About Us



As a faculty member of Western Washington University’s Drama Department for over 20 years, Jim Lortz has directed and staged a wide variety of productions including Evita, The Cider House Rules, The Happy Prince, West Side Story, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Angels in America: Perestroika, The Grapes of Wrath, Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Hair, City of Angels, To Kill a Mockingbird, God’s Country and Falsettos. His acting roles include Pseudolus (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Harold Hill (The Music Man), Carl (Lonely Planet), Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha) and Fred Graham (Kiss Me Kate). For the Theater Guild, Lortz has directed Jesus Christ Superstar, 1776, Shenandoah and Over Here! On campus Lortz is part of the acting faculty and is responsible for more than 90 students per year. Originally from Deer Lodge, Mont., Lortz received his BFA and MFA from the University of Montana in Missoula. He has been a member of the Actor’s Equity working for the Bathhouse Theatre in Seattle (five seasons) and for the Montana Repertory Theatre in Missoula (five seasons), where his roles included Conn Price (Cowboy), Doc (Crimes of the Heart), Vernon Gersch (They’re Playing Our Song), Feste(Twelfth Night), Sydney Bruhl (Deathtrap) and Adam (The Apple Tree).

NATALIE LOVELAND - COSTUME DESIGNER (http://nataliemarieloveland.com

Natalie lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is a native of Michigan and graduated from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, (UIUC), earning her MFA in Costume Design. She began her theatre career as an actress at Central Michigan University. During this time, she also worked in the costume shop. While working behind the scenes, Natalie discovered she could combine her interests in fine arts and character studies through Costume Design.  As a result of her acting experience, Natalie studies theatrical works from a performer's perspective by building character first.  In addition to designing for theatre, Natalie has also had the opportunity to explore design for opera, dance, film, online gaming and living window displays. She enjoys the variety in designing for new works, alternative performance art pieces and of course, traditional theatre.


Elaine Laramee has been with this summer program since its inception in 1996. She is happy to return as program director and instructor for various classes. Laramee received a bachelor of music performance degree from Western Washington University, where she studied and performed both opera and musical theater. She has appeared in leading roles in Once upon a Mattress, A Little Night Music and A Year with Frog and Toad. As a resident artist with Tri-Cities Opera Company, she performed leading roles, toured extensively with Opera-Go-Round and worked with thousands of young people throughout New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She recently received a master of science in teaching degree from SUNY Cortland and her music teaching certification. Within the past two school years, she has co-directed two musicals at Vestal High School and directed musicals at Glenwood Elementary School in Vestal. Laramee currently has a blossoming voice studio in Vestal, and enjoys her time instructing performers of all ages in voice and theater. She has directed and co-directed musicals at Vestal High School and Vestal Middle School, and currently teaches music for the Vestal School District.



Brenda Dawe enthusiastically returns to this workshop for her 15th season as musical director. Since earning her master of music degree from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, Dawe has balanced an active singing career with a major teaching studio that attracts local performers of all ages and abilities. Having performed with major companies across North America, including Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey and Calgary Opera, she has become a seasoned performer and musician. She is familiar to local audiences, having performed nearly 20 leading roles with Tri-Cities Opera Company. Her extensive involvement with the youth-outreach programs of Syracuse Opera, Virginia Opera and Tri-Cities Opera has given her the opportunity to perform and direct thousands of young people all over the United States. Dawe is Music Coordinator at SUNY Broome, where she teaches voice, music and theater courses.



Todd Robinson is excited to return to the workshop for his 12th summer as conductor. “I love coming back to see how the returning students have grown over the year, and working with all the new ones that come for the first time. There is always so much amazing talent!” Robinson is the orchestra conductor, vocal teacher and vocal coach for the workshop productions. He has spent many years conducting and teaching a variety of singers, from young beginners to seasoned professionals. He has a BA in music education from Mansfield University as well as a master of music (MM) in voice from Binghamton University. His conducting and teaching credits include six years as musical director and conductor for two adult choirs in northeastern Pennsylvania, where he debuted several of his own compositions of choral and orchestral music; three years as general music and chorus teacher/conductor at Choconut Valley Elementary School; and one year as an adjunct professor of voice for Elmira College, Binghamton University and the University of California at Irvine. Recently resigned from being the executive director of Opera Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he now is the music worship director at Little Falls Presbyterian in Arlington, VA, as well as music director and voice staff for Adventure Theatre in Washington, D.C. A renowned singer, Robinson appeared in leading roles with numerous opera companies, including San Francisco Opera, New National Theater Tokyo (Japan), Sarasota Opera, Opera Pacific and Virginia Opera. He has directed and conducted several operas as well


Mr. Kassan served as Instructor and Assistant Technical Director at Adelphi University on Long Island, NY, before moving north to Greater Binghamton in the mid 1980’s. His theatrical credits include Production Stage Manager for Lake Placid's Prop Trunk Players and Technical Director for the Fine Arts Committee of the XIII Winter Olympic Games (1980) held in Lake Placid, New York. Professional associations include Ice Follies Holiday On IceDorothy Hamill ABC-TV Special, and residencies with Long Wharf Theatre, and John Houseman's The Acting Company. He holds a degree in Theatrical Technology and Design from SUNY, Plattsburgh, and is currently Coordinator of Special Events and Theatre for the Binghamton City School District’s Rod Serling School of the Arts. He also serves as Managing Director and scenic and lighting designer for all performing arts at the Rod Serling School, and is Founder of the Rod Serling Video Festival and acted as its Director for over 20 years having recently handed over control of the festival to WSKG Public Media.

Mr. Kassan has produced numerous promotional and educational videos for the Binghamton City School District, and has coordinated video location projects with PBS American Masters and Court TV's Your Turn. Mr. Kassan served on the Opening Ceremony Organizing Committee for the New York Empire State Games 2000, and in 2004 as Technical Director and Production Manager. In 2001 he was named Volunteer of the Year for First Night International and was honored as a Broome County Arts Council Heart of the Arts recipient in 2006.

Mr. Kassan is a frequent presenter at The Park School of Communications,    Ithaca College for their nationally recognized Rod Serling Conference. In  October of 2009, Mr. Kassan coordinated a four day celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Rod Serling’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE and spoke about Rod Serling’s legacy at The Paley Center (The Museum of Television and Radio in New York City) and as a featured guest on NPR for the nationally broadcast series “On The Media” Mr. Kassan lives in Binghamton, his daughter Deni is a Doctor of Physical Thearapy in Rochester, and he might possibly have have the largest Broadway PLAYBILL collection west of the Hudson River!