ZBS S.E.A. TALKS: The Wonder Women of Hollywood

We kick off 2018 with an incredible event co-produced with Backstage.
On January 3rd, Master Acting Teachers: Zak Barnett and Martha Gehman will lead and inter-generational conversation about the changing the Roles for Women in the entertainment industry
with a panel of Wonder Women already making an impact.

The evening will begin with a screening of Geremy Jasper’s debut
film Patti Cake$ starring Danielle MacDonald.

After the screening, join the “Wonder Women of Hollywood” S.E.A. Talk featuring actresses Mädchen Amick (RiverdaleTwin Peaks), Joelle Carter (JustifiedChicago Justice), Gabrielle Elyse (Snatchers), Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$Dumplin), Justina Machado (One Day at A TimeJane the Virgin), Sandi McCree (The Wire), Victoria Moroles (Teen Wolf, Live and Maddie), Academy Award nominee Lesley Ann Warren (Victor/Victoria), and Casting Director Marci Liroff (E.T.Mean Girls).

lead the conversation

Zak Barnett
Martha Gehman

Featuring ZBS Students & Special Guests

Mädchen Amick
Joelle Carter
Gabrielle Elyse
Marci Liroff
Danielle Macdonald
Justina Machado
Sandi McCree
Victoria Moroles
Lesley Ann Warren

Please note that schedule guests are subject to change based on individual availability. 

Photo of Lesley Ann Warren by Joseph Marzullo

Ivy Ross Ricci

The event will feature original music by singer/songwriter Ivy Ross Ricci.

Ivy is a nationally recognized yoga teacher, musician, and youth development activist who creatively incorporates philosophy, poetry, humor, storytelling, and a radical understanding of human potential into accessible yoga practices, songs, and social service. She believes in the power of everyday life lessons to draw us all into the heart of Yoga and Music.

She is currently in the process of building an army of artists who will fight via creative critical thought and profound self-love to alter standards of beauty in this country. In the words of Bill Coperthwaite, “Beauty is not what something looks like, it is what it is made of.” Ivy imagines a world in which young people can find refuge from harmful images in mainstream media within a culture of vibrant and caring adults who embody self-love and acceptance.

She is also co-founder of a national movement called the Keepers of Wonder in which youth of all ages work hard to keep the world magical.

Girls Sit Screaming by Ivy Ross Ricci

For more information about Ivy Ross Ricci check out her website here.


5:30PM – 7:30PM

Screening of Patti Cake$ w/ Danielle MacDonald

8PM – 9:30PM
WONDER WOMEN Panel Discussion


Zak Barnett Studios in Hollywood

332 South La Brea Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90036


Parking:  Street parking or lots.

Attire: Business Casual

Food / Drink: Popcorn for the Screening and Heavy and Healthy Appetizers to be Served for the Event.


Topics to be Covered:

  • #metoo
  • body image
  • ageism
  • diversity
  • leadership behind and in front of the camera

* Please note: we are open to any specific female focused topic that you would like to share with the group.

About the Panelists

Mädchen Amick

Hailing from Reno, Nevada, Mädchen Amick’s name, means “maiden” or “young woman” in German and results from the desire of her parents, Bill and Judy, to give their daughter a name more unusual than their own.

At sixteen, Amick dropped out of school with her parents’ blessing and moved to Los Angeles, where she found work in modeling, music videos, and guest star roles till director David Lynch, who played a pivotal role in her development as an actress, chose her to play waitress ‘Shelly Johnson’ on the cult TV classic Twin Peaks. Viewers soon came to love Amick’s sensually innocent character, who endured terrible abuse at the hands of her husband. She reprised her role in Showtime’s acclaimed re-boot during which she simultaneously starred on CW’s re-envisioning of the beloved Archie comic, Riverdale, which launched to rave reviews, and continues the momentum with a ratings high for the Season 2 premiere.

Another highlight of Amick’s career is the feature film Dream Lover, a thriller in which she co-starred with James Spader for which the late Roger Ebert called her performance “perfect” and that he expected to “see more great things from this talented actress.”

Amick has since worked on a myriad of projects on both the big and small screen. Her feature credits include Stephen King’s Sleepwalker’s; Trapped in Paradise opposite Nicolas Cage, Scenes of the Crime with Jeff Bridges and the Screen Gem’s post-apocalyptic thriller Priest opposite Paul Bettany and Christopher Plummer.  Additionally she has appeared on television series such as Witches of East End, American Horror Story, Longmire, Californication, Damages, Gossip Girl, ER and Mad Men.

 Amick resides in California and is married with two children.

Mädchen is an ambassador for the Glenn Close “Bring Change 2 Mind” organization that focuses on ending the stigma around mental illness. 
Below you’ll find: a link to an article that she wrote for Yahoo Parenting, a PSA she and her son, Sylvester Alexis, did a few years back, as well as a link to the BC2M website.

Joelle Carter

For six years, Joelle Carter had a wild ride portraying the sassy and unpredictable Southern belle ‘Ava Crowder’ in FX’s award-winning drama Justified. It’s a role that earned her a supporting actress Critics’ Choice Award nomination. Most recently, she starred in NBC’s Chicago Justice by creator Dick Wolf.

Throughout her versatile career, she has appeared in landmark television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Third Watch and the controversial series Wonderland created by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights). Her most recent guest-starring roles include work on Scandal, Prime Suspect, and Body of Proof.

Carter’s feature film credits include starring roles in Kevin Greutert’s horror film Jessabelle, which was released by Lionsgate in 2014, the independent film The Living alongside Kenny Wormald, the romantic comedy feature It’s Not You, It’s Me opposite Ross McCall, Phedon Papamichael’s Lost Angeles, and To Be Friends directed by Jim Eckhart and executive produced by Aaron Eckhart. Prior to that, she starred in such feature cult favorites as High Fidelity and American Pie 2.

In addition to acting in television and film, Carter has taken her turn behind the camera as a co-producer of the award-winning documentary Altered By Elvis, about lives changed by the King of Rock ‘n Roll.  Carter went on to co-produce and star in the short A Girl and a Gun, which won Best Original Short at the 2008 Washougal International Film Festival. She was honored to attend the 2008 Cannes Film Festival with the film, Jumping In, in which she starred.

A native of Georgia, Carter currently resides in Los Angeles.

Gabrielle Elyse

Gabrielle is a Texas born actress. Since her acting journey began, she has booked multiple guest stars on various TV shows like Austin & AllyLiv & MaddieRizzoli & IslesTeen WolfThe Catch, and Black-ish. She has also has multiple series leads under her belt. (Season 1 of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn on Nickelodeon, and the new show Snatchers on “go90.”

Marci Liroff

Marci Liroff’s extensive credits as a casting director span more than 50 films.

While working at the renowned casting office of Fenton-Feinberg Casting she, along with Mike Fenton, cast such films as Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story and Porky’s; the Academy Award-nominated Poltergeist; Steven Spielberg’s E.T.The Extra Terrestrial and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

After establishing her own casting company in 1983, MARCI LIROFF CASTING, Liroff cast several successful films including Footloose, St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, The Iron Giant, The Spitfire Grill, Untamed Heart, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Vampire Academy and The Sublime and Beautiful, which she produced as well.

In addition to casting film and television, Liroff is an acting coach working with actors in person and worldwide thru Skype.

Liroff is a proud member of The Television Academy, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Casting Society of America, CSA, where she serves on the Board of Governors.

Danielle Macdonald

Danielle Macdonald was born and raised in Sydney Australia. After moving to the States in mid 2010, she made her feature film debut in The East, also starring Ellen Page, Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard. Shortly after she appeared in the film Trust Me directed by Clark Gregg, before booking a lead role in Every Secret Thing, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, where her costars include Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Banks. 

Most recently she starred in the Fox Searchlight film Patti Cake$, which she originated at the 2014 Sundance Labs. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival before continuing on to SXSW, New Directors New Films, and Cannes Film Festival, earning rave reviews. She will next be seen playing the title role in Dumplin’ opposite Jennifer Aniston, based on the New York Times bestselling novel.  However, most recently she has just wrapped filming on the post-apocalyptic thriller, Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock for Netflix.

She also has had several guest appearances on shows such as Glee, Pretty Little Liars, 2 Broke Girls, The Middle, and most recently American Horror Story: Roanoke.

Justina Machado

Justina Machado is an American actress of Puerto Rican descent. She is known for her roles as Vanessa Diaz on the HBO drama series Six Feet Under, and as Brenda on the drama Queen of the South. Machado stars as Penelope Alvarez on the Netflix show One Day at a Time, and Darci Factor in Jane the Virgin

Sandi McCree

Sandi is an Acting and Sketch Teacher, Acting Coach, and an Actress who holds a B.A. in Radio, Film and Television from the University of Maryland, and a MFA from Case Western Reserve University. She attended the Shakespeare Conservatory in New York and the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.  Notably, Case Western commissioned Sandi to develop original activities for the student body with an emphasis on education and art focused prevention programing to children.

Sandi is both an extraordinary dramatic actress and an accomplished sketch performer.  She was celebrated for her pivotal recurring role as the notorious ‘De’londa Brice’ on the critically-acclaimed HBO series, The Wire. Of her performance, Slate Magazine noted, “De’londa was one of the great maternal monsters in screen history. She made Joan Crawford look like mother of the year.”

A proud alum of the prestigious Groundlings School Sunday Company, Sandi has performed at IO West, Second City, The Nerdist, and performs monthly at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.

Sandi is proud to support the following organizations:

LA ON Cloud 9
(Helping The Homeless & Animals In Need)

Fun Arts Now
(Fund Arts Now provides the opportunity to actively support our students education at the LA County School Of The Arts)

The Art of Elysium
(“We empower artists and communities of need to join together and emotionally triumph over their circumstances through art.”)

Victoria Moroles

Victoria Moroles was born in Corpus Christi, TX and lived out her early childhood in the nearby small town of Rockport. Having spent most of her younger days in the art studio of her Uncle Jesus Moroles, she lived under constant inspiration of him and his work. This was one of the biggest influences on her love for the arts, along with her love for dance, which she had been immersed in since the age of three. Performing anywhere felt like home, but there was sparse opportunity in South Texas which led her to LA at the age of 12 to begin her acting career. Currently residing in LA, Victoria is also heavily influenced by music in her day to day life and enjoys playing acoustic guitar. She is known for her work in Teen Wolf and Liv and Maddie.

Lesley Ann Warren

After winning Broadway’s “Most Promising Newcomer” Award at the age of 17, in the Broadway production 110 In the Shade, Lesley Ann Warren found stardom on the small screen in the title role of the legendary Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical adaptation of Cinderella.

Warren’s film debut was in Disney’s The Happiest Millionaire, but it was her brilliant performance in Blake Edwards’ comic masterpiece, Victor/Victoria, that won her nominations for an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe, as well as winning a New York Film Critics Award and a People’s Choice Award. Additionally, Warren received nominations for a Golden Globe for Songwriter, and a People’s Choice Award for Choose Me.

Film credits additionally include 10th and Wolf (written and directed by Academy Award winner Bobby Moresco), Secretary, Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey, Clue, Burglar, Pure Country, Cop and Mel Brooks’ Life Stinks.

Warren’s television credits include a Golden Globe Award performance for Best Actress in the miniseries 79 Park Avenue. She also was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her role in the CBS miniseries Family of Spies. Warren received a Cable Ace nomination for her work in Tennessee Williams’ 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. She also received Cable Ace and Golden Globe nominations for her work in HBO Pictures’ Baja Oklahoma. Further television credits include leading roles in the NBC telefilm Evergreen, and the Emmy winning TNT miniseries Joseph (opposite Ben Kingsley).

Warren’s recurring roles in television include a comedic tour de force opposite Sydney Pollack on NBC’s hit comedy Will & Grace, the ABC series Desperate Housewives and most recently, five seasons in the USA Network drama, In Plain Sight, as well as the 100th episode of Psych, a tribute to the movie Clue.

Warren recently completed filming: Life Support starring opposite Brian Dennehy.  American Pets is currently in competition at several international film festivals which co-stars Rhys Wakefield.  Lesley most recently had an arc Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, some of her other recent television work includes Community, Gigi Does It and Blunt Talk.

Lesley Ann Warren proudly supports

Step UP

Click the links below to download a copy of our press release in whatever format you prefer.

Wonder Women of Hollywood Press Release PDF

Wonder Women of Hollywood Press Release Docx