617 S. Olive Street, Suite 812
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel: 213.488.8488 Fax: 213.488.8498
Sally Fairman - Executive Director
Sally has 17 years theatrical experience as actress, writer, director, and producer in NY and LA. From 1987-1997, she taught ESL at Columbia University and City University of New York (CUNY), including a theatre workshop in which immigrant students created and performed original stories. She studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC in the early 90’s. In 1997, as a first-time writer, she co-won the Jury Award, short play category, HBO Comedy Arts Festival, Aspen. The award brought her to LA. After several high-profile meetings with executives at Showtime, she landed a job at a fancy clothing boutique, where she had several celebrity sightings and ultimately met the Founder of Unusual Suspects (US), actress Laura Leigh Hughes. In 1999, she started volunteering as grant writer for US, and at the same time began a new job at Hitech Systems, a public safety software vendor. At Hitech, she managed customer service and inside sales for emergency centers in the USA and Mexico. Since becoming Executive Director of US in 2005, Sally has lead a 500% expansion of the organization’s budget and programs and developed multiple community, government and school partnerships with probation, state youth corrections, and local title one schools. She has created re-entry opportunities for US alumni through the organization’s summer alumni program, expanded programming to include elementary through adult-age participants, implemented sequential learning opportunities, and overseen the organization’s unique, participant-driven community building initiative, which uses audience interaction and discussion to explore solutions to intractable local issues and develop leadership opportunities for youth and adults. Sally has worked at every level of the organization, including Lead Artist, Program Coordinator, and Project Manager.
Melissa Denton - Program Director
Melissa Denton is an actor, director and arts administrator with over 15 years of arts education experience including 5 years as Project Coordinator with The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, managing 20 teaching artists at Bronx Theatre High School. Her duties included site liaison, curriculum design, and serving as production manager for all theatrical performances. Prior to her time with US, Melissa received a B.S. in Speech Mass Communication from SDSU and later received an Arts-in-Education certificate from Manhattan Marymount College. She has worked as a teaching artist for various arts organizations in NYC including ENACT and the Guggenheim Museum. Melissa began working with The Unusual Suspects in 2006 as an event and program coordinator. Then in early 2008 became Program Director overseeing programming implementation and development, teacher training and curriculum development. Her directing credits include Buzzworks Theatre Company's Invasion of the Minnesota Normals, produced in 2008, Only You, awarded Pick of the Week by Back Stage West, Cabin Pressure, co-written by Maile Flanagan, and the world premiere of Pete's Garage by Joe Keyes. Her TV credits include Seinfeld, Mad TV, and Sex and the City and has provided the voices for the Oh Yeah! series on Nickelodeon.
Joyce Lee - Senior Program Manager
Joyce was director of educational programs at the acclaimed We Tell Stories children’s theatre company and spearheaded arts education at Enrichment Works for contracts with LA County, ABC Unified, Burbank, Orange County, San Gabriel Unified and other school districts. She has presented at events organized by LAUSD’s Arts Learning Branch, Arts for All, PATH (Promoting Alternatives for Teen Health), and San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators and “Education is a Civil Right” Committee. Joyce is an award winning off-Broadway actress having worked in New York with Target Margin, New Federal, Tribeca Theatre, as well as regionally at Milwaukee Rep, Missouri Rep, and Peoples’ Light in Malvern, Pennsylvania. TV credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Drake and Josh, Law and Order, Judging Amy, Cold Case, and Ed. Joyce is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch Grad Acting Program and a member of the Actor’s Studio.
Ali Meisel - Development Director
Ali Meisel joined The Unusual Suspects in 2011, bringing extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She worked with inner-city youth as an AmeriCorps volunteer with City Year Boston and held internships with several nonprofit organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles and Plan International. Most recently, she was an associate at fund-development consulting firm Thurlow/Associates, where she managed fundraising activities for three Southern California nonprofit organizations. Ali is a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. She received her BA in International Relations and French from Tufts University. Ali is passionate about the importance of providing learning and growth opportunities to underserved youth.
Sigl - Program Administrator
Rebecca Sigl is an actor and company member of Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood where last year she was lucky enough to be a part of the award-winning play "He Asked For It" by Erik Patterson. Other LA credits include Bianca in "Taming of the Shrew" and Salarino in "Merchant of Venice" for Shakespeare-by-the-Sea. She holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University. While in Boston she directed a program with high school students in which they wrote and performed their own one-act plays. Rebecca joins The Unusual Suspects after having spent the past year at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles Foundation where she worked in Operations/Donor Services and gained a priceless understanding of what it takes to keep a non-profit organization running. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of theatre and the mission of The Unusual Suspects and is honored to be a part of the administrative team.
Victoria Quintanar - Program Administrative Assistant
Victoria is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. With a background in Stage Management, Victoria has worked in numerous USC School of Theatre shows as well as with various Los Angeles companies. Shows include The House of Bernarda Alba, and an independent student production of For Colored Girls, while companies are The Los Angeles Theatre Center and Son of Semele Theatre. When she is not stage managing, she dedicates her time to volunteering and working with USC’s Queer Ally Student Assembly and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In the future she hopes to bridge her passion for theatre with the need for social awareness, artistic expression and education of the queer community.
Nick Williams - Development Assistant
Nick Williams is an actor, producer, husband, and proud new father. He is the former art board President at Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood, where he still acts on a regular basis. Some of his recent performances at NOTE include The Pity of Things (2 Broadway World acting nominations), Skeleton Stories, Nibbler and Kill Me, Deadly (Ticket Holder Awards' Best Supporting Actor nomination). Among several non-NOTE performances in Los Angeles, his portrayal of Chris Keller in All My Sons at the Raven Playhouse was recognized for “Best Performance by a Lead Actor / Drama” (Stage Scene LA). He holds a BA in Acting from Willamette University. Nick is honored to play a small role in bringing the transformative power of theatre to our most underserved communities.