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DSA THEATRE Guest Artist Series



In addition to providing a full curriculum of theatre classes for grades 6-12 and an extensive performance season, the DSA Theatre Department offers a wonderful series of master classes from teaching artists. The goal of the DSA Theatre Guest Artist series is to bring professional performers into our schools to share their experience of working in the field of theatre with our students. Their visits will educate, inspire, and challenge students to seek training and career opportunities that will allow them to pursue their artistic passions.


Notable guest artists including SIRIUS XM Radio Host and Broadway favorite Seth Rudetsky and Tony-­award winning star of Broadway’s The Drowsy Chaperone, Ms. Beth Leavel.


As you can imagine, bringing artists of this caliber to our school is still a bit of a financial challenge. This is why we hope you will consider sponsoring these exciting learning opportunity for our students and great performance for our community.  


Guest Artist Roster 2013-2014

Edited Image 2013-12-19-12:8:0

VISITING ARTIST SERIES: "Deconstructing the Audition" with Mr. Seth Rudetsky

Wednesday May 2st, 2014

4:00 PM

Lower Chorus Room


Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio's ON BROADWAY as well as the host of SETH SPEAKS on Sirius/XM Stars. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including RAGTIME, LES MIZ and PHANTOM. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including DREAMGIRLS with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and HAIR with Jennifer Hudson (recorded on Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination). In 2007 he made his Broadway acting debut playing Sheldon (singing "Magic to Do" in a devastating unitard) in THE RITZ directed by Joe Mantello for The Roundabout Theater. Off-Broadway he wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed RHAPSODY IN SETH (directed by Peter Flynn) at the Actors Playhouse and has also appeared on TV on LAW AND ORDER C.I. and had a recurring role on ALL MY CHILDREN. As an author, he penned the non-fiction Q GUIDE TO BROADWAY, the novel BROADWAY NIGHTS and the recently published MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN (Random House). BROADWAY NIGHTS is available on Audible.com starring Kristin Chenoweth, Andrea Martin and Jonathan Groff and MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ana Gasteyer and Megan Hiltly. Seth played himself on Kathy Griffin; My Life on the D-List, was the vocal coach on MTV's LEGALLY BLONDE reality show and starred opposite Sutton Foster in THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG for the Actors Fund. Recently, he co-wrote and starred in DISASTER! (which the NY TIMES called a "triumph"), and he currently writes a weekly column on Playbill.com.


Mr. Rudetsky will perform a two-­‐hour master musical theatre audition class with students from the DSA Theatre, Dance, and Choral Music Departments. Included in the class will be a question-­‐and-­‐answer session and one-­‐ on-­‐one instruction for twelve students with observing students, parents, and guests attending in the gallery and participating in a Q&A. In addition, Mr Rudetsky will share clips his own private video and audio collection, deconstructing both amazing vocals (Patti Lupone singing "EVITA") and vocal travesties (Madonna singing the same material) with the Durham public in his acclaimed one-man show "Deconstructing Broadway". His fast-paced comedy and in-depth experience working with stars of stage and screen make this performance one for newcomers, pop-culture vultures, and long-time fans of musical theatre alike.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “An Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” with Ms. Rachel E. Pollock and Artisans from Spoonflower
Thursday, May 16th 
6th Period
DSA Black Box Theatre


DSA Theatre is thrilled to welcome Ms. Rachel E.Pollock and artisans from Spoonflower as our guests in Costume Design. Rachel E. Pollock has worked as a professional costume craftsperson for theatre, opera, ballet, television, and film since 1994. After freelancing in Knoxville (TN), Chicago, and Boston, she accepted a staff position as resident Lead Crafts Artisan and Dyer for the internationally-acclaimed American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge, where she served for four award-winning seasons. She subsequently relocated to Los Angeles to work in film and television costuming, as well as a stint on the crafts team of the LA Opera, before relocating to Chapel Hill. She has served as a crafts artisan, dyer, and milliner for such designers as Catherine Zuber, Ann Hould-Ward, Ilona Somogyi, David Zinn, Constance Hoffman, and Julie Taymor, and worked for Parsons-Meares, Ltd. on Tim Hatley’s Tony Award-winning costume designs for Shrek: The Musical. Ms. Pollock is the author of Sticks In Petticoats, the only extant text on parasol history and construction for the stage, as well as various articles for trade publications such as the Costume Research Journal. She maintains the seminal costume crafts artisanship blog, La Bricoleuse. At UNC, she conducts a series of graduate seminars on costume craftwork—millinery, dyeing and distressing, masks, armor, and related topics. Ms. Pollock and guests appear courtesy of the Durham Performing Arts Center.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: "Up Close With a Broadway Professional" with Mr. Cody Williams

Saturday April 12th, 


Ripley-Grier Studios, NYC


DSA Theatre is fortunate to welcome Broadway actor, producer, and filmmater Mr. Cody Williams as a guest artist during our 2014 NYC Theatre Tour. Mr. Williams is currently in the ensemble of "Cinderella.' His other credits include: Broadway: "Memphis". Other Credits: Helen Hayes nomination for "Oklahoma!" (Will Parker) at Arena Stage, "Yank!"(Cohen) with Roundabout and Old Globe, "Singin’ in the Rain" (Cosmo), Atlanta Ballet, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Cincinatti Conservatory of Music graduate. 


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: "Up Close With a Broadway Professional" with Ms. Abbie Brady-Dalton

Monday, April 14th, 


Ripley-Grier Studios, NYC


DSA Theatre is excited to welcome DSA Alumnus Abbie Brady-Dalton as a guest artist during our 2014 NYC Theatre Tour. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Abbie pursued a career in musical theatre as a performer from 2004- 2007 working regionally and traveling with national tours. After getting married and settling down in New York, Abbie changed paths and eventually found that her true passion was in casting. She has since had the opportunity to work on numerous projects at Telsey + Co ranging from commercials, films, musicals and plays. Her recent projects include the casting of the NBC televized musical event, "The Sound of Music LIVE!" Abbie recently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Television Series - Comedy!


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “On The Road Again” with Ms. Krystina Alabado

Thursday, March 13th

3rd Period

DSA Black Box Theatre


DSA Theatre is excited to welcome Broadway actress Ms. Krystina Alabado to our HS Theatre Studio Honors class. Krystina’s first performance was singing “Girl from Impanema” with her dad and his Brazilian Jazz Band when she was eight years old and she hasn’t stopped performing since! She was heavily involved in theatre in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona for a number of years in her schools, in the community, and in the professional regional theatre circuit.After spending a year studying musical theatre at Arizona State University, Krystina was cast in the 1st National Tour of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Spring Awakening” where she traveled the country for two years!Krystina then made the big move to New York City and has been busy ever since. Shortly after “Spring Awakening”, Krystina made her Off-Broadway debut starring as Titi O’Malley in Natalie Elizabeth Weiss’s electronica musical, “Camp Wanatachi” which premiered at La MaMa ETC. Just a few weeks after closing CW, Krystina was cast in the Broadway musical “American Idiot” and made her Broadway debut in February of 2011.Krystina then went on to continue the life of “American Idiot”, embarking on yet another tour rocking out to Green Day 8 shows a week to 15 cities over the course of nine months. Since being back, she has been working non-stop on developmental work, readings, workshops, concerts, and galas and is currently performing in the national tour of “Evita” as The Mistress.


Ms. Alabado appears courtesy of The Durham Performing Arts Center.

VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “The Business of Fashion” with Ms. Diane Leone

Thursday, March 13th

6th & 7th Period

DSA Black Box Theatre


DSA Theatre is excited to welcome College Representative for FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Ms. Diane Leone as our guest artist in fashion design. Ms. Leone is a professional speaker, national trainer, a published author of two books, a professional travel & lifestyle journalist and photographer, an experienced & successful interior design professional, marketing & PR professional, and National Time To Teach Trainer. Ms. Leone will present on the “Business of Fashion” to 6th and 7th period technical theatre students. Students will view 16 different careers featuring the business and design aspects of the fashion industry, through the real life stories of FIDM Graduates.



VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “Playmakers Summer Youth Conservatory” with Ms. Jenny Wales

Wednesday March 12th 

Lunch Periods

DSA Black Box Theatre


DSA Theatre is fortunate to welcome Ms. Jenny Wales, Education Manager at PlayMakers Repertory Company. Ms. Wales was raised in Danville, VA, where she made her stage debut as Annie in “Annie” over 20 years ago. She is a classically trained actress and has appeared in productions in regional theatres across the country. She earned her Master’s degree in Acting from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and her BA in Theater from the University of Virginia. Last year, after years as an actress in New York City, Jenny relocated to Chapel Hill, NC where she works as the current Education Manager at PlayMakers Repertory Company. Ms. Wales maintains a thriving performing career, teaches acting and serves, by appointment of the Town Council, as a commissioner on the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission.


Ms. Wales will present information on summer study opporunities for students with PlayMakers Repertory Company.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “Production Stage Management” with Mr. Richard Nilsen

Wednesday, December 4th

Sixth Period Technical Theatre


DSA Theatre is thrilled to welcome Mr. Richard Nilsen, Production Stage Manager for the national tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, to present as a guest artist in our sixth period Technical Theatre Class. Mr. Nilsen has a degree in performance and taught two years at Arizona State University. He is a versatile man of the theatre who is involved in both performance and production. As the Production Stage Manager (PSM) for Grinch, Mr. Nilsen ensures the touring show is delivered on time and on budget. He is an exceptional problem solvers and forward-planner - often having to strategize for every unexpected challenges while on the road. A typical day involves emails and telephone calls, dealing with queries, productions meetings and going to load-ins and load-outs of the tour venue, such as Durham’s DPAC. Mr. Nilsen will engage students in a general Q&A about living in NYC, touring, auditioning, and working as a professional stage manager. Mr. Nilsen appears courtesy of The Durham Performing Arts Center and Big League Productions.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “Making Work” with Ms. Lucinda McDermott Piro

Thursday, November 7th

1st through 4th Periods

DSA Black Box Theatre


Ms. Lucinda McDermott Piro is an award-winning playwright, actress, and musician with more than 20 plays to her credit. Her works have been produced both in New York City and regionally. In addition to her one-woman show O’Keeffe!, other notable plays include Shatter the Vessel, winner of the University of Virginia’s 1999 Delauney Prize in Playwriting, Rumpus Room, the 2011 Martha Hill Newell Playwright’s Award winner, and Feeding on Mulberry Leaves, winner of the 1998 Delauney Prize and the 2004 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. She was the 2011 Flournoy Playwright. As a performer, Ms. Piro was most recently appeared in the London premiere Woman of Light, a rock opera based on the life of Mary Magdalene at the Charing Cross Theatre in the West End. Her one woman show, O’Keeffe!, which celebrates the life of American Artist Georgia O’Keeffe, is a coming together of her writing, acting, and love of art. The show is currently on tour and available for booking as well as production through Playscripts, Inc. She is also half of the acoustic American band Ball & Chain with her husband Jon Piro. Ms. Piro will be presenting to students on the topic of “making work” for yourself as an artist and her experiences in performance, playwrighting, and the business of theatre.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “Direction and Design” with Mr. Steven Royal

October 19th10:00 am – 2:00 pm

DSA Black Box Theatre


Originally from North Carolina and trained at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Steven Royal’s design work has spanned the globe. While Creative Director for the Becker Group, Steven created unforgetable holiday experiences in Dubai, New York and in retail centers across the country. His work can still be seen in Harry Potter: The Exhibition, an international touring exhibit of the film's sets, props and costumes. His event work includes designs for companies like Target, Google, MSNBC, VW, BBCA and AOL.Mr. Royal currently resides in Washington, DC where his design and directing work have garnered him multiple Helen Hayes award nominations and wins in the Outstanding Set Design category. Mr. Royal will outline his basic design process; from research, to development of the plans, to the final product, illustrating his techniques with examples from his past designs. He will also brainstorm with DSA students about their current work and offer his artistic input into their designs.


Mr. Royal appears courtesy of Capital Talent Agency.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “Theater of the Oppressed” with Ms. Virginia Queen Danford

September 25th

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

DSA Chorus Room


About the Master Class: Theatre of the Oppressed is theatre to represent struggles; theatre to help people of all ages engage in conversations that offer solutions to problems. Brazilian theatre director and activist Augusto Boal developed the TO during the 1950's and 1960's. In an effort to transform theatre from the "monologue" of traditional performance into a "dialogue" between audience and stage, Boal experimented with many kinds of interactive theatre. Students will be introduced to the theories of TO while exploring games, sensory work, Image and Forum Theatre. Students will use these interactive exercises to spark discussion and active problem solving in a relaxed fun environment that is solution oriented. This workshop will expand students’ experience with theatre and allow them to explore Boal’s techniques.


About the Artist: Virginia Queen Danford has a BFA in Acting from West Virginia U. and an MFA in Acting from The School of Arts at Penn State. She exercises a broad range with her craft and has a lifetime of performance experience. She relocated to the Triangle from New York City where she’d been working for eight years as a professional actor, teacher, choreographer and director. She also co-founded NYC’s Broad Horizons Theatre Company and currently serves on the Board of Directors. Virginia is very passionate about her teaching and has worked with all ages for almost 20 years. In addition to teaching drama and movement programs, she is involved in addressing social issues to inspire change through theatre and film. In 2002, she was hired by FEMA to work as a crisis counselor through creative arts to deal with feelings of loss following the tragedy of 9/11. In 2003, she wrote and directed “Freedom and the American Revolution,” a series of one-act plays that also included songs and dances. The fourth grade classes at Public School 87 in Queens, NY, performed the piece. She and the school were both recognized by The New York Times for integrating arts into the curriculum and for being advocates of arts education. She has currently worked with The ArtsCenter, Playmaker’s Repertory Theatre, UNC-CH’s Dept. of Education, Raleigh Little Theatre and The Durham Arts Council, among others.


Ms. Queen appears courtesy of Durham Arts Council’s “Creative Arts in Public and Private Schools” (CAPS).


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “Savannah College of Art & Design” with Mr. Ethan Pell

September 18th

1st and 2nd Periods

DSA Black Box Theatre


DSA Theatre is happy to welcome back Admissions Representative and Director of E-Learning for Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Mr. Ethan Pell. Mr. Pell is a graduate of SCAD in Themed Entertainment Design. Entertainment professionals design the unforgettable experiences of entertainment parks, zoos, resorts, hotels, restaurants and museums. They conceive and construct unique environments and settings around the world in order to inform, entertain and enthrall. Mr. Pell will present to students on the variety of creative courses of study available at SCAD’s Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lecoste campuses as well as a his own journey to the university from high school through undergraduate study. Students will ask questions about college selection and campus life and be able to signup for free materials from the college.


VISITING ARTIST SERIES: “In My Experience” with Mr. Drew Guerra

Friday, September 6th

First through Third Periods

DSA Black Box Theatre


DSA Theatre is excited to welcome Mr. Drew Guerra as the first in this year’s series of presenters on the craft of theatre. Mr. Guerra is currently a Sophomore at Northwestern University in the Bachelor of Arts program in Theatre and is also minoring in Psychology. After earning his degree, he plans to work in theater or arts managements professionally. Mr. Guerra graduated from Durham School of the Arts in 2012, where he was active in many productions and received the DSA Theatre Spotlight Award. Since then, he has been seen onstage at Northwestern in over a dozen student boards productions including True West and has directed a production of Columbinus, a play based on interviews with teenagers across the country, as well as with the survivors and community members of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 – which Mr. Guerra was first introduced to as a student performer at DSA. Mr. Guerra will be sharing a bit of his journey and the understandings he has gained as a part of his training. Topics included will be finding a program of study, adjusting to college life, and time management skills. A student Q & A panel will conclude each period.

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