Staff

Tamara Drew is co-Founder of Studio BE: Youth Revolution, Executive Director, and Secretary of its non -profit board. With a degree in Theatre and Sociology from Millikin University, Tamara is dedicated to molding great performers and young adults who exercise empathy, perspective, and tolerance. Her life-experiences as a runway and artist model, server, bar-tender, personal assistant, library assistant, quality inspector in an auto factory, proofer in the county Recorder’s Office, teacher, make-up artist with Burberry Beauty and Giorgio Armani, spouse, and mother have provided her interaction with many demographics of people with vast variations of education, socio-economic status, professional experience, and world exposure.  These coupled with the experience of working with The Stanford University I Have a Dream Foundation, The Beverly Arts Center, Skokie Parks District, The Entertainment Project, and providing arts education and performance programming for the Union Park Girls In The Game program, allowed Ms. Tamara to realize the need for both excellent performing arts training and a vehicle for young learners to become truly informed about the of variations of the human experience. Studio BE: Youth Revolution is her answer to that need. Tamara is a mother to three boys, and is actively advocating for artistic and social evolution as a committee member of Families for Arts Magnet Education, and the Center for Community Arts Partnerships and Youth Guidance Advisory Board at Ravenswood Elementary School. Recent professional performance credits include “Diasporas”  with Volcano Radar and Axiom Brass by Elbio Barilari with Andy Cohn (Chicago Latino Music Festival, One Book One Chicago Concert Series 2014, live recording broadcast WFMT, Chicago), and Lilah Leech in the Chicago vocal workshop of Julian Po by Ira Antelis & Andrew Barrett (2014).

Expose. Empower. Educate. Effect. Come BE with us~

Robert-Eric West is co-founder of Studio BE: Youth Revolution, Artistic Director & Director of Music Education, and Vice President of its non-profit board. Mr. West is a graduate of Butler University with a BA in musical theatre including concentrations in vocal performance and pedagogy as well costume, hair and make-up design. He began his career at the age of six as a member of a youth theatre studying with the acclaimed children’s theatre director and author Nora MacAlvay, returning later in life as the company’s artistic director.  Robert-Eric spent 13 years as a vocal coach and musical theatre history instructor at Indiana University where he also founded the Monroe County Children’s Theatre.  For the past eight years he has supported his bohemian theatrical life as a make-up artist and artist trainer for Prescriptives, Shu Uemura and Giorgio Armani Cosmetics at the national level and has had his work appear on stage, screen and print. Spanning almost 40 years, his career has taken him from one coast to the other but he will always call Chicago home.  He has performed, designed, directed and taught workshops and Master classes for the Dunes Arts Foundation, Candlelight, Festival Players Guild, Drury Lane, Oracle Productions and Indiana Repertory Theatre, just to name a few. With his real passion in the art of performance, Mr. West’s (as his students call him) drive is to instill in each of the young lives he helps to mold that nothing is out of their reach and his biggest joy is to see the breakthrough moment when student becomes who they were truly meant to BE.

 

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Savannah Quinn Hoover (Lead Dance Instructor, CCAP @ Ravenswood)  is currently a senior acting major at Columbia College Chicago, with two years of previous training in acting at Webster University’s Conservatory program. Born and raised in the windy city, she began acting in a summer camp with Ms. Tamara Drew and Mr. Robert-Eric West while in elementary school. She continued her training at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, originally for dance and later switching to musical theatre. She has trained in dance for 6 years (ballet, jazz, Graham technique, and musical theatre styles) and figure skating (ISI and USFSA certified) for 10 years. In 2015 she made her Chicago debut at Stage 773’s One Act Festival: Halloween Edition.  She is humbled to be a part of such an amazing group and hopes nothing more than to inspire, teach, and grow with the youth and staff here at Studio BE.

 

  Manuel (Manny) Ortiz  (Shakespeare Instructor, CCAP @ Ravenswood) hails from the city of Chicago where he studied and graduated with his BFA in Acting at  DePaul University’s Theater School conservatory; recently rated one of the best of 25 theater conservatories in the world. His life as a working actor and entrepreneur has illuminated this path with Studio BE Youth Revolution, and he is thrilled to be working with such talented group of artists, teachers and friends. Manny also works as a self-taught free-lance photographer, working hand in hand with theater companies such as Next Theater, Looking Glass, and Stage 773. Manny was taught by Ms. Tamara while in high school, and worked as an intern at Studio BE during its inaugural summer in 2009. He is currently serving as an outreach instructor for Studio BE Youth Revolution, and is also our resident photographer! Mr. Manny is a founder, and the all around do-it-man (props, set, costumes, make-up, puppets, & positivity) of Cult Camp Productions, the resident theatre company at Mayne Stage. He’s amazing. 🙂

 

 

2013-06-23 14.50.36 Austin Kopsa (Instructor and Director, Annie KIDS!) is a freelance stage manager, designer, and director throughout the Greater Chicagoland area. A 2013 graduate of Iowa State University with a B.A. in Acting/Directing, Austin has received multiple honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and was invited to work as an assistant Director for the National New Play Network’s M.F.A. Playwrighting Workshop hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. His most recent Chicago credits include Porchlight Music Theatre’s Sondheim on Sondheim (Assistant Stage Manager), Sweeney Todd (Assistant Stage Manager), and Ain’t Misbehaving (Assistant Stage Manager). Properties design include Piven’s Melancholy Play, Fox Valley Repertoire’s Christmas on Broadway, Aladdin, and The Andrew’s Sisters.

 

 

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Francis (Frank) Trankina (Visual Art Instructor, Summer 2014) is a Professor of Art at Northern Illinois University. He was born in Chicago, and has taught art in diverse communities in Chicago and suburbs for over 25 years. Among these venues are Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago City-Wide College, Evanston Art Center, Highland Park Art Center, Park Ridge Park District, Oak Park Art League and College of DuPage. Trankina received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago,MA and BFA from  Northern Illinois University. Trankina was the 2001 recipient of the Alexander Rutsch Award in New York. His artwork has been exhibited in Japan and England, New York, California and Texas, as well as in Chicago and the Midwest. His artwork is included in numerous collections including Rockford Art Museum, Elmhurst College, Kohler Art Center and The Illinois State Museum permanent collections.

 

 

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China Brickey (Director, GREASE) is currently pursuing a BFA in Acting and a Music Minor in Vocal Performance at Millikin University. China was one of Studio Be’s first students and performed in Jason and the Argonauts, Rent as Joanne, Romeo and Juliet as Tybalt, Ragtime as Sarah, and Little Shop of Horrors. China has studied abroad with the British American Drama Academy and The Globe Theatre’s Education Program as well as having been a member of Lookinglass Theatre’s Young Ensemble. She has also received recognition for stage combat in four weapons from the Society of American Fight Directors including hand to hand, broadsword, single sword, and sword and shield.  With her university she has performed in Hair as well as three productions on Millikin’s Mainstage including Macbeth as a Witch, Spring Awakening as an ensemble member and Martha’s Understudy, and most recently Legally Blonde as Pilar. She is extremely excited to come back to work for the program that made her fall in love with theatre, specifically theatre with an objective to help grow those in and around it to inform communities and change the world for the better!

 

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Alyssa White (Assistant Director, Annie KIDS!)  is a graduate of Kenyon College with a BA in Drama and a minor in Philosophy. While in college, Alyssa studied directing at the National Theater Institute in Connecticut. In Chicago she has worked with The New Colony and Theatre Seven of Chicago. Alyssa first worked with Studio BE as a directing intern for the Showstopper’s production of The Wizard of Oz in the summer of 2013. Currently, she assistant teaches SBYR’s after-school Dance Class with Miss Tamara at Pulaski International School of Chicago.

 

 

Blanca Hernandez

Blanca Hernandez (Intern: Theatre Administration) is currently a BFA Theatre Administration major and Spanish minor at Millikin University. She is also the managing director for Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre, a student run non-for-profit  located in the Millikin campus. Apart from that she is the business manager for Millikin’s Department of Theatre and Dance, in which she creates marketing materials for their Main Stage shows. Some of her credits include ASM for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Millikin University), ASM for The Plants who Ate The Dirty Socks (Millikin University), and Stage Manager for the opera Puccini One Acts (Millikin University). Blanca is ecstatic to be joining the Studio Be Youth Revolution family and do great work with them!

 

 

Ben Locke

  Ben Locke (Intern, Summer 2014; GREASE Assistant Director, Dramaturg, Assistant Choreographer) is a BA Theatre and Human Services major from Millikin      University. Some of his credits include Ensemble in Legally Blonde, Matt in Dog Sees God and Owl in Miss Electricity. He has experience in numerous areas of  theatre   including directing, writing, choreographing and puppeteering. He is so thrilled to have the opportunity to be working at Studio Be Youth Revolution this  summer!

 

 

 

Dana Jones

Dana Jones (Intern, Summer 2014) is currently studying Theatre and Communication at Millikin University. She is currently the social media manager for the non-profit theatre company Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. She will be Marketing Director for the company later this year in the fall. Dana is also experienced in other aspects of theatre including acting and choreography. Beyond that she is an advocate for social justice. She is a member of a campus group, Unity, that spreads awareness about current issues in society. She plans to bring laughs as well as her passion for enlightening others to Studio Be Youth Revolution.

 

 Leslie Ruettiger is a 2011 graduate of Millkin University where she earned her BFA in Acting and Spanish. While in school, Leslie had the opportunity to study abroad in London, where she delightfully studied at The Globe Theatre. In Chicago she has performed with Red Moon Theatre, The State Theatre, Polarity Ensemble, Hell In A Handbag, and Broken Nose Theatre, where she is a company member as well as the casting director. Leslie started working with Studio BE  in the summer of 2011 as a directing intern for the Showstopper’s production of No Strings Attached. Since then, she has Assistant Directed Studio BE Youth Revolution Teen Company productions of The Mousetrap and AIDA, and Directed & Choreographed Charlotte’s Web with the Studio BE Youth Revolution “Burley BE’s”, where she also teaches SBYR’s after-school Acting Class. Leslie is represented by BMG and the voice over department of Grossman & Jack.