theatre + film FACULTY

Steve J. Earle, Department Chair

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Sean Blue, Director Technical Theatre

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Steve J. Earle, is a Producing Director for the Workshop Theatre Group and Chair of the Theatre Department at The Governor’s School for the Arts.   Acting  credits include the Virginia Stage Company, Theatre IV, Swift Creek Mill Playhouse, Richmond Triangle Players, and numerous other theatres. Television credits include F.B.I. Files, Interpol, and commercial work. Directing credits include Workshop Theatre Group, Theatre IV, Richmond Triangle Players, Generic Theatre, Suffolk Center for the Arts and  universities. He holds an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He has also studied at the Gaiety School for  Acting in Dublin, Ireland and in various classes in New York. Before coming to G.S.A., Mr. Earle taught at Longwood University, The Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts  at the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University and the School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community as well as other places. He currently teaches  The Theatre Experience and Theatre History at Old Dominion University. At G.S.A. Steve teaches Acting, The Meisner Technique, Lessac Vocal Technique, History of Film, Dramatic  Literature and Criticism, Directing, Phonetics and Stage Dialects. Steve is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. 

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.

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Ricardo Melendez

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.

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Matt Friedman

Matt Friedman teaches filmmaking at The Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia. He wrote the local independent feature comedy "Moving," was a Sloan Foundation fellow for science-themed screenplays at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and assistant directed the 2012 Superbowl commercial "Man's Best Friend." He is also active in local performing arts, having acted in and directed several plays, mostly at the Generic Theater, where he was a founding member of the Artistic Team and created a series of promotional comedy shorts. He has also kept himself busy over the years as a volunteer EMT and a graphic & web designer at Frame25 Productions. 

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candice heidelberg-denison

Ms. Candice Heidelberg-Denison is a performer, wife, mother, & educator. She has been a performing artist, in theatre, music, and media arts for over three decades. Ms. Candice hails from the Pacific Northwest. Her love and knowledge of the arts has afforded her participation in several arts organizations along both the west and east coasts. Ms. Heidelberg-Denison has an MFA in Acting and has participated in local and national film, stage, radio, and television. During her stint in graduate school, she was fortunate to travel abroad to the UK in 2018, with an independent cast and crew, to perform in the internationally known Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ms. Candice is the lead vocalist for SWIRL. The Jazz/R&B group which she cofounded with her maestro husband. She currently teaches theatre arts at Norfolk State University, & The Hurrah Players. She enjoys coaching and performing throughout Hampton Roads and is ecstatic to be an instructor in the theatre/film and vocal music departments at GSA.

george righter

George Righter was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia.  He did undergraduate studies at University of Virginia and graduate studies at Northwestern University.  He has been active in the theatre since high school, and has designed sets, lights and sound for over 120 productions. He possesses extensive skills in carpentry, design, lighting, sound, and scenic artistry. He previously served as the Technical Director for York County's School of the Arts for many years, where he created their Technical Theatre Program. Currently, he serves as the Assistant Technical Director and Scenic Artist at Virginia Stage Company. In his limited free time, he enjoys frolicking with his four cats and his canine companion.