Michael is a graduate from Connecticut College and currently resides in Culver City, California. Majoring in Film Studies, Mike learned a great deal about the Film and Video industries and has now pursued a career in that same field. He is best described as a “behind-the-camera” kind of guy. You can find him on the sets of films and TV shows frantically working with the lights, electric, and cameras. Without Mike, none of the acting that takes place in front of the cameras would even be possible.
Currently Michael is a manager at Gilbertson Entertainment and works daily with known talent such as Melissa Joan Hart, Lauren Holly and Jude Demorest, who just booked the title character in Lee Daniel’s new series – STAR. It airs in January so keep your eyes peeled.
The knowledge and precision I gained from Renee’s courses has taught me the many methods to achieve an effective performance, and has also crafted my taste and understanding of what is a strong choice on the stage and on camera.
My name is Alec DeCrosta and I am currently going into my last year at Berklee College of Music, where I major in film scoring. Having had little acting experience prior to studying with Renee, she taught me the similarities between developing a musical composition and developing a character and the ways in which composing and acting are comparable; she showed me the importance of absorbing a character in every way possible to the point that you’re not just playing that character, but more so that you become that person and make it believable to the audience. She also taught me the importance of associating particular attributes and mannerisms to certain characters to make them seem more real, whether it’s written in the script or not. This way, the character is no longer a character but instead, the character is given life.
Kevin Schlagle is a professional Stage Manager of plays, musicals, and opera in the Boston area.
I use skills and practices from my time studying with Renee on a daily basis to help nurture and support performers and allow them to do their best work. When I was an actor, Renee helped me gain the confidence to audition in both amateur and professional settings. Renee gave me a respect and love for the theatrical process and she has always been a cheerleader to my career in theatre. I am so grateful for her devotion and commitment to her students and their beloved craft.
Anni Weisband is a SAG-AFTRA actor, writer, director, and producer.
She has performed in numerous regional and off-Broadway theaters including Playwrights Horizons on Theatre Row, La Mama, The Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and the Pioneer Playhouse in Danville, Kentucky. She has worked with prominent directors such as John Gould Rubin, Robby Henson, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
On the screen Anni has acted in numerous national commercials, TV shows, and feature films. Most recently she played a supporting role in two feature films that premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2015, Tangerine and I am Michael, which starred James Franco and Zachary Quinto. Tangerine was bought by Magnolia Pictures and released in theaters internationally.
Anni is also a writer, whose most notable works include two short comedic films that premiered all over the world (Soho International Film Festival, New York City Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Oldenburg International Film Festival). Her latest comedic sketch If American Girl Dolls Were Real Girls, which she wrote, produced, directed, and acted in was featured in Time Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, Nylon, Bustle, and The Daily Dot.
Anni is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of True False Theatre, a nonprofit performing arts company committed to cultivating female theater makers. She holds a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts 2011.
Anni currently lives in Los Angles, CA where she is pursuing her MFA in producing at UCS’s Peter Stark Producing Program under the mentorship of Larry Turman (The Graduate, American History X).
I’m currently a rising sophomore, pursuing Drama in the Experimental Theatre Wing of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts! I’m also a singer songwriter who has performed at various venues around New York City and Philadelphia (The Bitter End, The Bowery Electric, The Trocadero Theatre, World Cafe Live).
Renee was the first person to really encourage me to act. Up until taking classes with Renee, I did my high schools shows, where we were basically told what to do for the audience. Renee was the first person to bring acting to an introspective level with me. She would ask me questions and put me in scenarios and then ask me “well how would you react to this?”. Renee was the first person to show me that acting is truthful reacting.
I had always been a singer. When I walked into my first class with Renee, I looked at myself as a singer first, and then an actor. However, Renee’s energy and commitment to me in our acting lessons showed me that the acting had to come first. Even when I brought in a song for us to work on, she would emphasize that it had to be rooted in the acting. I still think about that today when I go on auditions where I will be singing or dancing–I still think back to Renee telling me that it’s “all rooted in the acting”.
Tyler Catanella is a proud graduate of the Theatre Education and Acting departments at Emerson College, where he now teaches dance composition & improvisation as an Adjunct Professor within the Performing Arts department. He is Artistic Director of ParadiseMoves, and dance company that shares stories through movement that inspire conversation. Tyler is a recipient of the Emerging Choreographer’s Award from Green Street Studios, for his works “Nostalgia” and “Every Thursday Night”. His work has been shown at Jose Mateo’s Dance for World Community, the Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts, Third Life Choreographer’s Series, Grant Jacoby & Dancers, ArtBeat, NACHMO Boston, Calamity Dance Co., Luminarium Dance Company’s ChoreoFest, and the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center. Tyler, under the artist name “Peace Pilgrim,” takes part in composing, producing and performing ParadiseMoves’ original music in collaboration with musicians internationally. He currently directs, choreographs and teaches K-12 acting and movement programs with Watertown Children’s Theatre, and has lead teaching residencies throughout the greater Boston area, with support from Playhouse Education and the Massachusetts Cultural Council STAR Grants.
Renee Weisband has instilled in me not only a deep sense of play for every character and role I take on, but a deeper love and appreciation for the stories I tell using the craft of theatre, without which I would not be where I am today. Because of the tools given to me while training with her for over four years, I was able to pursue auditions and opportunities I would not otherwise have had the knowledge to tackle on my own. Her one-on-one coaching gave me the materials and confidence I needed to successfully undertake all of my college auditions. Without Renee, my world would be a much less fulfilling place to be. Thank you, Renee.”
Wyatt is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles. After studying cinema at Ithaca College, he worked on several film and television productions, including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He also produced the web series #hotmessmoves, which gained a devoted following on YouTube. In the fall, he will begin UCLA’s prestigious screenwriting MFA program.
He thanks Renee for encouraging an early interest in the arts. He still draws on her lessons today. They taught him about storytelling and performance, but they also helped him learn to communicate effectively. Wyatt owes his comfort with public speaking to Renee, which in itself has proven invaluable.
Jared is a recent graduate from the University of Miami. Though he received his Bachelors in Business Administration in Marketing, his goal in breaking into the entertainment industry—particularly as a talent agent—keeps him moving and shaking.
He has performed in several theatrical productions from middle school through to his college career where Renee Weisband’s guidance has been most instrumental in shaping him as a well-rounded actor. With anything that he does on stage, she always reminds him to “make it LARGER than life.” She continues to be a personal mentor and the most genuine life’s cheerleader to him as he pursues a career in the talent agency industry.
He is more than pleased to know that his sister, Kennedy Hill (7 years old), is a current student in Renee’s acting class. He also continues to strive to make everything larger than life whether he’s on stage or off stage.
Soulful, quirky and refreshing are just a few words to sum up the music Whitney Wolf creates. Born and raised outside Philadelphia, Whitney grew up around music and began writing her own songs at the age of 10. Fast forward a bit and she found herself studying performance and business at Berklee College of Music, where she graduated in 2010.
Now based out of Brooklyn, NY, Whitney performs regularly with her band in support of her debut EP “The Unraveling”. You’ll find her sound to be a mixed bag of folk, pop and soul. And the catchy melody of “Solitary” is sure to be dancing in your ears throughout the day.
Interested in hearing more? Check out Whitney Wolf Music to see when Whitney will be in your neck of the woods.
Allison is currently a PhD student at Columbia University, studying early modern Chinese literature (Ming-Qing dynasty fiction and drama). Before beginning her graduate work at Columbia, she graduated with a BA in Chinese and History from Middlebury College, where music and theater were key features of her undergraduate life. During her time at Middlebury, Allison was a member of MCMP (the Middlebury College Musical Players), a student-run musical theater group. Some highlights from her time with the group include: her appearance in the group’s fall 2007 production of Merrily We Roll Along as Mary Flynn; her role as the Musical Director for the group’s fall 2008 production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; and her role as Stage Manager for the group’s production of West Side Story in the spring of 2010. Allison maintains a deep interest in theater and music, and has recently completed coursework focusing on early Chinese theater and performance culture at Columbia.
Allison attended Renee’s acting classes throughout her high school years. These classes helped to provide her with a greater confidence in her performing abilities, while introducing her to a large collection of theatrical material and variety of performance styles.
Further, Renee challenged Allison to act in roles unlike those she most often received in high school productions — roles that, at the time, still existed outside of her performing comfort zone. Most significantly, Renee’s classes provided a safe, supportive, and enjoyable atmosphere within which to learn about the profound medium of live theater — how to develop and deepen a character through improvisation, how to find small, meaningful “moments” in a scene or monologue, and how to engage the possibilities of theatrical experimentation. Renee’s classes offered a wonderful learning opportunity, and come highly recommend to anyone interested in theater, regardless of one’s existing skills or previous acting experience.
My name is Laura Foley. I am currently a sophomore studying Musical Theatre at Rowan University. I originally came to Renee during my senior year of high school. I was seeking someone to help me prepare for my college auditions. She taught me so much more. Renee taught me so much during my time with her. She not only helped me find and prepare monologues for my auditions but she gave me the confidence I needed to audition for schools when I was applying. After preparing for my audition with Renee, I auditioned for Rowan University with three thousand other applicants and I was one of the fourteen accepted. I sincerely believe it was Renee’s dedication that helped me get accepted.
Renee taught me the basics of improv, how to chose appropriate material for an audition, how an audition should go and how to keep my voice grounded. I had the most wonderful time at her studio and I don’t know if I would be at GCIT for the performing arts without her.
Renee worked with me on delving deep into a character’s life and background, which contributes to the development and understanding of both the character and the truth of the situation. By adding this extra layer, Renee helped me take control of my auditions and master the material. As a result of such expertise, I managed to get accepted into numerous college programs, and have decided to attend New York University’s Musical Theater program: The New Studio on Broadway. I will always gratefully remember the advice I received from Renee as I proceed throughout my future career.
I’ve been going to Renee’s studio since I was eleven years old. I am now a college student and I am studying Theater at Loyola Marymount University located in Los Angeles. Renee has taught me everything I know about acting and has helped me find the confidence that I need to excel in the entertainment business. I am so grateful that I had Renee as a teacher and mentor.