Executive Board

Alexis Fishman

Alexis is primarily an actress and has been living in New York City since May 2008, having relocated from Sydney, Australia. Since arriving Alexis has performed in several productions including the lead role of Amber Murray in ‘The Hatpin’ for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). She has an extensive list of Australian credits. She originated the role of Mary O’Brien in the world premiere of ‘Dusty – The Original Pop Diva’ and was nominated for a Helpmann Award (the "Tony Award" in Australia). Other Australian credits include Alice in ‘Closer’, Little Sally in ‘Urinetown’, Marianne in ‘Shout – The Johnny O’Keefe Story’ (which was subsequently shown on film in cinemas across Australia), and Lil in ‘Troupers’ for the Sydney Theatre Company where Cate Blanchett is currently artistic director.

Alexis is a graduate of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Hugh Jackman’s alma mater), where she performed the roles of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire and Beth in Merrily We Roll Along amongst others.

One of Alexis’ career highlights is being invited to entertain Australian and U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. She performed a half-hour solo show in 7 base-camps across the two countries.

Alexis has always had an interest in independent theatre and a passion for using the arts as a tool for community education and development. A long time teacher of children’s drama programs, Alexis has created syllabus and developed scripts for numerous elementary and middle schools.

Making her New York City directorial debut with Touching Humanity’s production of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” was a wonderful experience and Alexis is looking forward to her continuing involvement with Touching Humanity.

Rabbi Kenneth Brickman, D.D.

Rabbi Kenneth Brickman was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Rabbi Brickman is a graduate of Brandeis University where he received his BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. He received his MA in Hebrew Literature from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York in 1980 was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1982. In 2007 HUC-JIR awarded Rabbi Brickman a Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Following his ordination, Rabbi Brickman served as the Associate Rabbi/Educational Director at the Larchmont Temple in Larchmont, New York and then as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in New Rochelle, New York.

Since 1989, Rabbi Brickman has served as the spiritual leader of Temple Beth-El of Jersey City, New Jersey, where besides serving his congregation, he has been active in a number of community organizations. He served on the Board of the Jewish Family and Counseling Service of Jersey City, Bayonne and Hoboken. He is the President of the Violet Zall-Hordes Charitable Foundation. Rabbi Brickman also serves on the board of the Christ Hospital in Jersey City, where he is a member of the hospital's Bio-Ethics Committee and has served as Chairperson of that committee. Rabbi Brickman served two terms as a Commissioner on the Hudson County Commission on Human Relations.

Rabbi Brickman also served as President of the New Jersey – West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis and as a Board member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rabbi Brickman served as the chairperson of Outreach Committee of the New Jersey – West Hudson Valley Council of the Union for Reform Judaism and served on the URJ Outreach Commission. For a number of years, Rabbi Brickman was an instructor for the "Introduction to Judaism" Program sponsored by the New Jersey - West Hudson Valley Council of the URJ, and he was a teacher in one of the region's first "Taste of Judaism" classes.

Michael A. Pizzi

Michael has a bachelors and advanced masters in occupational therapy, with a PhD in wellness and community health. He has over 35 publications to his name, including the internationally used textbook “Occupational Therapy in the Promotion of Health and Wellness” (2009) of which he is a co-editor and author. Michael has lectured nationally and internationally since 1985 in the areas of wellness and health promotion, Alzheimer’s and elder care, mental health, craniosacral therapy and myofascial release, and HIV/AIDS. He is a pioneer in HIV rehab, having opened doors to rehab professionals to decrease stigma and prejudice surrounding that chronic illness and teaching prevention, rehabilitation and wellness techniques. Michael has also developed a career working as a wellness lifestyle coach in the Metro NYC area and online.

He is the founder and Artistic Director of Touching Humanity, Inc., a non-profit theatre/educational organization committed to using the arts and education as a charitable means to empower and create services and opportunities for children and adults with various disabilities. For more information, or to contribute your time , money or efforts, please contact him at mpizzi5857@aol.com or www.touchinghumanityinc.org.

As an actor, Michael appeared as Christmas Present at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA and he was Salty (u/s Smee) in “Peter Pan” at North Carolina Theatre> In the fall of 2007, he appeared in the still talked about production of “1776” at Goodspeed Opera House, through which he received his Equity card. NYC and regional roles have included diverse roles of Judge Turpin (“Sweeney Todd”), Baker (“Into the Woods”), Peter (u/s Judas) (“Jesus Christ Superstar”), Eli Whitney (“Anything Goes”), Sancho (“Man of la Mancha”), Mr. MacAfee (“Bye Bye Birdie”), Brian (“The Shadow Box”), Marley (“A Christmas Carol”), Frankie Cavalier (“Pageant” - with the creative team of Joal Paley and Marvin Laird), 2 other “1776’s” (including at the DAR in Washington DC with members of Congress) and 3 “Fiddlers”. View his website at www.michaelpizzi.com for other theatre and opera credits.

Advisory Board

Michael P. Cartwright

Michael has been working in the healthcare industry for over 20 years. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delaware in his home state of Delaware. He went on to complete the Masters of Social Work program at Delaware State University and became a member of the State of Delaware’s first Program for Assertive Community Treatment Team - providing services to the severely mentally ill living in the community after the deinstitutionalization of the state mental hospitals. He currently works in a midsize hospital in Connecticut on the behavioral health unit. Michael is also a singer/actor and has performed in numerous theatrical productions throughout the East Coast. He is currently working on a cabaret entitled: “Grateful, Songs of Inspiration” to premiere in the spring of 2009.

Mercedes Castiel MD

Mercedes Castiel MD is a practicing gynecologist in New York City focusing on survivorship issues in cancer patients. She is originally from Canada and did all her medical school and residency training in Toronto. She got involved in Touching Humanity when her daughter was cast in Touching Humanity's premiere production of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”. The enthusiasm and spirit of the Executive Board as well as the talent of the cast was inspiring and contagious. As a physician she was touched by Touching Humanity and she became interested in helping promote the organization and its mission. Mercedes is also a proud mother of six children and enjoys going to the theater, movies, reading, playing tennis and watching the kids in all their activities.