Chicago on the Aisle

Dave Belden, actor and violinist, adjusted pitch for ‘Ives’

I'm an actor and musician

I first acted at age 6 in a community theatre production of Fiddler on the Roof. I continued in elementary school, junior high, and high school (where I played Emile de Becque in South Pacific). After college I studied improv for a year at Player's Workshop of the Second City, went to Oxford to study Shakespeare, and have trained at the Piven Theatre Workshop, with the fantastic Susan Hart & Jeffrey Carlson, and at various other schools.

I've been a freelance violinist around Chicago since graduating from Northwestern University in 1992, playing regularly with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Joffrey Ballet. I spent two summers at Interlochen, and three summers at Joseph Fuchs' Alfred University Chamber Music Institute. I studied with Myron Kartman at Northwestern, where I also co-founded the Ad Hoc String Quartet with Paul Vanderwerf (and at least 6 other musicians at various points).

Filmmaking crept in there, too, because my friend Chris had a nice camera and we started shooting. Most of our films were connected with Split Pillow, where I also had the pleasure of working regularly with my wife, Mary-Terese Cozzola, who is a fantastic writer and director. Our film Eye of the Sandman is available at Amazon and on Netflix (she wrote it and co-directed, I play the evil and mysterious Spalanzani).

I grew up in Alaska. It's cold. It's dark. But only half the year. The other half is bright and not so cold. My family moved to Anchorage in 1978 when I was 8. Our previous home had been Denton, Texas, and prior to that several small Kansas towns where my parents taught music. My dad was Professor of Music Theory & Composition at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where my mom taught voice.

I'm in a great band

I'm an associate artist

Download my headshot & resume (3.3mb PDF)


Charles Ives Take Me Home
[Jan 10 - Feb 14, 2015]
John StarrCurious Theatre Company
Christy Montour-Larson, dir.
Charles Ives Take Me HomeJohn StarrStrawdog Theatre
Keira Fromm, dir.
The JewelsBirdTUTA
Kirk Anderson, dir.
CyranoPoet/MusicianChicago Shakespeare
Penny Metropulos, dir.
Boy SmallDadThe Fine Print Theatre
Patrick Kenney, dir.
The Tell-Tale HeartMental Patient (Poe)Blair Thomas & Co.
The SandmanFather/Coppelius/
Oracle Theatre
Max Truax, dir.
The Three Sisters
(Ruhl adapt.)
AndreiPiven Theatre
Joyce Piven, dir.
Uncle VanyaHired Man
(Professor und.)
Court Theatre
Charles Newell, dir.
The Taming of the ShrewEnsembleChicago Shakespeare
David Bell, dir.
Shoppers Carried By Escalators Into The FlamesGibViaduct Theater
Whitney Blakemore, dir.
Lady Chaplin & Her TrampEd SullivanPiven Theatre
Jennifer Green, dir.
Earth to Margaret (musical)JonathanAcorn Theater
The Picture of Dorian GrayDorianFlying Leap Radio
(live stage show)
Alcestis (Hughes adapt.)Chorus 1Uffish Theatre
Lauren Miller, dir.
Chekhov: The StoriesHis Excellency/EnsemblePiven Theatre
Joyce Piven, dir.


Blood (Spring 2014 release)JohnCount the Clock Productions
Eye of the Sandman
Available on Amazon!
Dr. SpalanzaniSplit Pillow Films
Belogorsky, Cozzola & McHale, directors
CutieJudgeReady Freddy Films
The Orphan SaintDr. MagnusUTT Productions
Christina Timmins, dir.
AftermathBatesHonking Tree Films
M. Owen Kelly, dir.

Voice Over

Cengage Learning/Course Technology (700+ software video tutorials)

Training / Education

British American Drama Academy
Midsummer in Oxford (Shakespeare Program)
Master classes:
John Barton, Fiona Shaw, Henry Goodman, Mark Wing-Davey

Primary instructors:
Lynn Farleigh, Diana Quick, Richard Cottrell, David Willis

ShakespeareSusan Hart & Jeffrey Carlson
One-Play Focus: Othello, Titus Andronicus
Audition WorkshopAdam Belcuore & Bob Mason
Piven Theatre WorkshopScene Study & Improvisation (Byrne Piven, Joyce Piven, Tria Smith)
The Green Room StudioOn Camera (David Murphy)
Players WorkshopImprovisation (Eric Forsberg, David Murphy)
Voice (Lyric Baritone)Carmen Mehta (Lieder/Opera), David Willis (Stage/Shakespeare)
Northwestern UniversityBachelor of Music (Violin Performance)

Special Skills / Interests

Professional Violinist (member Chicago Sinfonietta and the band Midwest), Baritone, Mandolin, Concertina (English), Alexander Technique, Former Marathoner, Renovator, Stock Dog Handler: Junior Herding status (I have an Australian Shepherd/Catahoula Leopard Dog).

Associate Artist with The Fine Print Theatre

Yes, I can grow my hair.

Staged Readings / Workshops / Other

Alcestis Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
by Lynne McMahon
Admetus/AdamThe Fine Print Theatre Company
Citizens Play Festival
Juan Castañeda, dir.
The Newlyweds
by Wendy Schmidt
More info…
The RealtorChicago New Work Festival
Barbe Marshall, dir.
Boy Small
by MT Cozzola
More info…
DadThe Fine Print Theatre Company
Fresh Ink reading series
Emmi Hilger, dir.
The Last One Standing
by Lynne McMahon
More info…
Senator TalbotThe Fine Print Theatre Company
Fresh Ink reading series
Patrick Kenney, dir.
If You Split a Second
by Dana Lynn Formby
Mick/Patrick/JohnPegasus Players
Reading Series
Emmi Hilger, dir.
by Peter Thomas
Benoit (French-Canadian!)Courier 12 Collective
Lincoln Square Theatre
Ed Krystosek, dir.
Frost Heaves Melinda
By Carlo Matos
AngusCourier 12 Collective
Lincoln Square Theatre
Trina Kakacek, dir.
Attachment Disorder
by Trina Kakacek
*winner of 2011 Cup
BrettPolarity Ensemble Theatre
2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays
Adam Webster, dir.
Winter Shorts
Short Plays and Live Music
VariousCourier 12 Collective
Lincoln Square Theatre
The Soldier’s TaleJoseph the SoldierLake Forest Symphony
Settings of poetry by Paul Bowles and Frank O’HaraNarrator/ActorFulcrum Point New Music Project
Peter and the WolfNarratorChicago Sinfonietta
The Scarlet LetterChillingworthRealism Update Theatre
Jason Palmer, dir.
Isn’t It RomanticMartyAttic Playhouse
Joyce & Jaclyn Greenberg, dir.
IolantheStrephonGilbert & Sullivan Opera Co. of Chicago
Nick Martin, dir.
The GatheringJesusPlayers Workshop of the Second City
Lee Houghton, dir.


I play the violin

I started when I was 6.

Member of the folk & roll band, Midwest.

Member of the Chicago Sinfonietta and played with the Joffrey Ballet for 9 seasons. Played with Arnie Roth's Chicagoland Pops Orchestra (including Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY).

Have met and played with an amazing array of musicians, including Mel Torme, Smokey Robinson, Johnny Frigo & Joe Vito, Marian McPartland, Michael Feinstein, Dennis DeYoung (of Styx!), Susan Boyle (on Oprah!), James Earl Jones, Michael Tree (of the Guarneri Quartet), Andrea Boccelli, Tributosaurus, Celtic Woman.

Played great gospel music many a Christmas and Easter at The Apostolic Church of God.

A story of stolen violins, hookers, and pawnshops…