Alex Charalambides, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is a freelance performance poet, teaching artist and youth arts activist from Worcester, Massachusetts. He's competed at several national poetry slam tournaments, placing as high as 5th in the country. He's toured extensively throughout North America, released four books and 2 spoken word albums. Founder of the Worcester Youth Poetry Slam, he spent 8 years directing operations, coaching and chaperoning teens at the Brave New Voices International Youth Festival. Co-Founder and Co-Director of Mass LEAP, (the youth arts initiative of the Mass Poetry Outreach Project 501(c)3 Non-Profit, he teaches performance poetry in schools and coordinates special events like the annual Louder than a Bomb Massachusetts Youth Poetry Slam Festival. He's appeared as a mentor for the nationally aired PBS Children's Show “Fetch” and was recently named a 2011 Worcester Arts Council Fellowship Award Recipient.
Elideusa "Elle" Gomes Almeida, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter. In 2011, she was selected as the Young Artist of the Boston Pops by Fidelity FutureStage. Recently, Elle was crowned as the winner of the iShowcase Music competition with Warner Music in Toronto. Elle has been recognized for her unique methods of incorporating metaphors into commercial music and has been nominated for both the Massachusetts Solo Artist Award and the Eco Art Award. Elle's compositions have been showcased in the Berklee Perfect Pitch Concert, and have been used in workshops at Boston Ballet. She has performed at world-renowned venues such as the TD Garden, Boston Center for the Arts, Symphony Hall, Fenway Park, Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues. Elle is currently majoring in songwriting and minoring in creative writing at Berklee College of Music.
Alex Johnson, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is thrilled to be working with the City Spotlights program this summer! He is currently the Drama teacher and director at the Match Charter Public High School, as well as the AP World History Teacher. Alex is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he was awarded the Artist and Scholar Award, as well as an award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. He has taught and performed in Boston, New York and Juneau, Alaska. Most recently, his piece "Unless He Doesn't" was workshopped in Brooklyn by the Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble, in association with Fresh Ground Pepper. Alex is most interested in the importance of the trivial and the transcendent powers of community.
Keyana Jones, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is a creative director, choreographer, and movement specialist, is the founder of Movement in the Moment Inc., a therapeutic Dance Clinic with a specialization in Mental Health. MITM specializes in establishing a direct relationship between movement and emotion and therapeutic movement which brings balance to the entire body- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Keyana has spent over 12 years teaching dance to children, adolescents, adults, and elderly. As a creative director and choreographer, Keyana recently choreographed Here’s a little Story That Must be Told, and Can’t Hold Us for the Citi Performing Arts Center’s “I Am the Destination” Final Showcase. As a dancer, Keyana has competed at several national dance competitions, placing as high as first place. She has performed at world-renowned venues such as the Apollo Theater, TD Garden, Hynes Convention Center, John Hancock Hall, and Disney World. Keyana is currently seeking a Master in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy.
Akiba Abaka, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is a director, actor, playwright, dramaturg and producer. In 2000 she founded and currently helms the award winning Up You Mighty Race Company, a professional theatre company dedicated to the research, preservation, and advancement of black heritage and culture in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. As an actor, Ms. Abaka most recently played the title role of Harriet Tubman in the national tour of Are You Ready My Sister
for Underground Railway Company. Directing credits include: Dreams of My Ancestors
, The Drinking Gourd
, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
, Patience of Nantucket
, 409 Edgecombe Avenue: The House on Sugar Hill
and In The Continuum (all at Up You Mighty Race)
and a staged reading of The Emperor Jones
for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Ms. Abaka is the recipient of the 2008 IRNE Award for Best Director for her production of In The Continuum by Danai Gurira and
Nikkole Salter and an Elliot Norton Award nomination for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Production for In the Continuum
. She is currently working on establishing the Creative Campus Initiative (CCI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a program that will integrate the power of the arts with academic preparedness to enhance student success.
Princess Bryant, Target Arts Teaching Artist Assistant
, a native Bostonian, is a firm believer that the arts are an important factor in children’s lives. Princess is on the path of completing her B.F.A. in Dance from George Mason University. Her formal dance training includes Boston Ballet, Boston Conservatory, Boston Arts Academy, The Alvin Ailey School, Dean College and George Mason University. Princess believes it is unfortunate that, due to economic issues in our society, many will go without experiencing the beauty of visual and/or performing arts. In her eyes, dance is important for the youth because it helps with their development; it educates them emotionally, physically, socially and intellectually. Princess currently teaches at Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School as well as the JFK Elementary School with Citi Center’s Target Arts program. She is a dance instructor for International Youth Partnership, a non-profit organization located in Boston.
Kayla M. Lee
is an artist, diversity facilitator, and teacher with specializations in arts integration, English as a Second Language and multicultural education. As a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, she holds a BA in Theatre & Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and M.Ed. in Risk and Prevention from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a Ph.D. candidate at Lesley University, her research interests include: multicultural education, arts integration, peace and conflict studies, and community development. This former Fulbright Scholar has facilitated and directed community and art unity projects and workshops both locally and abroad.
Sofie Rose Seymour, Target Arts Teaching Artist
, is excited to come on board as a Teaching Artist Assistant. She has enjoyed working as both an educator and an artist for many years, and looks forward to combining those with her work in the classroom these coming weeks. She worked as an education assistant at the Jewish Children's Folkshul for three years, led an advisory for 15 high school freshmen, and continues to work as a tutor. Trained as a classical ballet dancer, Sofie Rose studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, Russia. She has also enjoyed studying modern dance at Harvard University, and choreographing for various student dance and theater companies at school. She has performed in theater productions with Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club and at the American Repertory Theater, and had a blast this past summer as the Stage Manager for Sightline Theater Co. in NYC. Other arts training has included stained glass, weaving, and printmaking. Sofie Rose is particularly passionate about the arts in society, and is excited to help more students find themselves as artists!
Masha Obolensky, Target Arts Teaching Artist
, is a playwright, director and actor. Her plays have had productions in Cambridge (Nora Theatre), Boston (Paramount), Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York. Her most recent play, Marvelous Fruit, was a finalist for PlayPenn Theatre Conference 2013 and a semi-finalist for The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Conference 2013 and Source Festival D.C. 2013. It received a staged reading as part of the Huntington Theatre’s Breaking Ground series in 2013. She has an M.A. from Emerson College in Theatre Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University. Masha was a recent Huntington Theatre Playwriting Fellow and received the 2010 Pen New England Discovery Award. She was a recipient of a 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship (finalist), the 2010 Kennedy Center Michael Kanin Award, Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, the Robert Pinsky Global Playwriting Fellowship, and was just nominated for a Brother Thomas Fellowship (2013). She has taught all ages and enjoys nothing more than sharing her passion for theatre with young people.
Kristen Mazzocchi, Target Arts Teaching Artist
, has been working in the field of Arts Education for over 15 years. After graduating from Boston College with a BA in Theatre and Economics, she began her career at The Wang Center for the Performing Arts (now the Citi Center) as an Associate in the Arts Education Department. Her passion for Arts Education grew as she became the Artistic Director of their drama programs for middle school and high school aged students. In addition, Kristen became one of the founding members of the Improv Asylum, a successful improv and sketch comedy theatre in Boston’s North End. While honing her skills as an actor and director, Kristen was able to earn a Master’s degree in Arts Education at Harvard University. Kristen went on to become the Director of Educational programs for The Celebrity Series of Boston. She is currently a freelance teaching artist working in many schools and organizations throughout the greater Boston area.
Nina Zendejas, Teaching Artist Assistant
, is an actor, voice over artist and voice/dialect/accent coach. Having recently graduated from The Boston Conservatory (Musical Theater) and The Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD), UK (Voice and Speech), she has worked internationally at several prestigious institutions in the development and training of the performer’s voice. Nina’s extensive theater history, both as performer and coach, allow for an intimate understanding of an actor’s needs, and has been described as a true “actor’s voice coach.” Nina is currently the Voice and Speech adjunct for the Boston Arts Academy, as well as operating as a freelance dialect/accent, and accent reduction coach throughout Boston. Recent companies include Longwood Players, The Boston Conservatory and Speakeasy Theater. Nina looks forward to this wonderful season with Citi Performing Arts Center and Toni ‘Bee’ Brooks!
Jennifer Vento, Target Arts Teaching Artist
, is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Emerson College, from which she holds an M.A. in Theatre Education. She has since taught drama and directed musicals in the Brookline Public Schools and is currently directing musicals in the Cambridge Public Schools and teaching for Watertown Children's Theatre where she will be directing "Sideways Stories from the Wayside School" next spring. During the summer, she is the Upper Camp Drama Director for the Kaleidoscope Arts and Science Camp at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston where she directed two plays for the Consortium of Boston Area Childrens' Theatre Festival (CBACT). She focuses on the intellectual development, self expression, and social emotional development of her students.She is currently pursuing an M.Ed. at Lesley University.
Valerie Stephens, Target Arts Teaching Artist
, is an award winning performance artist and educator with a passion for history. Valerie has received the Boston Chapter 2011 NAACP's Image Award, 2007 Urban Music Award in Blues and was nominated for a 2011 Urban Music Award in Jazz. A native Bostonian, Valerie has performed professionally, both nationally and internationally for many years. As an actor, Valerie returned to the theater stage after a fifteen year absence, to perform for Company One in their highly acclaimed 2011 production of NEIGHBORS and most recently received high marks for her work in progress, The Mammy Diaries, a one woman play.
Lindsey Colelli, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is overjoyed to be working again as a Teaching Artist with the Citi Performing Arts Center! An Atlanta Native, Lindsey received her MFA in Acting from Brandeis University and her BA in Theatre Arts from Alabama State University. Lindsey loves teaching and working with children and teens and hopes to inspire intuitive creativity, ready confidence, and artistic expression! She also enjoys choreographing, singing, swimming, writing, and spending time with family and friends. See her extended bio below.
Michael Maloney, City Spotlights Leadership Program
, is honored to be back as Musical Director for the City Spotlights Leadership Program. This summer’s City Spotlights Leadership Program is his seventh workshop with Citi Performing Arts Center’s Education Department as a teaching artist. His songwriting has been featured on 1030 AM WBZ’s The Jordan Rich Show
in 2005 and 2009. This past winter, all the sales of his “Maybe This Christmas EP” were donated to Boston Children’s Hospital, raising $800. He most recently released his “Boston EP” on iTunes/Amazon, featuring three songs inspired by the City. He regularly performs at nursing and assisted living homes in Boston, Cambridge, Wakefield, Melrose, Malden, Medford, Quincy and Stoneham.
Andre Sparrow, City Spotlights Spoken Word Project,
is excited about the opportunity to be able to work with youth who live in the same neighborhoods that I grew up in and developed my sense of art in. Andre Sparrow is considered by many to be an imaginative, intuitive and intense writer. He has been performing his poetry as spoken word since 2006 and his ability has led him to feature performances in 3 different states on the East Coast, opening for Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton, and Def Poetry Jam Poets. Sparrow was also featured in a segment of MTV NEWS in 2006 after winning the 2006 MTV Hear ME Project HIV/AIDs awareness short story writing contest and the short story is currently in production to be turned into a film. Sparrow has also had articles published in the Daytona Times and Co-Produced 2 Youth Poetry Events. Sparrow has plans to return to school and publish both a book of poems and a book of short stories.
Jeremy Cohen, City Spotlights Leadership Program,
is a composer, percussionist and teaching artist. He directs the African Drum & Dance Study in Ghana program at UMass Amherst, where he is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music. Formerly the music director at the Umana Middle School in East Boston, he works with incarcerated youth through the arts-based nonprofit Unlocking the Light and sits on the Young Audiences Board of Directors. He is founder and director of ThisWorldMusic which partners with educational institutions and arts organizations to offer innovative, hands-on cultural learning experiences. He holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and a M.M. from New England Conservatory and studied traditional African drumming and dance in Ghana.
Magalie Neff - Madison-Park Vocational High School, English High School
, is a native of Boston, graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Performing Arts/Acting and trained with Shakespeare & Company. She has worked with various theater youth groups including, New Landscapes, Acting Out (programs from the Strand Theatre) and Dream Action Theater in Jamaica Plain. She has worked with Up You Mighty Race and directed their production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf. For over 10 years she has worked with Tempest Productions has toured in their production of Body & Sold, true stories of human trafficking. She also toured in Deanna's Fund productions of The Yellow Dress and Remote Control and with Underground Railway Theater in their production of Are You Ready My Sister. She is currently teaching at various afterschool programs including those at Boston Public Schools and Citi Performing Arts Center. Ms. Neff has performed in countless theater productions and has several film credits to her name.
NaTasha O’Brien, Teaching Artist Fellow, Citizen Schools, Orchard Gardens K-8 School
, is new to the artistic community of Boston. An actress, musician and playwright, she will receive an MFA from Lesley University in Cambridge. After graduating from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, NaTasha worked as a performer and teaching artist with various theatre companies throughout the nation, including People’s Branch Theatre, and the Nashville Children’s Theatre. She also spent a year teaching and directing at Crowder Community College in Neosho, Missouri. She is very excited to share her unique artistic approaches with our educators, artists and most of all, today’s young people.
Maurice Emmanuel Parent Teaching Artist, Target Arts Ellis School Residency
, is an actor, dancer, singer and teaching artist originally from the Washington D.C. metro area in Maryland. He has experience teaching students ranging from elementary school to adults. Boston area performing credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), Coriolanus (Junius Brutus), King John (Lewis the Dauphin) with Actors’ Shakespeare Project; RENT (Tom Collins), Passing Strange (Mr. Franklin et al), Ragtime (Coalhouse Walker Jr. - IRNE Nom) and Cabaret with New Repertory Theatre; Man of La Mancha (Dr. Carrasco / The Duke) with Lyric Stage Co. Maurice is the proud recipient of a 2008 Elliot Norton Award for Some Men (Angel Eyes et al, SpeakEasy Stage Co.), Angels in America Parts 1 and 2 (Belize / Mr. Lies, Boston Theatre Works) and The Wild Party (Black, New Rep). Other performing credits: The Rink starring Leslie Uggams and Janet Metz (Buddy et al) at the Cape Playhouse; The Good War (dir. David H. Bell and Craig Carnelia) at the York Theatre; Hair at Barrington Stage; Ragtime both at the Fulton Opera House and Music Theatre of Wichita; Futurology at Classic Theatre of Harlem; and Ain’t Misbehavin’ for Gardner and Wife Productions, K.L. Malaysia. This year, Maurice was honored to join the resident acting company of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project. As a dancer, Maurice studied at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and has worked with choreographers Baayork Lee, Kari Nicolaisen, Marc Robin and Mark Martino. Maurice holds an M.A. from NYU Steinhardt School’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions and also studied at the Atlantic Theatre Company.
Emily H. Vigneron (Teaching Assistant, Target Arts)
, is an avid singer, actress, director, writer, and teacher. Of her most recent projects her favorite ones have included being in the original cast of Storyville and recent independent films Reality Check and 4 Cambridge Center. Currently, she is attending Emerson College pursuing a Master's Degree in Theater Education which is helping her perfect the art of teaching; one of the most rewarding art forms of them all.
Corey DePina, Teaching Artist, City Spotlights Leadership
, is the Songwriting and Performance / Leadership Development Coordinator at ZUMIX. He is an accomplished rapper, a skilled workshop and program facilitator, and a long-time participant in ZUMIX programs. Corey came to ZUMIX at age 13 as a participant in the Z-TECH Audio Engineering program and went on to participate in almost every ZUMIX program including all the Songwriting and Performance programs, Adventures in Music and Z-TECH Beatmakers. He served on the Youth Advisory Board for several years, and has done workshops on the history of Hip Hop, creative writing and performance at ZUMIX, numerous city-wide agencies and most recently did a three-day Hip-Hop Immersion workshop for all the school children on Deere Isle, ME. Corey studied for two years at Massachusetts Communication College and completed the ten-week BEST Initiative youth worker training and the Advanced Youth Workers Certificate program. His professional career outside of academia includes serving on the committee hosting Boston’s largest and longest running all age open one mic, Critical Breakdown, as well as a considerable career as a freelance facilitator for local and national non profits and community canters. These professional efforts have been recognized by Corey receiving the 2008 good neighbor award from East Boston’s NOAH and 2008 community leadership award from Jamaica Plain’s Hyde Square Task Force.
Ratasha Huff, Teaching Artist, Blue Hills Boys and Girls Club
, is an award winning Jazz Vocalist, Teaching Artist, and Cultural Educator, Ratasha Huff explores ways in which music and other art forms can be used to open minds and hearts. According to Ratasha, “The highest power of the arts lies in the healing and transformation of humanity.” In 2008 she was one of four women across the U.S. to be honored with Ebony/Jet’s “Women Making a Powerful Difference Through Song” award, and was subsequently profiled in several issues of Ebony and Jet magazines. Prior to moving to Boston, MA in 2008, she completed two professional development programs for Teaching Artists, in Charlotte, NC. She has worked with schools, non-profits, and various community organizations to deliver powerful performances, lecture/demos, classes, and workshops. In the fall of 2009, she began the study of professional music at the Berklee College of Music. A year later, she became one of the first Berklee students to receive the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. So in August of 2010, she packed her bags and headed for Europe as a participant in the Berklee Study Abroad in Athens program. Her heart’s focus remains on building bridges across cultural, racial, religious, and socio-economic divides. Ratasha’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that the ties that unite the global human family are much stronger and more substantial than the barriers that separate.
Javiera Lagunas-Alvarez, Teaching Assistant, Target Arts- King K-8 School, Tobin K-8 School
, is thrilled to be working with the Education Department at Citi Performing Arts Center again! She began her work here as a college intern after her freshman year at Salem State University. She has also worked as a teaching assistant for City Spotlights in Jamaica Plain and teaching artist for the Outreach High School Internship, and also Interactive Tours for Celebrate Musical Theatre during the summers. While at SSU she volunteered as a theatre club leader at Saltonstall Middle School in Salem, MA and taught Theatre Arts courses at Lynn English High School, as well as assisting with the 2011 Revue by the Drama Club. She recently graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a minor in Secondary Education and Spanish. "Working with youth developing original pieces, listening to what they have to say, and admiring their individual talents, inspires me every day to become a better artist and person".
Shirley McGill, City Spotlights Spoken Word Project
, is an Educational/Management Consultant, with 18 years of service to the Outward Bound USA National office, working in the following centers:
New York at the New York City Outward Bound Center
Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center in Boston, MA
Former Pacific Crest Outward Bound School in Redmond, Oregon
Former Voyageur Outward Bound School in Ely, MN
North Carolina Outward Bound School in Morganton, North Carolina
Canada Outward Bound Wilderness Education School in Berk’s Falls, Canada.
McGill designed Urban Education Programs curriculum used by Outward Bound to address staff and organizational issues of Diversity, Urban Education, and Instructor/Staff Professional Development. Curricular models designed include those focused on:
- Urban Exploration
- Teacher’s Training
- Staff Retreats
- Community-based organization (CBO’s) personnel training
- Corporate executive team building
- Multicultural education
- Public, private, independent, and graduate school student leadership development programs
- Pilot programs for youth, urban youth, women and girls, black and Latino males, and business and community leaders.
Her work gave rise to the development of the TIOBEC flagship program, CHOICES: An Urban Outward Bound Expedition, which generated $1.5 million dollars annually for TIOBEC from the program’s 1997 inception until its demise in 2007, totaling $15 million dollars over the 10-year period Shirley CO-facilitated mandatory staff professional development. The Choices program served 850 Boston public school students annually
As an Outdoor Adventure Educator, Shirley served as Educational Consultant to the New York Central Park Conservancy for 10 years, where she was responsible for the development of the Central Park Challenge, the Park’s outdoor adventure program for execs, teachers, cbo personnel, and urban youth. Shirley served as Curricular Designer and Instructor of Challenge courses. She was also responsible for the Design and Facilitation of Central Park Conservancy’s Recreation Department Instructor Staff Training.
Shirley’s clients also include Passages Northwest, The Children’s Defense Fund, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, among others. Shirley McGill is a Reformist Leader in Education in this country in the Outdoor Education, Management Consulting, and Diversity arenas.
Eve Agush, Teaching Artist at Ellison-Parks Early Education Center
, has been teaching tap and flamenco in the Boston community for the past eighteen years. She is on the faculty at many studios in the Northeast for example Boston Ballet, the Dance Complex, the Acton School of Ballet, and the Northeast Youth School of Ballet. Ms. Agush began her professional career as a tap dancer at the Leon Collins Tap Dancer's Paradise. She was first introduced to flamenco by Ramon de los Reyes and then went on to both perform and teach in his company. Ms. Agush is a familiar face on the Boston dance scene, contributing her considerable experience to events such as Dance Across the City Day, The Children’s Dance Festival, City Dance and the Boston Children’s Museum Outreach Program. Eve Agush is the founder and Artistic Director of the AdamAnt Eve Dancers, a rhythmic dance troupe performing flamenco and traditional jazz tap. Eve teaches her unique style of youth yoga in the Brookline Public School system through After School Programs and 15-Minute Yoga Snacks.
Ramona Lisa Alexander
is a vibrant theatre artist, educator, community leader and consultant, Ramona spends her time offstage working as a Teaching Artist with various youth organizations such as; the National Black College Alliance, Dream Studios, Arts in Progress, Underground Railway Theatre & Enchanted Circle Theatre. Ramona is an award winning actress, Eliot Norton Award Nominee, and enthusiastic about using theater as a model for social change while encouraging youth to think out-side their own “…universe of six blocks…” (Ntzoke Shange). Some of the companies she has performed with are; the Huntington Theatre Company, Guthrie Theatre, Double Edge Theatre Co, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Central Square Theatre, Up You Mighty Race Theatre Co, The Boston Playwrights Theatre, and Montana Repertory Theatre. She has received her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Brandeis University which is where she was also honored with a Hayes Fellowship.
Derrick Ashong, Artist Fellow, Master Class – Open Letter to the Governor Elect
, is a musician, social entrepreneur, arts advocate and Oprah Radio Host, Derrick N. Ashong - or DNA as he is sometimes known - is literally the voice of a new generation. Whether heard in the eloquent expression of his thoughts on then Senator Barack Obama, in his songwriting or in his acting ability, the Harvard-educated DNA is an international inspiration for social change through the arts and youth involvement. Derrick joins Citi Performing Arts Center’s award winning city-wide Arts Education program for the 2010/2011 Season as the first Artist Fellow, connecting with hundreds of Boston youth through collaborations with the Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Library, and Boston Centers for Youth and Families.
Bill Barclay, Teaching Artist, Master Class – Voice and All * Star Institute Intensive Week Two – Playwriting
, is an actor, composer, and director Bill Barclay is an Artistic Associate and member of the Resident Acting Company at the Actors’ Shakespeare Project. He is also a performer, director, composer, lecturer, and the Resident Music Director of Shakespeare & Company each summer season (over 15 productions), and a Company Actor at The Mercury Theatre, UK. He has worked for Shakespeare's Globe in London as well as several regional and local theatres including The Huntington Theatre Co., North Shore Music Theatre, The Olney Theatre Center, W.H.A.T., Connecticut Rep, the Vineyard Playhouse, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Central Square Theatre, in New York City at La MaMa E.T.C., The Fourth Street Theatre, and Theatre Row, as well as in Chicago and Washington DC. Bill has collaborated on professional productions of over ¾ of Shakespeare’s complete works. Bill is a 2008 recipient of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, the nation’s largest grant for actors, two Meet the Composer grants in 2009 and 2010, and is a past state-winner of the Boston Globe Monologue Scholarship Competition.
Nick Bazo, Teaching Artist, Master Class – Audition Techniques
, is an actor, director, and teaching artist who recently moved from Orlando, FL to Boston. He dedicates his career to introducing theatre to the lives of people of all ages. He holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rollins College (FL) and a M.F.A. in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida. His current interests lie in exploring how devising theatre can ignite positive personal and social change with youth and young adults.
Steve Black, Teaching Artist at Odyssey High School
, is a freelance Director and Musical Director from Boston, MA. Steve served as the Director of Choral Music and Drama at Salem High School where he directed numerous concerts and theatrical productions from 2003-2008. He served as Musical Director for Summer Stages at North Shore Music Theatre, Assistant Music Director at Ogunquit, and various revues and education programs in New York City. Awards include the Spotlight Award for Best Music Director (NSMT), artist-in-residence awards from the Salem Foundation for Public Education. Steve received a Bachelor of Music from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Arts degree from New York University.
Lise Brody, Teaching Artist at Snowden International High School, EdVestors
, teaches in the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. She is Artistic Director of Screech to a Stop, an intergenerational performance collaborative focused on process and experimentation, which she founded in 2006. She has taught dance, movement for actors and performance art at the high school and college level for more than a decade, and has been a guest artist at Emerson College, Providence College and Salve Regina University. She is former Director of Residencies and Associate Artistic Director at The Yard, an artists’ retreat for choreography and presenting organization on Martha’s Vineyard. Ms. Brody received her MFA in Dance from California Institute of the Arts.
Christina R. Chan, Teaching Artist, City Spotlights Workshops Session l, BCNC, Chinatown
, is happy to be back at Citi Performing Arts Center teaching in Chinatown. Christina is the co-creator and performer of several highly acclaimed performance pieces. Her work explores the Asian American experience with a focus on Asian American women and immigrants. Her first one woman-show “Unbinding Our Lives” tours nationally. Christina graduated from the Trinity Rep Conservatory in Rhode Island and the Royal National Theatre’s Acting Program in London. She received her BA in Psychology from Simmons College. Christina is currently working on a book and play about the high depression and suicide rate among Asian American girls and women.
Muadi B. Dibinga, Teaching Artist, Master Class – How to Manage Your Finances
, is a motivational speaker, professional coach and organizational development consultant whose commitment to public service spans two decades. She is the founder of Muadi B. Dibinga Unlimited a consulting firm that provides youth-serving and social justice organizations with the information and resources needed to carry out their work. She is also the author of Put Your Shoes On! A Step-by-step Guide for Young People Entering the Workforce
(Free Your Mind Publishing, 2007). She also co-wrote A Call To Action
, a city-wide survey and assessment of the availability of youth services in metropolitan Boston; delivered testimony to the state legislature on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services; conducted cultural awareness and youth training workshops for the Boston Police Department, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, Inc., Boston University Summer Upward Bound Program, The Higher Education Information Center, and other groups. Ms. Dibinga is the development director, an instructor, and resident choreographer for OrigiNation Cultural Art Center. Her work is fueled by a deep appreciation for the indomitable nature of the human spirit and the need for human kind to bring a higher level of consciousness to our personal and professional endeavors.
Courtney Falite, Teaching Artist Assistant/Flash Mob Coordinator
, is a graduate of Franklin Pierce University with a BA in Theatre Arts. She spent six months studying in France and Austria fulfilling her concentrations in acting and dance. Courtney has spent the past year serving as a teaching assistant, as well as a Flashmob choreographer, for the Citi Performing Arts Center Education Department. Also, she has spent the past 6 months performing at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston, RI. Recent performances include Hairspray
, The Who's Tommy
, and Happy Days: The Musical
. Courtney hopes to continue working as a performer and to share her love of performing through educational programs.
Jessica Harms, Teaching Artist at Odyssey High School
, is currently working on her Master’s in Theater Education from Emerson College, after working as a high school theater teacher. While completing her undergraduate degree in Directing, she performed professionally for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Wyatt Jackson, Teaching Artist, Master Class – Hip Hop
, started performing throughout the New England region with his own hip hop "crew" in the 1980s and worked with the acclaimed Boston Youth Theater for seven seasons. He was then cast in the European tour, Body and Soul
, where he worked with Tony Award Winner George Faison, Mercedes Ellington, and Andre Heller. Upon finishing the tour, he then landed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records, under the corporate direction of actor Michael Douglas. The hip hop/R&B duo Here and Now blended "positive story-telling" and hip-hop production. The chart-climbing release generated two hit songs, "Are You Ready" and "Tastin' Love Again" - the latter landing him the soundtrack to the Paramount Pictures release Losing Isaiah
. He went on to work with PBS Children's Programming for nine seasons (featured on and choreographed for Zoom
, for which he shares an Emmy Award with the crew for Best Children's TV Show; Fetch
; and Design Squad
). Upon completing the work with PBS, seeing the need to proclaim "Peace" in the urban centers of America, he then joined forces with three local musicians (Marco A. Ennis, Deric Quest, and Edward "Edo G" Anderson) to create the hip-hop/activist multi-media group, 4Peace.
Claudy Paul, Teaching Artist at Jeremiah E. Burke High School
, is an actor, director, and teaching artist who graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Theatre Education. He has worked as a Theatre teacher in several local schools including Boston Renaissance Charter School, Boston Trinity Academy, and Grover Cleveland Middle School. Mr. Paul has worked with Citi Performing Arts Center in various teaching artist roles and was himself a teen participant in the center’s programming.
Suzanne Perdue, Teaching Artist at Lee Academy Pilot School
, trained and danced professionally in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, studying with some of the top teachers in the country, including Adrienne Hawkins and Danny Sloan in Boston; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham School, Luigi, Lyn Simonsen in New York; and Doug Caldwell, Joe Tremaine and Hama in Los Angeles. Suzanne's credits include Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, Earth, Wind & Fire, Disneyland, Dance Captain for the Los Angeles production of Jesus Christ Superstar, television, videos and concert dance companies on both coasts. Artistic Director of Suzanne Perdue's Dancers Edge for nearly 20 years, her students can be seen on Broadway and teaching and choreographing throughout the country. Her studio was voted one of the Top 20 Studios on the Move in the U.S. and was featured on NBC Dateline in the segment Shyness and Kids. She was honored to be named Hometown Hero by the MetroWest Daily News for her work with special needs kids in Dance.
Marilyn Perpignant, Admin Assistant/Flash Mob Coordinator
, has worked at Citi Performing Arts Center on and off for 4 years. She has been a high school intern in the City Spotlights program in previous years and returns now as a college intern. Now as a full time college student she still volunteers for the Education department on numerous occasions mostly because, as she says, “it’s so much fun.” She has worked with middle school and high school students before especially during our last flash mob dance in Copley Square.
Karen Provenzano, Teaching Artist, City Spotlights Workshops Session l, Leahy – Holloran Community Center, Dorchester
, teaches in Boston Public School’s TechBoston Lower Academy in Dorchester. Over the course of her 14 years of teaching in Boston, Karen took a short hiatus out of the classroom from July 2005 to August 2006. She worked as the Manager of School Programs for Citi Performing Arts Center Education Department where she developed and implemented in-school and off-site School Programs. She is currently teaching a drop-in theater class at Leahy-Holloran Community Center in Dorchester which will conclude on December 17th. Provenzano says, “The experience so far has been great. The small group of participants who show up every Friday give it their all and are having a lot of fun. A few have expressed a strong interest in continuing on in the upcoming spring City Spotlights program. This speaks volumes of how the arts have the power to transform and inspire all of us.” Karen is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics at UMass Boston. She resides in Dorchester, with her husband, artist, John Provenzano, and their two daughters, Sadie and Camille.
Haji Shearer, Teaching Artist, Master Class – Relationships
, is Director of the Fatherhood Initiative at the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund. He leads the campaign to increase the relationship skills of young fathers in 26 Healthy Families programs across the state. He is a Licensed Social Worker who spent many years doing crisis intervention with families involved with the Department of Social Services. He frequently presents at conferences on father involvement and communication skills. Haji facilitates Men's Healing Circles, Boys to Men Rites of Passages and Couples Workshops. He is especially interested in seeing African-American and Latino men heal the twin traumas of racism and patriarchy. Haji lives with his wife, multi-media artist, Radiant Jasmin, and their two children.
Michael Forden Walker, Teaching Artist at Brook Farm Academy
, has worked with Actors' Shakespeare Project as Cassio in Othello, Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew, Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing, Ferdinand in Duchess of Malfi, Graziano in Merchant of Venice, King John in King John, King/Maria/Nathaniel in Love's Labour's Lost, Lucius Andronicus in Titus Andronicus, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, Cornwall in King Lear (both in Boston and at La MaMa ETC in New York), Pompey/Friar Peter in Measure for Measure, and Brakenbury/Ratcliff in Richard III. Local appearances with Underground Railway, Centastage, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Boston Theatre Works, Molasses Tank Productions, The Bridge, Company One, and Willing Suspension Productions; in Charlotte, NC with Innovative Theatre. Past credits include Tru Grace: Holiday Memoirs; The Random Caruso; Comp; Antony and Cleopatra; Ionesco, Not Ionesco; Troilus and Cressida; Native Speech; Love's Fire; The Roaring Girl; The Borderers; James IV; The Spanish Tragedy; The Dwarfs; The Alchemist; A Chaste Maid in Cheapside; The Rover; Tales of the Lost Formicans; Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Sleeping Beauty or Coma; and The Metamorphosis. Michael studied acting while an undergraduate English major at UNC-Charlotte, and he holds an M.A. in English literature from Boston University. He is a rock musician, most recently with Boston-based rock band Pink Mantis
, and operates Forden Photography
, specializing in headshots and creative portraiture.