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Shrek 2016
Who We Are
The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Theatre program provides students with the comprehensive theatre arts studies and practical experiences necessary to enter prestigious university or conservatory theatre programs, professional arts industries, as well as establish a life-long love for the arts. We believe that theater has the unique power to highlight the human connection. As a faculty, we are committed to providing that connection to all our students through the holistic development of their education. We are dedicated to being an equitable home to all by removing barriers that may discourage any person from working to their highest potential. We are committed to anti-racism and anti-oppression in both our curriculum and extracurricular practice. At DSOA Theatre, we will strive to be a community that reflects the diversity of thought and identities present in our world. 
         

Based upon a track system, students choose to focus their studies on Acting, Musical Theatre, or Technical Theatre. DSOA Theatre annually produces both a straight play and a musical in our mainstage theatre, Meyer Hall, as well as a straight play and musical in the Black Box Theatre, in addition to several student showcases.

          Now in its 30th year, DSOA Theatre alumni have been seen on Broadway, Film/TV, national tours, cruise ships, and regional theatres across the country. Graduates have been accepted to The Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Berklee School of Music, CalArts, Carnegie Mellon, Elon, Emerson, Florida State, The Hartt School, The Juilliard School, Marymount Manhattan College, University of Michigan, The New School, New World School of the Arts, NYU-Tisch, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Northwestern, Oklahoma City University, Pace, Penn State, Point Park, Roosevelt, Syracuse University, Southern Methodist University, SUNY Purchase, Texas State University, University of the Arts, University of Southern California and Webster University. ​Students have also attended summer programs at Boston University, Broadway Artists Alliance, Broadway Artists Intensive, Broadway Theatre Project, Cincinnati College Conservatory, Florida State University Summer Theatre Intensive, French Woods Festival, the MUNY, NY Conservatory of Dramatic Art, Northwestern University, Oklahoma City University, Penn State University, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Texas State University, The Performing Arts Project, Triple Arts, University of the Arts, Wagner College.

FACULTY

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Kristina Johnson Leljedal (Dean of Theatre, Acting, Directing)

MFA Acting, University of Florida

BA Theatre, Pennsylvania State University

Kristina is thrilled to take on her new role as the Dean of Theatre. She has been an educator for over 10 years with this being her fifth year at Dreyfoos. She is an educator, actor, and director who grew up in Coral Springs, FL. Kristina earned her MFA in Acting from the University of Florida and her BA in Theater from Pennsylvania State University. She had the opportunity to study abroad and train in London at FSU’s Theatre Academy where she spent three months immersed in the English Theatre scene. She even got to perform on the Globe Stage! She also worked in the office of new play development at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre producing their annual new play festival, and worked closely to produce the National New Play Network festival held in Orlando. Kristina has a passion for new works and wants to spread that love to her students. Kristina has been involved with numerous workshop productions and new works over the years. She most notably workshopped production of PUFFS before it moved Off-Broadway to the New World Stages. Kristina has been an adjunct professor of theater at various colleges, including Santa Fe College and the College of Central Florida. She spent three years creating the drama department at Coral Glades High School where she brought two one-acts to the Florida State Thespian Festival and won numerous South Florida Cappies awards for her productions. Before transitioning to education Kristina enjoyed a successful regional theater career. Favorite theatrical credits include The Hippodrome Theatre (1984, The Bikinis, Million Dollar Quartet), The Garden Theatre (1984), Penn State Centre Stage (As You Like It, Bubble Boy The Musical), The Walnut Street Theatre (The Boy In The Bathroom), and Slow Burn Theater Company (Legally Blonde, Parade, Side Show, Into the Woods, Urinetown). Kristina’s favorite directing credits include Radium Girls, Shakespeare in Love, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Lost Girl, How Can You Run With A Shell on Your Back, Roots of Red, Little Women, The Curious Savage, and Urinetown. Kristina’s passion for theatre only rivals her passion for educating others about theatre, and she is BEYOND excited to start her fifth year here at DSOA.

Charles Swan (Musical Theatre; Music Director)
BFA Musical Theatre, Sam Houston State College

MA Educational Leadership, Lamar University

Charles Swan (he/him/his) is a musical theatre artist teacher who is passionate about storytelling!

 

In New York City, Mr. Swan was the Associate Director & Choreographer on the Off-Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Young Man from Atlanta, BEAU: A New Musical for the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and the Los Angeles premiere of Grey Gardens starring Tony Award Winner Betty Buckley.

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Charles has spent the last 10 years in the classroom where he oversaw the creation of the musical theatre program for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. Graduates of this program have gone on to receive recognition at the National YoungArts Foundation, the National August Wilson Monologue Competition, and many now enjoy careers on Broadway (The Prom, Caroline, or Change, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, etc.). For his work at HSPVA, Mr. Swan received the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award from the West University Rotary Club and was named Outstanding Educator of the year by OutSmart Magazine.

 

Prior to his time in formal education Charles performed all over the country, where his stage credits include: TUTS: The Music Man, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Jesus Christ Superstar, TOMMY, Scrooge; Bayou City Concert Musicals: Finian’s Rainbow, The Secret Garden; National Tour: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Alley Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing, A Christmas Carol; Stages Repertory Theatre: Altar Boyz (Abraham), The Andrews Brothers (Max); Mainstreet Theatre: Awake and Sing! (Ralph Berger), Oh Boy! (Jim Marvin), The Light in the Piazza; Unity Theatre: The Sound of Music (Rolf); Houston Grand Opera: Show Boat, La Cenerentola; HITS: Cinderella (Prince); Galveston Island Musicals: Hello, Dolly! (Barnaby), Crazy for You, Over Here, My Fair Lady; The Great Caruso: Footloose; International Stage: Karl-Mae Festival: Elspe, Germany. TV: Saturday Night Live (The Creep), Sam Adams Beer, Canterbury Coolers Underwear (London).

 

Selected directing/choreography/musical direction credits include: The 68th Annual Houston HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade, Tender Mercies, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Avenue Q, A Grand Night for Singing, The Light in the Piazza, Hair, 9 to 5, Rent, Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music, The Drowsy Chaperone, Cinderella, and Newsies.

 

Mr. Swan trained at Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Sam Houston State University (BFA Musical Theatre - Cum Laude), the Broadway Theatre Project, Broadway Teachers Workshop, American Theatre Wing, SpringBoardNYC, and holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lamar University. He is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

 

www.charlesswancreative.com

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Nathaniel Rayman (Technical Director, Stagecraft)
BA Scenic Production, Evergreen State College

Nat Rayman is pleased to be joining the DSOA Theatre team as the next Technical Director. In South Florida, Nat has been a Technical Director for MNM Productions, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and Florida Stage. He has built scenery for the Wick Theatre, the Broward Center for the Arts, and Arts Garage. In the corporate world, Nat worked large scale events such as the Detroit Auto Show, Volvo’s boat shows, and many more. Nat hails from Olympia, WA where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Stage Production at the Evergreen State College.

Sandra Christie (Musical Theatre, Dance)
BFA Dance, University of Florida

Sandra Christie her dance training at the age of 8 in South Florida. She also attended Dillard High School for the Performing Arts for 4 years in which she received intensive training on all styles of dance. After High School she was awarded a full scholarship to the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL.In 2008, Sandra received a Bachelor of the Fine Arts Degree with a Major in Dance from the University of Florida. Dance teaching Methods including Musical Theatre, Ballet, Modern Techniques: Graham, Limon, Laban, and Horton. Sandra has performed numerous reconstructed works such as Primate with Robert Battle, Director Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. During that time she was also a Miami Heat Dancer for the 2007 season. Sandra was selected as a Company Member with Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, in Dallas, Texas for the 2008-2009 season. She performed and traveled in several states with the company. Sandra has taught Musical Theatre, Tap, Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Contemporary and more for the past 11 years in various schools throughout South Florida and Dallas, Texas.  She has been a dance instructor of the Dance and Theatre Department for 13 years for an elite private school. Directing and choreographing several dance concerts as well as the Musical Theatre dance choreographer for Musicals such as Beauty and the Beast, The Drowsy Chaperone, Thurley Modern Millie, Lion King and more! Sandra is excited and honored to start her 1st year at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in the Musical Theatre Dance faculty!

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Savannah Whetsell (Acting, Theatre History, Devised Theatre)
BA Theatre, Fordham University

As a Dreyfoos Theatre graduate, Savannah is incredibly excited to   give back to her alma mater. After graduating with a BA in Theatre Performance and Directing from Fordham University in May 2015, one of the top-rated BA Theatre programs in the country, Savannah turned her focus to education and relocated from New York City to her hometown of South Florida. At Fordham, she has spent time acting, directing, choreographing, designing and interning, including internships with Rogers & Hammerstein and New York Theatre Workshop (working on the shows Red Speedo and Hadestown). She has studied several acting, vocal and movement techniques including Meisner, Stanislavski, Linklater, Alexander, Viewpoints and many more. She was able to study abroad at Fordham's London Dramatic Academy where she studied under working London professionals focusing on classical acting techniques, text analysis and Shakespeare.


She began her journey as a Theatre educator at Don Estridge High Tech Middle School where she was able to build their small theatre program into a competitive, audition-based program. She had the honor and privilege to receive a full scholarship from the English Speaking Union to attend the Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2018. There she was able to hone her Shakespearean education practices, and complete a performance of Hamlet on the Globe stage.


​Savannah has trained under and worked with some of the best educators in New York City, and is excited to give back to the community that raised her. She is passionate about training and inspiring the next generation of theatre artists, and preparing students for a successful career in the arts.

Artists in Residence
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 Penny Koleos-Williams (Costume Design and Construction)
BA, Northwood University

Penny is a West Palm Beach Native and has been designing   costumes in the South Florida area for 28 years. She was the   Resident Costume Designer at the Caldwell Theatre for nine   years and earned nine Carbonell Nominations for Best Costume   Design. She trained with the Broadway and Hollywood Costume   Designer Marty Grusby with the Burt Reynolds Institute for   Theater Training and has her degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising.


Penny is in her 27th year as Costume Design Artist-in-Residence at Dreyfoos School of the Arts and in her 20th year as Costume Design Professor at PBAU. She has freelanced from Miami to New York in theater, print and commercials. Her handy work can be seen on Lady Gaga in the “Applause” Video and she has worked with Avi Hoffman, Shirley Jones, Charles Nelson Reilly, Len Cariou, Venus Williams and many others. She has been featured for her expertise in History of Costume for the documentary “Feather Wars” on the Education Network. ​Penny has costumed close to 300 productions in her career with the guidance of her mother and the support of her two sons.

Guest Artists
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Dr. Tabitha Chester (Acting, Devised Theatre)
BA Theatre and History, Florida State University

MA African American Studies, Temple University

PhD Theatre and Performance of the Americas, Arizona State University

Tabitha Chester, PhD is a Performance Studies scholar specializing in gender, sexuality, and religion in the Black diaspora. Their research uses both popular culture and the lived experiences of Black people to explore the development and performance of sexual and gender identities. Over the last 10 years, Tabitha has taught in Black Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Theatre departments at the undergraduate and graduate level. Currently, Tabitha is teaching "Global Performance" at The New School and "Performing Blackness" at Florida Atlantic University. In 2019, Tabitha co-founded eARThseed Artist Collective as a way to curate space for theatre-making, critical dialogue, and collaboration. They were recently awarded a grant by the Ablotionist Teaching Network, to produce and direct a performance for young people in Palm Beach County.

Troy Davidson (Acting, Film & Commercial)
The Acting School of South Florida

Troy Davidson is a Graduate of the Acting School of South Florida and a member of the Actors' Equity Association. Previous Credits include The Juneteenth Experience at Hued Song Productions, Motherland at The Theatre Lab, Othello at Outre Theatre, Hamlet Dog & Pony Show at MadCat Theatre, and Rock Odyssey at The Adrienne Arsht Center. He is a performer and supervisor for Healthy Humor Inc., an arts organization whose Healthcare Clowns create moments of joy and laughter in children's hospitals and adult living centers. Since 2016, Troy has worked with a recreational therapist utilizing in-depth long form role-play to teach empathy focused workshops for summer camp counselors nationwide. He is also a member of the Taste of Dragons Gaming Network, a gaming lifestyle podcast and live streaming entertainment collective that promotes an inclusive safe online community for gamers and video game developers alike.

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Marcus Davis (Music Director)
Shenandoah Conservatory

Marcus attended Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music studying Music Theatre with a Piano minor. He has since cultivated a career in professional theater and the creative arts. Recent acting credits include Nunsense A-MEN; Angels in America; La Cage aux Folles; Memphis; Ragtime and Nunsense Amen. Some of his Music Directing credits include, The Rocky Horror Show, Dreamgirls, La Cage Aux Folles, Sophisticated Ladies, No Way to Treat a Lady, Rodgers and Hart, Kuni Leml, Dames At Sea, HAIR, Forever Plaid, Fallen: one hell of a musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s Aida, Legally Blonde, Hairspray: the Musical, Grease, West Side Story, and Little Shop of Horrors. Thanks to Michelle and the entire performing arts staff for keeping theater alive and sharing it with the community and the artists of the future. Stay surrounded by the light of love.

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Previous teaching artists from our College Faculty Master Class Series: 

Lara Teeter, Head of Musical Theatre, Webster University

Kaitlin Hopkins, Head of Musical Theatre, Texas State University

Kevin Wilson, Associate Professor of Voice, The Boston Conservatory

Michelle Chassé, Musical Theatre Dance, The Boston Conservatory

McCaela Donovan, Assistant Director of the School of Theatre, Boston University

Claudia Benack, Assistant Professor of Voice, Carnegie Mellon University

Rick Edinger, Associate Professor of Music Theatre, Carnegie Mellon University

Quin Gordon, Assistant Professor of Drama, University of North Carolina School of the Arts

John Simpkins, Head of Musical Theatre, Penn State University
Amy Dugas Brown, Head of Design, Production and Playwriting, University of the Arts

Catherine Weidner, Head of Theatre, Ithaca College

Robin Lewis, Professor of Musical Theatre, Rider University
Dr. David Herendeen, Director of Opera and Musical Theatre, Oklahoma City University
Mark Madama, Professor of Musical Theatre, University of Michigan

Mark Hardy, Professor of Musical Theatre, Montclair State University
Matt Morgan, Lecturer of Musical Theatre Voice, University of Florida

Andrew Cao, Professor of Musical Theatre Dance, University of Florida
Kristina Fluty, Professor of Movement, DePaul University
Byron Easely, Head of Dance, NYU Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway

Grant Kretchik, Director of BFA Acting Program, Pace University

Amy Rogers, Director of BFA Musical Theatre Program, Pace University

Zeva Barzell, Head of Musical Theatre, Point Park University

Kevin Covert, Professor of Musical Theatre, Shenandoah University

Previous Guest Artists

Dave Clemmons, former NYC Casting Director, College Audition Coach

Jen Sanchez, Broadway Actor
Crista Moore, Tony-nominated Broadway actor

Nick Adams, Broadway Actor
Jennifer Perrone, Juilliard-trained Ballet Master Teacher

John Manzari, Master Tap Teacher
Josh Chenard, Certified teacher of Michael Chekhov Technique and Fitzmaurice Voicework
Open Jar Institute, summer theatre training company, NY

Tim Evanicki, The College Audition
Lindsey Bell, AEA Musical Theatre Dancer 
Michelle Shannon, DSOA Theatre 2017 Alum, Hip Hop Master Teacher
Brian O’Keefe, Resident Costume Designer, Palm Beach Dramaworks
Katie Pyne, Assistant Stage Manager, Palm Beach Dramaworks
Brittani Seach, Costume Shop Manager, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
John McDermott, Technical Director, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Nathan Tysen, musical theatre composer, Amelie lyricist
Christine Dwyer and Matt DeAngelis, principal actors from the Waitress National Tour
Elon University Musical Theatre Class of 2019

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