A Pittsburgh native, is thrilled to be teaching at NYFA under the direction of Kristy Cates. Broadway: Wicked (Glinda Standby- 200+ performances). 1st National Tours: Wicked (Glinda Standby), Urinetown (Soupy Sue), Grease (Marty). Off-Broadway: Vanities, Second Stage; Henry Sweet Henry (Gil), York Theatre; Cam Jansen, Lamb’s Theatre. TV/Film: A Very Wicked Halloween-Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway (Glindas) NBC; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (“One Short Day” performance) NBC; The Other Celia (Celia) Boston College Independent Film. Favorite Regional Credits: Hello, Dolly! (Minnie Fay), Pittburgh CLO; King of Hearts, Lucky Guy (Chicky) Goodspeed; Radio City Christmas Spectacular, LA (Mrs. Claus); The Fantasticks (Luisa). Workshops: Wedding Singer, Slut, 9 to 5, The Fisher King, Pure Country, and High School Musical. Casting Intern at The Telsey Office. Graduate of the The Boston Conservatory. Forever grateful for my Joe and delicious girls Ellie and Gracie. We are lucky to be here, so let’s play!
CHARISSA BERTELS is a Broadway actress and champion of new musicals. Charissa recently toured the country in the first national tour of If/Then, starring Idina Menzel, La Chanze and Anthony Rapp. She made her Broadway debut in the original Broadway cast of Pasek & Paul’s Tony-nominated musical A Christmas Story, and later reprised her role at Madison Square Garden. As part of the singing ensemble for New York City Center Encores’ productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Lady Be Good, her work can be heard on the subsequent cast recordings, featuring Megan Hilty and the legendary Tommy Tune.
Charissa starred to rave reviews in her original one-woman musical, My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, at Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT), for which she received an IRNE award for Best Solo Performance. Her newest collaboration, The Uncivil Ones (Finalist: Rhinebeck, NextFest @ Latte Da, Live & In Color; Semi-Finalist: NAMT, O’Neill), features unheard female, trans and non-binary voices from the Civil War and garnered the 2019 Special Mention for the Women in Arts & Media Coalition Collaboration Award.
She can be seen in two of NYFA’s original musical films: “Gingerbread House” and “It Is What It Is”.
KYLE BRANZEL is a highly sought-after musical theatre coach, trusted by some of Broadway’s most thrilling performers. Drawing from a wide variety of theatrical experience as Director, Music Director, Actor, and Pianist, Kyle empowers actors in NYC and around the world to develop their artistry holistically and navigate their careers with integrity. His innovative approach to physical acting training and physiological vocal coaching have helped many clients and students book roles in films, TV shows, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, national tours, regional productions, and cruise ships. Current teaching appointments: Musical Theatre Instructor at New York Film Academy, Musical Theatre and Movement Instructor at Jen Waldman Studio, Guest Lecturer of Musical Theatre at Western Illinois University, Head of Acting at Omaha Conservatory of Music’s SoundWaves Summer Institute. Previous: Hartt School of Music, Roosevelt University. Founder: Rock U, a comprehensive and dynamic approach to performing popular music. Member: Actors’ Equity Association. BFA Musical Theatre: Roosevelt University. kylebranzel.com
Todd Buonopane is an award winning actor, singer, director and story-teller. On Broadway, he starred as Jean-Michel in Cinderella, Amos in Chicago, Roger in Grease, and many characters in …Spelling Bee. He appeared Off-Broadway in The Butter & Egg Man, Henry & Mudge, and The New Yorkers at Encores! Touring audiences have seen him in The Play That Goes Wrong, Godspell, & Chicago (which he also performed in Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai.) Regionally, he has performed at the Alliance, The Old Globe, Asolo Rep, MUNY, Signature, Pasadena Playhouse, 5th Avenue, Ordway, Papermill Playhouse, Goodspeed, Maine State, the Argyle, North Shore and Barrington.TV credits include “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Braindead”, “Law & Order:CI”, and “30 Rock” (as Weinerslav). Todd is also a director, having directed productions of The Prom, Urinetown, Legally Blonde and Spelling Bee. toddbuonopane.com
Kathryn Jane Calahan
Kathryn Jane Calahan
Kathy Calahan is a Broadway performer, teacher, and choreographer–and is happiest when her skills help to inspire future generations. She is currently teaching tap and theatre dance classes at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at NYFA, Dance Molinari, and the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. She has taught voice at the MTC’s School of Performing Arts, LaGuardia Community College, The Broadway Artists Intensive, and The Broadway Arts Lab. Kathy enjoyed a five-year run in Broadway’s Mary Poppins, where she performed as a swing, covering over 10 parts, including Bird Woman, Mrs. Corry, and Miss Lark. She toured nationally in the original production of Ragtime, shared the stage with Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot, and danced in Randy Skinner’s pre-Broadway production of White Christmas. Favorite regional credits include Dolly in Annie Get Your Gun, Josie in George M!, Polly in Crazy For You, and Woman 2 in And the World Goes ‘Round. As a choreographer, Kathy’s credits include White Christmas, Cole!, The Fantasticks, How to Succeed…, The Melody Lingers On, and Broadway’s Easter Bonnet Competition. Kathy received her BFA from The Boston Conservatory, and was trained classically in voice and piano at The Eastman School of Music. Teachers and mentors: Bob Audy (tap), Luigi (jazz), and Rita Shane (voice). www.kathycalahan.com
Nick recently completed a two and a half year run as prisoner 24601, aka Jean Valjean on the National Tour of Les Misérables. He was previously seen in Paramour, the first musical produced on Broadway by Cirque Du Soleil, where he was a standby for and performed the three male lead roles. He also appeared in Scandalous the Musical, written by TODAY show host Kathie Lee Gifford, about the life and trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, and can be heard on the Original Broadway Cast Recording. Nick made his Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated 2012 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, understudying the roles of Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot and the High Priest Annas, all three performed. He has also toured the U.S. and Canada in The Phantom of the Opera.
Nick has sung with the South Coast Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony and as a member of the critically acclaimed group The Broadway Boys. In March 2019 he performed his first solo show, Bringing it Home, to a sold out room at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Nick and his wife Christine are also the creators of Broadway Fights Ovarian Cancer, a benefit organization raising awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer research.
A graduate of Arizona State University with a BFA in Theatre, Nick enjoyed a brief stint in Japan performing with a certain famous Mouse. While there he met his incredible wife, actress/singer Christine Cartell.
Kristy Cates has been a professional actress in New York City for over two decades. She made her Broadway debut in the Original Broadway Cast of the smash hit, Wicked, as the understudy to Idina Menzel, and can be heard on the iconic cast recording. She went on to play the lead role of Elphaba in Wicked (Broadway, First National Tour, Chicago), Miss Bassett in Finding Neverland (Broadway), Grandma Josephine in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Original Broadway Cast/Cast Recording), Jerry Springer: the Opera (Carnegie Hall), as well as numerous off-Broadway and Regional productions.
She is a professional voiceover artist and has been heard on national tv/radio commercials for such brands as Subway, Almay Cosmetics, Chase Bank, PNC, and more. Kristy is an original member of NYFA’s Musical Theatre faculty dating back to 2009 and has taught master classes in musical theatre technique worldwide. In 2019, she was named “Young Alumni of the Year” by her esteemed alma mater, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, for her combined accomplishments in performance and teaching. Kristy is honored to be the current Chair of Musical Theatre for the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at The New York Film Academy.
Christine de Frece
Christine de Frece
Christine has been teaching vocal technique for 19 years. Her students can be seen performing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, cruise ships, and in regional theaters across the United States, Canada and internationally. She is currently a voice specialist at New York Film Academy and former Chair of Vocal performance at Circle in the Square Theatre School. As a Musical Director, Christine has directed productions of Cabaret, Urinetown, The MusicMan, Gypsy, Meet Me in St. Louis and A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To The Forum. Christine is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge (BMus Vocal Performance) and Circle in the Square Theatre (Professional Musical Theatre Workshop). As an actress, Christine has been seen in productions such as Titanic, It Shoulda Been You, Ragtime, Rumors (Carbonelle Award Winner), A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To TheForum, The Music Man, Bye Bye Birdie, Follies, And The World Goes ‘Round, Cinderella, and many more.
Deidre Goodwin has been in 8 Broadway shows and has made numerous television and film appearances. Some of her Broadway credits include A Chorus Line (Shelia Bryant), Chicago (Velma Kelly), and Nine (Our Lady of the Spa). She can also be seen in the Oscar-winning film Chicago, Every Little Step, Ocean’s 8, and more. TV appearances include Chicago Med (NBC), Pose (FX), Broad City (Comedy Central), Madam Secretary (CBS), Divorce, Season 3 (HBO), and 30 Rock (NBC). As a voice-over artist, she can be heard on numerous promos on BET. She is currently The Voice of WCBS 880 and KYW Newsradio. Deidre is also a Choreographer and Director.
As an actor Drew Hirshfield has appeared in new and old plays around the country (at places such as Magic Theatre in San Francisco, Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, and many others). Other credits include a first Broadway National Tour, network TV, and independent film. He’s been nominated for a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award and he once played a lemur, professionally. Drew has trained with, and completed a pedagogical teacher-training program under, clown and physical acting master teacher Christopher Bayes and has studied with the renowned clown Aitor Basauri of Spymonkey. He is a trained practitioner of the Michael Chekhov Technique. Drew is a an alum of the National Alliance of Acting Teacher’s Teacher Development Program.
Kenny Ingram is proud to have been a part of the New York Film Academy’s musical theatre faculty for four years as a tap and jazz dance instructor. He also has had the pleasure of teaching tap for NYFA’s high school summer programs. Mr Ingram is currently in Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway.
A partial list of the projects Bob has worked on as a casting director would include: Broadway (Most for Nat’l Tour as well)— Souvenir, King Hedley II (August Wilson), An Inspector Calls, A Tale Of Two Cities, Little Women-The Musical, The Who’s Tommy, Titanic-The Musical (1996), The Life, Jekyll & Hyde (1996), The Scarlet Pimpernel. Off-Broadway includes—Frank McGuinness’ Gates Of Gold, Dracula, Dietrich & Chevalier, Over the River and Through the Woods, Avow, The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, Tap Dogs. Tours include—The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Ann-Margret, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, Nunsense (25th Anniversary Tour), Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk starring Savion Glover; Television—HBO’s Scarred City, Due South, Elmo’s World: Happy Holidays!, PBS Sesame Street, Cosby Mysteries, As The World Turns, and the miniseries Sally Hemmings (NY Casting). Feature Film includes—Jack & Jill (additional NY Casting), You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (additional NY casting), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (additional NY casting), Beavis and Butthead Do America (NY Voice Casting), The Quest for Camelot (NY Voice Casting), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (NY Voice Casting), Big Daddy (NY Casting), Little Nicky (NY Casting).. See www.bobkaleonline.com for more information.
Rachel A. Kaufman
Rachel A. Kaufman
Rachel A. Kaufman is a multi-instrumentalist Brooklyn native who has music directed and/or played for well over 300 musicals and cabaret shows world-wide. She has been thrilled to be part of NYFA’s wonderful faculty since 2013. Theater credits include: Off-B’way: Tale of Two Cities (10th year reunion concert), Goldstein (with Julie Benko & Megan McGinnis), A Taste of Things to Come (Lorin Latarro, dir.); Tours: Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Smokey Joe’s Café; Regional: Tom Jones (North Shore), Hallelujah, Baby! (Arthur Laurents, dir.) Rachel can also be seen playing for auditions, improv comedy groups, at churches, synagogues, piano bars, and restaurants. She has worked with such Broadway greats as Donna McKechnie, Baayork Lee, Hinton Battle and Pat Birch, just to name a few. Rachel holds a B.A. in Music (and Russian) from the University of Chicago
James T. Lane- From Philadelphia. West End: The Scottsboro Boys, A Chorus Line – Revival (Palladium Theatre). Broadway: Kiss Me, Kate (Paul), King Kong the Musical ,The Scottsboro Boys (Ozie Powell/Ruby Bates), Chicago and A Chorus Line (Richie Walters). National Tours: Jersey Boys, Cinderella, Fame the Musical. Regional Theatre: Mary Poppins (Bert) Drury Lane Theatre, The Wiz (Tin Man), Broadway at Music Circus,The Old Globe, The Little Mermaid (Sebastian) The Muny, A.C.T and Dallas Theatre Center. Encores/Off Center: Promenade,Grand Hotel, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope Concerts: Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops, Ottawa Symphony and many more. Mr. Lane teaches music theatre dance when and wherever anyone will let him! Instagram: @jamestlane www.jamestlane.com
Multi-musical-hyphenate Jack Lipson composed the theme and score to zenroom, a new sitcom starring Cheri Oteri. The LA-native-turned New Yorker co-writes music, lyrics, and -stars alongside his twin brother in Jack & Benny Lipson’s “sensational, clever, and astute” revues across the country. They also penned Miranda, Please!, an “opera buffalo,” and Brainstorm, a song cycle of their material.
The LA Phil commissioned Jack to co-curate and -arrange a Weimar-era Berlin cabaret for their 2020 Weimar Festival. MD highlights include 3 shows with writer Mark Saltzman: Romeo & Bernadette (off-Broadway 2022), Another Roll of the Dice (arrangements/orchestrations, world premiere 2019), and Alice, Formerly of Wonderland (vocal arrangements); Sweet Charity (dir. Kathleen Marshall with Laura Bell Bundy, Reprise 2.0), Dot Dot Dot (TheatreWorksUSA), and on Welcome to Chippendales (with Andrew Rannells, Hulu).
Jack has piano’ed and sung supporting Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, esperanza spalding, Darren Criss, Broadway legend Barbara Dixon, and many more at venues from The Hollywood Bowl to Disney Hall. Jack currently writes in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and earned his Bachelor’s in music composition at UCLA.
Matt Lopez first started dancing at the age of 10, performing for a Filipino dance troupe in New Hampshire. He majored in theatre at Northeastern University and transferred to the University of Central Florida, where he danced at Walt Disney World. Matt performed with Hilary Duff in the Christmas Day Parade televised on ABC. He also worked as the mascot for the New England Patriots. In the spring of 2010, Lopez was featured in the Go-Go Segment on “Live with Regis and Kelly.” His other notable past stage/television performances include dancing for Sean Kingston and Wyclef Jean on a kids programming show on PBS, as well as for Demi Lovato on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Matt now lives in New York City, where he is currently dancing and choreographing with his partner, Melissa Ramos-Lopez, who previously danced for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. In April 2012, Lopez was the audition facilitator for a Nicki Minaj performance and was chosen as a lead dancer in Times Square for the debut of her album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.” Matt choreographed for the 5-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots Cheerleaders, the pre-game performance at Madison Square Garden for the NY Knicks and for R&B/Pop artist, Sid Haywoode. In 2015, he was selected as one of the Top 12 Dance Convention Teachers in the U.S. by “Dance Informa Magazine.” Lopez is currently teaching hip hop and street jazz at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, Sarah Lawrence College and the New York Film Academy.
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