Faculty Bios

Back to Education Home

Playhouse Theatre Academy Teaching Artists - Summer


Sadie is a first year graduate student in the Puppet Arts Program with the UConn Department of Dramatic Arts. Her artist's philosophy is as follows: "Often, I am guided by the mantra: people over product. To support this, I work to create a space that allows people to be human before artisans- fostering safety to allow art to shine alongside the person creating it."



Little Thespians: How I Became a Pirate @ Simsmore Square

Marie R. Altenor is a Bloomfield, CT native who after years in the legal field, has now found her passion in the world of theater and introducing young children to that world. Marie is also a teaching artist with The Hartford Stage and has performed on stage, television and film. Recent credits include Hole in the Wall Theater’s BARBEQUE (Barbara), Sweet2theSoul Productions AMINA (Amina), Head Trick Theatre’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Titania), Wildflower Women’s Ensemble/Apocalyptic Shakespeare’s MACBETH (Lady Macbeth), and Dionysus Theatre Company’s DETROIT '67 (Bunny). Marie has studied with The Complete Actor’s Studio in Avon, CT and The Hartford Stage in Hartford, CT. With a focus on Broadcast Journalism and Creative Writing, Marie graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Fordham University (Lincoln Center Campus) and also holds certification from University of Hartford, in paralegal studies.


Julie is so excited to be joining the Teaching Artist Staff at Playhouse Theatre Academy! She will be graduating this spring from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Theatre Studies and Communication. She has been acting, dancing and singing for many years and loves working with kids, especially within theatre. She has a passion for Performance and Choreography and enjoys teaching others from her experiences. She has worked on various productions at Connecticut Repertory Theatre as well as just recently choreographed her first Middle School production at Gideon Welles School in Glastonbury, CT. As the former President and current Choreographer of Notes Over Storrs, a co-ed A cappella group at UConn she is a part of, Julie has choreographed two professional performance ICCA sets over her time in the group. She has also worked several summers at the Glastonbury Music and Arts Camp as a Dance and Theatre instructor to children and loves to inspire them to continue to love and pursue the arts!


Lauren is a seasoned teaching artist with educational and artistic credits in theater and music. She has over twelve years of teaching artist experience, focusing on “Creating a Play” with children and youth ages 5 through 12 years old. She has been an acting coach and teaching artist with EXCL of Farmington, Performing Arts Programs, and Hartford Children’sTheatre (2010). She also has led artistic programming in her current position at High Road School, focusing on elements of modern art. She has participated in the 24 HR Play Festival at the Hole in The Wall Theatre, and had her short play “Honey and Candy” produced and performed at The Gallery Playhouse of New York. She performed in Revolution Improv’s “A Team” in New York, NY while receiving her MA in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt. She has written, directed, and co-produced original plays with her theater troupe Zenbaby Theatre Co. (2007-2009). She has her BFA in Musical Theatre from Hartt School, University of Hartford and enjoys bringing her creativity to projects in the Hartford area. Most notably, she received The Master Teacher Award as Creative Performing Arts Instructor for ESF Dream Camp of Trinity College in Hartford, CT (2023).


Hillary is an actor, dancer, gymnast, musician with over 15 years of teaching experience in a wide variety of subjects. She has a degree in elementary education from Skidmore college with a minor in music. Hillary has worked at Playhouse on Park in their education department, and also as an assistant choreographer and director. She has also taught in the West Hartford public schools, Mad Science of New England and The Children’s Museum, and teaches theatre and music privately. She has coached gymnastics in New York City and in CT with gymnasts ages 2 - 18 and at a variety of levels. She has performed professionally around the country in the Broadway National Tour of CABARET as Rosie and playing the cello and violin, and as brother Boo Who in the tour HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS as well as many regional houses. She has been involved in over 20 productions at Playhouse on Park including: NUNSENSE, SPELLING BEE, CHARLIE BROWN, COMPANY, and PIN UP GIRLS! Hillary believes creative and dynamic play is essential to learning and that theatre can be a multidisciplinary subject. She hopes that students grow in confidence, cooperation, listening, and authenticity in every class she teaches.


Music Teacher, Ham It Up: Musical Theatre Prep! @ Simsmore Square!

Marc Sokolson is a music director, arranger, conductor, producer, and keyboardist based out of Hartford County, CT. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Marc is equally adept in the instrumental and vocal worlds. While his specialty is music directing and arranging for musical theater and a cappella, he frequently works with solo vocalists, bands and other instrumental ensembles. Though he spends the majority of his time behind the scenes, Marc has also performed on stage with groups as a lead vocalist, ensemble singer and vocal percussionist.


Little Thespians: How I Became a Pirate & Where the Wild Things Are! @ Simsmore Studios

Heidi Jean Weinrich has been working in theatre for decades as an actor at Playhouse on Park and many other theatres in CT, Seattle, and New York. She also has directing experience and has taught Language Arts on the secondary and college levels. As a Teaching Artist she has worked with New Britain Youth Theatre, Hartford Performs, and other organizations, and this past summer she was the Drama Instructor at Auerfarm Summer Camp in Bloomfield.


Summer Session Director
Guest Artist, Teen Performance Intensive @ Simsmore Studios

Jill Zarcone hails from Tolland, CT and besides being a teaching artist, she is also the Director of Education for Playhouse Theatre Academy! She brings almost 18 years of experience in performance, scene studies, auditioning techniques, Shakespeare, comedy, puppetry, playwriting and directing to Playhouse and loves working with students of all ages. She is a BFA Performance graduate of Eastern CT State University and has MFA accreditation from the University of North Carolina with a focus on Theatre for Youth. She has worked with previous theatres such as Sargent Theatre (NYC) Hartford Children's, Flock Theatre, Newington Children's, Little Theatre of Manchester, Windham Theatre Guild and the Greensboro City Arts Drama Center and also had the amazing experience of interning with puppeteers from Jim Henson's Co for two summers! She recently directed the world premiere of DANDELION for Playhouse on Park’s Theatre for Young Audiences! When time permits she loves to read, bake, write, and go on adventures with her husband, son and her dog, fittingly named Adventure.


Claire Zick


moved to West Hartford from Seattle where she was an ensemble member at Unexpected Productions, Seattle's first and most reputable improv theater company. She performed weekly in Seattle Theatresports™ and long-form shows such as HAROLD, SPOKEN, BLANK SLATE, FAKESPEARE, THE MELANIE GAME, CAMPFIRE, A(N) IMPROVISED CHRISTMAS CAROL, BLACK-EYED BLONDE, IMPRESSIONISTIC HORROR, and improvised versions of movie genres. She was also the Assistant Artistic Director and only female member of Sisters of Sal, a long-form improvisational comedy troupe that won Seattle Cage Match and performed with Ryan Stiles. She has studied improv at Unexpected Productions, Magnet Theater, and UCB Theatre. Her instructors have included Randy Dixon, Matt Smith, Jill Farris, Armando Diaz, Christian Capozzoli, Keith Johnstone and Mick Napier. Locally, she has been seen in VANITIES, ISN'T IT ROMANTIC, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE and LEND ME A TENOR as well as other scripted and improv productions in theaters around the state.

TEACHES: Adult Improv classes