studio faculty


Brenna Wickstrom

Director of Education

Brenna is an Oklahoma native turned Florida transplant (and loving every minute of it!) She is very excited to join The Players Studio as Director of Education and brings a broad range of experiences and skills to the position. Over the last decade Brenna has not only worked artistically and professionally as a teaching artist and actor but founded and operated an award-winning children’s arts outreach program with her husband. Combined with her many years of teaching and training at the University of Central Oklahoma for Theatre Education & Communications, she has shared her love of the arts with over 15,000 children from ages 2 to 92. Her talents have provided her special opportunities such as becoming the Drama teacher for Wilson Elementary, a nationally accredited school of the arts, receiving arts integration training with The Kennedy Center as well as performing at the Scottish FRINGE Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland among a myriad of other endeavors. When not teaching, she loves to perform and is proud to have portrayed roles such as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Macduff in Macbeth and so many more. She is proud to work for such a historical theatre company alongside her husband while raising their two boys in the sunshine.  


Studio Assistant

Logan is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan, New York where he trained in theater dance, voice, and acting. He also trained as a character performer, puppeteer, and competitive ballroom dancer. In total he is versed in over seventeen different forms of dance, music theory and overall live theatre design. He has performed in numerous shows, both on professional and community stages. He assisted in designing multiple haunted experiences with Big Dreamer Productions and toured with Sesame Street Live’s USO continental tour.


Amanda Heisey

Amanda has been performing since she was a child. She has a Bachelor’s of Journalism from The University of Missouri and after working for various 

news outlets returned to her passion for the arts through public relations. Amanda is the Marketing Director for The Players Centre and acting teacher/director of The Players Teens for The Players Studio. Directing credits include: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (The Players Centre), Yard Sale the Musical (Venice Theatre) and Hello, Dolly! (The Players Centre.) Favorite on stage credits include: Shrek (Pinocchio), Sylvia (Sylvia), The Rocky Horror Show (Magenta), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Cats (Demeter) and SHOUT! (Green Girl).


Lacey Knispel

Lacey studied Education and Theatre at the University of South Florida. She currently teaches theatre at Sarasota High School. She teaches acting and improv, and has worked with The Players Summer Camps for many years.



Alyssa is returning for her sixth year as director for The Players Kids.  Additionally, she is the Assistant Production Manager for Venice Theatre, and has stage managed, designed, directed, and performed in many productions in the area.


Michelle Neal


Mike McManus

Mike started his theatrical training in Miami, Florida under the direction of Frank Bunetta (Jackie Gleason’s director), and choreographer, Ron 

Daniels. In New York City he attended the famed American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and The Herbert Berghof Studio.  While in Manhattan he studied with many of America’s great dance talents including Henry La Tang, Mary Jane Brown, Carol Hess, Joel Bergman, Charles Kelley, Jerry Ames, Phil Cook, Charles and Kasha Lowe, Bob Audy, Luigi, and Alvin Ailey. Mike also had the privilege of taking classes with Patsy Swayze (Patrick Swayze’s Mom) in Houston, Texas. Locally Mike has been teaching tap dancing and exercise/balance classes for over 40 years at various facilities.


Debbi White

Debbi has been making music since the age of 5. She has coached children and teens in music and singing for over 20 years. Debbi is a featured

soloist at several churches in Sarasota, and makes regular appearances on The Players stage. Favorite stage credits include Pamela in HEAD OVER HEELS and BJ in THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES.


Brian Finnerty

Brian studied musical theatre at Booker High School VPA and Point Park’s Conservatory of Performing Arts in Pittsburgh. In Brian’s “early years,” he was a competition dancer

who traveled America until the age of 16 where he shifted his focus to musical theatre. Direction and choreography credits include; HEAD OVER HEELS, SHOUT! THE MOD MUSICAL, HELLO, DOLLY!, ALL SHOOK UP, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, FUNNY GIRL (The Players Centre), YANK! A WWII Love Story (Manatee PAC), REEFER MADNESS, VAUDEVILLE’S DEAD, CHRISTMAS BELLES OF ‘45 (Plump Sisters Productions & Random Acts, The Starlite Room), SILENCE!, HONK, and 6 WOMEN WITH BRAIN-DEATH (Venice Theatre). Brian holds many awards and scholarships from Mia Michaels, Anthony Morigeratoratto (Operation Tap Inc.), Sonya Tayeh, Jay Handelman, and more. He’s proud to work full-time at The Players as a studio instructor and social media manager.