I have always enjoyed teaching in the arts. When I was 16, I directed my first show at the NWCA Multi-Arts Camp, The Me Nobody Knows (music by Gary Friedman, lyrics by Will Holt, book by Robert Livingston, Herb Schapiro, and Stephen Joseph). I had performed this show in summer stock, and was thrilled to direct an adapted version of the show for children in middle school/high school. The show was a huge success and was taken on a mini-tour to The Barn in Goldens Bridge. The following summer I directed Little Shop of Horrors (Menken/Ashman). I was thrilled to be working with the young Scott Schwartz (Stephen Schwartz's son/pianist, and now an acclaimed director). My final year at NWCA, I directed one of my favorite stories and musicals, Once Upon a Mattress (music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer). To be able to work with such incredible young talent was a dream for a young director.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I taught at a Spanish speaking school in Lennox, CA. They were looking for a new writer and director for their annual elementary school productions and because of my background in working with children, they hired me. I was able to tap into my book writing skills, and wrote, directed, and produced Alice in BroadwayLand, the story of a young Alice, who wants to learn how to get into Broadway show, and meets up with the characters from the book that take her on a remarkable journey, and The Wizard on Broadway, the story of a young wizard who shows a young girl how magic can make Broadway come to life. In the past the children had performed the shows in both Spanish and English, and sung over a vocal recording. I felt that this did not help them develop the English speaking skills, so I decided that these shows would be performed in English only. The show was extremely visual, allowing their families to understand the plot. Given an incredible budget, I was able to build a wonderful set, set up a lighting system, and found an amazing company who took the songs, and orchestrated them without voice. This helped the children build their English speaking and singing skills and fluency of the language. The children learned to not rely on a background singer to help them along, but rather study the words, learn the meaning and memorize.
When I returned to NYC, I worked at Winston Preparatory School, a school that specializes helping children with learning disabilities. I was hired as a Speech Therapist and Focus teacher, and worked with students one-on-one on the skills they needed in order to succeed. I always felt the school needed music, and in my last 2 years at the school, I asked to do an after-school program focusing on Cabaret performance. In the two years the students performed "A Night of Cabaret" and "Sing! Sing! Sing!" During class the children battled their own inhibitions, whether it be eye contact, freeing their body to commit to a character, focusing through a song... let alone an entire hour show, building their ear training skills, remaining quiet while others performed, committing to rehearsals, writing creative patter, providing positive critiques to their peers, and most importantly memorizing songs and the script and keeping it paced to fit the hour time slot. It was incredible to watch all their work come alive on the stage.
I love to teach, I love to work with kids, I love to share my expertise in stage performance with youths. If you have a child who wants to build a repertoire of song and bring it to the stage, please contact me.