Melissa DuPrey: Faculty Mentor

Melissa DuPrey

An AfroLatina performer, storyteller, & comic from the heart of Chicago, Melissa DuPrey is a native of Humboldt Park.

After earning double Bachelor degrees from the University of Houston, she returned to Chicago to join the all-Latina theatre company, Teatro Luna. Her one-woman show, SEXomedy, was developed during their monthly series for women of color in the arts and received a Chicago Reader Recommendation, a Member’s Pick, and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York.

Her second solo show, SUSHI-frito, has also been critically acclaimed as part of MPAACT’s Signature Series for solo artists.

Regional Theatre credits include: Tilikum (Sideshow Theater Company), The Compass (Steppenwolf Theatre) and Luna Gale(Goodman Theatre).

Other theatre credits include American Beauty Shop (Chicago Dramatist), SUSHI-frito (Free Street Theatre), Adoration of the Old Woman (Urban Theatre Company), and A Citizen’s Anthology(Inconvenience Theatre), Forecast (ICAH/MCA), and PUTAS!(Teatro Luna).

Film credits include: Two in the Bush (2017), The Way We Speak(2014), and Bromance (2014).

Melissa was a featured actor in the Emmy-nominated web-series Brown Girls. Other TV credits include appearances on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Empire,” “Chicago PD,” and “The Chi.”

She is currently an Ensemble Member at UrbanTheater Company, and the Director of Production and Community Relations at Free Street Theater.

As a stand-up comic,  DuPrey has performed in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and various reputable venues throughout Chicago such as Zanies, Riddles, Second City’s UP Comedy Club, Mikey O Comedy Show, and The Abbey Pub. Ms. DuPrey has also been a regular guest on WGN’s late-night radio show hosted by Comedian Patti Vasquez and a guest performer/panelist at the National Hispanic Leadership Summit.

As a musician and active member of her community, she is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture by way of the folkloric music, Bomba y Plena, with Africaribe and Las BomPleneras.


Lelund Durond Thompson: Faculty Mentor

Lelund Durond Thompson is an actor, acting coach, photographer, writer, and director based in Los Angeles.

He enjoys using his diverse skill set to tell stories that heal and capture people in their best light.

After studying acting at North Carolina A&T State University (BFA) and Case/Cleveland Play House (MFA), he started his career as a professional actor in New York while also working regional, off-Broadway, and international shows in theaters and venues like Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris (with iconic American artist Melvin van Peebles).

In 2010, he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he’s enjoyed capturing Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, Sting, Daniel Radcliffe, and many of New York’s and Hollywood’s most talented artists.

In 2014, he founded Lelund Durond Studios, attracting and securing clients/projects like Diane Guerrero and Joivan Wade (“Doom Patrol”, HBO Max), Radha Blank (Sundance 2019 Directing Award Winner for “The Forty Year Old Version”) and the upcoming MGM feature film “Respect” (featuring clients Jennifer Hudson and Marlon Wayans).

In 2016, the world famous Apollo Theater (in collaboration with The Classical Theatre of Harlem) premiered “The First Noel”, an original holiday musical he wrote with Special Tony Award recipient, Jason Michael Webb (“Respect”, Executive Music Producer). He and Jason are honored to be commissioned by National Black Theatre as they write their new musical, “WiLDFLOWER.”


Lelund Durond Thompson

Jose Zayas: Faculty Mentor

Jose Zayas

José Zayas is an award-winning director. He has directed over 100 productions in New York, regionally, and internationally.

​Credits include: El Perro del Hortelano (Gala Theatre), Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes) (En Garde Arts), The Queen of Basel (Studio Theatre, DC), Exquisita Agonía (Repertorio Espanol), The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (BAM, MASS MoCA, US & European Tours), A Nonesuch Celebration (BAM), Washed Up on the Potomac (San Francisco Playhouse, The Flea Theater), Undocumented (Joe’s Pub), Pinkolandia and El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom (Two River Theater), The House of the Spirits (Teatro Espressivo, Gala Theatre, Denver Center, ACE, HOLA, and Ovation Awards for Best Production and Direction), Your Name Will Follow You Home, La Nena Se Casa, Love in the Time of Cholera, In the Time of the Butterflies, In The Name of Salome, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Burundanga (Repertorio Español, ACE and HOLA Awards for Best Production and Direction for the latter two), Corazon Eterno, (Mixed Blood), Southern Promises and Strom Thurmond is Not a Racist (PS 122, The Brick), Useless (IRT), Father of Lies and Vengeance Can Wait (PS 122); P.S. Jones and the Frozen City, Feeder: A Love Story (TerraNOVA Collective); Privilege, Okay, Mrs. Jones and the Man From Dixieland (EST), The Idea of Me (Cherry Lane Theatre), The Queen Bees (Queens Theatre in the Park), Manuel Vs. The Statue of Liberty and Children of Salt (NYMF), Cancun, Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Gala Theatre, DC), Wedding Dress, The Island of Lonely Men (Teatro Espressivo, Costa Rica), Grapes of Wrath, Romeo & Juliet (The American Shakespeare Center).

José has premiered works by Stephin Merritt, Hilary Bettis, Nilo Cruz, Caridad Svich, Robert Askins, Thomas Bradshaw, Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater, Taylor Mac, Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Lynn Rosen, Saviana Stanescu, Carlos Murillo, Rob Urbinati, Kristina Poe, Catherine Filloux, James Carter, Gerardo Cardenas, Matt Barbot, Susan Kim, and Jordi Galceran.

Notable fellowships and affiliations include: a Drama League Fellowship, Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab, SoHo Rep’s Writer/Director Lab, and the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and he was the Resident Director at Repertorio Español from 2008-2018. José was born in Puerto Rico. He holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Nana Dakin: Faculty Mentor

Nana Dakin is a queer Thai American director of new work, classics and devised performance based in NYC. Her work pursues social equity by examining the way culture is constructed and unsettling dormant biases. She is the first Thai theatre director to direct at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

In NYC she has developed and presented new work at Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Civilians, Clubbed Thumb, Ma-Yi Theater Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Soho Rep and more.

Recent NYC theatre credits include: Dear John (Brick Aux), Extraordinary Alien (Pan Asian Repertory Theatre), Should I Buy These Katanas to Fill the Void in My Heart (Ma-Yi Theater Company), We Play Together (Ma-Yi Theater Company), Mammelephant (Superhero Clubhouse).

Recent regional theatre credits include: The Chinese Lady (Everyman Theatre), Again (Theater Mu), Eurydice (American Shakespeare Company).

Nana is a core member of B-Floor Theatre, Thailand’s most highly awarded theatre company, and of Superhero Clubhouse, a company that creates theater to enact climate and environmental justice. Nana is also the Board President of the Thai Theatre Foundation.

She has taught directing, devising and creative movement workshops in Thailand, the U.K and the U.S. As a performer with B-Floor Theatre, she performed in Thailand, Japan, Italy and the U.S.

She is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab, NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship,
Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, and Civilians R&D Group. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University.


Nana Dakin

Karl O’Brian Williams: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and New Play Development Faculty

Karl O'Brian Williams

Karl O’Brian Williams is a Jamaican-born actor, playwright, producer, director and educator.

His acting career has taken him from stages in the Caribbean to those in New York, Toronto, and the United Kingdom.

In 2021 he received an Audie Award nomination for his narration of Maisy Card’s “These Ghosts are Family.”

The short film Winston was adapted from his monologue “The Kept Man,” and received over eighteen film festival selections including the Hip Hop Film Festival, BronzeLens, Circle City Film Festival, Queen City Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival and the African American Film Festival.

His play The Black That I Am has been staged in Glasgow and Galloway for the National Theatre of Scotland, and at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.

Not About Eve had a successful run Off-Off-Broadway in New York, Queens, Brooklyn, Rochester, Hartford, CT, and North Carolina at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem.  In 2013 the play received 3 AUDELCO nominations for Excellence in Black Theatre including Outstanding Ensemble Cast, Best Dramatic Production, and Best Playwright.

Excerpts of his play “What’s In A Name” have been published in Out & Allied Volume 2: An Anthology of Performance Pieces by LGBTQ Youth & Allies.

His other published play “The Signs of Friendship” is part of the theatre anthology: We’re Not Neutral Reset Series 2020.

He has served as Deputy Chair and Theatre Coordinator in the Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts Department at The Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY), and as Adjunct at NYU Steinhardt in the Program in Educational Theatre.

He has taught at the City College of New York and done teaching artistic work with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Apple Arts, and Wingspan Arts.

For NYU and the Center for Multipurpose Education & Programs, Williams has directed the Martin Luther King Jr. signature event since 2011 and has produced shows for the Skirball Performing Arts Center and the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

He is currently a mentor with the Arthur Miller Foundation, and part of Playground-LA’s Writers Pool Season 11.

As Artistic Director for Braata Productions, he curates the organization’s bi-annual Caribbean Play Reading Series, creates educational theatre curriculum for after school and senior center programs, and created Braata’s annual events, Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival and Old Time Grand Market.

He has shared the stage with Harry Belafonte and the late historian and activist Howard Zinn, and pursues artistic projects that interrogate socio-political issues, especially those intersecting with Caribbean culture, queerness, and immigration.


Dennis Whitehead Darling: Faculty Mentor

Dennis Whitehead Darling is an award-winning Stage Director working in opera, theatre, musical theatre and film.

His recent directing credits include: World Premieres of Marian’s Song (Houston Grand Opera), Sanctuary Road (North Carolina Opera) “Why I Live at the PO (UrbanArias), Buried Deep (End Station Theatre) and The Secret River (Opera Orlando). Other works include Jelly’s Last Jam – A Concert Reading (Long Wharf Theatre), The Falling and the Rising (Arizona Opera), La Bohème (Opera Columbus), Lost in the Stars (Annapolis Opera), The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Red Mountain Theatre), Independence Eve (Opera Birmingham), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Hattiloo Theatre/Spazio Teatro No’hma – Milan), Jelly’s Last Jam (Hattiloo Theatre), The Parchman Hour (Hattiloo Theatre), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Spazio Teatro No’hma –Milan), Intimate Apparel (University of Memphis), Movin’ Up in the World (Opera Memphis), Sunset Baby (Hattiloo Theatre), James and the Giant Peach (Circuit Playhouse), Blue Viola (Opera Memphis), Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting (Hattiloo Theatre), Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (Hattiloo Theatre). Film credits include: Hansel and Gretel (Opera On Tap), Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Carnegie Mellon University).

Associate Directing credits include: AITAF on Broadway (Studio 54), The Last of the Love Letters (Atlantic Theatre), Light’s Out: Nat “King” Cole (Geffen Playhouse), Skeleton Crew (Geffen Playhouse).

In 2018, he was selected by Opera Memphis as their Inaugural McCleave Fellow in Directing, a fellowship dedicated to fostering the careers of Stage Directors and Music Directors of color.

Throughout his career, Dennis has expressed one major goal, “to tell emotionally engaging and provocative stories that challenge the viewer to see the world from a different perspective.”


Dennis Whitehead Darling


Stephanie Holladay Earl: Director

Stephanie Holladay Earl has worked professionally as an actor, director, and choreographer for the last 20 years. She is an Associate Professor, Head of Undergraduate Theatre, and the Director of the MFA Theatre Program at Randolph College. She also serves as Artistic Director for Endstation Theatre Company.

Stephanie earned her BA in Theatre Performance and Dance from Greensboro College and her MFA in Acting from The University of Houston PATP. 

Earl moved to Virginia to work as an actor and choreographer at The American Shakespeare Center in 2011. Roles include Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Olivia in Twelfth Night, and the Duchess in The Duchess of Malfi.

Stephanie has worked with Endstation Theatre Company for many years. Her roles with ETC include Rosalind in As You Like It 2018, Neddy McCullough in The Bluest Water, and Tara in Buried Deep.

Other regional theatre acting work includes credits from The Barter Theatre, Main Street Theater Houston, and The Farm Theatre. 

Her work as a Director and choreographer has been seen by audiences at The American Shakespeare Center, The Barter Theatre, Greensboro College, Greensboro Children’s Theatre, Milligan College, and Main Street Theater Houston.

American Shakespeare Center directing credits include the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021 productions of A Christmas Carol, Every Brilliant Thing, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Amy E. Whiting’s Anne Page Hates Fun (the first production in ASC’s Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries series).

Earl has choreographed dance pieces for more than 30 ASC productions.

Her direction for the ASC’s production of A Christmas Carol received praise from DCMetro: “…with Stephanie Holladay Earl’s intricately-woven choreography and direction, this new production soars in ways I never thought possible.” 

Stephanie Holladay Earl

Ally Farzetta: Assistant Director

Ally Farzetta is a professional actor, theater-maker, and educator. In addition to serving as Assistant Director of MFA Theatre Ally directs productions and teaches classes for the Randolph College Performing Arts Department.

Ally earned her BA in Theatre Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz and her MFA in Acting from FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Over the last decade Ally has performed in classical, contemporary and new works at numerous regional theatres around the country, including Asolo Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare and Company, Virginia Stage Company, Virginia Repertory Theatre, American Stage, Shadowland Stages, and more.

Ally spent two years touring the country with the American Shakespeare Center, where she played many roles in over ten productions, including Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Hermione in The Winter’s Tale.

Ally Farzetta

Advisory Board

Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter

Actor | Artistic Director, American Shakespeare Center


Nehassaiu deGannes

Nehassaiu deGannes

Actor | Poet | Maker | Teacher


Mary Catherine Garrison

Mary Catherine Garrison

Laura Penn

Laura Penn

Executive Director of Stage Directors & Choreographers Society


David Rainey

David Rainey

Resident Actor, Alley Theatre


Administrative Faculty

Patrick Earl

Patrick Earl

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre
Randolph College


Heather Sinclair

Heather Sinclair

Assistant Professor of Theatre,
Technical Director,
Randolph College


Gary Dop

Gary Dop

Dean of Graduate Studies & Innovation,
Professor of English
Randolph College