Artistic Staff Bios
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, and was the 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 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 is a graduate of Fredonia where she 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. Returning from this summer's STAGES production of The Knight at Dawn, Kids, Kayleigh is ecstatic to be music directing Dear Edwina, Jr in the spring, where she hopes to excite and inspire young performers. 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!
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 last summer and is thrilled to return again in 2020.
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 Lion King 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 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 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).
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 graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2012 with a BA in English Literature and minors in Theatre and Communication. Since then, Greg has combined all three areas of study to work as a director and teaching artist in the Finger Lakes Region and Central New York. Greg frequently works with Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre, bringing the arts into classrooms throughout New York State, and has co/assistant directed multiple productions with local and out-of-town artists in Syracuse including Into the Woods, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Avenue Q, James and the Giant Peach, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks. Greg especially enjoys working with students for which he has directed and/or choreographed productions of The Sound of Music, Damn Yankees, Cinderella, Annie, The Fantasticks, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Annie Get Your Gun. Greg proudly directs the students of North Rose-Wolcott High School, serves on the Board of Directors for the Gatesinger Company, Ltd., and seeks to empower others, through theatre, to become more empathetic and active contributors to their communities. Greg especially enjoyed studying directing in Germany last summer with the International Performing Arts Institute.
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 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 and Heathers. 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, last year’s 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 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. 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 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 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 Pirates of Penzance, Jr.; Little Mermaid, Jr.; Aladdin, Kids.; Alice In Wonderland, Jr., and Jungle Book, Kids, among others. She has also choreographed shows for other theater companies, including Beauty and the Beast, Jr. and Little
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 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 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 Shock Up, and Dance Outloud. He has appeared in several GEVA Theater productions such as Dames at Sea, A Chorus Line, and Music Man. Other regional credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, 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 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; and this March, The Matchmaker.
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.