Meet Our Teachers

Richard Mazda

Drama, Acting Coach, and Shakespeare

Richard Mazda is a UK-born actor, writer, and director who is now a proud American. He was the Artistic Director of the Secret which he founded and built-in 2007.

Kaila Wooten

Actor, Singer and Musician

Kaila Wooten believes the voice is an instrument just like any other. She got her start singing sessions in Nashville and she now teaches private voice lessons to all ages. BFA (NYU) 

Miles Messier

Actor, Music Director, and Composer

Miles is an actor, music director, and composer. He has directed and performed all over the world, as well as overseas as a Vocal Director for Royal Caribbean International. He has written several musicals, including To the Fairest which made its NYC stage debut in winter 2022. Miles holds a BFA in music theatre and a minor in composition from The Hartt School. You can listen to his original compositions at his website

Michael Verre

Actor, Singer and Dancer

Michael is an Actor/Singer/Dancer born and raised in NY. He is thrilled to be a part of the team at the Secret Theatre. Past credits as an actor include The Peterborough Players, The John W. Engeman Theatre, The Palace Theatre, and Red Mountain Theatre Company and as a dancer, he has performed in The Queensborough Dance Festival, Broadway By The Year at The Town Hall, and Saks 5th Ave “Theatre of Dreams.” He has studied with and performed in pieces choreographed by, Max Pollak, Andrew Nemr, and Marshall Davis Jr. Follow him on Instagram @michaeljverre for videos of him busking in Central Park and pictures of pizza.

Emily Peiffer

Actor, Physical Theatre Creator, Teaching Artist

“Emily Peiffer is an NYC based actor, physical theatre creator, and teaching artist. She has a BFA degree in acting from Coastal Carolina University. Additionally, she studied in Italy at Accademia Dell’Arte where she focused on devising and creating work revolving around masks and clown. She has also participated in the Pedagogy and Theatre Of the Oppressed Conference- a theatre conference focused on creating theatre in conversation with the social/political issues in the area. 

Her teaching background extends from after school programs, Boys and Girls Club work, and reading programs. She’s very excited to be a part of the Secret Theatre team and can’t wait to meet your creative kiddos!”

Deniz Erzaim

Actor/singer/Puppeteer/Mime

from Turkey. Deniz has been performing with the Theater86 company and Broken Box Mime Company.

He loves any form of storytelling,  thinks every person lives for a story, and thinks practicing on your storytelling skills, is also practicing yourself as a person, because the more you know how to express yourself and your feelings, the more you learn about yourself. That’s why he thinks drama classes are not only helpful for those who want to become an actor but it could be helpful for everyone because testing your limits in a safe environment allows you to have more options in life. He is happy to be a part of The Secret Theatre company.

Luisa Menzen

Teacher, Actor

Luisa Menzen is a NYC based, multilingual actress and teaching artist. She was born in Germany and grew up in Italy, where she started performing in theater and began to work in the arts. She moved to the Big Apple further pursuing her acting career. Luisa has been performing with The Russian Arts Theater & Studio for the past few years, select NY credits include: Crime and Punishment (West End Theater), Lady with a Lapdog (Theater for the New City), The Seagull, Dante’s Inferno (Pushkin Hall).  Luisa has done voice-over work and can be seen in independent films, commercial spots and print work. Luisa loves to work with kids of all ages, teaching theater arts and passing on her true passion.

Danielle Chu

Teacher, Dancer, Choreographer

Danielle is a senior at Manhattanville College where she studies Dance and Mathematics. She has been studying ballet, tap, jazz, and modern since she was 3 years old. Currently, Danielle dances in NYC with Not Shy Dance Crew and HINT Dance Team. She also founded K-Pop Dance Crew (KDC) at her college. She has choreographed several pieces at Manhattanville and has taught at Street Beatz Dance Studio. She is excited to be teaching at the Secret Theatre Academy!

Dominika Zawada

Singer, Actress, and Theater Producer

Dominika Zawada is a Polish-born singer, actress, and theater producer. In 2011 She moved to the Netherlands where she studied jazz singing at the Conservatory of Den Haag, earning a BA in Music.

She co-founded Happily Ever After Productions, the first English-speaking musical theater production company in Amsterdam. She produced and directed several successful musicals, including Avenue Q, Into The Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, Working a Musical, and Ordinary Days. Dominika served as the vocal coach and music director for each production.

In 2019, Dominika opened her own singing studio Sing With Do, specializing in ESTILL voice training technique. She works with singers of all levels, providing classes focused on vocal technique, musical theater and drama.

MinJi Kim

Actor, Singer

MinJi Kim is an NY based artist and activist dedicated to breaking boundaries, and representing Asian Americans in the creative industry. She is a big advocate of new works and made her Off-Broadway debut in The Magnificent Seven at Theatre Row last summer, and recorded the original cast album which can be found on all streaming platforms. She was also most recently seen in Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria which she performed at NAMT, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and 5th Avenue Theatre. Other workshops include KPOP, SuperYou, and Baked the Musical. She has performed at various venues including Madison Square Garden, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Symphony Space, and more. MinJi is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama (New Studio on Broadway). When she’s not on stage, she spends her time teaching children music and art, and seeks to empower the future generation to evolve and transform into their highest potential. 

Izabel Dorst

Actor/Theatre Teacher/Commercial Model

Izabel is an NYC-based actor, commercial model, and teaching artist originally from West Virginia. She grew up teaching dance to children at her local dance studio, has been a college audition monologue coach for several years, and taught movement and theatre for people on the autism spectrum for four years. She is so excited to be a part of the team at The Secret Theatre. She graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2018 and studied devised theatre in Italy for 4 months. Credits include NYC Dream Up Festival, Daniel Boone Outdoor Theatre, and Equity play readings throughout the pandemic. She can also be seen in multiple independent short films, indie pilots, and independent feature films, as well as print ads and commercial spots. Izabel has always had the teaching bug and is so excited to get to work with children of all ages who love the arts as much as she does! 

Carla Mongado

Singer, Actor

Carla is a singer-actor from the Philippines and is now based in New York City. She received her Bachelor’s in music as a Voice major and Piano minor at Silliman University, Philippines. Carla was a featured soloist in various cultural and national events in the Philippines and Malaysia, such as “Voices in Harmony” with the Sarawak Symphony Orchestra, Short Stories Solo Concert, “Himig ng Pag-big” and Broadway Our Way. 
 
Her recent stage appearances include Christmas in The Dells, US Premiere of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Island Song, Les Miserables, Into the Woods, In My Father’s House, Mavra, an opera buffa, Shoe Story, Pretty Pants Bandit. 
 
Carla’s Off-Broadway credits include Dear Mom, I’m Gay, Wow, Seattle?, and Bullet Points. She is also a member of Babaje, a women’s trio, and prestigious choirs in New York, such as the Amor Artis & Dessoff Choirs. Carla was a finalist of The Doreen Montalvo “Do It Anyway” Scholarship by R.Evolucion Latina. She can be heard on the Original Concept Album Recording of Goodbye New York and Platinum Girls the Musical. 
 
She is passionate about teaching and nurturing the young generation and believes music and art can change lives. Carla is very thrilled to be a part of Secret Theater Academy!