TAD Welcomes 5 Guest Artists to Our Acting II Course

TAD would like to welcome five exceptional guest artists for this semester's Acting II course, taught by our department chair, C. Patrick Gendusa. These artists have a range of expertise in theater work, from learning in France to teaching stage combat right here in New Orleans. We are thrilled to welcome the following artists to our Loyola community:

Actress Jana Mestecky will join us in teaching “The Method”; award winning writer, producer, and director Doug Spearman will be coaching monologues with our students; director Ryder Thorton will be teaching "ViewPoints"; Cuba Hatheway, who worked as an apprentice to Fight Master Ian Rose at Temple University will be teaching stage combat; last but not least, Tony Award nominee Jeffrey LaHoste will be teaching "Tectonic Theater Moment Work".

Such a talented selection of people and an excellent opportunity for Loyola TAD students. To learn more about our guest artists, check out their bios below!


Jana Mestecky


After two decades in New York City, Jana has found her a new home in New Orleans this past year. She has played the leading role of Mary Griffith in Prayers for Bobby performed by the Astoria Symphonic Choir, Nancy in This Living Hand by Pulitzer-nominated playwright Richard Vetere as part of both The New Group New Works Series and in a staged reading at Cherry Lane, Gina in Little Light Production’s Under Covers, Hester Prynne in The New Globe’s Theatre, Inc.’s The Scarlet Letter at both Playhouse on Park in Hartford, Connecticut and The Gene Frankel Theatre in Manhattan. In addition to playing Hester, Jana is credited with the original adaptation of Hawthorne’s novel alongside her mentor and friend Stuart Vaughan (founding Artistic Director of The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park with Joe Papp). Other highlights include Beatrice in The New Globe Theatre, Inc.’s The Servant of Two Masters at Theatre Three, The Angel Project with Tony Award-winner Deborah Warner (Lincoln Center Festival), Fool for Love (Bleecker Street Theatre), When A Storm Comes (Epic Repertory Theatre Company, DR2), The Informer (Ernie Martin Studio Theatre), Unexpected Tenderness  (written & produced by Emmy Award-winner Israel Horovitz), many seasons as a company actor with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ Imaginary Theatre Company, Trick of Fate (The Players Club), and her New York film debut in The New Guy. She also played leading role in the independent short film “Broken”, directed by David Johnson. In addition to her BA in French and Theatre, she holds an MFA in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School at New School University. She has studied at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Théâtre des Cinquantes in Paris, France, and The Actors Studio. Her work continued beyond the professional stage having served four years as Chair of Performing Arts at the prestigious Spence School among other positions at St. John’s University, The Buckley School, the Birch Wathen Lenox School. In New Orleans, Jana served as the Director of Education at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré. She is a member of all three professional unions (AEA, SAG-AFTRA) and has performed in television commercials, and theatre nationally and internationally. 

Doug Spearman


Doug was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Maryland. He made his acting debut at the age of 7 as Second Angel from the Right in the Ridgecrest Elementary School Christmas play. He was hooked immediately. He began formal acting training seven years later. His parents, on the other hand, were not thrilled with his desire to become an actor, so at Indiana University, Doug took a double major in Television Production and Directing combined with Theater Performance and Directing.

After college, Doug went on to become an award-winning television commercial writer/producer/director in Washington, D.C. at ABC and in Boston, MA for CBS. He also began teaching acting at the SAG Conservatory in Boston in 1989. A year-later he jumped started his own acting career appearing first in Paul Weller’s Ghost of Fire and in a documentary on the Civil War as the voice of Robert E. Lee.

In 1991 Doug moved to Los Angeles to take a position as an agency director at Jacob’s and Gerber, CBS’s agency of record. His first assignments included directing such stars as William Shatner, Candice Bergen, Morgan Freeman, Halle Berry, and Martin Sheen. After that he moved on to writer/producer and Creative Director positions at CBS, NBC, ABC, Soapnet, Buena Vista Television, and E! Entertainment Television.

At the same time, Doug pursued an acting career with guest starring roles on Star Trek Voyager, The Drew Carey Show, The Huguley’s, Charmed, Girlfriends, The Young and the Restless, All My Children, Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders and as Chance in LOGO’s Noah’s Arc. His stage work includes the American premier of The Ice Pick, The Tony Award-Winning South Coast Rep’s premier of Howard Corder’s The Hollow Lands, the critically acclaimed production of The Bacchae at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and as John the Baptist in Salome at the Mack Sennet in Los Angeles.

Doug’s first feature film as a writer and director, a buddy-comedy, Hot Guys with Guns was released in April of 2014. The main title song, Something to Shoot For written and performed by Mervyn Warren was short listed for nomination in the 2015 Academy Awards. His next feature, From Zero to I Love You, was released in June of 2020. Both films are on all major streaming platforms.

Doug studied under Frank Anzalone, Suzanne Mills, Jon Beryl, Jeffrey Tambor, Gloria Gifford, Milton Katsellas and Richard Lawson. In 2011 Doug began teaching advanced scene study at the RLS Studio in Los Angeles. He’s been a private acting coach since 1997.

Doug is currently on the Board of Directors of The New Orleans Film Society. His past board service includes The Celebration Theater, Los Angeles, Outfest, The Relational Center, and Equality California.


Writer/Director's reel viewable at https://vimeo.com/302630799


Ryder Thornton

Ryder Thornton to teach VIEWPOINTS

Ryder Thornton has been working as a theatre artist for over 20 years and has directed over 40 productions at venues throughout the US and abroad. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatist Guild. He recently directed Machinal for Tulane, which received a Big Easy Award for Best University Production. As a theatre scholar, he specializes in modern tragedy, the history of directing, and the work of Eugene O’Neill. He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at national and international conferences. Beyond his graduate work at Temple and UCSB, he received additional training from The American Conservatory Theater and SITI Company. He is the current director of the Strategy, Leadership and Analytics Minor (SLAM).

PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara
MFA, Temple University


Cuba Hatheway


I am originally from New Orleans, Louisiana where I was exposed to stage combat in 2006. In the year of 2007, I participated in a fencing class at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. This ultimately led to my love for blade work. I began my formal training in 2008 at the University of the Arts, and have worked as an apprentice to Fight Master Ian Rose at Temple University from 2012-2013. I have received a Recommended Proficiency in Spear, Sword & Shield, Unarmed, Knife, Rapier & Dagger, and Broadsword; a Basic Proficiency in Single Sword and Small Sword. Cuba continues training at whatever workshop she can bring her beautiful daughters along to. 



Jeffrey LaHoste


Jeffrey LaHoste founded Tectonic Theater Project with Moisés Kaufman and has contributed to the development and production of all of Tectonic’s works. In this capacity, he was nominated for a Best Play Tony Award for 33 Variations. He was nominated for an Emmy Award as a writer of the HBO film adaptation of The Laramie Project, which also received a nomination for Outstanding Made for Television Movie. Laramie won the Humanitas Prize, the National Board of Review (Best Film Made for Cable Television) and the GLAAD Media Award, and was the opening night selection of the Sundance Film Festival, before being screened at the Berlin and Deauville Film Festivals. Jeffrey wrote The Very Extraordinary Mr. Law, which was presented at the Colorado New Play Festival in 2017, and is writing a new play, Zephyr. He holds a B.A. from Tulane University and an M.A. from New York University and is a Moment Work Teaching Artist.