Me Myself and Irene), Jennifer Grant (Movie Stars, Savage, The Evening Star) and Stacey Dash (Clueless). Mr. Drillinger taught scene study at U.C.L.A. for the Extension Program and voice for the Micheal Woolson studio. As a visiting artist he has taught classes in voice and scene study in Melbourne AU and for the Tri-County Performing Arts Center in PA. Judy Kerr lists him as a recommended coach in the successful industry guidebook, ACTING IS EVERYTHING.

Brian is a founder and the Creative Director of EDGEMAR CENTER for the ARTS. He produced and directed the show for the first Edgemar benefit event. Hosted by Jason Alexander, and starring; Hilary Swank, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sally Kellerman, Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser, Hank Azaria and many others. The show brought in over a quarter of a million dollars for the center. He produced FOUR-THOUGHT at the Hudson Theatre, as well as the critically acclaimed production of Tennessee Williams THE ROSE TATOO also at the Hudson. He produced the stage version of HOW TO GO OUT ON A DATE IN QUEENS directed by Larry Moss and the award winning short DOS CORAZONES. He co-wrote, produced and stars in the feature HOW TO GO OUT ON A DATE IN QUEENS, which also stars Jason Alexander, Kimberly Williams and Ron Perlman. His performance earned him BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR AWARD at the LA INDIES AWARDS, 2006. Mr. Drillinger is currently producing the up coming feature HELLO HERMAN.

Directing credits include: THE HOUSE OF YES at the Edgemar Center, THE DREAMER EXAMINES HIS PILLOW at the Complex in LA, ALMOST MAINE in Melbourne AU and the Tri-County Performing Arts Center in PA, and CHIP CHOP also at the Edgemar Center.

Brian studied acting at S.U.N.Y. Purchase and graduated with honors. He has also studied with Uta Hagen in NY and Larry Moss and Milton Katselas in LA.

His other acting credits include: Stan, on Broadway, and in the film version of Neil Simon’s BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, and the National Tour of BROADWAY BOUND. He originated the role of Jason Posner in the Pulitzer Prize winning play WIT at the South Coast Repertory and reprised the role at the Seattle Repertory and the Alley Theatre in Houston. Other regional credits include: THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE at the Old Globe in San Diego, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, and BOUNDARY WATERS at the South Coast Repertory, DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Pioneer Theatre Co. in Utah, in LA, SOLACE, GANGSTER APPAREL, and DOVE at the Hudson Theatre, A SHAYNA MADEL at the Tiffany Theatre and BRIGHT IDEAS at the Edgemar Center. Also in New York, THE REAL THING at the T. Schreiber Studio. Television credits include: THE AGENCY, WINGS, LIFE GOES ON, REASONABLE DOUBTS and GENERAL HOSPITAL. Brian starred opposite Sally Kirkland in the feature STARRY NIGHT and Janeane Garafalo in the film I SHOT A MAN IN VEGAS.

 

Deborah LaVine

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Deborah has directed over 300 professional theater productions across the country. Many have been lauded as critics choice and been recognized with prestigious awards. Deborah received 14 Drama-Logue awards for outstanding direction, an Ovation award for Best Director of NAPOLI MILLIONARIA at the Road Theater Company, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award and a NAACP citation for her direction of DISTANT FIRES at Long Beach International City Theatre – along with many other honors. A small sample of theaters in Los Angeles where Deborah has directed include The Company of Angels, The Odyssey Theatre Co., Deaf West Theater (STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE which won the Ovation award for Best Production, and TRUE WEST, both presented in American Sign Language and voice interpretation), Mark Taper Forum, The Tiffany Theater and Theater Exchange.

A portion of Deborah’s work has included investigation of World War ll, with a focus on the Holocaust and its ruinous effect on individual lives. These works include KINDERTRANSPORT, A SHAYNA MAIDEL (both West Coast Premieres), Wendy Graf’s LEIPZIG at the Stasberg Theater Institute (World Premiere) and Bernard Weinraub’s THE ACCOMPLICES at the Fountain Theater (West Coast Premiere.)

Deborah has also worked extensively with Tennessee Williams plays including a highly regarded production of THE ROSE TATTOO at the Hudson Theater Complex produced by the Edgemar Theater Group, an organization Deborah currently represents as a member on their Artistic Board.

Deborah serves as Co-Program Chair of the Film Directing Program at California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS), a graduate level (MFA) narrative film directing program. She recently directed a short film inspired by Tom Jacobson’s play, THE FRIENDLY HOUR, with the expectation it will become a feature length film in 2012.