Education Faculty

KIRBY WARD (Summer Education and Outreach Director/Director of Musical Theatre Production Workshop) is an actor, writer, director and choreographer. Broadway audiences have seen him in Show Boat, Woman of the Year and Never Gonna Dance. He received an Olivier Award nomination for his portrayal of Bobby Child in the London premiere of Crazy for You. Kirby has directed and choreographed on five continents, and written for stage, TV and film. Rubicon audiences know his directorial and choreographic work from She Loves Me, Return to the Forbidden Planet (twice!) and Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He appeared on stage here as Luther Billis in South Pacific and in the Broadway Concert Series. As an educator, Kirby was a special guest director/instructor at the prestigious Central Academy of Drama (CAD) in central Beijing. He has done similar work in Seoul, Korea. In Inner Mongolia, he trained a folkloric troupe in the Western style of musical theatre, directing them while creating an original musical celebrating the life of Kublai Khan.


ANTHONY LUCCA (Musical Director) is a Los Angeles-based music director who develops and music directs new works for theatre and film. World premieres include Mutt House (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Cult of Love (IAMA Theatre Company), Bronco Billy (Skylight Theatre Company - L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award), workshop productions of new musicals in L.A. and New York City, and the short film “Into Light.” Additional music direction credits include Mamma Mia! (5-Star Theatricals), Miracle on 34th Street (Actor’s Co-Op), Evita in Concert (Palos Verdes Performing Arts), She Loves Me (Actor’s Co-Op), Calvin Berger (Standing Room Only), and Honeymoon in Vegas (Musical Theatre Guild).  Anthony also guest music directs and conducts for performing arts grade schools and colleges in both L.A. and New England. He is a frequent performer in jazz and cabaret settings and has performed at Feinstein's 54 Below, Rockwell Table & Stage, Birdland, Blue Whale, Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal Bar, and Hollywood Bowl.


JOSEPH FUQUA (Fearless Shakespeare Director) is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs, 110 in the Shade (Lincoln Center), Raft of the Medusa and Yours, Anne. Joseph has been seen on television on “The X-Files,” “The Profiler,” “Brooklyn South,” “The Pretender,” “Chicago Hope,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Becker,” to name a few. On film, Joseph appeared in “Ed’s Next Move,” “David Searching,” “Heyday,” and as J.E.B. Stuart in “Gettysburg,” a role he reprised in Warner Brother's “Gods and Generals.” Joseph was Rubicon’s first company member and has acted with the company for more than twenty seasons. Favorite Rubicon credits include All My Sons (Ovation Award), Hamlet (Independent Award), and The Rainmaker (Robby Award). He received a Drama-Logue Award for The Cat’s Meow. Joseph has directed 15 full-length plays for Rubicon’s Fearless Shakespeare program.  


LOUIS LOTORTO (Fearless Shakespeare Verse Coach, Assistant Director) is thrilled to be collaborating with Joseph Fuqua again for his third summer season. With an acting resume steeped in classical theatre, Louis has worked professionally as a regional theatre actor for over 32 years and has performed in twenty of the plays in the Shakespeare canon, including the Rubicon’s production of King Lear as the Fool. Louis’ passion is storytelling through language, and his mission is making heightened text accessible to young people, taking the intimidation factor out of the equation by teaching students how to navigate the muscularity of the verse, thereby making the words come alive in the mouth of the speaker. Borrowing from Hamlet’s advice to the Players, he teaches to “suit the action to the word, the word to the action,“ and believes that if you can act well in Shakespeare's plays, you will be a better actor overall. Favorite Shakespeare Play: Macbeth. Favorite Shakespeare quote: “To thine own self be true.” www.louislotorto.com


GARRETT BLAIR (Director, Stinky Feet) is an experienced youth theatre director and collaborator, having worked with children of all ages for nearly twenty years. Garrett and his wife Sara recently moved to Southern California from New York City, where he studied acting and directing at Columbia University. While living in New York, Garrett performed, directed, and developed new works in festivals and venues such as The Fringe, Dixon Place, and Theatre for a New City. Garrett was Program Director for Kids Creative, a youth organization that develops original musicals as a vehicle for peace education. He is originally from Boston where he was the resident director of the Lexington Youth Summer Theatre. Garrett and Sara also run Collabreations: Where Kids Collaborate to Create, a new after-school youth theatre in the area.


RICK HILSABECK (Voice) has appeared on Broadway and in National Tours, appearing as the title role in The Phantom of the Opera directed by Hal Prince, Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Big Davey in Billy Elliot: The Musical, Henry Ford in Ragtime, Governor Slaton in Parade. He also appeared in the World Premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Bounce. Other credits include Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate, Nathan in Guys and Dolls, The King in Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn directed by Kirby Ward, Herbie in Gypsy, Lumiére in Beauty and the Beast, Cornelius in Hello, Dolly! and Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Rick was a founding member and principal dancer of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. He has an active private voice and acting studio for both professionals and young performers, and is one of the founders of Wiremill Academy, a training ground for young theatre artists in Connecticut. Past and present students attend prestigious university and conservatory programs around the world.


SARAH PFISTERER (Voice) received her B.M and M.M. from Northwestern University. Broadway audiences have enjoyed her performances as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Magnolia in Harold Prince’s Show Boat, and in Children & Art. Off-Broadway credits include Meet Me in St. Louis. Sarah’s regional work includes The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Maria in The Sound of Music (IRNE award), Julie in Carousel (IRNE Award), Marian in The Music Man (IRNE nom.), Anna in The King and I (IRNE nom.), Kate/Lilli in Kiss Me Kate, Belle in Beauty and the Beast (IRNE nom.), and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Sarah was a Metropolitan Opera semi-finalist. She’s appeared on “The Today Show,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” and “The Food Network.” Sarah’s acting studio students appear on film, TV and onstage, and at University of Michigan, Northwestern, Ithaca, Boston University, Baldwin Wallace, Elon, BOCO at Berklee, NYU, Syracuse, Manhattan School of Music, and Vanderbilt.


BERNADETTE BIRKETT (Improvisation) is an alumnus of Second City. In 1980, NBC brought her to L.A., where she remains with her husband George Wendt and their five children.  She starred as Jackie Shumaker on “The Garry Shandling Show” from 1986 to 1990. Bernadette was most recently seen as Rose in the current season of “Arrested Development.”


JUDY KERR (Audition Techniques for Film and Television) is an accomplished acting coach, actress and director, Judy Kerr brings over 30 years of experience to Rubicon’s Summer Youth Program. Judy, a well-known acting coach and author, is recognized in Hollywood for her unique gift of nurturing talent and helping actors succeed. Coaching one-on-one with some of the top names in the business, Judy works to enhance the artistry and technical skills of actors, helping to build their confidence so they deliver their best performance. As dialogue coach on the hit series “Seinfeld,” she coached series regulars Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander, as well as the show’s many guest stars. Other television coaching credits include “It’s All Relative,” “All About the Andersons,” “Bob Patterson,” “The Ellen Show,” “The Michael Richards Show,” “It’s Like, You Know...,” “The Single Guy” and “Alright Already.” Her cable television show in L.A., “Judy Kerr’s Acting is Everything,” ran for 23 seasons. She is the bestselling author of twelve editions of Acting is Everything, contributing to the success of thousands of readers.


JESSIE VACCHIANO (View from the Booth) is an L.A. based AEA stage manager holding a B.F.A in Production with an emphasis in Stage Management from Mason Gross School of the Arts. East Coast credits include Three Pianos, Our Planet, Breakup Notebook, Soul on Fire, Beth Malone…So Far, Murder in the Cathedral and Body Awareness. For Arkansas Rep, she was the Production Stage Manager for Pal Joey. Other credits include I Am My Own Wife (Laguna Playhouse), My Life with Men…and Other Animals (U.S. Premiere), A View from the Bridge (L.A. TheatreWorks), Measure for Measure (ETC), and Sweet Charity (Reprise 2.0). At Rubicon, she has stage managed more than twenty productions including Noises Off, Conviction (co-production with Bay Street Theatre), The Last Five Years, Other Desert Cities, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, See Rock City, Gulf View Drive, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Moonlight and Magnolias, Taking Sides, Sylvia, Incognito, The Baby Dance: Mixed, Heisenberg (also at Laguna Playhouse), Plaid Tidings, and Never Not Once. Jessie is Rubicon’s Director of Production and Operations.


STEPHANIE COLTRIN (Audition Techniques for Stage) is an award-winning producer and director with over 200 productions to her credit. Directing credits at Rubicon include the upcoming Almost Maine, Buyer and Cellar, Taking Sides, Sylvia, Moonlight and Magnolias, and The Last Five Years (Ovation recommended). Other directing credits include Miss Saigon (Ovation Award-winner for Best Musical and Ovation nomination for her direction), Seussical (Broadway World Award), Jesus Christ Superstar (Stage Scene L.A. Award), Oklahoma!, Bark, She Loves Me, The 1940’s Radio Hour, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Barefoot in the Park, Godspell, Private Lives, Steel Magnolias, Blithe Spirit, Art, Come Back to the Five and Dime…, Quilters, Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, King John, The Lonesome West, Bloody Poetry, Oswald, Bach at Leipzig, The Love List, Panache, and Stones in His Pockets. She is an Casting Director and Producer for Rubicon, served as the Artistic Director of CLO of South Bay and the Hermosa Beach Playhouse, is the Artistic Associate for Little Fish Theatre and the Associate Festival Director for Shakespeare by the Sea. She has created and taught master classes in musical theatre audition technique, taught graduate seminars at UC Irvine, served as an Ovation voter, and for three years was a judge for L.A.’s Next Great Stage Star.