Bios

Erika Lupo, Owner

Erika LupoErika Lupo is the CEO, and Owner of Acting-A-Part® Theater Company (AAP), which was founded in 2002. Erika launched her successful company after completing 15 years as a certified English teacher in Ramsey and Maplewood, School Districts of New Jersey. While teaching, she developed and established the Middle School Theater Program in both NJ School Districts. Her efforts earned her a nomination for the prestigious NJ "Best Practice" Teaching Award in 2001. In addition, Acting-A-Part will be franchising nationally in 2013! Offering our state of the art theater and film schools through out the United States! We have also launched our own make up line! Our lip glosses can be found at our theaters as well as various boutiques and salons. Her Acting-A-Part® program can best be summarized by the registered slogan of her company: "Bridging the Gap From School Play to Broadway." Whether the purpose of a student is to turn professional, or simply the enjoyment of stage or film acting, the exposure to an Acting-A-Part experience will bring out his or her theatrical skills, and self confidence.

Erika has directed and produced numerous theater productions. Bye Bye Birdie, Sound of Music, Footloose, Guys and Dolls, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof, The Wizard of Oz, Our Town, Annie, High School Musical, Grease, Lion King, Peter Pan, Little Shop of Horrors and Beauty and the Beast to name a few.

Acting-A-Part has evolved into a creative force in New Jersey and has grown to include "Original AAP Short Films". Erika has her own film crew and film editors. Her first student-produced Film Festival at the Sussex County Technical School was a big hit in 2012, well received by a large crowd of acting enthusiasts. One of the AAP student films, "Very Different Times," was featured at the 2011 Garden State Film Festival.

AAP hosts Acting Birthday Parties and produces Interactive Mystery Dinner events designed for restaurants and private parties, called "Mystery-A-Part." Erika chairs the Sparta New Jersey Film Commission designed to establish her region as a premier film location for Movies and Television. She can be found on the International Movie Data Base (IMDB). www.actingapart.com.

Acting-A-Part collaborates with the Historic Bucks County Playhouse and Willow Lake Day Camp in Jefferson NJ. We also  offer several theater and film programs through various school districts including HoHoKus School District and Hilltop Country Day School.

Kristin Jackson Assistant Director/Acting Teacher

kristen Jackson Kristin Jackson is excited to be part of Acting a Part. After years of teaching Pre-Kindergarten, she's returning to the world of children's theater. Kristin has studied theater for years and has worked with improvisation, scene study, movement, mime, directing, neutral masks and commedia del arte. She holds a BA in Theater and a CE in Early Education. Favorite stage credits include Harpagon in THE MISER, Edith in 'DENTITY CRISIS, Alice in THE MATING OF ALICE MAY, Helen in BABY WITH THE BATHWATER and Puck in A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM. Directing credits include THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, THE MIDLIFE CRISIS OF DIONYSUS, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF JR., ONCE ON THIS ISLAND JR., THE HOBBIT and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. She has directed numerous improvisation pieces and has performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She taught various children's theater courses and supervised summer camps at Brundage Park Playhouse. She also worked with Centenary Performing Arts Guild as a Resident Teaching Artist, and stepped in as an adjunct in the theater department of the college. Kristin currently resides in Sparta with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Kelly Dacus-Smith Choreographer/Acting Teacher

Kelly Dacus-Smith graduated from Webster Conservatory in St. Louis, Missouri with a BFA in music theater. She then lived and worked in New York City for more than sixteen years. During her performance career, she has toured nationally with Blues Clues Live. and Dora the Explorer Live. Having performed at New York City's Radio City Music Hall and Los Angeles Kodak Theater. She toured the high seas while dancing with Holland America cruise lines and toured Europe while performing Kristine in A Chorus Line. Other favorite roles performed include Val in A Chorus Line, Gladys in The Pajama Game, Celia in Shakespeares As You Like It and Popeye in The Miss Firecracker Contest.

Danielle Perez, theater director and teacher

Danielle Perez is thrilled to join the Acting-a-Part team! Danielle is a graduate from Montclair State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She is a 3rd grade teacher in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where she created the theatre group: Carteret Centerstage Players. Here she is the Director of Theatre Arts at the Elementary School level. Most recently she directed The Wizard of Oz and We Are The Dream: The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. She has been performing with various theatre groups in Northern New Jersey since she was a child. Some theatre favorite credits include: Annie Get Your Gun as Dolly Tate; Kit Kat Girl: Johanna (Cabaret); Elaine Harper (Arsenic and Old Lace); Chris Gorman (Rumors); Fairy Godmother (Cinderella); Meg (Little Women); Mrs. Webb (Our Town); Mrs. Squires (The Music Man); West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, Guys and Dolls, Godspell & The Wizard of Oz.

K. Leigh Weinman, Music Director

K. Leigh Weinman

Leigh Weinman is pleased to add her musical talent to the many wonderful productions of the Acting-A-Part Theater Company. In addition to her experience as an accompanist and music director, she has been teaching piano in Morris County for more than 20 years. Miss Leigh, as she is known by her students, enjoys nothing more than sharing her love of all forms of music, and she is especially passionate about collaborating with burgeoning young performers as they discover the thrill of musical theater while they develop and engage their talents. Leigh started her own journey in the theater during her high school years, which included a memorable opportunity to perform in the pit ensemble for a summer theater production of Pippin. It was this experience that instilled her longstanding love of the art and the joy of the kinship that musical theater inspires. Most recently, she has performed as both a sole accompanist and as part of a pit ensemble for local middle school and high school productions, including Grease, Peter Pan, Seussical the Musical, The Sound of Music, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Annie, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Leigh is proud to be a part of the Acting-A-Part family.

Mike Yanuzzi Music Director

MikeMike is thrilled to be part of the Acting-A-Part family! Mike has both directed, and has been Musical Director for many shows including "Guys & Dolls", "Me & My Girl", "Bye-Bye, Birdie", "Annie", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Anything Goes", "Oliver", "Cinderella", "Wizard of Oz", "La Cage Aux Folle", and "Fiddler on the Roof". He has also directed "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ, Superstar" at the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church, where he has been the Choir Director for over 20 years. Mike has acted and sung in many productions, including "Gypsy", "Man of LaMancha", "Jesus Christ, Superstar", "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", "42nd Street", and "The Music Man". Mike is a founding member of The Zephyr Vocal ensemble, plays with the band "Sandy & the Wanderers", and is the Co-Musical Director of "The Steve Ames Show" on Comcast Cable.

Jaime L. Villani Director/Acting Teacher

JaimeJaime is excited to be a part of the Acting-A-Part family. Jaime is a graduate of Emerson College with a BFA in Production Stage Management and Theatre Education and and will soon be receiving her Masters Degree in Theatre Studies from Montclair State University. Jaime has been teaching acting and technical theatre and running the theatre program at Teaneck High School since 2005. Most recently she has directed and technical directed In the Heights, Rehearsal for Murder, Rent, Rumors, Frankenstein 1930, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Moon over Buffalo, and Bye Bye Birdie to name a few. Other theatrical work includes Charles Sellar Foundation's Talent Time, The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, City Center's Group Tours Production 2003, and Emerson Stage of Boston.

 

Dayna Grayber

Dayna

Dayna Grayber is a NYC based actress, singer, director/choreographer and teaching artist. She has been a voice teacher for all ages since graduating with her Master's from NYU in Vocal Performance in 2007. Her teaching experience and training focuses on Vocal Technique, Acting Technique, and Audition Technique.  In 2010, Dayna appeared Off-Broadway in the run of the hilarious farce Perfect Wedding, in which she was critically acclaimed by The New York Times for her performance of "Julie", the witty housekeeper.  She starred in the National Tours of two Tony Award-Winning Shows, Mel Brook's The Producers and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  Dayna has been in several new works in numerous venues in New York City, such as The York Theater, The Snapple Theater, NYMF,The Fringe Festival, and The NYU Workshop. She has studied and shared the stage with artists such as Kristen Chenoweth, Stephen Schwartz, Carol Channing, and Brian Stokes Mitchell.  Dayna is also a Voiceover Artist currently working with PDR Studios in New York City and is pursuing her dream of one day being the voice of a Disney Princess. Dayna holds a Master's of Vocal Performance: Musical Theatre from New York University, a B.A. in Marketing from Emerson College. She is currently acting, singing, directing, and teaching in and around New York City. Proud member of AEA. 

 

Otto Salamon

Otto Salamon

Otto Salamon is a Golden Globe and Emmy nominated writer and producer. He has worked with several Academy Award actors and actresses, as well as represented them as their agents! He is a former talent agent for the William Morris Agency and was a professor of film production at the New School in New York City for 14 years. Otto Salamon has produced movies for NBC, Showtime, Columbia Pictures and PBS. He is a member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Director's Guild of America. Otto, a Holocaust Survivor, has just completed his autobiography on his experiences. Otto Salamon can be found on IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database).

Dan Salamon

Dan Salamon is a self-taught musician who has played in various bands throughout his musical career. He began drumming at the age of 13 and branched out to guitar at 17. Being family, he has been with Acting-A-Part since its inception. However, he became an official member of the musical ensemble in 2005's production of West Side Story.

 

Ann Moser 

Ann Moser brings her artistic talent to capture the most amazing moments as they unfold to Acting-A-Part. She is a Lifestyle Photographer who brings her own knowledge and experience from the entertainment world to capture all the key moments in a given performance whether on live stage or while filming. Ann Talks Etc. is a business started by Ann Moser, a mother of two who began photographing her own children to create visual diaries of their lives. Her deep passion and artistic eye enables her to capture even the most unique moments of grace. It is now Anns vision to document and enhance the story of your lives through collaboration, narration, passion, your childrens lives told. She is excited that she can bring her experience in photography, business and the entertainment world to Acting-A-Part.

Christopher La Forgia

Christopher La Forgia

Christopher La Forgia is an experienced writer, actor and filmmaker with a creative eye for directing and editing. He gained the attention of many TV executives with “The Godfather of New Jersey,” a reality TV pilot he created and produced in 2009. While he produced short films, reality pilots, talk shows, music videos and weddings, Christopher also studied film and acting at Rutgers University. He learned the most from his acting mentor, Tom Todoroff, at the Tom Todoroff Studio in New York City. Christopher’s passion for film and acting makes him valuable both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes. He has partnered with many production companies in NJ, Los Angeles, and NY for various projects. His love for teaching acting landed him at the franchise, Acting-A-Part, in Sparta, NJ. “Acting is being yourself through a made-up character. I specifically train young actors in improvisation, and it is amazing to see how they can pop out of their shells and be incredibly imaginative and believable at the same time. Acting is truly a give-and-take process: I learn from them as much as they learn from me.” 

Robert Durish

RobertAmazing Web Developer. Takes all concepts to reality. Has been part of the Acting-A-Part family for over 7 years.  This is the second website Rob has created for Acting-A-Part.