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.
Michelle Petrucci (Dean of Theatre; Dance and Choreography)
BFA Musical Theatre, The Boston Conservatory
Originally from Northern New Jersey, Michelle grew up in the dance studio and found her home in the theatre. She has used her passion for dance and musical theatre to lead her to a fulfilling career as a performer, choreographer, director and educator. She spent the first part of her career in New York as a working actor, then relocated to Florida where she began making the transition to direction, choreography and training.
As a performer, Michelle toured the country in the Broadway National Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, served as the Dance Captain of the National Tour of Camelot, spent months at sea as a lead singer/dancer for Princess Cruise Lines, and has been seen on Florida stages in Hello Dolly and as Bebe in A Chorus Line at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Chitty... (Dance Capt.) at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre, and regionally in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pal Joey, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and Pippin.
Creatively, Michelle was nominated for an IRNE Award in Boston for her choreography of Pal Joey, choreographed 110 in the Shade and assistant directed and choreographed the Carbonell-nominated 1776 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, choreographed the Florida Premier of Snoopy The Musical under the direction of co-creator Arthur Whitelaw, Urinetown and Bat Boy: The Musical at Area Stage Company, Lippa’s The Wild Party at Outré Theatre Company, and Chicago at Apex Theatre Studio. Educationally, Michelle has held teaching positions in studios and schools from Miami to West Palm Beach and inspires young artists to continue their training at the highest levels in musical theatre and dance. She has also spent summers teaching and choreographing at University of Miami, Cornish College of the Arts, University School of NSU, and French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in New York. Michelle was the Kravis Center Dream Awards' first recipient of the Inspiring Theatre Educator Award. Michelle earned her BFA in Musical Theatre with an emphasis in Dance from The Boston Conservatory and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
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.
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.
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.
Kristina Johnson Leljedal (Acting, Directing)
MFA Acting, University of Florida
BA Theatre, Pennsylvania State University
Kristina 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 Penn State University. She also attended Florida State University’s Theater Academy in London. Kristina has been an adjunct professor of theater at various colleges, including Santa Fe College and The College of Central Florida, teaching Acting, Dramatic Literature, Theater History and Introduction to Drama. Kristina spent three years creating the drama department at Coral Glades High School where she brought two one acts to the State Festival and won numerous South Florida Cappies Awards for her productions. She has a passion for developing new works that was fostered during her internship at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater in the Office of New Play Development. Kristina has been performing regionally for over ten years. Favorite theatrical credits include The Hippodrome Theater, The Garden Theater and Slow Burn Theater Company. Kristina’s passion for theater only rivals her passion for educating others about theater.
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
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 30 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.
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.
Marcus Davis (Music Director)
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.
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