theatre + film FACULTY
Donovan E. Mitchell is an alumnus of GSA, having successfully graduated from the Musical Theatre and Theatre & Film departments in 2007. Mr. Mitchell went on to study acting at Carnegie Mellon University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama/Musical Theatre in 2011.
He was a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, performing a repertoire of Shakespeare’s plays as well as leading different classes and workshops in improvisation, voice work and “Decoding Shakespeare’s Language”, to name a few. He has experience as a teacher in both the New York City and Los Angeles school systems.
Mr. Mitchell is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA, the Screen Actors Guild and Actors’ Equity Association, and is represented by a talent and literary agency based in New York. He has had roles in many television shows including “City on a Hill”, “FBI”, “Wu-Tang: An American Saga”, “Law and Order: SUV,” and “NCIS: New Orleans,” among others. Mr. Mitchell has also performed on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre in the play “Six Degrees of Separation” and in various renowned regional theatre playhouses, including the off-Broadway Signature Theatre, The Geffen Playhouse and Center Theater Group, both in Los Angeles.
Mr. Mitchell was a student at the Moscow Art Theatre School, The Groundlings, one of the leading improvisation training programs in the country, and Second City, one of the most prolific and influential comedy training grounds in the US.
Sean Blue is the director of the Design/Tech program at GSA and in addition is a freelance scenic technician and entertainment rigging specialist. He is also an alumni of the GSA Theater department circa 2002. After earning his BFA in scenic technology at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Sean worked for theater companies throughout the country including: The Everyman Theater in Baltimore, MD, The Stevens Center in Winston Salem, NC, The Adirondack Theater Fest in Glens Falls, NY, and Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, VA. In addition to the design and construction of theatrical elements, he has a focus in theatrical automation and performer flying. While working for The Chicago Flyhouse in Chicago, Sean designed the user interface for a personnel flying rig that is used to aid in the rehabilitation of those suffering from spinal injuries. It is currently the only system of its kind. At GSA Sean teaches stage crafts, carpentry, rigging, magic, and more. He is also the technical director for all Theatre performances.
Producing Director for Actors’ Workshop of Virginia, Mr. Melendez is a 2009 recipient of the ‘Best Male Actor” award at the Dublin Theater Festival for his interpretation of Nijinsky in the Workshop Theatre Group production of Nijinsky’s Last Dance, previously performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, in Spain and many regional theaters across America. Some of his regional credits include, Trinculo at The Virginia Arts Festival production of The Tempest, Captain Slank at The Virginia Stage Company production of Peter and The Starcather, Hamlet in Hamlet at Theatre 22(NYC), Rodolfo in A View from the Bridge, at the Gershwin Theater, NY, Peter in Legacy of Light at the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, Wilde in Gross Indecency by Moises Kaufman. Recent directing works: Paper Cranes, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, Blood Wedding, Servant of Two Masters, and The Laramie Project. As a playwright his one man show, Call Me Boricua! received a premiere at The Workshop Theatre Group and at The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. His work Cloaked was produced at the Dublin Theatre Festival 2011 in Ireland, receiving nominations for Best play, Best actor, and Best costume design. Some film credits include Bordertown (2009), and A Gift Devine (2010). Mr. Melendez is the Associate Artistic Director at Todd Rosenlieb Dance Center, and Artistic Director of Virginia Ballet Theater. Ricardo currently teaches at The Governor's School for the Arts both in the Theater and Dance Departments as well as Old Dominion University. Mr. Melendez holds a BA degree in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University and a MFA degree in Theater from Brooklyn College, New York. At GSA he teaches Acting, Scene Study, Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Pilates, Speaking Classical Text, Acting Shakespeare, and Vocal Production.
Matt Friedman is proud to be one of the founding instructors of the GSA Film program, where he adapted & directed the educational film drama "The Unknown Variable" and has taught continuously since 2012. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is a filmmaker, writer, director, composer, actor, and occasional playwright, and also teaches screenwriting at the Muse Writer's Center. He has been a screenwriting panelist at the Virginia Festival of the Book, and a presenter at the CNU and Hampton Roads Writer's Conferences. He wrote and assistant-directed the local independent feature comedy "Moving," and earned a fellowship to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and the Tribeca Sloan Film Summit. He assistant directed the 2012 commercial "Man's Best Friend," which became the #1 ad of that year's Superbowl, and co-wrote several followups, including a collaboration with The Lonely Island. He has also both worked for and participated in the Hampton Roads 48 Hour Film Project, co-producing a Best Film winner and earning Best Original Score. He also directs, acts, and dabbles in set design for local theater. He is a former volunteer EMT and is currently an advocate with the YWCA on their volunteer domestic & sexual violence response team.