Karen J. Rugerio
Artistic Director

Present Position

Owner/Director ACT III Acting Studio
at Universal Studios Florida
2000 Universal Studios Plaza
Suites 603 & 604
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 224-4242



Director of Visual and Performing Arts Theatre Magnet
Dr. Phillips High School
6500 Turkey Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-4040


Career Highlights

Award-winning Director/Producer of over 57 productions, (local, civic, high school, private)

*Secret Garden
*The Crucible
Cyrano de Bergerac
Into The Woods
*Dancing at Lughnasa
The Tempest
Damn Yankees
Crazy For You

*Blood Knot
Guys and Dolls
*From the Mississippi Delta
Taming of the Shrew
*Death of a Salesman
Twelfth Night
Bye, Bye Birdie!
The Grapes of Wrath
*Romeo and Juliet
The Music Man
I'm Not Rappaport
Peter Pan
*Lost in Yonkers
The Sound of Music
*Biloxi Blues
The Wiz

Special Events

  • Founder and Grant writer for the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet for Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, FL, with over 400 students, 14 faculty members, 1993-97
  • Grant writer for federal, state and local grants for arts magnet
  • Recipient of Title III ECIA grant for the Performing Arts/inner-city high school drama program, 1984-87


Experienced with coordinating, casting, rehearsing and directing talent, managing large rehearsal spaces and large casts as well as intimate productions with small casts. Teaching and preparing the individual for success using "your personal plus" approach. Recognized for assisting the actor in reaching and discovering potential through positive energy and personal focus: team work, managerial style, high standards of production quality and cost effectiveness, dealing effectively with all technical and financial demands of a production.

Director, ACT III Acting Studio, emphasizing acting, auditioning, interviewing techniques for Television, film and stage.

Director of Theatre, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, FL
Drama, Acting Technique, Stagecraft, Lighting & Sound, Playwriting, Costuming

Directorial Highlights

Private students featured in national commercials, television episodes and film:
Passenger 57, Parenthood, My Brother and Me, Clarissa Explains It All, Welcome Freshmen, The Adventures of Shelby Woo.
National Commercials: Snikers, Checkers, Minute Rice

Past students include Wesley Snipes, Blade, Demolition Man, Rising Sun: Wayne Brady of the new Drew Carey show, Whose Line is it Anyway and Vinyl Justice: Joey Fatone of N'SYNC: Jennifer McGill and Josh Ackerman of The New Mickey Mouse Club.

Production Highlights: West Side Story, Into the Woods, Crazy For You, Damn Yankees, Once on this Island, Dancing at Lughnasa, Biloxi Blues, Lost in Yonkers, SPUNK, I'm Not Rappaport, Death of a Salesman, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Hamlet, Macbeth, Tweltfh Night, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest.

Related Experiences

  • Quest Productions, Art Department, Dream Trap
    Hugh Parks, Producer; Tom Logan, Director
  • Universal Studios, Grip/gaffer, Sealed With A Kiss
    Rick Rietveld, Producer: Ralph Clemente, Director
  • Writer and developer of Drama Curriculum for Orange County Public Schools
  • Writer and creator of student study guide for Civic Theatre School Tour of Children of a Lesser God and Hunting Cockroaches


  • 1998 and 1997 National Distinguished Teacher, awarded by Presidential Committee for Scholars in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
  • International Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Scotland, American High School Festival, 1995, Inaugural Troupe, one of 8 in the nation
  • First Place Superior Productions State Thespian Society, 15 years
  • Florida Theatre Conference First Place Winner, 1997, 1995, 1993
  • Florida State Thespian Mainstage Invitations/Performances 1999, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1991, 1988
  • 1988 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Phillips High School, FL
  • 1986 Teacher of the Year, Jones High School, FL

Educational Background

MS, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida
BS, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Related Activities

Presidential Recognition as a 1998 & 1997 Distinguished Teacher in the Arts, met the President in Washington, D.C., with performance by student at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Performance/educational 9-day trip to Salem, MA, performance of The Crucible at the Old Manse, Concord, MA

Performances and travel to Edinburgh, Scotland as one of the first 8 schools chosen to represent the United States in the American High School Theatre Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 1995

Florida Thespian Society State Board Member

Florida Theatre Conference (FTC) member since 1991

Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) Secondary Member/Presenter PDK member since 1982