Guest Artist Bios

October 1, 2013

Artistic Director of Playwrights Horizons

Tim Sanford is the Artistic Director of Playwrights Horizons, a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists, and to the production of their new work.  Beginning as a literary intern in 1984, Tim went on to serve for nine years as Literary Manager and two years as Associate Artistic Director, before assuming leadership of the theater in January 1996.  

In his tenure he has produced writers as diverse as Edward Albee, Christina Anderson, Billy Aronson, Jon Robin Baitz, Annie Baker, Tanya Barfield, Neal Bell, Adam Bock, Keith Bunin, David Cale, Kirsten Childs, Julia Cho, Kia...

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August 22, 2013

Culley Guest Artist - Director, THE THUGS

Larissa Kokernot is happy to be directing The Thugs at Occidental this fall as the Culley Guest Artist.  Larissa has been working in the professional theatre for over 30 years with regional directing credits at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, the Guthrie Theater, The Playwrights' Center, California Repertory Theatre, Project Y at 59e59, La Jolla Playhouse and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where she was the 2007 Phil Killian Directing Fellow.  Larissa served as Artistic Associate of Eye of the Storm Theatre in Minneapolis for 6 years where she directed The Death of the Father of Psychoanalysis (& Anna), Skylight and Two Sisters and a Piano as well as the seeds of many new plays.  Larissa has been living and working in the Los...

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August 15, 2013

Assistant Director - AGAMEMNON

Captain Jason Barlaan first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2005 upon graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre.  After spending two years at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, he reported to Quantico, VA where he earned his Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  In 2008 he was sent to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Two years later he was sent to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM where he earned his second Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.  After being honorably discharged in 2011, Captain Barlaan enrolled into the California Institute of the Arts where he is now receiving his Master of Fine Arts degree also in Theatre.  Theatre credits...

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April 16, 2013

Oxy Alumnus '48 and Professor Emeritus

Omar Paxson’s (’48) interest in theater began during the second world war when he was sent to LSU to train as an army engineer - but watched rehearsals in the theater department instead. On leave in London after fighting on the front lines, Omar  “saw the young Lawrence Olivier and Ralph Richardson in Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2… and Dame Edith Evans in The ...

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March 27, 2013

Hairspray Choreographer!

Cheryl has been in the entertainment business for over 30 years working in theater, commercials, film and television. She started her career as an assistant choreographer to Gene Kelly and Kenny Ortega in Coppola's film, One from the Heart and went on to work with Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her. She can be seen in over 20 films including Xanadu, Tap, Pennies from Heaven, 500 Days of Summer, and the new Muppet Movie. Cheryl has danced beside such legends as Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., The Nicholas Brothers and Donald O'Connor. Some of her favorite television credits are Glee, General Hospital, the Academy and Golden Globe Awards, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, and Mike and Molly. Theater performances include the Los Angeles and First National companies of Cats and 42nd Street and over 10 companies of ...

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March 19, 2013

Dan Dietz is the inaugural Guest Artist in Residence for the Edgerton Program in Theater 


Dan Dietz's new play, American Misfit, is receiving its world premiere production, directed by Michael Michetti at The Theatre @ Boston Court (April 4 - May 12, 2013).  
In addition to his work as a playwright, Dan is currently a writer for the CBS drama, Person of Interest. We are pleased that, through the Edgerton Guest Artist Program, Oxy students can benefit from both aspects of Dan's career: in the workshop described here and in a post-show discussion on April 12, following the final preview of American Misfit.
Dan Dietz’s plays include tempOdyssey, Tilt Angel, American Misfit, The Sandreckoner, Clementine in the Lower Nine and Home Below Zero. His work has been commissioned, developed and presented at...
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October 10, 2012

Oxy Alumnus '92

After graduating from Occidental with a major in Music, Benjamin began a successful career as a Classical Singer and Musical Theater Singer/Actor. He performed at the Los Angeles and Carmel Bach Festivals as well as many regional musical theaters. After moving to New York he performed the role of Lun Tha in the Tony winning revival of The King and I (1996-1998.) For the past 10 years, he has a been a Vocal Director at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Three of the 22 ships have Broadway musicals running on them: Chicago the Musical, Saturday Night Fever and Hairspray. In addition to vocal directing Hairspray, he is also on the casting team for Hairspray and Chicago the Musical. If you saw the Tony Awards this year, his cast of ...

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October 10, 2012

Oxy Alumna '92

Gretchen's professional singing and acting career has taken her all over the world.  She has performed on stages and in studios in Japan, Russia, New York, Los Angeles, and many places in between.  Her voice has been heard in Jazz Clubs, on Cruise Ships, in Theaters in Movies, on TV, the Radio, on CDs, etc. Having settled back in LA, Gretchen now performs her own shows as well as with several singing ensembles, including The Wonderelles, The Voices of Christmas and  The Michigan Avenue Jazz Ensemble. Gretchen teaches the award winning Vocal Power Method out of her home studio in Pasadena.  She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and experience with others, and especially looks forward to working with the Oxy community!

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October 5, 2012

TRE GARRETT is an up and coming, award winning director and playwright.  

Tre holds a BFA in Directing from the North Carolina School of the Arts where he worked with legendary Broadway director Gerald Freedman.  In addition, he has been a directing fellow for the Eugene O’Neill Playwright's Conference, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and for the John F. Kennedy Center.  As an Assistant Director, Tre has worked with artists such as Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan (JULIUS CAESAR on Broadway starring Denzel Washington), Tony Award winner Leonard Foglia (ON GOLDEN POND, starring James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams), and Gerald Freedman (ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE & WAITING FOR GODOT), among many others.

Most recently, Tre’s directing credits include THE OPERA OF EMMITT TILL, for the Trilogy Opera Company; ART TATUM/ PIANO...

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October 4, 2012

John Billingsley has been a ‘professional actor’ (one uses the term loosely) for thirty years: on the l7th of November at 12:30PM, he plans to bloviate (or pontificate, if you prefer) about an actor’s values, victories and vicissitudes.  Values shift and change as we grow older: how do we continue to move forward in a tough profession when what we wanted yesterday isn’t at all what we want today?  How do we build on our professional victories when we’re sometimes at a loss to even understand they’ve occurred?  What the hell’s a vicissitude, anyway?  Oh, maybe getting a review in which the reviewer says “7 actors taking turns couldn’t have given a more incoherent performance than John Billingsley”.  Try...

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