Our highly trained team of acting assistants, coaches and instructors work hand in hand with members to help them achieve their personal goals in the acting industry.
Acting Assistant · Coach
Emma Palizza is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. After completing her BFA she spent a year at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, England studying European Theatre Arts. Since moving to Chicago she has worked with The Gift, Steep Theatre, Ghostlight Ensemble and Death & Pretzels (the last of which she is an artistic associate). She is a proud graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and Second City's Music Improv Program and has worked as an audition monitor for Actor's Equity for the past four years. Emma prides herself in having insight into what goes on in front of and behind the scenes in the industry and is excited to share her knowledge to help other actors in Chicago grow. Emma is proudly represented by Actors Talent Group
Aissa´s knowledge of Chicago´s acting industry started while being a casting intern at Paskal Rudnicke Casting (PR). She is a graduate of Northwestern University and works as a professional actor, teaching artist, and director in Chicago.
She works as a resident artist of Filament Theater and is an artistic associate of Barrel of Monkeys.
Aissa has a passion for artistic mediums that empower youth and underrepresented communities.
She has worked in web series and commercials in Chicago as well as theater companies such as Milwaukee Rep, Lifeline Theater, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf Theater reading series, and more. She has also studied acting at the British American Dramatic Academy (BADA), and tai chi from Sifu Rodrigo Trupp.
Aissa is proudly represented by Lily’s Talent.
Instructor · Coach
Taylor received her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Performance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a student of jazz, musical theatre and opera for fourteen years, studying under Tracy Koch (Midwest Institute of Opera) and Amy Pickering (UIC). Aside from her main stage roles at UIC in Dying for It and Misalliance, Taylor has collaborated to compose music for their productions of Twelfth Night and A Matter of Life and Death. She has also studied at Second City, covering both Improv for Actors and Musical Improvisation, which she taught to her university team where she served as ensemble member, vice president, and artistic director. Her team went on to compete with the top 15 best teams in North America at the College Improv Tournament Nationals. Most recently, Taylor has been seen in Chicago’s longest running sketch show Cupid Has a Heart On and in the pit of War & Peace.
Coffee, ice cream, and hat lover. Sometimes a circus, physical actor, and a movement creator from Puerto Rico. Since he was a kid, Jean was very active in every way, but it was not until 2012 that he decided to make circus and the physical theater for a living. After spending two years living, training, taking classes, and eating a lot of sweets in Argentina, Buenos Aires, he came back to his hometown Puerto Rico to work with his own circus-theater company, Circo La Vuelta, along with his partner Raquel Torre. Jean’s training was based on handstands, acrobatics, clown, and the mix of flying low, and capoeira. In 2016, decided to start a Circus Training Program in Chicago and here he is, creating, working, teaching, and performing.
Instructor · Coach
Ian Geers is a teaching artist originally from Chesapeake, VA. He has studied various styles of acting, writing, theatre theory, and movement at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Boston University’s School of Theatre, as well as physical theatre at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Ian is a working actor and playwright in Chicago with a specific focus on Shakespeare and classical theatre, and has worked with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, A Crew of Patches, Commission Theatre Co., Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, and toured with the National Players. As a teacher, Ian has taught kids to adults alike age original lesson plans varying from Shakespeare accessibility, Playwriting, Improv, Basic guitar and bass lessons, Monologue/audition coaching, Scene Study, and Devising Theatre Workshops. He is incredibly excited to join to team at The Actor´s Club and getting to know the next generation of artists and teachers.
Instructor · Coach
Lexi Alioto has been an active actress/comedienne in Chicago, IL for the past three years, performing with companies such as The Second City, First Folio, Redtwist, Lifeline, The Annoyance, and Adventure Stage. She recieved her B.F.A in Actor Training from The Hartt School in Hartford, CT where she was lucky enough to study abroad in England for a Shakespeare Intensive Program. Since moving to Chicago, she has trained with The Second City and is an alumni of their Severn Darden Graduate Program as well as a current ensemble member of their Musical House Ensemble, Infinite Sundaes. She is an active teaching artist for Mudlark Theatre Company, Dream Big Workshop, and Emerald City Theatre where she teaches Improv, Acting, and Creative Drama . She is thrilled to be a instructor for
The Actor´s Club.
Justin Verstraete is a multi-talented theatre artist currently located in Chicago, Illinois and is a graduate of the Theatre Department at Bradley University. He spends the majority of his artistic time choreographing fights for various companies around the city – to see a complete list of his fighting experience and specialties please check out www.jvrstr8.com. Justin is also an Artistic Associate and Resident Fight Choreographer for The Right Brain Theatre. A few of his proudest accomplishments thus far are have been being one of the co-creators of FIGHT QUEST – a “Choose Your Own Adventure Fight Show” produced by Otherworld Theatre. It’s basically a massive stage combat / improvised comedy / epic quest / impossible puzzle / mind bending evening of entertainment unlike anything you’ve ever seen before in your life. Justin was also a part of the fight artistic team assisting Matt Hawkins for The House Theatre of Chicago’s adaptation of Cyrano – which won Best Fight Direction at the 2012 Jeff Awards
Elise Melendez is the co-founder and executive director of Motivated Movers NYC, the premier beginner dance training program for professional artists in NYC. Elise continues her commitment to the dance community as managing director of Denman Theatre & Dance Co, a New York based company dedicated to developing hybrid theatrical works using movement/dance as a primary storytelling device.
With a bachelor's in American Dance Pedagogy from Oklahoma City University and a master's in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago, Elise has over a decade of experience in arts education and management.
Off the dance floor Elise also serves as marketing manager for the American Marketing Association, the world's largest community-based marketing association. Her past roles include casting director and assistant to the artistic director at Hangar Theatre, artist-in-residence for Applause NY, and guest teaching artist/choreographer for arts organizations and educational institutions such as Hangar Theatre, Palace Theatre New Hampshire, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Applause, St. Norbert College and Oklahoma City University.
After graduating from Columbia College Chicago, Dennis went on to study with Sanford Meisner's apprentice, John Ruskin, at The Ruskin School Of Acting in Santa Monica. He is also a graduate of the South Coast Repertory Conservatory in Costa Mesa. While in Los Angeles, Dennis worked on theatre and TV. Most notably with the Watts Village Theatre Company, CASA 0101 and Circus Theatricals. He has worked with Academy Award winner Robert Richardson, commercial director Danny Ducovny and the late Peter Boyle. 2012 brought Dennis back to Chicago. Since then he's had the pleasure to work with Teatro Vista, Urban Theatre Company, Raska Theatre Company, Pegasus Theatre Company and most recently was seen in Shattered Globe Theatre's, HOW TO USE A KNIFE. As a proud SAG-AFTRA member since 2008 Dennis has worked on numerous national commercials and can be seen in NBC's CHICAGO JUSTICE, CHICAGO MED, CHICAGO PD and the film SOUL SESSIONS. His latest film BARRIO BOY is in post production and is slated for a 2020 release. Dennis is more than thrilled and humbled to be apart of The Actors Club Chicago family and is looking forward to working with the Chicago's world class acting community.
Administrator, consultant, teacher and actor with a passion for theatre and language.
Instill enthusiasm and confidence in clients, students and audiences.
Writer, editor and translator: bilingual English and Spanish (native fluency in both). Includes books,and film and television subtitles and dubbing.
Teach, coach and direct executives, students and actors.
Taught English to non-native speakers.
Co-founded bilingual theatre. Managed artistic decisions (including directing and casting) as well as marketing and fundraising. Trained fundraising and sales teams.
Hired and trained employees, interns and volunteers.
Computer: Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Dual national: US and Spain.