Performing Arts Academy - Meet Our Teaching Artists

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Meredith Beck  – Broadway Song and Dance, Private Voice
     
   
  Meredith is a professional singer/actress in Philadelphia.  She attended  Ithaca College and    
  graduated magna cum laude with her BFA in voice,  acting, & a minor in dance. She has performed  
   in NYC in the workshops of   “Thanks” & “National Pastime.” – directed by Tony nominee Hunter Foster.      

   She was a part of the tour of “The Irish & How They Got That Way” as the Philadelphia & Boston cast. (Cast album- principle vocals, flautist) Regional theaters include:  Kimmel Center, Bucks County Playhouse, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, 11th Hour, Hedgerow, Btop, Heritage, Brickhouse, & more! She was a part of the premiere Oscar Hammerstein Festival at the bucks county playhouse under the direction of Stafford Arima, & musical direction of Gary Adler. Meredith is a founder & member of The Galway Girls, a troupe of Celtic singers & instrumentalists.  Specialties in classical, Pop/rock & musical theater voice. www.meredithbeck.com

 

Robb Del Casale      QVC - Copy (456x632)   Robb Del Casale – TV Commercial Acting

   A native Philadelphian, Robb joins the Mainstage faculty as a  successful working      
  actor and spokesperson. Having appeared in dozens of television commercials and    
  industrial films over the last 20  years, currently he can be seen on commercials for    
  The Wildwoods and the Adventure Aquarium in  Camden.   Robb’s has also been      
   busy on the QVC network, amassing over 1,500  appearances since 2003 as an  
   Electronics Spokesperson.  In addition, Robb has taught Commercial Acting for  
   Mike Lemon Casting and has served as the Director  of the nationally ranked Saint Joseph’s University Speech and Debate team for the last 25 years.  A member of Actors Equity, Robb  is happy to be reunited with and offered this opportunity by one of his first directors, Ed Fiscella.

 

10289952_10205238459499308_3139585329583915393_n   Debra M. Faye  – Make-up for Stage and Screen

   Debra M. Faye has a Bachelor’s degree in theatre from the University of    
   Maine and a Master’s degree in theatre from the University of Connecticut.  
   A theatre generalist with more than  25 years experience, Debra has  
   worked as a theatre teacher, designer, director, actor, and make-up artist.    
   Her teaching credentials include The Taft School in Watertown, CT;  The
   Westtown School in Westtown, PA, and the University of Connecticut  
   at Storrs. In addition to being the Make Up Designer and Coordinator for
   Mainstage Center for the Arts, Debra also is the Make Up Designer and Coordinator  for Cherry Hill High School EAST.  Debra has worked for various professional, regional, community, and educational theatres in the area, including Delran High School. Glassboro High School, the Ritz Theatre in Oakland, and the Adrienne, and Walnut Street Theatres (Studio) in Philadelphia.  In addition to her commercial and film work, Debra teaches workshops in stage make up for various high schools throughout the tri-state area.  One of favorite projects to date is her partnership with BRUCE PRODUCTIONS and the American Cancer Society creating zombie make up for their yearly “ZOM PROM”  fundraiser in Wilmington, DE.

 

Maja Lisa headshotMaja Lisa FritzHuspen  – Private Voice & Piano

Maja Lisa FritzHuspen has taught voice at the University of Iowa, Mainstage Center for the Arts, StageCoach Theatre arts school, Kennedy High School, and in her private voice studio in Philadelphia. She holds a MA and MFA in vocal performance from the University of Iowa and a BM from Augsburg College. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Music Teachers National Association. She has been the musical director for High School Musical, Willy Wonka and this spring Hairspray.  Maja Lisa has had students performing in Matilda on Broadway, the Walnut Street Theatre and go on to top music colleges.

As a Mezzo-Soprano, she has sung numerous operatic roles and has been featured as a soloist with orchestras, in concerts and Oratorios. Performance venues include, ConcertOpera Philadelphia, Opera Lancaster, Delaware Valley Opera Company, Manhattan Opera, Center City Opera Theatre, and Independence Symphonia. She has performed over 25 roles including Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Orlofsky (Die Federmaus), Suzuki (Madame Butterfly), Meg (Falstaff), Bersi (Andrea Chénier), Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti), and 2nd lady (Magic Flute). Her soloist credits include, Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.  Maja Lisa is a teaching artist with the Learning Arts, performing and teaching in NY.

 

                                                                   

                                                          Sarah J. Gafgen – Acting, Private Voice & Acting,                                   
              Sarah J Gafgen HS B                     Auditioning  Techniques Workshop
                                   Musical Theatre Company Vocal Music Director

   Sarah couldn’t be more excited to be teaching again at Mainstage!  Sarah is  
  a graduate of Dickinson College where she studied voice and acting. Sarah  
  recently played Emma Goldman in Ragtime which received 9 Barrymore
  Nominations including Best Musical and Best Ensemble. Sarah has
  appeared on stage at The Walnut Street Theatre, The Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Hedgerow Theatre, Quince Productions, The Ritz Theatre Company and others. Some of Sarah’s favorite roles include Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, Agnes Gooch in Mame, Joanne in Vanities, and Edith in Pirates of Penzance. Sarah is the winner of the 2013 BroadwayWorld.com Best Director of a Play in Philadelphia and founder of Live on Stage Productions (www.LiveOnStageProductions.com). You can always see what Sarah’s up to at www.SarahJGafgen.com,  next Sarah will play Linoleum in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical this holiday season!

 

  

Vicki Avon   Vicki L. Gollihue – Private Voice 

    Vicki Gollihue is starting her eighth year at Mainstage Center for the Arts as a Voice  
    Teacher and Vocal Coach.  She studied music as a vocal performance major at Taylor    
    University in Indiana and later earned a degree in Communications at Rowan  
    University.  
    A solo artist and band vocalist for many years, Vicki has also directed choirs and  
    ensembles for many venues in churches and in the community, including creating and directing local productions involving casts of up to 100 singers and actors. She is a trained sound technician as well.

Vicki’s expertise in technique combined with her warm and friendly teaching style, make her a sought out music instructor in the South Jersey area.  She and her husband, Keith, have four grown children and reside in Erial, NJ.

 

IMG_1067  Achilles Inverso –
  Broadway Song and Dance Choreographer, Broadway Acrobatics

   Achilles is excited to be returning to MainStage for another season.  He    
   began studying dance and acrobatics at age ten and has studied all over the   
   country.  Training has included Koresh Dance Company (Philadelphia),    
   Millennium Dance Complex (Philadelphia), Broadway Dance Center (New  
   York), Velocity Dance Center (Seattle) and Vega Dance Lab (Portland) among others.  He is thankful to be working regularly as a musical theatre actor, dancer and choreographer in and around Philadelphia.  Recent choreography credits include:  Til I Come Marching Home (Broadway Theatre of Pitman), Pop Musical Diary (Philly Fringe {September 2015}) and competition pieces for Omega National Dance Competition.  Performance credits include: Paul/Bobby/Greg (
A Chorus Line), Mistoffelees (CATS), Jackie (Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party), Harold Hill (The Music Man), Dickon (The Secret Garden) and Narrator/Mysterious Man (Into The Woods).  He has been teaching tumbling and various styles of dance since 2002.

 

kimbleheadshot   Ian Kimble – Acting, Film Making

  Ian Kimble is an area filmmaker who has made numerous movies and is one of  
  the founding members of Shoestring Gold Productions. As an actor in the area,  
  Ian has worked with numerous theaters and local directors and performers,
  which has molded his acting style into what it is today. He is excited to be  
  returning to MainStage for his second year as a filmmaking and acting instructor.    
  Ian lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Emily, and their two cats.

 

 

                                 Francine Odri – Broadway Song & Dance Choreographer 
                                  Improvisation Acting Workshop
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   Francine is so excited to be teaching acting and dance at Mainstage this year!  
   Francine is a recent graduate of Drew University where she graduated magna cum  
   laude with a BA in Theatre and English and a minor in Dance. During her time at
   school, she choreographed for numerous dance shows, plays, and musicals such as
   The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Paterson Falls, and the devised
   work, Too Big. She also directed a workshop of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi in her senior year. After school, she took on a nine-month internship with the Disney College Program. She has also worked numerous magical summers on the Children’s Theatre Staff at Mainstage Center for the Arts as an Assistant Director for Aladdin Jr. and Mulan Jr., and as a Director for Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! Jr., Willy Wonka Jr., and, most recently, Shrek the Musical Jr.

 

 

Carl Smith HeadshotCarl Smith – Acting , Broadway Song & Dance,                       
                         Stage Combat Acting Workshop
 
                         Musical Theatre Company Choreographer                                                  
                         Private Piano, Voice & Acting

Carl is delighted to be back for another year at MCA; he is a performer and teacher in the Philadelphia Area. A Texas native, he has been working for over six years with such companies as Arden Theatre Co, People’s Light and Theatre Co, Storybook Musical Theatre, Bristol Riverside, Theatre Horizon, Live On Stage Productions, and Family Stages.  In the months to come, he’ll be onstage making his Media Theatre debut in Billy Elliot.  In addition to performing, he currently teaches with various after school and extracurricular theatre programs including the Hedgerow Theatre, Curio Theatre, and here at MCA.

 

IMG_0418-2   Grace Szczepkowski 

   Broadway Musical Theatre Company Choreographer Holidays Shows

   Grace has recently graduated from Arcadia University with a B.F.A. in acting.    
   During her time at school she was nominated for two Irene Ryan Acting awards for  
   her performances in The House of Bernarda Alba and Rabbit Hole. During her  
   senior year she choreographed Eurydice, was the dance Captain for SHOUT! The
   Mod Musical and directed The Sisters of Ellery Hollow. She has also worked on the Childrens Theatre staff at Mainstage Center for the Arts, where she choreographed Winnie the Pooh kids and The Little Mermaid jr. and directed Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz jr.

 

R. Tucker1 (3)    Rob Tucker – 7th – 12th Grade Broadway Song and Dance, & Musical    
                               Theatre Company Vocal Music Director

    Rob holds both a BFA (UArts) in Musical Theatre and an MA (London’s Royal        
    Central School) in Classical Acting. Favorite onstage experiences include: Nero  
    (Britannicus), Time/Shephard (A Winter’s Tale), Othello (Othello), Sister George
    Michael (Field Hockey Hot), Charley Kringas (Merrily We Roll Along),
    Ensemble/Beadle (Sweeney Todd), Man 1 (Songs for a New World), Nick  
    (Baby),Schroeder (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Observer/Priest/Kanagawa Girl (Pacific Overtures), and Martin/Cookie/Ensemble (Anyone Can Whistle). In addition to his work onstage, Rob works as a vocal coach, and workshop leader in the subjects of music and singing-acting. He has also served as a musical director and pit musician for several productions including Mainstage’s recent production of Mary Poppins, Godspell,Putting It Together, Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pippin, Anything Goes, Grand Hotel, Crazy for You, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

 

1919093_1382228670573_2075725_n    Anne Marie Weaver   Co- Education Manager,
                        Creative Dramatics, Glassboro Acting

    Welcome to the theatre!  To the stage!  To the fun! Where confidence and  
    magic grow, and laughter rings fortissimo, and classes with Anne Marie  
    are always fun.   Anne Marie Weaver, an acting teacher for 17 years with      
    Mainstage Center for the Arts, loves sharing her passion for the stage
    with children of all ages.  Theatre is a family tradition, from her
    grandparents in Vaudeville, to sharing hers, and her husband’s love with
    their own children, now all professionals in the world of theatre.   Stage presence, use of body, improvisation, creativity, good diction, character development, are just some of the many skills Miss Anne shares with students based on her education at Glassboro Stage College and her 24 years as drama director at Glassboro High School.  Stories of her own professional career and her children’s professional experiences help to provide more texture to the depth and energy of her classroom.  Games, puppets, crafts, and music energize the classes of her younger students while monologues, scene study, and movement help older students enjoy their own school experiences even more.  Facing the world’s #1 fear of standing up in front of an audience is the challenge that students will meet head on in a fun and engaging way. Conquering this fear will allow them to feel ready to handle auditions, class room speeches or running for class officers.  Anne Marie’s favorite part if teaching is watching her students’ confidence and self-esteem grow in leaps and bounds.   So welcome to the theatre! Let’s get started.  You’ll love it so!