Our Studio

Shari Shaw has been passionate about teaching, instructing, and coaching artists to be their best selves and most awesome performer ever since her days as an actor. However, with her vast experience, she decided to be on the other side of the camera, and giving back was her calling! Creating her renowned method of breaking down your scripts and using the Shari Shaw comedy method -actors worldwide have found a way that is easy to apply, and it works! From many many series regulars and film stars to beginners, Shari and her team vigorously open their arms to performers and help build their careers with great care. Obsessed and passionate …and going strong for almost 20 years!


Da Boss

After graduating Cum Laude from Cal. State University-Northridge Theater Arts Department and U.S.C. Theater, Shari's professional career spanned almost 20 years as a full-time working actor on Film, TV, National Commercials and Stage including Theatrical World Premieres.

Despite her on-camera success, Shari developed a greater joy from individual work with actors and the emotional and creative experience of teaching the craft of acting. Combining her own acting experience and infectious, high-energy personality with techniques of mentors Lee Strassberg, Peggy Fuery and John Lehne - as well as motivational skills developed as a successful personal trainer – Shari has developed a one-of-a-kind approach to coaching actors and performers.

In 2004, Shari Shaw Acting Studio was born. From a converted office/garage, it has grown into a thriving acting studio with two locations (Secret Rose Theatre) and an ever-widening network of friends, associates, colleagues and clients. Shari was the first female director for the NBCUniversal Actors Showcase, has directed the ABC Diversity Showcase, is a regular Visiting Instructor at the Universal Studio Acting Workshops, has on-going workshops in Atlanta and New York and regularly coaches on-set for TV and major films.

Our Instructors

Kristen Ariza

Staff Member

If KRISTEN ARIZA looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen her in over 50 national commercials as well as nearly every procedural show on TV, including Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS: Los Angeles, Bones, American Horror Story, and a recurring role opposite Tim Roth on Lie to Me. She has also exercised her comedic muscles opposite Amy Poehler in Parks & Recreation and Matt LeBlanc on Friends.

Kristen began her career in her hometown of Orlando, Florida, where she was cast in the Nickelodeon remake of the 1970’s British Sci-Fi series, The Tomorrow People. Filmed on location in London, this series was a classic long before the WB remake of the remake! It was here that she discovered her love for acting.

Afterward, she studied at Florida State University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. She has performed on stage in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Most recently, Kristen can be seen in the Emmy nominated HBO feature, Confirmation which depicts the explosive 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings where Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. Starring Kerry Washington, Wendell Pierce, and Greg Kinnear, Kristen plays Deputy Press Secretary, Judy Smith, the real-life inspiration behind the ABC hit, Scandal.

Kristen is also part of the drama series, Startup, now in its second season, starring Martin Freeman, Adam Brody, and Edi Gathegi. She plays Tamara Dacey, wife to Edi Gathegi’s character Ronald Dacey, who is the second-in-command of a local Haitian gang. If Ronald is the muscle, Kristen Ariza’s Tamara is the heart. Kristen is a working actor who loves the craft and loves helping others actors in their professional journey. She is excited to be a part of the staff at Shari Shaw Acting Studio, where she teaches Audition Technique Online and In-Person at the studio!

Alissa Dean

Staff Member

ALISSA DEAN is a born and bred New Yorker. She got her start in musical theatre, commercials and voiceover at a young age which led to her graduating from the prestigious theatre program at New York University with a Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts.

While at NYU, she studied under renowned Neighborhood Playhouse acting teacher Fred Kareman and famed opera and vocal coach, Shari Anderson. Alissa also studied and performed improv at NYC’s The Upright Citizen’s Brigade and at The Magnet Theatre with Armando Diaz.

Alissa began teaching as a master teacher at The Children’s Playhouse Theater, a Los Angeles performing arts school for children, in 2012. Through her work at CPT, Alissa was able to help children of varying backgrounds find their artistic voice, thus sparking her desire to continue her journey as a teacher.

Having worked with Shari Shaw as a teacher and mentor for the last decade, Alissa is thrilled to be teaching Scene Study and Audition Technique at Shari Shaw Acting Studio, the very place she found her own voice as a performer.

Sebrina Purcell

Sebrina Purcell was born and raised in NYC. Sebrina received her BA in Theatre Performance at Austin Peay University. Once she graduated, she decided to finally make the leap to move out to Los Angeles to continue her dreams of working in film. Sebrina teaches our Youth classes at Shari Shaw Studios.

Traci Belushi

Traci Belushi is an actress known for The Shrink Next Door (2021), The Morning Show (2019), and Dave (2020). Traci was born in Queens, New York. Traci studied at Florida State University, where she graduated with a BA in Theater. Traci is in charge of our networking program at Shari Shaw Studios.

Valerie Azlynn

Azlynn was born Valerie Asselin in New London, Connecticut, and was raised there. Azlynn moved to New York City at age 17 to pursue a career as an actress, building her résumé by performing in the theater and singing with an opera company in Manhattan, New York. She later moved to Los Angeles.

In 2004, Azlynn landed a supporting role in The Joe Schmo Show as Piper “The Bachelorette.” She has since appeared in episodes of Hot in Cleveland,[4] Cold CaseCSI: NYThe Big Bang TheoryTwo and a Half Men, Rules of EngagementHow I Met Your MotherJoeyiCarlyThe LoopMr. Sunshine, and many others. From 2012 through 2014, Azlynn starred as Melanie on the TBS comedy Sullivan & Son.

Azlynn has appeared in roles on the big screen, including in Poseidon and Tropic Thunder, among others. When she’s not acting for television and film, Valerie dedicates her time to help actors hone their craft here at Shari Shaw Studios.

Abigail Snarr

Hi, I’m Abigail! I’ve been acting, singing and performing all my life! I studied vocal performance at UVU and finished my time there in the Acting BFA. I absolutely love performance and finding new mediums to express creativity through. I believe every medium can teach us something that translates into the next.
In recent years, I’ve developed a passion for teaching performance and coaching auditions.
I love helping my students connect with their authentic voice and enjoy growing their confidence in what they bring to the table as layered and creative individuals!