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Stages produces inclusive, high-quality theater programs for a diverse group of 800+ students in the Greater Rochester Area while engaging approximately 8,000 audience members annually.

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We teach professional theater for students who have a passion to perform or be involved behind-the-scenes.

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At Stages, students will be surrounded by talented cast-mates and crew from all over Monroe and neighboring counties.

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Our programs include 9 full theater productions, summer camps, improv troupes, technical training, open mic nights, and specialized workshops & classes each year.

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Our dedicated staff, artistic teams, and volunteers work cohesively to support students: expanding their creative talents, building self-confidence, and encouraging personal growth.

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Tuition assistance is available for economically disadvantaged youth.

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Youth also assist with the technical aspects of our shows, including stage management, light design, sound design, costume design, and stage crew.

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Our teams have extremely high expectations of our students and require dedication, commitment, and teamwork to make a show successful.

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In order to teach and model the importance of philanthropy, we collect items during every performance to benefit local youth charities.

Celebrating Our 20th Year! 

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FAQ

Does Stages make exceptions for grade level?


Stages’ program guidelines are defined by grade level rather than age. Board policy is that no exceptions be made in the interest of fairness and consistency.




How much theater experience is needed to be in a Stages show?


Stages attracts students of all experience levels for all of our programs - and we love that! Our staff works hard to ensure every student is given the tools they need to feel successful at Stages.




Why was my child cast in their particular role?


Casting is a giant puzzle in which the artistic team takes into account the demands of each individual role, the demands of the production, and the potential or skills demonstrated by each student in a casting session (grades 1-5) or audition (grades 6-12). The artistic team also considers each students’ availability within the rehearsal schedule. Ultimately, each student is placed where the artistic team believes they will be most successful while also contributing to the success of the production as a whole.




When is audition info posted for each show?


Audition details are posted approximately four weeks prior to each audition. Sign up early for your choice of audition date and time.




How can I stay up-to-date on everything happening at Stages?


Subscribe to our newsletter below, follow us on Facebook (@mjtstages) and Instagram (@mjtstages), and revisit our website for the most up-to-date information.




How can I support my child in the casting process?


Parents can help students be prepared for casting by carefully reading the audition instructions and encouraging them to be themselves and do their best. Please be assured that Stages is a supportive, safe environment, and we want all students to feel as comfortable and successful as possible. It is inevitable that, given the nature of theater, students will, at some point or another, experience disappointment in casting. Parents can help by acknowledging the disappointment, acknowledging the “giant puzzle” of casting described above, and encouraging students to keep an open mind and positive outlook. Every role is crucial to the success of each production. Stages strives to make every students’ experience memorable and meaningful.





 
 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND STAFF

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Carolyn Curran - Managing Director


Carolyn has loved the magic of theatre ever since she was chosen to slowly raise a glitter encrusted “star on a stick” during her first grade class performance of “Silent Night” in the annual Christmas show. She started playing piano at the age of five and was privileged to study piano performance with Margaret Baxtresser for four wonderful years as a teen. She has diverse experience working in the fields of telecommunications, insurance, construction and education. After earning her Masters of Business Administration degree at Santa Clara University and starting a family, Carolyn re-discovered the marvelous growth that music can bring in children while directing children’s choirs and musicals at her church. She dove into supporting her own children’s forays into theatre, working with talented directors, choreographers and musicians, including those at the Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose, CA. Carolyn relocated to Rochester several years ago to live closer to family and can’t imagine a better place to raise a family than Rochester, NY or a better place to work than “A Magical Journey Thru Stages,” where magic happens all the time!




Kayla Hunter Yeng - Media Manager


Kayla has been involved in the performing arts since 2003, participating in shows under Main Street Players and Roberts Wesleyan Community Theater. In 2009, she began interning under Terry Fyke on the production of ‘Jungle Book’ and continues to work with her today. She has progressively expanding experience in teaching theater in a variety of educational settings and a diverse set of productions. She implements various techniques and encourages teamwork among students where they learn to encourage and support one another. These tenets stem from her strong beliefs and the foundational principles that she applies in all aspects of her life. Currently Kayla is the media manager at A Magical Journey Thru Stages and is the Assistant/Technical Director for Main Street Players Theater Company. She is exhilarated about the opportunity to work with students in the arts, helping them to become more confident and realize their potential.




Greg Maddock - Program and Communications Manager


Greg Maddock, a theatre director and teaching artist, is thrilled to be part of the Stages admin team! Greg previously worked in administrative roles for The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and the Red House Arts Center. Greg holds a BA in English Literature from SUNY Geneseo and minors in Theatre and Communication.




Lisa Shearer - Director of Production Operations, Board Member


Lisa's path to the world of theater has been more meandering than direct. Lisa grew up in the beautiful state of Montana, met and married a gypsy at heart, and has since lived in Oregon, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, and New York. When her family discovered Rochester, it instantly felt like home. They've been happily living here ever since! Earning her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Montana and a certification in Early Childhood Special Education from Western Oregon State College, Lisa began her professional career working in the special education field as a teacher in early intervention programs in Montana and Oregon. She then spent eleven years home educating her own three children. When her oldest daughter, Bethany, found theater as her true passion, the family followed suit. Soon, all three children had been bit by the theatre bug! Since 2010, Lisa's family has been a constant presence at Stages. In 2015, Lisa joined the staff at Stages as Programming Director. She wears many hats including production manager for musicals, the improv troupe and coordinating the education program. Lisa loves witnessing the positive impact that theater has on the lives of children all over the Greater Rochester Area!




Sherry Vile, Esq. - Executive Director, Board Member


Sherry has been the Executive Director managing all aspects of STAGES since 2009 and was the Board President from 2009 to 2016. She has been involved in various capacities since 2003, when her now adult daughter did her first performance with Stages. Believing strongly that a youth community theater offers great benefits to kids who love performing, Sherry led Stages, with assistance from many others, into and through its transition from an inter-generational revue theater to the current full youth community theater. She continues to add creative programs, has increased revenue so as to hire staff, and is always searching for ways to improve Stages. Sherry, recently retired as an attorney with the New York State Unified Court System since 1991, worked extensively in the area of commercial litigation involving many types of business transactions. This experience provides a broad spectrum of ideas, options, and direction for the business aspects of Stages. Sherry recognizes that Stages is a family-oriented, high-quality theater due to many hours of dedication and commitment from staff, volunteers, parents and, most importantly, the kids. The families' positive response to the theater environment and programs Stages offers makes the continuing magical journey at STAGES all the more worthwhile.




Tom Pembrook - Technical Director, Board Member


Tom Pembrook has almost 40 years of work experience with instrumentation and technical fields. He has taught classes of every size to people of all ages. He now brings this experience to the hands-on tech classes at Stages.




Gina Lord - Costume Manager


Gina began her costuming career like most kids, playing dress-up at Grandma's. Later, she was a costumer for the Rush-Henrietta Roth High School Royal Players, class of way longer ago than she cares to admit. When daughter Emily caught the theatre bug in kindergarten, Gina went back to making sure actors were clothed while on stage. In addition to being costume manager and costume designer at Stages, her designs have graced the stage of Best Foot Forward, JCC Centerstage, and several local high schools. And as the kids will tell you, "there's no messin' around when Mama G is backstage!”





ARTISTIC STAFF

Erin McKenna-Arvizzigno


Erin is a graduate of Fordham University where she received her Master of Science in Teaching. She also earned her Bachelor of Arts in Acting and Directing with a Minor in Theatre Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Erin became a member of Actors’ Equity Association when she performed as Caroline Ingalls in ArtsPower’s National Tour of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Additionally, she has performed with various regional theatre companies across the country. Erin also served as a certified teaching artist in NYC where she directed several productions. Recently at STAGES, Erin directed Rock of Ages, The Knight at Dawn KIDS, RENT School Edition, and Pippin in addition to choreographer for Mulan JR. Erin loves inspiring performers to unleash the power of possibility, and is thrilled to be working with STAGES again this year!




Hilary Bluestein-Lyons


Hilary is a playwright, screenwriter, stand-up comedian, comedy improviser, director, and actor. Originally from Los Angeles, she lived in Tucson, AZ for many years, where she was a member of the comedy improv troupe, Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed and helped establish Unscrewed Theater, Tucson’s 1st theater dedicated to comedy improv. She has been an active participant with the Rochester Fringe Festival, producing plays and comedy shows. She is an adjunct professor of script writing at Monroe Community College and Nazareth College. Hilary draws her inspiration and sense of humor from her six kids, a very fat cat, a Yorkie and 12 chickens.




Kayleigh DeBrine


Kayleigh earned her Master's at the Eastman School of Music and received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education with a concentration in choral/voice. Kayleigh's recent highlights include performing in a festival choir at Carnegie Hall, producing Fredonia's annual "Opera Scenes" at the Fredonia Opera House, and holding a title on the NYS National Association for Music Education/NYSSMA-Collegiate executive board. A native of the Rochester-area, Kayleigh is thrilled to be teaching vocal and classroom music at Harris Hill Elementary School in Penfield where she works with grades 2-5 and directs the Fourth and Fifth Grade Choruses. At Stages, Kayleigh has music directed The Knight at Dawn KIDS, Dear Edwina JR. and directed Frozen JR. She enjoys working with each student individually and as an ensemble to help them grow into collaborative and mindful musicians, singers, and performers. As a private vocal teacher with extensive knowledge of vocal pedagogy, Kayleigh stresses the importance of healthy singing and loves finding creative ways to help young singers sing their very best!




Katherine Edwards


Katie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre at Le Moyne College in 2011. She is currently in her fifth year of teaching and directing at Eastridge High School. Katie directed High School Musical 2 JR. at A Magical Journey Through Stages and is thrilled to return for Summer 2021.




Taylor Day


Taylor is a seventh- and eighth- grade chorus teacher at Canandaigua Middle school as well as the volleyball and track coach. She has directed Annie, Mulan JR., Dear Edwina JR., Flat Stanley JR., Hairspray JR. and The Lion King JR, in addition to music directing Frozen JR, at Stages and at Canandaigua Middle School. Taylor earned a bachelors degree in music education and vocal performance at Ithaca College and a masters in education at Nazareth College. When she is not directing musicals, she enjoys playing volleyball, singing to musical soundtracks and watching musicals.




Terry Fyke


Terry has worked in Dance and theatre for over 20 years. She has a BA in Dance/Musical Theatre. It is her goal to teach the arts in an enjoyable manner and help all children develop their talents in a nurturing and encouraging environment. Terry is the Founder/Director of TFSD & ARTS LLC and Main Street Players (Scottsville and Spencerport) since 1995 and directs 4-5 shows per year. In addition to her family and studio needs, she can be found directing and choreographing at various organizations all around the Rochester area such as local schools/ community shows at STAGES, Roberts, RIT, Wheatland Chili, Pittsford, Brighton, Fairport . She also worked at RIT Wellness Dept and Better Me Dept/Dance. Terry believes that all students bring a value to the class and performance.




Mandy Hassett


Mandy is an actor, singer, and dancer with a B.F.A. from New York Univeristy/Tisch School of the Arts. She studied musical theatre at the Collaborative Arts Project of the 21st century (CAP21) in New York City which focuses on training actors who sing and dance and has been dancing since the age of 3. She has performed in many venues in NYC including The Duplex and Dixon Place. Mandy has also performed with many local theatre companies including Blackfriars Theatre, Rochester Children's Theatre, and the JCC Centerstage. She has taught dance and acting for various children's programs including the Rochester Children's Theatre, RAPA, and JCC's summer program Kidstage. Some of her favorite roles have included Rapunzel in Rapunzel Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale! (Rochester Children's Theatre), Young Melanie in the world premiere of Melanie and the Record Man (Blackfriars Theatre), and Little Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown (JCC Centerstage).




Jon Madden


A native of Rochester, NY, Jon Madden is a rising senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree in Composition. He studies piano with Christopher Atzinger, organ with James E. Bobb, and composition with Timothy Mahr. On campus, Jon is a member of and is a pianist for the internationally-renowned St. Olaf Choir. He also plays for the Gospel Choir of St. Olaf, frequently participates as a director and pianist for St. Olaf and Northfield theatrical productions, and works as a Piano Tutor as well as a Music Theory/Aural Skills TA. As a composer, his pieces have been performed by various large ensembles at St. Olaf as well as by schools and ensembles back home in Rochester. Jon's music recently made its international debut as the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra brought one of his works on their tour to Portugal and Spain in the Spring of 2018. Jon currently serves as Choir Director and Organist for the Highview Christiana Lutheran Church in Farmington, MN.




Greg Maddock


Greg Maddock directs the students of the North Rose-Wolcott and Gananda school districts, as well as our wonderful students at Stages! Greg draws experience from Walt Disney World Entertainment (FL), Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre (Auburn, NY), Red House Arts Center (Syracuse, NY), Arlington Children's Theatre (MA), and International Performing Art Institute (Germany). Locally, Greg is actively involved with The Gatesinger Company, Ltd. (Pultneyville, NY), Theatre444 (Geneva, NY), and is an adjudicator for RBTL's Stars of Tomorrow program. At Stages, Greg has directed Newsies, Matilda, Alice in Wonderland JR, G2K Oklahoma!, Moana JR, and The Addams Family Y@P, as well as instructed scene studies and audition workshops.




Laura Marron


Laura studied Musical Theatre at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory and has been performing, directing, and choreographing in the Rochester area for many years. Favorite roles include Evita (Eva Peron), Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Tommy (Acid Queen), Into the Woods (Witch), 9 to 5 (Judy) and Songs for a New World (Woman 2). She has performed with Blackfriars Theatre, JCC Center Stage, TYKES, Rochester Children’s Theatre, Webster Theatre Guild, Greece Summer Theatre and RAPA. Laura works for Rochester Rehabilitation Center and is inspired everyday by the help the organization provides to the community.




Matt Mayne


Matt Mayne received his Masters Degree in Adolescent English Education in 2011 from SUNY Brockport and currently teaches 11th and 12th grade English at Victor Senior High School. From 2007-2010 he taught English and Drama at Batavia High School and served as Batavia Middle School drama director and High School musical director. Matt also served as a director of STAGES productions, including The Wiz, Into the Woods, Tarzan, 13 the Musical, Aida, The Addams Family, Heathers, Disney's Peter Pan JR, Beauty and the Beast, and Mamma Mia! Matt has performed in several productions with TYKES at the JCC, including Seussical, Willy Wonka, Go, Dog! Go!, Knufflebunny and Disney’s My Son Pinocchio and served as director of How I Became a Pirate, The Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Elephant and Piggie, We’re in a Play!, and Bad Kitty. He looks forward to continuing to introduce theater and musical theater to his English students as well as to the children of the Rochester area.




Kayla Osika


Kayla Osika is thrilled to be a part of the MTJ Stages Artistic team, serving as vocal director. She holds two degrees in music education (B.S. Roberts Wesleyan College, M.M. Kent State University) and has been teaching for nine years. Currently, Osika teaches 6-8 vocal and general music and conducts the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choruses and the select ensemble Con Brio at Palmyra-Macedon Middle School. She has worked on Stages’ past two fall productions, Matilda and Newsies, as well as Moana JR., Spamalot Young@Part, and The Addams Family Young@Part. Osika has been highly involved in theatre during her career in public education and has served in the capacities of artistic director, vocal director, pit orchestra conductor, and accompanist. Previous musical theatre credits include: Aida, The Addams Family, Annie Get Your Gun, Anything Goes, Bye Bye Birdie, Damn Yankees, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Fantasticks, High School Musical JR., How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Into the Woods, The Little Mermaid JR., Little Shop of Horrors, Once on this Island JR., Peter Pan JR., Pippin, School of Rock, Shrek JR., Singin’ in the Rain, and White Christmas.




Anastasia Pembrook


Anastasia holds a BFA degree in Musical Theatre, with a dance minor, from Nazareth College. Since fourth grade she has performed in many shows around Rochester. Her favorite roles have been in Young Frankenstein, Funny Girl and The Producers at JCC CenterStage; Fastrada in Pippin, Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods; Maizie in The Boyfriend, and Gertrude in Seussical. Anastasia has choreographed extensively for kids theater camps. For seven years she has choreographed summer theater camp shows at A Magical Journey Thru Stages, including The Pirates of Penzance JR.; Disney's The Little Mermaid JR.; Aladdin KIDS; Disney's Alice In Wonderland JR, and Disney's The Jungle Book KIDS, among others. She has also choreographed shows for other theater companies, including Beauty and the Beast JR. and The Little Mermaid JR. Anastasia enjoys working with kids who are new to theater, as well as those who already feel the thrill of performing. It is great fun to explore and develop the natural talents of kids. Anastasia loves sharing her passion for theatre and watching the kids shine on stage.




Tom Pembrook


Tom Pembrook has almost 40 years of work experience with instrumentation and technical fields. He has taught classes of every size to people of all ages. He now brings this experience to the hands-on tech classes at Stages.




Jeff Salisbury


Jeff is a graduate of New York City’s Pace University, where he earned a BFA in Musical Theatre. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music under Derrick Smith and Patricia Alexander (mother of opera soprano Renee Fleming). While living in New York he signed with Avalon Artist Group and became a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA). His NY credits include Carousel, All Shook Up, and Dance Outloud. He has appeared in several GEVA Theater productions such as Dames at Sea, A Chorus Line, and The Music Man. Other regional credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dracula, Steel Pier and Oliver. He starred in Kodak Alaris’s “Orchestrate Your Data” web commercial and was the lead actor in the film “Nature” Jeff has toured with several bands including “East Coast Connection,” and “The Monkey Scream Project” as their lead pianist. He is currently writing soundtracks for a number of Independent films. Jeff choreographed the musicals Dr. Dolittle and Little Women at Stages in addition to instructing classes, workshops and camps in all aspects of musical theatre. Jeff brings his enthusiasm, patience and passion to his work and enjoys educating the many talented students at Stages.




Dianne Schaumberg


Dianne has done theatre in Rochester for 34 years, and this is her 10th season with Stages! She has acted with Blackfriars, JCC Center Stage, Rochester Community Players (RCP) (earning a TANYS cast acting award in 1996), Pittsford Musicals, and Screen Plays (earning another TANYS Excellence in Ensemble Acting award, in 2012), as well as served as director and choreographer in various theatres. She has appeared in Rochester’s Landmark Society’s Ghostwalk and in a new one-act play years ago in Manhattan, NYC. The first Dionysos Thespian Award at RCP was created for and awarded to her back in 1988. For her direction of Penfield Players’The Sunshine Boys, she received a TANYS Excellence in Directing Award, and her entire cast was awarded an Excellence in Acting certificate. Another Penfield Players’ production she directed won a TANYS award for production concept. Dianne was an acting adjudicator for Stars of Tomorrow for local high schools from 2013 to 2017. At Stages, Dianne has taught classes and directed School House Rock Live JR. (musical); Heidi; Miracle on 34th Street; Tom Sawyer; The Holiday One-Acts ( The Elves & The Shoemaker and The Rented Christmas); The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Dr. Dolittle (musical); Sherlock Holmes; Little Women The Musical, Theatrical Rights version; The Beverly Hillbillies; Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield; Twisted Tales of Terror; Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution; The Matchmaker, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (play).




Jim Schmitt


Jim is a Free-Lance Musical Director, Accompanist and Composer who has worked in the Western New York State area for nearly forty years. He has been the Music Director/Accompanist for TYKES Children’s Theatre for the past seven seasons, and has also worked with many other local theatre groups, including: The Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Geva Theatre Center, The Irondequoit Theatre Guild, Webster Theatre Guild, Artists Unlimited, The Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, The Lake Plains Players, The Historic Riviera Theatre (in North Tonawanda), the Brick City Players at R.I.T., and the Palace Theatre (in Lockport).
Jim, with his wife & partner Debbie, has performed together as the musical duo BACK TO BACK for well over thirty seven years. With a repertoire of over 400 songs, they have entertained audiences across the Western New York State area. Together they have collaborated on several musicals, including: GETTYSBURG: THE TRUE AND FREE, (Featured favorite at “The Pitch”, the 1st Annual Finger lakes Musical Theatre Festival, hosted by Merry Go Round Playhouse Theatre in 2011), THIS MAN, KING DAVID, THE LAST MUSKETEER, VANITY and SCHMITT HAPPENS, their autobiographical Cabaret show. Jim has worked as Writer & Composer on other productions as well, including GOTTA DANCE! with Sandi Henschel, (Published with Steele Spring Theatrical Licensing, in LA). He has also developed the Musical series entitled A SIMPLE ODE, including: Phase I – THE GARDEN, Phase II – WHELMED!, Phase III – THE ARK, Phase IV – THE GOOD SHEPHERDS and Phase V – THE FOUR HORSEMEN, and THE PRODIGAL with Writer E.A. Messenger. Jim also arranges, vocal directs and is accompanist for the Opening Production number for RBTL (Rochester Broadway Theatre League) “Stars of Tomorrow” Annual Awards show, and has worked on special projects for TANYS (Theatre Association of New York State) as well as composing the Theme song for the 2011AACTFest (American Association of Community Theatre) National Festival, hosted by Geva Theatre in Rochester. He has also appeared onstage in a number of leading roles in local theatre productions. Jim is also an Adjudicator for the Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s “Stars of Tomorrow” program, and, with his wife, are recipients of the Genesee/Orleans Regional Arts Council Community Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts, the AMCA “AVA Gold Medal” and “Platinum” Awards (For the Educational Series, A SIMPLE ODE with E.A. Messenger), as well as TANYS Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Composition & Writing (GETTYSBURG: THE TRUE AND FREE) Music Direction (THE FULL MONTY) and Orchestra (Lead Piano & Synthesizer for EVITA).




Kayla Hunter Yeng


Kayla has been involved in the performing arts since 2003, participating in shows under Main Street Players and Roberts Wesleyan Community Theater. In 2009, she began interning under Terry Fyke on the production of ‘Jungle Book’ and continues to work with her today. She has progressively expanding experience in teaching theater in a variety of educational settings and a diverse set of productions. She implements various techniques and encourages teamwork among students where they learn to learn to encourage and support one another. These tenets stem from her strong beliefs and the foundational principles that she applies in all aspects of her life. Currently Kayla is the media manager at A Magical Journey Thru Stages and is the Assistant/Technical Director for Main Street Players Theater Company. She is exhilarated about the opportunity to work with students in the arts, helping them to become more confident and realize their potential.




Donnell Adler


Donnell Adler has had the honor and joy of directing and teaching worldwide for more than a decade and is thrilled to be working with Stages. She brings energy, creativity, and a great deal of professional experience to all of her kids...young and old. She is a seasoned actress, singer, presenter and voice over artist. She has worked in film, television, commercials, industrials and theatre as well as studying at the Juilliard School.




Carly Lenzi


Carly Lenzi was born and raised in Webster, NY and has been training and studying dance since the age of 5. She has performed in countless community musical theatre productions and spent an intensive summer at Broadway Theatre Project, training under Ben Vereen, Donna McKechnie, and Ann Reinking. She also trained at multiple professional dance schools in NYC and Los Angeles, such as Broadway Dance Center and Edge Performing Arts Center. Carly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a Minor in Dance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She now choreographs for the Penfield High School Show Choir and teaches a variety of ages/styles at The Deborah Mackay School of Dance.




Madison Kemler


Madison Kemler is a graduate of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where she received her Master of Music in Music Education with Choral and Special Education Concentrations. She also holds her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam as well as her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and Piano from SUNY Geneseo. Madison has a private voice and piano studio out of her home as well as has many years of experience working as a Music Director and Assistant Director with Canandaigua Youtheatre. She loves working with students of all ages and is so looking forward to making her debut with Stages this summer!




Katie McCombs


Katie McCombs is a veteran student of dance and musical theatre and is thrilled to be sharing her love of dance with a new generation of performers. Throughout her middle and high school years she participated in over 15 MJTStages’ productions including RENT (Mimi), Pippin (Fastrada/Dance Captain) and Beauty and the Beast (Babette/Dance Captain). Katie studied dance from the age of 3 with Alaina Visalli Dance Company, Livonia, NY. She is skilled in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and ballroom dance forms. Past musical theatre credits include Mary Poppins (Mary), Victor Senior High School and Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family), Greece Performing Arts Society.




Bethany Shearer


Bethany Shearer has found a home at Stages since age eleven when she performed in her first play here and is thrilled to be part of the staff in her adult life as a choreographer! Bethany has enjoyed performing in various theatre productions around the Rochester area. Additionally, Bethany studied acting for two years at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan and has danced since age two at companies like Jody Bee’s, Park Avenue Dance Company, and Joffrey Ballet School. Bethany loves working with the bright young talent at Stages and likes to encourage them to dig down deep to find their inner spark!




Brenna Griggs


Brenna Griggs anticipates a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Nazareth College School of Music in May 2021 and holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Nazareth as well. She is a New York State Certified Music Teacher and has experience teaching in both a general music and a choral setting. She also has experience in both directing and vocally directing theater productions including Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR, The Lion King JR, and Beauty and the Beast JR. In addition to teaching, Brenna has performed in leading roles in numerous musical and operatic productions as well. The most recent of which include Dido and Aeneas, The Fantasticks, Guys & Dolls, The Music Man, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Brenna is excited to be a part of the Stages team working with kids exploring their love of music and theatre. She greatly admires the way kids are able to freely explore the ranges of their talent and potential as actors and actresses, dancers, and singers.




Jackie Collins


Known by most as Miss Jackie, she has been dancing and performing since she was eight and picked up a love for choreography her senior year of high school when choreographing her high school’s show choir. She is a Rochester native, a Penfield High School alum, and graduated from Nazareth College in 2016 with a BA in Theatre Arts. Jackie is currently the resident choreographer for Spry Drama Club in Webster where she is in her fifth year of doing productions. Recent choreography credits include The Wizard of Oz YPE., Guys and Dolls Jr., Fame Jr. and Fiddler on the Roof Jr, and you may also remember her from choreographing STAGES production of Seussical KIDS in November of 2019. Jackie absolutely LOVES working with kids and sharing her love of theatre - and is thrilled to have the opportunity to do that with STAGES.




Sara Bickweat Penner


Sara is thrilled to join Stages to direct 13: The Musical! Sara spent many years working in theatre in New York City, Chicago, and regionally throughout the U.S. She has her MFA from The Actors Studio/The New School for Drama in New York and has worked with Christopher Shinn, Lee Grant, Arthur Penn, Elizabeth Kemp, Ron Leibman, and many others. She has done independent film and television, and worked as the student/talent liaison on Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio. In Chicago, she co-founded Candentia Theatre Company. Sara has taught on the Acting faculty at the New York Film Academy, the Music Theatre Company in Chicago and currently teaches Voice and Movement in the International Theatre program at The University of Rochester and Acting at Finger Lakes Community College. Sara continues to perform in and around Rochester and loves directing young actors and educational theatre!




Chris Martin


Chris is very excited to be a part of this 2021-2022 season at Stages! Originally from Texas, Chris came to Rochester by way of his wife, a Rochester Native. Most recently, Chris was working in New York City with a company called Artspower National Touring Theatre. With Artspower, Chris traveled all over the country for 5 years bringing favorite children’s books to life on stage. He also was a production assistant for the company, where he was involved with auditions, costumes, and daily ongoings with Artspower. Some notable credits while he was in NYC include Artspower: Chicken Dance (Elvis Poultry/Mac), Madeline and the Bad Hat (Spanish Ambassador/Cook), Are you my Mother? (Dog). Argyle Children’s Theatre: The Happy Elf (Eubie). The Gallery Players: The Pajama Game (Ensemble). You may have also seen him in the productions of Bad Kitty and Goodnight Moon at the JCC here in Rochester back in 2017-2018. But Before Chris moved to NYC, He was a part of many productions in Texas. Some of his favorite shows there that he was a part of include: The best Little….. in Texas with TUTS, Forbidden Broadway, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot, Footloose, Singin in the Rain, and many more. While not performing himself, Chris also enjoys cultivating the minds of young artist on stage. He has had the opportunity to work on many different productions with young artist be it as a director, choreographer, or wherever he could lend a helping hand. Live theatre is a team effort after all! Chris has a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. He is also a member of the Equity Membership Program (EMC). He cannot wait to work with all the amazing talented individuals at Stages. Getting to share his passion for theatre with young artist is a truly magical experience, and every opportunity he gets to leaves an impact on who he is as an artist and a human being.





BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mark Bennett, Esq. - Chair


Mark, an attorney working for the New York State court system, came to STAGES through his son, Brendon, who has been in a number of STAGES camps and shows, and whose younger sister, Carol, is and will be following in his footsteps. Although his singing and acting days are far in the past, Mark brings to the STAGES Board not-for-profit organization experience from his time as a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association, where he also chaired several committees, and as a Steering Committee member of the former rule-of-law partnership between Rochester and its Russian sister city, Novgorod. A native of the Thousand Islands and alumnus of St. Lawrence and Georgetown Universities, Mark lives in Brighton with his wife, Barbara Lowe, and his two children. He is proud to be associated with STAGES, a wonderful community resource where theater and students flourish in tandem!




Debra Ross - Vice Chair


Debra Ross is founder and publisher of KidsOutAndAbout.com. KidsOutAndAbout.com is an online resource for parents that Deb started in 2001 to help Rochester-area parents find all of our area's great resources and activities. It has since spread around the country and has 2.5 million readers per year. She is the author of Seasons and Reasons: A Parent's Guide to Cultivating Great Kids. Deb earned her BA in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. English majors can do everything or nothing, so Deb chose... computers. She started a technology consulting firm for the mail order/direct commerce industry in 1994. In 2001, her second daughter, Ella, was on the way, and Deb realized that the Rochester area had a wealth of activities for kids, but that she'd always hear about them after they had happened. So she created KidsOutAndAbout.com; its ample calendar serves as the backbone of the site. Deb wrote lots of reviews of Stages productions before her kids became involved in 2010. After that, her love of all that Stages did for her kids made her unable to write an unbiased review. But it only grew her fervor for helping the Rochester community realize what a wonderful organization Stages is. She's pleased to be able to contribute as part of the board.




Admiral Lord - Treasurer, Board Member


Admiral has been a member and Treasurer of STAGES Board of Directors since 2010. During his tenure, he has worked to keep STAGES finances up to date and in working order. He has also lent his leadership to many STAGES initiatives including computer bookkeeping, the STAGES 24-hour project, and the annual GALA fundraising event. Admiral's on-stage experience is running campfire stage shows at Scout Camp. He brings a wealth of experience in non-profit administration, having served for over 30 years on the board of the Seneca Waterways Council, BSA, eleven of them as Vice-President, Quality Control. He is a Special Education Teacher at Monroe #1 BOCES, and is the Treasurer of BOCES United Professionals, NYSUT. His wife Gina is the reigning "costume queen" at STAGES and daughter Emily was regularly on our stage, working as student director or student costumer, and is looking forward to coming back to alumni shows. The Lord family is committed to helping STAGES provide education and practical opportunities for kids to perform all aspects of theatre.




Ellen Broder - Board Member


Ellen began her involvement in theatre in her first grade production of The Ugly Duckling, playing the part of the Goose. She continued to pester her elementary school teachers to do plays every year. During her high school years, she was finally able to participate in musicals annually, playing the role of Minnie Faye in Hello Dolly her senior year. During her four years at SUNY Binghamton, Ellen majored in English and minored in musical theatre. There she performed in both large-scale main stage theatre department shows as well as small student run productions. After receiving a Masters of Education at The George Washington University, Ellen went on to teach elementary school in Fairfax County, Virginia and also at a private school in Miami Florida. She was known at both schools as the teacher who “does plays”. Introducing children to the experience of theatre quickly became a priority as well as a love of the job. Ellen was thrilled when her own daughter began showing interest in musical theatre. He daughter became involved with STAGES in the summer of 2010 and has since performed in many STAGES production. Ellen has volunteered extensively with the Rochester Jewish Community Center and its overnight camp, Camp Seneca Lake. Ellen decided to combine her love of theatre and experience with non-profits by joining the STAGES board in March of 2012. She lives in Brighton with her husband, Jon and twins Mitchell and Elyse.




Sarah Culp - Board Member


Sarah has been serving and advocating for Rochester area youth and families for over twenty years. As an ordained American Baptist clergyperson, she has pastored congregations Rochester, Penfield, Irondequoit and currently in Greece. She has served on many local and national boards including the Irondequoit Youth Bureau , the Irondequoit Community Cupboard, Vick Pathfinder Camp and Conference Ministries and the General Board of the American Baptist Churches USA. Sarah has been active in creating innovative music groups for youth. Rhythmic Revolution was a group that used music (drums) as a way to engage youth in conversation about healthy behaviors. She is now involved in the development of Alice’s Encore, a program utilizing techniques of music therapy to encourage mindfulness and empathy in participants. Sarah came to Stages through her youngest son, Elijah, who has been performing with Stages since the summer of 2012. Sarah is married to David and has two older sons, Joshua and Simon. The Culp family lives in Irondequoit.




Mathew Devine, D.O. - Board Member


Dr. Devine is board certified in Family Medicine. He is the Quality Officer for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Devine received his DO/osteopathic degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his Family Medicine residency and fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Devine is also currently a medical director at Accountable Health Partners. He has an active primary care practice in Rochester, NY and has been in practice since 2009. Dr. Devine has a special interests in wellness, preventive health, and the mind-body connections that can affect our health. Once upon a time he participated in theater in adolescence through his church youth group. Although Broadway has not called yet, he is often featured in health segments on various local media television and radio outlets. Matt has always been interested in mentoring young children with a goal of promoting healthy lifestyles at an early age. Matt arrived at STAGES through the great experiences that his oldest daughter has had while participating in STAGES productions. He is married to Anne, and they both grew up and attended schools in the City of Rochester. Their youngest daughter Emma is also participating with the STAGES family as well. The Devine family lives in Brighton.




Brett Kinsler - Board Member


Brett got involved in theater from a young age, both on stage and behind the scenes. Beginning with school productions and later at summer camps, he went on to teach video and radio production, as well as stage lighting and sound design at Buck's Rock Performing & Creative Arts Camp. At University of Rochester, Brett held leadership positions in both the Committee for Performing Arts and WRUR radio station and worked on or acted in dozens of shows and improv troupes. The highlights of his theater career were directing Woody Allen’s Play it Again, Sam, designing special effects for Passion of Dracula and anything that had to do with Pippin. After practicing as a chiropractor for 20 years, Brett is now a partner at Strategic Interests, a Rochester healthcare technology consulting firm. Brett has served on the boards of several community and national non-profit organizations including Pittsford Ambulance and the West Hartford Group think tank and is presently the healthcare board director of the Rochester technology council, TechRochester. Brett lives with his wife, Michalene, and children, Sasha, Sebastian, and Scarlett. The incredible experiences his kids have had at Stages are his inspiration to support and give back to this amazing organization.




Jamie Mance - Board Member


Jamie is a graduate from Nazareth College, and studied Technical Production in the areas of Stage Management, Light Design, Sound Design, Costume Design, Set Design, and Theatrical Make-up. Jamie has been involved with Stages for several years, and she has been working in Technical Theater for over 21 years.




Tom Pembrook - Technical Director, Board Member


Tom Pembrook has almost 40 years of work experience with instrumentation and technical fields. He has taught classes of every size to people of all ages. He now brings this experience to the hands-on tech classes at Stages.




John Palomaki - Board Member


John worked for ten exceptional years in Executive Relations at Microsoft, then began a second career working with nonprofit organizations and independent schools, primarily in development, communications, problem solving, and sustainability. He most recently worked in Advancement and has been serving on the Alternative Revenue, Enrollment, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees at Allendale Columbia School. John, who grew up in East Irondequoit and returned to the area in 2014, holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Colgate University supplemented with Master’s level courses in Teaching at Colgate and Public Administration at Seton Hall University and Rutgers University. John and his wife Lois live in Brighton with their two teenagers, they enjoy traveling, theater, and movies, and all love the experiences and friendships they've developed with the Stages Family.




Lisa Shearer - Director of Production Operations, Board Member


Lisa's path to the world of theater has been more meandering than direct. Lisa grew up in the beautiful state of Montana, met and married a gypsy at heart, and has since lived in Oregon, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, and New York. When her family discovered Rochester, it instantly felt like home. They've been happily living here ever since! Earning her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Montana and a certification in Early Childhood Special Education from Western Oregon State College, Lisa began her professional career working in the special education field as a teacher in early intervention programs in Montana and Oregon. She then spent eleven years home educating her own three children. When her oldest daughter, Bethany, found theater as her true passion, the family followed suit. Soon, all three children had been bit by the theatre bug! Since 2010, Lisa's family has been a constant presence at Stages. In 2015, Lisa joined the staff at Stages as Programming Director. She wears many hats including production manager for musicals, the improv troupe and coordinating the education program. Lisa loves witnessing the positive impact that theater has on the lives of children all over the Greater Rochester Area!




Sherry Vile, Esq. - Executive Director, Board Member


Sherry has been the Executive Director managing all aspects of STAGES since 2009 and was the Board President from 2009 to 2016. She has been involved in various capacities since 2003, when her now adult daughter did her first performance with Stages. Believing strongly that a youth community theater offers great benefits to kids who love performing, Sherry led Stages, with assistance from many others, into and through its transition from an inter-generational revue theater to the current full youth community theater. She continues to add creative programs, has increased revenue so as to hire staff, and is always searching for ways to improve Stages. Sherry, recently retired as an attorney with the New York State Unified Court System since 1991, worked extensively in the area of commercial litigation involving many types of business transactions. This experience provides a broad spectrum of ideas, options, and direction for the business aspects of Stages. Sherry recognizes that Stages is a family-oriented, high-quality theater due to many hours of dedication and commitment from staff, volunteers, parents and, most importantly, the kids. The families' positive response to the theater environment and programs Stages offers makes the continuing magical journey at STAGES all the more worthwhile.





 

Our Donors

 

VIP PRODUCERS ($25,000+) 

Robert & Vicki Shearer 

 

MEDIA SPONSOR 

KidsOutAndAbout.com 

 

GRANT SUPPORTERS 

New York State Council on the Arts

under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional

Economic Development Council Initiative

Rochester Area Community Foundation 

Arts & Culture RACF

Feinbloom Supporting Foundation 

Fred & Floy Willmott Foundation 

JM McDonald Foundation 

Cornelia Bailey Foundation

 

Guido and Ellen Palma Foundation

 

PRODUCER DONORS ($1,000 - $2,499) 

Masline Electronics, Inc.

 

2019-2020

Roald Dahl's Matilda

Seussical KIDS

Seussical JR.

Pippin

Tarzan

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Frozen JR.

Mamma Mia!

2018-2019 Season

Newsies

Annie KIDS

Annie JR

Little Shop of Horrors

Disney's The Little Mermaid

The Matchmaker

Disney's Peter Pan JR.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

2017-2018 Season

Once on this Island

Disney's The Lion King KIDS

Disney's The Lion King JR.

RENT School Edition

Gotta Dance!

Witness for the Prosecution

Flat Stanley JR.

Heathers The Musical (H.S. Edition)

2016-2017 Season

The Addams Family

Disney's Aladdin KIDS

Disney's Aladdin JR.

Rock of Ages (H.S. Edition)

Footloose

Twisted Tales of Terrors

Dear Edwina JR.

Side Show

2015-2016 Season

13

Annie JR.

Urinetown

Once Upon a Mattress

Dickens' David Copperfield

Disney's Mulan JR.

Aida: School Edition

2014-2015 Season

Zombie Prom

Disney's Sleeping Beauty KIDS

Little Women the Musical

Tarzan

Beverly Hillbillies - The Play

Seussical JR.

Jekyll & Hyde

Rehearsal for Murder

2013-2014 Season

Doctor Dolittle

It's a Wonderful Life

Into the Woods

Sherlock Holmes

A Year with Frog and Toad KIDS

Shrek the Musical

2012-2013 Season

Back to the 80's

The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Rented Christmas

Bugsy Malone

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Legally Blonde

2011-2012 Season

Working

Miracle on 34th Street

The Wiz

Tom Sawyer

West Side Story

2010-2011 Season

Guys and Dolls

It's a Wonderful Life

Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat

Heidi

Hairspray

2009-2010 Season

Pippin

Schoolhouse Rock Live JR.

13

2008-2009 Season

Fiddler on the Roof

Madeline's Christmas

Once Upon a Mattress

2007-2008 Season

Grease

Pippi Longstocking

Some Enchanted Evening - 
The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein

2006-2007 Season

Disney's High School Musical 
(Regional Premiere)

2000-2006 Seasons

A Broadway Musical Revue

A Christmas Carol

Zombie Prom

The Beat Goes On Revue

And That's New York Revue

SUMMER CAMPS

The Addams Family (Young@Part) (2020)

Spamalot (Young@Part) (2020)

Moana JR. (2020)

Disney's High School Musical 2 JR. (2019)

Legally Blonde JR. (2019)

Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark (2019)

Disney's Alice in Wonderland JR. (2019)

Mary Poppins JR. (2018)

Getting to Know...Oklahoma! (2018)

Disney's The Aristocats KIDS (2018)

Hairspray JR. (2018)

Singin' in the Rain JR. (2017)

James and the Giant Peach JR. (2017)

Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon KIDS (2017)

Shrek JR. (2017)

Disney's High School Musical JR. (2016)

Xanadu JR. (2016)

Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS (2016)

The Pirates of Penzance JR. (2016)

Legally Blonde JR. (2015)

Disney's The Jungle Book KIDS (2015)

Peter Pan JR. (2015)

Hairspray JR. (2014)

Disney's The Aristocats KIDS (2014)

Disney's Alice in Wonderland JR. (2014)

The Wizard of Oz - Young Performers' Edition (2013)

Disney's Aladdin KIDS (2013)

Disney's The Little Mermaid JR. (2013)

Disney's 101 Dalmatians KIDS (2013)

Fame JR. (2012)

Cinderella KIDS (2012)

The Pirates of Penzance JR. (2012)

Godspell JR. (2011)

Disney's The Jungle Book KIDS (2011)

Seussical JR. (2011)

Thoroughly Modern Millie JR. (2010)

Disney's Alice in Wonderland JR. (2010)

Disney's Sleeping Beauty KIDS (2010)

Disney's 101 Dalmatians KIDS (2009)

Disney's The Aristocats KIDS (2008)

Mulan JR. (2008)

Places Please: Summer Showcase (2007)

Seussical the Musical (2006)

Into the Woods

Journeys 

Past Shows