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Workshop Descriptions and Presenter Bios

Check out GUIDEBOOK for workshop schedule!

Acting Through Song with Tyce Green

Pushing beyond the boundary of just “singing” a song. This class will focus on character connection and utilizing acting skills while singing. Please prepare a brief selection of a musical theatre song and bring your recorded accompaniment.

Tyce Green is a Broadway actor and social media personality. After making his Off-Broadway debut at age 19 in Kissless, he has appeared in numerous shows in New York and regionally, including: Hands on a Hardbody (Chris), Spring Awakening (Moritz), Ragtime (Younger Brother), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Calhoun), and more. On film he has been in seen in Horrible Turn, a prequel to Dr. Horrible with Neil Patrick Harris. In addition to performing, Tyce regularly directs and produces shows in NYC, including the That’s So Raven reunion concert with Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol. His popular Twitter series #AskTyce is a tool for young performers to ask performing and audition questions. Follow @Tyce on Twitter for more info.

Aging Makeup with Nicolette Dalesandro

The workshop will be an exciting and hands on way to learn how to create realistic aging makeup using simple and basic supplies! 

Creating Wounds with Make Up with Nicolette Dalesandro

The workshop will be an exciting and hands on way to learn how to create realistic wounds using simple and basic supplies! 

Nicolette Dalesandro is a 19 year old makeup artist and hairstylist from Toms River. She currently works at The Style Room as an assistant and enjoys special FX makeup on the side. As a self-taught special FX artist, she very much enjoys teaching others her tricks to great makeup!

Basic Swing Dancing with Brandon Rasmussen

Students will take part in a beginner friendly swing dance lesson. No partner or dance experience needed. **Mr. Rasmussen will play a set of swing music at the Social which he will DJ. Show off your new skills on Saturday night!**

Brandon Rasmussen has been dancing since he was nine years old. He teaches locally for several dance organizations and also founded the Rutgers Swing Dancing Club.

Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Unafraid:  The MAP That Guides Successful Leaders with Grace Alt, ITO

Becoming a strong leader requires bravery.  Every growing leader will find that on their journey, there are necessary steps to take, important opportunities to recognize, and positive traits to develop that will bring them success.  In this workshop, we will discuss the MAP (Making your own opportunities, Acting the part of a leader, Positive visualization) you need to follow on your path to effective leadership, and how you can be a leader who is bold, brave, and unafraid! *Students applying for STO in 2017 should attend.*

N.A.P.S. (National Advocacy, Plain and Simple) with Grace Alt, ITO

Have you ever considered how NAPS can change your life? In this workshop you’ll learn about how powerful a NAP can actually be. NAPS can help you improve your fundraising efforts, gain more audience members, or even attain administrative support for your theatre program.

Grace Alt is from Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, Thespian Troupe 1154, and is your International Thespian Officer Vice Chair!  As your ITO, she serves to represent the student voice of the International Thespian Society by traveling to different state conferences throughout the year and talking to students about arts advocacy, leadership, and all things Thespian. Come say hello if you see her walking around wearing her blue sash or connect with her via social media!

Breaking Into Hollywood with Rob Gorrie

Veteran television actor Rob Gorrie (Gotham, The Good Wife, Law & Order) will introduce participants to the world of acting for the screen. By using visual demonstrations as well as simulated commercial auditions, volunteers will learn the nuances that make good actors, great.   Know what it takes to get in the room, stand out, get callbacks, and book jobs in the ultra competitive television industry.

Rob Gorrie, an NYU Graduate from the Film & Television program, is a professional actor with over 13 years of experience in the industry and is a proud member of SAG. He has appeared in leading roles in daytime and primetime television as well as film. He recently guest starred on FOX’s Gotham as John Grayson. Some of his other notable credits include Law & Order SVU, The Good Wife, One Life to Live, and As the World Turns. He has two feature films slated for release in 2016 and is currently appearing in a national campaign for Southwest Airlines. 

Budgeting for Your Costumes with Shirlee Idzakovich

How do I fit all all of these kids into costumes!!! Bring me your budget and let's talk. I have years of experience and tons of short cuts to help you get through this question. We may not get to all the shows, but I can set a formula to help you understand where all your monies should be spent. This is for directors and costumers and students who act as well, working together as a team to ensure everyone on stage is fully costumed for the show.

Shirlee Idzakovich is a costumer who travels all over the United States. From Texas to Ohio, and NYC to Florida. Her passion is to teach costuming to a new generation of young adults and to pass on her knowledge of over 70 built out shows and countless mini build outs. Working with Itheatrics in NYC as an editor for Broadway Jr shows, and costumes many new shows and workshops. She has costumers for off Broadway, full equity houses, tv, movie and videos. She lives in NYC with her family. She has taught at many National Thespian State and will Be attending Nationals in Lincoln Nebraska this summer to do costume workshops.

Creating the Environment with Jay Duckworth

Since we were small children we have played with props. A long branch became a sword. A wooden spoon become a microphone for our huge award speech or our The Voice competition.  I’m going to talk about what props are and how they are created; make an empty room look like it’s your own, your Grandmother’s, or Alexander Hamilton’s study. After the speech there will be a brief Q& A.

Jay Duckworth is the founder of the Prop Summit a yearly meeting of Broadway, off - Broadway, LORT theaters and Academic prop professionals and students. He has been the Keynote Speaker for The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival as a guest of United States Institute of Theater Technology 2011 & 2015. Headed Master classes in Properties at numerous universities. The roll call of shows he has created original work for starts in remastered Classic Greek Theater, re-imagined Shakespeare plays and musicals (including Hamilton) and stark Brechtian shows, and continues with contemporary and ink wet works at his residency at The Public Theater in New York City. He boasts over 20 years’ experience in LORT & Off -Bway theater, fast paced summer stocks, independent films, TV, music videos and over 50 off Broadway shows credit his name as a Props Master and Props Designer.

Creating Your Character Via Movement with Meade Andrews

The core of creating a character involves exploring how your character moves, and interacts with other characters. We will focus on understanding how our body is designed to move freely, easily, and playfully, and how it is the perfect playground for your imagination in developing fully realized characters.

Meade Andrews is a dancer, actor, and teacher of movement for the actor. She currently teaches in the theatre and musical theatre program at Rider U., and has taught acting, movement, and the Alexander Technique at theatres and universities all over the world.

Discovering the Power of the Actor’s Voice with Rebecca Simon

This is an introduction to Voice for the Actor. This workshop will focus on liberating our natural speaking voice. Through warm-ups and exercises, the actors will discover how they can truly be connected to thought, emotion, sound and language. We will explore resonance, power, range and the flexibility of the voice.

Rebecca Simon teaches voice, speech and acting at Rider University where she has vocal coached numerous mainstage productions. Most recently, she was the dialect coach for Bristol Riverside Theatre’s production of The Language Archive. She also had the honor of serving as vocal coach for the McCarter Theatre Company’s production of The White Snake directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman. Other dialect coaching credits include A Murder is Announced at Robbinsville High School and Oliver! at The Forestburgh Playhouse. As a proud member of Actor’s Equity, her acting credits include the Broadway National Tours of Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber starring Michael Bolton. She also toured with The Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a vocalist. She holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Florida Atlantic University and a certification in Colaianni Speech Technique.


Faux Brick Painting with Ashley Petix

Learn a quick and effective scenic painting method to create a realistic brick texture.

Ashley Petix, a 2013 graduate of Drew University (and a 2009 graduate of Robbinsville High School), is a scenic designer and fine artist whose work has involved theater, television, fine art and illustration. Most recently her scenic design for the original play "Father Kennedy" debuted at the 2015 New York City Fringe Festival. She has worked with The Metropolitan Opera, local regional theaters and interned with Broadway scenic designer Christine Jones. You can visit her work at  

Figure Drawing with Laura Williams

A lesson in figure drawing and how to use charcoal as a medium, while exploring easy ways to find proportions on the human form. We will be working in short poses and discovering how expressive even a 30-second sketch can be. Building on last year’s workshop, we will also add highlights to our drawings.

Portfolios, Resumes, & the Real World for Designers and Production with Laura Williams

A look at how to assemble a professional portfolio and resume for designers and production students in preparation for college interviews. Both content and presentation will be discuss, along with a realistic look at what it means to pursue a career in theater.

Laura Williams is an alumni from Robbinsville High School who now works professionally in the theater industry in New York City, with credits on off-Broadway and Broadway productions. She mainly works with props, sets, scene painting, and puppets, but occasionally dabbles in costumes and directing. She received her BFA in theater design from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Improv Games: Making Sport of the Stage with Howdy Stranger

Get ready to stretch your muscles (and your funny bones) in this action-packed workshop with classic improv games that get you moving and laughing.

Putting the Pro in Improv: Serious Fun with Howdy Stranger

Learn advanced tactics to enrich your improvised scenes through bold choices, active listening and supportive teamwork.

Howdy Stranger is a professional improv troupe based in Hackensack, NJ, which performs at venues, participated in festivals, and won improv competitions in the Tri-State Area. Founder Ryan Huban runs the training program, offering all levels of improvisation through public classes, private workshops, and corporate team-building events.

Introduction to Long-Form Improv with Michael Schwartz

In long form improvisation, the goal is to create detailed, interrelated scenes fueled by strong storytelling and character choices. In this workshop, students will be introduced to many of the tools improvisers use to make these scenes happen. The workshop will focus on storytelling foundations, keys to character development, and finding the "game" of a scene--a theme or idea that can be repeated, exaggerated, or twisted throughout the improv scenes through supportive teamwork.

Michael Schwartz teaches playwriting, theater history, dramaturgy, and improv at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has studied sketch writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, and he studied and taught at Philly Improv Theater in Philadelphia. He has also taken workshops with Impro author Keith Johnstone and Upright Citizens Brigade member Matt Besser.

Mastering the College Audition with Stan Cahill

This workshop is geared towards students planning to audition for university- level performing arts programs. Designed to take the guesswork out of the audition process, a range of topics will be covered: the application process, pre-screen videos and material choices, as well as practical topics, including timelines, follow up, and, of course, the audition participants should arrive prepared with monologues.

Stan Cahill is a professional actor, director and arts educator. He has traveled extensively as a teaching artist and director, most recently developing and implementing performing arts programs in Kenscoff, Haiti and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He continues to work as a theatre artist while also teaching at many of the country’s leading secondary schools, colleges and universities. As Theatre Artist in-Residence at Princeton Day School, he was recently named New Jersey’s Outstanding Director for his production of Anon(ymous). In addition, his 2014 production of Urinetown was named New Jersey’s Outstanding Musical while also earning the Educational Impact Award from the Paper Mill Playhouse. He has also earned accolades for two BBC/NPR productions, Footprints to Paradise and The Night Before Christmas, radio plays that gave young performers the opportunity to work alongside seasoned professionals. Currently, Stan is working with the La Mama Experimental Theatre in NYC on the new play Kidnap Road set to premiere at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA, Stan has appeared on stage in New York City and in regional theaters across the country, as well as in film, television and commercials. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting Program; Certificate: Moscow Art Theatre; BFA: University of Detroit

Michael Chekhov’s Qualities of Movement with Trent Blanton

Learn a warm up that will wake up your primary instruments (voice, body and imagination) through exploration of Michael Chekhov’s Centers. In addition to a great way to get your “acting” engine started, centers are a great mechanism for developing physical life for characters.

Trent Blanton (Director) is an Associate Professor of Theater in Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University. A proud active member of Actor’s Equity and the Society of Directors and Choreographers, Trent’s professional acting credits include: La Cage Aux Folles and Young Frankenstein (Forestburgh Playhouse), Sweet Charity (Aurora Theatre), The Gun Show, The Goldilocks Zone and Slippery as Sin (Passage Theatre Company), Les Miserables (Actors’ Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville), 1776 (Ford’s Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera); Fiddler on the Roof (Starlight Musicals of Kansas City & The MUNY of St. Louis); A Christmas Carol, Romeo & Juliet (Alliance Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew (Georgia Shakespeare); and Masada (York Theatre). Trent played virtually every major city in North America in the Broadway National Tour of Les Miserables and appeared in the Chinese premiere of Les Miz with Colm Wilkinson at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. Trent holds an MFA in Acting from Florida Atlantic University where he was the recipient of the Joshua Logan Fellowship and a certificate in the practical study of the Michael Chekhov Technique with the Michael Chekhov Association. He currently serves as Chair for the Acting/Directing committee of the Southeastern Theatre Conference. At Rider, Trent teaches acting in both the Theatre Performance and Musical Theatre programs.

Nifty 50s and Swinging 60s: Musical Theatre Dances with Lauren Frazier-Gebhart

Hairspray, Grease, and Bye, Bye, Birdie all have large dance numbers featuring social dances of the 1950s and 1960s.  We’ll learn some basic moves from the time period including the Cha-Cha, The Mashed Potato and animal dances.  Students will then learn a short number from a musical.  Wear clothing and shoes appropriate for movement.

Lauren Frazier-Gebhart is a graduate of the dance program at GCIT and has a BA in Dance and Political Science from Goucher College.  She has performed and studied modern, ballet and theatrical dance internationally including tours of Europe and Brazil.  She has performed with Dance DelBello, with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center and at the Kennedy Center.  She has been teaching at various dance studios and schools throughout New Jersey and Maryland for the past 15 years.  Ms. Frazier-Gebhart is currently the Dance Director at the BCIT Academy for the Performing Arts and has choreographed/directed dozens of High School and Community Musical Theatre productions.

Pratfalls and Pies in the Face with Kristen Dabrowski

We’ll work on slips, smacks, slaps, bumps, bangs, trips, flips, faints and falls—the key ingredients to slapstick comedy—and how to really sell them.   The class will cover “the invitation,” “the tell,” use of props, framing, slo-mo, A.R.A., knaps, lines, and ducks.

Spamalotmore with Kristen Dabrowski

Learn the Cockney accent, then apply your skills to British comedy skits by Monty Python and others!  Time-permitting, you will also write a British-style comedy skit of your own using Cockney rhyming slang.

Sword Fighting Choreography with Kristen Dabrowski

Learn the basics of stage combat—the “BLOOD” safety system, footwork, attacks, and parries—as well as some fancy flourishes, jumps, ducks, pass-throughs and swipes to make a fight exciting and dramatic.  By the end of class, you will have choreographed your own fight with a partner!

Kristen Dabrowski attended The British-American Drama Academy, Trinity College (London) and The Oxford School of Drama (UK).  She has taught Drama, Film and Playwriting at many schools, theatres and conservatories such as American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Actors Institute, Montclair State University, McCarter Theatre . . . to name just a few.  Kristen is the author of 25 theatre books for children and teens published by Smith & Kraus.  She is a member of Actors’ Equity and Dramatists Guild and is certified by The British Academy of Dramatic Combat in single- and double-sword combat, rapier and dagger, and hand-to-hand combat.

Sonnet Man: Hip-Hop Shakespeare with Devon Glover

Students will be introduced to Shakespeare's sonnets in a modern innovative way: through hip-hop. We will study the structure and make up of a Shakespearean sonnet: their components, values, and meaning, as well as write our own. The workshop will conclude with a presentation by the students.

Devon Glover is a teacher, poet, rapper, from Brooklyn New York. He performs Shakespeare's Sonnets in a dynamic way through Hip-Hop in schools, universities and theaters to young audiences nationally and abroad. The Sonnet Man has appeared on The Today Show, MTVAct, Shakespeare Festivals in Stratford Ontario and Stratford-upon-Avon, and won The L.A. Times Book Award for Inspirational Poetry. The recent release of his debut video “Hip-Hop Hamlet” was selected for the Shakespeare Short Film Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. For more information, visit

Shop Built Moving Scenery with Thomas Haughey

This workshop is intended to serve students in creating shop built moving scenery. With the speed of many shows, we are often faced with the challenge of moving scenery during productions, but moving things quickly creates other challenges. This workshop will show students some of the methods that can be assembled quickly and efficiently using things found around almost every theatre. This workshop is for all interested in scenic design and technology; students, staff and faculty are welcome to attend. Come with questions and challenges of your own: they are always appreciated.

Thomas Haughey is the tenured assistant professor of technical direction and sound design at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He earned his MFA in technical direction from the University of Connecticut and a BS in Biology from Elizabethtown College. He has worked professionally for ESPN, The People’s Light and Theatre Company and for Connecticut Reparatory Theatre. Thomas would like to thank his lovely wife and children for their support.

Stage Management with Sherri Vanderspiegel

The students will learn about the different types of stage managers and their duties, what goes in a prompt book, what you should have in your stage management kit, how to do your stage management, tech resume.

Sherri Vanderspiegel is the technical supervisor for the Performing Arts Center at Brookdale Community College. She is also adjunct faculty and teaches technical theater I and II as well as special projects in stage management there. Sherri graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, with a BFA in stage management. She then worked for a year Off Broadway in a number of theaters, as well stage managed a few equity workshops. Sherri has worked in many theater venues in NJ. In the summer months Sherri also stage manages at Plays in the Park. She has worked there for 13 summers, 8 years as a stage manager and 5 years as the production stage manager.

Theatre After High School with Ryan Antony Nicotra

Learn how to select a college program, prepare a rèsumé, find jobs, and build a professional network. We will discuss the many different career paths available for a theatre artist after graduating from high school. Bring questions and an open mind.

The Vulnerability Workshop for Actors with Ryan Antony Nicotra

Blending dance movement, personal interview, and improvisation, this exercise will promote vulnerability and collaboration within the participating group. Participants should be dressed and prepared for movement. Sweatpants, a t-shirt, and sneakers are ideal.

Ryan Antony Nicotra is the Development Director at Single Carrot Theatre, an ensemble company devoted to new play development, community building, and neighborhood revitalization in Baltimore City. He recently completed a joyful tenure as the founding Company Director of The BOOM Theatre Co., an emerging ensemble that champions the development of new works and reimagined classics. Under his leadership, BOOM produced thirty unique projects in five years and reached over 3,000 students across the state of Maryland. Every project under Ryan’s direction has been motivated by central questions about alienation and reconciliation, particularly for women and LGBT+ people. He has been profiled by The Baltimore Sun and TheatreBloom, and was selected among the critic The Bad Oracle’s top five directors in Baltimore small theaters. Ryan is a rising second year student in the Goucher College MA Arts Administration program. He is particularly focused on the areas of design, development, politics, community building, and the empowerment of young, diverse, and underrepresented leaders in the arts. He has previously taught courses in acting, design, directing, and stage management at Cecil College in the rural town of Elkton, MD. He is the former Vice Chair of the Harford County Cultural Arts Board, a local arts agency that provides over $100,000 annually to over fifty nonprofit arts organizations based in Harford County, MD, and now lives in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore City.

Troupe Officer Round Table with STOs

Each troupe should send two troupe officers/leaders. This meeting will consist of numerous topics such as: leadership development, fundraising, marketing, and what it means to be an STO. It will also consist of a panel including a few of our very own STO's to answer questions and facilitate discussion. (Please be punctual because we have a limited amount of time to do this.)

VIEWPOINTS (vocal) with Perry Morgan

Space. Shape. Time. Tempo. Investigation of these Viewpoints and Others in the Vocal Performance (Speaking and Singing) Place.

Professor Morgan is the Director of Musical Theatre at Greensboro College in North Carolina. He is the Founder of what is now known in New Jersey as “The Perry Awards” annually honoring the outstanding theatre achievements in this state. A member of Actor’s Equity Association, he performs and directs on the Regional Theatre circuit.