Faculty Bios

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Playhouse Theatre Academy Teaching Artists


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.


Originally from the Atlanta area Christina holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Georgia College. For the past 6 years Christina has worked at Florida Repertory Theatre as the Assistant Education Director in which she has directed, choreographed, and taught a multitude of musical theatre classes for all ages. Selected directing credits include The SpongeBob Musical, Matilda, School of Rock (Florida Premiere), Madagascar Jr (Florida Premiere), and Legally Blonde Jr (Junior Theatre Festival Cut-awarded Outstanding Production). Since moving to Connecticut this past June Christina has choreographed for Hartford Stage Education’s summer program, worked as a teaching artist for Playhouse on the Park, and currently is the Arts Education Collaboration Coordinator at Goodspeed Musicals.


While finishing his MA in English Education at NYU, Peter DeNegre studied with various playwrights honing his writing skills. What he learned from this experience he brings to his classroom. His teaching philosophy is based in experiential learning, so his students learn various skills of playwriting through a workshop model. For the past two decades, he has taught creative writing courses at the college level in NYC and CT. Three of his plays have been featured in varying community theater showcases across CT.


Liv Fassanella is a playwright and dramaturg based in Connecticut. Her plays explore diverse experiences of womanhood through horror, comedy, and drama. Her dramaturgy credits include: Playhouse on Park; THE AGITATORS, FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE, MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY. Foul Contending Rebels; EURYDICE. Her passions center around the development of new plays and how to incorporate philanthropy, inclusivity and accessibility into theatre. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Bennington College in 2021.


Josh Karam is an Actor/Musician/Director with a BFA in Music Theater from The Hartt School. Theater Credits include: Soapy DAYS OF 98 SHOW, Cleon PERICLES, and Josh was part of Playhouse on Park’s SAY THINGS FUNNY. Josh also has an enormous love for Improv and has a Certification in Interactive and Immersive Theater Performance. Currently Josh is Assistant Directing the Robin Hood Faire in Harwinton, CT. Josh has found so much creative expression in fantasy and improv through the Renaissance Faire circuit. As children we always imagine ourselves as Knights fighting dragons, or Superhero’s saving the day. Our Improv ability is only limited by the bounds of our imaginations!


“Miss T$” is excited to be back teaching for Playhouse Theatre Academy (2016-2019). She has also been joyfully teaching with Hartford Stage since 2013. And Hartford Children’s Theater prior to that! Her teaching heart belongs to the 5-9 year olds, which is perfect because the students usually won’t be taller than her! Miss T$ also works as the Front of House Manager at Playhouse on Park and has been performing on the Essex Steam Train’s “North Pole Express” as Pixie Poinsettia since 2014. She lives in Vernon with her boyfriend of almost 9 years, Nik, and their 2 dogs, Blue + Birdie. Miss T$ can never have too much sunshine or red velvet cupcakes!



Nick Palazzo is excited to be joining Playhouse Theatre Academy. He is a Teaching Artist for Hartford Stage and has performed nationally on both stage and screen. National Tour: FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY (Male Swing); Television: BLUE BLOODS; Off-Broadway: PINKALICIOUS (Mr. Pinkerton); Regional Theatre: Playhouse on Park: IN THE HEIGHTS (Sonny), PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (Ted); Goodspeed Musicals Festival of New Artists: LINCOLN IN LOVE (Stephen Douglas); Ocean City Theatre Company: CINDERELLA (Prince Christopher); Cortland Repertory Theatre: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Perchik) B.F.A in Music Theatre from The Hartt School.


Anna Ricciuti is a director, teaching artist, and technician who prioritizes new, innovative, and socially driven work and strives to create meaningful theatrical experiences for students of all ages. As a Connecticut native, she is absolutely thrilled to be joining the team at Playhouse on Park. Anna holds a BA in theatre from Muhlenberg College and her theatrical skills are diverse and varied. Some favorite recent credits include: THE REPAIR MAN (director, Muhlenberg College, 2018), ALICE IN CONCERT (production stage manager, Desultory Theatre Club, 2019), SOME GOOD TUNES (technical director, Simsbury Summer Theatre, 2020), and PIPPIN (director, Simsbury High School, 2022).


Jill Zarcone hails from Tolland, CT and besides being a teaching artist, she is also the Education Coordinator for Playhouse Theatre Academy! She brings almost seventeen 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 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! When time permits she loves to read, bake, write, and go on adventures with her husband, son and her dog, fittingly named Adventure.