New York Faculty

Bill Balzac (Method Acting) has been an actor, director, producer, and teacher for over 25 years.  He teaches at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and NYU Tisch Program at the Strasberg Institute.  After being inspired by the teachings of Lee Strasberg, Bill co-founded the Hyperion Theatre Group, Soul Productions, and the Hyperion Children’s Theatre.  He then formed and directed the Mixed Nuts Improv Company, which performed throughout NYC.  Bill has been a member of the Brooklyn Shakespeare Company under the artistic direction of Geoffrey Owens and appeared as Gately in the New York debut of the two-act version of James McLure’s Pvt. Wars, directed by Gene Frankel.  His recent directing credits include Israel Horovitz’s The Indian Wants the Bronx in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the New York premiere of Israel Horovitz’s Sins of the Mother, SubUrbia by Eric Bogosian, and LaRonde, The Laramie Project, Dancing at Lughnasa, Rumors, The Norman Conquests and Into the Woods all for NYU/Strasberg.  He also recently co-directed Crimes of the Heart and Sunday on the Rocks with Geoffrey Horne.  Bill graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with honors and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.  In addition to teaching in the Young Actors at Strasberg program, he teaches Method Acting and Improvisation at LSTFI.

Bruce Baumer (Voice, Singing, Musical Theatre) is a professional opera singer who has sung as a principal artist with over 20 American opera companies, including the New York City Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington Opera at The Kennedy Center, Santa Fe Opera, among many others. He has performed over 40 roles. He began his musical studies as a student of piano at the College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 10. He received his undergraduate degree in German Studies as well as a Master’s Degree in Finance. Upon completion of his business degree, Mr. Baumer decided to pursue a career in Opera. He is a graduate of Yale University with an Artist’s Diploma in Opera Performance.  Bruce has also accompanied numerous singers and instrumentalists in recital. He has taught extensively privately, as well as on the faculty of The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and The New School in New York City. Bruce has taught numerous master classes at various universities throughout the United States. He has also served as musical director for many professional projects throughout the New York City area, including MultiStages’ Temple of the Souls and The Land of No Tomorrows and the New York Fringe Festival’s By Hands Unknown. Mr. Baumer has served as musical director for several productions at the Strasberg Institute, including Kiss Me, Kate, Into the Woods, and The Music Man. Recently, he joined the Board of Directors at MultiStages Production Company, founded by Lorca Peress. In the world of music, Mr. Baumer is the co-lyricist on the upcoming 2014 release of emerging artist, Sacha Di Bona’s Bethesda, as well as a song on the EP current release of Mr. Di Bona. He was also the pianist for the debut recording of the British artist Lily. Bruce teaches Singing and Vocal Production at Strasberg.

Mauricio Bustamante has acted professionally in the United States since 1967 and has toured nationally in a variety of starring roles that have given him coast to coast critical acclaim. He also directed and appeared at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival as Madame in Jean Genet’s The Maids as well as the cabaret circuit in NYC under the artistic direction of cabaret luminary, KT Sullivan. He began his acting career in his native Mexico City at the age of twelve, working on live television with the greats of the Spanish speaking world. His association with Lee Strasberg started in 1973, and has lasted to the present time, where he has also studied with Shelley Winters, Kim Stanley, John Stiks, Geoffrey Horne and Irma Sandrey. In NYC, he has appeared in New York Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Repertorio Espanol, Teatro LATEA and Multi Stages. He is a member of MENSA International, an international high IQ Society. Currently, Mauricio is acting in a number of film projects with established directors from Japan, Israel, US, Spain and Mexico. With Irma Sandrey, he created IS/MB Productions, which has produced several theatrical productions and four short films in NYC. Other films in which Mr. Bustamante plays a variety of principal roles are currently successfully making the rounds in international film festivals. He has been part of the acting faculty at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute since 1994 and teaches Method Acting.

Tim Martin Crouse (Method Acting) has taught in the Young Actors at Strasberg program since 1989 where he has directed over forty productions with the students. As an actor, he has performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and All’s Well That Ends Well at The Riverside Shakespeare Company as well as an off-Broadway production of David Mamet’s The Woods. He had the lead in the Nickelodeon series Kid’s Court and the recurring role of Barry on The Guiding Light. He produced many programs for MTV and spent five years as head writer at MTV2. He directed the short film Mousetrap which aired in WNYC and co-directed the short film Tumors for HBO. He also wrote, produced and directed the independent feature film The Orchard which won an award for Best Suspense Feature at the 2008 NY Independent Film & Video Festival. He also wrote, produced, and directed the upcoming documentary Talking with the Piano Player. Tim is currently working on his second independent feature film titled Redemption on which he is a writer, director, and producer. It is scheduled for release in 2014. Tim teaches Audition and Method Acting classes for both The Institute and Young Actors Programs.

Jeffery Ferguson (Dance, Musical Theatre) has taught, performed, directed and choreographed throughout the U.S. and around the world with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pearl Primus and Dancers, Ludwig go, Contempo Jazz Tanz and the Joffrey Ballet Company with Agnes de Mille, among other companies. He has appeared in theatre productions such as Show Boat, Pippin, My One and Only, Five Guys Named Moe, the Tempest, and in Mother Courage. He teaches Basic Dance Technique I and II, Jazz, Tap and the Musical Theatre Scene Class at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. He has taught at LSTFI since September 1989.

Geoffrey Horne (Method Acting) was born in Argentina and raised in Cuba. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1954. Geoffrey studied with Lee Strasberg for many years beginning in 1954 and became a member of the Actors Studio in 1956. He has worked on Broadway, in television, and in film. He made his film debut in Bridge on the River Kwai. Geoffrey has taught Method Acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute since 1978. He also teaches Shakespeare classes and has directed a number of Alumni/Teacher productions which most recently include Bus Stop and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He will be directing Shakespeare’s Othello in January 2014.

Jeremy Kruse (Method Acting, Acting for Film & TV) is a working actor, published playwright and award winning filmmaker.  Kruse has written, produced, directed, edited and acted in over 30 short and feature length films.  He has been involved in numerous plays, sketch comedy shows, independent films, commercials and televisions spots in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.  One of his most recent films is the documentary, Lee Strasberg’s Method, which was in competition at the SOHO International Film Festival NYC 2011 and is distributed by Quality Books Inc.  Jeremy has also performed stand-up comedy at numerous venues in Chicago, L.A. and New York including Zanies, The Improv, and The New York Comedy Club.  In 1996, he graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he majored in drama. He studied playwriting at the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York.  Kruse is also a graduate of The Second City’s (Chicago) conservatory improvisation program and comedy writing program. Jeremy is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.

Linda Gillen works in movies, television and theatre. Her New York stage credits include the premiere productions of John Guare, Tina Howe, John Pielmeier and Richard Vetere. Other stage credits include: Reckless (Pittsburgh Public Theater) A Delicate Balance (Emelin Theatre) The Matchmaker (The Barter Theater) Museum (Los Angles Actors Theater) Making Book (American Theater of Actors) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Actors Studio West) Kismet (Mill Mountain Playhouse) Once Upon A Mattress (The Hamptons Music Theater) Gypsy, Sound of Music, Peter Pan, West Side Story (Surflight Theater) as well as the improv group The Committee (Los Angeles). The multi award winning independent film Alambrista! which has been newly released by The Criterion Collection (as well as being the winner of Camera D’Or, Cannes, also winning both The Golden Seashell and The OCIC Award at The San Sebastian Film Festival; plus the Interfilm Award at The MannheimHeidelberg International Film Festival) tops the list of her leading roles in independent films as well as the lead in Night’s At O’Rear’s (winner of the American Film Institute/Alfred Hitchcock Award, the First Prize at Filmex in Los Angeles, First Prize at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, Texas; and was exhibited at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center) as well as leads in cult favorites, Why, and Terror House. More mainstream films include Big, Black Rain, Paternity, Lifeguard, Windows, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart, The Producers and Up The Down Staircase. Gueststarring roles in television include, Law and Order, Kojak, Medical Story, Switch, and Emergency, she also appeared in the first TVmovie to deal with child abuse, Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night and the first prime times series to deal with Downs’ syndrome, Laverne and Shirley. On daytime television she had recurring roles in All My Children, General Hospital, Ryan’s Hope, Love of Life, Search for Tomorrow and Another World. Seen on numerous national television commercials, her voice work can be heard in such films as Scarface and The Cotton Club. She established Einstein’s Bastards (a legitimate theater company) for the development of new plays. During EB’s sevenyear run she produced, directed and developed over thirty new plays. As a playwright her play Talking To Strangers was performed at The Theater For The New City in New York. A lifetime member of the Actors Studio, she also produced, wrote and directed two short films. As a member of the New School MFA Drama program she taught acting to actors, directors and playwrights. She also taught at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute / NYU Studio program. Her acting teachers were Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Bobby Lewis and Peggy Feury.

Mitch McCoy (Stage Combat) is a professional actor, fight choreographer, and Reiki Master. He graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2011 where he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for three years. He has been teaching stage combat privately since 2010, and has choreographed the violence for over 30 stage and film productions. Most recently he was a stunt performer in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (MMPR), and assisted with the fight choreography for Disney’s Aladdin. He is thrilled to be sharing his knowledge with the youth at the great institution of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.


Suzanne DiDonna was born and raised in New York. She has been a professional actor for over 20 years. Suzanne began her studies at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute with George Loros, Robert Castle and Elizabeth Kemp. She is a life time member of The Actors Studio and worked/trained with Ellen Burstyn, Estelle Parsons, Harvey Keitel. She has performed in numerous plays at the Actors Studio including the premiere of Edward Allan Bakers Free Gift
Inside directed by Elizabeth Kemp, the premiere of Lyle Kessler’s First Born directed by Daniel Talbott, and The Last Days Of Judas Escariot written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Estelle Parsons. She has performed in dozens of Off Broadway and OffOffBroadway plays including the world premiere of Edward Allan Bakers The Framer and Edward Allan Bakers The Bride of Olneyville Square. She is a member of SAG, AFTRA and EQUITY. Some of her Film credits include Hungry Ghosts Directed by Michael Imperioli, Trooper directed by Christopher Martini, Indiana directed by Toni Comas. Some of her TV credits include The $treet, Law &Order, Law & Order SVU, The Jury, Brotherhood, Sex And the City, She had a recurring role
on The Sopranos and Magic City.

Ted Zurkowski (Shakespeare) is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio where he studied with Lee Strasberg.  He has been an actor, producer, screenwriter, college instructor and casting associate.  He was the Artistic Director of The Frog & Peach Theatre Company, a Shakespeare company in New York City, for seven years.  His band, Honey West, is currently playing famous clubs in NYC.  He constantly writes, records, and performs his music.  Ted teaches Method Acting, Acting Playwrights (Odets, Chekhov, Shepard), Shakespeare at the Globe, as well as Script Analysis at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute as well as Shakespeare with Young Actors.