Originally from Chicago, A.J. Allegra is a local actor, director, and Artistic Director of the successful theatre company The NOLA Project. He received his B.F.A. in Theatre from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in addition to a Shakespeare in Performance Certification from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London. Local professional theatre credits include “The Misanthrope,” “Cloud Nine,” “The Wind in the Willows,” “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” J.B. Flanagan’s “Wake,” “A Kingdom of Statues,” “As You Like It,” “What, Has This Thing Appeared Again Tonight?” “Assassins” (Big Easy Award), “Poona,” “King Lear,” “Taste,” “Mr. Marmalade” (Big Easy Award), “The Producers,” and “Love’s Labor’s Lost.” He is the author of the play “Oregon Trail,” as well as “Retail! The Musical,” which enjoyed a successful run at the Chicago Comedy Company in 2006. Film: “Spaceage Rumrunners from the Roaring Twenties,” “The Date from ####,” “Like Father Like Edison,” “Maskerade,” “Inventing Adam,” and “The Virginity Hit.”
Drama: Assistant Department Chair Theatre Arts, Acting, Intro to Theatre, Drama Lit, Theatre HistoryDramaWork Email: SCooper@nocca.comINTERNETHome Phone: (504) 940-2836home
Mr. Cooper received his MFA in Acting from the Professional Actor Training Program, University of Washington and his BFA in Theatre from Tulane University. Raised in Abbeville, Louisiana, Mr. Cooper moved on to tour nationally in NOISES OFF, was featured in 80 network commercials, and has several film and television credits including a starring role in the film “Snakeskin Jacket.” He has also performed in London, Moscow and Los Angeles.
Kesha McKey is an energetic and innovative performer, instructor and choreographer. She is a graduate of NOCCA and received a BS from Xavier University of Louisiana. Inspired at a very young age by stage performances, Kesha began to study dance at various institutions in New Orleans such as NOCCA, Tulane University and Loyola University. She received scholarships to study at Jacob’s Pillow, Bates Dance Festival, The Musical Theatre Project of Tampa, and Celebration Barn Theater where she studied with Robert Battle, Michael Foley, Tania Issac, Lynn Simonson, Anne Reinking, Chet Walker, Fred Garbo and Luigi.
Kesha is currently a dance instructor at NOCCA and the Program Coordinator of the Kuumba Institute, Ashé Cultural Arts Center Youth Program. She is the Co-founder/Choreographer for CCC Dance Ensemble and is a featured dancer/singer and the assistant rehearsal director for the Lula Elzy Dance Theatre, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Prophecy Dance Company and Exhibit Dance Collective. Her most recent acting roles have been Motormouth Maybelle in “Hairspray” at Le Petite Theatre, Calpurnia in “To Kill a Mocking Bird and Almeda/Lula Buffington in “Violet” with NOCCA Stage Company. She has also participated in the productions of several commercials and films such as McDonald’s, Times Picayune, “Ray” and “Eve’s Bayou.” She continues to nourish her artistic talents and grow as an accomplished performer as she teaches, choreographs and performs throughout the United States.
As one of the leading actresses in the New Orleans area, Ms. Shea has garnered many honors and awards, including the Big Easy Award (six) and the Storer Boone award (five), and Marquee Awards (four) including Lifetime Achievement Awards, and Jefferson Performing Arts Award for distinguished acting. In 2000, she was honored as one of Citibusiness’ Women of the Year. She is in the Who’s Who among American Teachers and has achieved recognition from the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. She is a member of Actors Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television artists. She has 50 years experience in drama, comedy and musical productions on stage and in film. She has starred in “Gray Gardens,” “Beauty Queen of Leenane,” “Full Gallop,” “Dorothy & Alan,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Cabaret,” “Beauty and The Beast,” “Miz Caraway & the Kingfish,” “Steel Magnolias,” and many others. She is one of the founding members of NOCCA Stage Company, having directed “True West,” and performed in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Violet.” She has directed several plays for Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré, Jefferson Performing Arts Society, Delgado University and Loyola University. Her film work includes “King Creole” with Elvis Presley, “Blaze” with Paul Newman, “The Adventures of Huck Finn” with Jason Robards and Elijah Wood, “Sonny” with James Franco and Nicolas Cage, “A Perfect Day” with Rob Lowe, and “American Violet.” Her background also includes her B.A. from St. Mary’s Dominican College, M.A. from University of New Orleans and Classical Theatre BADA, Oxford, England.