Melissa R. Randel, Co-Chair of the Theatre Department, is an accomplished actor, director, dancer, choreographer and educator. Her professional acting career began on Broadway as Judy Turner in Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line. While performing eight shows a week, Melissa studied Michael Chekhov’s physical approach to acting with Blair Cutting, a protégé of Chekhov’s. She graduated with honors from The Actor’s Space Professional Training Program in New York City, and received critical acclaim for her performance as Shelby in the NYC premiere of Molly Newman’s play about an all-female exhibition basketball team, Shooting Stars. Other roles Melissa originated Off-Off Broadway include Wally, the muse of Expressionist painter, Egon Schiele, in Steven Fechter’s play, Schiele at the Greenwich Theatre, the maniacal, gun wielding, Roberta in South Central Rain, and Charlotte in Homing Instinct. In the Los Angeles premiere of Stage Door, Melissa met Michael Easton and appeared in his independent short film, Daedalus is Dead. Other short films include: Playing it Straight and Reunions. Some of her favorite stage roles include Pfeni in Sisters Rosensweig at Long Beach Playhouse, Kate in Cover of Life at the Noho Art Center, Messala, Cicero and Cinna the Poet in an all female version of Julius Caesar at Knightsbridge Theatre, and Patsy in the Los Angeles premiere of Adam Kraar’s, Laundry and Lies with Alliance Repertory Company. Here at GCC, Melissa appeared in Susan Lori Parks' 365 Plays in 365 Days, a collaboration between Martin Bedoian's Syzygy Theatre Company and the GCC Theatre Department.
As an educator, Melissa facilitated workshops in conflict resolution through drama with the educational theatre company, Educational Network of Artists in Creative Theatre (ENACT), in New York City. Still in existence today, ENACT leads team-taught workshops with special education students, faculty, and administrators, in public and alternative schools, shelters, and group homes. On the west coast, Melissa has worked with educational theatre companies including City Hearts and Para Los Ninos. Inspired to create original work on students, she joined forces with circus artist Donna Wood Babcock, to form the company, Life is a Circus. This educational theatre company incorporates circus arts, improvisation, and writing to create original plays, by combining the physical skills of juggling, walking a tightrope, and spinning plates with their metaphoric application to life skills.
Since arriving at GCC, Melissa has directed, Romeo and Juliet, Waiting for Lefty, Rehearsal at Versailles, Once Upon A Mattress, Savage in Limbo and Little Shop of Horrors, which she also choreographed. She also co-directed the experimental, original, multi-media production of This is not a Tree, with GCC faculty member, Anita Bloom. Melissa’s trip, stumble, and fall into the world of experimental theatre actually began before arriving at GCC, with her production of, The Walking Wounded...an Evening of Dorothy Parker, a deconstruction of Dorothy Parker short stories. Subsequent and ongoing training in Suzuki and Viewpoints with Anne Bogart's SITI Company has continued to feed her passion for theatre blurring the lines between movement and text. Melissa continues to act professionally, is a member of Alliance Repertory Theatre Company, and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild. Melissa is represented by Circle Talent Associates. She completed her undergraduate degree at University of California Irvine in 3 years and received the highest marks possible for her masters at California State University Long Beach.