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The Company

Meet the Team – Portland Playback Theater is an ensemble company made up of professional actors, dancers, musicians, writers, group facilitators, business consultants and therapists. Each ensemble member brings a unique set of talents and each is committed to offering creative approaches to exploring issues and building community. We are members of the International Playback Theater Network and the Portland Area Theater Alliance.

Jackie Paris

Playback Theater PDX was started and trained by Jackie Paris who trained with Jonathan Fox, the creator of the Playback form, and Armand Volkas, Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in CA. Jackie ran a successful troupe in Hawaii for six years and has worked as a professional actress since the age of 20. She has generated many original socio-political theater performances. Jackie is a registered Drama Therapist.
Elliot Leffler
Elliot Leffler is a theatre artist and scholar who specializes in the intersection between live performance and community dialogue.  Often, he directs theatre programs that engage populations immersed in protracted cultural conflict: he has worked with interracial groups of South Africans, ethnically diverse groups of Iraqis, and Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.  He also recently co-facilitated an extended project with members of a Reform synagogue and a black Baptist church in the Chicago area.  Elliot holds a PhD in Theatre from the University of Minnesota, and is now based at Reed College, where he teaches in the Theatre department.
Ryan Bowen
Ryan Bowen studied theater in Boston, piano and film in Portland, and has many years of training in martial arts and enjoys singing and playing guitar. He enjoys a good prank when he is not at work as president of Raindrop Roofing NW. The expression of each person’s truth is sacred and Ryan is both excited and grateful to be a mirror for that truth in Playback.
Daniel Buchanan

Daniel Buchanan is a diverse performer active as a singer, actor, composer, and pianist. His projects have taken him to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Denmark, Finland, and Venezuela. Most commonly performing as a classical singer, he performs regularly with the Portland Opera and the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Conspirare. Daniel loves: spending time with his wife, getting people to sing, and drinking good coffee (in that order). or
  Marisol Cordero-Goodman
Marisol Cordero-Goodman first developed an affinity for Playback in 2008 as a troupe member of the Pulse Playback prior to joining Portland Playback Theater. When she is not salsa dancing, volunteering as a crisis counselor, or working in her garden, she spends her time as an attorney specializing in estate planning, estate administration and corporate
  Kevin Ferguson
Kevin Ferguson is an Emmy Award winning musician/scientist/engineer/inventor with dozens of patents, dozens pending and 8 albums including best sellers on He is currently the music director of Playback Theater and also performs regularly in several world music groups (see He recently created, with ongoing research towards mitigating hunger, leading health issues and worldwide competition for resources.
Avi Klepper
Avi Klepper came to PlayBack Theater unexpectedly, but happily, through a series of coincidences and without any formal experience in theater, making him suspect supernatural forces were involved. A native New Yorker, Avi is so pleased he found his way to Portland that he has adopted Portland as his honorary hometown. Having worked in former lives as a journalist, a paramedic, a computer programmer, a stay-at-home dad, a property manager, and an advocate, he’s currently working as a freelance business analyst to help community organizations choose and integrate volunteer management software. When not volunteering or attending festivals, Avi can be found at ecstatic dances or in his Judo dojo.
Ross LaguzzaRoss recently arrived from the east coast where he spent the last 8 years performing short and long form improvisation including fully improvised plays.  He has designed and led improvisation workshops for children and adults. Ross also has worked extensively as an actor in regional theatre in both conventional (think Atticus Finch) and unconventional roles (think murderous sock puppet/monster).  He has written numerous comedy sketches, song parodies, and performance pieces.  Ross has a Ph. D. in psychology and works as a business consultant.

Shane Lei

Shane Lei is an intuitive Reiki practitioner in Portland, OR. Her practice honors the deep wisdom we each hold which homes in on our own resources for strength, healing, insight and peace. As a Playback actor, Shane is honored to bring an ear for deep listening and an open heart to each teller’s story. Visit Shane’s Reiki website at:

Beth Ricketson

Beth is an actress, educator, and registered drama therapist. She was a long time member of the Eclectic Company Theatre in Los Angeles where she also wrote and produced original and adapted theatrical works. Beth has always been pulled by the power of theater as social and personal exploration and change and is beyond grateful to explore this power with Playbackpdx.

Sara McWilliams, Artistic Director

Sara McWilliams comes to Playback with curiosity, passion, and presence. Working as an artist and teacher since the 90′s (!), she has a bachelors in theater and is deep into a masters in social work. Lately, she’s been training to become a drama therapist. A skilled facilitator, organizer, listener, teacher and learner, Sara also makes jewelry, rocks karaoke, dreams of exotic vacations and is an awful cook.
Darlene Sorensen
Darlene Sorensen

Darlene Sorensen truly believes that “all the world is a stage.” Playing is one of her greatest passions, whether it is through theater, dance, or in the routine of daily life. Darlene holds a B.F.A in Theatre and an M.A. in counseling psychology—emphasis in drama therapy. She has over 20 years experience performing in a variety of venues. She has facilitated improv workshops and drama therapy for life skills enhancement, personal growth, customer service skills, performance and just plain fun. Darlene loves dance, reading, experimenting with cooking and rarely finds life boring (with the exception of tax receipt organizing). She is blessed with a daughter and partner, who fill her life with joy, depth and laughter.