Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny.
– Paul Tillich, Theologian


Paula J Riley was born in the proverbial theatrical trunk. Her parents were comedian Larry Best and singer Susan Brewster, who worked the Borscht Belt circuit after meeting on the Major Bowes radio show.

She was a charter member of Iza Itkin’s repertory theatre company, The Chamber Theater, in Manhattan. Iza was the daughter of David Itkin of the famed Goodman Theatre in Chicago. There, she studied the art of improvisation, which led Paula to a deeper understanding of herself as well as the intricacies of acting. This would have a lasting and profound influence upon how she would later teach. Working with a closely-knit group of actors for an extended period of time gave Paula great insight into the acting group dynamic.

Throughout her career, she has portrayed such characters as: Daisy Werthan, in Driving Miss. Daisy, Amanda in Glass Menagerie, Edna, in Prisoner of Second Avenue and Norma, in ‘Night Mother, just to name a few.

Some of her Directorial credits include: A Fake Fiasco by Fred Timm, I Feel Swell, by Henry Meyerson, Wednesdays by Sue Brody, Extreme Unction (Reading), by Marvin Cotlar, Traffic Jam by Bonnie Corso, The Reading by John C. Davenport, Come Back, Little Sheba by William Inge, Golden Boy by Clifford Odets, The Wreck on the 5:25 by Thorton Wilder, From Lindsay by Monica Raymond and The Stronger by August Strindberg.

She began to coach actors and conducted classes in 2000, using improvisation as a main device. She developed the PPA process (Primary Principles of Acting) and began the “From Scratch to Script” three-month workshops, scene and monologue study workshops. She continues private coaching for actors and is in the process of raising money for the creation of The Spiral Theatre Studio, the first fully sustainable theatre in New York City.

For directing and acting resume – click here.

For acting reel – click here.