26 N Williams Street, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

RCSA Winter/Spring 2024 Instructors


Austin Basis (On-Camera Masterclass) Shortly after graduating The Actors Studio Drama School with an MFA in Acting, he became a lifetime member of The Actors Studio. There, he’s had the privilege of working with Al Pacino, Faye Dunaway & Estelle Parsons; and under the tutelage of Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel, Martin Landau, Arthur Penn, Mark Rydell, Barbara Bain, and Lou Antonio.

Austin played head writer Alvin Blank in the 5th & final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, currently on Prime Video. He is most known for his role as J.T. Forbes on the 4-time People’s Choice Award-winning series Beauty And The Beast. He was also a series regular on The CW drama Life Unexpected and was a lead in the Warner Bros. web series GHOSTFACERS. Austin’s vast television & film experience has allowed him to share the screen with Viola Davis, Larry David, Claire Danes, Harvey Keitel, Sandra Oh, Vincent D’Onofrio, Christine Baranski, Rachel Brosnahan, Hank Azaria, Michael Lerner, Barry Bostwick, and Austin Butler. He has appeared on numerous TV shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Homeland, How To Get Away With Murder, Lucifer, Little Fires Everywhere, Supernatural, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Casual, and LAW & ORDER: Criminal Intent. He can also be seen in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty on HBO and in Reasonable Doubt on Hulu.

His film credits include J. Edgar (directed by Clint Eastwood), The Other End of the Line, My Sassy Girl, American Zombie, Boxboarders!, Re-Cut, Dead End Drive, Dorian Blues, and First Oscar, in which Austin plays famed Hollywood producer David O. Selznick. His most recent film projects include Kanashimi, Daruma, and The Last Take – which are all making the rounds in this year’s festival circuit.

Colleen Basis (On-Camera Masterclass) is a Los Angeles-based Acting Coach, and the creator of the popular social media graphic “The Actor’s Iceberg”.​ After moving to New York she continued to act, study and teach. At the Michael Howard Studios she took the opportunity to create her own conservatory program working with influential teachers Larry Singer (founder of Larry Singer Studios), Michael Howard, Patsy Rodenburg, Olympia Dukakis, and Ali Farahnakian. Her acting career then took her to Los Angeles, and there she shifted her focus to private coaching and casting.​

Her casting experience includes feature films and pilots, working with and learning from veteran Casting Directors Paul Weber (Spartacus and Stargate Series), Jeff Meshel (former NBC VP of Casting), and Tracy Lilienfield (Grace and Frankie). Her long list of clients includes Emmy Award Winner Kerry Washington, People’s Choice Winner Austin Basis (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Reggie Austin (On My Block), Aria Song (Yellowstone), Rebekka Johnson (GLOW), Rachel Drummond (911) and many more recognizable Film & TV actors.

John DaCosse (Stand-Up Comedy for Adults) has been a professional stand-up comedian for 40 years and still going strong traveling the globe!! He’s shared the stage with comics Brad Garrett, Dave Chapelle, George Lopez, Sebastian, Ron White, and Kevin James just to name a few. A warm-up studio comic for Rosie O’Donnell, Oprah, and Jerry Springer and has performed my own Stand up on Comedy Central, NBC Friday Nights, and Comics Unleashed!! “But most importantly I like to have fun!!!”


Christina Giorgi (Acting – Fundamentals of Performance) is a recent graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University where she obtained her BFA in acting with a minor in Hispanic studies. When not acting, Christina has a passion for teaching and directing. For the past two summers, she has worked as a teaching artist for young performers at the New London Barn Playhouse. Born and raised in Crystal Lake, Christina is thrilled to be working with young performers and providing them a safe space to expand on their dreams of becoming a performer just like she had at their age.

Tasha Guevara (Acting Through Movement) Hailing from Trinidad and growing up in Brooklyn New York, Tasha recalls always being deeply impressed by music and movies. Some of her earliest music education moments came via browsing the 45 record collections of her uncles. Though music was among her first loves, Tasha for many years pursued her career in Acting and Education. She has held DJ residencies all over NYC and has served as a sound designer for multiple theater companies. She also has several independent movies, TV appearances, and commercials under her belt. In her spare time, she served as a teaching artist in the NYC school system.

James Mablin (Vocal- Fundamentals of Performance/Resident Music Director) hails from London, England. He has musically directed and/or played Keyboards in over a hundred shows. Favorites include Joseph and the Amazing TechnicoloredÓ Dreamcoat (UK Tour), Whistle Down the Wind (UK Tour), High School Musical (World Premiere – Stagedoor Manor, NY), Caroline or Change (Cyrano’s Theatre Company, AK), Little Shop of Horrors (Thin Air Theatre Company, CO), The Toxic Avenger (Thin Air Theatre Company, CO) and Into the Woods (Slow Burn Theatre Company, FL). As an educator, James ran the musical theatre program at a large college in London, was a professor & musical theatre specialist at The Yale School of Drama, and most recently on the Musical Theatre faculty at Auburn University as their resident Music Director.

James is also the associate artistic director and head of the music department at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center, named one of the top summer theatre programs in the world. James has written the vocal arrangements and musically directed opening and closing numbers for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade including the Emmy award-winning song “Join Our Parade”. In January of 2024, James is thrilled to be stepping into the role of Resident Music Director for the Raue Center for the Arts.

Göran Norquist (Intermediate Acting) is an actor, teacher, director, musician, writer, and usually pretty tired. He has a BFA and an MFA in Acting and has been an actor for over 17 years working in California, Chicago, Texas, and most recently, his living room. Some favorite past roles include Sweeney in Sweeney Todd, Bottom in Midsummer, Amos Hart in Chicago, and Olivia in Twelfth Night.

He recently wrote his first full-length play LOST MEN (and the boys we are) which just had its first reading. He also composed all the music for a radio production of The Tempest during the pandemic. Göran was raised in shame-based theatre environments and now fully believes that shame doesn’t help anyone. He believes that the more we heal the more fully we can be our true selves, and the more we can do that, the better artists and people we will become.

Mollie Peery (Dance-Fundamentals of Performance/Choreographer) is a graduate from Olivet Nazarene University where she majored in film studies and minored in theater. She was a teaching artist at Children’s Theater of Western Springs, but also performs in the regional area. She currently is performing with the Olde School Shakespeare Collective in Chicago. Peery founded the ONU Dance Team at her university where she worked on technique and many different genres of dance with her group. She has choreographed on multiple different platforms both for the stage and the screen. She is also heavily involved in the film scene. She worked/studied on the Sunset Las Palmas studio lot this Spring and feels very passionately about telling important stories. She hopes that she can create safe, exciting and creative environments for students to learn and grow!

Steve Pickering (How Plays Work) is an award-winning actor (AEA/SAG-AFTRA), director, and playwright (Dramatists Guild) with 40 years of experience in Chicago theatre. He has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, in London’s West End, and with many major regionals across the country. He is a former Artistic Associate with the Organic Theater, Artistic Director of the Next Theatre in Evanston, Project Manager for Shanghai Low Theatricals, and a 2016 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow with the Ten Chimneys Foundation. He is a Goodman Theatre Creative Partner – having appeared in over 35 productions there since 1987 – and was a member of the Goodman’s 2019/20 Playwrights Unit.