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OUR MISSION

To become the North Shore’s premier performance studio for young people, specializing in improving their self-confidence, self-awareness, skills and creativity as they embark on their performing journey.

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SO PROUD OF OUR STUDENTS

Our students have performed in productions, including Elf at the Marriott Theatre, A Christmas Story at Paramount Theatre, The Secret Garden at Court Theatre, Anne Frank at Writer’s Theatre, Mary Poppins at Paramount Theatre and King and I at Marriott Theatre. Also, our students have worked at Lyric Opera, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Light Opera Works, Paramount Theatre, Broadway Playhouse AND MORE.  Our students also appear in award winning films, commercials and print campaigns. We have also helped our students secure representation at Shirley Hamilton, Stewart Talent, Big Mouth Talent, Gray Talent and Paonessa Talent. Their talent and dedication is amazing!

Co-Founders Stacey Flaster & Elizabeth Fauntleroy

Stacey Flaster

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STACEY FLASTER most recently directed Hair and Ragtime (Broadway World Award, Best Director and Best Musical) for Big Noise Theatre. She directed and choreographed the Jeff Award winning production of A Class Act for Porchlight Theatre. Flaster’s credits include Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wiz, Jesus Christ Superstar (Broadway World Award, Best Musical and Best Choreography), Footloose, Cats (Jeff Nomination, Best Choreography) and A Wonderful Life for Theatre at the Center; Joseph…Dreamcoat and Route 66 for Paramount Theatre; Married Alive for Metropolis Performing Arts Center; and CabaretCarousel and The Secret Garden for Light Opera Works. As choreographer: Joseph… Dreamcoat (Jeff Nomination, Best Choreography-Theatre at the Center), Miss Saigon and Something’s Afoot (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Willy Wonka (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Marriott Theatre); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Noble Fool Theatricals); The Spitfire Grill and Smoke on the Mountain (Provision Theatre); Master Harold…and the Boys (Steppenwolf Theatre); and Madame X(Alley Cat Productions). Stacey worked on the film The Dilemma, directed by Ron Howard.

Elizabeth Fauntleroy

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LIZ FAUNTLEROY has been teaching
voice for over 15 years. Her students have gone on to appear in productions at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Light Opera Works and Northlight. As a performer, Ms. Fauntleroy’s career includes over 30 operas with The Lyric Opera of Chicago and other credits including: Mame, Evita, Pirates of Penzance, Beauty and the Beast, My Emperor’s New Clothes, Phantom, Kismet, Phantom of the Country Palace, Nutcracker Now and The Sound of Music, all at The Marriott Theatre. She has also performed extensively with Drury Lane Oakbrook (Phantom, Beauty and the Beast, My Fair Lady, Annie, On The Twentieth Century, among others) and Chicago Opera Theater (Madame Butterfly, Tenderland, Carousel, Don Giovanni, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Merry Wives of Windsor, among others) . She also performed in numerous industrials, film and print as a featured singer/dancer.  Elizabeth was the children’s musical director for the 2009 Chicago tour of the The Wizard of Oz, and helped cast the Chicago cast of the acclaimed TV series “The Glee Project.”

Meet our Instructors

Lauren Haughton

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Lauren Haughton has performed in Wicked on Broadway, in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and on the National Tour. Other favorite credits include: Turn of the Century with Tommy Tune at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and Sammy with Leslie Bricusse at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Favorite roles include: Lola in Damn Yankees, Velma in Chicago, Texas in Cabaret, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Irene in Crazy for You. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. As a teacher she has taught master classes for all ages across the country through Broadway Connection, Stage Door, and Camp Broadway. 

Maggie Portman

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Maggie moved to Chicago from New York City in 2005 and has been performing all over Chicago since then.  She was last seen in Mary Poppins at Paramount Theatre in Aurora as Ensemble.  Some other favorites include Meg Brockie in Brigadoon at the Goodman Theatre which she received an Equity Jeff nomination for, Minnie Faye in Hello Dolly at Drury Lane Theatre,  Lily in Annie and Chrissy in Hair at Paramount Theatre, a Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and Martha in Secret Garden under Stacey Flaster’s direction at Light Opera Works Theatre.  She received 2 Non Equity Jeff Awards for Best Actress in a Principal role/musical for her portrayal of Eva in Evita and Florence in Chess with Theo Ubique Theatre and was nominated for a Jeff for her original choreography in cabaret at Theo Ubique Theatre.  She will be choreographing Blood Brothers in the fall and Frank Sinatra’s review My Way at the critically acclaimed Theo Ubique Theatre in Chicago in the fall and winter this year. Maggie also co-founded and teaches for Li’l Buds Theatre Company, a Chicago Based 501c3 theatre for families based in Edgewater which turns 10 this year!!

Laura Savage

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Laura Savage, originally from Las Vegas, has been teaching various styles of dance to children for over 10 years. Along with teaching, she is a professional actress based out of Chicago with ensemble credits at Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane, Chicago Shakespeare, Paramount, and Chicago Lyric Opera; and as leading roles in 42nd Street (Paramount), Pal Joey (Porchlight) Spitfire Grill (Boho Theatre), and Urinetown (Circle Theatre). She can also be seen “shaking her groove thing” on a Hartford Insurance commercial and season 1 of Fox’s hit tv show, Empire. Laura has been the choreographer for BAM Theatre for the past 3 years and has worked as Rachel Rockwell’s Associate Choreographer for The Music Man and Oliver. Laura is a graduate of Viterbo University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a minor in Dance. She is also a certified Yoga instructor. www.laura-savage.com

Abby Mueller

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Abbey Mueller is a Chicago bred, New York based actor, singer, and voiceover artist and current stars in the Broadway North American Tour of Beautiful The Musical as Carole King. NYC: Kinky Boots (Broadway), A Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center), School of Rock (Off-Broadway Workshop, Gramercy Theatre). REGIONAL: Abigail Adams in 1776 (American Conservatory Theater and Asolo Rep), Fantine in Les Miserables, Ellen in Miss Saigon (Ellen), Narrator in Joseph…(Fulton Theatre), Mary Zimmerman’s Candide(Huntington Theatre Company), Catherine in Pippin (Utah Shakespearean Festival), Constance in The Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Fiona in Brigadoon, Cinderella in Into The Woods, Georgie in The Full Monty (Marriott Theatre). Thank you God, Family, Friends, Tim and Stewart Talent, Stephen Kopel, and the BeautifulTeam! www.abbymueller.com

Adria Dawn

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Adria Dawn has taught workshops or spoken at DePaul University, Loyola University, Columbia College Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Camp Hollywood in Portland, Oregon, Southside School, Champaign, IL, Chicago Acting in Film, The Chicago Artists Coalition, Deerfield High School, The Performer’s School, Gray Talent Group, and The Illinois High School Theatre Festival. She has taught her Advanced On-Camera Acting Bootcamp, which is a four-week intensive and includes creating original characters. Some career highlights include originating the role of April Tuna on the WB’s cult hit Popular (for which she was nominated as “Gutsiest Woman on Television” by Jane Magazine) as well as recurring roles on Nip/Tuck, NCIS, Seventh Heaven and Felicity. Other guest starring roles include My Name is Earl, Campus Ladies and Help Me Help You. She also stars in her own webseries, Dorkumentary, that she produces with her award-winning production company Tarleton/Dawn Productions and can be seen in many independent films. Adria is a faculty member at Columbia College Chicago.

Natalie Wisdom

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Natalie Wisdom is originally from St. Louis, Missouri where her love of performing began at the St. Louis MUNY in 1995 when she performed in the Children’s Chorus of Cinderella. The daughter of a high school band director, her love of music and singing grew as she continued performing at the Muny, Stages St. Louis, and various community theatre productions. She also studied tap, jazz, and ballet from a very young age at a local dance studio, focusing specifically on tap. She attended Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts and moved to New York shortly after graduation with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Natalie Wisdom is currently appearing in Matilda the Musical , North American Broadway Tour.  Credits include: Broadway/National Tour: Billy Elliot (Swing, u/s Mum, Dance Captain). Regional: Dames at Sea (Ruby), Crazy For You (Polly), Ring of Fire (June Carter), Maine State, North Shore, Goodspeed. Graduate: Webster Conservatory.  See more at: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/cast/natalie-wisdom/#sthash.gxrMfoPB.dpuf

Jeremiah O'Connor

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Jeremiah is a Chicago native and began his dance training at age 8 at the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance. As a child, he performed in local productions including the Ruth Page Nutcracker. His training continued at Interlochen Arts Academy, Centre de Danse Internationale de Rosella Hightower (Cannes, France) and The School of American Ballet (NYC). He subsequently danced for several ballet companies, mainly in the U.S., before retiring from the Joffrey Ballet in 2000. A student of artistic gymnastics as a boy, Jeremiah feels that gymnastics and acrobatics (more generally) are a great asset to any dancer or performing artist, building strength, agility and athleticism as well as developing strong determination and fearless movement. His acrobatic coaching credits include Billy Elliot The Musical, How to Train Your Dragon touring show and artists of the Midnight Circus. He has assisted or directed programs for Lakeshore Academy of Artistic Gymnastics, MSA Circus Arts, The Actor’s Gym, Ruth Page School of Dance, IK Gymnastics and Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts. Jeremiah has a BFA in Dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Zachary Gray

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is thrilled to be a part of The Performer’s School! Zach recently served as Associate Director/Choreographer for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Shrek the Musical. As a member of Actors’ Equity, his Chicago credits include My One and Only, A Chorus Line (Mark), and The Music Man at Marriott Lincolnshire, The Snow Queen directed by Frank Galati at Victory Gardens, and The Music Man (Tommy Djilas) at Light Opera Works. He has also performed in numerous TYA productions throughout the region, including How I Became a Pirate (Max), Schoolhouse Rock Live! (George), The Wizard of Oz (Tinman) and High School Musical (Zeke). Regional favorites: Joseph… (Benjamin) at Fireside Theatre, West Side Story (Baby John), The Producers (Carmen Ghia) at Timber Lake Playhouse, Meet Me in St. Louis (Lon) at Broadway Palm West, Seven Brides… (Frankincense) at The Little Theatre on the Square. NYC: Shine On! directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. As a director/choreographer, he most recently helmed Route 66 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Previously in Chicago: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Director/Choreographer) at Big Noise Theatre. His choreography credits include: Legally Blonde at Northbrook Theatre, How to Succeed… at Big Noise Theatre, and West Side Story at Timber Lake Playhouse. Regionally, his work has been seen numerous times in Sullivan, IL at The Little Theatre on the Square and as far west as Broadway Palm West in Mesa, AZ.

George Keating

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George Keating is a busy member of Actors’ Equity Association known for roles at The Paramount Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Marriott, Drury Lane, Fox Valley Rep, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and The Goodman. He played opposite Richard Chamberlain on the National Tour of Scrooge.  Favorite roles include George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, Thenardier in Les Miserables, Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, P.T. Barnum in Barnum, Gus/Growltiger in Cats, Enoch Snow in Carousel and Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show.  He performed solo at The Gershwin Theatre on Broadway as the Emcee of The Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz.  Committed to Theatre for Young Audiences he has played, among others: The Cat in the Hat, The Scarecrow, The Mouse King, The Beast and Snoopy. Directing credits include productions adapted from Tolstoy, Strindberg, Giradoux, Marquez, Atwood and, the world premiere of Set Up by Dan Noonan. He has often been a guest artist, director and acting teacher at New Trier High School and at many colleges and universities. He was Core Faculty at the Cherubs heatre program at Northwestern where he taught acting and voice and movement for 11 years and directed 8 productions.  He is a co-founder of  TheatreBAM Chicago and originated the role of George in Schoolhouse Rock Live!.  He stopped counting after 2,000 performances of SRL! in Chicago, cities from coast-to-coast and off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre.  He directed the most recent production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! at the Marriott Theatre.  George received his B.F.A. in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Beckie Menzie

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An award winning concert artist and has appeared at some of the nation’s top venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Birdland in NYC; and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and Park West. Hailed as “indispensible to Chicago Cabaret” (Chicago Tribune), Beckie’s Carnegie Hall debut was featured in Michael Feinstein’s Now & Then Series. With performing partner Tom Michael, she received After Dark’s Outstanding Cabaret Artist Award. Their award-winning CD Better Two-gether showcases what has made them “one of the most compelling duos in cabaret.” (Chicago Tribune) A noted coach for musical performers, Beckie has taught musical actors at Northwestern University, Columbia College, Porchlight Music Theatre and in Master Classes at colleges around the country. She served as Musical Director for the Jeff Award Winning Best Musical A Class Act and is also an award winning songwriter. Beckiemenzie.com

Shanna VanDerwerker

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Shanna VanDerwerker is the Associate Choreographer of Amazing Grace, a new Broadway musical that opened this past summer at the Nederlander Theater, after its premiere in Chicago Fall 2014. She grew up dancing in Ft. Washington, MD and received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Point Park University. After over four years as the Dance Captain of the First National Tour of Wicked, Shanna relocated to Chicago and is an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University. Some of her other credits include Assistant Choreographer of High Fidelity on Broadway, swing in the Broadway company of Wicked, ensemble in Kiss Me, Kate (TUTS, Houston) and Kids of the Kingdom (Walt Disney World). She was also a company member of dre.dance with directors Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs, and has performed in several shows at the Fireside Dinner Theater in Fort Atkinson, WI. Shanna taught at the 2014 International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, NE and was the choreographer of the opening celebration of the 2015 International Thespian Festival, The Music of Alan Menken. She has taught master classes at dance studios and conventions all over the country and has been a guest teacher at Roosevelt University, Columbia College of Chicago and Point Park University.

Joe Dempsey

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Joe Dempsey is a long-time Chicago actor, improviser and fight choreographer. He recently appeared in Graveyard of Empires at 16th St., Samsara at Victory Gardens, The Mousetrap at Northlight, Native Son at Court, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Drury Lane Oak Brook (Jeff Nomination). Around Chicago he has acted at Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court, Looking glass, Remy Bumppo, many others, and regionally at Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Centerstage Baltimore, and City Theatre Pittsburgh. TV credits include E.R., Early Edition, What about Joan?, and Chicago Fire. He toured with Second City’s National Touring Company and is also an alum of the Neo-Futurists, writing and performing in their 25-year signature late night show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind.

 

Ericka Mac

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Ericka has been performing in Chicago theaters for 16 years. She has performed shows at the Rosemont Theatre (Radio City Christmas Spectacular), Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (Seussical the Musical; The Adventures of Pinocchio—world premiere), 26 shows at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, The Paramount Theatre (Cats; A Christmas Story; Hairspray), Writer’s Theatre in Glencoe (Sweet Charity), Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theatre at the Center, Peninsula Players, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Ellie in Showboat; Oklahoma!). Ericka has served as Associate Director/Choreographer for such shows as: Ride the Cyclone (Off Broadway; MCC Theatre), Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical (Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, World Premiere), The Little Mermaid; Ride the Cyclone (U.S Premiere) Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure (Chicago Children’s Theatre, World Premiere) and Company (Writer’s Theatre).  Choreography credits include: How Can You Run With A Shell On Your Back? and Schoolhouse Rock Live! (The Marriott Theatre) as well as area high schools, colleges, community theaters, trade show events, and commercials. Ericka has been an Adjunct Professor of Ballet and taught master classes at Elmhurst College, Loyola College and The Joffrey Ballet.  She has been a voiceover artist for companies such as Motorola, ESPN, Embassy Suites, John Frieda and The American Dental Association and as a singer/songwriter, Ericka has performed her original tunes at several Chicagoland venues. Proud member of AEA, AGMA, and AGVA.

MarChello Lee

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MarChello Lee is an accomplished professional dancer who attended Columbia College and Northeastern Illinois University. He has performed with One World Dance Theatre where his fusion of Hip Hop, African, Jazz, and Tango were spotlighted. MarChello’s passion and versatility has led him to many lead roles as an actor and dancer.

MarChello stars in the new movie DREAMS and recently toured Asia with the hit group Sweety Motions. He has worked with world renown choreographers such as Gustavo Naveira & Giselle Anne, Brenda Didier, and Dave Scott. MarChello has been with Lincolnshire  Academy of Dance for 9 years and continues to inspire youth in the arts.

Barbara Charlene

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A Chicago-based actor, fight choreographer, and movement teacher. Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, she received her MFA from Western Illinois University (’13) and is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors (’12).

She is currently at Columbia College Chicago studying Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals towards her GL-CMA. She is the Audience Designer at Theater Wit, an Instructor at Vagabond School of the Arts, and a teaching artist with Old Town School of Folk Music.

She has worked on Broadway and off-Broadway, with Roundabout Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, Cherokee Historical Association, and The Lost Colony, and was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Fight Choreography with Stolen Chair Theatre Company.

An avid runner, horseback rider, one-time stuntwoman and sometime juggler, Barbara also works in the wine industry. 

Harmony France

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Harmony France is co-artistic director of Firebrand Theatre, she is a freelance casting director, and a teaching artist at Actor’s Training Center. As an actor, Harmony has traveled the world with the Broadway National/International tour of Sister Act. She has been nominated for two Jeff Awards for best actress and is the recipient of a Broadway World Award. Harmony has worked with Paramount Theatre, Peninsula Players, Theatre at the Center, Bailiwick Chicago, Porchlight Music Theatre, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, Windy City Playhouse, The New Colony, Timber Lake Playhouse, Route 66, and Chicago Children’s Theatre. She studied opera at Brenau University and acting at Columbia College.

Kathleen Gibson

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Kathleen Gibson is an AEA actress, music director, and free lance musician in Chicago.  She works as a music director at the Second CIty Training Center and pH Comedy Theater.  As an actress her favorite theater’s include: Theatre at The Center. Peninsula Players, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, and the Royal George.  She also plays guitar for toddlers with Stomp and Shout Chicago.  She holds a B.M. from DePaul University and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory.

Holly Stauder

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Holly has been performing in the Chicago area for over 20 years, most recently, as Patricia Fodor in Drury Lane’s production of Crazy for You. After earning her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University, Holly traveled and performed at various regional theatres including Utah Shakespeare, Bigfork Summer Playhouse, and Broadway Palm Theatre. Chicagoland audiences may have seen Holly as Margaret in 9 to 5 (Marriott Theatre), Ernestina Money in Hello Dolly! (Drury Lane), Trina in Falsettoes (Porchlight Music Theatre), and Mrs. Drysdale in The Beverly Hillbillies (World Premier-Theatre at the Center). She earned a Jeff nomination for her role of Judy in The Water Coolers (Lakeshore Theatre), as well as an After Dark Award and Jeff Nomination as part of the ensemble of Closer Than Ever (Porchlight). Favorite roles include Mayzie (Seussical), Aldonza (Man of LaMancha), Lola (Damn Yankees), and Anita (West Side Story). Holly has enjoyed being both a Vocal Director and Speech Coach for various neighborhood high schools and currently resides with her family in Downers Grove.

Advisory Board

Sam Samuelson
Senior Agent, Stewart Talent

Rick Boynton
Creative Producer, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

Andy Hite
Artistic Director, Marriott Theatre

Felicia Fields
Tony-Nominated Actress, The Color Purple

Susie McMonagle
Professional Actress, Broadway’s Fantine in Les Miserables

George Keating
Professional Actor and Co-Creator Schoolhouse Rock, Live!

Heidi Kettenring
Professional Actress, Chicago’s Wicked

Rob Rahn
Professional Actor, Singer, Dancer, Director/Choreographer

Beckie Menzie
Award-winning Concert Artist

Tom Mullen
Director, Producer

Zachary Gray
Director, Choreographer, Performer, Teacher

Community Outreach

Penny Adis
Educator, 8th grade Language Arts and Literature at North Shore School District 112; former Appletree Theatre Board Member

Paul Frank
Highland Park City Council

Hon. Karen May
Former State Representative 58th District

Business Team

Nili Yelin
Public Relations & Media
Contact : info@theperformersschool.com