Zo (pronouns: they, them, theirs) is a San-Francisco born, NYC based, Japanese-Jewish American queer gender-nonconforming actor/singer/mover/comic/cat enthusiast. They have been called “the biggest badass onstage,” “a gracefully athletic faerie,” and “endearingly twitchy,” in performances at Theatre Row, WP Theatre, NY’s Town Hall, Birdland Theatre, The Cherry Lane Studio, Access Theatre, nationally, and onscreen, in roles of various genders, vulpine, spectral, operatic, rapping, swashbuckling, soul-sucking, prophetic, and punkish.
Favorite performances include Atlas 2 in MJ Kaufman’s Double Atlas, at Playwright’s Realm and New Dramatists, directed by David Mendizábal, Zo’s Birdland Theatre debut singing and playing guitar with Ring of Keys in “Queering the Stage,” Tamsin in Madhuri Shekar’s Antigone Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s, directed by Taylor Reynolds at WP Theatre (The Movement Theatre Company, Hypokrit Theatre), doing standup comedy in “Nasty Women+,” hosted by Amanda Duarte at the 14th St. Y, Ozzie in Mac Rogers’ Compelled Speech, directed by Illana Stein at the Cherry Lane Studio (Wide Eyed Productions), Juliet in Hypokrit Theatre’s Romeo + Juliet, at Access Theater, directed by Molly Houlahan, and Cyrano in Cyrano de Tinder, written and directed by Jack Fellows at The Wild Project.
Zo’s dramatic training began with three years of Meisner with Paul Perez. They then studied with Larry Singer for several years, and completed Level 1 of the Lucid Body with its creator, Fay Simpson. With Gwendolyn Schwinke, Zo delved into Feldenkrais for actors, Linklater, and Viewpoints. Along the way, Zo has taken intensives in Kinetic Awareness with Francis Becker, Peking Opera movement with Liu Mianzong and Zhang Yanhong, 100 hours of yoga teacher training, has studied fundamentals of western dance (ballet, contemporary, tap, hip hop), and has learned a variety of stage combat techniques on the job. Zo has completed Improv 101, 201, and 301 at the Upright Citizens Brigade NYC Training Center under the tutelage of James III and Molly Thomas.
Zo earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with Highest Honors from Binghamton University, and studied classical singing intensively with a number of teachers, including the legendary Benita Valente. They have performed leading and supporting roles with several NYC opera companies.
Zo now mainly sings contemporary, folk, and popular musical theatre styles, and has studied these with Lilli Wosk. Zo also plays guitar, piano, ukulele, and a bit of violin and drums.
Zo’s 4-year professional Feldenkrais practitioner training at the Feldenkrais Institute of NY, concurrent with intensive vocal and somatic studies with Maxine Davis, was a watershed for Zo in the integration of all their prior training experiences. These explorations supported Zo’s search for greater depth, power, openness, and specificity, through clarity and unity of movement, thought, feeling, and sensing.
Zo balances their kaleidoscopic artistic odysseys by relishing moderation and coziness in all other pursuits (outside of their immoderately flamboyant writing style): They enjoy low-key indoor bouldering, cursorily speaking a handful of languages, following fennec foxes on Instagram, napping with their two cats on a rose-colored velvet free-Craigslisted couch, and comfort-forward sartorial and decorative eclecticism.