Guest Artists

Mike Ross & Amy Seeley

Head Writers and Guest Lecturers’ for "Behind the Mask: Waiting to Inhale"

Mike and Amy worked with the Stan State Theatre student actors/writers to help them develop their individual monologues. They started this process from scratch with initial ideas, and slowly helped the students to finely tune the finished product. 


Amy SeeleyAmy Seeley spent 10 years teaching and directing comedy and improvisation as a senior faculty member of the Second City training centers in both Chicago and Los Angeles. She studied with master teachers Del Close, Martin de Maat and Mick Napier at theatres including iO, Players Workshop and the Second City. Seeley was a founding member of the Factory Theater in Chicago, where she wrote and directed her one-woman show “Amy Seeley and the Moline Madman.” She sold a pilot to MTV, has several published comedic plays and has directed and/or served as head writer on dozens of sketch and improv shows, plays and musicals.


Mike Ross

Mike Ross spent 10 years teaching and directing comedy writing and improvisation as a senior faculty member at The Second City Training Center in Los Angeles. Along with his wife, Amy Seeley, he also studied with Del Close, Martin de Maat and Mick Napier. He has written three optioned screenplays and has directed and/or served as head writer on dozens of sketch shows, long form improv shows, plays, musicals, improvised short films and solo performances. He wrote lyrics and starred as Luke Skywalker in iO Chicago’s hit musical parody “Jed! A Musical Tour de Force.”

Amy and Mike were married in 2004, and they write and perform their own two-person original sketch show “An Evening with Seeley & Ross.”


Shawn Overton & Andrew Burkum

Audio / Visual and Guest Lecturers for

"Behind the Mask: Waiting to Inhale"

Shawn Overton and Andrew Burkum provided all audio and visual assistance for the project. Shawn was primarily in charge of all visual content and green screen coordination, while Andrew dealt with sound effects, streaming capabilities, and all musical interludes.


Shawn OvertonShawn Overton has been heavily involved in theatre and film for the past two decades.  He received a BA in Theatre Arts from CSU Stanislaus in 2000, followed by an MFA in Playwriting from UNLV.  He was a member of Cockroach Theatre in Las Vegas until 2007 when he transitioned to film as a script and story analyst in Los Angeles.  In 2012, he moved to the Central Valley where he has been involved in the arts as a videographer, photographer, director, writer, and actor.  He is a founding member of Phoenix Creative Collective and has worked closely with Playhouse Merced and Merced Shakespearefest.  In 2017, he started BlueRoad Photography and has since been working as a full-time photographer, videographer, and editor.   


Andrew Burkum

Andrew Burkum has been performing, working behind the scenes and teaching performing arts for over 25 years. He got his start in Hollywood, working for several small production companies in roles from Assistant Director to Costume Designer. He first began teaching acting when overseeing Biola University’s Youth Arts program in the late nineties. After relocating from Southern California to the Central Valley, Andrew has appeared onstage and has directed at many of the local theatre venues as well as taught classes for Playhouse Merced, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center and others. In 2018 he became a founding member of the Phoenix Creative Collective. He is also the writer of the award-winning Web Series, Chronofilm. Recently, Andrew has put his knowledge of sound and live streaming to use in assisting organizations and individuals in taking their formerly in-person classes, events and gatherings online. He recently served as a consultant for the CSUS production of Behind the Mask, coordinating sound design and streaming technology and is currently working on sound design for the upcoming production of Everybody. Andrew lives in Modesto with his wife Patience and kids Steven and Serenity.


NICK ZAGONE: Directing Stan State Theatre Student Production "Short Plays"



An Oregon Book Award Nominee, Nick Zagone grew up in Portland, OR. His short film "The Gas Station" was on the 2017 short list for best short film at the Cannes Film Festival. And his adaptation of "Treasure Island" was commissioned and produced at Merced College in California. He is resident playwright at Prospect Theatre Project in Modesto, CA.

His full-length plays include The Missing Pieces (Portland Playhouse, Portland Center Stage JAW Festival and Inkwell Theatre Festival) Mary Esther (East 3rd Productions New York, Michael Chekov Festival) David and Goliath in America: A William Kunstler Story (Mark A. Klein Playwriting Award, Artistic Director’s Achievement Award by the San Fernando Valley Theatre League Alliance, Los Angeles Ovation Award Nomination), Driving Under the Influence (AlphaNYC Theater Co. NYC, Fulton Opera House Award, JAW Festival Reading Selection, Mark Cohen Playwriting Award Nomination, Twilight Theatre Company), Blood on the Books or The Powell's Play (Oregon Book Award Nominee) Howard’s Hand (New York MultiStages Festival, Inkwell Theatre Festival @ Wooly Mammoth) Ohio (Northwest Playwright’s Series Finalist), ETA: Phoenix (a Seattle Times Footlight Award), Our LA Man from Vegas (Prospect Theatre Playwriting Competition Winner), Lee Marvin Be Thy Name (Prospect Theatre Commission) American Dodo (Northwest Playwright’s Series Finalist) and the short Brainstorm (winner of the Lamia Ink! International One-Page Play Competition in New York).

His ten-minute plays The Pink Fancy, Amorica, The Mint Juleps, The Coors Lights, I Can't Think Of It Right Now..., Smoke Scenes and others have been seen in all 50 states as well as England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Tasmania, Germany, Poland, Chile, India, the Virgin Islands, Greece, Singapore, Portugal, over 100 Colleges & Universities and translated into 6 foreign languages including Persian. The ten-minute play The DMV One has been performed over 100 times throughout the US.

Nick's work has been developed and produced at East 3rd Productions in NYC, Printer's Devil, Sierra Repertory Theatre, No-Shame Theatre LA, Iron Ring Theatre, Shaking the Tree Theatre, Pavement Productions, Prospect Theatre, Portland Theatre Works and three times has been invited to Portland Center Stage's JAW Festival for new work.

He has a Bachelor of Theatre from Willamette University and a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Nick’s been recognized by the American College Theatre Festival, Association of Theatre in Higher Education, and the Seattle Schools Interagency Arts.

He has worked with Cal-State Stanislaus, Stage 3, Pasadena City College & Mark Taper Forum in California, Seattle Repertory Theatre & A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, Whitman College, Willamette University, University of Portland, Portland Center Stage’s PlayGroup and Playwrights West.

Nick is also published by Dramatic Publishing and Black Box Press including three volumes of "Ten 10-Minute Plays".